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UFC 159′s Pay-Per-View Numbers Prove That UFC 159 Was Pretty Much a Waste Of Everyone’s Time

(Jon…erg…just hear me out…*duff*…if we make it to round 2 *duff**duff*…I promise you no less than 20 thousand more buys. Jon?) 

At first glance, the pay-per-view numbers that just came in for UFC 159 don’t seem all that terrible. Truth be told, it would be near impossible to declare the event’s 550,000 estimated buys anything less than a success. However, when you realize that the sole reason the fight was booked in the first place was to cash in on the Chael Sonnen circus act, that 500k kind of pales in comparison to the 925,000 UFC 148 pulled in. In fact, it’s pretty much in line with the average Jon Jones-headlined pay-per-view, save his 700k-earning fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 145. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer reports:

Preliminary estimates for UFC 159, headlined by Jon Jones’ successful light heavyweight title defense against Chael Sonnen, indicate pay-per-view buys coming in between 520,000 and 550,000.

There was hope for bigger numbers in the days after the fight, due to the strong ratings of UFC 159 shoulder programming. The weigh-ins were the second-highest rated since Fuel began airing. The event also drew the highest ratings for post-fight coverage of a pay-per-view on Fuel. Prelim match ratings on FX were 32 percent above average.

The number would be the company’s second largest of 2013, trailing UFC 158, with Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, but ahead of the now No. 3 event of the year, UFC 157, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche.

So yeah, the event was a success by most standards, yet it only managed to pull in 70,000 more buys that Jones’ UFC 140 title defense against Lyoto Machida, who Jones once begrudgingly referred to as “my lowest pay-per-view draw of the year.” For some reason, this image seems to sum things up nicely.

To be fair, the coaching combination of Jones and Sonnen did manage to raise the ratings for the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter out of the abysmal cesspool in which they once resided. But if you honestly believe the ratings boost was a result of the “rivalry” between coaches — which was all but completely glossed over due to a lack of any on set disputes between the two — and not as a result of the increased production value and flat out brilliant fights that were on display last season, then you are f*cking delusional.

Fortunately, the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature a champion squaring off with someone who has actually earned at shot at them. Unfortunately, that challenger’s chances of victory are pretty much the same.

-J. Jones

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jemima- August 4, 2013 at 4:47 am
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Get Off Me- May 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm
I think there was a lot more than trash talk that sold Evans/Jones, but if you say it was trash talk then I can't argue with that clearly....even Evans/Rampage was sold on trash talk way any of these fights are sold on the perception that they will be entertaining and competitive inside the cage.
Pen Fifteen- May 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Trash talk doesn't sell my ass. The entire Jones-Evans fight was sold on the basis of trash talk. Please, get over this purist bullshit. People pay to watch human beings, human beings with personalities and bodies and brains and faces. Arguing that trash talk doesn't sell would be like arguing that GSP's looks don't sell fights for him (same for Ronda). I for one find Chael entertaining as hell. Just because you don't doesn't make it true as a generalization.
Get Off Me- May 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm
Generally draws are placed on PPV cards, ok UFC 101 was co mained by Silva vs Griffin(for which many buys were generated as this fight was perceived to be a test for Anderson outside the division where he had some lack luster outings only reason was not main event was no title on the line). Silva/Sonnen 2 was co mained by Ortiz/Griffin(two pretty solid drawing fighters) and while Silva/Sonnen 1 drew a decent number, it again was not higher than Belfort or Leites fights(which I will give to Liddell). Again go look at TV ratings for Bisping/Sonnen and buyrate for card Sonnen fought Stann UFC 136. My message is trash talk does not sell, Chael's mouth is not a draw, as a fighter who pushed one of the GOAT's he was able to garner some interest, but since Silva KO'd him the whole perception his mouth=ratings is a little far fetched is what I am trying to underline.
DARKHORSE06- May 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Sonnen totally had a chance of tripping into a no-contest or something.
Pen Fifteen- May 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm
First, your facts are absolutely wrong. Anderson Silva has headlined 11 PPV cards. Which opponent have given him his four biggest numbers? Sonnen, Belfort, Leites, and Sonnen. Even after Silva became the most hated man in MMA for his shit performance against Maia, Sonnen managed to bring in an extra 100k buys for the next fight. Regarding the Jones match, Sonnen brought in Jones' second highest numbers ever, higher than Machida, Shogun, Rampage, or Belfor, all of whom have the drawing cred of being champ or ex champ. So what exactly are these facts you speak of?

You're clearly working with a different definition of "draw" than everyone else. Sonnen doesn't have to be a bigger draw than Rashad Evans to be "a draw." Without a doubt he's ones of the company's top 5 draws, along with Jones, Silva, GSP, and Evans (whose days as a draw are surely numbered given his last fight).
Get Off Me- May 9, 2013 at 11:25 am
Sorry facts are facts, Jones has drawn higher numbers defending his title and so has if Silva did his highest numbers against Sonnen or Jones did his highest numbers against Sonnen then we have a different story. I enjoyed the sizzle(Jones beating Sonnen) and the steak(getting paid out 2 to 1 that Jones would beat Sonnen inside of the first round) life is good my friend.
dipsetkilla316- May 9, 2013 at 7:49 am
That's not to say that the headliner wasn't an obvious bs match.
dipsetkilla316- May 9, 2013 at 7:47 am
Well I can make any card like that sound bad, and good. It just depends on how you present it, and what examples you use to defend that statement. I think It was a success, ufc prob thought they were gonna make a good amount more, but I think there satisfied. I mean best season of TUF, a bs match that scored 550k not bad at all, prelim number good, even weight-ins had good ratings, so I think ufc will chalk this up as a win in there book, as a promoter I would too.
Tristan- May 9, 2013 at 7:03 am
Look, Sonnen's fight hyping skills are great, but nobody can hype a fight without an opponent, and Jon Jones just was not around leading up to this fight. He wasn't even in the commercials! (whose decision was that?) Even when they forced him to do that segment on FX he just stared silently at the ground and then bolted as soon as possible. If you're a casual/new fan, did that make you want to pay $55 to watch him fight?
Pen Fifteen- May 9, 2013 at 6:59 am
@Get Off Me
Sorry, but you're totally full of shit. Sonnen has been in 3 main events, and those cards have averaged 683k buys a piece. Name one guy in the history of the sport who has brought in those kind of numbers without holding the strap. Vitor Belfort is an ex-champ, and his fight with Jones did a straight 100k fewer buys.

If people like you could pull the stick out of your ass and stop bitching and moaning about "WWE antics" and just enjoy both the sizzle and the steak, you'd find that life is a lot more enjoyable.
Imnotamoose- May 9, 2013 at 6:35 am
I don't know if I would call the second highest viewed PPV of the year a "waste of everyones time". I'm sure it didn't get the numbers the UFC brass wanted but it's still far from a "waste". Wonder if it has anything to do with Jones being a massive douche bag?

Serious question here, can anybody tell me of a UFC champ, either past or present, who gets more boos from the crowd than Jones?
Gener- May 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm
A decent undercard would have helped...

Bisping vs. Belcher Co-Main Event? Any fight with Cheick Kongo?

Meh... no thanks.
Get Off Me- May 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm
The fallacy that is "chael sonnen is a ppv draw" officially exposed. I never believed this guy's act ever brought more viewers to the table, his performance in silva/sonnen 1 was the reason people bought the second fight not his mouth. Besides that ratings on tv cards barely move a bump up when he is fighting...not surprised that in spite of the effort with TUF to push this fight, the fans did not respond because they were not intrigued by a squash match.