Will 300 Be Perfect For UFC, Too?

Another weekend, another milestone event for a division of TKO.  Last weekend, its was Wrestlemania XL, an annual event that by all accounts of those in the know went over splendidly.  Tonight it’s UFC 300, with the familiar T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip home to this extravaganza.  The first of this breed only dates back to November 1993, so it’s not quite as much a reminder of the passage of time.  But it’s 30 1/2 years, which ain’t chump change.   And although that works out to an average of roughly ten of these events per year, making them not quite as unique as the WWE events, the fervor of the MMA audience assures a more than decent take of both gate and PPV revenue.  And tonight looms to be a cut above the normal level of decency.

As MMA Junkie details:

The milestone UFC 300 takes place Saturday headlined by two undisputed title fights, as well as a BMF title fight, and MMA Junkie Radio’s “Gorgeous” George and “Goze” will host a live-streamed watch-along right here, which kicks off at 6 p.m. ET.

In the headliner, light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira (9-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) puts that belt on the line for the first time against former champ Jamahal Hill (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who vacated the title six months after he won it due to injury.

In the co-feature, women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili (24-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) takes on Yan Xiaonan (15-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC). The bout is the first all-China title fight in UFC history.

That alone reinforces the potential of this–MMA has indeed made inroads in China, and a lazy Sunday afternoon time slot bodes for a substantial amount of viewership and revenue from that part of the world.
And even the more downcard events  are attracting attention and hype , as BLEACHER REPORT’s Doric Sam observed earlier this week:
During Thursday’s UFC 300 press conference, UFC BMF champion Justin Gaethje and his opponent Max Holloway implored UFC president Dana White to raise the $50,000 performance bonuses to $300,000 on Saturday night, and the boss obliged.  That announcement didn’t go unnoticed by Conor McGregor:
Huge shout out @danawhite and the @ufc upping the bonuses to $300k! Life changing money for many on the card. To look after your fighters is paramount! God speed Dana and team at @ufc , onwards and upwards! What a time to be alive! Have a great showing ladies and gents ❤️🍀

CBS Sports reinforces all of this:

The UFC 300 card will be noted in the history books for its depth of quality from the first fight to the last. The opening fight of the preliminary card features a battle of former world champions squaring off in Deiveson Figueiredo and Cody Garbandt, while the main card is topped by a pair of UFC championship bouts. 

Pereira (9-2) was fast-tracked to the top of the middleweight rankings primarily because of his kickboxing rivalry with former champion Israel Adesanya. At the time, the UFC was running short on qualified challengers for Adesanya and signed Pereira after just his fourth professional MMA fight.

The bold move paid off as the Brazilian would go on to upset Adesanya and win the middleweight title before moving up to light heavyweight and earning a second belt. In seven UFC appearances, the 36-year-old is 6-1 with four stoppages and belts in two separate divisions.

With UFC now a sister division of WWE, there’s a reinforcement to the intensity of the rivalry that has existed between the McMahons and UFC scion Dana White.  White’s now the only one of those officially with the company, and he’s working overtime to ensure that the world knows this is a BIG deal.  On last night’s late Sportscenter a three-minute promotional video with White as the “correspondent” took up more time than the highlights of key NBA final weekend games’ recaps.

Sure, the week longtime ombudsman Norby Williamson leaves the company, the show turns into a de facto infomercial repository.

But with global appeal and a star-studded list of combatants that also includes several other former champions, paticularly given ESPN and Disney’s other woes of late, I suppose one can’t blame them for pulling out the stops for this.

Sadly, it’s equally as beyond my budget capacity as was Wrestlemania.  And the people I knew who care about this the most are, let’s just say, anything but friends these days.

So I’ll defer to those of you who know full well why, especially on a night with no Final Four or even a full NBA slate head-to-head, White and company are so excited.  And whether or not they were just blowing smoke when they were.

Enjoy and send me a full recap, please.



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