UFC Returning to New Orleans for First Time Since 2000

The UFC will return to New Orleans for the first time in more than a decade with an event in "The Big Easy" on Sept. 17.

The promotion announced Wednesday a renewed sponsorship partnership with Bud Light, and as part of the new deal the two brands are planning an an annual live event. The first event, which will include a fan expo, will also air on Spike TV.

The UFC has held three shows in New Orleans – one annually in 1998, 1999 and 2000. But those were all prior to Zuffa's purchase of the promotion in 2001. The city of New Orleans has been slowly rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, severely damaging much of the city. More than 1,500 people were killed.

The UFC has several fighters on its roster from New Orleans, most notably Pat Barry and Melvin Guillard.

The New Orleans card will include a contest called "Battle on the Bayou," as well as a planned concert tie-in, meet-and-greets with UFC fighters and other special fan events.

"Having brought the UFC to more people, we want to start bringing more people to the UFC by creating exclusive fan experiences only Bud Light and the UFC can deliver. 'Battle on the Bayou' is a first and unprecedented step in that direction," Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports & entertainment marketing for Anheuser-Busch, Inc., parent company of Bud Light, said in a release.

Bud Light has been one of the UFC's primary advertisers, and as part of the renewed multi-year deal it will increase the number of pay-per-views it is the headlining sponsor of from two to four each year.

Anheuser-Busch, parent company of Bud Light, also plans to release a special edition Bud Light bottle featuring the UFC logo.

"Bud Light's sponsorship deal with us a few years ago was a milestone for our organization and the sport," UFC president Dana White said in a release. "We couldn't be more excited about working with Bud Light and continuing our strong relationship."

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