The Ultimate Fighting Championship will not return to Chicago in 2009 according to Marc Ratner, the UFC's vice president of regulatory affairs, but it may be coming to Indianapolis in 2010.
The UFC came to Chicago for the first time in October 2008 for UFC 90 at the Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont. The event took place just about three months after mixed martial arts regulation took effect in Illinois.
Some of the cities in which the UFC puts on events, outside of its Las Vegas base, have become fairly regular blips on the MMA radar screen. Columbus, Ohio, has hosted a UFC pay-per-view each March the last three years. Montreal has played host to highly successful cards the last two Aprils. But that apparently won't be the case for Chicago -- at least yet.
"Our schedule is pretty well done for this year," Ratner said, saying Chicago is not on the promotion's calendar for 2009. "But yeah -- we'd like to go back to Chicago. It's a great, great market. Maybe to the United Center this time. But we're also looking at cities like Memphis, (and) we're going to go to Portland (for UFC 102) at the end of August. We're very ambitious."
Ratner said the Midwest has been a market that has worked for the UFC. In the last three years, the world's largest MMA promotion has put on events in Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Minneapolis and Nashville in an attempt to go into as many new markets as possible.
And with legislation to regulate MMA in Indiana taking effect on July 1, the possibility for a UFC or World Extreme Cagefighting show in the Hoosier State comes into play. (The WEC is owned by Zuffa LLC, the same company that owns the UFC.) Chicago played host to WEC 40 in April.
Ratner said the UFC is interested in putting on a show in Indianapolis at Conseco Fieldhouse -- either a pay-per-view or a "Fight Night" card, which would air live on Spike TV -- and already has begun preliminary discussions to come to Indiana for the first time, but that would not happen until 2010 at the earliest.
The UFC in Indiana...it's about damn time!
"I'm like the superhero coming in with the anti-bullsh*t." - Nick Diaz