With the UFC’s biggest Pay-Per-View draw, Georges St. Pierre announcing he would be vacating the title and stepping away from the sport, it made me wonder; just how valuable to the UFC was he?
Below I have gathered information about just how much money GSP made the UFC. Note that for the sake of simplicity, every buy from a GSP headlined or co-headlined PPV is included. Details in the methodology.
The best estimates have the UFC receiving around 60% of the gross income from Pay-Per-View buys, which works out at roughly $30 per event, on average. I have only included fights with GSP as the main event or featured co-main event (e.g UFC 58, UFC 100). Co-Main events are marked with a *.
Note that all buyrates are best estimates provided by industry analysts, and are not confirmed by the UFC.
The methodology is only intended to demonstrate the income (not profit) generated by events GSP headlined or co-headlined. It is unable to account for how much of a buyrate the other fights on the card accounted for (as doing so is impossible). It is also unable to account for how much GSP made the UFC in other ways such as merchandising, DVD sales, promotional appearances, etc. Take the figure provided as a rough number, not an exact accounting.
UFC 50 Gate: n/a Buyrate: 40,000 PPV Income: $1,200,000
UFC 58 Gate: $1,758,450 Buyrate: 300,000 PPV Income: $9,000,000*
UFC 65: Gate: $2,138,020 Buyrate: 500,000 PPV Income: $15,000,000
UFC 69: Gate: $3,817,200 Buyrate: 400,000 PPV Income: $12,000,000
UFC 74: Gate: $3,307,000 Buyrate: 520,000 PPV Income: $15,600,000*
UFC 79: Gate: $4,994,000 Buyrate: 750,000 PPV Income: $22,500,000
UFC 83: Gate: $5,100,000 Buyrate: 530,000 PPV Income: $15,900,000
UFC 87: Gate: $2,252,000 Buyrate: 625,000 PPV Income: $18,750,000
UFC 94: Gate: $4,290,020 Buyrate: 920,000 PPV Income: $27,600,000
UFC 100: Gate: $5,128,490 Buyrate: 1,600,000 PPV Income: $48,000,000*
UFC 111: Gate: $4,000,000 Buyrate: 770,000 PPV Income: $23,100,000
UFC 124: Gate: $4,600,000 Buyrate: 800,000 PPV Income: $24,000,000
UFC 129: Gate: $12,075,000 Buyrate 800,000 PPV Income: $24,000,000
UFC 154: Gate: $3,143,000 Buyrate 700,000 PPV Income: $21,000,000
UFC 158: Gate: $3,710,000 Buyrate 950,000 PPV income: $28,500,000
UFC 167: Gate: $5,759,250 Buyrate N/A**
**UFC 167 buyrate estimates were not available at the time of writing, sadly. They likely add another $20,000,000 or so to the total.
Total Gate Income: $66,072,430
Total PPV Income: $306,150,000 + around $20m estimated from UFC 167.
Total income: $372,222,430 + around $20m estimated from UFC 167.
The figures above don’t take ancillary income such as merchandising and DVD sales etc into account as there are no reliable estimates publicly available.
All told, GSP made the UFC almost $400 million during his time there, making him their biggest moneymaker of all time. In recent times he has been their most successful PPV star, averaging around 800,000 buys per fight since 2011. His closest contemporary, Anderson Silva, averaged around 600,000 buys per fight, or $6,000,000 less per event.
His departure will undoubtedly hurt the UFC’s bottom line in the short term, but if he returns in a year or two, it’s likely he will draw as much or more for his return bouts as he has been recently.