The return of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada yielded one of its highest grossing houses in the history of the promotion.
Saturday’s event marked the first time the UFC held an event at the Bell Centre since last year’s UFC 83 in which a soldout crowd saw hometown hero Georges St. Pierre reclaim the UFC welterweight title following a second round TKO victory over Matt Serra.
Despite not having St. Pierre as a headliner for the show, the night’s co-main event matchups featuring UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites and former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua drew a sellout crowd of 21,451.
According to UFC President Dana White while speaking at the post-fight conference, the strong crowd equated to a total gate of $4.9 million.
The total attendees figure was good enough to set the new North America record in regard to that category but the total house fell shot of the UFC’s record gate, which still remains $5,397,000 for UFC 66, which was headlined by the second-ever fight between Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
The gate for UFC 97 rates as the fourth-highest in North American history, behind not only UFC 66 but also UFC 83 last year in Montreal and UFC 79. Despite drawing more fans for UFC 97 than UFC 83, UFC 83 still recorded a total gate of $5,100,000.