Eyeing world domination for MMA, the UFC is planning a trip to Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Hearld, the UFC has requested a February date at the Acer Arena in Sydney Olympic Park. Although not new to the land down under, it would mark the first appearance for the premier MMA organization.
In the article, the newspaper started by using the old verbiage of “human cockfighting” to describe the sport and interviewed a neurologist to warn of the dangers the “US-style cage fighting” will bring to the streets of Sydney.
Interviewing health “experts”, the piece quoted Professor Rob White from the University of Tasmania, stating, “This is the last thing we need to be importing. UFC may have an even bigger impact than other forms of violence because it is a blood sport where we make heroes out of people who bash each other.”
A neurologist from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne added, “It’s madness…”As in boxing, the nature of sport means that brain injury is inevitable and this cage fighting may be worse, with people allowed to hit somebody while on the ground.”
Even with the negative stance taken by the newpaper it appears the UFC is close to finalizing the deal. They have already formally requested the venue through legal representatives seeking permission from Australia’s Combat Sports Authority. UFC U.K. President Marshall Zelaznik confirmed the UFC would be coming to Australia. “It’s going to happen, we’re coming,” he said. “Planning is in effect, we’ve had a number of strategy meetings and we are on the verge of retaining some key partners in Australia.”
Adding a bit of sanity to the article Zelaznik included, “There are strict safety measures to protect the fighters. There’s no denying it’s a combat sport and it may not be for everybody but there’s some sports that I’m not totally keen on, like lawn bowling.”
Although nothing is official yet, it seems the UFC has its work cut out for them hosting an event by February 2010. With events already held in other countries such as, England and Ireland, this would be a huge step for the UFC and MMA as a whole.