UFC 193 Official In Melbourne

With the cage ban lifted in the Australian state of Victoria, the UFC is set to make it’s debut in the city of Melbourne.

The UFC has ventured Down Under before, of course, with multiple events in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, the most recent of which took place back in November with UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping. The next Australian event will mark the company’s debut in South Australia when UFC Fight Night: Miocic vs. Hunt goes down in Adelaide in May. Now, the UFC will travel to Melbourne — notable for it’s annual staging of Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix and tennis’ Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open — in November for it’s eighth official event Down Under.

Previously, MMA events in Victoria had to be held in a boxing-style ring instead of a cage, prohibiting the UFC from staging shows in the traditional “Octagon“”. When the Victorian government passed “a ministerial directive designed to increase safety within the sport of mixed martial arts by allowing the sport to be conducted in a much safer fenced-in enclosure,” on Tuesday, the UFC wasted no time in announcing it’s first pay-per-view in Melbourne.

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Tom Wright, the UFC director of operations for Canada, Australia and New Zealand, spoke at the press release:

“For us it’s all about making sure there is a safe and healthy environment for athletes to train and compete in,” Wright said. “We’ve long wanted to bring our sport to Victoria but under the circumstances where it was only allowed to be staged in a boxing ring… we were not prepared to do that.”

“This is a major milestone for mixed martial arts in Victoria, which will allow the sport to flourish while at the same time better protecting its competing athletes.”

UFC officials also released statements from various Australian-based fighters, praising the development:

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“”Just like a jockey needs a horse or a tennis player needs a racquet or a V8 driver needs a car – mixed martial artists, UFC fighters need the Octagon,” UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt said in a release. “It’s our tool for competition – to make competition fair and safe. I’m excited that the UFC can now come to Melbourne and trust me, I want to be there competing to make sporting history.”

Neither a venue nor any bouts have been announced at this stage. Wright did state in 2014, however, that the event would be a stadium show, and the Etihad Stadium, a 50,000-plus-seat venue has been mentioned in the past. Wright also specified that the show would feature a major draw along the lines of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, or Ronda Rousey.

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UFC 193 will take place in the early afternoon (Australian Eastern Standard Time) of Sunday, November 15, which means it will air live in the U.S. the night of Saturday, November 14. It will mark the first UFC pay-per-view held in Australia since UFC 127 in 2011, and it will come as welcome news for Australian fans and fighters alike.

“We now finally get the chance to fight in front of a home crowd in the sporting capital of Australia,” UFC veteran and Australia native Kyle Noke said. “This is a dream come true for me and the rest of the UFC competitors representing Australia around the world.”