Why the UFC Buys Will Suffer Without Brock Lesnar and Georges St-Pierre
Recently, the sport of mixed martial arts has been suffering the losses of arguably two of its biggest and most notable combatants.
At UFC 141 just a few weeks ago, former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was deftly defeated by Strikeforce transplant Alistair Overeem, who TKO'd the big man inside of the first round. With his second consecutive defeat, Lesnar subsequently announced his retirement from the sport.
Preceding Lesnar, Georges St-Pierre, the reigning welterweight champ, suffered a knee injury in training which would require invasive surgery, sidelining him for the better part of a year.
Both St-Pierre and Lesnar have proven to be two of the organization's strongest pay-per-view draws.
Since his inception in the UFC, the ex-WWE star has garnered a lot of buzz come fight time, however it was his title tilt in November 2008 against then-champion Randy Couture that put Lesnar over the top.
After claiming the heavyweight belt with a decisive second-round TKO victory, it was later estimated that the PPV event cultivated over 1 million buys.
This was later replicated in Lesnar's subsequent battles with Frank Mir, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez—all PPV tilts that earned over 1 million buys, making Lesnar a strong commodity for the organization.
Close behind the behemoth heavyweight has been St-Pierre, who has trailed behind the 1 million buy mark on several occasions, only breaking the stride when the Canadian served as the co-main event under Lesnar at UFC 100.
In his last outing at UFC 129, St-Pierre defeated former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields by unanimous decision. Though the fight ended up being a lackluster affair, the PPV totals proved strong, with the welterweight tilt bringing in 800,000 buys, which is consistent to the last few performances that the Tristar fighter has turned in.
No other men, save for the grudge match pitting Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson at UFC 114, has been able to generate those same kind of numbers.
A close second has been Anderson Silva's highlight-reel knockout victory over former teammate Vitor Belfort. The middleweight affair took home 725,000 buys, though Silva's next outing against Okami produced 400,000 less.
Needless to say, both Lesnar and St-Pierre are the organization's front runners and no one has been able to hold a candle to the star power that both men were able to cultivate.
Until then, the promotion will likely seek to push rising star Jon Jones to the same mantle that Lesnar and GSP have held onto for so long.
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