Dana White isn’t stressing out about the numbers at the ticket window this past week in Georgia, even if they were in the bottom tier of the UFC’s all-time gates.
UFC Fight Night 35 drew an announced attendance of 5,822 and a live gate of $231,951 for this past Wednesday’s event on FOX Sports 1. The figures represented an average revenue of $39.84 per ticket issued.
While the 5,822 number seems in line for many “Fight Night” cards, the event took some heat on social media from fans who noticed empty seats on the FOX Sports 1 broadcast.
But after the card, White, the UFC’s president, told MMAjunkie the number was nothing to hem and haw over. The company, he said, knows shows on Wednesday nights won’t draw the same as a Saturday night show. On this occasion, the UFC wanted a Wednesday show to lead into the premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” series between Canada and Australia.
“These Wednesday night ones are tough,” White told MMAjunkie. “But we have ‘TUF Nations,’ which was launching (Wednesday). And it’s always better when you roll into one of those ‘TUF’ (debuts) with a live fight. You’re going to take your lumps on the gate sometimes, but it’s worth it in the big picture.”
UFC Fight Night 35 took place at Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., and featured a middleweight bout between former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold and Constantinos Philippou. Rockhold picked up “Knockout of the Night” honors and his first UFC win with a first-round TKO following a pair of kicks to the body.
Prior to UFC Fight Night 35, the most recent “Fight Night” event on a Wednesday in the United States, not counting the promotion’s third “Fight for the Troops” show, which doesn’t have tickets for sale, was in Indianapolis this past August. That event drew 6,417 for a gate of more than $355,000.
In the past, White has spoken about other low gates that have come on Wednesday nights and also not been concerned. The reality is, a Wednesday night show has prelims that start sometimes while kids are still sitting at school desks and adults are still several hours from wrapping up a work day, let alone getting to the arena.
After UFC on FUEL TV 4 in San Jose, Calif., which featured a Chris Weidman TKO of Mark Munoz, White also took the low numbers in stride. That event drew an announced attendance of 4,250 and gate of $163,495 for an average ticket price of $38.47.
“Do I get discouraged? Come on. Of course I don’t,” White said after that event. “It was a great event here tonight. It was for FUEL, and on a Wednesday in the middle of the day, to do a $163,000 gate is good. There are going to be dates in the middle of the week. These are TV fights. They’re for television.”
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