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UFC 182 not sold out, but Dana White expects 750,000 pay-per-view buys

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Esther Lin

LAS VEGAS - The UFC 182 main event between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and undefeated challenger Daniel Cormier is one of the most highly anticipated bouts in recent years.

Except, perhaps, in the event's home market.

Tickets are still available for Saturday night's event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for one of the best-on-paper fights the company has ever put together, which hasn't gone unnoticed by at least one of the competitors.

"Jon and I would fight in an empty arena," Cormier said Thursday. "So it doesn't really matter. I want people to go out and watch, so it will be good. But I understand that it's the holidays, right after the New Year, it's tough, tickets are expensive. I understand. I'm from a family with not much money, I understand why it would be hard to make all these things happen, Christmas, New Year's and then the fight happens."

This could simply be a matter of running too many high-priced shows in Las Vegas in too short a period of time - this card is sandwiched between UFC 181, which had two title fights, and the return of Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

Additionally, the Phoenix area, which comprises much of the audience which travels UFC events in Vegas, had its own show with last month's UFC on FOX; and Los Angeles, another city from which fight fans migrate to Sin City, hosts UFC 184 on Feb. 28.

Still, despite local concerns, UFC president Dana White expressed confidence in UFC 182's pay-per-view buyrate, taking the rare step of naming a number before the event happens.

"I think this fight will do 750[,000 buys], that's where I place the line," White said. "Everyone thinks the pay-per-view thing is dead, Pay-per-view isn't dead. We just had a bad year."

The way Cormier sees it, the business success or failure of UFC 182 will be more of a reflection of the state of the industry than of his fight with Jones in and of itself.

"If this fight doesn't sell out, if this fight doesn't do pay-per-view numbers, than it will show where we are compared to before," Cormier said. "Four, five years ago, this fight probably does a complete sellout, 900 [thousand] to a million buys, but that's not where we are today. Does it mean that things are bad? No. Times have changed, as times have changed in the world. It's not just in mixed martial arts. It's in everything."