UFC 159: Jones vs Sonnen PPV estimates come in at 520-550,000 buys

USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jones' title defense against Chael Sonnen appears to have done numbers almost perfectly in line with Jones' career average.

The estimates for UFC 159's performance on pay-per-view and they are very much average for Jon Jones.

Dave Meltzer is reporting at MMA Fighting that the projections for the card are in the 520,000 - 550,000 buy range. Here are some of the details per Meltzer's report:

If those numbers hold up, it would be in line with most expectations going into the fight. Sources in UFC had, well before the fight, indicated the company's budgetary prediction for the show was 500,000.

...

There was hope for bigger numbers in the days after the fight, due to the strong ratings of UFC 159 shoulder programming. The weigh-ins were the second-highest rated since Fuel began airing. The event also drew the highest ratings for post-fight coverage of a pay-per-view on Fuel. Prelim match ratings on FX were 32 percent above average.

The number would be the company's second largest of 2013, trailing UFC 158, with Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, but ahead of the now No. 3 event of the year, UFC 157, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche.

Jones' five previous times headlining a pay-per-view averaged 529,000 buys. That average is slightly boosted by the 700,000 buys that his fight with Rashad Evans pulled, but still, the median buyrate in those events was 490,000.

Let's be serious, the fight was a joke. It was the worst planned main event on a pay-per-view that I can remember. Fights like Jones vs. Belfort and Silva vs. Bonnar were brought about via injuries creating need for any viable main event. This was a decision to put a guy who lost twice to the middleweight champion and had arguably lost to Michael Bisping two fights prior against the light heavyweight champion for no reason.

The entire defense for putting Sonnen in the fight was that he was such a mega-star that he would drive unusually high interest in the fight. Instead, he drew directly in line with Jones' mean PPV number and slightly higher than the median. And we don't know that that small bump can be attributed to Sonnen anyway. Jones may simply be more of a draw now. Or coaching TUF against anyone may have provided a small boost.

Sonnen's drawing power hardly offsets the lack of credentials and horrible waste of time that the fight turned out to be.

There's also the fact that basing a season of TUF around promoting the fight kept Jones out for at least one other fight, so they lost potential Jones money there for very little payoff in the end.

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