The Ultimate Fighting Championship is already in the process of moving into full-capacity venues, but it might not be back to anything resembling a completely normal schedule until next year.
UFC 262 at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday marked the promotion’s second event in front of fans since the COVID-19 pandemic altered protocol in March 2020. While the organization has pay-per-view events slated for Phoenix in June and Las Vegas in July that are likely to have little or no capacity restrictions, don’t expect to see the UFC’s smaller events following suit anytime soon.
“We’re not even looking at Fight Nights [for fans],” UFC president Dana White said on Saturday. “We didn’t even have gates in our budget until October and November. Right now, to start trying to find places for Fight Nights, it just makes no sense.
“We’ll stay at the cozy [UFC] Apex and do our thing for the rest of the year, I think.”
The UFC has held the vast majority of its events at its own facility in Las Vegas since May 2020. As of now, the only upcoming cards slated for outside that venue are UFC 263 at the Gila Rivera Arena in Glendale, Ariz., and UFC 264 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In different circumstances, Charles Oliveira’s lightweight title win at UFC 262 would have set the stage for a big card in Brazil headlined by “Do Bronx.” For now, White and the UFC are taking a measured approach regarding the promotion’s travel plans, even as the world begins to relax restrictions.
“I’m sure some of us that live in Vegas are excited to get home and there’s no more masks and all that stuff,” White said. “But I don’t know about the rest of the country and the rest of the world, for that matter. I have no idea. We’ll take this one day at a time.”