Mayweather, Tyson, McGregor: What are the best-selling PPVs for boxing and UFC?


Though boxing and indeed combat sports are enjoying something of a golden era, it seems the stars of today still have someway to go to match the gravitas of both Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson.

Indeed, in a new list revealed this week by World Boxing News, both fighters - now well into their senior years - hold no less than 10 spots on the all-time combat top 15 pay-per-view buy-rate list.

Whilst Mayweather dominates the top five, Tyson, however, slots in with three separate entries in the top 10, showcasing Iron Mike's box office reputation, either side of the new millennium. 

Mayweather, now 43, has been involved in the top three selling fights in sporting history, with 2015's much-anticipated bout between himself and Manny Pacquiao topping the list.

As two icons of the welterweight division, their fight, almost a decade in the making, failed to live up to expectations, but nonetheless, hauled in an astonishing 4.6million PPV sales via Showtime and HBO.

Following close behind with 4.3 million buys, Mayweather's ground-breaking clash with UFC's Conor McGregor captured a global audience, as Money recorded a 10th-round stoppage of the Irishman.

Such was the pulling power of the top two fights in the list, Mayweather's top three domination is completed with his fight 10 years prior to McGregor, when he fought 'Golden Boy' Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.


Its buy-rate, however, was close to two million box office sales less than the Mayweather-McGregor bout, coming in at 2.4 million.

A six-division champion - one more than Mayweather would become - the two smashed PPV records at the time at the MGM Grand, as Mayweather took a unanimous points decision over the Los Angeles fighter.

As two of the biggest names in boxing over the course of the last three decades, Mayweather and Tyson have arguably carried boxing since the PPV era exploded into public imagination, and the latter himself holds the sixth, seventh and 10th spots in the standings.

Coming in 300,000 buys behind Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez' 2013 showdown, Tyson's heated rivalry with Evander Holyfield came to head - or rather ear - in 1997, as their rematch came within 10,000 of tipping the two million scales. 

Tyson's subsequent bout with Lennox Lewis drew 20,000 less, as the American's war of words with the Briton saw the dollars pile in, as Tyson's statement that he wanted 'to eat' Lewis' children saw sales for that period soar.


Remarkably, the 10th spot is shared by three fights, and as to highlight his box office status of the past 30 years prior, Tyson's return exhibition with Roy Jones Jr last November sealed his iconic status in boxing.

Garnering 1.6 million sales, the bout is split in buys between McGregor - his own fourth entry in the list - and his first UFC loss against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in 2016, and former WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar's explosive face-off with Frank Mir in 2009.

As if to underline the Mayweather-Tyson prominence in the countdown, the top 15 concludes with two further entries for Tyson, before Mayweather props up the list.

Tyson's controversial initial fight with Holyfield in 1996 comes in at 13, whilst his fight of year earlier and one of his less memorable against Peter McNeeley in August '95 made 40,000 less in sales.


Mayweather then rounds off the countdown with his 2012 defeat of Miguel Cotto, as he moved up to super welterweight on returning to boxing. At the time, the fight became the second-biggest non-heavyweight fight in PPV history. 

Both Mayweather and Tyson have captured a generation of boxing and indeed combat fans, and the list merely cements their respective legacies.

The List In Full

1. Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao – 4,600,000

2. Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor – 4,300,000

3. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr – 2,400,000

3. Khabib vs. McGregor – 2,400,000

5. Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez – 2,200,000


6. Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II – 1,990,000

7. Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson – 1,970,000

8. Diaz vs. McGregor 2 – 1,650,000

8. Poirier vs. McGregor 2 – 1,650,000

10. Lesnar vs. Mir 2 – 1,600,000

10. McGregor vs. Diaz – 1,600,000

10. Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr – 1,600,000

13. Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield – 1,590,000

14. Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley – 1,550,000

15. Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto – 1,500,000

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