Late 2009 UFC schedule is close to being finalized

How times have changed. Back in 2002 and 2003, there was no lengthy schedule of UFC events. As one UFC pay-per-view finished there generally wasn't another on board for at least two months. The sport has exploded and can routinely fill 12,000-15,000 seat arenas meaning the buildings have to be booked well in advance. The UFC will be in Germany, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Portland through the end of August.

The September slate is now set with Ultimate Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City on September 16 and MMAJunkie is reporting that there will a UFC pay-per-view event the same week 200 miles to the south in Dallas. Why jam two events into one week? One benefit was the convenience for the UFC's Jewish employees. Yom Kippur is the following weekend. Cagewriter first reported last week that the PPV card was likely in one of three Texas cities: Dallas, San Antonio or Houston.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Ariel Helwani that he's got a better working relationship now with UFC president Dana White and he's glad, "to take his money." White was irked with Cuban when he dipped his toe into the promotional waters a few years back when he started up HDNet.

At the UFC 98 postfight press conference, Marc Ratner and Dana White confirmed that there will be a UFC event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on October 24.

You may see the UFC in the U.K. in early October and then again in late November. The U.K. gets at least one more date if not two to close the year. Manchester's MEN Arena is almost a certainty in November. The arena is open on November 14 and 21. Liverpool and Newcastle are under consideration for an October event. The ultimate hope is for Michael Bisping versus Anderson Silva in the main event at one of those venues.

In December, TUF 10 will finish up will up on December 5 and it's still up in there whether the year-end pay-per-view will be on Dec. 19 or Jan, 2, 2010. It's most likely the 19th in Las Vegas. The UFC can't hold an event Christmas week with a weigh-in on Christmas Day, plus the whole event would be a logistical nightmare.