Mixed martial arts star Jon "Bones" Jones said Friday that he has been told he will headline UFC 172 in Baltimore, raising the possibility of the city's first hosting of a pay-per-view Ultimate Fighting Championship event.
In an interview with Fox Sports' Ariel Helwani, Jones, the brother of Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones and UFC's defending light-heavyweight champion, said he would fight next in Baltimore.
"My brother's a Raven, so this is going to work out great for me," he said. "I think the marketing going into this is going to be phenomenal."
Asked whether the event had been finalized, Jones said: "Yes, Baltimore. It may be official."
Asked about the timing of such an event, Jones hedged even further. "You know, I'm not sure," he said of UFC's scheduling. "There hasn't been a contract signed, so I don't really want to jump the gun and get ahead of myself."
Pressed again about whether the event was "100 percent" certain, Jones said: "I don't know, man, honestly."
UFC spokesman David Lockett said late Friday night that the company does not have any events currently scheduled for Baltimore.
UFC has held lower-level events in the area before, but none with the draw of a pay-per-view fight night, particularly one with Jones, perhaps the sport's most marketable figure.
It is unclear where such an event would be held in Baltimore. The most likely venue would be Baltimore Arena, which, with a capacity of 14,000, is sized similarly to the indoor arenas that typically host top-level UFC fights. In 2011, for instance, at Washington's Verizon Center, "UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson" drew an announced 9,380, with a total gate of $706,775, according to an MMAjunkie.com report.
Jones, who last lost nearly four years ago, originally was scheduled to defend his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 169 on Feb. 1, 2014, in Newark, N.J., but an injury forced him to withdraw. The match was rescheduled for UFC 170 and then again for UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas, but Georges St-Pierre's decision Friday to vacate the welterweight championship led UFC officials to bump Jones from the main event for a Robbie Lawler-Johny Hendricks title fight in the welterweight class.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun