My first time watching UFC: I think I’m on board

Just about every month I notice a poster in a bar or restaurant advertising their UFC nights, yet I never once felt the urge to attend one. I got caught up in the hype surrounding the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight last year and ended up ordering it on PPV (all the bars were way too packed) which ended up being a major let down. The last time I had watched any sort of fighting PPV before that was a VHS tape of the 97 Tyson – Holyfield fight my dad brought home from work.

As my wife and I were trying to find something to do yesterday I started noticing a lot of buzz surrounding UFC 214 on social media. Those who were into it seemed way into it, and I started to get curious. We thought about trying to head to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and to see the fight, however we ultimately decided that we would probably spend more money on dinner and drinks if we stayed to watch it than we would to eat at home and order the PPV ($60).

The first fight on the card was over before I had managed to crack open a beer, which had me wondering if I had just paid $60 to watch a series of minute long fights. Fortunately, however, as the night went on the fights got better and I started to get more and more into it. I had never heard of any of the fighters, but we basically just started picking favorites and cheered them on. It was more fun than I expected it to be, and certainly more action packed than the Mayweather fight (even as the Woodley match drew boos from the crowd).

The main event lived up to the hype (even if the hype for me started about an hour before the PPV) and ended spectacularly! Jones showed great class after the fight, and I’m genuinely interested in seeing where his career will go from here. I do think that the fight should’ve ended three or four punches sooner, however. ¬†It was painful to watch Cormier take so many unprotected blows to the head as he laid on the mat, especially with all the attention CTE has garnered lately.

In the end I’m glad I went out on a whim and watched UFC 214. I’ll be sure to pay more attention to the sport in the future, even as I still don’t know who any of the fighters are.

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Mayweather – Pacquiao: It’s finally here!

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It’s finally here! Tonight Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Manny Pacquiao in one of the most anticipated boxing events of all time. Being called “the fight of the century”, there’s an unprecedented amount of hype surrounding this fight, and for good reason. It’s the fight boxing fans have been dying to see for years, but complications and bickering have prevented it over and over again. Now, in 2015, both boxers are considered past their prime, yet the fight is still exciting the masses.

It’s the most expensive boxing PPV, at $99 for HD, and it’s also the highest paying fight, in which Mayweather will earn $180 million and Pacquiao will earn $120 million based on a 60/40 split of the projected $300 million the fight will earn. That’s huge!

I can’t call myself a boxing fan. I’ve watched two fights in my life, Tyson – Holyfield II in 1997 and Pacquaio – Bradley in 2012. I had heard a lot of buzz about the Pacquiao – Bradley fight and decided it would be worth checking out and it was quite exciting though incredibly disappointing in its result (in which Bradley won by an extremely controversial decision). Since then I hadn’t heard very much about the boxing world until recently.

This time the buzz is huge. It has gone beyond fighting fans. It’s even being talked about by those who don’t follow sports. I’d be surprised if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard about tonight’s fight in one way or another. In the way that people who don’t watch a single NFL game tune into the Super Bowl, I think tonight’s fight will find many who have never watched boxing in their life curious enough to watch it.

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If you want to get even more hyped for the fight while also learning of its back story, be sure to check out the HBO documentary, Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last. It tells the story really well and offers a great behind the scenes look at both the fighters and how the fight came to be (and almost didn’t). Watching it gives me chills of excitement for tonight’s fight!

There is, however, a pretty major hurdle for those wanting to check it out: the price. At $99, the PPV cost is outrageous. Even the WWE, which arguably makes its living on PPV events, abandoned the expensive PPV model. Instead of relying on $60 purchases they’ve decided to broadcast their events on their own network (the WWE Network) and rely on ongoing monthly subscriptions instead.

The next option is heading out to a sports bar to watch the fight. However, at a cost of $3,000-5,000 for a restaurant or bar to air the fight, many or choosing not to (notably Buffalo Wild Wings). Those that are hosting events are charging $20 cover charges just to get in, and when you factor in the cost of drinks and food you might just be better off buying the PPV after all.

I’m still undecided on how I’m going to watch the fight. A bunch of people from working are heading out to a bar to watch it, but when I factor in the cover charge, I’ll be paying $40 up front for Vanessa and I, and after a handful of drinks and snacks we could easily surpass the $100 PPV price. Not to mention it’s sure to be crowded and difficult to pay attention to the fight. I think I’m going to end up cringing as I part with $100 to order the fight and grab some pizza and beers and enjoying the fight while I sit on the edge of my seat, volume cranked enjoying every blow.

Will you be watching the fight? Who do you think will win?