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Dana White Leaning Towards Toronto as Site of Future Marquee Superfights

(FYI: If you shine this signal into the sky, Bruce Buffer shows up at your door with a carload of chicks and some party favors.)

It looks like the UFC may be saving Toronto for big money superfights in the future based on the record sellout of April’s upcoming UFC 129 event — the promotion’s first in the Canadian province of Ontario.

With a pre-estimated 55,000+ attendance and more than $11-million live gate that blows away the previous record of $8-million set by a 2008 regular season Buffalo Bills game, it’s no surprise that Dana White and co. would want to bring their marquee fights back to the city’s Rogers Centre in the future.

White told Yahoo’s Dave Meltzer that “Hogtown” has hopped to the front of the line of go-to stadium venue locations ahead of Dallas, Texas where Zuffa will likely host superfights like the proposed Georges St-Pierre-Anderson Silva bout that the promotion is hoping to make before the end of 2011.

“The problem with doing Dallas is the number of [hotel] rooms down there,” White said. “As big as that stadium is, there aren’t a lot of rooms. Our sport, like the Super Bowl, will bring in people from all over the world. Toronto is a huge, hip city of things for people to do, clubs, restaurants …”

The city’s close proximity to other MMA hotbeds like Michigan, New York and Quebec doesn’t hurt, either.

The fact that the show sold out all of the 42,000 tickets available in the pre-sale and that an additional 10,000 tickets the UFC made available by reconfiguring the seating layout of the venue went just as fast the second day before they went on general sale to the public established Toronto as Zuffa’s ace-in-the-hole when it comes to being a surefire sellout.

According to the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, Tom Wright, who was the former commissioner of the Canadian Football League, the Grey Cup (the CFL’s version of the Super Bowl) has never even come close to selling as many tickets as UFC 129, which speaks to the popularity of the sport in the country Dana White refers to as “The Mecca of MMA.”

“The Grey Cup has never sold out like this event sold out Rogers Centre,” he said. “I think it’s a reflection of our sport. The Grey Cup is a great Canadian celebration, but this is a worldwide celebration.”

When asked about the fact that the record falls short of the all time combat sport live gate record set by the Oscar de la Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in Las Vegas in 2007, White said it was like comparing apples to oranges as boxing ticket prices are ridiculous and that the casinos buy a large portion of them.

“We sold 55,000 tickets, those are all to fans. You know boxing doesn’t sell tickets to regular fans,” he said. “Boxing guys put tickets up for ridiculous prices and casinos buy the tickets. The reason we doubled the gate [company record] is because there’s 55,000 tickets. Boxing does a $20 million gate, but boxing charges five grand for tickets because casinos buy the gate. We have real fans buying our tickets.”

And by “real fans,” he means “scalpers and ticket brokers.”

Cagepotato Comments

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ajaykumar- September 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm
I Believe wright was referring to the speed of the sell out rather than the number sold. The Grey cup often has over 60,000 tickets sold just not as quickly.
Basic electrical engineering
rogerw- February 18, 2011 at 12:11 am
This is all very impressive, and certainly a promising sign for the UFC's future, but would the interest be quite as high in Toronto without a Canadian MMA superstar in the main event?

And, I've never been to a UFC event, so maybe it's all about the atmosphere, can you even *see* what's going on in the ring when your seat is that far away from the action, as the majority of those 55K tickets must be?
Dru Down- February 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm
I don't know why Dana has to bag on the Grey cup, especially considering the last one had an attendance of over 60,000 and sold out in less than a week. Judging by ticket prices, it wasn't sold in bulk to scalpers, either.
TITSFTW- February 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm
I got 6 tickets and I'm a real did lots of my friends, dipshit.
Canadian Chronic- February 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I love fight ni...errrrrhockey night in Canada

Living in Ontario, u get to watch the first game@7pm

Watch the fights, then the UFC card, then second game of the night is still goin on after the card

