Etihad Stadium CEO plans on setting UFC record with ‘three years in the making’ UFC 193

On August 21, 2015 By

Submission Radio were on hand at the UFC 193 media event in Melbourne Australia’s Etihad Stadium and spoke to Etihad Stadium CEO Paul Sergeant about event logistics, seating, and those big screens!

November 15th (14th if you live outside of Australia) is going to be a date you’ll want to remember. It marks the day that the UFC will have a realistic chance of breaking their all-time attendance record.

The number to beat is 55,724 and is currently held by UFC 129, which featured two title fights including a featherweight classic between Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick, as well as Jake Shields taking on Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight strap.

Melbourne already plays host to some of Australia’s biggest sporting events, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final, Australian Open, Melbourne Cup, NRL Grand Final, and now could potentially be home of the biggest UFC event in promotional history. “How big” you ask? According to Dana White and Etihad Stadium CEO Paul Sergeant, possibly 70,000 screaming spectators big!

“It’s been three years in the making. It hasn’t just happened overnight” said Paul in regards to how long such a grand event has actually been in the pipeline.

When asked, the CEO wasn’t shy about expressing just how happy he was to be sitting on a potential record UFC attendance crowd:

“Thrilled, I think is the word. Yeah there’s a long way to go yet, but there is such a following of UFC, of this incredible sport throughout Australia. The feedback we’ve had over this time has been superb and been immense, and so now it can actually come to fruition and we can see this place packed to the rafters.”

Bringing 70,000 MMA fans to the event is a challenge in itself, but assuming every last ticket is sold, the question then becomes, how do you fit that amount of people into a stadium that only has approximately 55,000 permanent seats, and what’s to guarantee that everybody will have a clear view of the octagon come fight night?

“There will be seating on the floor, as you’d expect with a venue like this. So there’s something like 16,000 seats or so on the floor. The great thing about this venue, not only has it got a roof, but it’s also got retractable seating. So the seats in the lower tiers that you can see, they basically come in somewhere about 20 meters. So we can create a more rectangular feel and format and bring those lower tiers much closer to the action. So that’s what will be happening.”

“The viewing distances in this venue are incredible. It might have 55,000 permanent seats, but because of its design, it’s much more bowl shaped than saucer shaped. You’re actually closer to the action than you think”

Oh and those sweet screens in the middle of the arena that all the big UFC events get? You know the ones, they have graphics of an Irish flag or a Canadian flag swaying in the wind, depending on whether you’re Conor McGregor or Georges St. Pierre. Don’t worry, UFC 193 will feature those as well:

“Yeah the great thing for us about having the roof  is to be able to suspend a gondola from the roof, and on that gondola are screens.”

Check out the video above for the full interview and don’t forget to subscribe HERE for more UFC 193 coverage, weekly interviews, as well as a new “technique of the week” every Wednesday!

UFC 193 goes down on November 15th in Melbourne, Australia at Etihad Stadium. The card features a thrilling Welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit as it’s main event, as well as an exciting undercard, filled with local and international talent.

  • Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler vs. former interim Champion Carlos Condit
  • ‘The Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in a rematch of their 2013 classic war
  • Surging Aussie Middleweight Robert Whittaker vs. British Veteran Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping
  • Melbourne local Jake ‘The Celtic Kid’ Matthews vs. Mexican Akbarh ‘El Caballero’ Arreola
  • Aussie Kyle ‘Nasty’ Noke vs. Polish submission machine Peter Sobotta
  • Light Heavyweight veteran Anthony ‘The Hippo’ Perosh vs. Gian Villante
  • 4-time Olympion Judoka Dan Kelly vs. BJJ specialist Ricardo Abreu
  • and clash of the Aussies when Richie ‘Filthy Rich’ Walsh takes on Steven Kennedy.
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