UFC Draws Big Crowd, Bigger Gate Receipts in Philly Debut

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first foray into Philadelphia was nothing short of a rousing success. Two of the promotion’s top stars got back on track, B.J. Penn defending his UFC lightweight belt from Kenny Florian, and Anderson Silva laying further claim to the mythical pound-for-pound title with a first-round knockout of Forrest Griffin.

All this before a stellar crowd.

The early return numbers — as announced by UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference — put total attendance at 17,411 for a Pennsylvania record gate of $3.55 million.

“(We’ve) never had a night where the first prelim of the night there were over 11,000 people there,” commented White. “Halfway through the prelims there were 16,500 people, and then over 17,000… it was 17,411, $3.55 million gate. The biggest in the history of Pennsylvania.”

Now on to the pay-per-view numbers… isn’t there some sort of crazy stunt — like White’s commitment to base-jumping off of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas — that we can get him to commit too in Philly if UFC 101 tops UFC 100 in PPV buys?