In what’s been an otherwise rough year for the UFC in terms of pay-per-view buys, UFC 214 was pegged to be far and away the best-selling event of 2017, and it looks like it’s met those expectations.
Sources: Current estimate for UFC 214 is 850,000 PPV buys. Includes US, Canada Australia + digital platforms like https://t.co/9GinuIEOk8— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 7, 2017
That number is 50,000 more than Jones’ first fight over Cormier at UFC 182 back in January 2015.
For comparison’s sake, UFC 213: Whittaker vs. Romero reportedly only managed no more than 150,000 buys. This sets a new high-mark for both Cormier and Jones as pay-per-view headliners, although the story here is really about Jones, who’s an established A-side fighter whose history of UFC PPV main events stretches back as far as 2011. With Ronda Rousey seemingly retired, Jones is the unquestioned #2 draw in MMA.
It’ll be interesting to see if the UFC can do better than 850,000 buys later in the year. I doubt Jones can approach that territory again if he defended his LHW title. His best shot would probably be taking on a heavyweight, but he has his sights set on Brock Lesnar and not current champion Stipe Miocic. Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre is expected to headline UFC 217 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but can it garner as much interest as the heated Cormier-Jones rivalry twice managed? There’s also the possibility of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor returning to MMA in December, which would surely bring over 1 million buys. Apart from those scenarios, UFC 214 looks to be the peak moment for the UFC’s 2017 pay-per-view calendar.