Oklahoma officials are reportedly looking to bring combat sports to The Sooner State as a way to boost revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that word coming from the state of Oklahoma is that Governor Kevin Stitt is trying to bring pro wrestling, MMA and boxing in as a way to generate revenue. However, the only way to generate revenue from these events is with live attendance and people traveling for the shows.
It was speculated that the idea may be from the political perspective of there being far less scrutiny on bringing in sports that the media really won’t care about, and sports that have no unions, so there won’t be the same level of outside pressure on safety standards. The idea is that the first states that open up their arenas to fans will be able to draw promoters to run shows before the rest of the country opens up from the COVID-19 shutdowns.
The idea behind a lack of media coverage isn’t a guarantee as Florida Governor DeSantis was all over the mainstream media when WWE and AEW were allowed to continue operating due to DeSantis deeming them essential businesses during the pandemic. The order from DeSantis stated that all sports leagues with national audiences would be essential, and allowed to operate under strict guidelines, but most of the media didn’t report it like that. Most of the headlines were about DeSantis deeming professional wrestling to be essential during a pandemic, specifically WWE.
As noted earlier at this link, WWE and AEW, and other sports leagues, could be allowed to have some fans at their events in the state of Florida in the next few weeks. That has not been confirmed, but it’s a possibility under new guidelines issued by the “Re-Open Florida Task Force” for their three-phase plan to get The Sunshine State back open.
Regarding the interest from Oklahoma, The Observer pointed to potential issues from the flip-side – the earlier things open back up, the riskier they will be, and the rush to avoid listening to doctors and scientists for short-term revenue could jeopardize the health of everyone involved, and people they would later come in contact with.
There’s no word yet on if officials from Oklahoma have reached out to AEW or WWE, but it will be interesting to see how serious they are about bringing in-ring action to their state. There’s been a lot recent talk about several states opening back up as the COVID-19 trends change.
Stay tuned for updates.