Ronda Rousey’s Impact on UFC 170
February 22, 2014
UFC 170 was supposed to feature Ronda Rousey versus Sara McMann, Rashad Evans versus Daniel Cormier, and Gilbert Melendez versus Khabib Nurmagomedov. Three really great fights many fans were looking forward to since the announcement was made during the UFC 168 post-fight press conference. A lot has changed since then.
About a month after the announcement, we started to get some displeasure between the UFC and Melendez about signing a new contract. The UFC quickly mentioned that Melendez vs Nurmagomedov was never official despite being on the UFC 170 poster. Considering that Melendez eventually signed with Bellator and is now waiting to see if the UFC will match their offer, we now know what happened with that bout. Just a few weeks later, Rashad Evans abruptly announced that he was being pulled out of his fight against Cormier due to a leg injury with only two weeks left until the event. That announcement created a mad scramble for the UFC to find an opponent for Cormier, which led to booking unknown Pat Cummins in the co-main event against Cormier. That left us with only one fight in tact since the original announcement, Rousey vs McMann.
It’s rare to see someone with only two UFC fights being put in the position that Ronda Rousey is in for UFC 170, but considering the huge success of UFC 168, it left the UFC with no other options. Rousey was always going to be the mainstream attraction for UFC 170. But after Melendez and Evans pulled out of the card, there is no denying that the success of the event will be solely on Rousey’s shoulders, which is even more daunting considering the short turn-round and the lack of time to promote the event as UFC 168 and UFC 157 had. UFC 168 had 500K+ Google Hot Searches though it ended up with 2M+ due to Anderson Silva’s gruesome leg break. Rousey’s UFC debut for UFC 157 ended up with 200K+ searches, which is a better comparable than UFC 168. As the UFC 170 event begins, Ronda Rousey already has 100K+ searches without any other UFC search in near sight. UFC 169 only had 100K+ total searches for the event, which is a remarkable comparison.
With that being said, UFC 157 did an estimated 450,000 PPV buys with a ton of casual media attention as the UFC heavily promoted the debut of women in the promotion. UFC 170 won’t have that benefit, but it does have the momentum UFC 168 created with MMA and casual fans. If you look at the numbers and the lack of stars on the UFC 170 card, anything above 400,000 buys would have to see as a major win for the UFC and would make Rousey one of it’s biggest draws. 300,000 – 400,000 would be deemed acceptable and anything below 300,000 would be considered a disappointment.
With Rousey already having a couple of movies lined up in 2014, the UFC is trying to get the most out of their newest main-stream star by declaring a few days ago that they are planning to have her fight three times this year in addition to her movie responsibilities, which would be an incredible feat without burning out. With the recent talk of Cyborg dropping Tito Ortiz as her manager, potentially dropping to 135 lbs and possibly facing Rousey this year, it would likely be the UFC’s biggest fight in 2014 when you consider the loss of Georges St. Pierre (on leave/retired) and Anderson Silva (broken leg/39 years old), two of their biggest stars and PPV draws.