Once again, Zuffa is bringing an event to my hometown of Chicago. This time, it's World Extreme Cagefighting with WEC 40 at the UIC Pavilion on the near west side of the city. When Zuffa brought UFC 90 to Chicago, I couldn't walk two steps without seeing billboards, commercials, posters and news announcements. My friends and family, whether they were sports fans or not, asked me questions about the UFC. Just a few months later, MMA is back on a large stage in the Windy City. For this event, with two headlining fighters hailing from area, I assumed that I would see a similar sort of promotion. Maybe it wouldn't be on the same level as UFC 90, but still, I'd see something, right?
Wrong. The only place I've seen the event poster was on the door of Miguel Torres' gym. I haven't watched or heard a single local ad on television or radio. My friends who are fight fans didn't even know that the WEC was coming to Chicago. Less than a week before the fight, you can still get good tickets through Ticketmaster at a venue considerably smaller than the Allstate Arena, where UFC 90 was held.
What's confusing about this lack of promotion and ticket sales is that there is a huge MMA market to be tapped here in Chicago. That market has been built up by Miguel Torres and Jeff Curran, two of the card's headliners! People are hungry to watch both Torres and Curran fight, but they won't do it if they don't know that they're fighting.
This week, the WEC will hopefully go on a media blitz to sell those remaining tickets. Nonetheless, I have to wonder why they have waited until the last minute to do so.