Dana White says Salt Lake City a ‘destination’ city ahead of UFC 278


SALT LAKE CITY – Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White says he expects Utah State to continue a 17-game sellout streak for the promotion when UFC 278 comes to Vivint Arena August 20.

“Any of you who know how I work know that I love destinations. I love places where people want to travel. Just like the UFC, this place (Salt Lake City) is on fire right now. , continues to grow, prosper and become one of the world’s top destinations.

Ryan Smith, president of the Smith Entertainment Group and owner of the Utah Jazz, echoed White’s sentiments

“Something has changed where Salt Lake is not a flyover city and Utah is not a flyover state. I think it shows through concert tours, it shows through events like this, and it becomes a destination.

White doubled down on his comments later, showing his knowledge of the state and the perception its people have of their territory.

“I know you’ve got that chip on your shoulder because you think this place didn’t happen, yet you did. Believe me, Salt Lake City has happened,” White said. destination. It’s a place where you can come and stay in great hotels, eat in great restaurants, and shop. When people come for a fight weekend. It all depends on what’s going on, the atmosphere, buzz and energy of UFC Fight Night starting Thursday or Friday night is awesome. There’s nothing like it, and our people are going to come from all over the world. We’re going to take over the city .

White, who said he arrived in Salt Lake City minutes before Tuesday’s press conference, said he was impressed with Vivint Arena, although he only saw a small portion of the venue.

“I’ve been to arenas all over the world. It’s one of the nicest arenas I’ve been to,” said White. “I can’t wait to see what’s next. I can’t wait for our fans to come out and see (this place).

UFC 278 will headline with the main card of Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman vs. Leon “Rocky” Edwards. Usman will be looking to defend his welterweight title against Edwards.

Usman and Edwards previously fought in 2015. Usman won the first fight by unanimous decision.

Usman (20-1), No. 1 male pound-for-pound fighter, former winner of The ultimate fighter season 21, had wins over Colby Covington (twice), Jorge Masvidal (twice) and Gilbert Burns. Usman is now aiming to secure his sixth straight title defense against Edwards. He last fought last November and is recovering from a broken hand.

Edwards (19-3 1NC) is riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak since first meeting Usman in late 2015. He picked up wins over Nate Diaz, Rafael Dos Anjos and Vicente Luque en route to earning his first title opportunity UFC. His last fight dates back to June 2021.

Smith, who is the president of the Smith Entertainment Group that runs Vivint Arena, said bringing UFC 278 to Utah was a validation of Beehive State’s growing stature.

“I think this is just the beginning,” Smith said. “I think it shows you the growth of Utah and what everyone has been working for for so long. And so it’s only at a point in time that we’re going to see that pay off. You will start to see more and more of them. We’re just happy to be part of it.

UFC 278 will be the second time Salt Lake City has hosted a UFC event. The first was a UFC Fight Night, featuring Yair Rodriguez against Alex Caceres in August 2016. This will be Salt Lake City’s first-ever pay-per-view event.

The fights are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. (MDT) on August 20 at Vivint Arena.

Tickets for UFC 278 go on sale this Friday, June 24 at 10 a.m. (MDT) and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com

Featured Undercard Fights

Other featured fights that are scheduled include:

Former UFC featherweight champion and current No. 3 ranked bantamweight contender Jose Aldo (31-7) takes on No. 6 Merab Dvalishvili (14-4)

No. 4 flyweight Paulo Costa (13-2) takes on former champion Luke Rockhold (16-5)

13-ranked flyweight Amir Albazi (14-1) will face Francisco Figueiredo (13-4-1 1NC)

10-ranked heavyweight Marcin Tybura (22-7) will face undefeated No. 13 Alexandr Romanov (18-0)

White mentioned that the map will be filled in more completely as the event approaches and added that he would expect to see fighters from Utah or those with ties to the state on the map.

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