UFC 148: International Fight Week To Be An Annual Event

via fcfighter.com

The UFC is in the midst of what they and the city of Las Vegas are calling "International Fight Week" as we head into Saturday's UFC 148. Here's what UFC president Dana White had to say about the event when he announced it in June:

"For years the UFC has done a big Vegas show around the Fourth of July weekend and now we've made it a focal point in our calendar. For UFC 148, we've got fans coming in from all over the country, tons of people from Brazil and Canada and as far away as England, Japan and Australia to see this fight.

"Las Vegas is the UFC's hometown. This is where our headquarters are, this is where we are from and we're proud to be contributing to the local economy. The first annual International Fight Week will be awesome, the fans are going to have a fight week experience better than anything they've ever had before, and each year we are going to build this thing to the point where every fan on the planet knows they have to come to Vegas for this July fight week at least once in their lives."

Bryan Alvarez at the Figure Four Weekly (subscription required) has some commentary about this first installment and whether or not it's lived up to expectations:

UFC's answer to WWE's WrestleMania weekend. The idea is to build towards a mega-event every year over the July 4th weekend in Las Vegas. In addition to a super fight card, the company plans to include a full Fan Expo, concerts, pool parties and more. This year's event is essentially considered the equivalent of WrestleMania I.

It'll be interesting to see how they arrange next year's summer schedule. UFC 148 was originally booked to be a much bigger show than it ended up being. Several matches ended up being removed for various reasons. Only one, however, was due to a competitor actually getting hurt (Dominick Cruz, who was scheduled to defend the 135-pound title versus Urijah Faber, blew out his ACL in training).

Other fighters, including Faber and Rich Franklin, ended up being farmed off the show to other events. The issue was that UFC scheduled seven events in June and July, meaning when individuals dropped off shows before and after July 7th, fighters from July 7th were moved to those shows to fill in main event slots. This lead to a great deal of discontent among fans who spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars on UFC 148 tickets, only to discover that by the time the show rolled around it was significantly less stacked then when they'd bought tickets. Front row seats ran $1,200, the highest ticket prices for any UFC event in company history. Despite the problems, the show will finish with a near-$7 million gate, the second biggest in UFC history behind only the first UFC in Toronto headlined by GSP vs. Jake Shields.

The UFC's eyes were once again bigger than it's stomach as the original mega-fight card proposed for this event fell prey to their 2012 saturation event booking policy.

Full list of events after the jump...

SBN coverage of UFC 148

THURSDAY

Octagon Nation Truck, Fremont Street Experience, 11 a.m-11 p.m., Free

UFC 148 open workouts, XS at Encore, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Free

*Pool party, Palms, noon-3 p.m., Cover charge

*Downtown pub crawl, Fremont Street Experience, 6-8 p.m., Free

FRIDAY

*UFC Fan Expo, Mandalay Bay, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Ticket required

Octagon Nation Truck, Fremont Street Experience, 11 a.m-11 p.m., Free

UFC 148 weigh-ins, Mandalay Bay, 4 p.m., Free

First Friday Art Night, El Cortez Cabana Suites, 5 p.m., Free

*Fan Beach Party featuring Five Finger Death Punch, Mandalay Bay Beach, 8 p.m., Ticket required

SATURDAY

*UFC Fan Expo, Mandalay Bay, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Ticket required

Octagon Nation Truck, Fremont Street Experience, 11 a.m-11 p.m., Free

UFC 148, MGM Grand, 4 p.m. First bout, Ticket required

*UFC 148 Viewing Parties; Mandalay Bay, Golden Nugget, Sunset Station, Santa Fe Station, Red Rock, Palazzo; 6 p.m.; Cover charge

UFC 148 After Party, Tryst at Wynn, 10 p.m., Cover charge

*Features special appearances by UFC fighters and Octagon girls


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