UFC 102 Far From Sold Out; Economy, Taxes Problematic
A story that’s seemingly flown right under the radar the last couple weeks is the fact that the UFC is having trouble selling tickets for its 102 event to be held at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. The venue holds nearly 20,000 people for an MMA event, but has sold just over 9,000 tickets to date.
It’s surprising news for a number of reasons: Randy Couture is an Oregon boy, MMA is fairly popular in the state, and the UFC has built up a tremendous amount of momentum in recent months. When you look deeper, however, it’s not so surprising at all that UFC 102 is struggling to fill its arena.
The UFC was actually slated to bring their show to Portland back in November of 2008, but it is believed that the organization cancelled those plans and chose Las Vegas instead due to a combination of the poor economy in Oregon and exhoribidant event taxation in Portland.
Fast forward to 2009 and the economy is only getting worse:
Oregon’s economy, bad as it is, will get even worse over the coming months, threatening double-digit unemployment and early school closures while sucking billions of dollars from the state budget, according to a forecast released Friday.
“We’re falling basically into a pit,” said state economist Tom Potiowsky. He had the unenviable job of telling stone-faced state officials how much — or how little — they can spend on education, aid to the poor and other programs.
According to Potiowsky’s forecast, which is used to set state spending levels, the current state budget will come up short by $855 million. For the 2009-11 budget, the gap between projected revenue and the rising cost of state services grows to $3 billion.
The sharp drop stems from the same forces that clobbered the nation’s economy: dried-up export markets, tumbling home values, falling stock prices and frightened consumers.
“The perfect storm is here,” Potiowsky said. “And Oregon is feeling the recession stronger than many other states.” He predicted
Exacerbating the problem even further are the 6% gross receipt taxes levied by both the Oregon State Athletic Commission and the City of Portland for MMA events held in the city - ie., 12%.
UFC Legend Matt Hughes’s Manager: It’s Time For Matt Serra To Move On
“There has not been discussion on [a rematch between former UFC welterweight champions Matt Hughes (41-7) and "Terror” Matt Serra (9-6)]. I really thought all the talking was over after the fight,” Hughes’s manager Brian Patton told Fighters.com Monday night in response to an interview Serra gave to MMA Weekly Monday in which Serra called for a rematch.
Baroni knew he would return to the UFC
Lost in the buzz surrounding the Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg women's title fight was the news that veteran Phil Baroni signed a new deal with the UFC.
Baroni made his UFC debut at UFC 30 in February 2001, defeating Curtis Stout via unanimous decision. He went 3-5 inside the Octagon, and was released from the organization following his loss to Pete Sell at UFC 51. FanHouse spoke to Baroni via e-mail recently about his surprising return to the UFC. The full interview is below.
Big Nog Talks Long Awaited Bout With Randy Couture
TSN.ca talks to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira about his upcoming UFC 102 bout with Randy Couture. The bout, is one that many fans have wanted to see over the years and although both fighters may not be in their primes anymore, it will be interesting to see how this fight finsihes at the end.
Randy Couture on Nogueira, Lesnar and How Long He'll Fight
It seems almost impossible that, at age 46, Randy Couture is still fighting in the UFC. But in less than two weeks he'll get back into the Octagon once again, taking on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102. In an interview with FanHouse, Couture talked about what kind of opponent Nogueira will be, why he thinks he could beat UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar if he gets another shot at him and whether it's realistic for him to keep fighting into his late 40s. The full interview is below.
Chuck Liddell Will Be Dancing With The Stars This Season
That's right, this time he'll be on the floor instead of watching in the stands. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion was one of 16 celebrities announced today as participants on the next season of the ABC show "Dancing With The Stars", where he'll be paired up with a to-be-determined pro dancer for the competition. The season premieres September 21 on ABC.
Notable Edits Made During Spike TV's 'UFC 100' Special
The UFC countered last night's "Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg" event by airing a "UFC 100" special for free on Spike TV. The special included three fights from the main card, as well as three never-before-televised preliminary bouts.
The Brock Lesnar - Frank Mir heavyweight title fight, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher and Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping aired from the main card, while Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar, Shannon Gugerty vs. Matt Grice and Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien aired from the preliminary card
Coleman warns Ortiz: “I won’t be used as a stepping stone by anybody”
“I think that’s absolutely perfect, I’m ecstatic. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. I’ve been given this kind of opportunity in the past and this is one I need to take advantage of. This is my chance to take everything he has.”
