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UFC 83 ticket sales should make the UFC re-think expansion plans

With the latest news that UFC Fight Club members sold out the promotion’s pre-sale for UFC 83 in Montreal on April 19 along with the likelihood that the remaining lot of tickets to the Bell Centre will be bought up when they go on sale to the public on Friday, it begs the question; why did it take so long for the UFC book a show in Canada?

I understand that it’s not easy booking a venue in Canada during hockey season. But while the NHL season seemingly lasts forever, there is an offseason.

Selling over 14,000 tickets to UFC Fight Club members is no joke even though not all 14,000 were “true” members of the Fight Club. Tickets technically went on sale to the general public on Sunday. Anyone willing to pay the $79.95 to join the UFC Fight Club this past weekend was given the chance to buy tickets.

Ticketmaster makes it so easy that you don’t even have to sign up through the UFC’s web site, as there’s a signup function right on the Ticketmaster page when you go to buy tickets for the event. That means someone who has been never been in the Fight Club before has just as much access to the pre-sale as someone who has been in it for two seconds. In some ways, fans were asked to pay a $79.95 surcharge for premium seating selection. But if you’re a hardcore UFC fan from Canada, that’s a small price to pay for good seats.

The enthusiasm for UFC 83 is interesting in that it raises the issue as to why the UFC didn’t begin their International expansion plans with Canada before venturing into any other country. Whenever UFC president Dana White talks about the UK expansion, he talks about how the promotion is losing money. Ticket sales are strong for the UK events but the UFC is expected to sell out the 21,500 seat Bell Centre is no time flat. The UFC is not only moving more tickets for Montreal than UK events, but they’re moving them faster.

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