Last month’s (Sat., July 29, 2017) UFC 214 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, may have been a huge success at the box office, but it didn’t meet or exceed the massive expectations laid out for the card by UFC President Dana White.
The highly awaited event, which featured a long overdue rematch between hated rivals Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier in addition to two other title fights, was pumped as as ‘trending for a million pay-per-view (PPV) buys’ by White shortly after the main card, a number that was highly surprising to many given the sharp decline in overall UFC PPV sales during a tough 2017.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell (via MMA Mania), however, the card didn’t quite live up to that massive billing. Apparently, UFC 214 is estimated to have attracted around 850,000 buys with all digital media platforms taken into account:
Sources: Current estimate for UFC 214 is 850,000 PPV buys. Includes US, Canada Australia + digital platforms like https://t.co/9GinuIEOk8
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 7, 2017
So while the current estimates aren’t quite at the coveted 1 million-buy number, a figure the promotion achieved several times throughout a banner 2016 spearheaded by Conor McGregor’s rivalry with Nate Diaz and Ronda Rousey’s anticipated return, the figure is still by far the best PPV buyrate of a year where numbered events are getting all-time lows in terms of buys, a concerning circumstance that came true only recently at July’s previous PPV of UFC 213.
The near-million PPV buyrate for UFC 214 shows that Jones can still headline a big PPV show to great numbers, and while his rivalry with Cormier was one that needed closure for over two years, future fights involving the top-ranked pound-for-pound king should sell comparably well, with his rumored super fight versus Brock Lesnar destined to outsell it in droves if it does happen.
The million-buy barrier has yet to be crossed by the UFC in 2017, but if any indications are true, they could be stacking the deck to do just that with November 4’s UFC 217 from Madison Square Garden in New York, an event rumored to be headlined by former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s return.
Lesnar isn’t expected to be able to fight until early 2018 at the earliest, so perhaps the also awaited rematch between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson could help push UFC 217’s numbers into the million-buy stratosphere.