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5 Biggest Attendances at MMA Events

Combat sports sell.

Fighting is ingrained in our DNA, and it is in our nature to watch spectacles. This may also be the reason why large crowds have gathered to watch boxing events since the early 1900's.

Whether it is sheer star-power involved, storylines connected to fighters involved, or title implications, fans will continue to pay to attend large-scale events.

We look at the five largest attendances for mixed martial arts events.

Pride 17: Championship Chaos at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan - November 3, 2001 - 53,246 attendees

Pride had already been running events for four years at the time. In the promotion's 19th event, Pride elected to implement title belts.

Pride 17: Championship Chaos was set for November 3, 2001 at Tokyo Dome; the fifth event from the promotion at the venue.

The event would be headlined by Wanderlei Silva vs. Kazushi Sakuraba for the inaugural Pride middleweight title and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring for the inaugural heavyweight title. Also adding to the lineup are MMA and kickboxing legends Mario Sperry, Mirko Cro Cop, Semmy Schilt, Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson and Renzo Gracie.

Tokyo Dome would sell 53,246 seats for the event, becoming the largest selling Pride event at the home of Yomiuri Giants.

UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada - April 30, 2011 - 55,724 attendees

With UFC first coming to Canada in 2008 selling out the Bell Centre, and the sheer draw of French-Canadian great Georges St-Pierre, the promotion knew the Canadian market was theirs to conquer.

Apparently of the 21,390 people who piled into the Montreal Canadiens' home base, approximately 40% of the ticket buyers were from Ontario.

However, there were challenges with bringing an event to Ontario with mixed martial arts being outlawed in the province.

That all changed in August 2010 when Ontario government legalized the sport.

The first UFC event held in Toronto was scheduled for April 30, 2011 at Rogers Centre. Included with the large-scale event would be a two-day UFC Fan Expo. UFC 129 would be headlined by St-Pierre taking on final Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields. Rogers Centre would sell out 55,724 seats for over $12 million gate revenue.

UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne Australia - May 27, 2017 - 57,766 attendees

Similar to the Canadian province of Ontario, the Australian province of Victoria had legal hurdles preventing them from hosting mixed martial arts events. Fortunately, the jurisdiction stopping events from happening were simply aesthetic, as combat sports in Victoria would only be able to take place in a boxing ring.

In March 2015, the Australian Labor Government began allowing fence enclosures for mixed martial arts bouts.

UFC 193 would be set for November 14 at Etihad Stadium (now Marvel Stadium) in Melbourne, Australia.

Originally headlined by Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler, the UFC swapped in UFC 195's initial pairing of Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm after an injury to Lawler.

Bolstered by notable Australian fighters including legend Mark Hunt and future middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, UFC 193 sold 56,214 seats at the stadium show becoming the largest attended event in UFC history.

KSW 39: Colosseum at Stadium PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland - May 27, 2017 - 57,766 attendees

The most recent of events on our list, Konfrantacja Sztuk Walki would stack the deck to host their stadium show at PGE Narodowy, the national stadium in Warsaw, Poland.

KSW 39: Colosseum would be announced for May 27, 2017.

The lineup for KSW 39 would include majority of KSW's homegrown stars including Mariusz Pudzianowski, Mamed Khalidov, Borys Mankowski, Pawel "Popek Monster" Rak, Tomasz Narkun, Mateusz Gamrot and Damian Janikowski.

The announced attendance for the event was 57,776 attendees to become the second-highest selling mixed martial arts event in history.

Pride Shockwave at Tokyo National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan - August 28, 2002 - 71,000 attendees

Pride FC and K-1 have previously hosted stadium-sized shows in Japan, however their co-promotion for their Shockwave Dynamite! card in August 2002 was on a different magnitude.

Pride Shockwave would be hosted at Tokyo National Stadium, which was originally built in 1958. The stadium had also been utilized for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Both promotions would use their biggest stars to sell the event, with attendances reportedly reaching 71,000.

The event would feature Mirko Cro Cop, Kazushi Sakuraba, Minotauro Nogeuria, Bob Sapp, Jerome Le Banner, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge and "The Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva.


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