XLV Flopped at Cowboys Stadium, But How 'Bout UFC?

Back in November in Cowboys Stadium, I went to the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito boxing match. In 2009 I went to UFC 103 at American Airlines Center.

My judge's scorecard: UFC > Boxing. By embarrassing submission.

Got to debating the other day what event -- other than Super Bowl XLV -- could fill Cowboys Stadium with 100,000 fans. Some of the offerings: NBA All-Star Game (duh), a World Cup final, strip club trade show (we'd never look at JumboJerry the same again), a free Justin Bieber concert, Led Zeppelin reunion, Billy Graham, American Idol finals, Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather or, alas, a UFC event.

Granted, it would take a star-studded card headlined by Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva to do it, but packing the place for Mixed Martial Arts isn't the craziest premise I've ever heard.

And the good news for us MMA fans (I'm an admitted newbie to this stuff) is that in the wake of Super Bowl XLV's disappointment, UFC just may be headed to Arlington.

It was last spring after taking in the Pacquaio-Joshua Clottey fight that drew 50,994 to Cowboys Stadium that UFC president Dana White boasted on Spike TV that "We're definitely, 100 percent going to Cowboys Stadium, no doubt about it. With our sport, people will fly in from all over the world."

At the time the Cowboys acknowledged there had been cursory talks but nothing concrete. That still seems to be the case, although the groundwork has been laid for a bigger, better UFC stadium show.

How's that?

Because White reports that UFC 129 at Toronto's Rogers Centre on April 30 has sold out 55,000 tickets and will do an $11 million gate. Both are UFC records. The event sold 42,000 tickets in seven minutes. The organization's previous highs were 23,000 in attendance for UFC 124 in December at Montreal's Bell Centre, and a $5.3 million gate for UFC 66 in 2006.

Given White's forray into bigger venues -- and, yes, bigger revenues -- and his cocky claims that UFC will some day be America's biggest sport, doesn't it make sense that he and his product are headed to America's biggest sports stage?

White said UFC 129 will conservatively create a $40 million impact to Toronto and generate $1.5 million in ticket tax.

Jerry Jones would have to promise White that he wouldn't sell tickets to seats that weren't exactly seats and Pete Delkus would have to sign off on the weather, but if St-Pierre beats Jake Shields in UFC 129 in late April, the marriage of St-Pierre-Silva in Cowboys Stadium next Fall would start to make a lot of sense.

And, for the UFC, a lot of money.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt