UFC 261 Sells Out Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville in Minutes

By Jay Pettry Mar 26, 2021

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship had no issues filling its first arena back with full fan capacity.

UFC President Dana White celebrated on Twitter on Friday that the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., has completely sold out. The venue in Florida’s most populous city holds 15,000 fans, and UFC 261 is being allowed 100 percent capacity for the card. Per White, the ticket sales broke the record for the highest gross in the arena’s history, while clocking in as one of the quickest sellouts in UFC history.

The promotion headed to this arena back in 2020 after the cancellation of several cards that March and April. Although no fans were in the building, the UFC staged three events including UFC 259, UFC Fight Night 171 and UFC on ESPN 8. These shows were the first ones back after the break, thanks to the lax Florida restrictions relative to other states and their respective commissions. While the UFC considered Florida for earlier shows, it turned its gaze to California and the Tachi Palace before the state and the broadcast partner’s parent company nixed the potential cards. The coronavirus pandemic is not yet over, as vaccinations increase but spikes are still prevalent in the Sunshine State.

MMA Mania posted a screenshot of the Assumption of Risk waiver that fans are required to sign in order to purchase tickets. Even though the provision is standard as far as live events go during the pandemic, the specific language drew ire from MMA fans.

"The Holder fully understands and agrees that...attendance at [UFC 261] may lead to exposure to COVID-19 and that contraction of COVID-19 may result in severe and permanent damage to the health of the Holder and/or others, including, but not limited to, death, fever, weight loss, irreversible pulmonary, respiratory and/or neurological system damage, loss of taste or smell, mental or emotional distress, temporary or permanent disability, loss of income, loss of employment, loss of financial or other opportunities, medical expenses, which may or may not be covered by insurance, cleaning expenses, mandatory self-quarantine..."

The blockbuster UFC 261 event takes place on April 21, in front of a packed house at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. There, fans will be treated to a trio of championship affairs, first at strawweight between Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas. The focus on gold then shifts to the flyweight division, when Valentina Shevchenko puts her crown up for grabs against Jessica Andrade. The evening will be capped off by a rematch and grudge match between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal at welterweight. The main card will be bolstered by a pair of top-10 matchups as Chris Weidman rematches Uriah Hall at middleweight while Anthony Smith comes to blows with Jimmy Crute at light heavyweight.

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