In the days leading up to UFC 153, many of you (and by you, we mean the entire MMA Interwebz) had some less than favorable things to say about the pairing of Stephan Bonnar and Anderson Silva. As if the bookies hadn’t told us all we needed to know, the general consensus among fans seemed to be the evening’s main event was a “travesty, a sham, and a mockery” that “blasphemed the great sport of MMA” and was a “completely meaningless squash match” whose “insulting pairing” would be reflected in “the abysmal pay-per-view numbers it receives.” And those were the favorable comments.
But for every fifteen of you complaining, there were apparently five or more of you who were forced to stifle your true excitement over this matchup like a pedo at a tee-ball game, because if the early numbers are any indication, squash matches featuring unstoppable killing machines are the new superfights. According to several reports, the pay-per-view numbers for UFC 153 are in the range of 340,00 to 410,000 buys. These numbers not only exceeded expectation, but are not that far below September’s squash match of the month featuring Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort, which managed to clear over 450,000 buys despite having those little guys that no one cares about fighting in the night’s co-main event.
While the numbers for UFC 153 might not be that outstanding at a glance, first consider that aside from Anderson Silva, UFC 153 was essentially deprived of the kind of star power that casual fans are willing to fork over 50 dollars for, thanks in no small part to our friend the injury curse. The co-main event featured Dave freaking Herman for Chrissakes. Jon Fitch was on the main card, you guys. Jon. Fitch. These are not factors that normally add up to UFC gold, yet thanks to the power of one genetically-enhanced cyborg from the future and the pure enthusiasm of Brazilian fans, UFC 153 managed to come out with better numbers than UFC 147 and 150 combined.
So although we may never get the Silva/Jones superfight we’ve always wanted, enough of us will keep tuning in for the mere opportunity to watch either one of them beat the shit out of a hapless opponent. Based on these numbers, we estimate that Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen will do upwards of 24 million buys, receive it’s own television spin-off, and return to theaters in stunning 3D in 2014. And the Ferris wheel keeps on a spinnin’.
No wonder Silva doesn’t want to fight Chris Weidman or Michael Bisping; their chances of not being completely embarrassed out there lie just outside the fan’s interest range. Andy knows that we want to see him keep his hands at his sides, evade then shuffle back to where his opponent just tried to hit him, and deliver one-shot knockouts at the drop of a hat or not see him at all. You know what your audience likes, Joe, now set up the Silva vs Kyle Maynard super-squash-match-extravaganza that we have all been begging for!