15 for 15: No. 3 UFC PPV has its biggest year

December 31, 2015

Coming off a poor PPV year in 2014, the UFC looked to come up big with events in 2015.  It did with 7 events over 600,000 PPVs which was 7 more than it did in 2014.

The UFC branded its first quarter, “Welcome to the Show” and its last quarter “Go Big” which seemed to help.  Despite the usual injuries which cancelled or delayed fights (notably Aldo-McGregor), UFC PPVs in 2015 delivered big events which the casual viewer purchased.

The first three PPVs of 2015 set the company off right.  UFC 182 seemed to gain some steam on the basis of the feud between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.  The PPV did 800,000 buys which was the best since UFC 168  in December 2013.  UFC 182 was followed by a great matchup on paper between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz on Super Bowl weekend which drew 650,000 buys.  The surprise of the first quarter was how well the Ronda Rousey-Cat Zingano PPV did as it was the second time that Rousey was the headliner.  Originally, she was just the co-main event but became the main event.  The event, which actually lasted just 14 seconds, drew an estimated 600,000 PPV buys.  Little did we know that this would be low for a Ronda Rousey PPV this year.

After a couple low buy rates, the UFC spiked once again with Conor McGregor facing Chad Mendes at UFC 189.  On the same card, Rory MacDonald challenged Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title in what was the fight of the year.  Despite Mendes replacing Aldo at the last minute, the event drew 825,000 PPV buys.  It was reported that the event drew 1 million PPV buys.  However, that number was calibrated down.

Despite a traditional slow month for UFC PPVs, UFC 190 on August 1st drew 900,000 PPV buys thanks in large part to Ronda Rousey.  She was featured in the main event against Bethe Correia.  There was some heat between the two which helped sell the fight.  Still, it was all Rousey that drove a PPV which featured two TUF Brazil finals (i.e., 4 fighters many have never heard of) on the PPV.  It was also a rare occasion in which a non-North American PPV event

Rousey’s next fight was moved up to November against Holly Holm.  The event set a record for attendance and gate and scored once again on PPV.  This time, a Rousey fight drew over 1 million PPV buysPer Lorenzo Fertitta UFC 193 was tracking to be the second largest PPV in the company’s history.   Despite losing to Holm, the PPV was promoted around Rousey as she appeared on Good Morning America and Ellen among other mainstream outlets to promote the fight.

McGregor’s third fight of the year (his first was a Fight Night from Boston), the long-awaited showdown with Jose Aldo is tracking at 1 million PPV buys as well.

UFC PPVs 2014

With UFC 193 and 194, the UFC would have for the first time two straight UFC PPVs over 1 million buys.

Not everything was selling well for the company as Demetrious Johnson’s PPVs were the lowest of the year.  Headlining UFC 186 and 191, those events received just 125,000 and 115, 000 PPV buys respectively.

UFC PPVs 2015

The UFC averaged 565,000 PPV buys in 2015 as opposed to 267,000 in 2014.

Has the UFC found a formula for its PPV success?  Or was this one year where it rode the popularity of Rousey and McGregor?  2016 should be a big year with the potential for UFC 198 in New York and UFC 200 in July.  Will there be other big events this year that could keep up with 2015’s success?

20 Responses to “15 for 15: No. 3 UFC PPV has its biggest year”

  1. tops E on December 31st, 2015 10:36 PM

    Also a record spending in promoting mcgregor aldo hahahaha

  2. Diego on December 31st, 2015 11:44 PM

    Good comeback Topsy. I guess that means the UFC lost a ton of money this year. Oh wait, they probably made a decent profit instead.

  3. tops E on January 1st, 2016 2:15 AM

    Hahaha…..any news on the loan due?

