The UFC have once again raised the bar in 2011 with a stellar line-up of events over the next few months set to get underway on Saturday night at UFC 126.
The Las Vegas crowd are well accustomed to having the UFC in town holding big events, and at times even seem a little jaded, but that’s not the case this time round. The stacked line-up of Anderson Silva Vs Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin Vs Forrest Griffin and Jon Jones Vs Ryan Bader at UFC 126 has clearly captured fans imaginations, and the event was officially sold-out before fight week had even arrived.
Fans are also apparently willing to pay big bucks for the privilege, with the average ticket price for the event going for $577 according to SeatGeek. That’s over double the $269 average for UFC 125: Edgar Vs Maynard on January 1st, which was also held in Las Vegas.
It’s not just UFC 126 that’s selling well though. Later in February comes UFC 127: Penn Vs Fitch in Australia, and that now holds the record for the fastest ticket sellout in the promotion’s history.
Continuing the momentum, in March they have pulled out all the stops to deliver a star studded card for UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle, with Tito Ortiz vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira headlining, and Dan Hardy Vs Anthony Johnson in the co-main event slot.
The fans have responded strongly to the quality of the line-up, and Dana White has revealed to MMAJunkie that there’s only a few tickets left, and they may now look to provide additional seating to accommodate more people.
Meanwhile, in April the promotion are already anticipating smashing both their attendance and gate records for UFC 129, their first trip to Ontario, Canada. Due to the popularity of the sport in the region a successful showing is almost guaranteed right off the bat, but with a line-up that includes two title fights in GSP vs Shields and Jose Aldo Vs Mark Hominick, plus Randy Couture Vs Lyoto Machida, this is another must-see event.
The original plan was to set the Rogers Center up for 42,000 fans, but White says it’s possible they could expand that further if required.
Overall the clear indication here is that as long as the UFC is able to build compelling fight cards, then the fans will respond in kind. The hope now will be that the pay-per-view sales can match the enthusiastic response from the live audience.