UFC in Mexico: Dana White says MMA promotion will ‘go all over’ country

UFC MMA ring

UFC president Dana White says the MMA promotion has “huge plans” for Mexico and will use its new facility in the country to look for world champions.

Businessman White opened a new UFC Performance Institute (PI) in Mexico City days before UFC Fight Night 37 at Mexico City Arena on Saturday, which was headlined by American Brandon Royval’s win over home fighter Brandon Moreno.

“With the opening of the PI, we have huge plans for Mexico – and it’s not just Mexico City,” White said after the sixth UFC event in Mexico and the first since the start of the Covid pandemic.

“I want to go all over Mexico. The UFC is officially here in Mexico now. We actually planted a flag here. We have a our own building here now. We have our facility. We’re going to be doing a lot in this country now.”

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The UFC’s Las Vegas PI is known as a key development base for the organisation and is frequently lauded by fighters.

“There’s going to be a combine there and we’re going to decide which guys we’re going to keep to train there at the Performance Institute,” White said of the Mexican version.

“But the other thing we’re going to do is look for people who we think have potential to break into the top 10 or potentially be world champions.”

UFC Fight Night 237 Mexico sold out

More than 21,000 fans filled a sold-out arena and White sees signs that MMA can thrive in a boxing-crazed country, although he says there is “still a lot of work to do”.

“I was driving to the arena the other day,” he recalled. “There’s this huge playground – swings, things that spin around and a boxing ring in the middle.

“That tells you how crazy it is for us to be down here and doing what we’re doing. This is just the beginning.”

The first UFC event in Mexico attracted a similarly large attendance to the arena in November 2014.

Among the other fights on the latest card to be held there, Mexican Yair Rodriguez lost his featherweight bout to Brian Ortega.

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