First New York, and now Germany. The UFC enters another big market with an announcement that was made before the weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski. The UFC’s promotional debut will take place on September 3rd in the city of Hamburg.
There are currently no fights announced for the card, which will be featured as a Fight Night event to be held in the prominent 16,000-seat Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg. Tickets go on sale May 27th and there will be no shortage of European-based fighters hoping to take part.
Back in 2009, the UFC held UFC 99 in Cologne, which featured a catchweight bout that saw Rich Franklin beat Wanderlei Silva and Cain Velasquez beat Cheick Kongo (both by unanimous decision).
The following year, UFC 122 was held in Oberhausen, and headlined by Nate Marquardt vs Yushin Okami, despite televised MMA being banned in Germany by the Bavarian State Media Authority from March 2010 due to “the extent of violence [being] shown to be unacceptable.”
The UFC had intended to hold regular events in Germany, but only went back there once more, for Fight Night 41: Munoz vs Muosasi in Berlin in 2014. The television ban from 2010 to 2015 represented a political battle the UFC faced across the globe, with arguments that the sport was brutal and a bad influence on young people.
Eventually Zuffa had the ban overturned by the Administrative Court in Munich. The court ruling that the ban was not legal and that MMA was a genuine sport.
Who will fight on the Hamburg card?
One possibility is Dennis Siver, who fights BJ Penn at UFC 199 in June. The popular German fighter may have enough recovery time to fight on the card if he doesn’t sustain an injury in his fight with Penn. He would need to take only a couple of weeks off post-fight before going back into training camp.
Andrei Arlovski (Belarus) and Alistair Overeem (Holland) would both have four months off after their May 8 fight, and one of them may feature in their native Europe again. Although perhaps Alexander Gustaffson (Sweden) is a more likely inclusion.
Michael Bisping defeated Anderson Silva back in February at UFC Fight Night 84 and afterward said he wanted a title shot, so it remains to be seen if he would be interested in a Fight Night card after that. Similarly, Conor McGregor wouldn’t be on a Fight Night card, unless the UFC really wants to kick him while he’s down.
As far as the European competitors are concerned, we can probably expect more up-and-coming fighters on this card.