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What are the top 10 live gates in Nevada combat sports history?

UFC 303 was expected to have a chance to break the organization’s all-time live gate record for Nevada and become one of the highest-grossing combat sporting events ever in the state.

Losing Conor McGregor, who will not fight because of an injury, hurts those chances. He’s proven to be a massive draw throughout his career.

In light of UFC 303 taking place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, here are the 10 largest live-gate figures ever recorded for combat sports in the state of Nevada, the fighting capital of the world:

10. Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield

The heavyweight title rematch at Thomas & Mack Center drew 17,078 fans.

They paid a combined $16.87 million to watch Lewis retain the belts by unanimous decision on Nov. 13, 1999, just months after he fought Holyfield to a draw at Madison Square Garden.

9. Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder

The second fight of a trilogy set a heavyweight record in the state with a live gate of $16.92 million at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Feb. 22, 2020. Fury earned a decisive victory when Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.

It’s a bout best remembered for Wilder wearing a costume that weighed more than 40 pounds during his walk to the ring. He later blamed the fatigue the outfit caused for his early struggles.

8. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

The only mixed martial arts event to crack the list is UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018, at T-Mobile Arena, which attracted a live gate of $17.19 million. Nurmagomedov earned a submission victory in the main event that triggered a wild scene both in and out of the cage as the nasty vitriol of the pre-fight buildup bubbled over into the respective camps.

7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Oscar De La Hoya

The super welterweight showdown between two of the sports’ biggest stars drew a live gate of $18.42 million at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 5, 2007. Mayweather remained undefeated in a close fight, earning the nod of two of the three judges in a split decision. It was the only split-decision win of Mayweather’s career.

6. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez

These two names are on this list quite a bit, so it’s a bit of a surprise their Sept. 14, 2013, bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena finished outside the top five. Mayweather was able to capture a majority-decision victory in front of a gate of a little more than $20 million just as Alvarez was coming into his prime.

5. Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia

Any questions that had been raised about the pair’s star power were answered when they drew a live gate of $22.8 million to T-Mobile Arena on April 22, 2023. The bout, which had no titles on the line but was contested between two popular athletes with large social media followings, ended in a seventh-round knockout victory for Davis.

4. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin (II)

The second of three fights between the pair resulted in a majority-decision victory for Alvarez in front of a paid gate of $24.47 million at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 15, 2018. The fight was delayed several months because Alvarez failed a drug test, but he emerged victorious by majority decision, even though many analysts had it scored for Golovkin.

3. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin (I)

Fans paid a total of $27.06 million to file into T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 16, 2017, and watch two of the sport’s biggest stars fight to a controversial split draw. Judge Adalaide Byrd was widely criticized after the fight for scoring the bout 118-110 in favor of Alvarez, despite Golovkin out-landing him in 10 of the 12 rounds.

2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor

Mayweather unsurprisingly came away with a stoppage victory. UFC superstar McGregor still acquitted himself well in the early rounds despite never having competed in boxing before the Aug. 26, 2017, spectacle at T-Mobile Arena. While it appeared Mayweather may have just been carrying McGregor, it was still a good show for the fans who paid a whopping $55.41 million to attend the bout in person.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao

The stars set a record that may stand for a long time when they sold $72.2 million in tickets to the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a May 2, 2015, bout that had been hyped for years. Mayweather won a unanimous decision in front of a star-studded list of attendees.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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