Meet Mac Engel, who wants to know when the UFC is coming to Cowboys Stadium


mac-engel.jpgMac Engel asks everyone the same question. The gas-station attendant. The daycare workers. His friends. The mailman. And yes, especially UFC President Dana White.

If you’ve ever listened to a UFC media call or a handful of press conference, you’ve heard Engel ask his go-to question.

“When is the UFC coming to Cowboys Stadium?”

Engel’s question, which usually comes during media events that have nothing to do with Dallas or super fights or stadium shows or future UFC destinations, is a familiar one. In fact, there are a few facts of life when it comes to UFC media calls: The Brazilians will be late, translators will quickly become confused, someone will call in from the middle of a tornado, White will be bullish on the upcoming card, and Engel’s question will spark indignation from his fellow writers.

Engel, of course, knows that. At this point, it’s part of the fun, though he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) there’s an obvious reason he’s always asking.

“I guess it’s like a social tic that I have,” joked Engel, who pens The Big Mac Blog for the “Fort Worth Star-Telegram.” “Actually, the reason I ask it is because I’m constantly looking for local angles to talk about in my blog.”

The UFC has teased the possibility of a show at the 100,000-seat Cowboys Stadium on numerous occasions. White believes it’d take a super fight – Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva, or Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre, for example – to assure the organization packs the state-of-the-art facility, which opened in 2009 with a $1.3 billion pricetag.

To date the UFC has hosted just one stadium show (UFC 129, which drew 55,724 fight fans to Toronto’s Rogers Centre), and a second one sometimes seems imminent. Other times it feels like little more than the UFC’s latest daydream. Engel, though, said there’s genuine interest from the Cowboys. He said they talk to the UFC often, though both sides understand the stars need to align to pull off such a massive event.

“The Cowboys want to do it; they really want to do it,” said Engel, who covers Dallas teams such as the Cowboys, Rangers and Stars. “… I think Dana White wants to break an attendance record there at Cowboys Stadium. And that’s why (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones built Cowboys Stadium, to set attendance records. If you’ve got the right matchups, I think you can do it.

“But I just don’t know if it’s going to happen any time soon.”

However, when it comes to the UFC’s partners, Engel said an added perk of working with Jones and the Cowboys is their ability to market events and sell tickets.

“Those guys promote better than anybody else in sports, I contend,” he said. “Because, the team sucks and they still can promote them. Now you put that kind of promotional and marketing brand of the Dallas Cowboys with a great product like the UFC, and you’re looking at something that could break a UFC record if you get the right names (on the card).”

If it happens, Engels isn’t optimistic it’ll be in 2013. But he’s still holding up hope for 2014. And he’ll make sure White and his fellow journalists know it.

“I’m going to keep bugging Dana about until I get the answer I want to hear, which is, ‘Yes, shut your mouth. We’re coming there,’” he said. “I think it’d be great for the sport, and I think an event like that would draw close to 100,000 people.”

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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