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UFC 115 Goes Bust in Vancouver

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First off the Vancouver Sun reports that scalpers can't unload tickets:

Ticket prices for Saturday's UFC 115 event in Vancouver appear to be dropping quickly, following speculation that scalpers had scooped up most pre-sale tickets and oversaturated the resale market.

Tickets for the mixed martial arts event at GM Place sold out in 30 minutes on April 13 - two days before the sale was opened to the general public. Members of the Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Club, who pay $75 a year for a number of inside-access privileges, had scooped up all of the nearly 19,000 tickets, which ranged in price from $75 to $601.

Within minutes, tickets began appearing on sites such as Craigslist, StubHub and eBay, marked up several times over. On April 14, the cheapest seats at online ticket marketplace StubHub were listed for $265 US each. On Tuesday, however, the cheapest tickets on the same site had dropped to $69. Floor seats were available for $475.

This follows the news MMA Mania reported a couple days back:

Vancouver Athletic Commission chair Mirko (coincidentally enough) Mladenovic said that the price of insurance is so high that the UFC, despite selling out General Motors Place for the event, will most assuredly make no money.

Rumors have swirled that the UFC had to pay in the neighborhood of $12 million to insure UFC 115. But with Zuffa's recent move of opening up corporate offices in Canada, one would think that this situation sits high atop their list of priorities along with the sanctioning of the sport in Toronto.

I know everyone's expecting me to revel in this, but it's not good news.

The combination of:

  • An unfriendly local government and an ambiguous regulatory environment that gives too much power to local officials;
  • High ticket prices that are out of whack with the local economic realities;
  • The UFC's long standing pattern of enabling online scalpers;
  • Yet another mediocre, utterly irrelevant headliner fight featuring two older guys fans last saw getting KO'd;
  • Only a two week window between two of the biggest UFC cards in history.

If UFC 115 was the first recent event to have a weak headliner it would be one thing and the brand value would have an easier time carrying the event, but after UFC 102, 103, 105, 106, 108, 109, and arguably 110, fans may be out of the habit of buying everything with UFC on it.

However, many of the UFC's hard core fans will eagerly lap it up. I know I will. Here's what Tomas Rios had to say about the quality of the card:

I've gotten a lot of e-mail and tweets complaining about the quality of UFC 115. Allow me to say that all you complainers are crazy.

Every single last human being complaining about this card is crazy, and I wish you all get stuck in a time machine and end up living through the UFC of 1998.

The saner folk among us know that Saturday's card may not be God's gift to MMA fans, but it's still a worthwhile block of violence for anyone purporting to enjoy this sport. With quality fighters like Rich Franklin, Paulo Thiago and Carlos Condit all involved in potentially make-or-break fights, there is no reason your evening should be spent doing anything but ignoring the outside world and watching some quality fisticuffs.


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