Dana White, UFC Considering Texas Cities for Upcoming Events

By Jay Pettry Mar 4, 2021

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 259 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

If the Ultimate Fighting Championship has its way, fans will be back en masse at events in the very near future.

At the UFC 259 pre-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White spoke to media about a myriad of topics including some upcoming events. Texas Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the mask mandate for COVID-19 on Monday, while opening up venues to 100-percent capacity. Effective March 10, all Texas businesses will be allowed to re-open to full capacity, and Abbott has stripped the local government from re-imposing a mask mandate. The businesses will be allowed to limit their own capacities based on their own internal policies.

This new development has the UFC head chomping at the bit to put on fight cards in front of large audiences again. White vowed that he would not stage events unless a full crowd was able to attend, although a limited number of fans were in the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the last few “Fight Island” shows.

“As soon as the governor of Texas said that, I called,” White stated. “Dallas said no. I’m working on Houston, so we’ll see if we can get Houston done. I want to go to Texas ASAP, I’ll go in the next two, three weeks. I’m ready to roll. We’ll be first, we’ll open this thing out, we’ll sell out and be on our way.”

ESPN asked a follow-up about the looming UFC 260 card that will take place on March 27, querying if the promotion was considering shifting the event from UFC Apex in Las Vegas to a city in Texas.

“Could be,” White said with a smirk. “We’ll see. I’m ready to go. I’d move [UFC 259] if we could. I told everybody, ‘when this opened up, that I would be first, and we would go first.’ And we will.”

Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya remarked about the potential for a whole event to move on short notice, referencing the UFC 232 debacle from 2018.

“If I recall, they’ve moved a show before on like three days’ notice,” Adesanya quipped. “From Vegas to [Los Angeles]. I wonder why.”

At UFC 232, the returning Jon Jones was set to vie for the vacant light heavyweight throne against rival Alexander Gustafsson. Prior to the event, Jones tested positive for miniscule amounts of turinabol in his system, prompting the Nevada State Athletic Commission to close the door on allowing Jones to compete without an investigation. The UFC opted instead of losing the fight to relocate it days before the card to The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Adesanya appeared delighted to throw a sly jab at potential future adversary Jones, even miming a rimshot gesture after saying his piece.

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