Paddy Pimblett and Conor McGregor have called on the UFC to hold an event at a stadium for years, but UFC president Dana White isn't budging on his position regarding outdoor events.
In a new interview with The Spinnin Backfist MMA Show, White re-affirmed his position that outdoor stadium shows were a bad idea, especially in climates like the UK and Ireland where it rains so much. He said:
"Yeah, I'm not going outside. I'm definitely not going outside in f***ing England. Listen, if you're going to go outside you go to Abu Dhabi where it's hot as hell and absolutely not going to rain. But I don't even like that. I don't like having any outside factors that can affect the fight. Heat, wind, any of that stuff that can hurt the outcome of a fight, I don't like."
Watch Dana White discuss outdoor stadiums below:
The UFC has been notoriously resistant to holding stadium shows over the years. Past the weather issues, White has said in the past that he feels like stadiums are too big,and fans can't see the fights well enough to make it worthwhile.
Over the 20 plus years since White became president of the UFC, the promotion has only held events in stadiums five times. All five of those stadiums had retractable roofs.
That rules out Anfield Stadium, a 53,000 seat arena in Liverpool that Paddy Pimblett hoped to fill one day as a UFC headliner. It also rules out stadiums in Dublin, Ireland that Conor McGregor was calling for. Croke Park holds 82,000 fans and the Aviva Stadium holds 51,700. Both are open-air without roofs.
There is hope for more stadium shows, though. The 100,000 capacity AT&T Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas has a retractable roof. So does the 71,000 seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Paddy Pimblett returns against Jordan Leavitt at UFC London in July
For now Paddy Pimblett will have to make do with fights in his home country of England. After making his UFC debut at the UFC Apex, 'The Baddy' was the star of the show at the UFC's return to London in March. He'll return to action when the UFC returns to the O2 Arena on July 23 against Jordan Leavitt.
While Pimblett is definitely a star attraction already, he's still working his way up the card. The UFC just released their poster for the next UFC London card, and Paddy Pimblett is nowhere to be seen.
That's where the UFC's dedication to ranking comes into play. Paddy Pimblett is currently unranked at lightweight and fighting a fellow unranked fighter. With so many other ranked fighters on the card like Curtis Blaydes, Tom Aspinall, Jack Hermansson, and Darren Till to feature, Pimblett will have to make do with the idea that he's the people's main event.