In the build-up to UFC 148 Dana White started to talk about it as being a potential home-run for the organization in terms of pay-per-view sales, and last night after the show he explained exactly how he came to that conclusion.
“This absolutely, 100% the biggest fight we’ve ever done, by far,” White stated at the post-fight press conference.
It’s a bold claim, but one that he was backing up with cold, hard facts.
“On Monday we broke all records with UFC.com for the highest traffic ever. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Every day. Broke records every day for the week of a fight. Tuesday’s press conference is the most watched UFC press conference ever by a million and one. One million and one more people watched that press conference than any other press conference ever.”
Impressive stuff, and he wasn’t finished yet.
“It’s the biggest gate we’ve ever done in America, and everything is trending that this is possibly the biggest pay-per-view we’ve ever done.”
If true it’s an incredible achievement and one that would make up for what’s been a turbulent period for the organization due to injuries in particular, with UFC 147’s pay-per-view numbers rumored to be so low that they’ve become a closely guarded secret within the organization.
There definitely was a genuine “buzz” around this past weekend’s event, the likes of which has been lacking in the UFC for some time, but having said that I must admit I’d be shocked (and delighted) if they are able to break the PPV record currently held by UFC 100 at a whopping 1.6 million buys.
This wasn’t a particularly strong fight card overall, especially compared to the originally planned line-up which had a bantamweight title fight between TUF: Live coaches Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz installed as the co-main event with Rich Franklin facing Cung Le elsewhere on the main card.
In terms of star power neither Anderson Silva nor Chael Sonnen has marked themselves out as a big PPV draw. Despite the hype in the build-up to their previous encounter at UFC 117 it ended up doing 600,000 buys which was considered a good number by their standards.
Compare that to UFC 100 which had the promotion’s two biggest PPV juggernauts in Brock Lesnar and Georges St.Pierre on-board, plus TUF coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping.
There’s no doubt Silva Vs Sonnen II was something of a perfect storm thanks to a combination of Sonnen’s unexpectedly dominant performance in their first fight, his continued trash-talking antics in the build-up to the rematch, and, crucially I think, Silva suddenly getting uncharacteristically verbal and physical which his opponent in the days leading up to the fight.
Nevertheless, if UFC 148 could outdo UFC 100 based on that one fight alone then that would be something very special indeed. I have my doubts, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the early pay-per-view estimates that hopefully should start emerging later this week.