Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva (Almost) Sets Record

According to the Fight Network, the live gate receipts at the Mandalay Bay for the Liddell vs. Silva fight almost set a new record for the state of Nevada. Notable quote:

Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva earned their keep in the Octagon. The see-sawing strikers, with some assistance from a scorching rubber match showdown between welterweights Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes, netted $4,994,500 in gate sales for Dec. 29's UFC 79 "Nemesis" at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

The event becomes the second highest gate in Nevada (and U.S.) history, behind last New Year's UFC 66 extravaganza that pitted "The Iceman" against former friend and training partner Tito Ortiz on Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. That event brought in $5,397,300.

Ah, but there's a catch:

Yuletide spirits and good old inflation had a hand in the final tallies. UFC 79 sold 9,704 tickets, plus another 1,311 for a close circuit gate of $65,550. May's UFC 71 - which saw Liddell crumble to a well-timed punch from Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the first round -- sold nearly 3,500 more tickets but settled with $600,000 less.

I don't think inflation is that big a deal, but I do wonder how much the decision to auction off cage side seats affects the outcome. My guess is celebrities want to be comped close to the action and the UFC wants them close to the action if for no other reason than to put their faces on camera. But those are also the most expensive seats, so the UFC brass has decided to auction off the remaining seats to the highest bidder. This is strictly conjecture, but I'd be curious to see how that changes live gate receipts.

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