Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

We find out tonight how the UFC pricing plan played out in the depressed Oregon economy. The promotion has been riding high recently. Cards in Las Vegas and Philadelphia pulled in huge crowds and gates. As unemployment hits 10-12 percent around the country, the UFC hasn't felt the crunch yet. Maybe it is here in Portland. Events around the country have been a slam dunk drawing at least 14,000 in some huge arena. As of early Friday, reports had it that The Rose Garden only had 9,000-10,000 tickets sold. Local reporters pressed UFC president Dana White on the issue of ticket prices being too high:

"I've been one of these guys who's kept ticket prices right where we've had them all along," said White. "In some places we're very conscious on ticket prices. Trust me, nobody understands more than I do, these hard economic times."

White said reality is that some people just won't be able to attend live events (2:03 mark):

"Everywhere we go, we really haven't felt the crunch yet. I try to keep the ticket prices as low as possible but we have to run our business, and we have those options where some people have to watch on pay-per-view and other people can buy tickets."

White said he's thrilled with the way Portland has responded:

"In this economy and we go and sell 10,000 tickets, I'm pumped. There's baseball and basketball and all these other big major sports that are hurtin. People aren't buying tickets and people aren't spending money. When we go into a market and people buy a good amount of tickets I'm more than happy."

The ticket prices ranged from $600 down to $50. Apparently, the upper level tickets were scooped up immediately. It's the $300-$400 tickets that are moving slowly. We'll see if the walk-up crowd takes of some of those tickets tonight to push the crowd upwards of 13,000-14,000.

White also addressed the continuing efforts to get more traditional media coverage. He visited Portland's biggest paper, The Oregonian on Wednesday. That paper chose to run LPGA on the front page of the sports section on Wednesday but has ramped up their UFC coverage the last two days. At least they're staffing the event. UFC's hometown paper, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, chose not to send its MMA writer on the road for UFC 102 even with a main event featuring Las Vegan Randy Couture. There is coverage in the paper of the event which is an improvement on the coverage for the Gina Carano fight. The LVRJ didn't feature an advance or a fight night story on Carano, a Vegas-native.

Join Cagewriter Sunday morning for the only UFC 102 postfight show from The Rose Garden starting at 1:30 a.m. ET. Listen here.

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