So Sweet
LAS- February 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm
4-5 million PPV buys per event? You may want to check those numbers Ballsack, given that the UFC has only topped a million PPV buys like twice ever.
25 cm pole- February 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm
@Ballkick pretty sure China is the next superpower in line, not "the 51st state" Canada
Rage Face- February 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm
@ChrisH Rogers Center is not a "newer venue".
@JENNAS MOUTH maybe so, but you'd have to be a high roller to afford some of the prices they are selling for.
Ballkick- February 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Canada has always been a huge market for UFC averaging 4-5 million buys per PPV for each UFC event. The fact we broke records for the UFC 129 event is not surprising at all.
I had students of mine willing to shell out money here in Calgary to fly to Toronto and pay whatever sum to watch this event. I personally flew to Oakland for the Sonnen/Silva fight and would jump at the chance to go to another event.
We love MMA and most of our regional shows are well attended and profitable. I am also not surprised that the UFC would want to hold the "BIG" cards here in Canada, we are batshit crazy for Combat sports here.
It would be interesting to know how many Canadians go to the US for the UFC cards in America, guess is we are the highest number of "foreigners" in the stands.

P.S. Canada is slowly eclipsing the US as the best country in the world.....and as soon as the US economy collapses in the next couple of years,....we will be even "BETTER.".......How "Aboot that? eh?
Harry Nips- February 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm
UFC 90 soldout and set a bunch of gate records in Chicago and they haven't had another show here since. DW's obsessed with getting into NY & other countries he's completely ignoring the 3rd biggest market in America. WTF!
TimboSlice- February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm
I agree with the scalpers issue, it's complete B.S. and sites like stubhub should be illegal for how bad you get ripped (as a buyer and a seller) on that site.

Nonetheless, you really gotta be proactive with this and pay for the $90 fight club membership (you don't have to sign up before hand, they let you sign up right as the pre-sale unlocks) and buy the maximum tickets and sell the ones you aren't using to pay for the fight club, or split it between everyone who is going. (which does suck b/c it's kind of if you can't beat 'em join 'em thinking)

Even if you do pay the $90 for 2 people you will be paying less than getting 2 tickets from scalpers.
Pooflinger- February 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm
Don't get me wrong I like puntan and maple syrup as much as anyone in there right mind would. I just think that having the super fights in Toronto would be a huge mistake for the UFC. These events need to be in a market where at least half of the population does not come from incestuous back ground. (And I live in Utah)
jimbonics- February 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm
No paragraph breaks and my penis is till 4 inches after trying Extenze. Fuck you Jimmy Johnson
Creedence Clearwater Revival- February 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm
Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, theyre red, white and blue.
And when the band plays hail to the chief,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord,

It aint me, it aint me, I aint no senators son, son.
It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, no,
jimbonics- February 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm
jimbonics- February 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm
This is test.

This test will determine if paragraph breaks are allowed.

This is only a test.
Get Off Me- February 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm
@Fried Taco
Not Toronto though.

you were watching on the screens the majority of the time without even realizing...I get good seats and I still end up watching the screen.
Fried Taco- February 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm
It's because Canada is full of young white males.
Real Fan- February 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm
I'm a real fan and bought a ticket. Take THAT, CagePotater
oRSUS- February 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm
Exactly!!! I am from new york city and i will post this article on my facebook and spread the word on what could have been! C---S--kers
25 cm pole- February 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm
Canada sucks
Cage Potato Moderator- February 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Suck it New York!
ChrisH- February 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm
I was at the upper level for UFC 113, I saw the fights just fine. Newer arenas and venues are made much better, with better visibility from all sections of the arena.

Have my tickets for this event, I'll be in the nosebleeds!
youenjoyzedella- February 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm
How do 55,000 people watch 2 people fight live? On the Jumbo-Tron? I was on the upper level of Fedor-Silva, and if those seats were another 50 feet away they would have been worthless. If the fight goes to the ground, you wouldn't see anything without looking to the big screen.
Fatbellyfrank- February 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Damm I loves me some CP, woohoo, and who is this CAPS LOCK HAL, seems like a good guy