As both an Australian and a long time mixed martial arts follower, it has become common to get blank stares merely at the mention of the sport, but that has all changed.
Over the past three months down under, UFC Wired has been showing the Australian public exactly what MMA is all about. The next step forward was this past Sunday afternoon's UFC 110 card, which aired free to air for the Australian public.
The Acer Arena in Sydney was packed with 17,831 people, as well as a nation watching from their living rooms to witness one of the best UFC cards in recent memory. Following the overwhelming success, many have begged the question, "Will they be back?"
Luckily enough, yes they will. Following the event, UFC President Dana White expressed interest in bringing the crew down under again, next time in Melbourne.
Melbourne is the second largest Australian city and would provide another extatic crowd. With word of mouth spreading by the second and expanding UFC exposure each and every week, by their expected 2011 return they will be looking at a hoard of fight fans battling for tickets.
The only setback in a potential Melbourne showcase is that in Melbourne, mixed martial arts is legal; however, fighting in a cage is not. White said on the topic: “It’s not legalized there, but after such a successful event here, hopefully we can turn that around real quick.”
White also expressed interest in an Australian-only series of The Ultimate Fighter, following Australia's most well known representative, George Sotiropoulos. He collected the biggest victory of his career over former Lightweight Championship challenger Joe Stevenson. There is growing speculation as to the talent that is hidden in Australia.
It seems the UFC has themselves a new annual stop and a loyal fanbase to follow down under. Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, and the UFC just took the first step forward in expanding in Australia. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens next.