‘Greatest live combat sports show’ — UFC heading to Las Vegas’ Sphere next year 

UFC CEO Dana White experienced a show at the Las Vegas Sphere and knew he wanted to host his own. He'll have the chance to do so next year.

By: Nate Wilcox | 4 weeks ago
‘Greatest live combat sports show’ — UFC heading to Las Vegas’ Sphere next year 
The UFC is headed to the Las Vegas Sphere next year. | Amiee Stubbs / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

UFC is setting up the Octagon at the Las Vegas Sphere

UFC CEO Dana White said he was going to set up the Octagon at the Las Vegas Sphere. A month after saying so, we officially have a date for the first-ever UFC event at the Sphere.

“Mexican Independence Day, we are booked for The Sphere,” said White during his UFC 295 post-fight press conference. “And we are already working on the creative for the show.”

The Sphere has the capacity to hold almost 19,000 fans and features a 16K resolution wraparound interior LED screen. On the outside is the world’s largest LED screen, comprised of 580,000 square feet of LED light panels.

But it isn’t an easy venue to work in.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the Sphere faces “operational challenges.”

“Things like ingress, egress and turnover time between the concert and challenges in the opening, but it seems to be getting better,” Executive Chairman and CEO James Dolan said.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge, and I love every minute of it,” said White. “I can’t wait to dive into this thing. We’re reaching out — as I get more of the pieces of the puzzle put together, I will let you guys know as it comes along. I am super excited about this. I love challenges. 

“Everyone keeps saying to me, ‘I don’t understand how you’re going to put the Octagon in there. I don’t understand how you’re going to do this, I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,’” continued White. “Remember that I said this to you tonight: I’m going to put on the greatest live combat sports show anybody has ever seen.”

UFC Noche was a big success this year and will likely be even bigger in 2024, at the Sphere.

UFC CEO Dana White previously expressed interest in the Sphere

Dana White was one of several attendees at the star-studded U2 concert, which was the first event held at the Sphere. After getting to experience the show, White was already trying to figure out how to get the Octagon in there.

“I’ve been talking to MSG every day since [I went to the venue],” said White at a Contender Series post-fight press conference. “The experience was amazing. Have you guys gone yet? It’s special. It’s incredible. So, yes, I have been torturing them since I left on Saturday. I literally had my secretary call and make a Zoom meeting with them again today.

“These boxing guys are calling them up going, ‘oh, we want do a fight,’ those f—ing guys,” continued White. “They’re not going to spend the money to put a f—ing show on in there. Those guys can’t even do f—ing replays, for Christ’s sake. They think they’re going to f—ing put on an event at The Sphere.”

Of course all of this hinges on The Sphere still being in business next year as it’s already lost $100 million.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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