“UFC will be the biggest sport in the world by 2020.” So claimed UFC head honcho Dana White in a column he wrote for the Las Vegas Sun at the end of 2009. If world domination is White’s ultimate goal, the UFC will have to continue conquering the globe one city at a time. Here are five urban locales the UFC will have to breach the walls of if White plans to be crowned king by 2020.
1) New York City
To quote Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, “In old New York, if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” More fitting words have never been sung as the UFC attempts to conquer the city that never sleeps. The UFC has to get itself sanctioned in the Empire State if it plans to hold an event in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Known for hosting some of boxing’s finest bouts, it’s time for the Garden to do the same with MMA.
Canada’s Big Apple equivalent is in the same boat as its southern neighbor—MMA isn’t sanctioned in its home territory.The UFC is working hard to get the sport legalized in Ontario because they know how passionate Canadians are about MMA. Look no further than the events the UFC has already held in Montreal and Vancouver. Capture Toronto and the rest of Canada will fall under the UFC’s spell.
3) Rio de Janeiro
The UFC hasn’t visited Brazil since UFC 17.5 in 1998, an inexcusably long time considering the deep roots MMA has in the country.With the 2016 Summer Olympics coming to Rio de Janeiro, the UFC’s interest in the area has been piqued, and they plan to visit the country sooner, rather than later. With the amount of Brazilian MMA talent present today,the UFC could easily roll out an all-Brazilian card and get the home crowd rocking like its Carnival.
4) Mexico City
North America’s largest city is another market that the UFC has shown interest in conquering lately. The passionate Latino and Spanish populations are pretty much the only thing keeping boxing alive today, so MMA should bean easy sell there. With a strong contingent of UFC fighters proudly boasting their Mexican heritage, now is as good a time as ever to invade Mexico. Put Cain Velasquez in the main event and watch the fans go wild.
What fan or fighter in their right mind would balk at a road trip to Hawaii? The UFC has discussed visiting Hawaii’s capital city before, with the idea that the event would beheld at the outdoor Aloha Stadium. Sure, filling a huge football stadium might be a daunting task, but having the pride of Hilo, BJ Penn,on the card would help put people in the seats.