Nevada was one of the hardest-hit states from the pandemic’s economic fallout, as its entertainment and tourism-driven economy was shuttered for two months.
But that’s all changing, particularly for Las Vegas, as the state’s athletic commission has sanctioned two UFC events and two Top Rank boxing shows in the city over the next two weeks, and many casinos on the Strip and downtown confirmed reopening dates that have been approved by the governor.
The decisions will likely jump start a city that has been on lockdown since March 14, throwing thousands of service workers and others out of a job.
First up is a UFC match this Saturday night without fans in attendance at the UFC Apex Arena. That will be followed by a UFC 250 pay-per-view show on June 6 at the same venue.
In addition, Top Rank boxing is expected to hold matches at the MGM Grand on June 9 and June 11.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said Tuesday night that sporting events and casinos could reopen if they followed strict social distancing and other health protocols. These include temperature checks, masks, frequent sanitizing, handwashing stations, social distancing, frequent changing of card decks and chips, and limits on slot seating and table games spacing.
UFC President Dana White was a particular advocate for staging matches during the lockdown. He staged three shows in Jacksonville, Florida, earlier this month after several locations fell through in states other than Nevada.