March 15, 2020
Nevada Shuts Down 'Combat-Related' Sports Until March 25, Possibly Thwarts UFC Boss' Plan To Hold Bouts

Nevada's State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has banned all "combat-related" sports through March 25, and possibly even into April and later, due to coronavirus. That puts Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) boss Dana White in a tough position, as he had vowed to continue to hold two of his upcoming events, with spectators at a venue in Las Vegas.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, as major sports leagues across the world and, specifically, the United States, are postponing their seasons until further notice due to coronavirus, UFC boss Dana White has vowed to keep his sport not only going, but also going with spectators in attendance.

Specifically, he said that he'd spoken to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and that he (White) decided that it's OK to hold sporting events with spectators while other sports leagues are "panicking" about it.

Initially, White wasn't able to entirely proceed with business as usual. An event scheduled for Brazil, which took place Saturday night, had to be held without spectators due to local laws. Originally, two upcoming UFC events -- for March 21 and March 28 in London, U.K. and Columbus, Ohio, respectively -- would go on with spectators, but the latter would have to be moved to UFC's 1,500-seat Apex facility in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: Li Jingliang punches Neil Magny in his loss during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images | Harry How

However, as Yahoo Sports reports, Nevada gaming officials may be putting the kibosh on those plans.

On Saturday, the NSAC held a meeting, and decided to suspend all fight permits through March 25.

Initially, reports said that the body had suspended such permits indefinitely, but NSAC executive director Bob Bennett later clarified in a statement that the ban is only through March 25, not indefinite. However, he also noted that things may change when his group meets on that date to discuss things further.

"The chairman and commissioners will make that decision at the appropriate time," he said.

That puts White in a difficult position, as a decision affecting the future of his sport will be made three days before a major event is scheduled. If the NSAC decides to proceed with suspending events indefinitely, White won't be able to hold UFC fights in Nevada.

White says that UFC bouts will go on, with spectators, whether in Nevada or somewhere else.

"We're not stopping. We will keep finding a way to put on the fights. I'm in the fight business. I've been doing this for over 20 years, and this stuff happens to me every weekend. I'm used to this stuff, not at this level obviously, but this is what we do. We always make sure that the fights happen and they're going to continue to happen," he said in a statement.