View Full Version : Biggest event of 2006: Boxing vs. UFC vs. WWE (PPV, livegate

Drömmarnas Stig
Tuesday, February 20th, 2007, 02:44 PM

Monday, January 08, 2007 - by Ivan Trembow - MMAWeekly.com
Biggest Event of 2006: UFC vs. Boxing vs. WWE

With the UFC's business exploding in every category over the past twelve months, many people have asked how the UFC's current level of business compares with that of boxing and pro wrestling, which are two of the UFC's primary competitors.

To examine this issue, we're going to take a look at the two most relevant statistics for the largest shows of the year in each of the three aforementioned respective genres: Live gate revenue and pay-per-view revenue.

Television ratings information is not available for boxing on HBO or Showtime, and it has proven largely irrelevant in the case of WWE, which regularly produces TV shows with double or quadruple the UFC's TV ratings while also producing monthly pay-per-views with less than half of the UFC's domestic PPV buys.

The boxing event with the biggest live gate in 2006 was the May 6th fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Ricardo Mayorga, which generated $7,636,000 in gross ticket receipts.

Even with UFC 66 drawing the UFC's biggest live gate in history, its live gate total of $5,397,300 is still over two million dollars short of boxing's high mark in 2006.

However, if the UFC's own publicly stated predictions are accurate, UFC 66 will generate more PPV revenue than De la Hoya vs. Mayorga.

The fight between De la Hoya and Mayorga drew 925,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States at $49.95 per buy, which generated gross PPV revenue of $46.20 million.

The UFC has publicly and repeatedly predicted that UFC 66 will draw 1.2 million PPV buys, and with a price of $39.95, the gross PPV revenue would be $47.94 million.

The previous all-time record for UFC PPVs was set this past July by UFC 61, which drew approximately 775,000 buys and generated approximately $30.96 million in revenue.

In boxing, the all-time record for pay-per-view buys was set in 2002 by Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis, which drew 2.0 million pay-per-view buys. That event is followed closely in the record books by the 1997 fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, which drew 1.99 million PPV buys.

The all-time record for a non-heavyweight boxing PPV was set in 1999 when Oscar de la Hoya's fight against Felix Trinidad drew 1.4 million PPV buys. De la Hoya's upcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., which is scheduled to take place on May 5th, has a strong chance of breaking the 1.4 million record for a non-heavyweight boxing PPV.

With the decline in its domestic business in recent years, World Wrestling Entertainment is no longer in the same league as the UFC or big-name boxing match-ups when it comes to live gate sales or PPV revenue for the largest events.

The biggest WWE event of 2006 was WrestleMania, which took place on April 2nd and drew a live gate of just $2.5 million. In addition, WWE now claims that WrestleMania drew 636,000 PPV buys in the United States (an increase from WWE's previously claimed figure of 560,000).

If WWE's latest figure of 636,000 buys is accurate, that would equal PPV revenue of $31.77 million for the event, which would be $14.43 million short of the PPV revenue that was generated by De la Hoya vs. Mayorga, and $16.17 million short of Zuffa's projections for UFC 66.

Live Gate Sales (United States)

1. Boxing's Biggest Event of 2006: $7,636,000 (De la Hoya vs. Mayorga)

2. MMA's Biggest Event of 2006: $5,397,300 (UFC 66)

3. Pro Wrestling's Biggest Event of 2006: $2,500,000 (WWE WrestleMania)

Pay-Per-View Revenue (United States)

1. MMA's Biggest Event of 2006: $47.94 million (UFC 66, according to Zuffa's publicly stated projections)

2. Boxing's Biggest Event of 2006: $46.20 million (De la Hoya vs. Mayorga)

3. Pro Wrestling's Biggest Event of 2006: $31.77 million (WWE WrestleMania, according to WWE's latest claimed figures)


With the UFC's numbers skyrocketing in 2006 outpacing even boxing, it seems to do even better in 2007.