  4. BrainSmasher on January 1st, 2016 9:59 AM

    They will have a good 2016 but not as good as 2015. Many of the big names fought at the end of the year which will cause them to get a later start this year. Rousey will likely only fight once if at all. If it is against Holm it will be huge. If it is not I think she will still sell but her numbers will be down to the 500-800k range rather than 1 million. Holly Holm will be a reliable draw imo. She got a lot of exposure with the viewers of 194 and the media she got for winning. Add in the people who like her because they hated Rousey. I think she could draw 400-500k buys. It’s not Rousey but still big numbers. Even getting 300k would be huge for the UFC from that division. Because between Holm and Rousey they would be selling 1 million.

    Connor will only have 2 fights this year. He has 3 last year but only 2 were on PPV. So no difference there. We know his first fight is going to be huge. If it is Diaz or Frankie it might reach 2 million. If it is anyone else it will be 1-1.5 million. If he wins he will have another mega PPV later in the year. If he loses he will still sell. He would actually be in a better position that Rousey. Because he is now flirting with 155. If he loses at 155 he is still the champ at 145 and would not lose much hype. Also his irish fan base is more passionate and has a rich fight history that isn’t going to abandon him at the same rate as Rousey mainstream feminist base. So he is looking at 800,000 buys even after a loss or two.

  5. BrainSmasher on January 1st, 2016 10:58 AM

    If Rousey wins the rematch and fights a second time and Connor wins his next fight and fights a second time. I can see the UFC matching and maybe beating last years numbers.

  6. Chris on January 1st, 2016 6:02 PM

    Crazy they had that big a year when Jones/SIlva fought first month and didnt fight again. They didnt get Fedor or Brock and GSP didnt come back.

    They also had like 45 injuries to main/co main event fights, double last years total but it wasnt the key fights that killed cards. aldo was huge one but the event still did big and fight happened at end of the year.

    Had Jones/Silva not screwed up they would have fought twice more last year, if GSP came back or Brock signed imagine the numbers.

    Next year will be another big year.

    Its all about big fights nad stars, they will only get one Ronda fight unless she wins, probably get three McGregor fights but if he loses his star power could drop.

  7. d on January 1st, 2016 6:10 PM

    Yup, to all of those who predicted a collapse of the ufc, they are eating some serious crow right now. The comments about Silva/GSP being done and no one to replace them were proven false within a year. This was the UFC’s biggest year ever, and we are seeing mma starting to dominate the combat sports market share.

    Another big year coming in 2016- McGregor vs whoever, Rousey-Holm both 1m buy ppv’s. Jones-Cormier another 800k. I see another 7m buy ppv year for them with the presence of UFC 200 which should do 2m buys.

  8. doreid on January 1st, 2016 8:16 PM

    Japan TV Ratings

    *5.0% 19:00-20:45 Fuji RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX2015
    *7.3% 20:45-22:30 Fuji RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX2015
    *3.7% 22:30-23:45 Fuji RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX2015

    *8.8% 18:00-19:00 TBS KYOKUGEN2015
    *7.7% 19:00-22:00 TBS KYOKUGEN2015(BOXING Kazuto Ioka vs Juan Carlos Reveco2,Katsunari Takayama vs Jose Argumedo)
    *9.0% 22:00-22:52 TBS KYOKUGEN2015(Masato vs Kid Yamamoto)
    *4.6% 22:52-23:35 TBS KYOKUGEN2015

    *3.7% 21:30-23:30 TV Tokyo BOXING(Takashi Uchiyama vs Oliver Flores,Ryoichi Taguchi vs Luis de la Rosa)

  9. The Greatest on January 2nd, 2016 10:38 AM

    Anthony Joshuas fight was deemed a huge success. Got between 400k-500k ppv sales.
    Anthony Joshua made $4.43M for his win over Dillian Whyte in the UK.
    Was projected at 200k.

    Any Heavyweights in the UFC making $4.43M a fight?

  10. d on January 2nd, 2016 3:41 PM

    “Anthony Joshuas fight was deemed a huge success. Got between 400k-500k ppv sales.
    Anthony Joshua made $4.43M for his win over Dillian Whyte in the UK.
    Was projected at 200k.
    Any Heavyweights in the UFC making $4.43M a fight?”

    Hahaha. More fiction.

