Will the UFC break records at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium?

The UFC has laid down a statement of intent for its future in Australia with UFC 193 and a stellar lineup featuring undefeated UFC Women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey against Holly Holm, an undefeated contender herself. Not only this, but also on the main card is a heavyweight rematch between Mark Hunt and Anonio Silva, plus a face-off between Michael Bisping and Robert Whittaker at middleweight. UFC 193 is slated for November 15 at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. However, perhaps the most surprising aspect of the event announcement was the venue; Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium aka Docklands stadium, this being a venue with a capacity of well over 50,000. Furthermore, UFC President Dana White took to social media to state that UFC 193 will break the all-time attendance record for an MMA event, as previously set by UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields which drew 55,724 to the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. It’s one thing for the UFC to hold an event of extreme magnitude in a more familiar places such as the USA, Canada, or even Brazil, where the organization’s presence has been well solidified; but what would it really mean for the UFC to break its attendance record in Melbourne? The Etihad Stadium has played host to all of Australia’s biggest mainstream sports, including Rugby, Australian rules football, and cricket. The attendance required in order for a record breaking UFC crowd would smash that of both the AFL and ODI cricket. The arena’s biggest attendance for a sports event to date was the Rugby Union game, Australia vs. The British and Irish Lions which drew 56,771 in 2013. It would be hugely significant for the UFC to match or even surpass these figures outside of the Americas, and the achievement would set the promotion as a confirmed superpower among international sporting organizations. Joe Minehan, President of International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (MMAFA), commented on the event announcement and told IMMAF that even he was surprised, but excited and proud of the opportunity that has been given to the Australian sports community. “I was very pleased and excited to hear of UFC 193 in Melbourne,” he explained. “I am proud that the UFC has the confidence to bring this huge sporting event “down under”. I am confident that we will support the UFC and the athletes by turning up to enjoy this elite event.” Minehan highlighted that of all the places to attempt a record breaking crowd, Melbourne is the perfect location as one of the most “sport mad” regions of Australia. “Etihad Stadium was a little surprising, but shows exactly how much confidence the UFC has in the people of Melbourne and Australia. I was expecting a large indoor stadium, but I am thrilled with the potential of 50,000 fans enjoying the spectacle. Being a Queenslander, it hurts me to admit that the Melbourne population is more sport mad than us. They absolutely love all forms of sport and I believe they will take the opportunity presented by the UFC to witness this event. This will give a great base of spectators, but I am sure fans will travel from around Australia to grab a seat.” Over the coming days IMMAF will bring you more from IMMAFA’s Joe Minehan, as he discusses other aspects of UFC 193 and the development of MMA in Australia.   [/spb_text_block]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *