Alexander Volkanovski

UFC 293 Sydney Confirmed: NSW Government Inks Massive Fight Deal

The UFC is heading back down under for the first time since 2017, with Sydney set to host a series of fighting events over the next four years. The blockbuster partnership, worth a reported AUD$16 million, was announced by New South Wales (NSW) premier Chris Minns on Thursday. Three Sydney UFC events are set to land over the next four years, kicking off with the highly-anticipated UFC 293 on September 10. The event marks the first time since 2017 that a UFC event has been held on Australian soil, however, it wasn’t all good news. For fight fans, the announcement was bittersweet with the date all-but-confirming that Australia’s best fighter Alex Volkanovski won’t be stepping into the octagon.

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Image: Alex Volkanovski\Instagram

Image: Alex Volkanovski\Instagram

Due to the timing of the UFC 293 Sydney event, it’s unlikely that Volkanovski will be available to compete. The featherweight champion is currently preparing to defend his title against Mexican interim champ Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 9. Should he win, ‘The Great’ is expected to gun for a rematch against current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, who bested him in a controversial bout just a few short months ago. That fight famously took place in Perth, meaning that if Volkanovski vs Makhachev is happening, it would most likely take place overseas.

Instead, Australians are expected to have a different, albeit very familiar face to cheer on at UFC 293. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is the man most likely to take up the headline fight, setting up a juicy world-title bout against Israel Adesanya. Like Volkanovski, the 32-year-old is also fighting at UFC 290 and a win would only whet the appetite for more action.

Whittaker is set to face South African Dricus Du Plessis with UFC boss Dana White already indicating that the winner will face champion Adesanya in Sydney. Should the Aussie come out on top, he would only have nine weeks to prep for the epic conclusion to the pair’s remarkable world title trilogy.

“Stoked to have the office come to our backyard in September!” Whittaker announced on Instagram in response to the new deal signing.

Ufc 293 sydney 1

UFC 293 | Image: Robert Whittaker/Instagram

Both Volkanovski and Whittaker were on hand when NSW Premier Chris Minns officially unveiled the new UFC partnership on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. According to Minns, three pay-per-view events will take place in the Harbour City, injecting “tens of millions of dollars” into the NSW visitor economy.

“We are bringing three major UFC events to Sydney for the first time in more than a decade, which is a major coup for the people of NSW,” Minns said. “This government has a laser-sharp focus to ensure we continue securing a calendar of exclusive, diverse and unmissable events to boost our visitor economy, support local businesses and create more jobs, and that’s exactly what these UFC events will do.”

Image: Alex Volkanovski\Instagram

Image: Alex Volkanovski\Instagram

The announcement of the Sydney UFC deal comes just months after Perth hosted a blockbuster lineup at UFC 284. The event was a sell-out, generating an estimated AUD$6 million in gate revenue alone with a reported 68 per cent of ticket buyers travelling from interstate or overseas. According to Peter Kloczko, UFC vice president Australia and New Zealand, the New South Wales deal could prove even more lucrative.

“UFC events are the pinnacle of sports and entertainment,” he said. “Nothing compares to the UFC live event experience, which we are thrilled to be bringing to Sydney over the next four years. UFC events have massive local appeal with fans in all parts of Australia, while remaining relevant to a global audience of millions. Our events drive strong economic outcomes through industry-high visitation and marketing value by showcasing host cities to millions of engaged fans worldwide.”

The first Sydney UFC event will be held on September 10, however, no official fight card has been announced. More details are expected to be confirmed over the revealed weeks, with confirmation of Whittaker vs Adesanya likely to be the major drawcard.

UFC 293 | Image: Robert Whittaker/Instagram

UFC 293 | Image: Robert Whittaker/Instagram

Nick Hall
Editor-in-Chief

Nick Hall

Nick Hall is an award-winning journalist and the current Editor-in-Chief of Man of Many. With an extensive background in the media industry, he specialises in feature writing, lifestyle and entertainment content. Nick is the reigning Mumbrella Publish Awards ‘Editor of the Year’ and B&T ‘Best of the Best - Journalist’, courtesy of his work with Man of Many.

Prior to working at the men’s lifestyle publication, Nick spent two years as a journalist with Inside Franchise Business, focusing on small business, finance and legal reporting.