Bob Arum opens up on plans for Top Rank events, outlines strategy for accredited media
While fans will have to wait to attend fight cards until further notice, journalists of the sweet science are in good hands.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who recently revealed that his promotional company will host four-fight cards roughly two to three times a week on ESPN beginning in early June, told The Ring on Monday evening that a decision has been set in stone on how to handle accredited media.
“We’re going to set up a separate room adjacent to the arena,” Arum said. “They can sit and watch the events on television along with parents of the fighters, girlfriends, that kind of thing.”
Arum told ESPN last week that hosting the first few events in Nevada, where his company headquarters is located, made the most sense from a logistical perspective.
Arum also implied that only a select number of journalists would be permitted to attend the bouts, which was expected as a result of regulations imposed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged much of the world economy.
“We will not overtax that room,” Arum assured.
Sisolak issued a stay-at-home order on March 20, which included bans on large public gatherings, and nonessential enterprises. His “Nevada United Roadmap to Recovery” plan, which went into effect on Saturday, still includes social distancing guidelines and restrictions on public gatherings.
“The only people that will be in that room will be people necessary for the fight production, including the commission, media, the officials, the inspectors, the camera people, the fighters, and their respective corners.”
But even without the roar of the crowd, Arum asseverated that we can expect high-quality action inside the ring.
“There will be excellent fights,” he continued. “We had some fights in March and April that we will try to replicate.”
But Arum also hinted at potential trouble trying to get international fighters to leave their respective countries for at least the first couple of cards.
“Sometimes we’re stymied because there are fighters that are not in the United States,” he added. “It can be tough to get them in.”
This particular conflict has already impacted the UFC. Unified lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov refused to fight at UFC 249, choosing to remain in quarantine in his native Russia, and accused officials of trying to pressure him into making an unsafe decision to travel amidst a global pandemic.
Arum added on his stable: “(A majority) of our fighters are up and ready to go.”
Top Rank will announce a slate of the first three or four shows by the end of the week, which will include a slew of championship fights.