Which UFC fighter is most responsible for making Zuffa a billion dollar company? We’ve got the answer. More precisely, we’ve crunched all the numbers and have come up with the ten fighters who have sold the most pay-per-views in the company’s history. What you end up with is, not surprisingly, a list that skews heavily to fighters still currently competiting in the organization. Considering that in the dark days of the sport (about 1997-2001) when the UFC was getting banned left and right, the average UFC PPV was only getting 25000 buys, it is not surprising at all the current batch of gladiators, who not uncommonly will push a PPV over the 1 million buy mark, come out on top of the list. The top selling fighter not currently in the UFC is former heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia, who ranks 15th overall.
Six million career pay-per-view buys seems to be the magical, elite level that few fighters are able to reach, as only three men have broken that barrier: Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell and Brock Lesnar. While it took GSP and The Iceman 10 and 17 headlining fights, respectively, to top 6 million buys, Lesnar incredibly did it in his sixth PPV. It will be interesting to see if he is still such a great moneymaker now that the gold is off his waist. And when you estimate most PPVs cost around $50, that means each of these three guys have earned, at the very least, $300 million in PPV buys for the company.
So next time Dana White is tooling around Vegas in one of his Ferarris, he should be counting his blessings for these 10 men.
Top Ten UFC Draws of All-Time
(career PPV buyrate totals as one of the advertised headliners of a card – all buyrates are estimates) *updated after UFC 126
No real surprises on the list, as all of the above men have held UFC gold at one time in their careers and all, except for Lesnar, have already had long careers. However, when you look at the fighters who average the most buys per headlining event, you get some surprise names. But you’ll have to patiently wait for that – that will be in our next column!