After premiering in 2002 with UFC 38, the United Kingdom has been the most common country to host a UFC event outside of the United States and has held an event every year since 2007. 2011, however, could see the end of that streak.
Speaking with ESPN’s Gareth Davies, UFC UK vice-president Marshall Zelaznik spoke on the lack of events, including scheduling issues for targeted October event with venues that have held previous UFC events, such as The O2 Arena and The Manchester Evening News Arena. Meanwhile, the UFC has continued to book events for the remainder of 2011, with scheduled events already in December, where Montreal again plays host to UFC 140.
England has typically held at least one event during the fall or winter, dating back to 2007 with UFC 75. In the span of nine months from April to January 2008, the country hosted three different events, along with one in Northern Ireland, all in different venues.
Some of the biggest events of the last five years have been held there, including the aforementioned UFC 75, which unified the UFC and Pride light heavyweight belts as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson defeated Dan Henderson by unanimous decision. Also, UFC 80, which saw BJ Penn defeat Joe Stevenson for the lightweight championship.
Since then, smaller events have been relegated there, with UFC 105 and UFC 120 being the most recent cards. Both events had record attendance numbers, but poor results in both main event fights and total viewers.
While hosting an event in 2011 is not entirely out of the question, Zelaznik states “there is less than a 20 percent chance of that happening.” It seems that the United Kingdom will have to wait until early 2012 to bring the UFC back to the island.
Pictured: Michael Bisping