While Oscar De La Hoya initially claimed 200,000-400,000 PPV buys was a “no brainer” for Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz 3, it didn’t quite reach that number. In fact, according to reporters from LA Times and Yahoo! Sports, the buy-rate was closer to a tenth of what Golden Boy was targeting.
Industry source tells me the Liddell-Ortiz PPV buys may be as low as 30,000....but the Tiger-Phil golf might reach 1 million (all refunded, but a glimpse of what a low price can generate).— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) November 30, 2018
I’ve heard 25k for the fight— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) November 30, 2018
Historically, non-UFC promotions have never really done well on pay-per-view. Add the embarrassing promotional push done for this show, and it’s not surprising that not many people cared enough to shell out $40 to watch two retired fighters compete.
The good thing is that with both headliners reportedly getting 30% of the entire revenue for the show, that still ends up as a pretty good payday for two clearly over the hill fighters.
The live gate was reportedly at $731,226, and PPV revenue would be at around $1-1.2 million at the $40 price point. Add merchandise, sponsorships, any other international deals, and revenue sources, and both Ortiz and Liddell will have a decent chunk of money added to their base pay of $200k and $250k respectively.
At just 25-30K PPV buys, it’s unlikely that Ortiz and Liddell would “make the most money they’ve ever made”, as De La Hoya boldly claimed. But like his early projections of 400K buys, these lines always felt like typical promoterspeak anyway.
At the end of the day, they earned significantly more than what any promotion would give two fighters pushing 50, and it just makes one wonder how much money the top stars in the sport would make if the UFC gave a bigger slice of the pie.
Here’s an interesting comparison to Liddell vs Ortiz 2, which reportedly drew over a million buys back in 2006.
If Tito & Liddell had the same deal back at UFC 66 as they reportedly both had with Golden Boy (30% each for Chuck/Tito & 40% for Golden Boy of the revenue) then they each would have earned almost $6.5 mil from ppv & gate alone back in 2006.— John S. Nash (@heynottheface) November 28, 2018
As it stands, it’s been estimated that the UFC gives just roughly around 15% of their revenue to the fighters.