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Tag: PPV

UFC Fight Pass Adds Pancrase and Seven Other Promotions, Still Kind of Sucks As a Digital Service

(“What was your question? Are we looking to buy the entire Internet? I mean, yeah, we’ll see what happens.”/ Photo via Getty)

UFC’s digital subscription service, Fight Pass, has its fair share of pros and cons. The cost isn’t all that damaging to the wallet, but it’s not exactly the game-changer that promotion officials thought it would be.

The network allows you to watch free UFC cards, including FOX Sports 1 events, preliminary fights, and exclusive Fight Pass broadcasts that usually take place outside of North America. It also carries an extensive UFC library, containing an abundance of full main cards from UFC, as well as Pride, WEC, EliteXC, and those two Affliction MMA cards that were surprisingly fun, among others.

After reports surfaced that hackers stole login info and credit card numbers from tens of thousands of subscribers late last month (which confirms that early security concerns were never fully addressed), fight fans were met with a better announcement, as Zuffa announced hours before UFC 182 it has acquired eight fight libraries from well-known international and regional promotions, including legendary Japanese outfit Pancrase, as well as King of The Cage, HookNShoot, TKO, Cage Rage, Extreme Challenge, UCMMA, and XFO.

UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik announced the news in a press conference on Saturday, revealing that over 13,000 individual bouts are slated to be added to Fight Pass this upcoming spring. The content comes from the brain of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who apparently made his own list of what promotions he wanted to see on the digital service (according to MMA Fighting).


UFC Raises “Jones vs. Cormier” PPV Price by $5; Higher Price Also in Effect for UFC 183 and UFC 184

(Dana White acts like it’s so easy to “get a couple more friends.” But what if you’re a reclusive MMA blogger who eats peanut butter with a spork?)

Just like the promotion did with UFC 168 in December 2013, the UFC is using the surge of attention around UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier to raise the price of the pay-per-view broadcast by $5. MMAPayout alerts us that UFC.TV and multiple PPV providers are charging consumers $59.99 HD/$49.99 SD for tonight’s event. Notably, those higher prices will also be in effect for the other two PPV cards the UFC already has scheduled in 2015, UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz on January 31st and UFC 184: Weidman vs. Belfort on February 28th. As MMAPayout explains:

Last year’s down PPV business forced Standard & Poors to lower Zuffa’s outlook and threatened to lower their credit rating if things didn’t turn around by the end of Q1 2015. Now having said that, it makes sense as to why Q1 2015 has been scheduled with some of UFC’s biggest stars and match-ups. As for the price hike, looking back at UFC 168, it did an estimated 1.025M PPV buys with the hiked PPV price, so it doesn’t appear to have been much of a deterrent. It’s pretty much a safe bet to say that the UFC’s takeaway from the UF 168 experiment was that their customers have no problem paying extra for a major event. In 2015, it looks like they are taking that experiment a bit further by scheduling the first three events of the year with the price hike.


Cutting Through The Bullsh*t: UFC 179 Edition

By Alex Giardini

UFC 179: “Aldo vs. Mendes 2” proved to be exactly what we expected it to be, and that was a one-fight boxing card with a scintillating main event for the ages. The “greatest featherweight fight in history” was nothing short of amazing, with Jose Aldo defeating Chad Mendes for the second time after knocking out “Money” at UFC 142 almost three years ago. The battle was full of wild punches, eye pokes, a lot of heavy breathing, and at times, flying shit that didn’t land.

With a certain “joker” sitting cageside, let’s examine UFC 179, and why it was great and equally pathetic…


Wild Rumor of the Day: UFC 174 Did Less Than 100,000 Pay-Per-View Buys

(*crickets* / Photo via Getty)

Yesterday, MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer reported that UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw pulled an estimated 200,000-215,000 pay-per-view buys. While that number is certainly on the low end of UFC buyrates, it’s not a disaster by any means. Keep in mind that UFC 169 — a card that featured a Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber rematch, Jose Aldo defending his featherweight belt against Ricardo Lamas, and a high-profile heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir — only earned an estimated 230,000 buys back in February. On paper, UFC 173 was arguably a weaker offering, but the buyrate wasn’t that far off. Basically, it could have been a lot worse.

