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Editions

Underdog takes out UFC

02 Dec 2015

Underdog takes out UFC Image

In a surprise victory, Holly Holm took out the main event at last month’s UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event at Etihad Stadium, beating the previously undefeated bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

The November 15 event saw more than 56,000 fans flood the stadium, with the UFC making $9.5 million on ticket sales alone, a house record for Etihad Stadium.

Attendance at the event was the stadium’s second highest for a sporting event, falling just short of the 56,771 attendees at the Australian Wallabies test match against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

Etihad Stadium CEO Paul Sergeant said the UFC was a massively successful occasion for the venue.

“It was a complicated presentation but our various teams worked around the clock for close to a week to help piece together a magnificent show. The subsequent feedback has been constant and overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

He also emphasised the excellent crowd behaviour.

“The fans were absolutely engrossed and engaged with the event. There were no issues and they were a credit to UFC’s legions of followers across Australia and around the world,” Mr Sergeant said.

Mr Sergeant said there were just four ejections from the event, which he described as at the lower end of the scale for any of the events the Stadium hosts.

“There were doomsayers claiming the occasion would be accompanied by violence and unsociable behaviour, leaving a blot on Melbourne,” Mr Sergeant said. “Maybe next time they might listen before making judgemental, gratuitous, outrageous comments that could not have been further off the mark.”

With a huge number of attendees, Docklands and Melbourne have also benefited from the UFC event, according to Mr Sergeant.

“The event has also generated a huge economic benefit for Melbourne and the city’s tourism and hospitality sectors,” Mr Sergeant said.

“43 per cent of tickets sold were purchased from either interstate or overseas. Invariably that means they’ve stayed in the city, generating millions of dollars into the local economy.”

With an international audience of millions watching, Holm defeated Rousey just 59 seconds into the second round after delivering a kick to her head. Rousey was knocked out and was treated in hospital following the bout.

Holm upheld her unbeaten UFC record, now 10-0, while Rousey’s perfect record is now tarnished, with one loss to 12 wins.

The November 15 event was the first of its kind in Victoria, after the State Government lifted the ban on cage-fighting event earlier this year.

While Rousey and Holm were the headline fight, audiences were entertained with plenty more fierce competition throughout the day.

UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk defended her title, beating Valerie Letourneau.

Australian Mark Hunt defeated Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Robert Whittaker beat Uriah Hall and Jared Rosholt came out on top in a bout against Stefan Struve.

UFC president Dana White announced following the event that the UFC would be returning to Australia next year, with an event in Brisbane in March.

However, we’re unlikely to see UFC return to Etihad Stadium anytime soon. Mr Sergeant said the stadium’s executive would maintain its excellent relationship with the UFC team.

“Saying that, it’s unlikely we will see the magnitude of such a UFC show in the foreseeable future in Melbourne,” Mr Sergeant said.

“It was three years in the making. We are amazingly proud of the show we helped produce and we know the fans who came along were tremendously appreciative of all that went into building such a memorable event.”

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