Melbourne, Australia – The UFC on Tuesday applauded the State of Victoria Labor Government for executing a ministerial directive designed to increase safety within the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) by allowing the sport to be conducted in a much safer fenced-in enclosure. The directive was announced Wednesday morning (Australian local time) at a press conference held by The Honorable John Eren, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events.
“This is a major milestone for mixed martial arts in Victoria, which will allow the sport to flourish while at the same time better protecting its competing athletes,” said Tom Wright, UFC Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Prior to the passing of the ministerial directive, MMA competitions in the State of Victoria were required to be conducted in boxing rings, which were never designed for MMA competitions. The UFC uses a unique, octagon-shaped enclosure which prevents fighters from falling out of the structure or becoming entangled in the ropes as could occur with a boxing ring.
“The Octagon is purpose-built for MMA competition and was designed and developed to optimize safety and to create a level playing field. The UFC thanks the Labor Party for spearheading this initiative and focusing on the safety of the competitors,” added Wright.
With this new ministerial directive in place, the UFC confirmed that it will bring a global pay per view event, UFC 193, to Melbourne on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 locally, to be broadcast live in North America on Saturday, Nov. 14.
Since 2010, the UFC has hosted six live events in Australia with each experiencing tremendous success. Collectively, the six events have seen more than 75,000 fans in attendance and millions worldwide watching on Pay-Per-View and broadcast television. The three host cities to date – Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane – have had a cumulative gross gate of more than $12 million and millions more in economic impact. The UFC will host its seventh Australian event, UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MIOCIC vs. HUNT, at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on May 10.
Quotes from some of Australia’s top mixed martial artists
No.5 ranked UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt (10-9-1, fighting out of Sydney):
“Just like a jockey needs a horse or a tennis player needs a racquet or a V8 driver needs a car – mixed martial artists, UFC fighters need the Octagon. It’s our tool for competition – to make competition fair and safe. I’m excited that the UFC can now come to Melbourne and trust me, I want to be there competing to make sporting history.”
Robert Whittaker (13-4, fighting out of Sydney):
“This progress in Melbourne is an amazing opportunity for the Australian MMA community. The UFC is already bringing more events to Australia and this new destination opens up more opportunities for aspiring mixed martial artists. As a MMA fighter myself, it would be an honour and privilege to compete in Melbourne and make history!”
Vik Grujic (7-5, fighting out of Melbourne):
“MMA in Melbourne will no longer fall behind the rest of the world because of ignorance.”
Kyle Noke (fighting out of Albuquerque, USA via Dubbo, Australia):
“We now finally get the chance to fight in front of a home crowd in the sporting capital of Australia. This is a dream come true for me and the rest of the UFC competitors representing Australia around the world.”
Daniel Kelly (9-0 fighting out of Melbourne):
“It’s only fitting to have the fastest growing sport in the world in the sporting capital of Australia. Personally it would be a dream to compete in the UFC in my hometown.”
Brendan O’Reilly (5-1-1, fighting out of Brisbane):
“This is a momentous occasion for the sport of MMA in Victoria, Australia and the growth of the UFC worldwide. Melbourne has some of the most passionate sports fans in the world, and I can’t wait to fight in the UFC Octagon in front of a live Victorian audience.”
Soa Palelei (22-4, fighting out of Perth):
“Being able to fight in the UFC is a dream come true. Being able to compete in Australia is the icing on the cake. I’m extremely proud to be Australian and being able to do what I love for my country is truly gratifying. With Melbourne now able to host the UFC, I can see MMA growing immensely and I cannot wait till Perth also gets on board.”
Richie Vaculik (10-4, fighting out Sydney):
“So good to hear that finally the Victorian government has come to its senses and allowed MMA to be performed in its safest environment: the Octagon. I can’t wait to be a part of a spectacular UFC event in Melbourne.”
Alex Chambers (4-2, fighting out of Sydney):
“Fantastic news that the ban will no longer remain in Victoria for MMA bouts inside a fenced-in enclosure. There was a big misconception about what was actually banned, which I feel has hindered MMA in Australia although the sport was always legal. A really great day for all MMA athletes and fans, not just in Victoria but all of Australia”