The aquisition of new top fighters like Cro Cop and Rampage, the PPV-deal with Showtime, the international expansion (4 events in Britain in 2007) seem to guarantee further growth.

Now to my questions:

1. Do you think that boxing will be able to turn the tide?

I cannot imagine that to happen. MMA is more modern, more interesting for the young generation.

2. Do you think the UFC and MMA in general will eventually disappear?
That MMA is just a fashion right now and as such it will not survive in the long run?

It looked like it in the late 90's when the UFC was all but dead. After the Fertitta brothers and Dana White took over though, they only needed 5 years to overtake even boxing. I don't see MMA disappearing in any scenario.
It's a global attraction with Pride in Japan, UFC in the US, Cage Rage in Britain and all the others.

3. Will MMA cause a massive reduction of boxing's talent pool?
Will young kids in the future rather become MMA-fighters than boxers and thusly decrease the quality of boxing?

In my opinion that's the logical conclusion.
A wrestler will become an MMA-fighter, not a boxer.
So will a lot of kids from various fighting backgrounds.

The common perception (especially among teenagers) is that a UFC-champ will wipe the floor with a boxing champ in a no holds barred street fight.
Although (due to the relatively young history of MMA) the talent level isn't nearly up to par with boxing yet, MMA is more suitable for a no rules fight.

Now, from the perspective of a teenager:
What would you rather invest thousands of hours in the gym in:
Boxing or MMA? I bet most kids will go for the cool, new kick-ass sport which seems to be more effective than boxing as well and definitely fancier.

4. On a side-note, will the WWE vanish in the near future?

I know this forum isn't about WWE. Since it used to be one of the most popular "fighting sports" in the USA and is mentioned in the article, just a brief answer.

Yes, it will disappear. Who needs phoney fake wrestling if you can get the same but for real in MMA?
WWE will declare bankrupcy (sp?) no later than 2015.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Friday, February 23rd, 2007, 06:18 AM
I was a live-long boxing fan. I bet on Cassius Clay to beat Sonny Liston at 35:1 odds in high school and won a bundle---but---three years ago I saw MMA, the UFC, and was blown away. Forget boxing, boxing is dull compared to MMA. Every day, the first thing I do when I turn on the TV is check all the listings for UFC or other MMA fights that day.

Boxing is a game. Boxers fight with pillows on and most fights do not end via knockout. Scoring by round usually determines the fight. This makes for strange, stalling, defensive tactics in some cases. Fifteen rounds becomes an eternity. MMA ends all this because there are at most five rounds and there are so many ways to win, not just score a decision.

Besides, traditionally, boxing is a sport for those with no other way ahead in life. MMA attracts college wrestlers and olympic wrestlers. Many MMA athletes have college degrees. One former champion, a black guy, was in medical school. Most of these guys can actually talk without a coach.

There is no doubt in my mind that guys like Randy Coulture could easily take any professional boxer in a few seconds.

Drömmarnas Stig
Saturday, February 24th, 2007, 05:11 PM
Besides, traditionally, boxing is a sport for those with no other way ahead in life. MMA attracts college wrestlers and olympic wrestlers. Many MMA athletes have college degrees. One former champion, a black guy, was in medical school. Most of these guys can actually talk without a coach.

There is no doubt in my mind that guys like Randy Coulture could easily take any professional boxer in a few seconds.

Rich Franklin (former middleweight champion) was a highschool teacher.
Chuck Liddell an accountant in a big company.
Rory Singer is a nurse.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was in the Croation "CTU" (Kiefer Sutherland could have learned quite a bit from the real deal) ;)

MMA doesn't have this crook-image boxing rightfully has.
It seems that every boxing champ grew up as a petty thief in the Bronx, Puerto Rico or Mexico.
Most can barely articulate themselves.


As a child I watched WWF (in the 80's when it was still cartooney and family entertainment, the way fake-wrestling is supposed to be), then I was a boxing fan, now MMA.
Had I grown up 10 years later, I would have probably skipped boxing for good (and not wasted years training boxing) ;)