Organizers 'pretty happy' with UFC 140

CHRIS DOUCETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

TORONTO - With about 18,000 fans taking in UFC 140 Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, the UFC’s second ever visit to Toronto goes down in the books as the second most attended UFC event of 2011.

The biggest audience this year, of all time actually, was of course in April at UFC 129 in the Rogers Centre — the UFC’s first ever stadium show and first ever stop in the city.

“We’re pretty happy,” Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, said Sunday.

The two professional mixed martial arts events, held just eight months apart, sold nearly 74,000 tickets combined and raked in a whopping $15 million.

Pretty impressive for a sport the McGuinty government fought so hard to keep out of Ontario.

It turns out Toronto truly is “the mecca” of MMA, as UFC President Dana White so often says.

Even though UFC 140 was considerably scaled down from UFC 129, the turnout for the event just missed cracking the UFC’s top five shows of all time.

Five of the top six attended UFC events of all time have actually been on Canadian soil, with the two in Toronto ranking first and sixth. Three of the top five were in Montreal and another took place in Columbus, Ohio.

“That’s not bad at all,” Wright said proudly.

He said the UFC hasn’t decided yet which it prefers for future events, the massive Rogers Centre or the somewhat more intimate ACC.

“It’s nice to know we have options,” Wright said of the two venues.

He was still digesting the excitement of UFC 140 and not quite ready to look ahead.

“It was a great night,” Wright said. “There was lots of excitement and some great fights.”

Wright said he felt “so bad” for local fighter Mark Hominick, who was knocked out in just seven seconds.

“He threw that wild left and that was it,” he said, adding the recent loss of his long-time trainer and friend, Shawn Tompkins, may have been a factor.

“He felt so bad for disappointing his fans,” Wright said of the Machine, who is from Thamesford, Ont.

Wright also enjoyed the bout between heavyweights Frank Mir and Minotauro Nogueira. But he admitted “it was pretty tough to watch” Mir snap Big Nog’s arm.

At least the broken arm earned the Brazilian fighter a flight home on UFC President Dana White’s personal plane. The boss actually tweeted a photo of Big Nog sitting on the plane with his arm in a sling.


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