The UFC has held many of its Ultimate Fighter Finales, UFC Fight Nights and similar small MMA shows at the Las Vegas Palms. In fact, 15 of these shows have taken place there over the last five years. However, that will no longer be the case; according to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, UFC president Dana White has severed ties with the casino after his credit line there was cut in half.
Although details are sketchy with no official comments forthcoming from either White or the casino, the reason for the credit line reduction appears to be the casino’s ongoing financial struggles, primarily due to the down economy and resulting reduction in tourist traffic. Losing a major client like the UFC will likely not help that trend for the Palms, although the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (which will host the upcoming TUF 16 Finale in December) likely stands to gain from the situation.
Perhaps the individuals who will be the hardest hit by this situation are the members of the Palms staff. Although this might be surprising to the typical UFC fan who only knows White as a hardnosed and ruthless business, he is actually famous in Las Vegas for his extraordinary generosity. The Review Journal quotes a Palms staff member as saying, “Anytime he came in, we knew it was a big payday.” White regularly leaves tips of $10,000 or more, and rarely accepts comps from casinos.
Although it is quite possible that the situation between the UFC and the Palms is simply due to reduction of White’s credit line, some have also suggested that the UFC already wanted to switch to a different location due to the Palm’s challenges in hosting this type of event given their current financial struggles. Hopefully additional details on the story will emerge soon.