UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey barely has a reason to sweat.
Not only did she submit Cat Zingano in a record-breaking 14 seconds at UFC 184 on Saturday, but she has now been promised Bob Arum's only free ticket to Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s era-defining fight with Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
Top Rank CEO Arum, Pacquiao's promoter for the fight, "expressed that he was a huge fan of Rousey's and wanted to show his support by offering her such a prized asset for the Las Vegas bout," as reported by Jeff Powell of the MailOnline.
Rousey had planned to use her career earnings to secure a seat as close to ringside as possible. "I really want to go so bad," Rousey told TMZ (transcribed by MMAMania.com) prior to locking in her armbar win against Zingano. "I gotta go beat Cat Zingano so I can make a couple million dollars and afford that ticket."
She did exactly that, but the money is no longer needed. Arum's gesture is a generous one, particularly when the potential cost of tickets is factored in. This isn't your run-of-the-mill fight, meaning a single admission fee is likely to set the average punter back more than a month's wages.
The most affordable ticket for the fight at SeatGeek, a secondary seller, is $4,116, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The cheapest floor ticket is available for a little over $22,000. Even U.S. pay-per-view buyers can expect to spend $99.95 if they wish to purchase the bout in high definition, 10 dollars less if not.
Those based in the United Kingdom are expected to be offered a much better deal, with Sky Sports potentially grabbing the rights and offering a £20 purchase, per Eurosport.
Powell notes all 5,005 rooms inside the MGM Grand were sold out 15 minutes after tickets went on sale, costing "upward of $500" per night.
Rousey's complete domination of Zingano pushed her to 11-0. She has quickly developed into one of the UFC's most recognisable stars, a behemoth in the women's division. The 28-year-old is a vicious grappler if she gains control on the mat and has built one of the deadliest submission toolsets in MMA with her judo background lending to that patented armbar finish.
MMA has gathered major momentum in recent years, largely down to UFC fighters such as Rousey. This has perhaps happened to the detriment of boxing, which hasn't always managed to draw the major crowds one would expect. Mayweather and Paquiao's clash will turn this on its head, however, and is set to capture the attention of regular viewers and casuals alike across the globe.
Hype for the fight is building alongside the release of Mayweather's first training images, per MailOnline Sport:
MailOnline Sport @MailSport
Mayweather has begun his training camp for the Pacquiao fight. Here are the FIRST pictures http://t.co/uuKBC6VB4N http://t.co/bIqwnfqQ9k2015-3-3 09:13:10
Pacquiao also returned to the gym on Monday but is being far more secretive over his preparation. "The whole Wildcard Gym [in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao is training] will be shut down and we will work out Manny's best strategy and nobody will watch it," said trainer Freddie Roach, as reported by Unus Alladin of the South China Morning Post.
Plenty will watch the May 2 encounter, however, with Rousey likely to be among those who get the best seats in the house.