Ok, all due respect to the unrelenting pomp and promotion that went into the UFC’s benchmark event UFC 100, but let’s get real, the hype and buzz surrounding UFC 129 dwarfs even that of all previous promotions.
While UFC 100 featured the birth of Brock Lesnar’s status as a PPV generator with his domination of Frank Mir and WWE post-fight tirade, UFC 129 will feature a more subdued cast of characters in the limelight as Georges St-Pierre will defend his welterweight title against a legitimate threat in Jake Shields.
While both fighters are short on incendiary quotes, they both contain an abundance of talent with either fighter illustrating what a modern-day MMA gladiator should be. GSP’s star has never burned brighter, and the addition of former WEC champion Jose Aldo making his first appearance in the Octagon as he defends his featherweight title against Mark Hominik only serves to make UFC 129 a can’t-miss event in terms of action.
The UFC has never been one to not exploit media attention and buzz in their quest for brand domination but it appears they are pulling out all the stops for UFC 129. The UFC’s first promotion in Toronto will turn the “T-Dot” into MMA nirvana with a two day fan expo taking place that weekend which will feature a grappling tournament and nearly every type of vendor under the sun vying for the coveted male demo that the UFC enjoys so well.
In addition to the usual shenanigans and autograph sessions commonplace at such expos, the UFC has brought out the big guns in terms of a star-studded panel of guest to interact with fight fans in a Q & A session. UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, UFC president Dana White, Joe Rogan, and Chuck Liddell will hold court on the first day of the expo with referee Herb Dean, and UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright will hold Q & A session on day two.
It’s easy to see why the UFC is working overtime to make this event huge. After all, UFC 129 will mark the first time the UFC has promoted a show in the Canadian providence of Ontario. MMA had been illegal in the province until this past August.
The UFC was instrumental in campaigning for the legalization of MMA in Ontario as Toronto would complete the trifecta in terms of Canadian metropolises for which the UFC sought to dominate. Previous promotions in Quebec and Vancouver proved to be widely successful as Canada has risen to be a country in love with MMA.
So far fans in Toronto have proven that they did indeed hunger for live MMA as 55,000 tickets have been sold for the event taking place at the massive Rogers Centre. Most estimates indicate that the UFC will stand to profit around $11 million in gate receipts alone.
UFC 129 Fight Card
Welterweight Title Fight – Georges St-Pierre (Champion) vs. Jake Shields
Featherweight Title Fight – Jose Aldo (Champion) vs. Mark Horminick
Jason Brilz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Spike TV Aired Prelims
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Jake Ellenberger vs. Sean Pierson