The Best Seat in the House

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 by Tony Reid

You did your due diligence; you looked high and low, far and wide and found the best seats for the upcoming fights. Or did you? You have your ticket in hand, checked out the handy dandy seating chart provided online which is so helpful because now you know you are in a blue rectangle with the number 221 on it (or it might even read 321 yikes!). Maybe you were lucky enough to come across one of those fancy pages that gives you an actual picture from your seat so you can really get an idea of what you are in store for but…

I have been to over 10 live UFC events as well as a number of more local; regional shows so let me give you my advice. In my many treks across the country to various UFC events I have had floor seats, nosebleed seats and everything in between. I spent thousands and thousands dollars and I am here to tell you the ins and outs of the game. There are generally four layers of seating (in my mind) and we will cover them from worst to best. They are as follows:

4. Nosebleed Seats- Basically this is a seat that you get just to get in the door. Your ticket number will read somewhere in the Section 200-300 range. Maybe it was a last minute idea to go to the event or maybe things are tight right now, far be it from me to judge. Either way, here you are. In the nosebleed seats expect to be sitting next to, or at least near, a number of drunken people, some children, husbands and boyfriends trying to explain the nuances of “Ultimate Fighting” to their lady friends. Be prepared to stare at the big screen all night, too because Forrest Griffin will look like an ant from where you are sitting, my friend. You may get lucky and sit next to someone who is knowledgeable about the sport and is there to cheer on their favorite fighters and enjoy some great fights but the chances are slim.

3. Middle of the Road Seating- These seats are better than nosebleed and the ticket price will reflect that, too. Your ticket might have a low row in the 200 Section on it or a really high row of the 100 Section. You will be closer to the action but might be shocked that you “paid this much to sit here!”  Your fellow fans in this section will generally be working class, down to earth, more knowledgeable about what’s going on in the cage and can hold a conversation about most if not all of the fighters on the card and current events in MMA. You will still be Jumbotron watching but not quite as much. Forrest Griffin will now be the size of a farm animal from this vantage point.

2. Floor Seats- Hey big baller, you have your tickets that read: FLR B ROW 10 you are walking into the arena with your lady friend attached to your arm all dressed up in your best Affliction button down as the attendant leads you down past all the little people onto the actual concrete floor of the arena, man you are thinking you are pretty special right now. Or maybe you are the guy from the UG or Sherdog Forums, that came with a few of his buddies to get as close to the action as possible because you read online that the event was going to be televised in 27 different languages and you need to make sure you can hear each one of those languages as they discuss the specifics of Rich Franklin’s brown and pink fight shorts. Well, guess what gentleman?  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not where it’s at unless you are literally in the front row. Be prepared to stand all night to see any action and hopefully the dude in front of you isn’t 7 feet tall or you will be in for a pretty terrible view all night. You like many others, can yell “Down in front” all you like, and hopefully it works! In a piece of cruel irony you too will be staring at the Jumbotron just to catch a glimpse of any live action. On a positive note, you can do a lot of MMA celebrity spotting and get pics with a few of the big name fighters in attendance. Hell, you might even bump into Kevin James or Michael Clarke Duncan, I mean what more could you ask for? But for most, that might not be worth the $1,500 you shelled out for tickets though. You could have saved about $700 on each ticket (not your car insurance) and sat in…

1. Lower Level Seating- The secret I will share for those who have yet to make it to a live fight is that…come closer… closer…closer (in a whisper) Certain seats in this section are the best seats in the house! If you can find tickets in the 100 section that sits directly above or below the Octagon on the seating chart and in rows 1 through, let’s say 10, you my friend, will be sitting pretty. This is the equivalent of the 50 yard line seat in football or the courtside seat at the basketball game or the seat behind the backstop at a baseball game. The reasoning for this is that you will have a clear, unobstructed view of all the action. You will be so close that you will get the vantage points as if you are watching the fights on pay per view but you will be there in person to look in whatever direction you like. You will be able to see over the cage, so that won’t be in your way and you will be off the floor just enough so the 7 foot tall dude in front of you that won’t sit down wont be an issue either. You will be elevated just enough to have the perfect view.

So there you have it. Every seating chart may be a bit different but if you follow these guidelines you will be sure to have a great time…or at least know what you’re getting ahead of time. You can thank me now or thank me later but either way I hope this helps you in your decision making process when making that leap to real fandom by attending a major MMA events in person. Enjoy!