The UFC acknowledged the directives of the Australian State of Victoria government which should increase safety for MMA by allowing for a fenced-in enclosure.
The directives were announced yesterday by Minister of Sport John Eren.
They helped clear the way for the announcement of UFC 193, which will take place November 15th in Melbourne.
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“This is a major milestone for mixed martial arts in Victoria, which will allow the sport to flourish while at the same time better protecting its competing athletes,” UFC Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Australia, New Zealand and Canada Tom Wright said.
Previously, boxing rings were required for MMA competitions. The UFC uses a 8-sided octagon enclosure, designed to prevent fighters from becoming entangled or falling through it.
Some of Australia’s top fighters weighed in on the announcement.
No.5 ranked UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt (10-9-1, fighting out of Sydney)
“Just like a jockey needs a horse or a tennis player needs a racquet or a V8 driver needs a car – mixed martial artists, UFC fighters need the Octagon®. It’s our tool for competition – to make competition fair and safe. I’m excited that the UFC can now come to Melbourne and trust me, I want to be there competing to make sporting history.”
Robert Whittaker (13-4, fighting out of Sydney)
“This progress in Melbourne is an amazing opportunity for the Australian MMA community. The UFC is already bringing more events to Australia and this new destination opens up more opportunities for aspiring mixed martial artists. As a MMA fighter myself, it would be an honour and privilege to compete in Melbourne and make history!”
Vik Grujic (7-5, fighting out of Melbourne)
“MMA in Melbourne will no longer fall behind the rest of the world because of ignorance.”
Kyle Noke (fighting out of Albuquerque, USA via Dubbo, Australia)
“We now finally get the chance to fight in front of a home crowd in the sporting capital of Australia. This is a dream come true for me and the rest of the UFC competitors representing Australia around the world.”
Daniel Kelly (9-0 fighting out of Melbourne)
“It’s only fitting to have the fastest growing sport in the world in the sporting capital of Australia. Personally it would be a dream to compete in the UFC in my hometown.”
Brendan O’Reilly (5-1-1, fighting out of Brisbane)
“This is a momentous occasion for the sport of MMA in Victoria, Australia and the growth of the UFC worldwide. Melbourne has some of the most passionate sports fans in the world, and I can’t wait to fight in the UFC Octagon® in front of a live Victorian audience.”
Soa Palelei (22-4, fighting out of Perth)
“Being able to fight in the UFC is a dream come true. Being able to compete in Australia is the icing on the cake. I’m extremely proud to be Australian and being able to do what I love for my country is truly gratifying. With Melbourne now able to host the UFC, I can see MMA growing immensely and I cannot wait till Perth also gets on board.”
Richie Vaculik (10-4, fighting out Sydney)
“So good to hear that finally the Victorian government has come to its senses and allowed MMA to be performed in its safest environment: the Octagon®. I can’t wait to be a part of a spectacular UFC event in Melbourne.”
Alex Chambers(4-2, fighting out of Sydney)
“Fantastic news that the ban will no longer remain in Victoria for MMA bouts inside a fenced-in enclosure. There was a big misconception about what was actually banned, which I feel has hindered MMA in Australia although the sport was always legal. A really great day for all MMA athletes and fans, not just in Victoria but all of Australia”