UFC president Dana White called it “one of the fastest sell outs in UFC history.” He was referring to a historical event, in which the promotion will welcome a full house of fans back to live fights, as UFC 261 sold out in minutes.
At Thursday’s UFC 260 press conference in Las Vegas, White foresaw the sellout coming. “I’m willing to go everywhere that they’re willing to sell out. We had the pre-sale (for UFC 261) … we broke the arena record already. I expect this thing to go on sale (Friday) and sell out in seconds.”
He wasn’t far off, as VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., will welcome UFC 261 and fans to a house full of 15,000 seats. Not socially distanced. Not spaced out somehow. Simply, a packed house.
The only notice on the Ticketmaster website was a warning that in purchasing tickets, fans accept the responsibility and risk of potentially being exposed to COVID-19 at the arena, agreeing not to hold the UFC or the arena liable if they contract the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.
“Everybody is talking about they’re first, they’re first; they’re not first; we are first,” White continued on Thursday. “Nobody is going to do it like we’re going to do it. They’re talking outdoor arenas, most of them probably won’t sell out, social distancing, all that stuff. We’re selling out an arena; packed; record breaking. I’m excited. I’m gonna go everywhere that people want to do that.”
UFC 261 is slated to feature three title fights. The bill is topped by UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman putting his belt on the line against Jorge Masvidal in a main event rematch. The co-main event pits women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko against Jessica Andrade. The third title fight will see UFC women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili defend her belt against former titleholder Rose Namajunas.