UFC 143 initial PPV buy rates and other ratings

February 8, 2012

Dave Metzler of the Wrestling Observer reported the initial PPV buy rate for UFC 143 were approximately 400,000 buys. The numbers seem to be a pleasant surprise for the overall viewership for UFC 143 which includes improved prelim ratings on FX.

MMA Junkie reported that the UFC 143 prelims on FX earned 1.4 million viewers. While the prelim numbers still do not compare with Spike TV’s version of the prelims, its a significant improvement from 142 and the FX version is a 2 hour show.

Also, the UFC 143 weigh-ins on Fuel TV scored 38,000 viewers for the fighters just getting on the scale.

As for the success of UFC 143, Metzler indicated that the UFC Primetimes aided in the buy rate. Also, the Nick Diaz factor helped the buy rate as well since none of the other matches were heavily promoted.

Payout Perspective:

The 400K buy rate blows away my expectation of 250K buys. The buy rate is surprising and while the Diaz factor definitely helped, I also have to think the new marketing and promotion (including the new shows on Fuel) from the Fox deal was a factor. If indeed, Diaz carried this PPV, it will be interesting to see what happens with him next. Certainly, the UFC hoped that Diaz would have won which would set a great matchup with GSP. A rumored rematch with Condit was on and off most of Wednesday.

Frankly, it makes no sense for Condit to grant a rematch until he faces GSP to unify the titles. For Condit, he was originally forced to step aside for Diaz at 143 and then reinserted when GSP went down. Unless, the UFC forces the rematch, it makes no sense for Condit to do it.

From the UFC’s perspective, Diaz is a talented, but temperamental star on the rise. Arguably, the buy rate can be attributed in large portion to his persona. So, if you are the UFC, what do you do?

22 Responses to “UFC 143 initial PPV buy rates and other ratings”

  1. Jason Harris on February 8th, 2012 11:57 PM

    Is Diaz really that strong of a draw, though? His strongest ever showing in Strikeforce was a show rated at 800k peak viewers, and 800k on a cable channel is a far cry from 800k PPV buys.

  2. Weezy on February 9th, 2012 2:59 AM

    Agreed on the buyrate. If I’m not mistaken there were only five prelim events on SPIKE last year that had higher ratings than this one on FX.

  3. Diego on February 9th, 2012 6:16 AM

    I suspect once Dana got wind of the buy rate he decided to set up a rematch. Rematches of contentious fights do as well if not better than the original and 400k buys is nothing to scoff at in these times of reduced expectations (as we discussed in a previous thread).

    The Primetime shows were exceptionally good this time around and that can only help buy rates. I do think Nick gave the card a boost. His drawing power grew from fight to fight when he was in SF, and his last fight against BJ Penn was exciting enough that many people probably downloaded it if they missed the PPV.


    800k viewers on Showtime is a huge rating. It doesn’t translate into 800k PPVs (as we have seen from Nick’s last two fights), but is a very impressive # nonetheless. Nick is one of those guys who moves the needle. He’s no Brock, GSP or Anderson Silva, but his in-your-face fighting style is definitely a crowd pleaser. He’s a known commodity and (opponent willing) can always be counted on to deliver a blood and guts fight.

  4. Diego on February 9th, 2012 6:24 AM

    Does anyone know what the hell is going on with the rematch? Watching Duke-N. Carolina basketball last night on ESPN the ticker ran something like: “Carlos Condit agrees to rematch with Nick Diaz. Nick Diaz trainer says there will be no rematch”. I’m guessing Nick is MIA. He was the one person in his camp that didn’t call for a rematch. If he was angry with his performance in the BJ Penn fight, he must not be very interested in facing off against Condit again.

    I had the fight 48-47 for Nick, but have no problem with Condit getting the decision though the two judges who gave only one round to Nick are setting a new standard for incompetence. It absolutely blows my mind that the one round those judges chose to give Nick was the 3rd. The only way those scorecards could have been worse is if they gave Nick the 4th instead. Both the 3rd and 4th were solidly for Condit. And if you asked 100 people to give you Nick’s best round in the fight I think only 2 (the ringside judges) would pick the 3rd or 4th. Idiocy.

  5. Jason on February 9th, 2012 7:21 AM

    @JH: That’s my initial thoughts about Diaz. Is he that strong of a draw? It looks like the UFC stumbled upon a draw. I’m not really sure how many people followed him in Strikeforce. Obviously, the fact Dana didn’t fire him after his media no-shows meant they knew he was a comodity.

    @Diego: I saw the same thing on ESPN last night. Condit agrees, Cesar says no match. ?!?!?

  6. Ironbuddha on February 9th, 2012 7:30 AM

    In the judge’s defense: I’ve been to live fights, I’ve sat on the floor within 20 feet of the cage. Watching a fight without the benefit of the best “TV angle”, without instant replay, and with the need to constantly adjust your position as the fight moves around the cage (and this fight had a lot of movement), scoring is not as easy as you’d have internet posters believe.

  7. Machiel Van on February 9th, 2012 7:46 AM

    That’s why the judges NEED monitors at every event.

  8. Mossman on February 9th, 2012 7:46 AM

    I don’t buy it… inflated by at least 15%… maybe more.

  9. Machiel Van on February 9th, 2012 7:49 AM

    Condit should face Ellenberger if he wins, and wait for GSP if he loses. If Diego wins, match him up with Diaz for a rematch of their 2005 bout.

  10. Diego on February 9th, 2012 8:35 AM


    Agreed. Though I was at this fight and still would not have given Nick the 3rd or 4rth and haven’t found anyone cageside who would.


    On what grounds do you think the #s are inflated? Why would Metzler do that?

  11. William on February 9th, 2012 10:05 AM

    “On what grounds do you think the #s are inflated? Why would Metzler do that?”

    Past history shows he’s done it before. Why does everyone forget Meltzer and Alvarez saying Silva vs. Sonnen easily did a million buys (the real buy rate was 600,000)?

  12. Diego on February 9th, 2012 10:50 AM

    Junkie just reported someone tested positive for drugs (not PEDs). Not to be a muckracker, but I’d make it -250 that it’s Diaz. Any takers?

    Damn shame if it is. Just let the guy smoke his weed already. He has a doctor’s prescription…just like Sonnen. And Nick’s isn’t performance enhancing. Especially if he’s dieting to make weight.

  13. Jason on February 9th, 2012 11:01 AM

    @Diego – The speculation is that its Diaz but we’ll just wait to find out. What’s more interesting is to see how the UFC will “punish” Diaz. Not sure if a suspension hurts him more than an actual monetary fine.

  14. Weezy on February 9th, 2012 2:54 PM

    The thing that will hurt Nick is that this is his second time getting caught in Nevada. The recent precedent recently has been set in that boxer Matt Vanda was suspended for a year by Nevada following his second positive test for marijuana. Also, Vanda was fined 40% of his disclosed prize money. Nick will still make serious bank on the buyrate but he can probably say goodbye to $80,000. We’ll find out soon.

  15. Diego on February 9th, 2012 4:05 PM

    All this for marijuana. That punishment is too harsh. But then I’m I have Libertarian tendencies when it comes to personal issues – I would legalize it and free all inmates held on marijuana charges.

    I’m OK with banning PEDs based on the fact that they are dangerous not just to the user, but in a fight sport setting to the user’s opponent. But I don’t know why they even test for marijuana. It’s not a PED. Is it that smoking pot is bad for you? The commission shouldn’t give a shit. They might as well test for eating too much red meat or saturated fats. Those are bad for you too.

  16. BrainSmasher on February 9th, 2012 4:25 PM

    “Damn shame if it is. Just let the guy smoke his weed already. He has a doctor’s prescription…just like Sonnen. And Nick’s isn’t performance enhancing. Especially if he’s dieting to make weight.”

    Come on now. Lets not try to compare the two. Now i am a big Sonnen fan and i do think he is using PE’s. But Sonnen has a prescription as does Diaz. The difference is Sonnen has to come into the fight with normal levels or the fight will be post poned. Coming in over is why Nate Marquardt fight was canciled even though he had a prescription. Diaz tested positive for something he wasnt allowed to have in his system at the time of the test. Diaz could smoke up until the point if shows in his tests. Due to the crappy monitoring system in place by the commissions(there isnt one) Sonnen can use his testosterone as a PE. But like Diaz he cant come into the fight with levels above the legal limit set by the commission.

  17. BrainSmasher on February 9th, 2012 4:29 PM

    As for Weed being banned. I think they look at it like a pain killer. It is used to dull pain medically. So allowing weed would be like allowed a fighter to come in hopped up on Pain Killers. I dont believe they are allowed to fight under those drugs. There would be a PE effect to dulling pain. Not on the level of other PE drugs but a PE none the less.

  18. JamesG on February 9th, 2012 4:57 PM

    I don’t know how FX prelims “still do not compare with Spike TV’s” when 1.4 million is better than half the Spike prelims.

  19. Jason Harris on February 9th, 2012 4:59 PM

    Karo Parisyan has been in trouble with the AC for pain killers, as was Bas Rutten and several other guys. Pretty sure that’s what Leben just got busted for, too.

    People can go on about weed being legal, but it’s legal as a prescription pain killer, and you can’t show up to the fight with oxycontin in your system either.

  20. BrainSmasher on February 9th, 2012 10:04 PM

    Good point Harris. Also only a couple of states even recognize the prescriptions. I dont think Nevada commission has to honor a supposed illness just because radical california allows it. Im not real sure on it but i think you can tell their stance by the way NSAC made the failed test public. Not sure what the Nevada laws are but When Nate failed because of his “medical condition” they were not allowed to disclose the info because it being a medical condition. Clearly Nates “illness” didnt fall into this area.

  21. Diego on February 10th, 2012 4:57 AM


    Marijuana stays in your system for 30 days. That’s far longer than the pain-killing effects last. If the commission is banning marijuana for its pain suppressive effects they need a better test that indicates when it was taken.

  22. Diego on February 10th, 2012 4:58 AM


    Do you not know the meaning of sarcasm? I figured my jibe about weed making it difficult to make weight would have gotten through. Obviously the two are not the same. Well spotted.

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