Dana White Discusses UFC APEX Cards Future & Planned Masterpiece for Sphere

UFC President Dana White plans to host more events in various cities rather than at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, with a special event planned at the Sphere in Las Vegas for UFC 306, which he claims will be a unique, one-off experience due to the significant financial investment involved.

Dana White, a Las Vegas local, is looking to hit the road more often. He’s got a soft spot for his adopted city, but he’s itching to travel.

UFC St. Louis was a smashing success. It broke records, raking in over $2.47 million and becoming the biggest live gate for any UFC Fight Night card. This success has Dana White thinking about taking more cards on the road in 2024 and beyond.

The UFC APEX has been a regular host for shows, especially during the global pandemic. Even with crowds filling arenas worldwide, UFC continues to promote events at its in-house arena in Las Vegas. But Dana White is looking to shake things up.

During a financial call last week, TKO Group Holdings president Mark Shapiro expressed a desire to take more cards on the road. However, CFO Andrew Schleimer warned that the UFC APEX offers the lowest possible cost structure for live events. Despite this, White is keen to reduce events at the UFC APEX. Will these cards ever completely disappear? Only time will tell.

White has been vocal about his desire to move away from the APEX. “We’ve got to get out of the APEX and start doing more events in all these different cities,” he said at the UFC St. Louis post-fight press conference. “We’re starting to do it. We’re getting it done this year.”

The success in St. Louis was a clear sign. The UFC needs to start traveling more, even if the APEX is a convenient, no-frills location with in-house production.

“As we start to get our shit together, I will call it, and start to move out and start to go to these different cities like we used to, the whole sport just goes to another level,” White said.

One event that’s going to be closer to home is UFC 306, scheduled for Sphere in Las Vegas in September. Sphere is a massive $2.3 billion structure with over 580,000 square feet of LED screens. It’s set to host UFC’s new annual card during Mexican Independence Day weekend.

White got the idea to hold a UFC event at Sphere after attending a concert there in 2023. But putting on a UFC event at Sphere requires a significant financial investment. White acknowledged it’s going to be a one-time thing, but it’s going to be unforgettable.

“I’m telling you guys right now, we literally just went through the storyboards two days ago on this thing — this is going to be the sickest live event in combat sports that anybody has ever seen and it will never be done again,” White teased.

He declined to reveal much about what’s going to set the card at Sphere apart from any other UFC show. But he could barely contain his excitement when talking about it.

No fights have been announced yet for UFC 306, but it’s expected that flyweight champion Alexa Grasso will defend her title against Valentina Shevchenko.

“As it gets closer, I’ll lay this thing out for you guys. I’m telling you, it’s going to be so bad ass,” White said. “I’m super excited about it. Let me put it to you this way, when we were going through the storyboards, I was getting f*cking goosebumps. Imagine when it’s actually happening and wait until you see the people that I brought together to pull this thing off. As we get closer, I’ll let you guys know, but this is going to be something special.

“This is going to be a f*cking masterpiece. I’m telling you right now, and this will be a fact, this will never be done again.”

“You know what’s going to happen when I do this event at the Sphere? Every other event that goes in there is going to go, ‘Motherf*cker, what do we do now? How do we even come close to competing with this?'” White added.

“We’re going to f*cking blow the doors off anything that ever goes into that arena again. I f*cking guarantee it.”


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