UFC 103: 400,000 buys (Meltzer)

September 30, 2009

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports in his latest newsletter that UFC 103 managed to reach the 400,000 plateau.

At press time, the numbers for the 9/19 battle look like the Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight did 1 million buys in North America, putting it No. 2 on the list of shows this year, while UFC 103, headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort, looks to have done 400,000 buys.


The boxing match drew 525,000 on cable and 475,000 buys on satellite, according to HBO, for a total gross of $52 million. UFC 100 has been reported at 1.72 million buys (our estimate was 1.6 million), which would be, with lower prices, somewhere around $77.3 million (actually more if a significant number bought it at the higher HD pricing).

Payout Perspective:

 There are several interesting notes to take away from this buyrate figure:

  • UFC 103 was considered to be a potential candidate for the smallest UFC PPV event of the year considering its headliners, the strength of the overall fight card, and its external operating environment. Dana White has every right to be happy with 400k.
  • The estimate of 400,000 buys would now suggest – in tandem with 102’s estimated 435,000 – that the UFC’s new base line for North American shows is probably at the 400,000 buyrate plateau. European shows like 93 and 99 doing 350-375k aren’t far off, either. 
  • Rich Franklin had never headlined a card that sold more than 375,000 PPVs. His success as the top draw for 103 i’s likely a combination of the UFC’s increasing popularity and the push he’s received this year (he’s headlined three shows in 2009: UFC 93, 99, and now 103). All the more impressive is that he’s done his best figures without a belt. He’s being pushed as a member of that ultra tough UFC vanguard of yesteryear and his gatekeeper role seemingly hasn’t held him back.
  • Lastly, you may have noticed that the figure increased over the early estimate of last week (400,000 up from 375,000). The estimates tend to fluctuate based on the five or six metrics that Meltzer has access to.

Note: Meltzer is an honest and trustworthy source of information – someone who has built up his contacts within the cable industry over a number of years – while not 100% accurate, he’s almost always within range.

I’d again encourage everyone to sign up for his wrestling/mma newsletter, because there are a ton of gems included on a weekly basis.

10 Responses to “UFC 103: 400,000 buys (Meltzer)”

  1. Stan Kosek on September 30th, 2009 8:23 PM

    I’m a big Meltzer fan too, the guy has great sources and has followed MMA for YEARS, so don’t fall into the trap that he covers pro wrestling (which he is also great, probably the best, at covering).

    I could see why the UFC would be happy with 400k for that event. They had no proven headliners and Franklin was facing an opponent who was being introduced to the TUF Generation of UFC fans.

  2. Gordon Geck on September 30th, 2009 8:56 PM

    After all the crap that the bald UFC guy talked beforehand about how the UFC would outsell the boxing PPV, they got more than doubled up.


  3. Andy on October 1st, 2009 6:21 AM

    I think the UFC owes Franklin a spot on their next BIG card. Get him a large pay day to say thanks for all the low end cards he’s headlined.

  4. danielle on October 1st, 2009 7:36 AM

    400K is not bad for a non-title card

  5. Slim on October 1st, 2009 9:12 AM

    I don’t know if “Gate Keeper” is the correct term for Rich Franklin. The only up-and-comer he has fought in the last few years has been Matt Hamil. And that was his first jump back up to 205. Other than that he’s had one of the toughest fight schedules out there.

  6. combatsports4life on October 1st, 2009 9:31 AM

    When your doing these figures do you factor in bar’s which pay close to 1K per ppv? I know this for a fact because I have many friends that are bar owners and they’ve been known to have to pay upwards of 2k for boxing matches. I would really be interested in seeing the percentages of bars and other establishments that purchased the fight for 103 and Mayweather/JMM.

  7. UFC 103 does 400,000, Zuffa borrows $100,000,000 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on October 1st, 2009 10:56 AM

    […] 103 does 400,000, Zuffa borrows $100,000,000 UFC 103: 400,000 buys (Meltzer) : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA Zuffa Announces New $100M Term Loan : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA UFC 103 did better than […]

  8. Jake on October 1st, 2009 12:39 PM

    I don’t believe any numbers given from anyone since it’s all speculation, if the UFC doesn’t want to release their numbers then people shouldn’t be guessing. I’ve heard from different place from 100k-400k and this guy now gets it at 400k.

    Bullshit imo.

  9. MMA_fan on October 2nd, 2009 7:32 AM

    Hey Gordon Geck,

    Your an idiot! You really cant rationalize this can you. FOR a non-title fight and a small card the UFC got 400000 buys. With boxing actualy having a fight with their headline star getting 100000 million. If this was UFC 100 vs boxing. Boxing would have had their ass handed.

  10. David Wolf on October 2nd, 2009 8:53 AM

    Bottom line when it comes to comparisons: UFC is on pace to outsell boxing and WWE COMBINED on ppv in 2009.

    My first article on the site (“Boxing is Bullshit”) actually predicted what would happen when Mayweather went up against 103 (Mayweather wins handily), and what incorrect conclusions would be drawn by the boxing media (the much too general “boxing beat UFC”).

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