Sydney and Melbourne lobby for next Ronda Rousey fight after huge economic boon
It’s a well-known at this point that UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm did crazy numbers for the UFC, breaking the previous attendance record with 56,214 butts in the seats and selling a reported 1.1 million pay-per-views, which at the time was good for best ever.
But it wasn’t just the UFC who benefitted from the epic event. The city of Melbourne, home to UFC 193, received a significant economic boon from the event. According to an economic impact study, the event generated $102 million for the Australian state of Victoria. By comparison, the NBA All-Star game has averaged an economic impact of $117.2 million for its last five host cities.
The report also mentioned that the event supported 894 jobs and contributed $40.8 million in salaries in wages.
With success like that, it’s no surprise that Melbourne and frequent UFC host location Sydney are at odds over which city should hold the next Australian UFC event slated for this November. Both are also holding out hope that the event marks Rousey’s return.
"Both cities remain options for the UFC’s return to Australia in November," a UFC spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald. "Melbourne and Sydney represent strong markets for UFC — if social media is an indication a bulk of our fans/followers are from those two cities.
"Sydney is ‘due’ for an event. A return to Melbourne in November 2016 would be ‘striking while the iron is hot’ off the back of the record-breaking UFC 193. With one event in Melbourne compared to four in Sydney, the Melbourne market is somewhat underdeveloped, given the ban on the Octagon (cage in which bouts are fought) was only recently lifted in Victoria."
MMA has been legal in the southeastern Australian state for a while, but the Victorian government finally lifted its ban on the use of cage-like enclosures in MMA fights in March of 2015, clearing the way for UFC 193.
And now that the ban has been lifted and the UFC has held a successful event in the state, government officials are certainly open to more.
"If Ronda wants to come and fight in Melbourne, she can come and fight in Melbourne,” UFC Australia spokesperson Peter Kloczko told the Herald Sun. "It was a massive success in Melbourne and we’ve got a massive fan base there, so it’s extremely likely that we will be back in Melbourne, if not in November then soon."
UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said that Rousey will likely return to the Octagon in November, potentially at the UFC’s New York City debut on Nov. 12. However, he backtracked recently, saying he wasn’t sure if Rousey was actually going to be ready for that date.
If she happens to need a few extra weeks, Melbourne and/or Sydney would welcome her with open arms.