SBD/Issue 224/Events & Attractions

UFC 101 Draws $3.55M Live Gate, Largest In Pennsylvania History

Saturday's UFC 101 Generates $3.55M,
Largest Live Gate In Pennsylvania History
Not only was the Wachovia Center crowd for Saturday's UFC 101 "huge and energetic," the 17,411 fans "came early, stayed long and generated a live gate of $3.55[M], the largest for any fight card in the history of Pennsylvania," according to Bernard Fernandez of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. UFC President Dana White: "It was one of the most awesome nights in the history of us running the UFC. We never had a  night when the first prelim had over 11,000 people. Halfway through the prelims there were 16,500 people. You look at most of the businesses in this country and around the world and a lot of people are in trouble. We've been very blessed that this business continues to grow and flourish even in these hard economic times" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/10). In Philadelphia, Kerith Gabriel writes the atmosphere for the event was "nothing short of electric as fighters made themselves accessible to fans in the lower stands before and after their bouts, and in essence the night proved once again that the UFC does have a thriving fan base outside of Las Vegas." Comcast-Spectacor VP/Public Relations Ike Richman said the company "absolutely would be interested in hosting additional UFC events at the Wachovia Center." White said that the timeline for a UFC event to return to an arena is "about a year." Philadelphia is "among the cities, including Boston and New York, that White hopes will become East Coast mainstays" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/10).

PHILLY AGAIN A FIGHT TOWN: SI.com's Bryan Armen Graham wrote if the fight card "didn't quite live up to the considerable hype, the Philadelphia fans sure did," as they "packed the placed to capacity, bringing a raucous, party-type atmosphere from the lots into the stands, and made for an electric climate." The $3.55M gate, "thought to be a state record for a combat sports card and just a fraction of the pay-per-view haul, certainly didn't underwhelm." Graham: "It's safe to assume the first major MMA card in Philly won't be the last" (SI.com, 8/9). In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez wrote Philadelphia "did for the UFC and its athletes what it did for boxing for so many years -- bestowed legitimacy and importance on the event." The event "reminded everyone that Philly was a great fight town once, and can be again" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/9).

UFC Eyeing Fenway Park As
Possible Venue For Event
FUTURE DESTINATIONS: In Boston, Dan Duggan reported White after the fight announced that the UFC is "looking at Fenway Park as a possible venue for the UFC when it finally breaks into the Boston market." The UFC "still needs the state to legislate mixed martial arts regulation." The Massachusetts state Senate last month voted 34-1 "to endorse such a bill," and state Sen. James Timilty said that he "hopes the bill will be signed into law by October" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/9). Meanwhile, UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said that the UFC "will bring an event to the Baltimore-Washington area next year." Ratner: "I have had discussions with people at the Verizon Center, the Patriot Center, and had several inquiries from the people at the Baltimore Arena. What it comes down to is economics for us also. ... I feel very strongly we will be in that area sometime in 2010." In DC, Thom Loverro notes most arenas are "fighting for a chance to get a UFC date so they can get a shot at setting a record live gate." Loverro: "After UFC 101, Pennsylvania officials must be wondering why they waited so long to embrace the sport" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/10).

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