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UFC 129 already shattering records

Ultimate Fighting President Dana White has often stated his firm belief that mixed martial arts will one day be biggest sport in the world.<br /> <br />He might actually be right.

Ultimate Fighting President Dana White has often stated his firm belief that mixed martial arts will one day be biggest sport in the world.

He might actually be right.

White reported UFC 129 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre sold out 55,000 tickets and will do an $11 million gate during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. Both are UFC records. The organization’s previous highs were 23,000 in attendance for UFC 124 in December at Montreal’s Bell Centre, and a $5.397 million gate for UFC 66 in 2006

Initially, UFC had determined to put 42,000 tickets on sale for the April Pay-Per-View event, the first legalized MMA show in Ontario. However the demand was so great that UFC added 13,000 tickets. Tom Wright, UFC’s Director of Canadian Operations, noted that there were “four thousand, five thousand, (people) queued up when we went on-line (with tickets).”

“I’m normally pretty cocky about this,” White admitted. “(But) I was nervous. I’m blown away by the response.

“We pulled it off.”

“It’s a reflection of our sport and how it’s grown,” Wright added. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

White said that organization believes UFC 129 will conservatively create a “$40 million impact to Toronto” and generate “$1.5 million” in ticket tax. Wright noted that five percent of the gross sale of tickets are earmarked for the Ontario Athletic Commission.

The Rogers Centre event is the first stadium show in UFC history. It has been a success without having one punch been thrown. So the question is when and where will the next UFC stadium show be held. There has been speculation that Dallas Cowboys Stadium may be in the mix to host an event.

However, the City of Arlington was frequently criticized in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLV for its lack of hotel rooms and activities for travelers, while the NFL, Cowboys Stadium and Jerry Jones have taken public condemnation for selling 400 seats that were not in condition to be sold. The NFL offered refunds, free food and drinks, the opportunity to walk on the field and tickets to next year’s Super Bowl to those affected. However a class action suit has been brought against the league, the Stadium and Jones.

White pointed to Toronto’s hotels and nightlife as being key reasons to decide on the city as the one to “kick off” stadium shows. During the call, White repeatedly asked rhetorically, “how many more could we have done?” as it pertains to sold seats. He was adamant, though, that he did not think UFC could “do 55,000 seats every time” they have a show in Toronto.

The main event of UFC 129 is George St. Pierre defending his welterweight championship against Jake Shields. UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture meets Lyoto Machida in a light-heavyweight showdown, while Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick face off in featherweight battle in undercard fights.

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