If names sell tickets and rarity promotes the notion of value, it's easy to see why UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader would never be a major draw as a card. What's surprising, amid the UFC's boom period in Brazil, is that it appears to have absolutely no drawing power at all. Combate reports that only 4,200 tickets have been sold for the Mineirinho Arena, where the UFC drew a crowd of 16,643 only last year. For reference the Arena can seat as many as 25,000 people, so currently the UFC will be playing at 1/5 capacity.
MMAFighting.com has learned from sources close to the UFC that the organization considered moving the event to Chevrolet Hall in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, instead of doing the show at Mineirinho Arena. The two buildings are located seven miles away from each other.
The Chevrolet Hall holds 12,000 fewer people, requiring much lower attendance to achieve "sold out" status. The lack of stars certainly isn't helping things, however as Rafael Natal is the only fighter with strong local roots (despite Glover Teixeira and Lucas Martins being a Belo Horizonte native as well). Six fighters will debut on this card and it would have been seven had Wilson Reis not been forced off due to injury.
But while some will be quick to point out the obvious lack of drawing power, the UFC shouldn't really be relying on local draws for cards anyhow, and the top three matches of the night are all between highly regarded, experienced fighters. This lack of attendance seems more of a general trend in which the high frequency of shows, and high ticket prices are keeping fans from events in cities where the UFC has already been. Their recent Seattle show had a lower draw than its first outing as well, and while the UFC cried "Summer" we're closing in on fall now. The UFC used to be able to drive in fans for a once in a lifetime chance to see their favorite fighters, but a huge roster, a continuous schedule, and continued high prices are starting to make fans stingy.
UFC Fight Night 28: Teixeira vs. Bader takes place Wednesday, September 4, live from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Follow along with all the action live on Bloody Elbow as well as breaking news, pre/post fight breakdowns, and all other things combat sports related.
More from Bloody Elbow:
- UFC Fight Night 28: Joseph Benavidez vs. Jussier 'Formiga' da Silva Dissection
- Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 288: UFC Fight Night, TUF 18, Bellator 98 Previews
- UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader - Gambling odds and breakdown of the night's top fights
- MMA Tete-A-Tete: UFC Fight Night 28 - Teixeira vs. Bader predictions & analysis with Nate/Dallas
- UFC Fight Night 28 staff picks and predictions