UFC from an attendance stand point has never been bigger. If you look at the 2005 MMA numbers vs Boxing numbers, it’s pretty amazing to see how many people are watching live UFC events.
For 2005, the biggest boxing event this year was almost even as far as attendance goes. Winky Wright vs Felix Trinidad was the biggest event for 2005 drawing 13,590 fans which beat out the #2 event in combative sports between Jose Luis Castillo vs Diego Corrales by a mere 55 fans. The fight between Trinidad and Wright drew 13,590 people, as it was the largest gate of 2005. The Castillo vs Corrales fight was second which drew 13,535. What were the #3 and #4 fights of 2005? Fights in the Octagon. The common denominator was the fact that both fights features the Iceman, Chuck Liddell.
Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture 2 drew the third biggest live gate of 2005 in MMA or Boxing, as Liddell vs Couture had the largest gross sales in UFC History. The event drew 12,643 people for paid attendance to the MGM Grand to watch the fight. There has been only one other fight that was bigger in attendance in the history of the UFC and that was Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock back at UFC 40.
The Ortiz vs Shamrock main event did 13,055 people which is the biggest record for a UFC in Las Vegas as far as attendance goes. The interesting part about that number was the fact that Shamrock vs Ortiz was only the 4th greatest gate in UFC history as far as gross sales goes. The event took in just over $1.5 million dollars.
Liddell vs Couture 2 was the highest gate in MMA North American history with gross sales tallying $2.575 million dollars. It’s interesting to note the #4 biggest live gate of 2005 in Boxing or MMA was another Liddell fight this time against Jeremy Horn which drew 11,634 fans. It’s also rated as the #2 fight in UFC history in gross sales as that fight drew just over $2.3 million dollars.
Here’s food for thought. Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell 3 has already been sold out for weeks. That show sold out in just five weeks and it also has the highest ticket prices in UFC history. While the Mandalay Bay is a smaller venue than the MGM, if the paid attendance is over 11,000 which most think it will be, it will no doubt be the largest gross sales event in UFC history. Front row tickets went up to $700 dollars from the traditional $400 dollars because of Super Bowl weekend. That means this upcoming event on Super Bowl Saturday should be the biggest fight in terms of gross sales ever. Translation? People love to watch the UFC live in Las Vegas and people will pay money to see Chuck Liddell fight.
If you count Liddell’s upcoming fight vs Couture, the Iceman will have four of the top seven ticket sales in the history of the UFC in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here is the top gates in UFC history in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1. Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture II – 12,643 paid attendance – $2,575,450 gross sales
2. Chuck Liddell vs Jeremy Horn – 11,634 paid attendance – $2,336,550
3. Rich Franklin vs Nate Quarry – 9,995 paid attendance – $1,986,600 gross sales
4. Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock – 13,055 paid attendance – $1,540,340 gross sales
5. Tito Ortiz vs Vitor Belfort – 9,268 paid attendance – $1,493,555 gross attendance
6. Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz – 9,129 paid attendance – $1,444,020
Of course Liddell vs Couture 3 will be number one on the list and it will be just a matter of how much money the live gate will be, but in any case it should shatter these numbers as some predict it could be close to 4 million dollars.