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UFC to likely return to Nationwide Arena in Ohio March 7, 2009

It appears to be a growing traditional right of passage -- when the Arnold EXPO sets up shop in Columbus, Ohio, for its annual convention -- the largest health and fitness expo in the nation -- the Ultimate Fighting Championship follows suit.

So has been the case for the last two years and it appears that 2009 will be no different.

Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, Bernie Profato, revealed in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article that the promotion "has tentative plans to return to Nationwide Arena in Columbus on March 7, 2009."

The Arnold EXPO, which hosts 650 booths and more than 150,000 fitness fans, is scheduled to run from March 6-9.

If the event takes place -- and it more than likely will -- it will be the fourth major UFC event to be held in the "Buckeye State" since the promotion invaded Ohio for the first time ever in March 2007.

Here is the list of recent UFC events that the state has hosted:

UFC 68: "The Uprising" at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 3, 2007
UFC 77: "Hostile Territory" at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 20, 2007
UFC 82: Pride of a Champion" at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 1, 2008

UFC 82, the most recent pay-per-view (PPV) event to be held there, was a star-studded card that was packed with talent from the bottom up, featuring the 185-pound showdown between UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, and the last man to hold the Pride FC 183-pound belt, Dan Henderson.

In addition, Randy Couture blew the lid of the Nationwide Arena back at UFC 68 when he returned from retirement to score and improbable win over Tim Sylvia to capture the heavyweight title at the age of 43.

In short, Ohio usually plays hosts to some great UFC events. And although nothing is official at this time let’s hope the promotions stays true to tradition all the way around.

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