It is no secret that the UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor is the biggest star in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. With his stardom being so high however, his last three fights have all taken place in the Las Vegas.
The reason for this is simple. Its the right timeframe for the UFC to capitalise on the PPV market in the US with its biggest star and also with many Irish fans willing to travel, the gates that McGregor generates in that market are breaking records every time the Irishman fights in ‘Sin City’.
With this in mind, you may think that a big show in Ireland maybe in the distant future, however the UFC’s Vice-President and General Manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, James Elliot, has other plans for the Irish market.
“Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium are two places that we’ve looked at, we’ve made no secret about that,” Elliot told Dublin’s Newstalk.com.”Conor (McGregor) has certainly made no secret about the fact that he wants to fight in Dublin. It’s something that’s on the agenda.
“The numbers are getting closer in terms of how we could make it work, there’s still a lot of moving parts … I feel we’re not that far away, certainly within the 18-month time frame, that’s something that we’re focused on,” he said
UFC Fight Night 76 was the last event held in Dublin on October 24, 2015 at 3Arena. The event was the third that the organisation has hosted in Dublin, following UFC 93 in January 2009 and UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao in July 2014.
“We’ve sold out the two shows in Dublin in record time, even when the card was decimated through injuries in October — the fans still turned out and supported us really well,” Elliot said. “That did not go unnoticed by everybody in Vegas. We certainly understand how big the fanbase is in Ireland, and how big it could be.”
As stated above, not many PPV events are held across the pond in Europe due to the substantial time difference from the PPV consumers in the United States which would force the UFC to air a PPV card during the day in the US.
“It would be a fantastic brand play for us to have a big numbered event in Europe.” Elliot said. “It’s something that we’re definitely focused on. It’s very easy for us to see what it could do for our business — we just need to convince the right people that it’s the right thing to do at the right time.”Check out our latest podcast episode featuring Adam Milstead & Dinis "Sweetbread" Paiva