In a major win for combat sports, WWE was deemed essential business by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this week, providing a slew of sports organizations the opportunity to hold events without a live crowd despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That opened the door for WWE to resume holding live shows from the Performance Center in Orlando, and positioned others sports to potentially follow suit.
It was reported that UFC president Dana White is planning a mega event slated for May 9, and while he wouldn’t name a location, it was naturally floated that Florida is now an option. You can also add boxing promoter Bob Arum to the list of people interested in not only bringing fights to Florida, but potentially even holding an event from WWE’s Performance Center itself. Arum, however, isn’t interested in getting events up and running quite so soon.
“We’re very close with Vince [McMahon] and the WWE. So let’s see, but we’re still not talking before June,” Arum said, per ESPN. “You cannot open it and have athletes compete against each other with referees, the judges, with camera people, unless you can ensure that it’s safe, and the only way you can ensure that it’s safe is with testing. It comes down to testing.”
Despite the potential to hold events from WWE’s training grounds, Arum isn’t as keen on holding bigger fights, such as the much-anticipated Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury trilogy bout slated for this summer. That fight has been postponed and yet to be rescheduled, but according to Arum, it likely won’t be contested without an audience.
“Those are either going to have to wait till you have spectators, or if the fighters get antsy, they will have to deal with an adjustment in their purses because you will have cut off an important revenue source from the event,” he said.
When can fans expect to be back in the stands? Arum projects boxing will return with live audiences for the last “three months” of 2020. That’s at least how he’s calculating it for now.