The UFC was targeting Madison Square Garden to host #UFC268 Usman vs Covington 2 and in the co-main event slot Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje vs Michael Chandler on November 6th. However, I for one see the promotion moving the location.
Earlier this week, New York City officials announced that starting September 3rd to enter a restaurant, gym, movie theater, and yes venues like Madison Square Garden you will be required to have been vaccinated and show proof with your vaccination passport!
With that news being announced, and UFC President Dana White having a strong stance against forcing vaccinations on people as evidenced in this statement:
“I would never tell another human being what to do with their body,If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen. That’s not going to happen here [in the UFC]. If you want to get vaccinated … get vaccinated. If you don’t, that’s your decision, your body.”
I’m of the thought that the UFC will change the venue, and announce a different location in the next few days. 1/2 of that co-main event Michael Chandler said he will not be vaccinated in November. He also stated he’s not against the vaccination, he just won’t get one till it’s 100% approved by the FDA. If the event were to stay in New York, the co-main event would have to change, and I can’t see Dana White allowing any state’s rule to force his hand and change this highly anticipated fight.
I also believe the vaccination passport, will limit the number of fans that will attend the event. Dana White will definitely not go someplace where he will not be able to sell out the venue. Before the announcement about vaccine passports, it was already shaky ground for that event to be held in New York City. Now that New York City has gone off the rails, I don’t see any way possible for this event to be held there, and you know what, that’s okay.
The city is going to lose out on millions of dollars in revenue. Ancillary businesses that count on events being held at MSG are also big losers in this situation, through no fault of their own.
Possible landing sights for UFC 268, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Abu Dhabi. I was going to add Las Vegas, and they could do it at the Apex, but this event needs to be in a big arena, and I believe Las Vegas is going back to mask mandates and things of that nature, in which case the T-Mobile arena there will be dormant on that night.
I think it will be quite sometime before the fans in New York City see live UFC events, and that’s a damn shame for them, the city, the fighters, and the UFC.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.