Early PPV buyrate estimates for UFC 81 (Brock Lesnar’s debut) are around 600,000 domestic buys. If that figure is accurate, UFC 81 will be the 5th most ordered PPV event in company history. It is very possible that number could sell more domestically than the upcoming Wrestlemania XXIV show.
An interesting fact is that Brock Lesnar’s UFC debut drew more buys than Wrestlemania 19, when Brock Lesnar wrestled against Kurt Angle in the main event. That show did a final number of 560,000 buys worldwide.
As far how much of an impact Lesnar had on the event’s huge PPV success, industry sources estimate that the event would have drawn approximately 325,000 buys if Lesnar was not featured and Tim Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo was the main attraction.
Lesnar received a lot of heat for the money he earned in his first UFC contest ($250,000). Now that the numbers are in, it’s clear that he could have earned 10 times that amount and UFC would have still made a killing off his debut.