The UFC has welcomed a proposal from the Victorian Labor Party surrounding the laws about cagefighting in the Australian state.
Mixed Martial Arts in a cage has been banned in Victoria for years with promoters facing a $12,000 fine or 12 months in jail if the law is broken, but Victoria's opposition Labor Party has said it wants to overturn the ban in a bid to make combat sports safer.
The UFC welcomes the opportunity to work with the Victorian Government on any review of their MMA regulations and have also called on the Minister for Sport and Recreation, The Honorable Hugh Delahunty to support the Labor Party's reforms.
“MMA events are presently only allowed to be conducted in Victoria in boxing rings, which were never designed for MMA competitions,” said Michael Mersch, the UFC’s Senior Vice-President of Business and Legal Affairs.
“The safety of our athletes is our priority and the Octagon is designed to provide the safest environment for MMA competitions. We now hope that the Victorian Government agrees to review and lift the current ban on the Octagon, which will allow the UFC to stage events in Melbourne.”
Providing the ban is overturned, the UFC will look to hold an event in Melbourne, hinting they would like to bring a title fight to the land down under.
“We could close the roof at Etihad and get 60,000 in there for a pay-per-view,” the UFC's Marshall Zelaznik said. ”It won't be next year, but 2014 is likely. That's the way to get a pay-per-view in Australia.”
“The UFC wants to be a regular part of Melbourne’s sporting calendar,” added Tom Wright, the UFC Director of Operations for Australia and Canada. “If the Victorian Government were to approve the use of the Octagon, we would immediately begin the process of planning for an event at Etihad Stadium and bringing a UFC Fan Expo to Victoria, both of which would generate in excess of $38 million in economic activity for Victoria, while strengthening Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s sporting capital.”
Past events in Australia have packed out Allphones Arena in Sydney with 15,000 fans in attendance, and the TUF Smashes Finale at UFC on FX 6 last weekend drawing a sell-out crowd of 5,133 fans at a much smaller venue on the Gold Coast.
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