Last night, RIZIN Fighting Federation kicked off the RIZIN 14 announcements with a bang.
Holding a press conference in Tokyo, the promotion announced the main event of their NYE show as Floyd Mayweather will head to Japan to take on kickboxing phenom Tenshin Nasukawa.
Simply put, the news absolutely lit the combat sports community on fire. Outlets who would never give RIZIN the time of day previously were reporting on the Japanese juggernaut for the first time. And for good reason.
The fight announcement comes out of left field, but it is very much a power move on RIZIN’s end. To get a North American superstar like Floyd Mayweather – the biggest box office draw in sports history – to compete against your 20-year-old golden boy, in Japan no less. It is a remarkable feat, and more eyes will be on RIZIN come December 31 than ever before.
Shortly after the fight announcement, RIZIN 14 tickets sold out completely. At least the initial batch. There had been rumors for a few weeks that RIZIN was looking to open the Saitama Super Arena for max capacity come NYE. So it was obvious the organization would have something massive for the show, but I don’t think anyone was ready for the news they dropped last night.
RIZIN was offering five different ticket packages, ranging from ¥300,000 to ¥7,000. In USD, that’s about $2,600 to $30. These were initial tickets, and more will likely go on sale in the near future. No word on exactly how many tickets sold out, but I will reach out to RIZIN and try to update this post with that number as soon as possible.
The max capacity of the Saitama Super Arena is around 37,000, but it typically does between 18,000 to 25,000 for mixed martial arts shows. With that being said, at RIZIN 13 they brought another megafight in the form of Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Kyoji Horiguchi, and that pulled about 27,000, RIZIN’s biggest attendance yet.
The SSA is split up into sections. One of the upper sections is the 400Lv. These seats were only opened up to the public for RIZIN 13 due to the demand following initial sell out. For RIZIN 14, 400Lv tickets were sold from day one. This means that, as of now, anywhere between 23,000 to, say, 27,000 have sold. So this is on track to destroy RIZIN’s previous attendance record.
The inaugural PRIDE FC show filled Saitama to the brim with 37,000 strong. We will know very soon just how big RIZIN is prepared to make this thing. If early ticket sales are any indication, RIZIN is about to exceed 30,000 live for the first time. But, will they beat PRIDE FC 1?