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September 16, 2014

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MGM Resorts says fans to be ushered to ‘underutilized’ exits at Grand Garden Arena

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Steve Marcus

Metro Police cars and ambulances are shown outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena after a crush of fans caused a series of injuries following the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana title fight at the MGM Grand on Saturday night, May 3, 2014.

MGM Resorts International officials have reviewed safety measures at MGM Grand Garden Arena after a crush of spectators led to a scene of panic following the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight May 3. Dozens of fans were injured while leaving the fight after a stampede unfolded at the arena and in the hotel’s District promenade of stores and restaurants.

The hotel’s findings: Fans will be led to heretofore “underutilized” exits on the east and west sides of the concourse, with ushers playing a more prominent role in leading fans out of the venue. Additional signs will be used to inform fans of what options to use while leaving the arena.

“We have undertaken a comprehensive review of our safety and security processes and procedures at MGM Grand Garden Arena to ensure the safest experience possible for our guests. We’ve implemented a number of measures that we believe will ease crowding when exiting the arena,” Clark Dumont, MGM Resorts senior vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement released today. “For example, we will make increased use of signage and ushers to encourage patrons to leave through underutilized exits to decrease congestion at main exits.”

The congestion of spectators leaving the sold-out Mayweather-Maidana bout helped create a dangerous incident at the main entrance and exit of the arena. About 50 spectators leaving the arena, and hotel visitors walking along the District, were injured after a loud bang was heard near the hotel’s food court.

Most thought they heard a gunshot, and the calls to first responders reported a gun being fired. Instead, as Clark County Fire Department officials reported, that sound was of a temporary wall at the Starbucks outlet falling hard to the cement floor. Regardless, panic overtook the crowd, with several fights reported and spectators flooding into shops along the promenade, the front lobby and security office.

Twenty-four people were taken to Las Vegas area hospitals. None of the injuries was reported to be serious. Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel set up a medical triage to treat the injured.

In the days after the incident, a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the employee safety agency would not investigate the events of May 3. In instances of post-event injuries suffered by spectators or personnel, OSHA steps in only if employees are reported to be injured. And in such cases, the employer is only required to report the incident if three or more employees are hospitalized. OSHA received no such report from MGM Grand officials, leaving the formal review in the hands of the resort.

“Safety is always a top priority for us. Our arena staff will continue to work with the county fire marshal's office to identify and ensure best practices are followed,” Dumont said, concluding the company’s statement. “We also will continue to supplement our trained security force with Las Vegas Metro Police, county fire personnel, paramedics and other resources as needed.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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