I told the UFC folks I’d try to make one of their events. Not sure why they care, but they seem to. So, here I sit — a 58-year-old in jeans and a blazer (frightfully overdressed) on a perfectly good Saturday night with my omnipresent Blackberry in the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The sport is easy to understand. The guy who walks out of the cage is usually the winner. Pretty compelling and elemental stuff.
I’m a sports-of-almost-any-kind aficionado, so to say I find it interesting is to say very little. Others may not care for it. And that’s fine. But don’t discount UFC. It’s every bit the sport that boxing is, sans the manipulative promoters.
But here’s why I think all Las Vegans should care: For all intents and purposes, UFC is a sport born and raised in Las Vegas. It’s a pure sport getting bigger as it expands its fan base beyond young male Americans to all ages, women and other countries.
It is good for us who live in the greatest city in the world that the center of the planet for UFC is Vegas. Just looking at the UFC 100 crowd tonight tells me the sport is a freakin’ economic juggernaut for Las Vegas. Not just for the number of people who attend the sold-out event, but for the many people who came to Las Vegas just to be in the same time and space as UFC 100.
I’ve lived in (and cared about) Las Vegas going on four decades. Every five years, I’ve marveled at how the city finds a way to reinvent itself to stay relevant to a new crop of travelers.
UFC looks to me like the next big Vegas thing.