UFC 205 drew $17.7 million dollars in ticket sales at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, according to UFC President Dana White. That's more than any MMA or pro wrestling event ever, and more than any event of any kind at New York's most famous arena
The new record edges out the gate for WWE's WrestleMania 32 event this year, which drew a gate of $17.3 million. WrestleMania 32 set the all-time record gate for pro wrestling, even when adjusting for inflation. UFC says the event main evented by Conor McGregor's UFC Lightweight Title win over Eddie Alvarez was attended by 20,427 fans.
WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on April 3 had a far higher attendance than UFC 205. WWE's biggest event of the year was attended by somewhere between 97,769 and 101,763, depending on whether you believe the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's report or WWE's press release. We know however from WWE's own financial reports that paid attendance was between 73,711 and 85,888.
This means there was a huge difference in average ticket price between UFC 205 and WrestleMania 32. Based on the above figures, the average ticket price for UFC 205 was roughly $867, compared to WrestleMania's $217.
White commented on his events high ticket prices. "We definitely priced people out [of buying tickets]. Not my favorite thing to do... When there's so much demand that's what happens."
The success of UFC 205 is likely due in part to the fact it was the first major professional mixed martial arts event in New York State since the sport was banned in the state 19 years ago. The ban was lifted earlier this year.
"It wasn't ignorant; it was dirty politics is what is was," White said about why UFC was kept out of the state for so long. "The Las Vegas Culinary Union is what kept us out of here, and [former New York State Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver."
"We broke every [business] record in UFC history tonight. The only one I'm waiting on now is the Fox [Sports 1 TV rating] number." When asked whether he expected UFC 205 to break the pay-per-view record as well, based on early trends, White responded: "We did. We broke the record." UFC 202 (also featuring McGregor) last set the PPV record with 1.65 million buys. It's worth noting that both UFC 196 and 202 passed the previous company record of UFC 100's 1.6 million when UFC.TV, and other PPV distributors are added.
"I would like to thank the Las Vegas Culinary Workers' Union for spending their members' dues to help make this the biggest night ever in UFC history," White quipped. "Thank you, dummies."
Some MMA gate records were sourced from the Nevada State Athletic Commission website.