The bad news is, last weekend’s UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov event might have done a historically awful, Bellator-caliber buyrate. First, here’s Meltzer discussing the early estimates in his newsletter yesterday:

“It’s too early to get accurate numbers, but every indication we’ve gotten was very bad, and that it showed a steep decline from UFC 173, which was among the lower numbers of the last eight years. UFC PPV shows usually range from 200,000 to 500,000 Google searches after the event, and are usually in the top few searched for items in the country. A bad show may only do 100,000. Bellator’s show last month hit 100,000. A big show can top 500,000, with the shows that hover around 1 million buys usually doing anywhere from 1 million to 5 million searches. This show did less than 20,000, unheard of for a PPV…


‘Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo’ PPV Did an Estimated 65,000 Buys

(Image via Spike)

According to a new figure being floated by Dave Meltzer, Bellator’s “Rampage vs. King Mo” event on May 17th did an estimated 65,000 pay-per-view buys.

In a way, that’s a success — despite losing its main event a week out from the show, Bellator 120 cleared the somewhat arbitrary 50k buys figure that was being touted as its break-even mark. It’s not a great number, but it certainly could have been worse. (See: Bodog, Fedor vs. Lindland, 13,000 buys.)

On the other hand, 65,000 buys is still less than half of what the UFC produces on its worst day. The question is, will MMA fans who stayed away from Bellator 120 be swayed into buying future Bellator PPV cards now that we know how bizarrely entertaining they can get? If you’re not psyched about the promotion’s upcoming Super Hulk Tournament, you’re just not a real fan.


The UFC’s Future More Uncertain Than Ever in the Wake of GSP’s Departure

(Photo via Getty)

The UFC can undergo a new renaissance or it can further fade into Toughman on FX-level obscurity—and it’s actions in the aftermath of GSP’s hiatus (and possible retirement) from MMA will determine which path the company takes.

GSP’s departure has come at a devastating time. The UFC is in a rut. TUF has long since stopped being the advertising vehicle/farm system it was years ago. Ratings are down. The worst part of all is that PPV—the UFC’s chief source of revenue—is lagging too. The culprit is a lack of stars, or rather the UFC’s apparent inability to replace the fading ones.

The UFC lost Chuck Liddell. The UFC lost Brock Lesnar. Rashad Evans, a good draw in his own right, is aging, as is the recently-toppled Anderson Silva. Ronda Rousey lost her luster and already put an expiration date on her career.

Now they’re short a Canadian superhero, a man who’s drawn an average of 800,000 buys over the last three years. And there are no young studs to pick up the slack. Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez are not fit to carry the company on their shoulders judging by the buyrates on their recent PPVs. The UFC’s young, great ethnic hopes—Tiequan Zhang, Erik Perez, and Erick Silva—haven’t developed as planned. Most importantly, the strategy of grooming Rory MacDonald to be GSP’s replacement has failed (or has at least been delayed).

The UFC’s future is still on the backs of aging warhorses whose knees are beginning to buckle.

Yet there is still hope.


The ‘FOX Boost’ Is a Myth: There’s No Formula to Create New UFC Stars

(Benson Henderson peers warily at the buyrate for UFC 164. / Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

By Matt Saccaro

Congratulations are in order for FOX and the UFC. They took a terrible draw in Benson Henderson and made him into merely a bad draw.

Henderson was partially responsible for one of the worst pay-per-view buyrates in recent UFC history — an estimated 190,000 buys for UFC 150 against fellow failure-to-move-the-needle Frankie Edgar. Henderson was so bad that the UFC kept him off PPV for an entire year after UFC 150, instead preferring to use their shows on FOX to build him up. After these shows, the UFC decided to put Henderson back in a PPV main event at UFC 164, presumably in order to see if FOX turned the ho-hum fighter into a star.

I noted the importance of UFC 164’s PPV performance in a previous article:

If UFC 164 can boast a decent buyrate, then the theory that the UFC can use FOX to create the next generation of stars will be proven true, and the UFC’s future will be a little more secure. But if UFC 164 fails as hard as UFC 150 did — if promoting a fighter TWO TIMES on one of the biggest networks on television failed to make that fighter a draw — then the UFC is in trouble. That would mean one champion who would be dead weight on a card, in addition to the champions from the lighter men’s weight classes who have all yet to establish themselves as major PPV draws.

