Brock Lesnar has headlined four UFC events and they've all drawn more than one million buys on pay-per-view (PPV). Impressive? You bet. But is he the biggest PPV star in MMA today?
That honor goes to Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, at least if you're asking UFC President Dana White. This despite a style of fighting that is, perhaps, the least aesthetically pleasing.
And the most sleep inducing.
What he may lack in excitement, though, he more than makes up for in charisma. There's no doubt the French-Canadian wrestler has an invisible quality that naturally draws fans in, enough that they shell out considerable amounts of coin to see him fight each time he's inside the Octagon.
While White admits "Rush" doesn't fight with the same sense of urgency he once did, he reconciles with that fact when he goes to bed on his mattress made of cash, as explained to MMA Nation:
"Does Georges St. Pierre fight like he fought back when he fought B.J. Penn the first time? No. I have nothing to do with their training or their camp or their strategy or how they fight. Let me put it to you this way: Georges St. Pierre is, by far, the biggest pay-per-view star in mixed martial arts. By far. By far. The biggest pay-per-view star. Big. By far the biggest pay-per-view star in MMA. So, for what it's worth, for people who want to say he's this or that."
It's interesting, to say the least, to hear White make such a claim, especially when the cold hard numbers simply don't back him up.
Let's look at the pay-per-view buys for the last three events headlined by each man (all numbers provided by MMAPayout's Blue Book):
- UFC 121 -- 1,050,000
- UFC 116 -- 1,160,000
- UFC 91 -- 1, 010,000
These two have actually shared two separate cards, most notably the landmark UFC 100 show that drew a record 1,600,000 PPV buys.
Perhaps White is referring less to actual numbers and more to what the future may or may not hold. After all, St. Pierre is still in his prime and as healthy and unstoppable as ever. Lesnar, on the other hand, has had two separate bouts with diverticulitis, the second of which forced surgery to remove 12 inches of his colon.
Not that it will be the definitive indicator of whether or not White is correct in his assessment but whose show draws more buys? St. Pierre or Brock?