That show was not going to do more than 325,000 buys with the Tim Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira match and a semifinal of Nathan Marquardt v. Jeremy Horn. In fact, that would be an optimistic expectation. So if this holds up, Lesnar was worth $12.36 million in overall revenue.
Adam Swift of MMAPayout explains that the figure may put UFC 81 among the all-time top-five UFC shows in terms of gross buys, and thanks to the $45 price tag, #3 in revenue after Ortiz/Liddell and Ortiz/Shamrock III. As Swift points out, the final number is usually significantly higher than the early estimates.
Swift also calls into question the sustainability of Lesnar’s drawing power, and the show’s success in taking wrestling fans who were first-time UFC buyers and converting them into regular fans. We’re of the opinion that Lesnar’s wrestling fans will keep paying for UFC events whenever he’s on the card — and only those events — meaning that Lesnar’s appearances will continue to translate to a spike in UFC PPV buys, but not an overall bump of the average buyrate. But hey, we don’t need those yokels anyway.