According to a press release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the organization has sold a record 55,000 tickets for UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. This makes UFC 129 - which will also feature Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida, Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick - the most-attended UFC event and North American mixed martial arts (MMA) event ever.
UFC 129 will take place at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It's the first UFC event in that city and the first major MMA event in Ontario.
The event was originally slated to only offer 42,000 tickets, a threshold that still would've set the same record. But according to the UFC, fan demand was so high the organization reconfigured their seating layout and added an additional 13,000 tickets.
What record is UFC 129 breaking? The previous record for attendance was UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck 2, held December 11th of 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, which saw 23,000 attend the event line. The previous live gate record was held by UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz 2, which pulled in $5.4 million at the MGM Grand Garden arena (UFC 66 is also the first UFC pay-per-view event to garner over 1 million buys). UFC 129 breaks both of those records simultaneously. The UFC said they expect to do a $11 million gate for the event.
This turns UFC welterweight champion into the sport's biggest live gate attraction, at least in Canada. Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is better for pay-per-view purchases, but is yet to pull attendance numbers like St. Pierre's. It should be noted, however, Lesnar has yet to be on a card at a venue that is as large and accommodating of large gates like the Rogers Centre.
In addition to the main event of Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields, UFC 129 will also play host to Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida and Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick. Aldo will defend his UFC featherweight title for the first time.