UFC 63 And Beyond…

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On September 23rd, UFC 63, featuring Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn for the World Welterweight Championship, takes place at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.

UFC (previously mentioned here and here)’s last pay-per-view, UFC 62, held on August 26th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, featuring Chuck Liddell vs. Renato Sobral for the World Light Heavyweight Championship, drew 10,246 fans with 9,341 paid and a gate of $3,060,230 (third highest in company history).

Meanwhile, two new start-ups have been looking at taking a slice of the mixed martial arts (MMA) pie in Southern California.

More after the jump.

On July 22nd at The Forum, the resurrected World Fighting Alliance: King of the Streets, featuring Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Lindland and Bas Rutten vs. Ruben Villareal, drew 3,379 fans with a gate of $248,530. Prior to the pay-per-view, WFA purchased infomercial time on Showtime and SpikeTV to help draw a buyrate.

In addition, billionaire Calvin Ayre, of Bodog and Lingerie Bowl fame, is reportedly planning a MMA pay-per-view on November 4th at The Forum. His promotion wants to use fighters similar to Tito Ortiz, Frank Shamrock, Fedor Emelianenko, and Wanderlei Silva in terms of name recognition, but with most already signed to UFC and the Japanese-based PRIDE, that will be very difficult. But it exemplifies just how much of a splash they want to make in America (a budget of $500,000 has been allocated just for the main event alone). They also supposedly have a deal already in place with The Men’s Channel, a high-definition station on Dish Network, to air a weekly television series centered around the new promotion.

So if these two start-ups want to compete with UFC and PRIDE, they should be prepared to invest in them as long-term projects, because without the money (to sign A-list fighters and major league production values) and the connections (towards airtime on television, which would help generate pay-per-view buyrates), they’re going to fizzle out.

Bottom line is that the next few months should prove very interesting for MMA fans in Southern California.

(Special thanks to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in the preparation of this article.)