When the restrictions on sporting events in Florida were eased up back in March to let World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) continue their shows, some thought others would flock down to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, to produce combat sporting events. Some have hinted as much, as well. While UFC went ahead and has taken advantage of this, as we head into the middle of May, no one else in the world of boxing or MMA has.
Sure, if you check the BoxRec or the Florida State Athletic Commission Event Calendar, you’ll see dates lined up. While the ones for UFC are ready to go and are taking place this week, the others are currently looking like placeholders that haven’t had a chance to be crossed off the board like yesterday.
This is the reason for the boxing card on June 5th from BAD Promotions, which is the local promotion card handled by Blake “BAD” Davis. I reached out for an update on the card, as he was supposed to be in action against someone to be determined and have gotten no response as of the writing.
That may be because the location where the fight card of Gulfstream Park, like most gambling parlors in the state, is still closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Much like the area of Miami-Dade portion of the state, they are still in the works of opening non-essential businesses. That part of the state will be playing catchup as much as three weeks to the rest. The other dates listed were place holder dates from TS-1 Promotions, who hold mixed martial arts events that just haven’t been scrapped.
Why? The reason is simple for all of this: uncertainty.
Speaking with the Florida State Athletic Commission this morning, no one has set up anything down the line in terms of boxing in Florida. As there is a process to getting permits and judges set up for the events, they usually have to give notice ahead of time for preparation for these events. Add on top of that, the new pandemic testing requirements and, of course, the prospects of fighting with no fans to attend these events due to social distancing guidelines, not too many are going to flock to sign up either.
Christy Martin Promotions put out a fight poster for a fight card to be held in July over a month ago and was still offering prices for seating in St. Augustine, Florida. I don’t think you’ll be able to get that ringside seat at the pace this is going, however, being realistic.
We heard that Top Rank Boxing was supposed to be hosting cards in June in Florida, but what happened to that? We’ll Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, speaking on “At The Fights” on SiriusXM, recently laid out the plans, and currently doesn’t involve Top Rank and the Sunshine State.
“We have contacted most of our fighters,” Arum said on SiriusXM. “We plan to launch the first week in June in a safe, secure way. We’re going to initially launch in Nevada. We’ve made arrangements or are making arrangements with a hotel. We can get everybody tested, put them in a bubble and get these fights on. And unfortunately, because a lot of it requires so much extra work and care and testing that we’re going to limit our fight shows to four fights a card. But that’s the bad side.
Arum stated these would be ‘high-caliber’ fights making the media rounds and with only four of them a card does play into him having fights as much as 3 to 4 times a week given the stable of fighters.
As for shows taking place here, much like everything else during this pandemic, it’s wait and see.