Thursday, July 9, 2009 | 5:11 p.m.
- Complete UFC 100 coverage
- Brock Lesnar: Can anyone beat this man?
- St. Pierre dominant despite injury
- UFC co-owner addresses fans at Expo
- Love story leads to UFC
- Lesnar wins, puts on WWE-style show afterward
- Win or lose — Mir a class act
- 702.tv: All-In: UFC 100
- Punchy Points: Key aspects about UFC 100
- Interactive Timeline: UFC Countdown: 1 to 100
The action inside the Octagon will be only part of the mixed martial arts related attractions this weekend at Mandalay Bay.
The highly-anticipated UFC 100 card will take center stage Saturday night to cap a two-day stretch of events designed to celebrate the world’s fastest growing sport.
Appearances from some of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top performers, mixed martial arts vendors and plenty of fighting demonstrations highlight the first-ever UFC Fan Expo on Friday and Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The expo is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and will be broken into two sections: training and development, and an exhibit area.
The expo will be similar to fan-based events hosted by the NFL during Super Bowl week or by Major League Baseball during its all-star game.
UFC President Dana White will give a speech at 5:30 p.m. Friday following weigh-ins for UFC 100. UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta will speak at 11 a.m. Saturday.
"Part of the problem these days with professional sports is that there's no accessibility. If you go to a Lakers game, there's not a chance on earth that you're getting Kobe Bryant's autograph. You're not gonna meet him," Fertitta said. "But if you come to the UFC and you hang around there's a great chance you're gonna meet Chuck Liddell, you're gonna meet Wanderlei Silva. You're gonna meet all the top stars.
"We think that's one of the core ingredients to why the fans love us. They can embrace it and be a part of, and that's really what the expo is all about. You're gonna be able to come in and experience every part of the UFC from a cultural standpoint, to the companies associated with the UFC, to meeting all the fighters, to actually learning techniques from the fighters in seminars. We felt like the UFC can become much more than just an event, we want to turn it into a whole weekend similar to the Super Bowl."
More than 30 fighters will participate in the meet-and-greet with fans. Those confirmed to appear include: Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Kenny Florian, Forrest Griffin, Royce Gracie, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans, Miguel Torres, Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua.
The expo will also include a contest to find a new Octagon girl, autograph sessions with fighters and fan-inspired special events and competitions.
Tickets are $30 for Friday, $35 for Saturday or $50 for a two-day pass. You need a separate ticket for the exhibit and the training and development area. Visit UFCfanexpo.com for information or to purchase tickets.
Andy Samuelson contributed to this report.