Tom Wright, Director of UFC Operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, said at a press-conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Monday morning that overturning the cage ban in the Australian state of Victoria is only a matter of time.
“We are continuing the good fight,” Wright said. “We’re patient. We feel it’s a matter of “when” not “if”. I had and continue to have discussions with the government. We’ve been continuing to work with (Hugh) Delahunty and other members of the government.”
Delahunty is the Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation.
“We will not change our stance,” Wright continued. “We will not take an event into a jurisdiction where the Octagon is not permitted. Allowing our athletes to compete in a boxing ring is unsafe and unfair, and we will never compromise the safety of our athletes, regardless what it means in terms of building our business.”
While the UFC's main focus is on Victoria – after launching a “Click for Vic” social media campaign earlier this year – with aims of a show at the 50,000-capacity Etihad Stadium, overturning the ban in Victoria would hopefully lead the way to Western Australia following suit.
“We brought forward our case that an event in Victoria would be an significant economic benefit to the entire state, as well as the city of Melbourne,” he continued. “We would like to take our first event to Etihad. We feel that we will have an economic impact of 40 or 50 million dollars, but the government needs to change its position and hopefully that will happen soon.
“There’s a Vic State election in November of 2014 and hopefully we will be able to have some success before that, but we will continue to work on it.
“Every time I come to Australia – this is my fourth trip in nine months – I spend time in Melbourne and try to push that forward, but we’ll get there.”
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