SINGAPORE - The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was vindicated in its decision to turn its Singapore event into a pay-per-view (PPV), with the UFC 275 show on Sunday (June 12) attracting a sold-out crowd and generating record revenue.
Dave Shaw, the mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation's senior vice president of international and content, shared that UFC 275 - its first PPV event in South-east Asia - attracted 10,787 spectators, with gate receipts of US$1,546,732 (S$2,146,694) which is a "sporting event gate record" at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
"It was a great night from the perspective of how the event was embraced by fans," said Shaw. "First fight in (on the preliminary card) it was like 7.15am... and we had close to 3,000 people already in the building."
UFC 275 started early on Sunday in Singapore in order to mainly cater to fans catching the action during the evening prime-time slot in the United States. The main card began at 10am.
The strong turnout reflected the star power of the card and its status as a numbered PPV event - which features the UFC's top stars and title fights, of which most are held in the US.
Then there are its Fight Night events, which are typically headlined by fighters who are in the top 10 of the UFC's weight class ranking. The UFC staged four Fight Night events in Singapore from 2014 to 2019 - which took place with a more traditional evening timing - and drew just under 22,000 spectators in total.
But UFC president Dana White said the company wanted to "come back with a bang" to Singapore and east Asia following the pandemic. So it opted to switch to the PPV format for the Lion City and lined up two title fights.
While UFC 275 PPV buy-rates were not available yet, Shaw added that he felt the organisation juggled the demand of its core American base and the local audience well.
"The fact that we had a sold-out show and people in the building very early just reaffirms the decision that it's OK... It's not much different from Perth, a few years ago," he said, referencing the UFC 221 event in Australia 2018.
When asked if the annual Singapore stop would continue to be a PPV, UFC senior vice-president Asia Pacific Kevin Chang said: "PPVs will most certainly be considered for Singapore in the future. We will get right to work next week to try and make that a reality."
The event was a hit with the Singaporean fans.
Muhammad Hafizuddin, a facilities executive, reached the stadium at 7.45am with a $188 Category Three ticket to catch his first "live" UFC event.
"UFC 275 was amazing, and the atmosphere was electrifying," said the 35-year-old.
"I hope the UFC brings another PPV event to Singapore when it comes back, and not a Fight Night event. If you look back on the previous (Fight Night) events, the cards were not as attractive. What we got this time round was so different."