Confirmed: The UFC is returning to Ireland in 2016
It was announced tonight that the UFC will return to the city of Belfast on Saturday November 19th, 2016.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT BELFAST will take place at The SSE Arena (formerly The Odyssey), which played host to the organisation’s first and only visit to Belfast back in June 2007.
UFC 72 was just the third European event to be hosted by UFC. It was headlined by a middleweights Yushin Okami and former champion Rich Franklin.
Also on the card that night was Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin with stand-outs Clay Guida and Marcus Davis. More importantly the card featured local talent in Stevie Lynch and Colin Robinson.
The UFC typically like to add some local interest to their regional cards. We may see the likes Alan Philpott, Declan Dalton, Ronan MacKay, Rhys McKee and Ali McLean among others added to the card. No doubt UFC vet and TUF Smashes winner Norman Parke will be making his case for inclusion as well.
The announcement comes as fan following for MMA on the island of Ireland reaches an all-time high, driven largely by the success of UFC featherweight world champion, Conor McGregor, Norman Parke before he was released earlier this year and the emergence of upcoming stars including Donegal’s Joe Duffy and Dublin’s Aisling Daly.
As the popularity of the sport in Ireland grows, so too does the demand from fans for live events.
James Elliott, General Manager and Vice President of UFC EMEA, said "It goes without saying that Ireland is a key market for us. Irish MMA fans are among the most passionate that we’ve seen anywhere in the world, and they have long been asking for the UFC to return.”
UFC hosted sell out events in Dublin in both 2014 and 2015, with thousands of fans securing their tickets to the events within a matter of minutes.
“This year, we wanted to bring the action to Northern Ireland, and we expect the same overwhelming response when tickets go on sale,” continued Elliott. “We look forward to delivering an unforgettable event for the city of Belfast, one which will be remembered for years to come.” Elliott continued.
Tickets to UFC FIGHT NIGHT BELFAST will go on general sale on Friday, September 23 via Ticketmaster. Fight Club members will get the opportunity to purchase their tickets early on Wednesday, September 21.
To register interest for the event visit www.ufc.com/belfast
The highly anticipated fight card will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Fans are advised to follow @UFCEurope on Twitter for all the latest #UFCBelfast news.