Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is making history next month when newly-crowned women's bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey puts her strap on the line against Strikeforce import Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157, which emanates from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Feb. 23, 2013.
And ticket sales for the groundbreaking pay-per-view have yet to match the hype surrounding Rousey's debut.
The "Rowdy" one has taken the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm, following her undefeated run through the 135-pound ranks of Strikeforce, which includes six straight first-round submission finishes by way of gruesome armbar, along with mainstream media coverage by ESPN, Jim Rome, TMZ and more.
But according to Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, her appeal has yet to equate to box office bucks.
With tickets having gone on sale the week before Christmas, less than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the Feb. 23 date and the ticket gross is in the $600,000 range. ... It's slower early sales than most major UFC pay-per-view shows. There have been several Las Vegas shows that sold at a similar rate early, but that's a unique market because it's run so frequently, and casinos will buy tickets. Every UFC pay-per-view show, no matter what the first week advance is, will do in the $2 million range minimum, and the arena will be nearly full the night of the show.
Despite the slow start, it's still way too early to call UFC 157 a bust.
Especially considering it's "ahead of the pace for UFC 150 in Denver," an event headlined by Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title. As Meltzer points out, it's "also selling tickets ahead of the early pace of UFC 133, a show on Aug. 6, 2011, the company's second trip to Philadelphia."
There's still plenty of time and you can help the cause by clicking here.
The Honda Center has a capacity of 18,336, so the promotion still has some work to do if it wants to put butts in seats. I think Meltzer's report indicates that hype alone is not enough. Keep in mind, too, that Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida are in the co-main event and can do their part by talking up their potential title shots.