Georges St-Pierre, one of the biggest PPV attractions in the history of mixed martial arts, drew between 600,000 and 650,000 PPV buys in his big fight against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
Although the UFC doesn’t release PPV numbers, the estimates were reported by wrestling and MMA journalist Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting.
St-Pierre is perhaps the sport’s most popular fighter. He won a close decision over Hendricks in November and immediately after the fight, announced that he would be taking a break from fighting. Just last week, St-Pierre then said he was relinquishing the title and taking an indefinite leave from the sport. The departure rocked the MMA world and has fueled speculation about whether GSP will return.
Although most companies would be pleased with 650,000 PPV buys, the number is less than what GSP usually draws. His one-sided unanimous decision over Nick Diaz earlier this year did about 950,000 PPV buys. Meltzer reported that the 650,000 number would be St-Pierre’s lowest since 2008.
Although the highest PPV buy number for a UFC event was 1.6 million, headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, GSP has had the longest, sustained rated of success on PPV.
St-Pierre, 25-2, has fought for the UFC since 2005, losing only twice to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, both losses he avenged later. St-Pierre defended his title 12 times before his recent decision to take a hiatus. He has not lost a fight since 2008.
The UFC is hoping to boost its PPV numbers with UFC 168 on Dec. 28, when Chris Weidman defends the UFC middleweight championship against Anderson Silva and Ronda Rousey defends her bantamweight title against Miesha Tate, in the co-main event on the card.
UFC President Dana White has said that UFC 168 could be the biggest PPV in the history of the company.