Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a fight like no other. Not only are the opponents (aka Money and Pac-Man) larger than life, but the hype leading up to the main event has exceeded anything we can recall.
The global excitement is reaching a crescendo and huge crowds of fight fans and attendees (roughly 150,000 to 200,000) are expected in the city. Add in the Kentucky Derby, the AMA Supercross finals at Sam Boyd Stadium and Cinco de Mayo and it will be a busy weekend in Sin City.
But this is not Vegas’ first time hosting a major event. Each year 250,000 to 350,000 people visit for New Year’s Eve. Major conventions like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and festivals including the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) also pull in hundreds of thousands of attendees annually.
“I do not think it will approach the same level as New Year’s Eve,” said Gary Schofield, deputy chief of the Tourist Safety Division of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “But I do think a significant number of people are coming into Las Vegas to see this and other events.
“We do not foresee major problems and there have been no identifiable threats against these events,” said Schofield.
While Las Vegas law enforcement is used to dealing with large crowds, you may not be. So here are a few things we’ve learned that you’ll want to keep in mind during fight weekend.
No ticket, no admittance
On May 2, if you don’t have a ticket to the main event or a closed-circuit telecast, don’t go to MGM Grand Garden Arena. Period.
“Arena occupancy limits will be strictly enforced at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. If you have no ticket or credential, there’ll be no admittance,” said Tim Jeffery, vice president of security at MGM Grand.
Yes, the Boy Scouts adage applies here too. Make sure you have identification on you at all times and be ready to show it. You’ll also want to have your credit card with you if you’re picking up tickets.
No hanging out
Loitering will be discouraged outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jeffery said this includes in the hotel lobby and The District, which is the area between the casino and arena where the restaurants and shops are located.
MGM Grand has also cancelled all regular shows at the property (like Cirque du Soleil’s “KÁ”) for the night to reduce congestion and to use theaters for closed-circuit viewing parties.
Get there hella early and use the monorail
If you do have a ticket, you’ll want to head over to MGM Grand at least two hours in advance because there will be significant congestion in and around the arena. This means long waits even if you’re valet parking or traveling by taxi. Yeah, you might as well figure valet is going to fill up fast and may close.
Self-parking at MGM Grand is not recommended. Instead Schofield suggested using alternative transportation methods.
“One of the beauties of MGM Grand at this location is the monorail,” said Schofield. “There are places along Las Vegas Boulevard where you can park your vehicle, get on the monorail and come down here. It’s a beautiful system.”
Whatever transport method you choose, avoid waiting until the last minute. If you try to get to MGM Grand 30 to 40 minutes before the fight starts, you won’t make it.
Leave that iPad, GoPro, selfie stick, camera with a telephoto lens and more in your room
You’ll have to go through security checks when you arrive at MGM Grand.
“In terms of attendance at the Grand Garden Arena, patrons at both the weigh-in and main event will be passed through metal detectors,” said Jeffery. “Backpacks and large purses, as is our standard practice, will be prohibited.”
Here’s a complete list of items that are not allowed:
• Large purses or bags
• Professional-grade cameras
• Cameras with detachable or telephoto lenses
• Audio recording devices
• Video recording devices
• Selfie sticks
After the event, exit at your designated spot
As with each Grand Garden event, exit doors are open and available for use. At the conclusion of the weigh-in and fight, ushers and signage will direct you to the exits nearest your seats.
Extra buses and taxis on the road
MGM Grand and LVMPD have been working with the Regional Transportation Commission and Taxicab Authority so that additional buses and taxis will be available to prevent an overflow of people waiting to leave the arena.
All of the above measures are meant to improve comfort and safety. Plus, Schofield said that you’ll see a heavy presence of police officers and other law enforcement out on fight night.
“We are deploying additional officers up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, both in plain clothes and in uniform,” said Schofield. “We’re working with the Henderson Police Department and North Las Vegas Police Department, who are graciously extending some assistance to us. From the Nevada Highway Patrol to the Department of Homeland Security, F.B.I. and U.S. Customs and Border Protection…I’m probably missing some…but every major law enforcement entity is pulling together to make sure this is a safe and secure event for everyone who shows up in Vegas and watches this fight.”
Fight night featuring the showdown between Mayweather and Pacquiao begins at 6 p.m. on May 2, with the weigh-in taking place at noon on May 1. Both events are being held in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. For more information on these and other fight week events, visit MGM Grand’s website.