MANCHESTER, ENGLAND | For the third straight year, Chicago will be a crucial part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's broadcast partnership with Fox.
The UFC will once again return to the United Center in January for a nationally televised show on Fox the week before the network hosts the Super Bowl. The card falls in the off week in between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
UFC President Dana White this past week announced several key components of the promotion's 2014 broadcast schedule, and Chicago was one of them.
In 2014, the UFC will put on more shows than it ever has before, growing to 35 from the 32 that will take place in 2013. Included in that group are 13 pay-per-view events, four events on "big" Fox, 14 shows on Fox Sports 1 and four cards on Fox Sports 2.
The UFC is planning a major international push in 2014, including six planned shows in Europe in locales ranging from London to Lodz, Poland, so for Chicago to again draw the first Fox event of the calendar year appears to be a feather in the city's cap and an indicator that the promotion and the network have been pleased with the results the first two visits.
In 2012, UFC on Fox 2 took place at the UC and was headlined by a light heavyweight fight between then-Chicago resident and Michigan State wrestling product Rashad Evans and Penn State wrestling alum Phil Davis. In 2013, UFC on Fox 6 featured a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson.
UFC on Fox 2 drew an announced attendance of nearly 17,000 for a $1.27 million live gate. UFC on Fox 6 brought in more than 16,000 fans, again for a $1.27 million gate.