Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate
Cross posted at MMA4Real.
I wrote a while ago about why I thought Zuffa should come back to North Carolina after how successful the UFC: Fight For The Troops event had been. I spoke about the huge military presence we have in the state. Not only that, but it's a great central location for East coast fans. The East coast fans seem to get forgotten about at times, but when the UFC does come, we come out in droves. Often to somewhat less stacked events than our Western counterparts get to witness. However, we were treated to UFC 88 last year in Atlanta, GA, which I had the honor of attending (it was a great card). That event (with no title fight) had almost 15,000 fans in attendance with a gate of over 2.5 million dollars. UFC 78 also sported similar numbers emanating from New Jersey, in what most people thought to be a lackluster card. Ultimate Fight Night 17 was held in Florida and had close to 8,000 fans in attendance with a gate of close to $450,000.
Now MMAJunkie is reporting in regards to UFC 101 (which will take place in Pennsylvania) that UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner has the following to say:
"We put tickets on sale, I believe sometime at the end of April or early May, and we've sold almost 14,000 tickets," Ratner said. "It's the biggest event in Pennsylvania history, as far as a live gate, already." "We've sold over $3 million worth of tickets," Ratner said of UFC 101.
So that event is already over $3 million dollars at the gate, and it's still over a month away? On paper, this event is looking really solid with the UFC lightweight title on the line between Kenny Florian and BJ Penn. Also, Anderson Silva will take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. The rest of the card will feature what should be solid fights. So the proof is in the pudding: if East coast fans are given the same quality as the West coast fans, there's no reason why Zuffa shouldn't be coming to the East coast more often...coughs...North Carolina :)
Cross posted at MMA4Real.
UPDATE (by Kid Nate): While we're talking about big time MMA on the East coast, I thought I'd jump in and add a couple of thing to this post from my fellow SB Nation MMA blogger Zak Woods at Watch Kalib Run has been OWNING the story of the attempt to pass regulation in NY. He's also got some insight on why the Philly UFC is selling so well.
- Cup of Coffee sets off legal challenges in New York State Senate
- MMA Weekly is way too optimistic about New York and MMA
- Two weeks left...
- New York to take up MMA legislation: WKR cautions patience
- Don’t hold your breath on MMA in New York
- Weighing In: Big Issues
From that last one, dated January 21, 2009, when most authorities were saying the UFC was going to succeed in getting regulation passed in New York in 2009, here's what the WKR crew was saying:
Will MMA become legalized in New York in 2009?
ZW: No, but it will be close. The New York Assembly is notorious for being bogged down in deadlock. With a 15 billion dollar deficit over the next two years, that they are required by law to balance, it will take up a lot of legislative hours. Not a big deal with 12 months right to pass legislation right? Wrong, the Assembly ends its session in June. So while MMA legislation might get out of committee, I don't think it will pass the floor and be signed into law by June. But I am a big pessimist.
MC: As a lifelong New York resident, this is a deeply personal issue for me, because I'd love to head to Madison Square Garden for a UFC event. However, I doubt it will happen. The gears in Albany move extremely slowly and the UFC simply doesn't have the allies here to make it happen yet.
My advice to Zuffa - get labor and the NY tourism industry and labor on your side. People plan entire vacations around UFC events, and that means business for hotels, restaurants, shops, and hot dog vendors.
The UFC's top public affairs guy is still holding out hope for NY this year, but it doesn't look good.