Inside the Venue: HP Pavilion

By Brian Knapp Nov 16, 2011
A quick look inside the HP Pavilion, site of UFC 139 “Shogun vs. Hendo” ...

Location: San Jose, Calif.
Opened: September 1993
Cost: $162.5 million
Seating Capacity: 18,500
Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs

The Ultimate Fighting Championship descends upon a new haunt when it drops anchor at the HP Pavilion, the birthplace of Strikeforce, with UFC 139 “Shogun vs. Hendo” on Saturday in San Jose, Calif. In the main event, onetime light heavyweight champion and 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua collides with former two-division Pride champion Dan Henderson, who returns to the Octagon for the first time in more than two years. Meanwhile, Brazilian icon Wanderlei Silva meets former Strikeforce titleholder Cung Le in the middleweight co-headliner.

Opened in September 1993 at a cost of $162.5 million, the HP Pavilion serves as the home of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League and the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League. It was designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs, the same architectural firm responsible for the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. According to the HP Pavilion website, the 450,000-square-foot facility features 353 miles of electrical wiring and 33,000 cubic yards of concrete -- “the equivalent of a three-foot sidewalk running from the building’s main entrance to the south shore of Lake Tahoe,” roughly 150 miles away. More than 20 million people have walked through the doors of the HP Pavilion since it opened for business 18 years ago.

The arena hosted the United States Figure Skating Championships in 1996, the NHL All-Star Game in 1997 and the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 1999. The HP Pavilion has a short but storied relationship with mixed martial arts, including the March 2006 debut of Strikeforce, which featured Frank Shamrock’s 21-second knockout against Cesar Gracie, and Fabricio Werdum’s shocking upset of Fedor Emelianenko at a co-promoted event between Strikeforce and M-1 Global in June 2010.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Winter Tour 2011” (Nov. 20), the Harlem Globetrotters (Jan. 16), Disney on Ice “Toy Story 3” (Feb. 22-26) and the 2012 United States Gymnastics Olympic Trials (June 28-July 1) will follow the UFC into the HP Pavilion.

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