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Comparison between UFC and Boxing Pay Per View Buys

| September 15, 2011 | 4 Replies

This weekend will be one of the biggest fights of the year in Las Vegas and will not take place in any type of octagon or cage setting. Undefeated (41-0; 25 KO, 16 Dec) Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. will be defending his WBC welterweight championship against “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (29-2-2; 22 KO) and given the history of the pay per view purchases generated by Mayweather, the argument that boxing is the more lucrative sport with a dedicated following could be echoed if sales are like anything past in comparison to UFC ppv purchases.

In his past five fights, Mayweather’s bouts have amassed a total of 6.43 million purchases; at an average of $50 per purchase, that is $321,500,000.00 (over a quarter billion dollars) without live gate tickets sales. These figures help support the stance that boxing is the original and most lucrative combat sport for promoters and fans alike. As fighters have faded and a few remain with this drawing capability, it is difficult to argue that MMA can take the throne as king sometime soon.

Alongside touting these staggering figures, “Money” also holds the record for the biggest ppv purchase for an event in history with his 2007 bout against Oscar de la Hoya which sold 2.4 million units. Since 1991-current, out of 25 boxing events on HBO PPV boxing, 8 have been less than one million buys, the smallest purchase was 700,000 units for 2010’s Pacquiao v. Clottey; in comparison – UFC 79 (Dec 2007) sold the same amount of units and featured a main event of GSP-Hughes III & co-main event of Liddell-W. Silva.

In 2011, UFC ppv buys have averaged for non-championship bouts at 302,500 units sold, the biggest being UFC 131: Dos Santos v Carwin @ 330,00; the average for championship bouts are 494,200 units, the biggest card at the moment was UFC 129: GSP v Shields at 800,000 units sold. As loyal as fans are, many feel that the frequent (monthly, sometimes multiple events) are too costly to generate purchases or that the main event will not be as good as promised. Dana White has answered these claims with, “there are not enough events and we have guys lined up to fight.”

Right now, the UFC’s biggest ppv draw is also one of their biggest fighters, Brock Lesnar. In their top five selling events, his are ranked #1 (UFC 100) @ 1.6 million units, #2 (UFC 116) @ 1.16 million units and #5 (UFC 121) @ 1.05 million units. Given his solid track record for trash talk and just the anomaly fans have made of him coming into the cage from pro wrestling, many will tune in to root against him instead of general interest in the bout. In his return from illness this December against Alistair Overeem should see another record set for UFC ppv buys and possibly one of the highest event purchases in ppv history alone.

The division line of boxing/mma fans are clearly set in many open discussions but one thing that cannot be ignored is the loyalty to boxing. MMA has always praised and utilized trainers and former boxers in their training and techniques and has a respect for the art. Regardless of your view on the sports or loyalty to either, the fights left in the next two weekends are guaranteed to deliver and are anticipated by all.

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Tags: Alistair Overeem, Boxing, Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Floyd Mayweather, Georges St. Pierre, Manny Pacquiao, MMA, Pay Per View, PPV, UFC, UFC 135, UFC 141, Victor Ortiz

Category: Exclusive, Featured, MMA, Opinion, UFC

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