Observation bulletin May 2, 2005: UFC 52 review, fallout from Matt Hardy post

It took two years for Chuck Liddell to get another title after failing in the opportunity the UFC gave him. But it only took him two minutes to win.

Liddell shockingly won the UFC light heavyweight title, the flagship belt of the American MMA scene, from Randy Couture, knocking out the UFC’s greatest legend of all time with a hard right cross on the side of the head in just 2:06. It was almost certainly the biggest cash match in UFC history, taking place on 4/16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The show drew a legitimate crowd of 14,274 sold-out fans (a slightly different figure was published in all media), or 12,643 paying $2,575,450 (they sold over 2,000 $400 tickets and more than 2,000 more at $300). It was not only the largest crowd in MMA history in North America, but it shattered all gate records. Only two professional wrestling events ever held in the United States, Wrestlemania 17 at the Astrodome in Houston (Austin vs. Rock – $3,530,905) and Wrestlemania 20 at Madison Square Garden (HHH vs. Benoit vs. Michaels – $2,601,000) , have never exceeded this gate figure. There were also two Wrestlemanias at the Toronto Sky Dome in 1990 and 2002 that topped that number, with WWE’s all-time record being Wrestlemania 18 (Hogan vs. Rock) at the Sky Dome of $3,846,033.

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