LAS VEGAS – While boxing’s Golden Boy Promotions will likely make a strong bid for the honor, UFC President Dana White insists the UFC will host the first sporting event inside the $375 million Las Vegas Arena, which is set to open in 2016.

On Thursday, White told USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie that officials at MGM Resorts International, who along with entertainment mogul AEG are building the the new multipurpose venue, have promised him the UFC will host the first sporting event in the new building – even after Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer said he would like to use top pound-for-pound boxer Floyd Mayweather to christen the facility.

“MGM already promised me the first date,” White said with a smile. “I don’t care what Schaefer says.”

The 650,000-square-foot Las Vegas Arena will seat 20,000 fans for combat sports events. Groundbreaking on the project took place today in Las Vegas, and the arena is set to open in Spring 2016.

The privately-funded project will not make any use of tax dollars to complete the venue.

White said once Las Vegas Arena is open, the UFC will continue to look at the city’s MGM Grand Garden Arena and Mandalay Bay Events Center as potential host sites for the promotion’s events, but with a modern facility in place, the company may look to visit Sin City more frequently than called for on the current schedule.

“It will definitely open more dates for us,” White said. “Plus, the one thing this town needed really bad was a state-of-the-art arena. … Whether it’s the Internet service or the production, all of these things are very important in putting on a world-class show, and it’s all going to change when this thing is built.

“It’s a game-changer for everybody – for the fans, for the people that are putting on the shows, and obviously for the city.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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