It seems like it has taken forever-and-a-day to get here, but the Octagon will finally make its long-awaited debut in Toronto this Saturday. Canada’s largest city will host MMA’s biggest event when “UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields” jumps off inside the Rogers Centre.
As if the record-setting show wasn’t proof enough that mixed martial arts is a major league player, UFC president Dana White professed this weekend’s festivities will pump a substantial amount of money into Canada’s economy.
“The thing about UFC events, the 55,000 people that are coming here aren’t from Ontario,” White stated during Wednesday’s press conference. “These people are coming from all over the world.
“Correctly me if I am wrong on this, but I think all the hotels are sold out this weekend. People are going to be out eating at restaurants, people are going to be going out at night, people are going to be going to the malls.
“Believe me when I tell you, when we pull out of here on Sunday, the city won’t be able to wait for us to come back.”
In addition to Saturday’s pay-per-view broadcast, the UFC is also hosting a two-day Fan Expo leading up to the fights. The exhibition allows fighters to promote and move merchandise for their many sponsors. The UFC is also hosting countless pre and post-fight parties, and we all know how alcohol tends to attract the masses.
“We’re doing a full economic impact study, we won’t know until [the event] is over,” UFC Canada director of operations Tom Wright stated. “But we are predicting somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 to $40 million.”
White quickly chimed in with a loftier goal, “I’m going with $44!”
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