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Damage Control: Four Explanations for Why UFC 140 Hasn’t Sold Out Yet


From the Toronto Sun via BloodyElbow:

Just eight months after 55,000 fight fans filled the Rogers Centre for the mixed martial arts company’s first ever Ontario show, Toronto will host UFC 140 on Saturday night. The fanfare for the event has paled in comparison to last April’s spectacle when the city had been buzzing for months about UFC 129, which was headlined by Canada’s own Georges St. Pierre. But this time around, it is being held at the much smaller Air Canada Centre…Despite the great line-up, there’s been little hoopla over the city’s second ever UFC event, which still has tickets available.

What the hell happened, Toronto? How did you go from a record-destroying immediate sellout in April to a “Good seats still available!” situation in December? On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense. So let’s throw some excuses around…

Canada’s interest in MMA is about 90% dependent on Georges St. Pierre. Make no mistake, Canadians are rabid MMA fans when GSP is on the card. When he’s not, only the hardcore fans show up. In that sense, Canada is no different than any other country in the world. When an athlete from your part of the globe is dominating a high-profile international sporting competition, you pay attention. Think about how apeshit Filipinos go for Manny Pacquiao. Would they be known as a nation of boxing fans without him? And do you really think I would have watched one minute of women’s soccer this year if not for Hope Solo?

UFC 129 had novelty factor. UFC 140 does not. The April show marked the UFC’s first visit to Toronto after the sport was Ontario legalized the sport in 2010, and the crowd was packed with locals who just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Well, they saw it, and now they don’t have to see it again.

The card’s just weaker this time. If you’re Canadian, you could certainly make this argument. UFC 129 didn’t just feature GSP vs. Jake Shields, but also another Canadian (Mark Hominick) challenging for the UFC featherweight title, plus Canadian fighters battling American fighters in the first eight fights on the card, and Randy Couture‘s farewell appearance. By comparison, UFC 140 doesn’t have a single Canadian on the poster. The biggest native stars on Saturday night will be Hominick and Claude Patrick, who will be leading off the main card in bouts against Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ebersole, respectively. Good matchups? Sure. Good enough to convince 16,000+ people to pay for seats? Apparently not.

The UFC can’t promote every card like it’s a blockbuster. In a way, UFC 129 was a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and it’s unfair to compare “Jones vs. Machida” to “St-Pierre vs. Shields.” But this conspicuous lack of local excitement might be part of a larger trend. As the promotion loads its schedule to ever-busier levels, breaks into new markets (or back into old markets), and juggles live broadcasts on pay-per-view, FOX, FX, and FUEL, they will no longer be able to spend a lot of time promoting each individual show. UFC 140 might be a victim of the UFC’s success, or at least its current state of frantic forward motion. Plus, Dana and the gang are still hung over from their holiday party with Snoop Dogg. Did you really expect anything to get done this week?


Cagepotato Comments

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Buffalo Ben- December 7, 2011 at 9:52 am
not even
SnackDaddy- December 7, 2011 at 7:27 am
Those tickets are expensive, yo!
Buffalo Ben- December 7, 2011 at 7:00 am
I had no idea. I just bought two tickets. True story.
El Guapo- December 7, 2011 at 12:01 am
^Pretty much and ^^PRETTY MUCH!!
Chri534.- December 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm
Wait, are you saying Shields vs. St. Pierre is a more intriguing fight than Jones vs. Machida? Or is that just your way of saying St. Pierre vs. anyone isn't fair to compare to any other fight in Canada?
BelieveInThePowerOfOne- December 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm
KidDinomite- December 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm
You know, I hear all the 'Machida doesn't stand a chance in hell' talk but if you've watched his training videos and know also the fact that he has Anderson Silva as a training partner, who is also the best 'fighter mimicker' in MMA but he also has the same body type as Jon Jones. Machida has also put on 22 lbs. of lean muscle, which is a SHIT-TON of weight gain in less than a year!!! How come no one bitches about this but they give fucking Alistair Overeem no credit. In otherwords, Machida is FUCKING MOTIVATED for this fucking fight! Don't be surprised if he can go toe to toe with Jones or even win the fight. This is a guy that people could not figure out for 16 fights and he's still pretty damn good at what he does.
RwilsonR- December 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm
And how dare the UFC not fill the entire card with c-level Canadian fighters! I mean, sure, they have Mark Bocek on the card, and Yves Jabouin, but where is Jason McDonald and those other Canadian guys who lose three then win one? They even drafted Ryan Jimmo to be the next generation to fill the role of Canadian card filler, but failed to get him on the card.
There's your problem.
PingPong- December 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

it's not Poutin without the "Cheese Dillhole".
RwilsonR- December 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm
It's because David Loiseau isn't on the card.
Todd M- December 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm
I dunno down in Australia we don't get near the stars that you guys get and I have been to both the UFC's despite the weak line up of fighters. At the end of the day you still have a title fight with one of the biggest superstars in the sport and he is fighting an exciting former champ. I do agree that the ticket prices are a bit much but as far as the line up of fights you could do a lot worse, see UFC 138, 119.
boober- December 6, 2011 at 8:10 pm
You forgot the cheese dillhole
ccman- December 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm
Yeah. Canadians like things Canadian. Like hockey,GSP, and......... They will have fries and gravy right?
TheCanadian- December 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm
I know personally the guys I would have gone to this with (and went to 129 with) werent up for it due to the extreme cost of the tickets, plus money being tight on account of school. We paid 300 a pop for the best seats before floor seats for 129, tickets are kiiilling that this time around. I mean, it makes sense seeing as the rogers center holds 18,500 for a hockey game, so probably over 19,000 for a ufc card. Half as many tickets=twice as much money. Plus like a lot of people are saying, the whole christmas money massacre is on in full swing. Its just a matter of timing really. PS fuck Jon Jones.
SpaceUrFace- December 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm
Leave it to the Toronto Sun to "write" this dribble without doing any homework. There are tickets left, ones the average fan isn't going to pay, especially right before Jesus-Fest.

It would be awesome if CP never posted another article from a Sun Media Corp publication again, unless it's a sunshine girl.
Liverpunch- December 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm
Though the current weather conditions might give me pause, if I still lived in Upstate NY I'd definitely be there for this card.
Still don't understand the boatload of hate for Jones. Is it the terrible job he does mean mugging in just about every photo?
XENOPHON- December 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm
Good post, equally as good responses.
eDrinker- December 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

LOL Pee Drinker
Bob Reilly- December 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm
I'm going, and I may have an extra pair of tickets for $325. I'm gonna rock my CP shirt from the third deck! Whoop whoop! Suqleg if you want two side by side tickets let me know. I'm in Barrie.
suqleg- December 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm
I am a very large mma fan, live 30 min north of Toronto have a solid income and am a huge Machida fan, but -20* is -20*...
FaH Q NL15- December 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Oooo the things I would do to Hope Solo
Punchthedonky- December 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm
@Joedirt, I think you hit the nail on the head.
@El Famous Burrito, You too sir are correct, taxes in Ontario are absolutely rediculous let alone costs for basic needs. Our Premiere, Dalton Mcguinty, is lining his pockets with cash as he squeezes Joe average of every cent he/she has.

Thanks for the high costs Dana, you'd make a great polititian!
newdeal- December 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm
The reason is because its fucking cold in Canada and everyone is thinking about Christmas not about the UFC. No one wants to travel to Toronto when there is the chance of a blizzard and people are spending their money on christmas gifts.
Joedirt- December 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm
Easy mystery to solve... Slow economy (everywhere), EXPENSIVE seats and right before Christmas. Simple math.
PingPong- December 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Unlikeable Non-belt-signer vs. Pee Drinker. This card practically sells itself!