The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts promotion will return to Australia later this year after striking a deal to stage three pay-per-view (PPV) events in Sydney over the next four years.
The deal, struck with the New South Wales state government, begins with the UFC 293 on September 10 and will see two more events hosted by the city between 2023 and 2027.
Sydney has previously staged five UFC events – the most of any Australian city – but has not hosted since November 2017.
NSW premier Chris Minns said: “It’s about time that we have a major UFC event back in Sydney, so local fans can watch our homegrown talent.
“This is a big win for UFC fans and the state’s economy. Thousands of people will fly into our state to see the biggest UFC events in Sydney in more than a decade.”
UFC 293 will be the second UFC event staged in Australia this year, with Perth having sold out its UFC 284 event in February. Around 68% of the 15,000 fans in attendance reportedly came from other states and overseas.
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Former Australian middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (pictured, left) is slated to headline the UFC 293 if he is able to beat South African Dricus Du Plessis when the pair face off nine weeks earlier at UFC 290 in Las Vegas.
The nation’s top fighters Alex Volkanovski and Tai Tuivasa are also expected to feature in one of the Sydney events.
UFC president Dana White said: “Australians are some of the most passionate fight fans in the world and we know these Sydney events are going to be massive.
“Sydney was the first Australian city to host a UFC PPV, and we are going to bring incredible events every time we come back over the next four years.”
White also announced that, before the Sydney event, the US’ Salt Lake City, Utah, will host UFC 291 on July 29 – the second time the city will have staged a PPV event – while Boston, Massachusetts, will host its first PPV event since 2019 with UFC 292 on August 2019.
In April, UFC’s parent company Endeavor announced a deal to form a publicly listed company alongside the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion.
The deal gave an enterprise value of $12.1 billion to the UFC and a value of $9.3 billion to WWE. Combined, the two will create a sports entertainment heavyweight with a value of $21.4 billion.
Yesterday (May 17), Endeavor announced the new combined company will be called TKO Group Holdings in reference to the professional fighting term 'technical knockout'.
Image: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images