UFC lightweight Norman Parke lives just about an hour’s drive from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the UFC held a single event seven years ago. Now that the promotion has returned to Dublin, he’d like the promotion to come back to his neck of the woods.
“We just asked (UFC President) Dana (White that at the end of the bout,” said Parke (20-2-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC), who hails from Bushmills, Northern Ireland, after his impressive second-round TKO of Naoyuki Kotani (33-11-7 MMA, 0-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 46.
“He said, ‘Yeah, there’s a possibility.’ He said they’re looking at their options. That would be a great opportunity for me to headline or co-main event. The last time they were there was 2007, so that’s a long time ago. That would be great if they could have an event there. That would be absolutely unbelievable.”
As he made clear after his win, which put him back on the right track after a previous draw scratched a three-fight streak, Parke has an opponent in mind for his next outing. The “TUF: Smashes” winner called out original “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Diego Sanchez, who this past month won a dubious decision over Ross Pearson.
While it’s unclear whether the UFC is keen on such a fight, it’s hard to imagine the promotion won’t reinvest in Ireland after UFC Fight Night 36, which sold out in 25 minutes and drew one of the most raucous crowds ever seen around the octagon.
The promotion’s previous trip to Belfast, UFC 72, which featured a middleweight headliner between Rich Franklin and Yushin Okami, did fairly well from a business standpoint, attracting a reported 8,000 for a $1.2 million gate.
But like Dublin, the city suffered a long drought in exposure, which allowed other promotions such as Cage Warriors to establish a foothold and promote stars such as Conor McGregor, who this past year signed with the UFC and headlined Saturday’s event to a crazy reception. Prior to UFC Fight Night 46, the industry-leader hadn’t promoted a show in the city since UFC 93 in 2009.
The drought might be ending, though, and that’s good news for Parke, who has yet to fight ranked competition.
And if they need more local flavor, there’s always a chance he could square off with “Notorious.”
The pair were once scheduled to fight, according to Parke, but McGregor’s career took him elsewhere. Now a featherweight, the headliner is gunning hard for a title shot at 145 pounds.
But that doesn’t rule out a future fight. McGregor said he would return to his former weight class to make it happen. And he’d do it in the 80,000-seat Croke Park in his native Dublin.
“Make no mistake, it’s me that sells out Croke Park, no offense to Norman,” said the confident fighter.view original article >>
Since he made his first appearance on The Ultimate Fighter more than 12 years ago, Diego Sanchez has been one of the most beloved competitors in the organization. Combining a quirky personality with read news >>
Al Iaquinta loves fighting, and he's good at it, but the Longo-Serra Fight Team member seems intent on foregoing fighting for the real estate sales. read news >>
It’s been a rough year for UFC middleweight Tom Breese. And unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the challenging times are over.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
Not surprisingly, UFC President Dana White goes to bat for his lightweight champion in the proposed superfight with Floyd Mayweather.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>
MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Bas Rutten and Stevie Ray.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
The Bellator roster continues to bloom with the signing of former UFC title challenger Valerie Letourneau.Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>
Following weeks of words exchanged in interviews and on social media, Cub Swanson finally met Artem Lobov in the main event in Nashville on Saturday night and the fight lived up to the hype as the tw read news >>
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC UFC Fight Night 108: Swanson versus Lobov turned out to be a good night of fights despite its curious headliner. While Artem Lobov came out earning much goodwill for l read news >>
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC The last time the UFC shorted "Raging" Al Iaquinta on a performance bonus he thought he deserved—after knocking out Joe Lauzon in Las Vegas back in January 2015—he slugg read news >>
UFC Fight Night 108 was all about opportunities. In the main event, Cub Swanson walked away with a unanimous decision win over Artem Lobov. After the win, he made sure to let the UFC brass know he is read news >>