When the UFC announced it was going to Salt Lake City on August 1st for their second UFC on Versus show, there were a lot of jokes about the sport going head to head with God on a Sunday in such a religious area (62% of Utah is Mormon). Dana White blithely responded:
White said despite the fact that MMA fans in Utah have long asked for the UFC to visit their home state, initial reports of the event were actually met with some resistance.
“Some people are sending some emails going, ‘You guys are crazy going [to Salt Lake City] on a Sunday; it’s a holy day,'” White said. “We’re going there on a Sunday. We’re going to Salt Lake City, Utah, and we’re going to put on an event.
“I’ve had so many people from Utah saying, ‘Come on; when are you bringing an event to Utah?’ Now we’re coming, and we’ve got people on the Internet saying, ‘No, don’t come here on a Sunday. It’s a holy day.’ Talk to God and let him give you the day off to come watch.”
Now he’s a little more serious as the company has moved the show from SLC to San Diego due to poor ticket sales:
According to White, it’s the first time in the company’s history a venue has been changed after tickets already went on sale.
“Our television ratings in Salt Lake City have always been strong,” White said. “When we finally found the opportunity to bring a UFC event there with a great card, I was very surprised and disappointed in ticket sales.
“As a result, for the first time in UFC history, I decided to pull the plug and move this August 1st event to the San Diego Sports Arena.”
Of course, it’s worth noting that there is no real proof that slow ticket sales are because Mormons are shunning the event, but it’s a fun enough headline that everyone is running with it. Well, everyone except Midsy at MMA Fighting who ignores the religious angle completely and points towards this as a sign of MMA over saturation. Geez, can’t poor ticket sales in the middle of butt fuck nowhere just mean ticket sales were slow in the middle of butt fuck nowhere anymore? Does it really have to come down to MMA struggling or Mormons being creepy?