The Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to take place in Brisbane this weekend, inside a fenced ring called ‘the Octagon’ that has been of particular interest to MMA professionals and industry bodies in recent times. While the box-like structure gives the impression of ‘cage-fighting’, it provides a safety precaution in preventing boxers from being thrown out of the ropes. The use of the Octagon was banned in Victoria in 2007 by the Brumby government, and following the findings of Western Australia Combat Sports Commission earlier this year, it was also banned in Victoria. Queensland’s decision to maintain use of the structure for Mixed Martial Arts competitions was, according to the Fairfax, the deciding factor in Brisbane being chosen to host the next Ultimate Fighting Championship. As reported, Tom Wright – the Director of the Ultimate Fighting Championship events in Canada, Australia and New Zealand – has stated that no event shall take place in venues that do not allow the use of the Octagon. Since the announcement of the ban in Perth, the Director has confirmed that Brisbane venue will again be used.
The upcoming event has already sold out all of its 12,000 tickets and is expected to be a huge economic driver for local businesses and tourism. Tom Wright told NineMSN News that if the event was to be held in Victoria’s Etihad Stadium, which holds up to 55, 000 people, the flow-over effect would be up to $50 million. These figures are based on economic impact reports in other venues that hold the same amount of people. With Melbourne’s reputation as the premium events city in the country, only time will tell if the ban will be lifted to the relief of eager martial arts enthusiasts.