After a heated rivalry that played out on our screens during their time coaching of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10, UFC 114’s main event showdown between former light-heavyweight champions Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans was expected to be a major draw for the promotion in 2010.
Just how well would it do though? Dana White himself estimated between 800-850,000 buys during a whirlwind media tour during the week of the fight, but the early cable estimates coming from Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer suggests that it may do even better than that.
According to his source the initial estimate is 925,000, which would make the event the fourth largest Pay-Per-View in the UFC’s history.
Current Top 3 UFC PPV Sales:
1. UFC 100 (Lesnar Vs Mir 2): 1.6 million buys
2. UFC 66 (Liddell Vs Ortiz 2): 1.05 million buys
3. UFC 92 )BJ Penn Vs GSP 2): 1 million buys
If so then that will undoubtedly be seen as a major success for the company, and gives a clear indication of how, even despite criticisms of it getting long in the tooth, the TUF show is still a valuable asset for the promotion.
Of course there were a lot of other factors that appears to have led to the success of this event.
For instance the UFC Undisputed 2010 video game was released just a week before hand, and the UFC fan expo held in Las Vegas on the weekend of the fights is also believed to have attracted in the region of 125,000 fans.
There was also the most popular series of UFC Primetime to date following the two fighters in the build-up to the fight, a significant media, particularly from ESPN, and also Rampage’s upcoming role as B.A Baracus in ‘The A-Team’ movie which is set for release in a little over a weeks time also helped create something of a perfect storm for UFC 114 to achieve these numbers.
One thing I’m left wondering is how much of an impact Forrest Griffin pulling out of his intended co-main event fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira had on the figures. Could we have seen an even higher number of that bout had gone head?
Whatever the case this was good business for the UFC, and indeed for the fighters for themselves as both headliners are believed to have earned a share of the PPV revenue. Dave Meltzer estimates Rampage could walk away with upwards of $2 million after taking adding his cut to his $250,000 base salary.