Stadium Shows In UFC's Future?

May 26, 2008

Dana White made comments after UFC 84 about possibly doing a show in Hawaii and put forward the idea of doing a stadium show:

Well the (regulations) won’t be done there till 2009, and when we do, do an outdoor, big stadium, it will definitely be Hawaii.

The ability to do stadium shows would be somewhat limited for the UFC. There are probably only two guys in the UFC that would be able to draw on that level – Georges St Pierre and BJ Penn. Both men are akin to national heroes in their home regions – Penn in Hawaii and St Pierre in Canada – and strong geographic ties are the key to filling up a stadium at this stage of the UFC’s growth. A Chuck Liddell may draw more PPV viewers but he lacks the geographic fan base to fill up a stadium for one of his fights. Even a card loaded with top shelf match-ups would be hard pressed to draw on a stadium level.

Along with the small number of fighters who could plausibly sustain a stadium show, you can count on one hand the number of fights that could be expected to draw on that level. For BJ Penn there only two fights that he could fill up Aloha stadium with – GSP and Matt Hughes. For GSP, only fights with BJ and Anderson Silva could be expected to draw on a level that would fill a venue like Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

If the stadium shows do come off, some adjustment to the payscale would probably be in order for the headliners, GSP and Penn. The fights would have significant gates, generated not off the UFC brand but due to the local fighters mythic status. The agents for Penn and St Pierre would drive a hard bargain before signing on for one of these stadium shows.

One Response to “Stadium Shows In UFC's Future?”

  1. Khaos Network's Fight Blog on January 23rd, 2009 8:43 AM

    […] has been talk on multiple occasions of the UFC putting on stadium shows in the future, but based on the words and actions of UFC brass, those thoughts look to have been sidelined for […]

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