Of all the controversy that was brought to light in the weeks following the announcement of UFC 157 (WOMEN HEADLINERS?!, Dan Henderson playing second fiddle to WOMEN HEADLINERS?!, etc.), one issue that seemed to cling around more than most was that of pay-per-view buys. Specifically, how the UFC honestly expected a card featuring WOMEN HEADLINERS to draw diddly squat for viewers in the male-dominated sport of MMA. Because if we wanted to see two broads fight over a leather and gold belt, we’d go to Macy’s on Black Friday, amiright?
Well, we hate to spoil the misogynist fantasy, but it looks like WMMA (or at least Ronda Rousey) could turn out to be a huge draw for the UFC. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer spoke earlier today about the preliminary PPV estimates for UFC 157 and suffice it to say, they are a lot better than many of us would have predicted:
Over 400,000….they’re absolutely thrilled. The show, it was…they had predicted 250. Budgeted 250, I shouldn’t say predicted. But I mean, the predictions internally were 250-300. So they blew away their predictions, big time…They’re expecting big replay buys. Big replay buys means 25,000-30,000 more than they have right now. It could do mid fours, maybe more, but that’s a nice number to say.
She’s making a lot of money fighting, I don’t know what those numbers are going to be when they come out when they’re released. But she’s making a ton of money. They signed her to a hell of a contract because they really did believe…not necessarily that she’d be this giant PPV draw, but in other ways she’d be incredibly valuable to the company. And so far she has turned out to be more valuable than they expected.
As noted by Adam Swift, depending on how strong the replay buys come back, UFC 157′s numbers should place the event 48th out of the 92 pay-per-views since 2006. When comparing the preliminary numbers to some of the UFC’s more recent PPV’s, it pales in comparison to the likes of UFC 155 (590,000) and UFC 154 (700,000), but falls right in the range of UFC 153 (410,000) and UFC 152 (450,000). So basically, squash match main events are always a solid bet in the land of the UFC. And they say the spirit of PRIDE is dead…
So now that Rousey is officially the best thing going for WMMA, should we expect to see her pop up in Fast 7 Furious 7: Electric Boogaloo next year?