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UFC Planning November 2015 Stadium Show in Melbourne, In Anticipation of Victoria’s Cage Ban Being Lifted

(Tom Wright — aka, “Downunda Dana” — and some of his mates. / Photo via Getty)

Since 2008, MMA competition in the Australian state of Victoria has been hamstrung by a ban on the use of cages for combat sports; mixed martial arts isn’t outlawed there altogether, but it has to be done in a ring. As a result, the UFC has avoided Melbourne — Victoria’s capital and the second-most populous city in Australia — in its various trips to the country. Four of the UFC’s Australian events have been held in Sydney, New South Wales (including the last one, which was friggin’ bonkers), with two others taking place in the state of Queensland.

But the political sands have shifted recently, and with the pro-MMA Labor party coming into power, it’s expected that the cage-ban will be lifted in the near future. The UFC plans to celebrate by hosting a giant-size event at Etihad Stadium in November 2015. From a Daily Telegraph report published earlier today:

UFC president Dana White is ready to give Australia the biggest fight card in its history — convinced he can draw over 50,000 to a world title blockbuster in Melbourne next year.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal champions Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey, even rising star Conor McGregor are all being considered to headline UFC 193 on November 15 at Etihad Stadium.

The massive Pay-Per-View event — which could smash all records currently held by the famed 2006 Anthony Mundine-Danny Green bout — will be announced officially in coming weeks.

But White has already written the event into his company’s 2015 calendar after the Victorian Labor government swept to power over the weekend…

Speaking yesterday, UFC Australia boss Tom Wright confirmed the Victorian election result had guaranteed one, and potentially two, titles would go on the line in Melbourne.

Wright also vowed to deliver an event that is “on par with both the NRL and AFL Grand Finals”.

“We only get one chance to make a first impression,’’ Wright told The Daily Telegraph.

“I remember when we first went into Toronto, Canada, and (UFC owner) Lorenzo Fertita said ‘this is going to be our Super Bowl’.

“It’s the same with Melbourne. That will be our mandate.

“It’s why this card has to be headlined with a world title fight. We cannot do an event of this magnitude without putting a belt on the line.”

While Mundine/Green attracted over 30,000 fans to the Sydney Football Stadium, the UFC wants to fill Etihad Stadium for a card that has one — and potentially two — belts up for grabs.

While the Octagon remains banned in Western Australia, Wright said the UFC would also be using the Melbourne blockbuster to show critics exactly what both the company, and the sport of MMA, is really about.

“Our statement would be: judge us by what we do, not be who you think we are,” Wright said. “We want to showcase our fighters as athletes. Show people how serious we are about athlete safety.

“We want to give Australian fight fans the ultimate sports experience”…

Apart from a championship bout, the main card is also likely to include Sydney heavyweight Mark Hunt, currently ranked No. 5, and adopted Aussie welterweight Hector Lombard, ranked sixth in his division.

By the end of next year, White will also be hoping rising star Jake Matthews, a Melbourne boy, is possibly ready for a place on the main card.

In celebration of this major news, let’s all watch that scene from Crocodile Dundee with Linda Kozlowski’s ass.

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