It was billed as the "biggest fight in UFC history."
And 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 been just that ... almost.
Dave Meltzer from WrestlingObserver.com, which several weeks ago projected a buy rate of about 800,000 based on early trends, now reports that "Couture vs. Lesnar" scored about 1,010,000 buys. Therefore, UFC 91 falls just shy of the mark set by UFC 66 in 2006, which featured a showdown between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, netting the record for most buys with around 1,050,000.
We're not mathematicians, but is you multiply the PPV by number by around $44.95 then you have a pretty juicy profit. And that doesn't even count tickets sales, merchandise, etc.
Accordingly, UFC 91 should be considered a massive 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 box office drawing behemoth, 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. However, he may have to wait his turn because Penn -- if he defeats Georges St. Pierre on January 31 to regain his welterweight title -- will first fight Thiago Alves in a 170-pound title fight.