I suppose it was inevitable that people would overreact to the apparent lack of interest in UFC 104. It was obvious months ago when Machida vs. Shogun was announced as the main event that this show wouldn't do a big number. Machida is popular among hardcores, but he means very little to the average fan at this point, and Shogun means next to nothing to casual fans. This fight isn't even anticipated among hardcores, many of whom believe this will be a one-sided drubbing. Even so, I suspect the show will do around 400,000 buys, which is still four times as much as any UFC competitor has ever been able to draw.
It was also obvious that it would do poorly at the Staples Center. UFC 60, which was the biggest UFC show of all time when it occurred, only sold slightly over 10,000 tickets. Doing around 90% of that business for Shogun vs. Machida is hardly a disaster. UFC has never been a hot seller at Staples for whatever reason.
The show will still be very profitable for the UFC. They'll probably rake in well over $10 million in revenue while paying out a little over $1 million in salary. Not exactly a bomb or a disaster. This is all part of what makes the UFC so successful. Even a show people are worried about will be very profitable. At the same time, if things go the way they want them to, Anthony Johnson and Cain Velasquez will take the next step towards stardom, while Lyoto Machida will establish himself as the newest UFC superstar. Not bad for a show already being called a "disaster."