    Even if that false number provided was true, skytv ppvs are less than half of the cost of a UFC ppv in N. America. So realistically, that is probably less than 200k buys- that is if it was true, which it likely isn’t.

    This must be burning you up that they had a huge year, much bigger than boxing in 2015. Hahahaha.

  11. BrainSmasher on January 2nd, 2016 3:45 PM

    Yes there is HW’s making that in the UFC. Except their spread their money to many more people and create jobs for dozens of not hundreds of people and families. In turn that fighter is part of a promotion and sport that is strong. Also since there is so many people making a living in Mma. It creates many strong gyms for these many fighters to train at. Which keeps MMA fighters from running around with scumbags and mochers like we see that makes up boxing entourages. That happens in boxing because the boxer has money but no one else around him does. No one in his gym has money. So he is surrounded by leaches and broke ass gyms because there is no pay for anyone but just a few guys in the sport.

    I find it funny you brag about boxers pay. It is single handedly why boxing has the problems it does. Why they can’t make fights, why there is corruption, why they go broke, why they go to jail, why they don’t fight more than 1-2 times per year.

    Soon Mayweather is going to retire and take all his money with him leaving all the broke boxers and gyms in his wake! Don’t worry! There will still be some rich old white guys there to sign the broke young talent to long term slave contracts and keep boxing going! Hahaha!

  12. The Greatest on January 3rd, 2016 4:41 AM

    Yea a bunch of MMA guys in a gym making 10k a year supporting a fighter who makes 10k a fight vs a boxer whose up and coming making $5M a fight.
    Conor and Rousey don’t make that.
    GSP apparently made $4M for a fight once, and that probably didnt even happen.

    D claimed no HW boxer makes millions per fight besides Klitschko and Fury.
    I just gave you a hw boxer who makes more than any UFC fighter ever.

  13. d on January 3rd, 2016 8:30 AM

    Only thing is that guy isn’t making 5m per fight, not even close and that fight generated Demetrious Johnson money IF your numbers were accurate which everyone knows, they likely aren’t.

    Rousey/McGregor both make more than Joshua.

    GSP made 5m for that fight(you love to lie) and Rousey and McGregor are making more than that for their big fights.

    I did claim that, and it is true. You tell a lot of tales.

  14. d on January 3rd, 2016 9:11 AM

    “If it’s Manny-Bradley 3 on PPV it’s a dud. Does probably less or the same as Floyd-Berto. Similarly, it’s a fight nobody cares about.”

    -Dan Rafael

    Very telling omen about Manny’s last fight. What does boxing have on the horizon? Basically nothing unless Canelo is willing to grow a pair and fight GGG which is doubtful and still would probably only do around what he did against Canelo.

  15. d on January 3rd, 2016 9:24 AM


  16. d on January 3rd, 2016 10:12 AM

    Anthony Joshua actually makes 190k per fight. Fair to say there are at least 10 mma hw’s that make more than that per fight.



  17. The Greatest on January 3rd, 2016 12:08 PM
  18. d on January 3rd, 2016 5:38 PM


    Key words:

    “ANTHONY JOSHUA CLAIMS 3M from the Dillian Whyte fight at the O2”


    Connor McGregor also claimed he was making 10m+ per fight, should we start accepting what fighters claim?

    That fight may have made 5m as a whole. The O2 arena isn’t some huge venue, it isn’t like Wembley Stadium which is where all of the major boxing matches occur. Tyson Fury made less than that and had far more ppv buys. These guys lie a lot.

    Also, even though he probably made decent money for this fight, Joshua also was making on avg. 190k per fight prior to this. I can name at least 8 active mma heavyweights who have made more money than him in both total and average fight.

  19. The Greatest on January 4th, 2016 9:24 AM

    The article said he claimed that amount, not that AJ “claims” he made that amount.

  20. d on January 4th, 2016 10:33 AM

    So according to you, the article sourcing, “is understood” is valid?

    Let me know when some body of authority verifies this. He probably told them that is what he made.


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