UFC 169 and UFC 170 PPV Updates

March 19, 2014

Dave Meltzer, from MMAFighting.com, reported the latest estimated PPV numbers from the first two events in 2014, UFC 169: Barao vs Faber II and the much talked about UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann.


According to Meltzer, UFC 169 drew an estimated 230K pay-per-view buys while UFC 170, which was mostly sold on Rousey’s name, did an estimated 340,000 buys. Meltzer then went ahead and discussed the new UFC draw PPV categories:

It appears, at least for now, that there are a few categories of UFC on pay-per-view.

There is the somewhat rare sub-200,000 buy show, which are fights that, for whatever reason, a lot of the regular buyers are willing to skip. The 200,000 to 275,000 range are usually title fights with champions who have yet to establish themselves as major draws, fights significant to fans of the sport but the general public doesn’t really care about. The 275,000 to 375,000 range looks to be the major champions, Jones, Rousey and Cain Velasquez, when put in with opponents without major name value, although Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos was in that range.

When the public feels there is a big fight or a can’t miss show, like UFC 168, the sky is still the limit. But even [Canelo] Alvarez, coming off the biggest grossing pay-per-view event of all-time, only hit 350,000 buys on March 8 when matched up with someone who was not considered a pay-per-view level star.

The changes from a few years back, where any UFC event was seemingly guaranteed to hit 300,000 buys, is a natural evolution coming from the proliferation of free content on television.

Ultimately, the economic future is going to be driven by television rights worldwide, and new technological advances. It will be less reliant on pay-per-view, the revenue stream that allowed UFC to have its huge growth from 2005 to 2010.

The MMAPayout Blue Book has now been updated with these latest numbers.


Payout Perspective:

The week leading to the fight, MMAPayout analyzed trends and historical data to predict what Ronda Rousey’s impact would be on the event. We pegged the event doing 300K-400K buys in the “acceptable” range. Above 400K would have been a huge hit while anything below 300K would have been a disappointment. So it fell exactly in the range in which we predicted.

The new “floor” for the UFC seems to be around 150K PPV buys for those rare cases that even core MMA fans are willing to pass up a PPV event.  You then have this range of 200K-400K which most fighters not named Anderson Silva and GSP will fall into.  At this point, getting anything over 450K will be a tough talk and will definitely have to be something beyond the average card that fans and casuals will both want to see. We expected that 2014 would be a telling year for the PPV business for the UFC considering most of their big PPV draws are absent. The only question heading into 2014 was if the next tier of UFC stars such as Rousey, Jones, Weidman, and now Hendricks would be able to hold the fort until either the stars comeback or the UFC figures out how to make a big fight fans will gladly pay for.  The biggest fight that they have touted so far in 2014 is Rousey vs Carano or against Cyborg.  That alone tells you drastically the UFC has changed in the past couple of years.

22 Responses to “UFC 169 and UFC 170 PPV Updates”

  1. Tops of on March 20th, 2014 1:37 AM

    The meltzer spin…hahaha….it’s going down

  2. Chang on March 20th, 2014 3:08 AM

    Rousey >>>>>>>>>>>>> Canelo Laila Ali

    PPV Queen

  3. LeonThePro on March 20th, 2014 6:13 AM

    I think Jason overshot his prediction on 170 Perspective:

    ” Based on the late buzz, we could see this event doing 400,000 PPV buys.”

    No way this card was doing 400k. It’s shocking that Rousey even did 340k buys, that card was atrocious – and she’s definitely not the mega-star DW flaunted. Looks like the only opponent Rousey might draw with is against A) a fighter who isn’t in the UFC and B) Not in her weight class. Even @ Billy in his shinning knight’s armour shouldn’t have much to say against that.

    “According to Google Trends, Ronda Rousey was the third hottest search on Saturday with over 100,000 searches. …”

    Also what’s with the google searches? Is this just random, arbitrary information? Until anyone can even qualify that somehow its useless. If anything, this google search data should be compared to all applicable headlining fights as a historical comparison – but even that won’t be predictive in forecasting sales.

  4. LeonThePro on March 20th, 2014 6:19 AM

    Even if UFC 171 hits 350k sales 1st quarter will still be under 1 M. If they don’t have one “big” fight this year PPV sales will likely be under 4 M which would be a 33% drop from 2013. DAMN!

  5. Sampson Simpson on March 20th, 2014 9:23 AM

    UFC spent $5-$7 million marketing UFC 170.

    $500k was spent advertising Canelo’s fight.

  6. BrainSmasher on March 20th, 2014 9:29 AM

    More numbers out if your ass Sampson?

  7. billy on March 20th, 2014 9:43 AM

    “We will see what happens with 170. If she sells 500k, yea she’s a superstar. If she sells 200k then she’s a novelty. More realistically, if she sells 325k the UFC has a good draw considering she’s < 155 lb and wmma."

