Another year is almost in the books which means it’s time to recap a wild and wacky year in the mixed martial arts world. All week The MMA Manifesto will bring you the best that 2010 offered to fight fans. First up: a ranking of the buyrate totals of all 15 of the UFC’s 2010 pay-per-views. Which event made the UFC the richest this year?
It was a banner, record-breaking year for the UFC at the pay-per-view box office in 2010. Its 15 PPV offerings garnered a record 9305000 buys, for an average of 620333 buys per event (another record). That means, at the very least, the UFC generated over $465 million in PPV revenue. Business is booming. Here are how the 15 events rank, in reverse order of buyrate.
15) UFC 110 – 240000 buys
Headliners: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Cain Velasquez, Michael Bisping vs Wanderlei Silva
With the UFC Heavyweight Championship belt now around Cain Velasquez’s waist, the UFC brass better hope and pray that fans are more interested in forking over $49.99 to watch him headline a PPV than they were for February’s UFC 110.
14) UFC 109 – 275000 buys
Headliners: Mark Coleman vs Randy Couture, Nate Marquardt vs Chael Sonnen, Matt Serra vs Frank Trigg
It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that you were presenting an inferior product to your fans when you immediately fire one of your main event participants after the event ends, like the UFC did with Mark Coleman.
13) UFC 119 – 295000 buys
Headliners: Frank Mir vs Mirko Cro Cop, Ryan Bader vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Mirko Cro Cop was a late injury substitution for Minotauro, but it made no difference – it still made for a main event composed of two washed up heavyweights.
12) UFC 108 – 300000 buys
Headliners: Rashad Evans vs Thiago Silva, Dustin Hazelett vs Paul Daley
A bunch of injuries left us with a sub-par UFC 108, which normally would have been the promotion’s big year-end, holiday extravaganza. This year appears to be deja vu all over again with UFC 125 suffering from the same injury woes.
10) (tied) UFC 123 – 500000 buys
Headliners: Rampage Jackson vs Lyoto Machida, B.J. Penn vs Matt Hughes
Despite a solid fight card, with big names at the top, UFC 123 failed to deliver a good PPV turnout. Good, but not good enough.
10) (tied) UFC 112 – 500000 buys
Headliners: Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia, B.J. Penn vs Frankie Edgar, Matt Hughes vs Renzo Gracie
Two title fights, plus legends Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie clashing, didn’t bring home the $ for the UFC.
8) (tied) UFC 115 – 520000 buys
Headliners: Chuck Liddell vs Rich Franklin, Mirko Cro Cop vs Pat Barry
This event sold a lot more than it probably should have, but it still pales to the numbers it could have pulled in if Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III had gone down as originally planned.
8) (tied) UFC 113 – 520000 buys
Headliners: Lyoto Machida vs Shogun Rua, Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley
The 500000-plus people who witnessed UFC 113 saw history in the making – Shogun Rua won the UFC Light Heavyweight title and Paul Daley and Kimbo Slice made their swan songs in the organization.
7) UFC 118 – 570000 buys
Headliners: Frankie Edgar vs B.J. Penn, Randy Couture vs James Toney
We’ll pretend that 570000 people bought this pay-per-view to see a real MMA fight – Edgar vs Penn II – and not the travesty that was the co-main event.
6) UFC 117 – 600000 buys
Headliners: Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen, Jon Fitch vs Thiago Alves, Matt Hughes vs Ricardo Almeida
Say what you want about Chael Sonnen – but the man knew how to sell UFC 117.
5) UFC 111 – 850000 buys
Headliners: Georges St-Pierre vs Dan Hardy, Frank Mir vs Shane Carwin
The UFC’s only sure-fire moneymaking non-heavyweight, GSP, delivered the goods at UFC 111.
4) UFC 124 – 875000 buys
Headliners: Georges St-Pierre vs Josh Koscheck, Stefan Struve vs Sean McCorkle
Who knew that Sean McCorkle was such a box office draw?!
2) (tied) UFC 121 – 1050000 buys
Headliners: Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez, Jake Shields vs Martin Kampmann, Tito Ortiz vs Matt Hamill
Brock Lesnar is a monster both in the cage and in fans’ wallets. But can he keep it up after losing his belt to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121?
2) (tied) UFC 114 – 1050000 buys
Headliners: Rampage Jackson vs Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping vs Dan Miller
As I wrote in December’s issue of FIGHT! summing up this event, HATE=$$.
1) UFC 116 – 1160000 buys
Headliners: Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Chris Leben
Nothing peaks fans’ interest in a PPV like a good old fashioned heavyweight clash. And it got no bigger – literally or figuratively – than Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin. Subsequently, UFC 116 turned out to be the second most watched UFC PPV of all-time, trailing only UFC 100.