A UFC 81 event that took place earlier this month and featured Brock Lesnar’s highly marketed UFC debut has registered approximately 650,000 pay-per-view “buys,” according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
UFC 81 took place Feb. 2 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Although the main event featured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s victory over Tim Sylvia for the UFC’s interim heavyweight title, Lesnar, a former World Wrestling Entertainment performer who took on Frank Mir, was expected to be the event’s biggest draw.
Lesnar dominated all but the last few seconds of his fight with former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir and ultimately suffered a submission loss (via kneebar) at 1:30 of the first round.
Just prior to UFC 81, the UFC increased the price of its stand-definition pay-per-view broadcasts from $39.95 to $44.95. Although a small number of additional buys will trickle in (cable systems have a taped version of the broadcast available for purchase), Meltzer reports that the event will be third-highest-grossing event in UFC history — behind only December 2006's UFC 66 event (Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II) and July 2006's UFC 61 event (Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock II).
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) mentioned in a UFC 81 salaries report, despite just one professional MMA fight, Lesnar earned a base salary of $250,000 for the fight. He would have earned an additional $200,000 “win bonus” with a victory. The UFC doesn’t comment on fighters’ salaries, but Lesnar’s deal in undoubtedly one of the most lucrative in the organization’s history. In addition to his base pay, Lesnar also likely earned a portion of the pay-per-view revenue.
For complete coverage of this UFC 81, including fighters salaries and the list of winners for fight-night bonuses, be sure to check out MMAjunkie.com’s UFC 81 archives.
(Touch of gloves: BloodyElbow.com)
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