    And Leon said that before the co-main turned into a joke. Yeah, she'd do much better against a credible opponent, but still, 340k beats 230k (Barao + Faber + Aldo), 330k (Velasquez + Dos Santos) and 310k (Jones + Gustafsson).

  8. LeonThePro on March 20th, 2014 10:10 AM

    Velasquez/Bigfoot did 380k and JBJ fight with Gustafsson is his lowest ever and not representative at all – every other one he headlined in did 400k + , so your grasping at thin air.

    Rousey is nowhere near the star the UFC hype machine has pretended she is. For the amount of coverage/hype she has received in contrast to her sales, is a joke.

  9. Sampson Simpson on March 20th, 2014 5:22 PM

    UFC fans are very gullible. They arent very smart

  10. billy on March 20th, 2014 6:46 PM

    Maybe it wasn’t representative because Jones was fighting a nobody in Gustafsson? Maybe that ppv was a test of Jones’s baseline? And that baseline turned out to be 310k (including a co-main title fight). Today we learned that Rousey’s baseline is 340k (or 450k with a decent co-main). Unless you think that McMann and Carmouche are comparable to Sonnen, Belfort, Evans, Machida, Rampage and Shogun?

  11. Jason Cruz on March 20th, 2014 9:49 PM


    Yes,400K was off but it was coming off of Rousey doing 450K as the headliner at 157 and a strong co-main at 168. So, while I was off, it was not that off from an educated estimate

  12. mmaguru on March 21st, 2014 12:37 PM

    Thanks for the numbers. Time to build new stars to keep some of the buy rates up, but the I think the remainder of the wrestling fans have probably lost interest. It’s been a slow decline since the days of Brock Lesnar, but I think we likely are seeing a new plateau with some upward potential as some of new champ’s names start to go mainstream.

  13. Trident on March 21st, 2014 2:29 PM

    Canelo’s PPV numbers are estimated to be closer to 400k. And he may have been coming off much promotion after the Mayweather fight but it was a one sided dull loss, so don’t act like it should have sky rocketed his ppv numbers. Rousey on the other hand is one of the most promoted UFC fighters of all time and featured on the undercard to Silva vs Weidman 2 which was also one of the most reported on fights due to the freak accident. A 300k buy range given all that is pathetic.

    Also, given that the UFC’s debut on Channel 5 in the UK was a disastrous bomb it seems like they’re bleeding money right now.

  14. Sampson Simpson on March 21st, 2014 3:04 PM

    UFC will die. It will

  15. BrainSmasher on March 21st, 2014 7:56 PM

    The UFC will never die. As a last ditch effort. MMA guys will wait on all the best boxers outside their gym and kick their ass in the street. Reminding everyone who is boss and putting the death nail in boxing while riding the drama back to prominence. Of course it will never come to that. The UFC is doing fine. It is silly to compare todays UFC to the UFC 5 years ago. The UFC has more than 3 people for fans to cling to. They have many more champs and fan bases are spread across dozens of fighters. I will take 30 fighters with 300K fan bases over 5 fighters with 500K fan bases.

  16. Tops of on March 22nd, 2014 2:10 AM

    ” as a last ditch effort comment..
    What kind of geek fantasy are you talking about b.s. hahahahaha….wwe like ….

  17. saldathief on March 22nd, 2014 10:15 AM

    BS once again you’re completely delusional, but entertaining lol
    300k for Rousey is actually a great number, a few years ago we had no women in the UFC, but it shows how shallow the UFC talent pool is. If the UFC pushes women s MMA as its meal ticket the sport is over! Seriously if this is what they are selling they are in trouble!

  18. LeonThePro on March 23rd, 2014 6:05 AM

    BS the UFC barely has 5 champs that can sell 300k, never mind 30 lol! Welterweight and Middleweight are still new and untested.

  19. Sampson Simpson on March 23rd, 2014 8:38 AM

    The UFC has no international stars compared to boxing.

    Look at Froch-Groves 2 in the UK… 60,000 seats sold. UFC in the UK… crickets.

  20. saldathief on March 23rd, 2014 5:27 PM

    @Sampson yea 60k for 2 bums lol

  21. Mixalot on March 26th, 2014 9:55 AM

    There are so many ways to measure success. Not sure why it’s always boxing vs. UFC. There is obviously no promotion doing as well as the UFC, but boxing as a whole is stronger than people realize.

    PPV buys are only one metric of success. Same as ticket sales, same at TV contracts, etc.

  22. joshCT on April 19th, 2014 7:59 AM

    Why do fans compare MMA to boxing so darn much? The 2 sports are TOTALLY Different. I got into MMA in 2011 (have been a pro wrestling & Boxing fan since 1990) and the only thing comparable to MMA is TNA Pro Wrestling..Not wwe, wwe is like a cartoon. PRO Wrestling mixes in stuff like mma does, Boxing is TOTALLY DIFFERENT!! THEIR IS NO SPORT LIKE BOXING, ONLY THING COMPARABLE IS PPV #`S

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