clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UFC Doesn't Need Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture to Sell Pay-Per-Views

MMA Payout has a good look at how business has gone in 2008 for the three big players in the pay-per-view events business, UFC, WWE and HBO Boxing:

UFC appears poised to finish the year with more pay-per-view buys than either WWE or HBO, and I think the big story is that the UFC has effectively moved beyond the days when it needed Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture to sell pay-per-views.

As Michael Rome writes, last year the UFC's pay-per-view results without Liddell and Couture weren't very good, and in 2006 Chuck and Tito carried the day. This year the UFC has done very well with other fighters headlining cards. George St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar seem to be the two top draws right now, with Lesnar's fight against Couture at UFC 91 in November shaping up as one of the biggest MMA events ever when the new generation fights the old.

Liddell is still a draw, but the fact that Rashad Evans pretty much ended Liddell's days as a light heavyweight title contender means UFC needs a younger crop of stars to take Liddell's place, and I think UFC has that younger crop of stars in St. Pierre, Lesnar, Evans, Forrest Griffin, B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva, to name a few.

Although I'm not sure that any individual UFC show will top the estimated 1.1 million pay-per-view buys that UFC got with Liddell fighting Ortiz at the end of 2006, I think the UFC is very well positioned for 2008 to end up as its best year ever, and for 2009 to have some huge pay-per-view draws, including St. Pierre-Penn and the heavyweight title match between the Lesnar-Couture winner and the Frank Mir-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira winner.

The rest of the MMA industry is struggling, but it's a good time to be UFC.