Eight months ago the UFC packed 55,000 fans into the Rogers Centre to watch Georges St. Pierre defend his welterweight title against Jake Shields. The atmosphere was electric and the Canadian fans showed up in droves to support the national hero. This week there is a completely different story. Instead of an enormous sold out crowd, Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida may do battle in front of a partially filled Air Canada Centre.
The Toronto Sun was the first to report on the ticketing troubles surrounding the event. When the UFC rolled into town for UFC 129, the city was abuzz with excitement and expectations. The first event was a huge success with local media doing their part in building up the supercard. For UFC 140, it would appear that they just haven't gotten on board with the promotion. The city is all but dead with the event just a week away. From the Toronto Sun:
Despite the great line-up, there's been little hoopla over the city's second ever UFC event, which still has tickets available.
In reality, with so many cities around the world clamouring to host the UFC these days, Toronto should be counting its blessings. Only Montreal in 2010 and Las Vegas, where the UFC is headquartered, have ever held two events in the same year, Wright said.
The UFC will likely come to town at least once a year from now on, he said, adding the ACC show is more in line with a typical UFC event.
As with most UFC events, they usually do a major marketing push the week of the fights so come Saturday the expectation is that the Air Canada Centre will be full. However, the fact that one of the last major cards of 2011 is not yet sold out may reflect on the general feeling that the UFC's schedule is having adverse affects on their revenue stream. It may also be asking too much for the local audience to get excited for MMA for a second time in the same year after such a huge first event.