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A stadium show in the UK????

It’s slim goddamn pickings this morning for news, but one bit of stupidity I wanted to comment on was the idea of a stadium show in the UK:

“We are going to continue to do four big events in the UK per year,” Zelaznik said from the UFC’s UK headquarters in Knightsbridge. “We will be confirming our next UK event in a couple of weeks.

“We hold records in the biggest indoor venues in the UK already, and the next step is running big outdoor shows. The UFC in a UK football stadium would be an incredible fan experience.”

That’s evil stormtrooper general Marshal Zelaznik saying this, so take it worth a grain of salt since I doubt he’s allowed to pick out his own clothes let alone the place and size of his venues. There’s many many reasons why a UK stadium show is a terrible idea, but I’ll try to get through the main points and you guys can fill in the blanks on your own:

UK Attendance has been so-so thus far: Mind you, this could be in part because the UFC keeps putting together some uber-shitty cards over there. CroCop vs Gonzaga, Rich Franklin vs Yushin Okami, and Matt Hughes vs Thiago Alves headlining shows does not make for killer ticket sales. Thus far only 2 out of 5 cards in the UK have involved title belts, making the region seem less important than the US.

You’ve got Bisping aaaaand … no one: The UFC has struggled to develop any decent UK or European talent. This was understandable back when they first returned to Britain for UFC 70 … but that was 15 UFC events ago and still there’s no standout UK talent in the company worth putting on the main card. The biggest thing the UFC has to a Bisping backup is Paul Taylor. That’s fucking pathetic.

There are 1001 better places to do a stadium show: The UFC’s Montreal show sold out before tickets even went on fucking sale. There are popular Canadians fighting in every weight division of the organization, and many of them are contenders. And lets not forget you’ve got a Canadian champion who’s also #2 on the pound for pound list. If you’re going to do a stadium show somewhere, why do it in the UK when you’ve got a market like Canada?

Again, I bet this is just Zelaznik flapping his gums and playing up the decent success of the UFC breaking into the UK. But it’s still a dumb ass idea.

  • Lifer

    stadium bj penn vs. gsp in montreal would do… fairly well?

  • Carcass

    UFC 85 filled the largest indoor venue in the UK in about 12 hours of tickets going on sale. Just so ya know.

    Dan Hardy is going to be the next big thing for the UK. Now they need Paul Daley as well. I want them to give Hardy a good match to start him off – how about Marcus ‘The American Tosspot’ Davis?

  • fightfan

    I agree. Fuck Bisping and the UK. I am sick of hearing about it. They will keep talking about him like he is the 2nd coming and feeding him lesser talent until they can even further inflate his record. I mean havent they spent enough time and scrubs with him.

    There are so many more Canadian fighters that are LEGIT and DO NOT have “market” them into believable superstars. The GSP show sold out in, what MINUTES?? Where the UK they sometimes spend more money than they make. I understand trying to get into the market, but for Christ sake there are MANY other places in the world far more deserving of having UFC shows!!!

  • Hattori Hanzo Gracie

    They spent a shit load of fucking money putting those UK shows together and then bring up the payperview prices by 5 dollars. How about going back to New Jersey and having a decent card by way of an apology for UFC 78.

  • DannyP72

    The attendance at the UK shows isn’t the problem, just the quality of the cards. They can hold it in a middle of a field for all I care as long as the fights are good.

  • Jemaleddin

    They have outdoor stadiums (stadia?) in Canada? Why? Isn’t it too could 10 months out of the year?

  • Jemaleddin

    Or even cold?

  • David Axell


    As an Englishman living in England, I know nothing about how having shows over here affects the US PPV sales, but I can confirm that UFC 85 sold out in less than a day, with an attendance of over 20,000 with a minimum ticket value of £50 ($100) rising to a top tier ticket at £250 ($500). That makes somewhere between $3million & $8million (at least) just in ticket prices, before you factor in merchandising and PPV sales. The UK is so poorly served by top class MMA and is relatively small (compared to the US – it’s about the size of one state and about 20% of the size of Texas, for example) that people will travel from all over to see a decent show. And they’re all decent shows, regardless of personal allegiance and preference. If they were to hold a show at Wembley Stadium, for example, they would sell out at 100,000 tickets fairly swiftly, which would probably make them more than 5 times as much as UFC 85 in ticket sales and would ramp up merch. sales accordingly. Plus a bigger show would generate more interest in the media which would increase public awareness, which is all good in the loong term, which is where I think the UFC is looking.

    Granted, Canada shows would be hot, but would people really travel several thousand miles to sit in the back row of a stadium to watch GSP on a big screen?

    Just my two penn’orth.

  • David Axell

    Plus, people in the UK don’t just want to see Bisping. Personally, I think he’s a big dog’s cock. We do get all UFC shows over here (Wired, Unleashed, TUF and all PPV’s) for free if you have satellite or cable TV, so people know more than just him and a surprising amount know more than perhaps those States-side might give credit for about who is good and who is not. Personally, I think if you put two title fights on a card, you would guarantee a 100,000 sell-out, whether it’s Anderson, Rampage, Minotauro, GSP, BJ, whoever. And often it’s the supporting fights on the undercard that really get people going and draw people in.

    More worthless opinion!

  • Carcass

    Yeah, the argument that ‘we have a bigger market in Canada’ doesn’t really hold water…in the UK we have:
    1) Bigger population
    2) WAAAAAAY higher population density (less distance to travel)
    3) Strong currency (boosts the UFC profit when you convert it to US dollars)
    4) Good familiarity with UFC stars in general, not just UK fighters.
    5) A history of packing out big arenas (20000 seats in less than a day) even for pisspoor cards.

    Where exactly is the problem?

  • Carcass

    You’re all just bitter because Mike laid a good old-fashioned beating on your boy Jason Day. :P

    (that was for Jake, I love you really man ;) )

  • fightfan

    POST 9

    I am glad that someone from the UK sees past the UFC’s smokescreen of Bisping. 7 or 8 UFC fights, with the toughest being Rashad Evans, which aint saying much. While the only other decent fighter was Hammil and 90% of those who watched the fight know Bisping lost that.

    I understand that the UFC is using Bisping to market them throughout the UK. But I am so sick of the hype. At this point of his career, someone “who never got his ass beat” and is 14-1 and still fighting C level…..maybe moving closer to B level by 10-12 fights

  • David Axell

    Yeah, fightfan, I saw that fight against Matt Hamill and I COULD NOT BELIEVE that the judges gave the decision to Bisping. It can only have been because they were in the UK and, maybe, the UFC is trying to do a Kimbo Slice with Bisping and avoid him losing at all costs.

    Bisping seems like a lot of guys who have done some fight training and instantly believe that they’re better and tougher than they are. The difficulty with Bisping is that he IS good … but not as good as he thinks he is. But he is, definitely, a twat.

  • Steve

    What’s up with linker lately?

    You have basically been shitting on any UFC locale that doesn’t involve the word ‘Canada’. I thought us Americans were supposed to be xenophobes of North America, not the Canucks.

  • Asa

    Bisping vs Silva. I think that’d do it.

  • RoB

    im drawing a blank on canadian heavyweights…?

  • fightlinker

    Dave Beneteau and Gary Goodridge! OLD SCHOOL!

  • RoB

    there are black people in canada? :-o

  • fightfan

    I agree David Axell. Bisping is a decent fighter. And that is it. He is not bad, he’s not a superstar, but just a decent fighter….And if you put him in front of weaker fighters, sure he will win most of the time and look much better than he is. It just bothers me how much the UFC goes out of their way to match hm up against very winnable fights, while newcomer Palhares in his 2nd UFC is fighitng Henderson. Why not Bisping???? Becuase the UFC doesnt want him to LOSE, AND they still want to considser him a contender and make him popular….

    And the Bisping Hammil fix….2/3 judges were PAID employees of the UFC, while the other judge was the ONLY randomly picked judge, who scored it 30-27 Hammil. Hey, if your boss flew you overseas for vacation/job….You would do the best to make your boss HAPPY…PERIOD. No need ot beat a dead horse any more than I already do

  • guy lafleur

    GSP and then who after?
    Cote? McDonald?
    Please, dont insult our little intelligence left by tellling us that we have great fighters or even contenders.

  • Paul P

    Retarded article by retard writer….
    “UK Attendance has been so-so thus far” – NO! Sold out, record breaking show in Manchester, Belfast, London, Newcastle… and with the £ worth so much compared to $ Zuffa is making big money.

    They got 16,000 paid for show headlined by shot Matt Hughes the other week, FFS!

    “You’ve got Bisping aaaaand … no one”
    Errr… Bisping is a big help selling tickets, and him v Silva would sell like crazy, but UFC is what sells in the UK, not any single fighter. Dummy.

    “There are 1001 better places to do a stadium show: ”
    Well, you came up with one – Canada. And another dumb point, they are running UK shows already, like Zelasniuk says, 4 per year, so why not make one of them a MASSIVE show and make more money?

    Dumb article, last time I post here, last time I visit this bitchfest of a site.

  • McBones

    We will attend in droves to a stadium show regardless of who’s on. Check out Ricky Hattons last fight in Manchester. I know its boxing but MMA will be the same. Its very simple, us Brits enjoy a good fight, a good night and a good booze. Its a culture thing.