We revealed last week that Georges St-Pierre is the best PPV draw currently in the UFC, based on career sales. That list was, not surprisingly, jammed full of UFC veterans who have headlined for a long time and therefore have accumulated large sales totals. But is GSP still king when we break it down by sales per fight? Judging by the photo above, your guess is probably ‘no’ (good guess, by the way).
Top 10 Current PPV Draws (average sales/fight)
(minimum four appearances on a PPV poster)
First thing to note is the sales totals and averages only reflect the percentage of a PPV event’s buyrate attributed to the fighter (it’s explained in our previous story how we figured that out). And – surprise, surprise – Rashad Evans comes out on top, by a large margin. This is by no ways a fluke or a manipulation of the numbers – Evans has proven to be one of the few fighters currently on the UFC’s roster capable of selling a fight on his own (with a little help from his opponent). The only advertised fight at UFC 145 was Evans-Jones and it sold 700,000 PPVs. Evans main evented an injury-weakened UFC 133 and it still sold 310,000 PPVs (which is a miracle based on that fight card). Evans-Rampage was the only advertised fight at UFC 133 and it sold over a million units, unheard of numbers for a non-Brock Lesnar card. Whether it’s because he’s a fan favourite or because people want to see him do the stanky leg (as some message board commentators have posited), Rashad Evans sells PPVs.
But the biggest surprise has to be Shane Carwin coming in at #2 in the rankings. His spot on the list is a bit dubious, however, as he benefited by fighting on cards headlined by Lesnar and GSP. Those two fighters tend to help a guy’s sales numbers. The good news for the UFC is a couple of its young stars – Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez – have proven to be good sellers, although Velasquez is another fighter who has benefited from fighting against Lesnar at the top of a PPV card.