Before selling the organization to a group led by talent agency WME-IMG, casino tycoons Frank and Lorenzo Fertita, along with their close friend and current UFC president Dana White, brought mixed martial arts to life. Thanks to their brilliance and dedication, the Fertitas and White gradually erased the “human cockfighting” label and transformed the brand into a legitimate combat sport. Through milestone PPV events like UFC 100, UFC 200, and the recently concluded UFC 202, Las Vegas staked its claim as the premier fight capital of the world. It also helps that the organization formed a partnership with the newly opened T-Mobile Arena.
The aforesaid – not to mention record-breaking – fight cards UFC 200 and UFC 202 lived up to their respective billing. It also helped that both events were sort of appropriate for the glitz and the glamor of a recently established Las Vegas venue. For UFC’s 200th pay-per-view, the 20,000-seater arena saw the return of Brock Lesnar to mixed martial arts, as well as other dominant performances from Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and new women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. Shortly after, T-Mobile Arena hosted UFC 202, an event headlined by the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch, and was the first under new owners, WME-IMG.
There has been a long-standing connection between casinos and mixed martial arts – particularly the Ultimate Fighting Championship. By looking back at the UFC’s debut event more than two decades ago, as well as the plethora of new MMA promotions and fight cards today inside venues such as the MGM Grand, we’ll understand how it all makes sense. As much as these modern day warriors are the center of attention every time they compete, we, as fans, contribute to the overall excitement and vibe of it. Of course no one can deny how popular fight capitals such as Las Vegas present an appropriate stage for these high-profile affairs – especially nowadays when a lot of digital operators are taking a significant slice off the gaming market.
Apart from showcasing promotional events and hosting pay-per-view cards inside the state-of-the-art arena, the bridge that connects MMA to Sin City features traditional games with close-to-real-life likeness. In this day and age when the likes of Gala Casino provide an authentic online gaming experience through games that showcase iconic martial artists as well as Electronic Arts producing top-of-the-line mixed martial arts video game simulations, Vegas really has had to step up. With these constant influxes of technologies, Las Vegas had no other recourse but to diversify its portfolio of entertainment features – beginning with an up-and-coming sport such as MMA.
Considered as the world’s fastest growing sport, mixed martial arts, along with its personalities from top to bottom, are slowly penetrating the consciousness of fans and non-fans across the globe. We can even look at the current season of the Ultimate Fighter where competitors come from different countries such as South Africa, Japan, and Brazil. These aspects go hand in hand in terms of presenting a thrilling spectator sport like no other. If this link continues to grow over the years, then we can expect more great things to come from Las Vegas, the UFC, and MMA as a whole. As a matter of fact, the organization’s year-ender pay-per-view, UFC 207, is slated to take place at the T-Mobile Arena – highlighted by the rumored return of none other than Ronda Rousey.