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When the Heavyweights Stepped Into UFC 200 Octagon


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The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosted the UFC 200 last Saturday, which was huge in more ways than one.

Jeff Amann

Brock Lesnar is enormous, the former NCAA wrestling champion when he was at the University of Minnesota and a former Minnesota Vikings defensive player, we see from our box at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at the UFC 200 last Saturday. As we would soon learn, mixed martial arts organization UFC itself is huge, too.

So is Mark Hunt, the New Zealand heavyweight contender, but in a different way: Hunt is only 5-foot-10 to Lesnar’s 6-foot-2, so Hunt’s 260 pounds are all width. These two fighters are cautious throughout their fight. Because each is so powerful, one mistake and they’d be knocked out. Hunt’s punch is known as the most destructive in ultimate fighting, and Lesnar does not like to get punched.

Lesnar does like to get his opponent to the floor, as a wrestling champion would, so he keeps going for Hunt’s legs and at one point gets him on the cage, leans down and picks Hunt up like a 260-pound sack of flour and flops him on the ground. Then he piles on top and starts punching him in the head with both hands, but most punches land on Hunt’s wrists or forearms and Hunt lands a few on Lesnar’s head himself. Lesnar endures through three rounds, though, and is declared the champion.

The folks at UFC Gym were our hosts at the UFC 200, the biggest fight to date in ultimate fighting history, and our experience made one thing crystal clear: UFC is big business, and UFC Gym is intent on riding that popularity as it expands across the U.S. and beyond.

On Monday, July 11, came a sale that showed just how big. UFC was sold to the WME-IMG Hollywood talent agency and a group of other investors for about $4 billion, from brothers Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III. The brothers bought UFC for a mere $2 million in 2001.

 

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
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