If you like your fight weeks supersized, UFC’s got you covered. For one thing, you’ve got bitter rivals Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen battling at UFC 148 on July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden. For another, you’ve got what UFC promises will be its biggest ever fan expo July 7-8 at Mandalay Bay. And now there’s more: This is the first International Fight Week, the fruit of a recent partnership between UFC and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
“For years, the UFC has done a big Vegas show around the Fourth of July weekend and now we’ve made it a focal point in our calendar,” UFC President Dana White says of Fight Week, which features everything from pool parties to pub crawls with fighters and octagon girls.
“We’re going to build this thing to the point where every fan on the planet knows they have to come to Vegas for this July fight week at least once in their lives,” White says.
While White & Co. believe MMA fans will flock to Fight Week the way cowboys do for the National Finals Rodeo or electronic dance music fans for the Electric Daisy Carnival, it might be tough to top the inaugural offering because of the bad blood between the mild-mannered middleweight champ Silva and the outspoken Sonnen.
“What I’m going to do inside the octagon is something that’s going to change the image of the sport,” says an enraged Silva, who defeated Sonnen with a come-from-behind choke in the final moments of their first match in August 2010.
“I’m going to make sure that every one of his teeth are broken, his arms are broken [and] his legs are broke. He’s not going to be able to walk out of the octagon by himself. I can guarantee that.”