UFC czar Dave White has wanted to play AT&T Stadium for years, with Jerry Jones sharing equal interest.
Alas, don’t prepare to spend your money on tickets to UFC at AT&T Stadium just yet. The arrival of UFC’s biggest name, Conor McGregor, to the Cowboys game on Sunday is not necessarily a sign that a UFC superfight is coming to Arlington any time soon.
If any UFC fighter could change the “rules” of the sport playing AT&T Stadium for the first time, McGregor is the only guy.
“It’s not at all out of the question,” Jerry said after the Cowboys’ 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McGregor was on the field before the game and visited with some of the Cowboys defensive backs. After quarterback Dak Prescott scored his touchdown, he emulated McGregor’s famous arm motion he so often flaunts in the Octagon.
“Nothing is preventing (UFC coming to AT&T Stadium),” Jerry said. “Those are, at best, they have a lot of nuances. A lot of things have to come together. It’s huge economics involved all the way around. They are not quite as easy as saying, ‘Let’s get in here and we’ll hold up the flag and let everybody know you’re out here and we’ll get a crowd.’ It takes a lot of work.
“I do think he’s the kind of guy with interest that might be really special here in North Texas.”
Jerry has hosted boxing events at AT&T Stadium before, most notably with Manny Pacquiao and Conor Alvarez each fighting some stiffs in different events over the years. The events drew big numbers.
Arlington hosted WWE’s WrestleMania in 2016.
A UFC event coming to AT&T Stadium is not like an Alvarez fight. And it’s nothing like WrestleMania.
Having McGregor play AT&T Stadium would require maybe not a full-fledged “Superfight” but close.
Per UFC officials, holding a “UFC Superfight” is a major pain. So much so that hosting them, despite their potential to generate large amounts of revenue, is not worth it.
In order to hold a “super fight” the card needs to be about five deep with top-tier matchups. Matches featuring the biggest names in the sport that can move the needle beyond loyal UFC fight fans; per UFC officials, the organization prefers a “superfight” to consist of five top-tier title fights.
That means all 10 to 12 fighters have to be healthy, and they all have to be good fighters. And every belt has to be on the line for what is essentially a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.
That’s a lot of moving parts. Almost too many.
McGregor is easily the biggest name in UFC, but to expect that he can sell 60,000 seats, which is what AT&T Stadium prefers to justify opening its doors, is a bit much.
UFC normally plays arenas with approximately 18,000 to 20,000 seats. It can fill those venues easily.
Dana White wants to play Jerry’s Night Club. Jerry Jones wants the UFC to come to his pad.
As big as Conor McGregor is right now, however, he is just not quite big enough to open AT&T Stadium all by himself.