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Tickets Available For Jacksonville’s 1st Full-Capacity Arena Event Since Start Of Pandemic

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BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena

Presale tickets went on sale Thursday for an April 24 Ultimate Fighting Championship event that’s scheduled to be the first large-scale full-capacity sporting event planned in Jacksonville since the pandemic began. 

The event goes against current CDC guidelines, which advise against attending large gatherings where social distancing is not possible. 

The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena can hold up to 15,000 people.  

The event will take place in the weeks after April 5, the date at which people over the age of 18 become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest eligibility guidelines from Gov. Ron DeSantis

Still, not everyone will have been fully vaccinated by April 24, and the CDC warns that it can take up to a few weeks after vaccination for the body to be fully protected. 

UFC President Dana White announced the event on Twitter, saying, “You know I’m bringing an incredible card.” And Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has welcomed the event, saying he and Gov. Ron DeSantis will show that Florida can safely host large-scale sporting events.

In most other sports, in-person attendance remains limited. Most NBA games are held at 10 to 25% capacity. In Major League Baseball, where outdoor seating at many of the ballparks makes the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus somewhat smaller, capacity ranges from 10% to 67%. The exception is the Texas Rangers, who plan to seat at 100% capacity. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced earlier this month they expect to return to full capacity this season at TIAA Bank Field.

WJCT news partner The Florida Times-Union reports the UFC has not held a full-capacity event since the pandemic began; its May 2020 fights in Jacksonville were held in an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.