The Ultimate Fighting Championship has recently reserved the Etihad Stadium located in Melbourne, Australia this 15th of November and their goal is to achieve the all-time attendance record at an event in the UFC.
Robbie Lawler, a mixed martial arts welterweight champ, is slated to be the headline on the said event. He was supposed to go against Carlos Condit but he was forced to back out from the fight due to a thumb injury. This left the UFC with a booked stadium but no main card on the event. Also, they were aiming for a record-breaking attendance when they booked the stadium. The promotion didn’t have to look very far for a replacement that can draw a massive crowd greater than Lawler, and that is none other than Rousey.
During the “Go Big” press conference, UFC President Dana White was asked everything transpired. He had this to say:
“When Robbie Lawler fell out (of the fight against Carlos Condit), we committed to doing a stadium event in Melbourne. We’re doing the biggest stadium we’ve ever done. When that fight fell out, I had to call my go to (Ronda Rousey), and she picked up the phone and said yes before I even asked what I needed.”
This is the first time the promotion held two women bouts will headline a PPV event. Rousey was supposed to go against Holly Holm, a former multiple division boxing champ, early next year. But due to sudden changes in the lineup, this fight will headline the fight card this coming November 15th instead. Along with Rousey and Holm, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, a strawweight champ, will go against Valérie Létourneau in the co-main event as well.
“This whole women’s thing is crazy right now. It’s on fire. Joanna is our little rock star too, so we decided to do Ronda and Joanna together defending their titles in Melbourne,” the UFC President said.
Ronda Rousey is the main reason why women’s MMA gained massive popularity. With Rousey onboard on the upcoming event, the reigning bantamweight champ is confident that it will definitely set records.
“I’m really encouraged by the progress that we’ve seen (in women’s MMA). Dana went from saying that we’d never have women in the UFC, and now he’s entrusting us to break the gate record. I really think we’re capable of doing it. Seventy-what thousand? 75,000? Alright, let’s do it,” the bantamweight champ said.
It would be understandable if Rousey would feel any pressure with the high attendance record and gate figures, but the champ admits that she is used with the pressure.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve been able to accomplish things that seemed pretty impossible before, and this doesn’t seem like the most impossible endeavor that I’ve gone after. I think we’re entirely capable of doing that (setting the attendance record). I’m not done making history yet,” Rousey said.
The last record-breaking attendance that the UFC had was back in 2011 during the UFC 129 event. A total of 55, 724 fans watched the fight live inside Roger’s Centre held in Toronto. The main card then was Georges St-Pierre fighting against Jake Shields. For this upcoming event, Etihad Stadium can hold more than 70,000 attendees.