With the boxing world at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Bob Arum and Top Rank have turned their attention to staging smaller cards that would not involve a live audience.
At this point, the question is where and how.
"What we're doing is looking at facilities, including our gym, where the guys would have to train," said Arum, whose company is in Las Vegas and has its own training venue. "You can't have them in these old gyms because they can pick up the virus that way. But if you clean your gyms and you just let a limited number of people in to train, and then you bring everybody to the location, put them up in a hotel and keep testing them, you can get it done.
"We would sanitize the Top Rank gym, limit the availability to those in the program and bring everybody into Vegas. If the hotels aren't open, rent them a facility to live in and get them ready when we do open up and we do the events with the testing and so forth, whether it's in California, Nevada, Texas or Florida, any of those places. So we're working on all of that, but again, it's a work in progress because we're flying blind."
Earlier this week, Arum had publicly expressed interest in perhaps having fights in Florida, where WWE events were recently deemed "essential" by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who later added that the state is open to hosting any sporting events without fans.
Another option for Top Rank is the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, which opened last summer. It serves as the production facility for the UFC and has the capability of staging fights.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef, who has been in contact with the UFC for more than a month regarding the APEX, noted it will be "jurisdiction first, then venue," when it comes to finding a landing spot for events.
"So we really have to look at what the leadership of those states are going to be doing in terms of opening up and getting back to easing up the 'stay at home' orders and then opening up the states for business, in general," he said.
"So I think you've got to look at the 'hot' states and assume they're not going to be open for a while: New York, New Jersey, possibly California. Some of those hot states will probably take a longer period of time. But once states that are more amenable to hosting events are identified, we hone in on the leadership and the jurisdiction of them, then we can hone in on facilities, specifically."
Arum admits they will be looking at how some of the other sports leagues proceed.
"We don't have the expertise, nobody has expertise to see how this is going to work," he said. "We have to take a lot of cues from entities that are better financed than we are and involved at the cutting edge, like the NBA, the NFL, and they would use our program, almost like a laboratory for them when they do roll out."