UFC 125 gate: $2.1 million, but almost half do not pay
January 15, 2011
USA Today reports that UFC 125 held January 1st in Las Vegas garnered a gate of $2.17 million dollars on 6,978 tickets sold. The official attendance was 12,874.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed the numbers. 46% of the attendees or 5,896 seats were comped. The main event at UFC 125 featured a main event draw between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard.
Via the USA Today:
Their (Edgar v. Maynard) title fight generated the second-lowest total for ticket sales at a numbered UFC event in Las Vegas over at least the last six years, edging only UFC 106 in November 2009, when Tito Ortiz battled Forrest Griffin. Twenty-two mixed martial arts shows in Las Vegas beat UFC 125′s revenue, putting it in the bottom half for live UFC gates in Nevada.
Not the way the UFC wanted to kick off 2011. The amount of complimentary tickets seems awfully high. USA Today lists the economic state of Nevada as a contributing factor to the low number as well as the unheralded matchup between Edgar and Maynard. Is this the reason the UFC recoiled when it initially confirmed that Anthony Pettis would fight Frankie Edgar? Were they worried an Edgar-Pettis matchup would fare worse? The third fight between Edgar and Maynard should do much better as it will be Memorial Day Weekend, the UFC can sell the action from the draw and the UFC can support the lightweight matchup with better undercard matchups (e.g., Mir-Nelson, Rampage-Silva).
The New Year’s Day fight date may have contributed to the low gate.Also, preoccupation with other events such as festivities on New Year’s Eve, bowl games and NHL’s Winter Classic (which was delayed for weather and time slot competed with UFC 125) may have caused the downturn.
Another question that looms is the attraction of the lighter weight classes. Can they carry a main event PPV? Aside from BJ Penn at 155, will fans pay to watch a lightweight PPV. I think Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber are the only other fighters that could main event a PPV. Otherwise, main events featuring lighter weight classes may be better suited for Fight Nights. The lighter weight classes are quicker and appear more technical, but there seems to be something that attract fans to the heavier weight classes.