All Signs Pointing to Disappointing PPV Buys for UFC 166

The first thing that I’m going to say is; no shit. UFC has put a lot of time and effort into pushing Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos as the faces of the UFC Heavyweight division within the UFC, but the reality is that Cain is very softspoken, JDS doesn’t have very good English and that the Heavyweight division has always been one of the thinner divisions in the world. It’s hard to get people really pumped up about a UFC Heavyweight champion as there are so many expectations as to what a Heavyweight Champion should be.

Brock Lesnar was an anomaly, he really wasn’t supposed to happen. He was a professional wrestler with a legitimate wrestling background and still in his prime, which made it easy for him to transition into MMA. Even then, his skills weren’t quite up to par and he accomplished a lot with his wrestling and brute strength, while showing clear weaknesses. What’s funny is; Brock Lesnar, for a pro wrestler, can’t really talk that well. If a guy who can’t cut a good promo could pop UFC’s buys like that, while legitimate Heavyweights like Cain and JDS can’t capture anyone’s imagination, what does this mean for UFC and MMA?

I’m not really sure.

This is from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via Brent Brookhouse.

It’s far too early to get an accurate PPV number, but the early trends are, at least to me, hugely disappointing. When Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson did far lower than any Jones show to date, it had the built in excuse of being one week after Mayweather vs. Alvarez. While the boxing/MMA crossover isn’t that large, that event, when you’re talking 2.2 million buys at $75 a head and the fight that everyone was talking about, that is the exception. Dana White has said that the number (which he wouldn’t reveal) was better than he expected, but he’s also a bigger boxing fan than most.

Various sources have pegged it as lower than the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley boxing match seven nights earlier. No national number has been released for that fight either. Like with Jones, this based on earliest samples, looks to be the lowest Velasquez main event. That’s saying something since his last fight was with Bigfoot Silva, who he had massacred a year earlier, and was on a show with a strong undercard.

There is the argument that the boxing PPV drew a predominately Mexican-American audience, the same audience that Velasquez largely draws from. The idea that after getting together and spending money one week that getting people who as a general rule are not rich, to spend the next week would be difficult. But at the same time, if you have a main event people want to see, they are going to buy it. In addition, HBO replayed the Marquez vs. Bradley fight and had a very strong live main event in Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Mike Alvarado. That fight was expected to be a war and from most accounts, delivered. It was also a show geared strongly at the Mexican-American fan base, which went head-to-head.