Senegal likely destination for first-ever UFC event in Africa

Senegal could be the first African nation to host the UFC’s first event on the continent in what is being described by organizers as a “seminal event in history.”

Africa is the only continent yet to host a UFC event, and sources close to the UFC have hinted that is set to change at some point next year with the Dakar Arena the most likely destination for the maiden event.

“A UFC event in Africa has been on our radar for many years,” Lawrence Epstein, the UFC’s chief operating officer, told BBC Sport Africa.

“The first thing we look for is an arena that suits our size requirements. We like those arenas that are within the 12,000 to 20,000 range (of seats).

“Africa certainly has some smaller arenas – there is nothing wrong with that but we like to pack arenas, to create a tremendous amount of energy and, of course, the more tickets you have to sell the better.

“That’s why Dakar is leading because they have one of the larger arenas in sub-Saharan Africa and a lot of events have already gone there with success.

“Senegal is top of the list based on the information that our team has put together.

“The next step is to get our entire operation team down to do a site survey, evaluate the arena and all the infrastructure we need to put on an event.”

The Dakar Arena, located in Diamniadio, 19 miles outside Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, opened in August 2018 and boasts a capacity of 15,000.

Africa’s representation in the UFC includes Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya, Francis Ngannou from Cameroon, and Kamaru Usman.

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