It was billed as the "biggest fight in UFC history," but if pay-per-view (PPV) buys are the barometer for success then UFC 91: "Couture vs. Lesnar" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 15 appears to have come up a bit short.
Dave Meltzer from WrestlingObserver.com reports:
"Based on numbers we’ve gotten, there are places where it was just slightly below UFC 66 (the record setter which did 1,050,000 buys) and it looks to have beaten UFC 61 (Shamrock vs. Ortiz, 775,000) for second place. It looks to be No. 3 in Canada behind UFC 79 (Silva vs. Liddell; St. Pierre vs. Hughes) and UFC 83 (St. Pierre vs. Serra) but ahead of St. Pierre vs. Fitch and Lesnar vs. Herring in August. That would indicate most likely topping 800,000 buys."
While it will likely fall short of UFC President Dana White's pre-event prediction of a record-setting 1.2 million buys, UFC 91 should be considered a big win for the promotion -- especially when you consider the current state of the economy.
It also clearly indicates that new UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is a massive box office draw, bringing in a whole new legion of interested of viewers thanks in large part to his days as a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar not too long ago.
UFC 91 sold 10,845 tickets for a live gate $4,815,675, according to The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) . The promotion dished out $1,118,000 in UFC 91 fighter salaries for the pay-per-view (PPV) event, as well as $240,000 in additional bonus money for four participants who delivered outstanding performances.
Lesnar defeated Randy Couture via second round technical knockout to capture the heavyweight crown in the UFC 91 main event. Kenny Florian toppled Joe Stevenson with a first round submission in the co-featured bout of the evening, reinforcing his position as the clearcut number one title contender in the 155-pound division.
In fact, UFC President Dana White guaranteed Florian a title shot against lightweight champion BJ Penn in the near future.