When the earliest of early estimates came out for the UFC 226 pay-per-view buyrate, the total was pegged at below 400,000. With that card now three weeks in the rear view mirror, MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has an update for everyone, and it looks like there’s no improvement on that figure.
According to industry sources, the current estimate for UFC 226 on pay-per-view is 380,000 buys, which is in line with how the early returns were trending.
It would put the July 7 show in line with January’s UFC 220 for the biggest number so far this year.
Granted, UFC 226 was hurt significantly when the Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega featherweight title fight fell through. Still, it’s hard to believe that fight would have boosted the show to the 500,000 plus level that was hoped for. One could even surmise the audience Holloway vs. Ortega would have appealed to most was an audience that would also see Miocic vs. Cormier as a can’t-miss fight.
So much like 2017, the UFC failed to crack the 500,000 buys mark through its International Fight Week PPV. However, the end of last July saw the Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones rematch exceed 850,000 buys. It’s unlikely that UFC 227: Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 for UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till fare any better than UFC 226, which saw Cormier become a simultaneous two-division champion by dethroning heavyweight king Stipe Miocic.
There is, of course, the possibility that UFC 229 on October 6th is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, with the expectation that it’d be one of the biggest PPVs in UFC history. If that materializes, then it’ll certainly provide a major boost that the UFC has not yet managed in 2018.
If your hope is that the UFC reduces the number of pay-per-views, they’re not doing that, and in fact adding more events overall once the ESPN deal kicks in next year.