UFC Signs Exclusive Deal With T-Mobile

UFC and T-Mobile Arena struck a multi-year partnership Friday to keep all UFC Las Vegas cards exclusively in the new arena.

The deal is for more than seven years, according to an official unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Though UFC previously staged Las Vegas bouts at the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay hotels, the organization owned by Beverly Hills-based WME/IMG has placed UFC 200, UFC 202, UFC 207 and Saturday’s UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena.

The 20,000-seat arena, which opened April 6, 2016, and is operated by AEG, is also to be the home of the newest NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.

A news statement detailing the deal said that “the comprehensive agreement calls for UFC to host a minimum of four events annually. UFC will have priority scheduling for its major events, such as International Fight Week, and will have a presence at T-Mobile Arena — headlining the welcome sign in the lobby alongside the Vegas Golden Knights, as well as concourse activations, signage and retail space.”

Since AEG also has venues well-suited for UFC cards worldwide, including Staples Center and London’s O2 Arena, this may be the first step toward similar exclusivity agreements.

“We’re in business with UFC all around the world and they’re very familiar with our venues,” AEG President Dan Beckerman said. “We would love to continue o grow that partnership, and if this is a model for how we can do that, the more we can be in business with market leaders, the better off we are”

UFC President Dana White said in the announcement that “Las Vegas has always been the home of UFC, and after more than a decade, it is awesome to now have a historic venue deal in the fight capital of the world to make it official.”

Meanwhile, Rick Arpin, senior vice president of entertainment for MGM Resorts International, said the deal doesn’t mean the end of MMA fights at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

“We certainly have that option if the UFC wants to do a ‘Fight Night,’ or requires lower capacity,” Arpin said. “But obviously the bigger fights, the goal is to sell the heck out of T-Mobile."

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