Can you believe that a decade has passed since UFC Hall of Famer, Georges St. Pierre, and former welterweight Strikeforce champ, Jake Shields, headlined the UFC 129 pay per view event in Canada ?
Seems like only yesterday that the radical notion of the UFC selling out the Toronto Blue Jays baseball stadium in the Great White North would make as much sense as e-cigarettes. Nonetheless, look where the leading organization is now as it does big numbers in all kinds of arenas throughout the world and vaping is a major part of life and culture.
So, without further ado lets reminisce on that memorable Octagon night headlined by two championship bouts.
(Cue the angelic harp music and gummy bear-flavored vape smoke)
First things first – this historic show set the combat sports record for live attendance with a whopping 55,000 tickets purchased resulting in a sold-out crowd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This memorable MMA evening on April 30th of 2011 was the first held in Ontario because mixed martial arts had barely become legalized there August of 2010. The UFC capitalized on this putting one of the greatest 145ers to ever do it, Jose Aldo, as the co-main when he defended his UFC belt versus Canadian slugger, Mark Hominick and the main event pitted Jake Shields versus Canadian great, “Rush” Georges St. Pierre for Rush’s 170-pound strap.
(Both champs retained via unanimous decisions by the way.)
However, UFC 129 was one of the rare occasions where you saw the virtually unstoppable GSP in trouble thanks to Shields’ crisp jab. St. Pierre admitted to seeing double due to it taking a lot more punishment than normal. He won the fight but the match became closer and closer towards the last 10 minutes before Georges St. Pierre eventually walked away with his belt intact thanks to a points verdict.
The KO of the night easily went to ex-light heavyweight king, Lyoto Machida, who crane kicked living legend, Randy Couture, into retirement as well as highlight reel immortality.
Taking care of the preliminaries were violence & sports-supporters Spike TV and Facebook. The social media giant handled the early preliminaries featuring veterans such as Ivan Menjivar, Jason MacDonald and John Makdessi. Yes, that Makdessi who just gave a Dana White Contender Series winner the business a few weeks ago in an absolute war getting his hand raised, respect Mr. Makdessi.
The Spike TV prelims showcased Jake Ellenberger doing what he did best in his prime; knocking someone out then, Nate Diaz getting rag dolled by former UFC 170lbs title challenger, Rory MacDonald. It was an absolute shame to see Nate completely oblivious to takedown defense as well as never threatening off his back.
Other fights happened that night which were fortunately kept off of live TV. Most ended up on Facebook or YouTube because with a colossal crowd that night and security on overtime fights broke out in the stands left and right as event crew was either unaware or just understaffed leaving them unable to break them up. Sadly, those matches were not included in your $45.00 PPV price tag.
Isn’t it just amazing that you got all that MMA action as well as the free replay of the PPV that evening on satellite TV for just $ 44.99 standard definition? Correct; back then you could select SD (standard definition) and pocket the $10.00 or show off in front of friends and family and order the PPV on Hi-Definition for $54.99 . For those confused there was no ESPN + subscription required, well, simply because it didn’t exist in 2011 when UFC 129 wowed us with its two title fights and history-making attendance.