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UFC returning to Jacksonville, set to host full crowd of 15,000

John Watson, Sports Editor

The UFC is coming back to Jacksonville in spectacular fashion as the city is set to host UFC 261 in front of a fully-packed stadium crowd of 15,000 fans. 

UFC president Dana White took to Twitter on Monday evening to announce that UFC 261 would be coming to Jacksonville’s VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Arena on Saturday, April 24. 

The card is set to be an exciting one with three title fights, including a welterweight title fight between champ Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, a flyweight title fight between champ Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade and a strawweight title fight between champ Zhang Weili and ex-champ Rose Namajunas.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, questions are being raised about whether this is the best time to resume full capacity sporting events. White has recently said that when the UFC is given the green light to host fans, they will go ahead with live events. 

The UFC has recently been allowing a limited number of fans to their events in “fight island” in Abu Dhabi. These fans were tested for COVID-19 prior to the fight.

While there is no further information on the safety protocols that will be put in place for the event, this is set to be the first large-scale full capacity sporting event in the U.S. since the pandemic impacted the sports world a year ago.

White had previously tried to host UFC 260 in Texas amid their ease on restrictions, but was met with local Texas mayors being against his plans and decided to move it elsewhere. 

With Dana White’s ambitious plans for bringing fans back to sports, Jacksonville is set to be front and center for the world to see.

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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