Fights That Once Weren’t Possible

Sioux Falls Hosts First UFC Fights Wednesday After Banned Less Than Year Ago

Just this past week, the UFC became the most expensive organization purchase in sports history at $4 Billion.

On Wednesday night, it comes to the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls for the first time ever.

Chris Semrau, the Assistant General Manager at the Premier Center, said it’s another big stage for the Premier Center in the sporting world.

“This will be nationally televised all over the country and we’ll show the Premier Center and Sioux Falls in a shining light,” said Semrau.

The UFC booked every meeting room between the Sioux Falls Convention Center and the Premier Center.

Fighters, their teams and officials have also filled the Sheraton Hotel next door to the Premier Center.

Krista Orsack, Marketing Director with the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it has been an immediate economic impact from something that was banned less than a year ago.

“Lots of people have waited many years for it to become legalized in Sioux Falls and this state and it’s opened doors for a lot of new tourism-related business to come here,” said Orsack.

A little over a decade ago, MMA fights in Sioux Falls were pop-up cage fights in the parking lot in locations such as Sidewinders.

MMA fighting was banned in city-owned property until October of last year.

Sioux Falls City Councilwoman, Christine Erickson, was a major supporter of lifting the ban on MMA fighting.

She said she believes a big part of the UFC’s arrival in Sioux Falls is the better understanding of the sport itself.

“The industry has changed so much. Looking at where it was five, six years ago to what it is now. It’s one of the fastest growing sports and it’s really quite a popular sport as well,” said Erickson.

The fights Wednesday night start around 5 p.m. with the final fight expected to square off around 11 p.m.

Two fights, Devin Clark and Been Nguyen, are from the Sioux Falls area.

It is Clark’s UFC debut.

The Premier Center notes there are still tickets available for Wednesday’s fights.

Doors open to the public at 4 p.m.