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On Saturday August 28th, the UFC heads to Boston for the first time with a highly anticipated main event between Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn (Edgar vs Penn 2 for the Lightweight Championship). In their first fight, on April 10, 2010 at UFC 112, Edgar won a narrow and controversial decision after 5 rounds of fighting. This Saturday, they meet again in a much anticipated rematch and I teamed up with James Kimball from MMAmania.com to provide some expert insights beyond the fan demand data that we always bring you here at SeatGeek (I have incorporated his thoughts in italics throughout this post).
There are some other interesting storylines for the event as well: 1) This is the first UFC event in Boston 2) The co-main event is Randy Couture vs James Toney (UFC vs Boxing).
James Kimball weighed in on UFC's Boston debut:
The UFC makes its long awaited debut in the sports tradition-rich city of Boston, Massachusetts and with it brings one of their biggest events of the year in UFC 118. Zuffa, the controlling entity of the UFC, until recently staged the majority of their shows in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. But with the exponential growth of the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole, expansion is necessary, and “Beantown” is as fertile of a fight fan ground as any.
As you an see, even among experts, Boston has a reportedly strong and "fertile" fan base. Of course at SeatGeek we are experts in fan sentiment analysis, so we wanted to take a deeper look at UFC 118 ticket data and test just how passionate Boston fans are for mixed martial arts - results below.
UFC 118 Ticket Prices
- UFC 118 is going for an average ticket price of $288
- UFC 118 ticket prices are 132.3% higher than UFC 119 ticket prices, which are currently $124 on average
- Even though the average is high, UFC 118 tickets start at $118
- This chart validates the speculation that Beantown is a great market for MMA and the UFC
- Learn more about UFC ticket prices from our complete guide
James shared his thoughts as to the drivers of demand for UFC 118 in much more detail than I could provide:
The real interest of this event doesn’t revolve around the UFC’s debut in Boston, or even the main event featuring a rematch between Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn for the lightweight title, which we’ll touch on in a moment. The real interest, the reason so many extra eyes are tuned in to the lead up to UFC 118 is the heavyweight fight between aging boxer James “Lights Out” Toney and MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture. While the particular combatants in this match up are very appealing considering both of their accomplishments in their respective sports, it is the idea of MMA vs. Boxing, or UFC vs. Boxing as Dana White and Zuffa’s marketing team has labeled the showdown, that truly grasps the attention of fight fans.
As the two most prominent fight sports on the planet, mixed martial arts and boxing always have been, and always will be compared to one another. Will the outcome of the fight between Toney and Couture prove that MMA is superior to boxing or vice versa? No. But it sure does create for one highly intriguing storyline. The fight serves no other purpose to the UFC other than to create buzz and ultimately increase pay-per-view buys. This is far from a title fight and even a number one contender bout. For all we know, James Toney, with a loss to Couture, could be one and done with the sport of MMA, while Randy’s natural weight class is light heavyweight. Considering all of this, the UFC had no other choice than to promote the bout as UFC vs Boxing. That general concept is enough to draw in plenty of eyeballs that would have otherwise been set on something else the night of August 28.
UFC 118 Details
Event: UFC 118 - Penn vs Edgar 2 (tickets available here)
Where: TD Garden Boston, MA
When: Saturday August 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Co-Main Event: Toney vs Couture
UFC 118 Trailer
Thanks for reading our first post here at SeatGeek on MMA/UFC. I look forward to covering this sport a lot more on the SeatGeek blog (it is my personal favorite). I would like to send a huge thanks to James Kimball with MMAMania for providing his detailed thoughts on UFC 118 and I hope to be able to tap into his expertise in subsequent discussions of MMA here at SeatGeek.
Thoughts/questions/suggestions? Please comment below or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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