I have a dilemma.

A few weeks ago, the UFC announced it would be returning to my home state of Wisconsin for UFC 164. The event, which will be the UFC’s second in the state since Wisconsin began regulating MMA in 2010, is taking place in Milwaukee, which is just a short drive down I-94 from where I live. Tickets go on sale to the general public on June 21, and I’d probably be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t scoop one up, or so the hardcore MMA fan part of me is saying.

After all, there’s nothing quite like seeing a sporting event live, right? The roar of the crowd, the collective exuberance, and the thrill of sharing a special moment with thousands of other people are just three of the reasons so many stadiums and arenas across the country are filled every week with cheering fans happy to have spent their money to be there. What’s more, I’ve never actually been to a live UFC event, and the company probably isn’t going to bring their product any closer to me than Milwaukee, so this is really a prime opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up.

There’s another, more measured voice in my head, though. This voice wonders how much of a better experience attending UFC 164 in person would be, as opposed to just staying in Madison and watching the pay-per-view broadcast. This is the voice that stopped me from going to the UFC’s first Milwaukee event in 2011 and might very well keep me on the Isthmus for the one in August.

As exciting as the prospect of seeing some of the world’s best fighters in action just feet from me seems to the hardcore fan (or, put another way, fun) portion of my personality, the more measured (or, if you’d prefer, lame) portion forces me to review the numbers. For $45, I can get an unimpeded view of the action along with interviews and other fight-night features from the comfort of my living room, the lame voice tells me. That amount of money is probably going to get me a seat somewhere in the upper-bowl of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, just far enough away where I can enjoy all the action on the arena’s monitors.

To get a really great seat at UFC 164, the kind that would afford me the sort of view I’ve gotten used to on television, I’d probably have to spend upwards of $250. Factor in gas money, dinner, a few beers and possibly a hotel room and the total begins to add up very quickly. I’m not a wealthy man, so the prospect of spending in the neighborhood of $500 for a single night of fun does not seem appealing at all. Not only that, but I’d also have to find someone else who was willing to put up that kind of money for a live UFC experience (because who wants to go to a UFC event alone?) and believe me, that would be no easy task.

That’s where the fun part of my brain interrupts, though. That part counters these silly arguments about money with a reminder that there’s a reason I have a job, and it isn’t just to pay rent. The UFC doesn’t come to Wisconsin very often, and it’s probably not going to come back for another two years after August, so as much as the individual and collective components of a maxed-out in-person night at the fights would cost, there’s that “priceless” element of being part of it all that can’t quite be put into words and on which MasterCard capitalized so brilliantly in its ad campaigns.

Truthfully, I’m still undecided. I guess the “problem,” if you can call it that, is that technology has exponentially enhanced the experience of watching sports from home in the last 15 years, and therefore I’ve become very spoiled. Before the advent of high-definition televisions and cameras, social media and the sort of internet speeds that were unimaginable at the turn of the century, there seemed to be a certain amount of sacrifice that came with staying home from a football game or a fight card. Today, though, if you’ve got a sweet enough setup at home (which I don’t), you can call up your buddies, have them each bring some refreshments and fully enjoy a UFC card together without spending a significant portion of your income.

If I do end up going that route for UFC 164, though, there will definitely be a certain amount of regret that I didn’t take advantage of a live UFC event close to home. Nothing a few beers that don’t cost $8 apiece can’t cure, though.

Photo: The Octagon (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Eric Reinert
Staff Writer

Eric Reinert has been writing about mixed martial arts since 2010. Outside the world of caged combat, Eric has spent time as a news reporter, speechwriter, campaign strategist, tech support manager, landscaper and janitor. He lives in Madison, Wis.