A source MMAInsider spoke to with intimate knowledge of UFC 91 pay per view buyrates said the industry leading promotion scored more than 800,000 orders of the Nov. 15 event and stands to produce a minimum of $35,960,000 in revenue.
The source said the final number of buys would likely be higher, but even at the 800,000 level, the event splashes a lot of black ink across the UFC’s balance sheets.
A final tally for UFC91 will not be available for months, as pay per view figures come in slowly due to late ordering of the event.
Combined with over $4.8 million in live gate revenue, the event was one of the most profitable events in the organization’s history. It was also one of the most expensive, with over a million dollars paid out in fighter salaries and a huge advertising push on television.
To give a small, superficial example of the extravagance present at UFC 91, look at the pre-fight press luncheon. Usually, they are modestly catered, with a buffett style lunch for the handful of journalists who attend them. Not so at UFC 91. A multi-course steak dinner awaited scribes at the MGM Grand’s Craftsteak, in a feast that certainly would have run up a $500 tab if paid for by itself. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and co. “crashed” the festivities, no doubt looking to pack on some weight for an upcoming fight at light heavyweight.
Next up is UFC 92 on Dec. 27, an event typically promoted as the year’s best. Without a Couture, Liddell, Ortiz, or Lesnar even, it remains to be seen whether revenue will match the Nov. 15 card, and whether it will be steak, or pizza, for lunch.