UFC president Dana White spoke to MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani yesterday about this weekend’s blockbuster UFC 193 event in Melbourne, Australia and you can read our keynotes and watch their conversation in full below.
– White says he belives they’ll “get close” to 70,000 fans packed in to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night which would smash their current attendance record. According to White all the expensive seats are already sold out and they are hoping the remaining cheaper ones will be snapped up in the final days before the fight.
Financially that would equate to over $6 million. (It’s worth noting that’s only half of what they achieved for the previous attendance record of 55,724 for UFC 129: GSP Vs Shields in Canada back in 2009).
– Rousey’s superstar status has helped shift so many tickets, but White also stresses how hard of a worker she is on the promotional front which is another reason why she’s become such a success.
– Such is Rousey’s star power that big name celebrities have actually been phoning the UFC to ask if they can help promote the fight by talking about Ronda.
– Dana confesses he was actually supposed to be in Australia a day earlier, but only realized he’d forgotten his passport after flying to Los Angeles.
– The last time Rousey fought everyone was caught by surprise at just how well it did on PPV, doing in the region of 900,000 buys. This time around people are anticipating it’ll be big, and White agrees, c saying that it’s “trending off the charts”, is going to be “a massive event” and will end up being bigger than UFC 190 was on PPV.
– Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valerie Letourneau had an intense staredown earlier in the day and Dana White was able to hear some of what they were saying to each other. According to him Joanna told Letourneau, “This is going to be your last fight, bitch.”
– White believes Jedrzejczyk’s mixture of upbeat personality and killer instinct has won over the fans, while even other fighters love to watch her compete because she’s a high level striker who always goes for the finish.
– If all goes according to plan Claudia Gadelha will go on to fight the winner of the Jedrzejczyk Vs Letourneau fight.
– He’s not expecting Mark Hunt Vs Antonio Silva to be as good as their first encounter since that was one of his favorite fights of all time, but he says even if it’s 10% as good it’ll still be fun to watch.
– White believes Uriah Hall has now “found his groove” in the UFC, though he’s quick to praise his opponent Robert Whittaker too, saying he’s one of the best up and coming talents in the sport.
– Rousey has mentioned that she plans to get out of the spotlight for a while after this fight and not return until UFC 200 and White says that was actually his idea.
– Helwani tries to coax some potential fights for UFC 200 out of White, but while he doesn’t mention that event specifically he does mention the likes of Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, a resurgent Vitor Belfort and the return of Anderson Silva as all having big fights on the horizon in 2016.