A UFC 81 event that took place this past Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas drew 10,583 spectators (with a paid attendance of 7,167) for a live gate of $2,437,890, the Nevada State Athletic Commission today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The paid-attendance figure is the second-lowest ever recorded at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, which has hosted 15 UFC events to date. The only UFC event to draw a smaller paid attendance at the venue was UFC 48, which featured a main event of Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo Leopoldo. Just 6,528 fans paid to attend the June 2004 event.
The gap between total and paid attendance for UFC 81 means a number of complimentary tickets were given out — 3,416 in total. “Comps” also affected UFC 81's live gate, which was just $2.4 million — the sixth lowest out of the venue’s past seven UFC events.
However, while those figures are below average for the venue, UFC 81 likely registered higher-than-normal pay-per-view buys. The event featured a headline bout between Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC’s interim heavyweight title, but the main attraction was the debut of former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Brock Lesnar, who took on one-time UFC champ Frank Mir. The UFC marketed Lesnar’s UFC debut extensively, hoping to attract part of the WWE’s substantial fan base.
Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to know if the UFC was successful. Because the organization is a privately owned company, the UFC doesn’t publicly release the number of pay-per-view buys for its events.
The past 10 events at the Mandalay Bay Events Center:
- UFC 81 (2/2/08) — 10,583 attendance (7,167 paid) for $2,437,890 live gate
- UFC 79 (12/29/07) — 11,075 attendance (10,968 paid) for $4,994,000 live gate
- UFC 74 (8/25/07) — 11,118 attendance (9,622 paid) for $3,307,000 live gate
- UFC 67 (2/3/07) — 10,227 attendance (8,700 paid) for $2,767,130 live gate
- UFC 64 (10/14/06) — 10,173 attendance (8,913 paid) for $1,790,490 live gate
- UFC 62 (8/26/06) — 9,859 attendance (8,954 paid) for $3,040,880 live gate
- UFC 61 (7/8/06) — 11,167 attendance (9,999 paid) for a $3,350,775 live gate
- UFC 58 (3/4/06) — 9,569 attendance (8,183 paid) for $1,758,450 live gate
- UFC 57 (2/4/06) — 11,000 attendance (10,301 paid) for $3,382,400 live gate
- UFC 51 (2/5/05) — 11,072 attendance (9,268 paid) for $1,493,100 live gate
For complete coverage of the event, including fighters salaries and the list of winners for fight-night bonuses, be sure to check out MMAjunkie.comâ??s UFC 81 archives.