UFC 164 didn’t perform as poorly as UFC 150. It drew an estimated 270,000 buys.

“That’s great! It’s about a 42% increase over last time,” you say? Yeah, that’s true, but let’s look at it another way.


Sign of the End-Times: UFC 150 Pulls an Estimated 190k Pay-Per-View Buys

(“Sorry Frankie, but based on the terms of your pay-per-view bonus scale — as clearly stated in your contract — you actually owe us $10,000.“)

It wasn’t just UFC 150‘s live-gate that fell way below expectations. According to a new report from Dave “Doom ‘N’ Gloom” Meltzer, last weekend’s Edgar vs. Henderson 2 card pulled in an estimated 190,000 pay-per-view buys. Judging by the Blue Book, that would make UFC 150 the second worst-performing UFC PPV since February 2006. And what’s the #1 worst-performing card of the last six years? The UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 show from just two months earlier, which took in only 175k buys. (UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao didn’t fare much better last month with a modest 235k buys.) Sorry Fric and Frack, Christmas has been canceled this year.

A couple caveats:
Keep in mind that there was a technical issue on Saturday night where DirecTV subscribers were unable to order the UFC 150 broadcast by phone or computer, although they could still order it via their remotes, according to reports. Plus, Bendo vs. Frankie ran up against the penultimate night of the 2012 Olympics, which may have stolen a few more viewers.

That being said…


Brockwatch 2011: With Lesnar Gone, UFC Scrambles to Make Chicken Salad Out of Summer PPV Schedule

(Pic: MMA Soldier)

It was rampant speculation time across the interwebs on Friday, after yesterday’s announcement that Brock Lesnar’s diverticulitis has returned with a vengeance. “Is Brock done?” we all wondered aloud. Is Carwin vs. dos Santos actually a better fight? Can the UFC rebound from a couple of weeks that saw the main events of UFC 130, 131 and 133 all go up in smoke? And, dear God, are Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz next to suffer some bizarre malady, causing a reshuffling of the only PPV still left in one piece? Nobody knows.

What we do know is this: Brock Lesnar turns 34 in July and twice now since 2009 he’s seen his career indefinitely sidetracked by being the world’s only millionaire athlete to get a near fatal disease from not eating enough vegetables. Age has never been particularly kind to jumbo-sized athletes and even for a professional wrestler, Lesnar’s job history has been pretty flighty over the years. So, while we can’t say with any kind of certainty that his MMA career might be over over, Lesnar’s second bout with a strange digestive infection nobody had ever heard of before two years ago can’t exactly be considered a good thing. Apparently, the first time he went through this the UFC forgot to tell us that diverticulitis is something that sticks around for the rest of your life. Whoops. But we digress. What it all means for Lesnar, dos Santos, Carwin and – most importantly – you, after the jump.


WEC to Pay-Per-View in June with Faber vs. Brown II

(The first taste is free, but the second dose is going to cost you.)

Taking full advantage of his position at, Ariel Helwani just posted an interview with WEC Vice President Peter Dropick where they discuss the future of the organization and rumors of a move to pay-per-view.  Dropick was all too eager to confirm those rumors, telling Helwani that the first WEC pay-per-view will be headlined by the much-anticipated rematch between Urijah Faber and WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown, and it could happen as soon as this June.

If you’re worried about how you’re going to afford all the MMA this summer, you’ll be glad to hear that Dropick also promised the price of a WEC pay-per-view would be less than a UFC event, though he didn’t specify by how much.  As for what else might appear on that card, he wouldn’t rule out an appearance by Miguel Torres, saying he wants the pay-per-view to be “stacked.”

Obviously, the WEC is considering Sacramento, where they’ve done extremely well in the past, as a potential venue for this event, but Dropick said there were “three or four different cities” they were considering as well.  He also commented on the status of the lighter weight classes in the WEC, and the potential for Gina Carano to head up a women’s division at some point in the near future.  The whole interview is worth a read, so give it a look.