Marshall Zelaznik is an important figure in the UFC’s backroom staff, overseeing the promotion’s development in a number of overseas markets like the UK and Australia, and yesterday after hosting the UFC 127 pre-fight press conference, he took time to speak with Ariel Helwani about some pressing issues.
Check out the video and keynotes from their conversation below courtesy of MMAfighting.
– Zelaznik says the big difference between this event and their previous one in Australia is that the media are much more receptive this time around.
– UFC 127 was sold out long in advance of the actual event, and it’s expected that with sponsored tickets, etc there will be around 18,000 fans in attendance.
– Zelaznik belives Australia could hold two events a year, noting that the timing of the events here allow the UFC to still put these shows on pay-per-view at the usual time in the U.S which is important from a financial point of view.
– There’s several Australian fans on the card, but Zelaznik says they don’t have to be involved for the events to be successful over here. He says the main reason they do that is to engage the media as they like to follow local fighters.
– He reveals that he’s set to visit with officials in Melbourne this week to discuss a slightly bizarre rule there which allows MMA fights to take place, but only in a ring, not a cage. Zelaznik intends to educate them on exactly why a cage is safer for this sport.
Assuming such issues can be ironed out, Zelaznik notes that an outdoor stadium in Melbourne could be a potential option in the future given the popularity of the sport down under.
– On future destinations…Zelaznik says that after this event he and the rest of the UFC backroom team will be flying to Vegas to map out the second half of the year.
He doesn’t know when they will be going back to Ireland, but they are holding a couple of potential dates for this year.
As for Scotland, a proposed May event will not be happening, but it is still possible they could do something in June. Having said that the problem of finding a venue large enough to cater for the likely demand has proven difficult. Therefore Zelaznik has mentioned Newcastle in the north of England, close to Scotland, could be a potential alternative.
Other potential English destinations for an event in June include Manchester and Liverpool.
Meanwhile Abu Dhabi is also still under consideration for a 2011 event.
– Finally, Zelaznik talked about the increased interest in the UFC starting to emerge in Brazil following the Silva Vs Belfort fight recently. According to the UFC’s media partners their, there is now the potential for Brazil to be a major market, not just in terms of fighters, but also fans. “It’s going to be massive,” he says.
Watch the video below.