(Originally featured on Fighter Journal)
Plenty of people turned out to see Urijah Faber take on Brazilian Renan Barao for the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada last week. A record amount for the venue, actually.
Those who stayed home knew better.
After the hugely successful Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen-billed UFC 148 drew in a million viewers - the eighth most in UFC history - early estimates for last week’s event put the numbers at an embarrassing 235,000.
Granted, only three weeks separated the two events. Throw in injuries to Michael Bisping, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Jose Aldo, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Claude Patrick, and contract confusion with Bibiano Fernandes, and the event was doomed for failure.
The fans did turn out in droves to see the event at ScotiaBank Saddledome, with the paid attendance of 16,089 accounting for $4.1 million.
“We shattered the record here, which was set by the Rolling Stones,” said UFC president Dana White at the UFC 149 post-fight press conference.
However, with four of the five main card fights finishing in decisions, those in attendance and in front of their television sets found UFC 149 overwhelmingly underwhelming.