UFC president Dana White: UFC will have a card in Seattle area ‘this year’
The UFC has followed a meteoric rise to become one of the most popular sports organizations in the world, bolstered by the fact that it now has a giant broadcast rights deal with ESPN.
There’s something that has been absent for the latter period of that rise, however – events in the Seattle area. A nearly seven-year drought in the Puget Sound is set to come to an end, though, according to UFC president Dana White.
In an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Get in the Cage with Bob Stelton, White said the world’s biggest MMA league will make its way to the Pacific Northwest in 2020.
“We’ll be back in Seattle this year,” White told Stelton on Friday. “We’re also going up to Oregon this year, we’re going to San Francisco this year, so we’re starting to creep our way up (the) Northwest.”
The UFC has held three events in its history in Seattle: a UFC Fight Night on March 26, 2011, a UFC on FOX event on Dec. 8, 2012, and another UFC on FOX card on July 27, 2013. All three of those events happened at KeyArena, and that’s where this story gets intriguing.
The KeyArena is no longer, as a new arena is being built under the iconic roof that housed both KeyArena and its predecessor, the Seattle Coliseum, on the campus of Seattle Center. That as yet unnamed venue won’t be done until sometime in 2021, when Seattle’s new NHL franchise will begin play. That means the 2020 Seattle-area UFC event will almost assuredly take place outside of the Seattle city limits, with the 23,000-capacity Tacoma Dome a likely landing spot. Other potential venues are Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena (10,000 capacity) or Kent’s Showare Center (7,000).
While Seattle does have both CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park in its city limits, the UFC almost exclusively runs its cards in arenas with capacities similar to the Tacoma Dome or smaller.
The last UFC event in Seattle drew an attendance of 8,967, which was a significant drop from the first two. That could have been due to the fact that it came only about seven months after the previous card at KeyArena, which drew 14,412. The inaugural event in Seattle in 2011 had an attendance of 13,741.
Listen to the full Get in the Cage episode with White in the player below or download it at this link.