UFC 190 went down this past August 1st in the HSBC Arena, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and was pretty much a one-trick card. There wasn’t much expectation for the rest of the card if we are being honest, but UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and her fierce rival Bethe Correia did more than enough hype work to help the pay-per-view totals.
The PPV buys as reported by MMAFighting.com are looking pretty good for UFC 190, in fact they are the best numbers since the Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva rematch at UFC 168. 2014 saw a string of abysmal numbers for the world’s largest MMA promotion, as many of their marquee stars fell to injuries and later drug busts too.
So what was it about UFC 190? The card as a whole was pretty lacking in marketable talent, so this truly is testament to Rousey’s sway in the public eye. The heated beef with ‘Pitbull’ likely played a role in boosting the pay-per-view totals, and perhaps this tally would fall behind UFC 189, if the official numbers were ever actually released, which they are not. Industry sources have disputed the claims by Conor McGregor that UFC 189 did over 1 million buys.
Perhaps gender helped influence the upswing in PPV buys for UFC 190, as Dave Meltzer’s in depth report suggests:
Another key to all four of the company’s biggest modern pay-per-view draws is bringing in a unique fan base. Lesnar brought in the pro wrestling audience. St-Pierre was a mainstream Canadian sports superstar. Liddell was the company’s superstar fighter when it first appeared on national television. With Rousey, she brings in a female fan base as well as a casual fan audience that doesn’t even follow the sport on a regular basis.
Still, the key is that Rousey may have become the company’s biggest drawing attraction to date. Fighters like Brock Lesnar, Georges St-Pierre and Chuck Liddell, the previous biggest draws, all needed top level opponents as well as good stories to hit numbers like that. It may also be that while the MMA crowd was dismissive of Correia’s chances and her lack of top-10 wins, the crowd Rousey drew from didn’t see past it being a grudge match with the easy to digest storyline and it not figuring to be that competitive didn’t matter.
With that in mind, how well will the January 2nd show headlined by Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm do? The UFC 195 card will likely have a lot more talent from top to bottom, but these trends truly can’t be predicted with so many factors to consider.
It wasn’t long ago that Anderson Silva, the consensus GOAT at that point, was headlining PPV cards in Rio De Janeiro that didn’t even top 350K.
Perhaps Rousey vs. Holm will get the UFC 189 treatment in terms of promotion, or does the queen of the women’s bantamweights sell herself?