Because MMA fans are neurotic hyper-ventilators, we were all concerned that the UFC’s return to Japan would be met with indifference – whatever the hell ‘meh’ is in Japanese. But all those fears seem to have been for naught, because:
While the doors have yet to open for this weekend’s “UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson” event, company officials are already declaring the event a ticket-selling success.
UFC officials today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that ticket sales are still moving briskly for this weekend’s event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and the fight card is expected to sell-out all of the nearly 20,000 available seats.
Furthermore, UFC officials are so encouraged by the buzz surrounding UFC 143 that plans for a return to Japan are already under consideration, and multiple annual visits – as well as a version of “The Ultimate Fighter” – are also possible.
There were a lot of concerns that the UFC wouldn’t be able to fill the venue they had chosen. It’s called Saitama Super Arena for a reason: it can hold up to 37,000 people in it’s cavernous maw. Add in the fact that the UFC decided to try and pull a timezone fast one and hold the event at 10AM so they could still air it live at 10pm for us gaijin and it all added up to some serious questions on how this event would do.
But the numbers the UFC announced sound pretty sweet: nearly 20,000 tickets sold. That’s up and above what any of the local promoters are pulling nowadays and impossible to look at as anything other than a rousing success. As for the big talk of returns to Japan and TUF editions … well, we’ve heard that before from the UFC after it rolls into town and strikes up a roMMAnce with the locals. “Oh yeah baby this is totally going to be a regular thing, we’re gonna see each other all the time!” A year from now when there hasn’t been another show and Japan will start to realize it’s no more special than Omaha to the UFC machine.