The estimated PPV figures for last weekend’s UFC 226 are in and unfortunately for the UFC, they didn’t reach the heights one would expect, given the stakes.
UFC 226 was a truly special event. The abysmal showing in the Ngannou/Lewis fight aside, the night served up a perfect combination of fun fights, vicious finishes and, of course, the almighty shock that came in the main-event.
Despite losing its originally scheduled co-main event – the featherweight title tilt featuring Max Holloway and Brian Ortega – the buzz generated in the leadup to the night itself would have led you to safely assume that the public were fully onboard and ready to spend their hard-earned cash to watch it.
However, Dave Meltzer of MMAFighting gave an update on the PPV estimates attached to Saturday’s show and to be honest, they aren’t looking even close to befitting of the status a super-fight that includes the two most historically prestigious divisions.
“The expectation going in was that this would be the biggest show so far this year. But the most preliminary of pay-per-view estimates have the show doing a little under 400,000 buys.
“There are those who believe the loss of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega hurt interest, but Cormier vs. Miocic on its own should have been able to do bigger numbers.”
If the estimated numbers fall just short of 400k, that would still make it the most financially successful UFC card of the year. But when you consider that the second highest-grossing event was UFC 220 at 380k – a night that featured both Miocic and Cormier defeating Francis Ngannou and Volkan Oezdemir respectively – the fact that their meeting falls in and around the same mark just makes no sense.
If true, it will stand as the latest disappointment in a pretty meek year for the UFC from a financial standpoint. With superstars Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar and perhaps even Jon Jones edging towards a return, though, perhaps the end of this year will prove it to be a 365 day period that improves as it goes on.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena