With the staggering success of New Zealand’s UFC athletes in 2018, the promotion is not ruling out a pay-per-view event in the country in the near future.
Only two UFC events have taken place in New Zealand in the past with both being Fight Night events. Historically, the nature of the small New Zealand market has meant it has not been seen as a pay-per-view destination
With the rise of the current crop of New Zealand talent however and current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker’s strong ties to the country, a massive event in Auckland could make sense in the future.
The UFC have not yet committed to all their pay-per-view dates for 2019 and David Shaw, UFC senior vice president international and content has stated that a pay-per-view event in the country could occur.
“It’s very possible,” Shaw said following UFC Adelaide on Sunday.
“The last couple of fights in Auckland have been great. The (James) Te Huna fight was a big night for us because it was the first time and obviously when Mark Hunt beat Derrick Lewis it felt like the roof was going to fall off at Spark Arena, so we’ll be back there at some point.”
When the UFC first went to Auckland in 2014, Dan Hooker made his UFC debut and was the first fighter to compete in the UFC who trained locally.
Fast forward to 2018 and New Zealand based MMA fighters have gone 9-0 in the UFC this calendar year with Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, Luke Jumeau, Shane Young and Kai Kara-France all collecting wins. The bolstering of the Kiwi contingent makes the likelihood of a show in Auckland all the more possible.
A big main event would be required should the UFC bring a PPV event to the country. Should Whittaker and Adesanya both pick up wins at UFC 234 in Melbourne in February, then a decision will be made as to where they fight.
“As the beginning part of the year unravels and we see what actually happens in Melbourne then I think that’s going to lead us to make some decisions for the second part of the year,” Shaw continued.
With Whittaker having been born in Auckland and Adesanya having lived there for most of his life, Auckland would certainly have to be on the list of destinations for the fight to take place.
My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook. I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.