UFC planning return to Manchester before year's end


ufc-crowd-7.jpgThe UFC will return to Manchester, England, before year’s end.

UFC President Dana White confirmed the plans following Saturday’s UFC 161 event in Winnipeg.

To date, the UFC has made two trips to the English city. The most recent came in 2009 with UFC 105, which took place at Manchester Arena. With a Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera headliner, the event drew an announced attendance of 16,693 and a live gate of $2 million.

The first show in the city took place in 2007. The event, UFC 70, marked the UFC’s return to the U.K. for the first time since UFC 38. With a Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga headliner, UFC 70 drew 15,114 attendees for a $2.6 million gate, also at Manchester Arena.

In addition to White, UFC executive Marshall Zelaznik, who serves as a managing director of international development, recently hinted at a possible return to Manchester.

The UFC first made a real commitment to the U.K. market in 2007 and held three shows that year. The U.K. also held three in 2008 and two in 2009. But every year since then, the UFC had ventured across the pond just once annually.

If the UFC does hold a Manchester event before year’s end, it’ll be the U.K.’s first multi-UFC event year in four years. Back in February, it got its first show of 2013 with UFC on FUEL TV 8 in London.

After a strained TV presence in the U.K., the UFC got some relief this past month when the organization announced a three-year deal with the soon-to-launch BT Sport premium channels that goes into effect Aug. 1. In addition to live events, it’ll include additional taped content, such as news/insider programs and the UFC’s varied fight-highlights shows. It also will include originally produced programming specific to the region.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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