New Orleans Arena. Photo courtesy of NewOrleansArena.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is reportedly extending its scope to the states of Utah, where they have never held a show before, and Louisana, where the UFC held six shows between 1998 and 2002.
According to the Shreveport Times, the UFC is currently in talks with Alvin Topham, chairman of the Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission, regarding the possibility of holding a show at the New Orleans Arena later this year, likely in the summer:
“Louisiana and New Orleans is on our radar,” UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner told The Times on Thursday from “rainy” Ireland, where UFC 93 takes place Saturday. “We’ve already had a couple of different dates, but had conflicts. We’ll keep looking and find a date that works for everyone.”
“We like to go to places we haven’t been for a long time,” Ratner said. “We have good pay-per-view numbers and TV ratings in Louisiana. We’re very bullish and confident we would have a good crowd.”
The UFC last came to Louisiana for UFC 37 in 2002. The show, which took place at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana drew a crowd of 7,200 and featured a main event of then-UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante successfully defending his title against Matt Lindland.
Meanwhile, The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that the UFC has been in contact with the Utah Athletic Commission in hopes of putting on a smaller-size show in the Salt Lake City area, possibly a UFC Fight Night or WEC event, in the near future:
We have a big fandom in Utah and I’d like to do some kind of show there,” said Marc Ratner, UFC vice president of regulatory affairs. “I can tell from the television ratings that there’s a lot of interest. They watch our Spike [cable TV network] shows. Pay-per-view numbers, percentage wise, are very good there. And Salt Lake’s a great sports town.”
Bill Colbert, secretary for the Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission, said the UFC has discussed a Utah event with the commission but has not filed for a promoter’s license in the state.
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