Frank Trigg hinted at it a month ago in an interview with MMA Junkie, and now it seems like the ball is truly rolling for the UFC's Australian debut in February. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that UFC executives are looking to secure a February date at the Acer Arena in Sydney's Olympic Park:
The combat sport, known as mixed martial arts, will be launched in Sydney early next year by the US promoter Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Legal representatives of the company have approached the Combat Sports Authority to seek permission to stage a bout in February, with organisers understood to be looking at the Acer Arena in Sydney Olympic Park.
The UFC's President of the UK Division, Marshall Zelaznik, has this to add:
"It's going to happen, we're coming," he said. "Planning is in effect, we've had a number of strategy meetings and we are on the verge of retaining some key partners in Australia."
The rest of the article unfortunately paints MMA in a negative light, resorting to the same, trite human-cockfighting analogies, and including the standard "MMA incites violence" quotes from Australian politicians who are opposed to the sport. The story even includes some blatant falsities, indicating the basic lack of research skills that's become common in anti-MMA articles:
Competitors are permitted to pin an opponent to the floor and punch or elbow them into unconsciousness in a move known as "pound and ground". UFC rules explicitly ban fighters avoiding contact, faking injury or throwing in the towel, while the absence of a blood rule often leaves the octagon looking more like an abattoir.
Health experts have condemned UFC plans to introduce the contentious sport into Australia. "It's madness. If this was the animal world, the RSPCA would come down on you like a ton of bricks," said leading neurologist Professor Mark Cook of St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.
"As in boxing, the nature of sport means that brain injury is inevitable and this cage fighting may be worse, with people allowed to hit somebody while on the ground."
A prominent criminologist questioned whether UFC should be staged in Australia .
"This is the last thing we need to be importing," said Professor Rob White from the University of Tasmania. "UFC may have an even bigger impact than other forms of violence because it is a blood sport where we make heroes out of people who bash each other."
Nonetheless, the news about the February date is the important bit to take away from this article. Despite Trigg's initial claims of a fight in Australia, a recent report from FanHouse suggests he'll face Matt Serra at UFC 110 in Las Vegas on February 6th. If that pans out, the Sydney event will likely be UFC 111, with the date still unknown as the article mentions. Possible competitors are anyone's guess as well, although it seems likely that UFC's only Aussie, George Sotiropoulos, will compete if he's injury-free after his UFC 106 bout with Jason Dent in November. The company will also likely look to bring in local fighters from the small, but talented Australian MMA scene which includes promotions like Cage Fighting Championship.
And hey, even though he's 1-6 in the UFC, what's Elvis "The King of Rock 'n Rumble" Sinosic doing these days? I'm sure he'd like another chance to tear off Michael Bisping's arm: