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May 2, 2005 Observer Newsletter: UFC 52 review, Matt Hardy release fallout



It took two years for Chuck Liddell to get another title shot after he failed in the opportunity UFC had handed him. But it only took him two minutes to win it.

Liddell shockingly won the UFC light heavyweight title, the marquee belt on the U.S. MMA scene, from Randy Couture, knocking UFC's biggest all-time legend out with a hard right cross to the side of the head in just 2:06. It was almost assuredly the biggest money match in UFC history, taking place on 4/16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The show drew a legitimate overflow sellout crowd of 14,274 fans (a slightly different figure has been released in all media reports), which was 12,643 paying $2,575,450 (they sold more than 2,000 tickets at $400 and more than 2,000 more at $300). It was not only the largest crowd in the history of MMA in North America, but destroyed all gate records. Only two pro wrestling events ever in the United States, Wrestlemania 17 at the Houston Astrodome (Austin vs. Rock--$3,530,905) and Wrestlemania 20 in Madison Square Garden (HHH vs. Benoit vs. Michaels–$2,601,000), have ever topped that gate figure. There were also two Wrestlemanias at Toronto Sky Dome in 1990 and 2002 which topped that number, with the WWE all-time record being Wrestlemania 18 (Hogan vs. Rock) at Sky Dome of $3,846,033.

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