The United States of America is a hotbed for sports. Here in the good ole US of A, we love our baseball, (gridiron) football, basketball, soccer, what have you.
MMA has gained a substantial amount of steam here in the states. Whether it’s a regional promotion, such as Cage Fury Fighting Championships, Titan FC, or Fury FC, there is a good chance that fight fans have fights to watch every weekend, even during those when the UFC is dark.
Expansion Opportunities for Cage Warriors
Across the pond, the top promotion for competitive violence is Graham Boylan’s Cage Warriors, a mainstay on the UFC Fight Pass schedule of events for almost seven and a half years. Periodically, Cage Warriors will head to the United States for trips to San Diego, having done so since 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic halted traditional shows for more than a year’s time. Another visit to San Diego is scheduled for next Friday, September, 8th.
𝗢𝗡𝗘 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 𝗢𝗨𝗧‼️
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) September 1, 2023
Where To Next?
Aside from the visits to Sycuan Casino and Resort in San Diego, Cage Warriors has stayed mostly out of the United States, optioning to stay close to home in Europe. With MMA now firmly entrenched as a global sport, much like The Beautiful Game of soccer, a salient question has to be raised here:
Why hasn’t Cage Warriors chosen to add more United States markets to its itinerary? With so many cities in America embracing MMA, the time has come for Boylan and the promotion to expand its footprint across the Stars and Stripes.
Where should they head off to in the States? Thankfully, the answers to these questions are fairly easy to come up with.
New York City
It’s been more than seven years since New York State legalized MMA. Back in the spring of 2016, an overwhelming vote of approval to the tune of 113-25 by the assembly put an end to more than two decades of resistance toward competitive violence.
Since then, the UFC has made an annual trek to Madison Square Garden in November for a pay-per-view event, only missing its date at The World’s Most Famous Arena in 2020 due to COVID-induced restrictions preventing a traditional event in The Big Apple.
Less than a year after the UFC’s first New York City card, rival promotion Bellator MMA held a show of its own at MSG. With the UFC, Bellator, and the PFL all having held shows in New York, Graham Boylan should consider the area as a city for a future Cage Warriors show.
The Theater Would be the Perfect Venue
The main hall of Madison Square Garden and its theater have been utilized interchangeably for combat sports over the years. If Cage Warriors is to expand to the US and go to New York, The Theater at Madison Square Garden would have to be the site for the show.
Cage Warriors is often seen as a springboard to the UFC and several other premier US-based MMA promotions. If a fighter scores a victory in Cage Warriors at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, they could impress the likes of Dana White or Scott Coker and eventually find themselves battling in the main hall of the arena.
When you think of combat sports inside the United States, you probably think of one city before any other: Las Vegas, NV. This one is almost too obvious.
On any given Saturday night, if there’s a marquee fight to be contested, it’ll be in Las Vegas nine times out of 10. Besides the high stakes in the casinos, Las Vegas is known for the big battles inside the ring or the cage.
As for the venue in Las Vegas where Cage Warriors could hold its shows, that’s a slam dunk, too.
Cage Warriors and the UFC have had a healthy working relationship for close to a decade now, and since the promotion has regularly been a stepping stone to the UFC, its Apex facility in nearby Enterprise would be the perfect place for a card. No one could have ever predicted that the Apex would be utilized with great frequency when it first opened four years ago.
Initially forecast to be used for Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter television series, the pandemic meant that the Apex would play host to nearly every event for about a year. This slimmed-down arena with an intimate maximum capacity has become a mainstay on the UFC’s calendar of events.
A successful Cage Warriors appearance may lead to another fight at the Apex on Contender Series. Apex shows are always exciting to watch, and one from Cage Warriors would be no exception.
For the final stop on this tour of the United States, we stay on the West Coast. Besides New York City, Los Angeles is the biggest media market in America. Every major US sport has at least one team calling LA its home.
Whether it’s the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Rams, or Chargers, Los Angeles loves its sports. They’ve also shown up and shown out when combat sports come to town. Given the LA area’s favorable weather for much of the year, Cage Warriors can take the fights outside in Tinseltown.
Dignity Health Sports Park
In the summer of 2003, Dignity Health Sports Park, then known as The Home Depot Center, opened for business. For over 20 years, the 27,000-seat soccer-specific stadium has been the home match grounds for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.
Having a fight at Dignity Health Sports Park isn’t far-fetched as far as ideas go. Premier Boxing Champions has held its cards at the venue, with some events taking place as the back-end of a day-night doubleheader of action following a Galaxy match and vice-versa.
This is a venue that can sell out any event on a good day. Cage Warriors would sell out like hotcakes with the right card.
As we leave you today, we pose a final question to you: Which US market would you like to see Cage Warriors expand to?
Let us know in the comments.