UFC made its Boston debut last year at TD Garden, in front of a packed house of over 19,000 fans.
Since the successful show, which saw Frankie Edgar defend his title against BJ Penn in the main event and Randy Couture silence boxed James Toney, local fans have been clamoring for news of UFC's return.
Nothing has been announced, but president Dana White said last year he wasn't just coming to Boston for a one-shot deal.
And when UFC returns, what better place to one-up last year's spectacular than to run Fenway Park.
It would be the first time in the United States UFC has expanded to stadiums — they have had success in other countries, just drawing 55,000 people at the Rogers Centre in Toronto last month — and it's ready.
MMA's popularity has exploded locally, with even smaller local and regional shows selling out and bringing in several thousand fans for a night of fights. With the right card, cramming 40,000 people into Fenway Park would be easy for UFC.
"It's not if we do, it's when we do," White said in an interview last year. "We're doing it. We're coming to Fenway."
Timing wouldn't be easy — it would have to be held in a warm weather month, in line with the Red Sox season — but finding room on a Sox road trip should suffice.
If the Sox owners are fine with concert goers running all over field during off dates, what's different about a UFC show?
At the time of the interview, White was only focused on Fenway, but he did Toronto last year with Georges St. Pierre — a Canadian hero — fighting in the main event.
While Boston isn't home to a UFC headliner, there are plenty of New England fighters in the UFC. And there are enough big-money draws in UFC to get Boston fans excited.
Brock Lesnar, who had to back out of his scheduled fight against Junior Dos Santos due to diverticulitis, making his octagon return in front of one of the largest crowds to ever witness an MMA show should provide an adequate backdrop.
Cro Cop gets one more fight
Mirko Cro Cop has one of the most feared kicks in MMA history.
But the 36-year-old body is starting to break down, and despite originally saying we likely wouldn't see Cro Cop in UFC again, president Dana White has backed off his stance.
Cro Cop was knocked out by Brendan Schaub at UFC 128, a hot prospect who lost in the Ultimate Fighter finale to Roy Nelson two years ago.
"I have all respect for Mirko 'Cro Cop,' but yeah, I'd have to say tonight is probably the last time we'll see 'Cro Cop' fight again,"
White said after the fight. But now he's backing off.
According to Cro Cop's contract, he has one fight remaining in the UFC.
"I owe him another fight," White said. "Do I think he should have retired? Yeah. He's a man; he's a grown man. If he wants to continue to fight, that's his right."
In the past year, Cro Cop was knocked out by Schaub and knocked out by Frank Mir with a knee at UFC 119.
He's only been knocked out four times his entire career.
WCF 11 Announces fights
World Championship Fighting's return to action on June 18 is shaping up to be one of the most hyped New England cards of the year.
The main event will feature UFC veteran Dan Lauzon facing off against top-ranked New England Lightweight Noah Weisman for the 155-pound WCF Lightweight Championship.
The co-main event features a bout between two of New Englands top-five ranked featherweights with Anthony Leone (8-4) a WEC and Strikeforce veteran who last fought locally against Takei Matsuda at last year's XCFL 2 taking on Bill Jones (9-3).
Jones is a winner of five of his last six fights, finishing all of his opponents in the first round.
Perry Filkins, who beat Lawrence's Will Santiago in an upset at last month's Combat Zone 37, will face Marine Corp Staff Sergeant John Walsh, who is a veteran of eight combat tours with the US Marine Corps and 12 MMA fights.
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