One of the most iconic brands in all of sports, the UFC, is giving back after this past weeks horrific tragedy. The UFC is a Vegas institution, home to the best mma fighters in the world. After Sunday’s mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Casino, which killed 58 innocent people and injured nearly 500, many speculated that UFC officials would cancel Saturday nights event.
That was not the case. Instead, they announced the show would go on and 1,500 first responders would be given free tickets to UFC 216. This includes police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and hospital staff. UFC president Dana White made the announcement Friday, speaking with Aaron Bronsteter from TSN. White has also offered comped tickets to any shooting victims that want to attend the fight.
Officials, as you can expect, are a bit nervous about hosting the event so close to the horrific shooting. Dana White admitted he’s not sure about Saturday’s turnout. White said, “I have never been in a position where I do not even know how many people are going to show up here tomorrow. People bought tickets, but were flying in from other places. Did they cancel their flight? A lot of these airlines are saying you can use the ticket anytime you want if you don’t want to come to Vegas.
White then got a little nervous and said, “It might just be me, the media and 1,500 first responders here tomorrow. And I don’t care. This isn’t an event about the gate or about any of that stuff. This is about the families, the victims, Las Vegas, and not bowing down to cowards.”
The world’s preeminent fight organization also pledged to donate $1 million to victims of Sunday’s tragedy. Saturday’s entire fight will be dedicated to Las Vegas and the victims of the shooting. The company also released a line of “Vegas Strong” T-shirts, and plans on donating all of the proceeds to the shooting victims and their families.
Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will headline Saturday’s card in a lightweight interim title fight. Also on the card are flyweight fighters Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg. Heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Derrick Lewis will throw down in a much anticipated fight, that most likely will not go the distance.
For all you pure MMA fans, get out there and support UFC 216 and buy the event. If you can’t do that, then buy a “Vegas Strong” T-shirt and support the victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting.