Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has spent the last 18 years trying to work its way into the professional sports mainstream. For better or worse and through no efforts of its own, it took a big step towards that goal this week.
The Toronto Star reported today, January 6, that UFC Canada has warned fans that Web sites offering tickets to the UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre Saturday, April 30 are fraudulent. According to the Star, the fake tickets have been offered as much as $200 a piece on Canadian classified sites. But, tickets are not even officially on sale yet, and will only be available for purchase at UFC.com and Ticketmaster.com.
“We haven’t even scaled the event yet, we haven’t even set the prices yet, they haven’t even gone on sale yet,” UFC Canada public relations director Steve Keogh told the Star.
UFC Canada director of operations Tom Wright told 680 News, a radio station in Toronto, that tickets will likely go on sale in February.
That UFC is popular enough to inspire fake tickets is no surprise. Wright told MMAWeekly.com in December that he expects to draw between 30,000 and 40,000 people to UFC 129, which would shatter the North American record for mixed martial attendance set last month at UFC 124 at Montreal (23,152).
“Whatever it is, we’re going to set a record here in terms of turnstile attendance,” Wright told the Web site.
UFC 129 will be the first UFC event held in Ontario, which lifted its ban on mixed martial arts in August. UFC has been wildly successful in other Canadian provinces: UFC 115, held June 12, 2010 at GM Place in Vancouver, sold out in 30 minutes, which made it the fastest sellout in the history of mixed martial arts. And two of UFC’s most profitable events took place in Montreal: UFC 97 drew a paid gate of $4.9 million while UFC 83 netted $5.1 million.