UFC on Fox 1: Velasquez vs. dos Santos drew an attendance of 14,109 fans for a live gate $1.1 million dollars. That’s not gangbusters by any means.
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz, by comparison, drew almost 4,000 less fans for a gate a scratch under $4 million.
But UFC on Fox 1 was not an event the promotion expected to bank on. Quite the opposite, it was an investment, plain and simple.
The UFC and Fox television deal does not officially begin until January 2012.
Compared to if the promotion had run Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos as a pay-per-view event, depending on the projected buy rate, the UFC lost upwards of $15 million by running the fight on Fox. A $1.1 million dollar gate was probably enough to cover the fighter’s salaries and that’s about it.
But again, Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., wasn’t about money; it was about an investment in the future of the sport and the UFC brand. The more critical return will be when the television ratings come in. Then we’ll be getting down to brass tacks.