Ron DeSantis welcomes ‘full-throttle’ UFC to Jacksonville
Image via EOG.

DeSantis UFC
"Welcome to Florida. You guys aren't the only one looking to come to this oasis of freedom," DeSantis said.

Jacksonville will host a full-occupancy mask-optional UFC event Saturday night, putting to test the efficacy of vaccinations and herd immunity.

The city held an empty arena event last May at the height of the pandemic. This one will be inside a full house, with roughly 15,000 tickets sold out well in advance, putting to rest the old concerns that Jacksonville is just a walkup town.

But this is not just any fight event.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who urged UFC after the 2020 event to “let’s have fans next time,” went into Fox News raconteur mode as he recounted the tale of UFC bringing “live competition” to Jacksonville.

“We didn’t have the big fans for it yet. I told (UFC President) Dana (White), listen, when you guys are ready to come, you know, have the crowd, Florida needs to be the first place to do UFC with the fans,” DeSantis said in what were likely unscripted remarks

The Governor added that people could “make decisions for themselves” about whether to attend the “first full-throttle arena sporting event since COVID hit.”

“There’s a lot of stuff that comes flying at you, particularly from media, social media, all this stuff. Some people don’t like to handle that. Dana White goes right in the teeth of that,” DeSantis said.

“Welcome to Florida. You guys aren’t the only one looking to come to this oasis of freedom,” DeSantis said.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, whose city embraced fighting sports throughout the pandemic with All Elite Wrestling homesteading at Daily’s Place, was no less enthusiastic than the Governor in his brief remarks, lauding White for having delivered live action fights after the empty-arena match.

White likewise lauded Curry and DeSantis.

“They were key to everything,” he said.

The card is stacked. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman faces Jorge Masvidal in the main. Masvidal is known for his political activism, including campaigning for Donald Trump last year. Strawweight champion Weili Zhang and Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko are also slated to defend their titles.

There will be COVID-19 screenings also, though these stop short of the DeSantis-disapproved “vaccine passport.”

“To ensure an expedited entry into the event, ticket holders are encouraged to download Health Pass in advance and complete the questionnaire before arriving at the arena,” advises a press release.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    April 22, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Interesting how nobody’s talking about how ASM, the mngt company of city owned Vystar Veteran Memorial Coliseum, is violating their own masking and social distancing rules to put on this indoor event. Instead AG goes for the low hanging fruit with inane quotes from mouthbreathers like DuhSantis and Dana White. At least we now know why Lenny lifted the local mask mandate just in time for this superspreader event. He has covid fatigue. I just wish covid was tired of us…smh.

    • Mike Green

      April 23, 2021 at 8:48 am

      So everybody that disagrees with your take is a mouthbreather? You wish Covid was tired of “us”? Who is us? The cretins like you who think that the human immune system doesn’t exist? The genetically deficient morons such as yourself that think that you can regulate the lives on genetically strong and immune people like the rest of us. Sorry, we are tired of the rules being made for the lowest common denominator. Every now and then Mother Nature has to clean house, if you are part of the disinfection, so sad, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us need to shut our lives down for the few of you. If that upsets you, that makes my day.

      • mark mcclelland

        April 23, 2021 at 9:33 am

        That’s speaking truth to the crybabies. I agree 100% with you.

  • Stephenlmaloy

    April 23, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Our Governor only cares for a “select” group. I hope and pray his attempt at re-election. I was encouraged when he became Governor even though im not republican however a tiger cannot and will not change its stripes. Since Rick Scott, now Ron DeSantis, Florida just the same place I grew up my whole life. Sad sad sad.

    • Mike Green

      April 23, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Did you even proofread this before you hit post? Is there a complete thought in there,,, anywhere? I would have known you were a Democrat just by reading it, you never had to say so. I love the first amendment, it’s just too bad that it means drivel like this is going to have to be tolerated. Try harder, maybe.

  • Vickie

    April 23, 2021 at 8:56 am

    I LOVE Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. I’m from Michigan so you know why I love him so much.

  • Mikegreenisahero

    April 23, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Mike Green is a hero.

  • stpetejeepermike

    April 23, 2021 at 10:05 am

    When is the science going to prevail over fear mongers and propaganda being blasted 24/7 to pit one side against the other. I was not a fan of the Gov at first, another political bought n paid for by special interest group mouth piece, but… but…

    During the pandemic watching and listening to his actions to side step the mainstream fear mongering. Protecting the elderly and allowing me my freedom. Schools are open in Florida, those kids hang out on the weekends. Thus blows out the social distance theory. If my kids hang out with 5 friends those 5 five friends go back home. Those people go to work. So this entire idea of mask mask mask is out the window. States that are Dem all seem to failing. Reb states seem to be thriving. Quit hating and lets get back to normally. Time to stop political bashing… Political racism is what I call it. Lets GET IT ONE!!!!

  • Steve

    April 23, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Best decision any Governor has ever made. Ron Desantis is the bomb. You don’t give a crap about all this political bull stuff. He’s a man of his word. Great job sir keep it up!!!! Now come on Lenny Curry and get behind your governor!!

Comments are closed.


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