Saturday night’s gate and attendance numbers for UFC 149 are bittersweet for UFC president Dana White.
On the one hand, the gate of $4.1 million set a new record for the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada and the attendance of 16,089 was a sell-out.
On the other, the fights on the main card were a disappointment to White and the fans alike, and compounded pre-event woes about the amount of changes that the card had undergone in the preceding weeks.
“We shattered the record. I was excited when I heard [before the event started], and now I'm embarrassed. The undercard delivered, and the main card did not,” he commented. “I just hope we didn’t leave Calgary fans with a bad taste in their mouth.”
White said the main card fights - which aside from Riddle vs. Clements all went to decision - were particularly galling in light of the fact that he had hoped for a night of barnburners to silence the detractors who had taken issue with the card changes and lack of star power.
“I was so excited to stick this one up everybody's ass that said this card sucked, and we didn't,” he fumed. “The under card delivered, they were awesome. The main card did not… I think there were a lot of things that went wrong. I felt like I was at UFC 33 again.”
The UFC 33 reference pertains to what is widely considered the most uneventful main card in UFC history, with the headline fight between Tito Ortiz and Vladimir Matyushenko being probably the most sedate title fight ever to take place in the Octagon.