The UFC will supply free face coverings for all fans at the sold-out UFC 261 on Saturday April 24. However, wearing a mask at the event will not be mandatory.
UFC 261, the first major sporting event at a sold-out indoor arena in the US since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will see a crowd of 15,000 turn up on Saturday to witness three world-title bouts.
Women’s straw-weight champion Zhang Weili will take on former champion Rose Namajunas, while flyweight champion Valentina Schevchenko will face off against Jessica Andrade. In the night’s main event for bettors and sports fans alike, reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will face Jorge Masvidal in a much-anticipated rematch. This will give fans plenty of opportunities for online gambling.
“We had to create a bubble so that athletes wouldn’t end up with COVID and all these fights falling out, but the media was being so crazy about the whole COVID thing you had to make the media feel safe,” UFC president Dana White said in an interview with Yahoo earlier this week.
“In Jacksonville, everything is opening up again, even Vegas is gonna be open June 1st. There’s some things that are gonna be set in place, we’re still gonna have a bubble for the athletes and things like that but as far as the fans, you wear a mask or do not wear a mask. It’s up to you, it’s your decision.” he added.
In addition to the recommended use of masks, other COVID-19 precautions will be in place. Security company CLEAR, known for providing security tech to multiple airports, will be involved in screening fans before the event. Both online and offline screening procedures will be employed, and the on-site crowd will have to fill in a COVID-19 questionnaire before being allowed to enter the premises.
The system will supposedly have clearance to verify COVID-related information but will gather no other medical information on the visitors. Those who do not pass either leg of the screening will not be able to attend the event and their tickets will be fully refunded.