When Brock Lesnar had to pull out of his UFC 131 fight with Junior dos Santos due to diverticulitis, it not only likely had a large effect on the card's pay-per-view drawing potential, but reports suggest it had a big impact at the gate, too.
On Sunday's edition of Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required), Dave Meltzer reported that after Lesnar pulled out of the fight May 12, the show sold less than 1,000 tickets, and probably closer to 500 based on what the gate was then ($2.7 million) and what it ended up being announced as ($2.8 million).
The attendance for Saturday's show, which emanated from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, was announced at 14,685 by the UFC. Meltzer says, with the gate, that would equate to between 10,000-11,000 paid.
"They sold no tickets once Brock pulled out of the card," Meltzer said.
"They sold, I believe the number was 9,000 tickets the first day (April 14) and the paid, when all is said and done, will probably be in the 10,500 range. That says everyone that wanted to buy a ticket got it right away and a lot of it might been some scalpers as well. There were two things that were apart of this: Even with Brock, whatever it was, they didn't sell a lot of tickets after the first day, and losing Brock, nobody new wanted to buy tickets to see Shane Carwin, even though some people said, 'Wow, it's a better fight,' the fact is there's like nobody extra that wanted to buy tickets to see Shane Carwin."
Meltzer also said UFC 131 "couldn't be" a big local event because of the Vancouver Canucks' run in the NHL's Stanley Cup final. Rogers Arena hosted Game 5 of the series Friday night where Vancouver took a 3-2 series lead over Boston.
"There's something in town that's tons bigger to these people, so you weren't going to get any kind of big event in town feel that UFC usually gets and I think that hurt whatever walk-up there couldve been, which was obviously non-existant," Meltzer said.
This show was a stark contrast from the company's debut effort in Vancouver, which happened last June with UFC 115, which was supposed to be headlined by a light-heavyweight bout between Chuck Liddell and Tito Oritz and was later changed to Liddell against Rich Franklin.
That show drew a total attendance of 17,669 (14,621 paid) with a $4.22 miliion gate.