The UFC has long flirted with the idea of promoting an event inside a massive European football stadium. Perhaps the most notable discussions to this end occured when Conor McGregor announced his desire to headline a card inside Dublin’s Croke Park.
As it turns out, however, McGregor may instead find himself headlining a show inside Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain – home to Real Madrid.
According to a report from Newstalk.com, who communicated with a spokesperson from Madrid, there is definite interest in hosting a UFC event at Bernabeu.
“[We would] be glad if we could make a UFC event [and] our stadium can hold more than 80,000 fans,” the spokesperson told Newstalk.
Apparently, Madrid has not yet addressed the possibility of McGregor headlining this potential UFC event, but given the Irishman’s growing friendship with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, this seems like a logical choice. Their friendship dates back to July, when Ronaldo visited McGregor’s training camp in Las Vegas, and squared off in the Octagon for an Instagram post. Since then, McGregor and Ronaldo are said to have attended a VIP party hosted by pop star Jennifer Lopez together.
While the prospect of McGregor packing Bernabeu to the rafters with European fans is certainly exciting to think about, however, there are several substantial obstacles in the way of such an event.
First of all, a UFC pay-per-view set in Europe would once again force the UFC to navigate international timezones, as they did when they took over Manchester, England with UFC 204 in early October. To accommodate North American viewers, that event’s main card didn’t start until 3am local time. This would likely be the case again if the organization were to host a pay-per-view in Spain.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of McGregor’s looming lightweight title fight with Eddie Alvarez, which is scheduled for the main event of UFC 205 in New York City this November 12. If McGregor comes up short in this encounter, the appeal of his headlining a card in mainland Europe loses quite a bit of juice.
Given McGregor’s history of breaking records and defying precedent, a massive event in a European football stadiums seems like a fairly logical next step. For the moment, however, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
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