Dana White: “We Missed the Mark [at UFC 102]”

Written by Tom Ngo
September 2nd, 2009

UFC 102 Letdown – The show that the UFC put on inside the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon was one of the best overall cards the company has produced in quite some time.

Despite the quality of the fights, the company “only” managed to garner 16,088 fans for a $1.92 million gate – numbers that president Dana White is none too pleased with.

“I’m my own worst critic, and I got a lot of [expletive] critics, believe me,” White stated at the UFC 102 post-fight press conference. “I’m a little disappointed that we missed the mark on this thing. I think as great as we did, we could have done better.”

My, how times have changed. Most MMA organizations are doing cartwheels after pulling in a $1.9 mil gate, but White and his UFC have made no bones about their desires to dominate professional sports and set untouchable records along the way.

“The people from Nike were here tonight. All the big top-dogs from Nike were like, ‘You don’t come to a sporting event in Portland and see all these women here.’ Everybody’s telling me how successful this thing was and how great it was, but to me, I know personally we missed it and we could have done better,” White continued.

If you dive deeper into the number, you can understand why White was a little disappointed with the night’s preliminary numbers. Although $1.92 tops several recent European UFC promotions, as well as all of their UFC Fight Night shows, the Rose Garden’s gate total was the organization’s smallest reported U.S.-based pay-per-view event since March’s “UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine” card netted only $1.8 million inside the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The night wasn’t a complete loss as Rose Garden officials told White their debut show ranked among the top five gates the venue had hosted. However, White feels they weren’t as prepared as they should have been, and left plenty of money on the table as a result.

“I’m pissed off that we’re not the No. 1 gate in the history of this place,” White said. “That bums me out because I think we could have done it had we dialed it in right. But we’re going a million miles an hour, jumping on all these things.

“I’ve got this thing priced, ticket-wise, for the same price I’ve got L.A. priced for. [Expletive] stupid. We messed up here. I’m a little bummed out about that. We didn’t sell it out like I think we should have, but it was a great night. Like I said, in saying that, it’s still one of the top-five gates in history here.”

White ended his rant on a positive note when he received some encouraging words from a local Oregonian reporter.

“We missed the mark here,” White said in closing. “But listen, one of the reporters from here just came up to me and said, ‘Let me tell you what – I want to tell you how proud I am of you. There isn’t anything that comes in here and does what you guys did tonight financially and with getting bodies here.'”

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