Reddit user thisisdanitis passes along the latest UFC pay-per-view buyrate estimates from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter, which provide more proof that the UFC’s PPV business just ain’t what it used to be. Here we go…
UFC 178 (Johnson-Cariaso, Cerrone-Alvarez, McGregor-Poirier): 205,000 buys
UFC 179 (Aldo vs. Mendes): 160,000-200,000 buys
UFC 180 (Werdum vs. Hunt): 185,000-200,000 buys
UFC 181 (Hendricks vs. Lawler, Pettis vs. Melendez): 380,000 [Update: Meltzer is now calling the UFC 181 estimate “between 375,000 and 400,000 buys.”]
The UFC 178 estimate is the most surprising to me, because the event was so highly anticipated among hardcore MMA fans as a “stacked” card with Event of the Year potential, and it still barely broke 200k. Of course, casual fans only look at the main event, and Demetrious Johnson is basically the worst PPV draw on the roster.
It’s almost as surprising that UFC 180 performed as well as it did, considering that the card had no stars outside of the main event. And 380,000 buys for UFC 181 is very good, relatively speaking. That’s like the equivalent of 650,000 buys in 2009.
The UFC’s next three PPVs should pull the promotion’s buyrates out of the garbage, at least. UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier and UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz have massive main events (but thin supporting cards), and UFC 184 features the double title-fight punch of Weidman vs. Belfort and Rousey vs. Zingano. So where will the buyrates for those cards end up? And if more than one of them falls below 500k, will the UFC just give up and focus its business on novelty barbecue equipment?