For most the expected buy rate for Bellator's first PPV was somewhere between 35-50,000, with anything over that being considered a pretty big win all around. The idea of pulling anywhere near 100,000 was largely thought of as a pipe dream. Something that only the WEC and Affliction had been able to come close to, and those companies were buoyed by rosters of top talent fighting in their prime (or close to it). The fact that Bellator was able to achieve the numbers they did, with several names viewed as well past their prime, and without their lightweight champion is, frankly, astounding. MMA Fighting had the confirmation of Sherdog's report.
Rebney issued this statement to fighting:
"My excitement with this event is based on it having been entertaining and a great 'event'," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting. "And, it's the fan and media response to what we created a couple Saturday's back that's kept that excitement going. I won't be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it's just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th."
It's much, much harder to dismiss plans for more PPVs in Bellator's immediate future after this kind of return. These numbers are sky high for a non Zuffa MMA promotion and the complete surprise at their high mark probably has several undercurrents at the root. For one, MMA media as a whole has probably severely undervalued the idea of a Bellator fanbase that would take an active interest in their product. This also shows the idea of just how strangely name value can still contribute to PPV buys. There may be a large contingent of fans out there that will still just show up for Rampage and Tito, no matter the context. And of course, last of all, there was a lot of curiosity; Hardcore MMA fans who wanted to see just what a rival promotion's PPV might look like in the current market.
Bellators sticky new contracts
Kid Nate is joined by MMA journalists John S. Nash and Brian D'Souza to talk about Bellator's sticky new contracts.
It's impossible to tell if these numbers could be replicated. We know that Alvarez has his sights set on a future PPV card with Bellator, and that he's interested in fighting Will Brooks. Would Bellator be able to draw enough other names to the card to get a decent buy rate? Do they have the core brand fanbase to buy it regardless? Only time will tell.