Following UFC 162's spectacular finish which saw unheralded challenger Chris Weidman KO legend Anderson Silva and take the UFC Middelweight title, Dana White crowed that the preliminary indications were that the event would draw around 800,000 buys on pay-per-view (PPV). Now the estimated numbers are in and they're far short of that optimistic projection.
Dave Meltzer is reporting that industry sources are pegging UFC 162's sales at 550,000. That's a match for UFC 159, headlined by Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen and a distant second to the best selling event of the year so far, UFC 158 which did around 900,000 buys.
In less good news, Meltzer is also reporting that UFC 161 (Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans) did a very weak estimated 150,000 buys. That's comparable to some of the worst UFC PPV performances in recent years, including UFC 147 featuring Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva 2.
Here's what Meltzer has to say about what it all means:
The numbers continue a pattern for UFC. A show with a major main event does as well as it would have in any era. Even when UFC was setting pay-per-view records in 2010, Silva defending against someone who was an unknown without a strong amount of backup support, would not have done numbers at this level. The exception was the first Sonnen fight, but Sonnen is a master promoter. Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche earlier this year was a major success for a woman's fight. St-Pierre did his career best numbers as a headliner on his own with Diaz, although Diaz deserves credit for a show that picked up incredible interest in the last week.
However, the baseline number looks to have fallen. Fans are picking and choosing more. The June 15 show, UFC 161, headlined by Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans has been estimated in the 150,000-buy range. Both Henderson and Evans are well-known stars, with Henderson being a future Hall of Famer and Evans having a history of drawing big.