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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.

Unlike UFC 173, which looked weak on paper and everyone knew wasn’t going to draw much, it still had Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier in the No. 2 spot. They brought some star power in what was really the main event. It also had a lot to talk about after, due to T.J. Dillashaw’s upset win over Renan Barao.

This show didn’t have much interest going in. But most of the time, those type of shows deliver good action. This had none of that. It wasn’t terrible, but there was no fight you needed to see. As a likely sign of how the show went, Dana White didn’t even attend the post-fight press conference.”

In response to Meltzer’s story, our twitter friend @Niko138 added some inside information that suggests the UFC 174 buyrate was beyond dismal. Treat this as a rumor for now, but holy crap:

I’ve heard from a couple of people who would know, that early estimates of 174 buys have it just a bit under 100k. The sole reason I am posting about this (I normally try not to be one of those ratings/buys posters who everyone hates) is because if the show truly did this bad, it will be a good thing for us fans who complain about watered down cards. The UFC’s core audience was really being tested with this card, to see how much they could get away with buys wise, for a card with absolutely no drawing power to the casual viewer.

If this is the case, it sends a strong message to the UFC that the watered down cards are no longer going over with fans. For me, considering the cards are $60 and there is 14 a year…this is great news.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the number that comes out in the press is just above that, like 125…If you see the number come out around that area, then trust me, it did under 100k. This has to piss Dana off to no end considering the Bellator show did do a legit 100k

This is really interesting stuff to me, because like I said.. if true, the UFC is going to realize they can’t keep putting on shows like this as a numbered PPV, and expect its fans to continuously just blindly shell out the cash.

That’s a step in the right direction.. they know they are losing PPV buys, and hopefully they step their game up to fix it, by putting on more big fights per card. We can hope anyway.

So, a couple things. MMAPayout’s PPV Blue Book only dates back to UFC 57 in February 2006, and doesn’t show any UFC pay-per-view doing less than 140k buys. But according to Wikipedia (I know, I know), the last UFC PPV that did under 100k buys was UFC 53: Heavy Hitters, which took in just 90,000 buys in June 2005. In other words, you have to go back nine years to find a UFC PPV that performed as terribly as UFC 174 allegedly did.

My other thought is this: “Putting on more big fights per card” is not necessarily the answer. After years of seeing these UFC buyrates ebb and flow, my totally non-scientific conclusion is that 1) casual UFC fans only care about who’s fighting in the main event, and 2) nobody cares about little flyweights. Seriously. Non-Rousey bantamweight and featherweight title fights have always underperformed on pay-per-view, and it should come as no surprise that the first time the UFC tried to put a flyweight title fight in a pay-per-view main event, it would pull record-low numbers.

So, if the 100k buyrate is accurate — or even close to accurate — it’ll get the UFC’s attention. But don’t expect the promotion to start putting together more stacked PPVs in response; remember they have like 50 events/year to fill out, and they simply don’t have the manpower for it. Instead, the UFC’s major takeaway will probably be this: If we have to put a flyweight title fight on a pay-per-view card, there had better be a bigger fight on top of it.

Comments

  1. RavenFight.com Says:

    Thu, 06/19/14 - 10:49


    [...] Jose Aldo defending his featherweight belt against Ricardo Lamas, and a high-profile...  Read Full Article (External Source) [...]
  2. Bellator PPV 100,00 - UFC 174 PPV 90,000 - Cameldog Mixed Martial Arts Forums Says:

    Thu, 06/19/14 - 03:29


    [...] last UFC that sold less than 100,000 was UFC 3. UFC 174 Did Less Than 100,000 Pay-Per-View Buys [...]
  3. So There Were Some Pretty Brutal Knockouts at Glory 17: Los Angeles This Past Weekend [w/GIFS] - MMALinker Says:

    Mon, 06/23/14 - 09:19


    [...] occasion for the fight fan attempting to have an honest to God social life, with the UFC taking a much needed break ahead of this weekend’s Fight Night doubleheader. That is not to say there wasn’t [...]
  4. So There Were Some Pretty Brutal Knockouts at Glory 17: Los Angeles This Past Weekend [w/GIFS] | MMA Bookmarks Says:

    Tue, 06/24/14 - 04:25


    [...] occasion for the fight fan attempting to have an honest to God social life, with the UFC taking a much needed break ahead of this weekend’s Fight Night doubleheader. That is not to say there wasn’t [...]
  5. The 95 Theses of MMA - MMALinker Says:

    Sat, 06/28/14 - 07:11


    [...] It is vain, lazy, and ineffective to rely on salvation by three letters to sell a pay-per-view: U, F, and C. While the promotion [...]
  6. CagePotato Presents: The 10 Best UFC Brawls of the Year (So Far) | MMA Bookmarks Says:

    Tue, 07/01/14 - 06:00


    [...] been a rocky year for the UFC, to say the absolute least. Pay-per-view numbers are tanking, fan interest is waning due to market oversaturation, and even the promotion’s new video game [...]
  7. MMA and UFC live news | UFC 175: Urijah Faber asked for FOX Sports 1 'Prelims' spot, because PPV doesn't bring as much exposure - Says:

    Tue, 07/01/14 - 06:53


    [...] Meanwhile, UFC 174 — which was spearheaded by a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov — is rumored to have pulled in far, far less. [...]
  8. UFC 175 Fight Hype: Watch Some Rare Footage of Chris Weidman vs. Ryan Bader at the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships - MMALinker Says:

    Wed, 07/02/14 - 11:00


    [...] the heels of their worst performing pay-per-view in years (allegedly), it would be almost impossible to deny that the UFC is in dire need of a fresh, unique [...]
  9. UFC 175: Urijah Faber asked for FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ spot, because PPV doesn’t bring as much exposure | MMA Bookmarks Says:

    Wed, 07/02/14 - 11:01


    [...] Meanwhile, UFC 174 — which was spearheaded by a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov — is rumored to have pulled in far, far less. [...]
  10. UFC 175 Fight Hype: Watch Some Rare Footage of Chris Weidman vs. Ryan Bader at the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships Says:

    Fri, 07/04/14 - 07:30


    [...] the heels of their worst performing pay-per-view in years (allegedly), it would be almost impossible to deny that the UFC is in dire need of a fresh, unique [...]
  11. UFC 175: Will the Biggest PPV of 2014 (so Far) Bear Fruit or Die on the Vine? Says:

    Fri, 07/04/14 - 11:15


    [...] UFC 175 comes immediately on the heels of last month’s flyweight-led UFC 174, which was initially rumored to have moved fewer than 100,000 [...]
  12. UFC 175: Will the Biggest PPV of 2014 (so Far) Bear Fruit or Die on the Vine? | IamDistinct Says:

    Fri, 07/04/14 - 11:41


    [...] UFC 175 comes immediately on the heels of last month’s flyweight-led UFC 174, which was initially rumored to have moved fewer than 100,000 [...]
  13. UFC 175: Will the Biggest PPV of 2014 (so Far) Bear Fruit or Die on the Vine? | Distinct Athlete Says:

    Fri, 07/04/14 - 12:05


    [...] UFC 175 comes immediately on the heels of last month’s flyweight-led UFC 174, which was initially rumored to have moved fewer than 100,000 [...]
  14. UFC 175: Will the Biggest PPV of 2014 (so Far) Bear Fruit or Die on the Vine? | UFC Fight Betting - UFC Betting - Bet On Fighting Says:

    Fri, 07/04/14 - 12:19


    [...] UFC 175 comes immediately on the heels of last month’s flyweight-led UFC 174, which was initially rumored to have moved fewer than 100,000 [...]
  15. UFC 175: Will the Biggest PPV of 2014 (so Far) Bear Fruit or Die on the Vine? | UFC Says:

