The Nevada State Athletic Commission’s executive director won’t say whether the commission will reopen for business next month. But he indicated the decision will be based on guidance for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
“We will see what the data reveals based on the science of COVID-19 and move forward accordingly,” NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett wrote to MMA Fighting via email.
Bennett said there could be an update at the start of May, which reportedly is when the UFC plans to restart its event schedule. He said it’s “premature” to comment on remarks made by UFC President Dana White, who recently told Variety the UFC APEX could “save the day from this pandemic” and will host events starting next month “for the foreseeable future.”
The NSAC, which this past month halted all combat sports events scheduled to take place in the state, would have jurisdiction over those UFC fights. The commission previously has regulated White’s Contender Series filmed at the facility. But Bennett said there’s no timeline for when the commission will get back to work.
“We are closed until further notice, and once again the data from the science will determine future events accordingly,” he wrote.
The UFC postponed three shows in March and its UFC 249 pay-per-view event due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The UFC 249 card was canceled just over one week from its planned date of April 18 when the promotion’s broadcast partner ESPN asked White to stand down.
White has confirmed May 9 as the kickoff for the UFC’s reboot. The promotion is planning a massive pay-per-view event with three title fights. As he did prior to the ill-fated UFC 249, which was scheduled to take place on tribal land in California, White is keeping the event’s location a secret.
This past month, Bennett was scheduled to present a plan to the commission for regulating events during the pandemic. But the commission canceled it after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency as the outbreak worsened. Earlier this month, Bennett said all commission-regulated events were suspended until further notice.
On Tuesday, Sisolak said the state isn’t any closer to reopening parts of the state’s economy. Several states have banded together to agree on benchmarks for transitioning to business as usual, but the governor said officials will heed information on rates of infection and deaths before deciding whether to lift current restrictions.
“This is not going to be a political decision for as to when to open,” he said. “We’re going to take it slow and steady and listen to the doctors.”
White has alternately commended the governor’s response to the virus while downplaying the severity of the outbreak. The UFC executive has pushed for Americans to get back to work sooner than later and recently signed on as an advisor to President Donald Trump’s advisory committee to restart the economy.