The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is targeting a record attendance for a single event after announcing a major new show in Melbourne, Australia.
The city’s Etihad Stadium will play host to UFC 193: Lawler vs. Condit on Sunday, November 15. The retractable-roofed venue has a seating capacity of around 53,500, but UFC president Dana White said the mixed martial arts series is looking at a capacity of 70,000 for its show. That would surpass the near-56,000 attendance for a 2011 event at Rogers Centre in Toronto, which remains the promotion’s biggest gate.
Since 2010, the UFC has hosted seven live events in Australia, attracting more than 85,000 fans in Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Adelaide. The Melbourne event will be its first in Victoria, with the state passing regulations earlier this year to allow fights to take place in cages as well as rings.
“Finally the UFC is coming to Melbourne in what will be the biggest UFC event ever,” White said. “There’s been a lot of talk about Melbourne, title fights and stadium shows. The UFC is doing all three at the Etihad Stadium in front of 70,000 people. Australia has been an amazing market for the UFC.”
In an Australian first, a UFC championship belt will go on the line in the main event with welterweight champion Robbie Lawler slated to defend his title against former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit.
In the co-main event, Australian’s Mark Hunt will meet Brazil’s Antonio Silva in a heavyweight contest.