Ronda Rousey returns windfall for UFC
This post has been corrected. See below for details.
Ronda Rousey’s dramatic first victory by a woman in the Ultimate Fighting Championship octagon was a financial bonanza for the fight organization.
In addition to a sellout crowd of 15,525 at Honda Center that generated a live gate in excess of $1.4 million, pay-per-view figures were assessed as 40% better than the UFC’s Super Bowl weekend card that featured Jose Aldo retaining his featherweight belt against Frankie Edgar.
While UFC officials don’t publicly share their pay-per-view totals, an official with knowledge of the figures said with replay sales, Rousey’s first-round armbar submission of Liz Carmouche could near 500,000 buys.
The fight cost $44.99 on standard-definition, $54.99 on HD.
“PPV was huge; she’s a legit star,” UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta texted The Times on Monday night of Rousey, the 26-year-old Venice fighter and 2008 judo bronze medalist for the U.S. Olympic team who is now 7-0 with seven first-round armbars.
That number is far and away better than the prior pay-per-view record for a female fight which pitted the daughters of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and generated 125,000 buys.
UFC President Dana White said after the bout that Rousey will continue as a main-event draw in the UFC after she avoided a near rear naked chokehold by Carmouche and rallied to end the fight in her definitive style.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Rousey said of Carmouche’s near-decisive hold. “She had it across my face. I had dislocated my jaw as a kid, so my mouthpiece came out and her arm went into my teeth. I was not intending to bite you at all, dude,” she said to Carmouche.
“I was very aware of the severity of the situation. I thought it was a great fight that lived up to all the hype. And I think by the sound of the crowd, they were very happy with the fight.”
White heaped heavy praise on Rousey for hyping the bout and opening up about her personal life, which included her struggles to speak as a young child, her father’s suicide and her decision to drop out of Santa Monica High School.
“I’m going to fall off the grid now for awhile, and if I see anyone, I’m not going to talk about me,” Rousey said after the bout.
[UPDATED at 8:28 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said live-gate sales at the Honda Center for Saturday’s UFC 157 card featuring Ronda Rousey were $4.5 million. The sales were $1.4 million.]
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