The big fight pub atmosphere was alive and well on Sunday with a buzz I haven’t experienced in some time.
The UFC comes back to Sydney (Allphones Arena) this weekend, with the main event featuring a welterweight battle between Martin Kampmann and Thiago Alves.
The card also gives us some local talent with the likes of Kyle Noke, Anthony Perosh and James Te-Huna who will take to the octagon in front of a home crowd.
The UFC will also introduce the flyweight division with Demetrious Johnson versus Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez versus Yasuhiro Urshitani in a tournament, ultimately leaving the two winners to take the gold in a later event.
But that’s where the excitement stops, for most.
The Australian MMA fans have been rather vocal about how displeased they are with the card that has been dealt.
Ticket sales for the last two shows that the UFC brought to Sydney had sold out in a matter of minutes. The fact that there are still tickets available for this weekend’s event, months after their release, is a clear indication that the card was not strong enough to pull in the numbers.
No one respects and admires Dana White as much as I do, but even I couldn’t help but feel a little short changed.
When the question was put to White about the fan’s lack of enthusiasm for the card at the pre-fight press conference, his retort was simple: “If you don’t like it, then don’t watch”.
The UFC reaches 175 countries worldwide, in 22 different languages, in half a billion homes on television, so you can appreciate that the handful of people who were miffed with the card, are the least of White’s worries.
Upon further reflection on the issue earlier today, I began to realise that even though the big names on a UFC card will undoubtedly pull in the large crowds, as lovers of MMA, we need to stop and look at the bigger picture and see the positives.
History will be made on Australian soil this weekend with the flyweight division making its debut – that in itself has to count for something.
We should feel privileged that the New South Wales Government allows these events to take place in Sydney and that the UFC brings the sport to Australia.
Although we may not have the big names fighting this weekend, I have every expectation that we are in for some exciting and dominant performances.
You know how the saying goes: “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
So, until the fights are over, don’t write the card off. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.