For those who have just been absolutely eager to know how many pay-per-view buys the Bare Knuckle FC event headlined by Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov did, you have a partial answer.
MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has got the estimates for the television component of the BKFC 6 PPV, and unsurprisingly it’s not a very high total despite all of the fanfare concerning the main event.
Based on industry estimates, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships look to have done in the range of 18,000 buys on traditional television pay-per-view. Digital numbers for FITE TV are unavailable, but it is extremely rare that a pay-per-view event that airs on television does nearly the same number on digital. The BKFC show is believed to have done well based on the standards of a FITE TV broadcast, but unless it’s a giant UFC or boxing event, doing even 25,000 buys on Internet pay-per-view is a rarity.
Generally, for events that air on television pay-per-view, doing 15 percent additional on digital is normal, and 25 percent, like happened in October for the Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, is unusually high. The exception this year was the May 25 All Elite Wrestling Double or Nothing show, which did almost as many buys on B/R Live as it did on television pay-per-view in the United States.
Of those 18,000 pay-per-view buys, roughly 37.5 percent of them came from UFC fans who had ordered UFC 235, the Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith headlined event from Las Vegas, which was the last major UFC event on television pay-per-view via television. Roughly 22.6 percent of the BKFC buyers had ordered the second Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight, the last major boxing event, via television. The crossover with pro wrestling was minimal, has only 1.2 percent ordered AEW Double or Nothing and 0.3 percent ordered WWE Stomping Grounds. However, the WWE television pay-per-view audience is greatly down because the events air on the WWE’s steaming network at a much lower price.
Now normally this wouldn’t be a big deal to even discuss Bare Knuckle FC pay-per-view numbers, especially since they’re been on pay-per-view for previous shows. But BKFC promoter David Feldman made a very bold claim that the Malignaggi vs. Lobov grudge match was trending towards 200,000 buys, which would exceed several UFC and boxing PPVs in recent years.
“We got our digital numbers right away,” Feldman told MMA Junkie. “In April, we did a certain amount, and in June, we did six times that digitally. It’s given us a gauge that we’re going to end up at the 200,000 line.”
Well unless they managed an unthinkable 182,000 digital buys through FITE.tv, which distributed the pay-per-view throughout the world, then the lofty number floated around was just a bit too optimistic.
In fairness to BKFC, they generated 200,000 Google searches for Lobov’s win over Malignaggi. That doesn’t necessarily always translate to a good buyrate, but there was plenty of interest in the show itself on the night of June 22nd, so something definitely did trend towards the 200,000 line.