We’ve reached the end of 2013 and with several milestones taking place since UFC on Fox 6 kicked off back in January, it has already been labeled the most thrilling year in history of mixed martial arts.
Event of the Year: UFC 168
The UFC’s annual end of the year fight card has always been one of the most anticipated nights of the year in the world of mixed martial arts. With past events headlined by some of the biggest UFC superstars taking part in some of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the year, it has become one of the most sought after tickets in all of sports.
So when it was announced Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva II for the UFC middleweight championship and Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate II for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship were scheduled to appear on the same card, fans quickly began counting down the days until Dec. 28.
It had become the talk of the sporting community as everyone from ESPN to Fox Sports and even Home & Garden sent reporters to Las Vegas. No one wanted to be the one left out in the cold as millions of fans from around the world tuned in to witness Silva, the greatest fighter who ever lived, attempt to reclaim his belt from the Weidman, only man to defeat him inside a UFC octagon. Combine this with the allure of the grudge matchup in Rouse vs. Tate and the expectations for this card became astronomical.
In the end, every fight on the PPV card more than lived up to the hype as fans were treated to three straight first-round finishes before witnessing the emotional co-main event and the memorable finish to the main event.
Not even mentioned is the violent knockout of Josh Barnett by Travis Browne and the possible final fight of the fan favorite Chris Leben, which are travesties as both would be major news if on any other fight card.
The attendance for UFC 168 was estimated to be around 15,650, a UFC record for an event held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The live gate was $6.2 million — the second-highest in UFC history.
With so much history taking place at UFC 168, it not only earns the honor of ‘Event of the Year,’ but also the distinction of being one of the most talked-about nights in combat sports history.