http://mmajunkie.com Jorge Gurgel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last night’s assignment for the Dayton Daily News was an “atmosphere” piece on UFC 82. That story, and all of the newspaper’s UFC 82 coverage, can be found at DaytonDailyNews.com.

For the second straight year, the UFC ventured to Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, during the weekend of the Arnold Sports Festival. And for the second straight year, the combination proved successful.

I had to file last night’s story before the official tallies were in, but I estimated that UFC 82 probably did similar numbers to last year’s UFC 68 event. UFC 82 , as it turned out, actually came up a bit short.

Last year UFC 68 set a North American MMA attendance record with 19,049 attendees and a UFC record live gate of $3,014,000. The final tally for UFC 82, according to UFC president Dana White in a post-event press conference, was 16,431 spectators for an approximate $2.2 million gate.

The gate was actually less than last month’s UFC 81 event in Las Vegas (Ohio fans were quick to grab the $50 and $100), but the attendance figure is the highest since last year’s Columbus event.

As I noted in the story, the majority of fans were in their seats for the night’s first fight. That’s become a hallmark of the Ohio events — fans arriving early and in bunches — and the latest show was helped by the fact that local fighter Jorge Gurgel fought (and won) in the night’s first bout.

Throughout the week, White continually expressed the organization’s appreciation to the Ohio audiences and the state’s athletic commission. However, in a post-event press conference, he also said it’s getting more and more difficult to visit every state that regulates MMA. Nearly 40 states either regulate MMA or are in the process of getting legislation approved. The UFC puts on more than 30 events per year (including PPVs, UFC Fight Nights and “TUF” Finales), so some states are going to be shut out.

Here’s hoping Ohio isn’t one of them.

In any manner, the full story is available at DaytonDailyNews.com. A few additional UFC 82-related stories will be posted tomorrow.

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