“I think it’s gonna be a hell of a fight, I think it’s gonna be a war. Neither one of us likes to lose, I actually hate to lose. There’s a good chance this fight could end up on its feet and I feel like my stand-up skills will be ready to win in that area. I don’t know if I can knock him out but I definitely think I can beat Tito. I definitely feel like I can win this fight. There are no guarantees in this game but I hit really hard and if I connect I could knock him out.”
Condit vs. Ellenberger on main card, Dollaway vs. Miller completes UFC Fight Night 19
With a couple recent changes to the card, September's UFC Fight Night 19 lineup is now complete.
The event takes place Sept. 16 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City and airs on Spike TV as a lead-in for the debut of "The Ultimate Fighter 10."
A bout between Jake Ellenberger (21-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who was a late replacement for Chris Lytle, and Carlos Condit (22-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) remains on the televised main card, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) had learned, and the addition of a C.B. Dollaway (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. Dan Miller (11-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) fight is now official for the night's preliminary card.
Phil Baroni signs with the UFC
It's official: Phil Baroni, a shameless (and effective) self-promoter who's better known as "The New York Bad Ass," is returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On Thursday the 33-year-old fighter signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC and is heading to the organization's welterweight division.
UFC reverses course on Thales Leites and Tamdan McCrory, both returning to octagon
Thales Leites was stunned on Saturday when he heard that judges had come to a split decision in his fight with Alessio Sakara at UFC 101 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. He was even more stunned when he came out on the short end of the verdict.
But the really shocking news came on Thursday, when he learned he was being dropped by the Ultimate Fighting Championship only four months after competing for the middleweight title.
It turns out, though, that Leites still has a job with the UFC.
Josh Neer and Kurt Pellegrino Comment on Their Fight at UFC 101
Hey guys I figured I’d come on here and explain my fight a little. 1 thing I wish I would have done is just try to get up. The reason I didn't was because when he stood up, he was waiting for me to do so. Soon as I would of, he would of spun around and take my back. If I had it to do over again I would have just took the risk. I was complaining about the ref standing us up because c'mon he can't stand us up 1 time? But I guess you can't when you’re basically from the same town as my opponent. I watched the same ref being buddy buddy with all the guys on the card from New Jersey. My main problem with Kurt was b4 the fight he talked how it was going to be a war and he was going to leave it all out there and blah blah. Well in my opinion he didn't at all. If you’re going to play it safe and stick to a game plan just say that. Don’t talk like it's going to be a great fight.
BJ Penn wants Diego Sanchez sooner rather than later
“It’s gonna happen, hopefully within the next two, two-and-a-half months. I’m 30 now and I’m hoping to get a couple of more fights in. I know they say that in MMA, people peak later, but who knows? My whole career, fighting from age 20 to 30, I’ve gotten into real good shape and gotten out of shape and started getting back into shape again. I don’t want to do that anymore. Here I am. I’m in shape. I want to have fun for a couple of days, take some time off, eat some good food, and then I want to get right back into all that stuff…. [Diego is] really good; he’s really explosive. He’s shown that he has some knockout power and he’s a very good grappler. He’s very hungry; he’s shown that he wants to be a champion someday. This is an important fight…. I’d like to get a fight with St. Pierre again, but now that Diego Sanchez is next, once we get the word from Dana White, that’s what we’re gonna be thinkin’ about.”
THALES LEITES SURPRISED, UPSET ABOUT UFC RELEASE
Following a controversial loss to Alessio Sakara at UFC 101, Brazilian fighter Thales Leites received word that he would be released by the promotion. He was surprised by the move.
"My manager received one e-mail from the UFC telling that I was out of the UFC," Leites told MMAWeekly.com in an exclusive interview. "Personally, I think (it’s) unfair."
Despite neither competitor finishing the fight, most felt that Leites did enough to notch the win, but the judges in Philadelphia saw it different and handed the decision to Sakara instead.
"I didn't understand what the two judges saw," Leites commented. "Unreal."
With the news still fresh in his mind, Leites is quick to point out that he doesn't plan to sit on the sidelines for very long.
"Still training hard, looking for new proposals for a fight," he said about his immediate future.
The motivation of being cut seems to be all Leites needed to drive him to work that much harder, and the Brazilian will do exactly that to get back to the top promotion in the sport.
"I was upset about the fight and much more about being cut (from) the UFC," Leites said. "I didn't fight well, but I know that I won that fight. This gives me more motivation to train more and one day come back stronger than ever to the UFC."
Leites will continue his training in Brazil while waiting for his next chance to step back in the ring and prove he belongs among the elite middleweights in the world.