On Saturday Jan. 16, 2021, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns for the first time in the New Year with a morning/afternoon full of fights from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Officially dubbed “UFC on ABC: Holloway vs. Kattar,” it will continue the Twitter trend of being labeled #UFCFightIsland7. After that, we’ll have another early start with “UFC on ESPN: Chiesa vs. Magny,” a.k.a. #UFCFightIsland8, and then UFC 257: “McGregor vs. Poirier 2” wraps up January’s return to “Fight Island.”
While the location on everything past that is still officially marked as “to be determined,” it seems like UFC’s current hope is to continue jumping back-and-forth between Abu Dhabi and UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, as each month goes by. Care of USA Today’s Nolan King, we have word that UFC has officially filed the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) paperwork for all of February’s cards:
Feb. 14, 2021, will feature UFC 258, while Feb. 6, 20, and 27 will be undetermined UFC Fight Nights. Those suffering from mixed martial arts (MMA) withdrawal will be happy to know that’s one weekend off after the UFC 257 PPV and then eight straight weeks of UFC cards every Saturday from Feb. 6 to March 27, 2021.
If coronavirus doesn’t mess things up ...
While the pandemic has taken a backseat in the news over the past couple of days, things continue to get worse numbers-wise across the United States. Nevada’s neighbor, California, is looking particularly bad with Los Angeles County hitting the tipping point where hospitals begin to triage care as beds and ventilators run out.
Nevada is nowhere near as bad, with its ICU currently 73 percent full and ventilators at 45 percent usage. Hospitalization numbers are actually down over the past few days, which is good. But a 21 percent test positivity rate is not. The morgues are already overflowing with bodies, even with all the refrigerated trucks brought in to deal with overflow.
I’m not an epidemiologist and I’m not pretending to be. But the simple math is this: if hospitals run out of beds and ventilators, all of a sudden everyone having a life threatening stroke or injury is at risk of dying because there’s no way to care for them. COVID-19 patients start getting triaged, which kicks the death rate way up. It’s only getting uglier in L.A., and once Nevada sees its hospital vacancy start to go that direction, that’s when the really serious lockdown procedures go into place.
Where will Nevada be come February? It’s a question worth wondering as UFC comes into 2021. Knowing Dana White, we imagine he’s got contingencies in place to keep events going on “Fight Island” should Nevada decide to pull the plug on sporting events in the state.
Let’s hope things don’t get bad enough that he has to pull that trigger ...