|The UFC gate came in today at the Nevada State Athletic Commission's office. The show did $1,293,035, with 8,597 tickets sold and 3,560 comps for a total of 12,157 in MGM Grand.
The gate of $1.29 million falls short of the gate for UFC 46 at Mandalay from January, which was also headlined by Vitor Belfort vs. Randy Couture, which did a gate of $1,377,620, so in that regard it would be considered a disappointment. The paid attendance also fell just short of UFC 46, which had 8,831 paid. As a success, the show did much better than UFC 48, which did $901,655 at Mandalay Bay in June, which further illustrates the point that it was Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo as a live attraction headline that turned local fans away (while driving the pay per view buyrate up above 100,000 buys). The reason Shamrock vs. Kimo would have done below average at the live gate in Vegas as opposed to doing well on pay per view is, in my opinion, that MMA fans on a national level would not have been aware that Kimo is a terrible fighter, and would be interested in the star power of Ken Shamrock fighting against Kimo, who still has a minor name from his days in SEG. Las Vegas fans, due to the amount of live shows run by Zuffa in that city, would be much smarter to the product, and would be able to identify that, in reality, Kimo is not a solid fighter from a skill standpoint and would see that as an event to skip. It should be noted that doing well on pay per view is far more important than doing well at the live gate.
UFC 49 was also successful in that it drew a total of 12,157 fans live to the show, which would rank in third place all-time for Zuffa, behind UFC 41 (Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City) at 13,707 and UFC 40 (MGM Grand) at 13,275.
The amount of comps given away at 3,560 is a tremendously high figure, even higher than the 3,358 comps given away at UFC 48. It's the second highest amount of comps for a UFC event in Las Vegas from UFC 40 and after, just behind UFC 43 at 3,947 (although UFC 43 did a dismal gate of $645,140).
These numbers are far different than the gate figure of $2 million that Dana White announced at the UFC 49 post-fight press conference. White told MMAChronicle.com in an interview conducted a few days ago that UFC 49 was said to have done very well in the preliminary pay per view buyrate figures and that they were pleased with the initial numbers. UFC 46 with Belfort vs. Couture is figured to have done between 60,000 and 70,000 buys.
Here's the all-time gate list for UFC shows in Las Vegas (excluding the small UFC 37.5 show):
1. UFC 40 ($1,540,940, MGM Grand)
2. UFC 47 ($1,444,020, Mandalay Bay)
3. UFC 46 ($1,377,620, Mandalay Bay)
4. UFC 49 ($1,293,035, MGM Grand)
5. UFC 44 ($1,127,985, Mandalay Bay)
6. UFC 48 ($901,655, Mandalay Bay)
7. UFC 36 ($898,850, MGM Grand)
8. UFC 33 ($816,660, Mandalay Bay)
9. UFC 43 ($645,140, Thomas & Mack Center)
10. UFC 34 ($502,550, Mandalay Bay)
There's more analysis on UFC 49 available at www.mmachronicle.com.