With UFC 100 just over a week away, is it possible for you and a group of your buds to hop on a plane (or jump in a car) to Las Vegas, and still be able to enjoy the action? The answer is yes, but like many last-minute decisions, it will cost you.
Tickets: You have two options, going to the fights at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, or going to the closed-circuit viewing party, also at Mandalay Bay. For me, if you're going to Vegas for the fights, you should go to the fights. If you do want to go to the viewing party, it will cost you just under $90 per person.
Getting into the sold-out fights will cost you quite a bit more. Tickets start at $497, and can cost you as much as ... wait for it ... are you sitting down ... $40,000 per ticket. That's right, you can either buy yourself a new Honda, or you can have a cageside ticket for UFC 100. There is plenty of in-between ground there, like seats in the lower bowl for around $1000. A grand per ticket is hardly cheap, but it's still a seat in the fights that will not give you a nosebleed.
Hotel: The bad economy has affected tourism in Las Vegas, which means you can stay there for relatively cheap rates. Hotels.com has rooms for as cheap as $25 a night, you can stay on the strip at the Tropicana for $80 a night, or in the Luxor, which is attached to Mandalay Bay, for $140. Actually staying at Mandalay Bay will cost you quite a bit more, as in $286 a night. (Note, if you book with Hotels.com, they charge your credit card ahead of time, so don't book until you know you're going.)
Fan Expo: To be held in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, this event seems as if it will be a UFC fan's dream come true. The following fighters will be on hand:UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, UFC Hall of Famers Royce Gracie and Randy “The Natural” Couture, and former world champions Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, “Suga” Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. UFC contenders Kenny Florian, Steve Cantwell, Shane Carwin, Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis, Tyson Griffin, Clay Guida, Dustin Hazelett, Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann, Josh Koscheck, Joe Lauzon, Junie Browning, Nate Marquardt, Gray Maynard, Karo Parisyan, Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez, Sean Sherk and Mike Swick will also be meeting fans, along with The Ultimate Fighter winners Nate Diaz and Efrain Escudero.
Phew. A two-day pass is $50, and training sessions with fighters and coaches cost an additional amount. The expo is a gargantuan event on its own, and I won't be able to do it justice within this post, so check out more about it here.
Getting there: This close to the event, airfares are getting pretty high. According to Orbitz, from my own hometown of Chicago, it would cost between $500 -- $600, between $550 -- $700 from Boston, $450 -- $600 from Dallas, and $170 -- $350 from Los Angeles. You can also save quite a bit on your flight if you combine it with your hotel on a Web site like Travelocity or Orbitz.
Extras: The Sin City is an adult's playland, and everything from food and drink to live shows to gambling, nightclubs and strip clubs can cost you quite a bit. If you're male, not a UFC fighter or celebrity, and expect to go to a hot club like XS, Tryst or Body English, plan on ponying up for bottle service. But if you don't need to be in a jampacked club, or the newest restaurant in town, you can save money. Though dancing at XS was a blast, I also had a great time in Caramel in the Bellagio, and had a great meal at Oyster Bay in the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood.
So, it's still possible for you to do Vegas for UFC 100, and do it well, but it will be difficult to do it cheaply. If you do go, come back here and let us know about your weekend. Well, what you can tell us, since what happens in Vegas ...