    Sun, 07/06/14 - 02:23


    [...] relief, UFC 175 comes immediately on a heels of final month’s flyweight-led UFC 174, that was initially rumored to have changed fewer than 100,000 [...]
  16. UFC 176 Canceled in the Wake of Jose Aldo’s Injury — Yes, CANCELED, Not … – Cagepotato | Everyday News Update Says:

    Tue, 07/08/14 - 11:01


    [...] So that fight’s official, huh? A rematch of a lopsided ass-kicking that barely cracked 200k buys the first time? Headlining another PPV just three months later, because all of the UFC’s other champions are [...]
  17. Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso op UFC 177 voor UFC vlieggewicht titel | MMAplanet Says:

    Tue, 07/15/14 - 05:21


    [...] de vierde keer dat hij deze titel verdedigde. Alleen niet iedereen was daar blij mee aangezien het één van de slechte pay-per-views ooit was voor de UFC en een gedeelte van het publiek voortijdig al vertrok. Een teken aan de wand van de populariteit [...]
  18. MMA and UFC live news | Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso Booked for UFC 177 Co-Main Event - Says:

    Tue, 07/15/14 - 07:53


    [...] And so, UFC 177?s buyrate has shot up from an estimated 95,000 buys to a solid 110,000 with the addition of Johnson/Cariaso. I kid the flyweights. Sort of. I mean, they’re awesome and everything, but good luck convincing paying customers of that. [...]
  19. hefalimp cardijon Says:

    Fri, 07/25/14 - 02:39


    The Silent Shard... This tends to almost certainly be quite helpful for some of your work opportunities I want to you should not only with my blog but...
  20. UFC 177 Bold Predictions: Can Renan Barao and T.J. Dillashaw Draw a Crowd? - Distinct Athlete Says:

    Thu, 08/28/14 - 03:08


    [...] Remember back in June, when it was briefly rumored that UFC 174 did fewer than 100,000 pay-per-view buys and the most devout among us heralded it as a [...]
  21. Demetrious Johnson Faces No-Win Situation in UFC 178 Main Event Says:

    Thu, 09/25/14 - 10:14


    [...] Ali Bagautinov as fans reportedly streamed out of Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. That PPV was briefly rumored to have garnered fewer than 100,000 buys, though more current estimates put it at around 115,000. [...]
  22. Demetrious Johnson Faces No-Win Situation in UFC 178 Main Event | Sports Wonks Says:

    Thu, 09/25/14 - 11:33


    [...] Ali Bagautinov as fans reportedly streamed out of Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. That PPV was briefly rumored to have garnered fewer than 100,000 buys, though more current estimates put it at around 115,000. [...]
  23. UFC 178 Results: Dispelling the “Lighter Weight Classes Can’t Draw” Myth - MMALinker Says:

    Sun, 09/28/14 - 12:29


    [...] given a cursory glance, it appears true. Demetrious Johnson is responsible for one of the worst UFC PPV buyrates of all time at UFC 174. People were so disinterested they literally walked out of the arena during [...]
  24. Cutting Through The Bullshit: UFC 178 Edition - MMALinker Says:

    Sun, 09/28/14 - 01:39


    [...] But that really isn’t his fault. He’s more so a victim of consequence here. The flyweight title fight wasn’t supposed to headline this card, however, a title fight should have enough power to generate interest on its own. You can say he’s still in a transitional phase, yet UFC 174 is still pretty fresh in our minds. [...]
  25. UFC 178 Results: Dispelling the “Lighter Weight Classes Can’t Draw” Myth | MMA and UFC News Says:

    Mon, 09/29/14 - 06:13


    [...] given a cursory glance, it appears true. Demetrious Johnson is responsible for one of the worst UFC PPV buyrates of all time at UFC 174. People were so disinterested they literally walked out of the arena during [...]
  26. picture fram Says:

    Sun, 10/19/14 - 11:36


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  27. yellow october Says:

    Tue, 10/28/14 - 10:48


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  28. cat 4 brother Says:

    Sat, 01/17/15 - 10:19


    The Absent Game... Involving me and my husband we have owned more MP3 gamers through the years than I can count, such as Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players....
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