Crowded Fall PPV schedule will force fans to choose between UFC, boxing and Bellator


With two major boxing pay-per-views and an old rival coming to PPV, the UFC has upped its promotional game with a World Tour to sell its fall line up of PPVs.

Times are tough in the combat sports pay-per-view world. While the UFC has backed off a little from their peak of 16 events a year, it's still a very crowded calendar. This fall with boxing superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao both fighting and Bellator making its PPV event is especially competitive.

The UFC just aired one of their weakest PPV offerings of the year with UFC 163. Here's how MMA Payout summed up its prospects:

Don't expect a big PPV number here. Not even a mediocre number. With another PPV at the end of the month and a world tour promoting the rest of the PPVs for 2013, this was a PPV most skipped. Add the fact that lower weight classes do not do well on PPV and this was a Brazil card (lower buy rates). Thus, we will likely see a number around 140,000 which was the buy rate for UFC 147.

This won't be any surprise to UFC execs who essentially torpedoed their own event by holding a lavish UFC World Tour to promote their Fall PPV lineup during the week leading up to 163. Josh Gross sums up the festivities:

Yet, for the first time that I can recall, the company opted to trot out a week-long media tour, investing several hundred thousand dollars and many man-hours into pitching a slew of championship fights set for the last half of 2013.

Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez were flanked by UFC president Dana White and their challengers in Los Angeles and New York. Totaling 150,000 miles traveled, this was no small deal. The crew splintered off, landing in 11 cities in five countries, creating interest and storylines that, presuming everyone stays healthy, should strongly propel the company into 2014.

The week-long cavalcade wrapped in style, as St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks, who kicked it off in Las Vegas Monday, scored mat time in front of fans on the field at Cowboys Stadium. Hendricks did well on the tour, making the most of his media attention by publicly wishing to batter the welterweight champion. Call it a toss-up between Rousey and Hendricks for most quotable.

When you consider that boxing is also bringing out its biggest guns this fall you have to admire the guts of Bellator to even attempt competing, especially with an offering as feeble as Tito Ortiz vs. Rampage Jacson on Nov. 2. Kevin Ioleanalyzes their gambit:

If the fight does any appreciable business, it's going to be because the public is curious to see Ortiz-Jackson. Having it in early November helps - most people can't afford to or just won't buy two pay-per-view shows in a month. But Ortiz-Jackson faces formidable pay-per-view opposition in November: UFC 167 features Georges St-Pierre against Johny Hendricks on Nov. 16, and boxing offers Manny Pacquiao against Brandon Rios on Nov. 23.

Every pay-per-view card is a calculated risk on the part of the promoter.

Rebney and Bellator are clearly taking a gamble. He's the guy who is going to have to convince you to spend your money on the 0-for-their-last-six Ortiz and Jackson, and not save it for St-Pierre-Hendricks or Pacquiao-Rios.

What events are you planning on ordering this fall?

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