Promoter Bob Arum said he is looking into the possibility of scheduling boxing events in Florida this summer, using the WWE's facilities, with Gov. Ron DeSantis having deemed WWE an "essential business" in the state.
DeSantis' decision, outlined in a memo Thursday from the governor's office, freed up the possibility of WWE doing live shows from its training grounds in Orlando and at Full Sail University in Winter Park. It could also open the door for other sports to resume in the state, including boxing and MMA events.
Arum said he will reach out to the WWE.
"It's very, very interesting, and we're going to be in touch with them. There's a possibility to use their facility to maybe do events without a crowd," Arum said Tuesday.
Florida would welcome the business. During his daily news briefing Tuesday, DeSantis said he hasn't received a huge amount of requests but would be open-minded if so.
"I think we do need to support sports and events," he said. "Now, we're not going to have crowds there, I get that. But if NASCAR does a race and can televise it without having large crowds, I think that's a good thing. I'd like to see [Tiger] Woods and [Phil] Mickelson do the golf or whatever, because that's social distance. You wouldn't have a gallery there, you wouldn't have crowds. But to put that on TV, I think people have been starved for content.
"We haven't had a lot of new content since the middle of March. Here we are in the middle of April, and if people are being told to stay closer to the house, it sure does help to have some fresh things to be able to do."
The veteran promoter said he has discussed the possibility with Todd duBoef, the president of Top Rank, and added, "We're very close with Vince [McMahon] and the WWE. So let's see, but we're still not talking before June."
Arum said he believes that when boxing resumes, it will do so initially with events that may not have live audiences.
"But it all depends, the whole reopening of the country, the different states, it all comes down to the same thing -- testing, adequate testing," he said. "You cannot open it and have athletes compete against each other with referees, the judges, with camera people, unless you can ensure that it's safe, and the only way you can ensure that it's safe is with testing. It comes down to testing."
As for the bigger fights, which would be expected to draw significant crowds, Arum said, "Those are either going to have to wait till you have spectators, or if the fighters get antsy, they will have to deal with an adjustment in their purses because you will have cut off an important revenue source from the event.
"For example, [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder, the gate was close to $17 million, and that's from the public buying tickets to the fight," he said. "How do you replace that? Well, if you don't replace it -- then somebody has to eat that."
Fury and Wilder were scheduled to meet for a third time in the summer, but that was tabled along with the rest of the boxing schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's not clear when the fight will be rescheduled and if it would involve a live crowd.
Arum said he believes the fight will take place by the end of 2020.
"I'm very optimistic that we'll be doing events for audiences in the last three months of the year," Arum said. "Do I know for sure? No. But that's in my mind how I'm calculating it."