The UFC has held events in Europe on many occasions now but not yet here in Scotland. Frustrating, as there is such a huge appetite for the sport here. In fact, you could even say that a Scottish event would be somewhat of homecoming for the UFC; those know their history will be aware that the UFC was born as a result of the Gracie family’s desire to show the world that their form of Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was the most effective martial art in the world, and it was during a twitter conversation I had with the great Renzo Gracie that he mentioned his family’s Scottish bloodline. Gracie is a traditional Scottish surname after all so I did some quick research and it seems MMA’s legendary Gracie family descended from George Gracie, a Scotsman from an area in the South West of Scotland called Dumfries. George emigrated to Brazil in 1826 when he was in his mid-twenties and is the great grandfather of BJJ founders Carlos and Helio Gracie.
I decided therefore to send a tweet to Dana White (on August 9th) asking if he was bringing the UFC to Scotland in 2015. Dana replied almost straight away with a simple “YUP”. Superb! I understood that the UFC had looked at Scotland in the past but were not overly satisfied that the arenas we had at the time were suitable for an event. That has changed. In 2013, Glasgow opened a brand new purpose built £125 Million arena, the SSE Hydro (pictured above). It is an awesome arena and with a capacity of 13,000 is absolutely perfect for a UFC event. I must stress at this point that the UFC have not announced where or when the event will take place, but there is not other arena more suited to the UFC than the SSE Hydro.
The timing couldn’t be better either as Scotland now has a legitimate title contender in Joanne Calderwood. Joanne has just returned to Scotland after filming TUF 20 and anyone who has seen her fight will know that she has something special. I believe Joanne’s stand up game in particular is second to none in her division and now that she has added a pretty decent ground game to her arsenal I am absolutely certain that Joanne has all the tools to become the UK’s first UFC Champion.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Joanne’s coronation could come as soon as the TUF Finale in December, and what a fairytale story it would turn out to be if her first title defence was to take place here in Glasgow the following year.
But regardless of who is eventually on the Scottish card, whether it’s Joanne’s title defence or not, the important thing for me is that the UFC is finally coming to Scotland. And when it does, I guarantee that Dana, and the rest of the MMA world, will be absolutely blown away by Scotland and Scottish fight fans, and there is no question that we will make Dana’s new toy that measures decibel levels of the crowd simply quit under the strain.
I will eat my kilt if I’m wrong!
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