Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Brock Lesnar decided to step away from Mixed Martial Arts after his 1st round TKO loss at the hands of Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. To say that he will be missed by Dana White and company is an understatement. Brock Lesnar was the UFC’s biggest draw, and his departure leaves a big void in the pay-per-view market, which is Zuffa’s main source of revenue. UFC charges $44.95 for a pay-per-view event and $55.95 a pop for the HD version. Here is a list of PPV buys for all of the events Lesnar fought on.
-UFC 81 vs. Frank Mir 600,000 buys 2/2/08
-UFC 87 vs. Heath Herring 625,000 buys 8/9/08
-UFC 91 vs. Randy Couture 1,010,000 buys 11/15/08
-UFC 100 vs. Frank Mir 1,600,000 buys 7/11/09
-UFC 116 vs. Shane Carwin 1,160,000 buys 7/3/10
-UFC 121 vs. Cain Velasquez 1,050,000 buys 10/23/10
The buy rate has not been released for his last fight, but I’m gonna drive the point home for you. At Buffalo Wild Wings, I normally have to wait 45 mins to get a table to watch the fights. For this fight, I had to wait 1 hour and 25 mins for a pager. A PAGER!!!! The expected wait time to get a table AFTER getting a pager was two hours. My crew and I decided to pack it in and watch it at my place, but that just an example of how much mainstream attention Lesnar gets.
In my opinion, I believe that Lesnar knew he didn’t have a prayer and was simply in it for a payday. The surgery he underwent in June brings the possibility of not being able to sustain damage to the abdominal area. Overeem throws damaging strikes as easily as breathing comes to most people. It would be foolish for Lesnar to continue fighting at this point because the blueprint on how to beat him has been written, and he would be stepping in the cage to take unnecessary punishment.
As soon as Lesnar announced his retirement in the octagon, every pro wrestling fan automatically had visions of Wrestlemania 28 dancing in their heads. A match with the Undertaker has been rumored for a couple of years now, and it could be the draw the WWE needs at this point since The Rock’s first match back in November only drew an estimated 283,000 buys, which are not good at all.
Lesnar could be the shot in the arm that the company needs, but I would be surprised if it happened this year since Lesnar is still under contract with Zuffa. What would be a bigger draw? Lesnar vs. Undertaker this year or Lesnar vs. Steve Austin next year? The answer is both could do huge business, but the real question is will the WWE screw it up? Common sense said having the Rock appear too often would dilute his novelty, and now they are in panic mode. No matter how you slice it, Lesnar will undoubtedly appear on Monday Night sooner or later.