JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The River City is getting national attention -- mostly not favorable -- after hosting a full capacity UFC event Saturday night with 15,000 fans inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. An article in Rolling Stone reported more than half were from out of state.
That article and other national reporting questioned how safe the event was, noting that masks were not required.
“Only time can tell -- but there is a natural concern about a possible super spreader scenario, with the virus finding its way inside the arena and being shared with multiple — or potentially thousands — of individuals who would then bring it with them back to various spots around the country.” the Rolling Stone article reads.
UFC President Dana White said he has no regrets over holding the event, saying it’s time to get back to normal.
“I don’t think it gets any better than tonight. It couldn’t have a better night than tonight. It was amazing, the crowd was amazing. It felt good to be here. It felt good to have the mayor, the governor, and all of these people working with us to put on a safe event and for people to come out and have fun,” he said.
Fans who attended Saturday were required to sign waivers and fill out health questionnaires.
Mayor Lenny Curry added that if fans who are vaccinated did get COVID-19, it’s likely it would be a mild, non-life-threatening case and that those who were not vaccinated would bear the consequences.
“So, if you are at an event and you are not vaccinated that’s your choice. If you go home to someone not vaccinated that’s their choice. It’s long past time to let people live free,” Curry wrote on Twitter.
Although controversial figures, DeSantis and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry aligned with White’s mentality, and clearly wanted to convey the message that Florida’s a location where the anxieties that exist elsewhere isn’t present.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) April 26, 2021
Via @RollingStone https://t.co/oFJyGota6A
The author noted too from witnessing the nearly seven-hour fight card from inside the venue, there didn’t seem to be any conflict between those who did wear a mask and those who didn’t. Everyone was there to enjoy the show, which ended up being one of the most memorable events in UFC history.
Celebrities were among the 15,000 in the Vystar Memorial Arena, including Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Gardner Minshew, Myles Jack, Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly and Jake Paul.