The showpiece fight of UFC Fight Night in Brisbane has been hailed as one of the best in the competition's history.
New Zealand-born, Australian-based Mark Hunt fought five action-packed rounds with Bigfoot Silva in a punishing fight ruled a majority draw which lead to both fighters being taken straight to hospital as a precaution, once the bout ended.
The UFC's Australian director of operations, Tom Wright described the fight, seen by 11,383 fans at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, as the best heavyweight contest he'd ever seen.
Mr Wright said he had no problems with the fight being called a majority draw, Hunt winning the favour of one judge.
“It was a terrific opportunity for those two guys to show great heart, I mean, those two guys are training partners and friends but they put on an incredible show and showed great heart and what a great way to leave almost 12,000 people when they walked out of the BEC today,” he said.
On Twitter UFC president Dana White was glowing with his praise for Hunt and Silva, asking followers if they had “ever seen anything like this is in ur(sic) life”.
“Both Hunt and Silva win FON [fight of the night] and both get their win bonus and I might buy them both their own private ISLANDS!!!! Sickest HW fight ever!!!”
While post-fight mixed martial arts legend, Mauricio ' Shogun' Rua, who defeated James Te Huna with a dramatic knock out punch to win KO of the night honours, called the battle one of the best fights he had ever seen.
Described pre-fight as one of the best cards taken to Australian the first UFC event to be held in Brisbane was praised by Mr Wright with gate takings of $1,785,000.
Mr Wright said the promotion had every intention of returning to Australia later in 2014, possibly to Sydney or Melbourne, but indicated the UFC would prefer to hold multiple fights in the country each year but was being held back by the banning of the Octagon in Western Australia and restrictions on the sport in Victoria.
“We want to give the sport a chance to grow as it properly should be,” he said.
“But as you know we're held back in two states – WA and Victoria – who missed on some great opportunities that were highlighted in Brisbane.
“We'd like in time to be here three or four times a year but in order to do that we have to make sure that we have got our sport properly regulated, properly sanctioned, and allowed in a safe environment for the fighters – which is the Octagon – in all states.”
He said the sport was closer to being sanctioned in Victoria than in Western Australia, with the majority of Liberal party delegates supporting changes at a recent state conference.
He went as far as to say the promotion was keen to hold an event next year at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
In another red-letter day for the sport the first ever UFC women's fight to be held in Australia saw Brazil's Bethe Correia defeat Julie Kedzie by judge's decision.