With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) scheduled to make their New York City return this fall, the company is looking to expand their possible host venues for future events.
UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta recently spoke to Newsday, revealing that the company has their sights set beyond NYC’s two major venues as potential sites for UFC shows.
“There’s a bunch of other venues we want to go to,” said Fertitta. “We want to go to Barclays, we’ve had discussions with Yankee Stadium to do something next summer there.”
A spokesperson for the Yankees told Newsday that the team is “planning to meet” with UFC about holding an event in the future but have not held any talks or meetings at this point. As Jonathan Bradley of FOX Sports mentioned, hosting an event at Yankee Stadium has the potential to crush UFC’s current attendance record.
The stadium’s seating capacity is 54,251 and with seats added on the grass, the organization could easily eclipse UFC 193‘s attendance record (56,214) if an event is held at Yankee Stadium next summer.
The New York Mets’ home venue, Citi Field, hosted a professional wrestling event last summer — The Legends of Wrestling. A smaller-scale independent wrestling promotion was able to draw 10,000 fans in a 41,922-seat stadium (via Wrestlezone). Therefore, a promotion such as UFC, with their popularity, hosting a major event with world-renowned fighters can set all kinds of records.
After not being legal in NYC since 1997, mixed martial arts (MMA) was reinstated after the New York State Assembly voted (113-25) in the capital of Albany to legalize the sport on March 22, per MMA Fighting.
On November 12, the company will host UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. There are currently no scheduled bouts for the card but the presence of several fighters based out of New York figures to make the event one of the biggest shows in the history of the UFC, if not the biggest.
Fighters such as Jon “Bones” Jones (Rochester), Chris Weidman (Long Island), and veteran Rashad Evans (Niagara Falls) all hail from New York and figure to be a part of the show. Superstars such as Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and other incumbents figure to be major draws for the MSG card this fall.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, after signing the bill to legalize the sport himself, added that he’d love to see Rousey and Weidman on the card, saying that would make it a “hell of an event.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 14, 2016
Another possibility for the show at MSG is former WWE superstar and fighter-in-training Phil “CM Punk” Brooks making his debut. Brooks previously indicated that he wanted to make his debut at the historic UFC 200 on July 9. However, back surgery derailed those hopes and put off his debut.
If things went Brooks’ way, he will be on the MSG card and it will not be his debut with the company either. However, scheduled to face Mickey Gall in his first fight, Brooks spoke to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting in late-March and spoke about his future with UFC.
“In my mind, that card at the (Madison Square) Garden would be a nice second fight. But, I don’t know how realistic that is because, again, I don’t want to say things people are going to take to heart. And it’s always the people that say they don’t want to watch me fight. It’s very strange.”
Fertitta previously mentioned UFC’s desire to host at least four New York events per year within the first three years of legalization.
“All of those venues all supported us, actually every venue throughout the state has been in support.”
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