Earlier this year UFC 106 looked like being one of the UFC’s biggest events of the year thanks to the headline title bout between heavyweights Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.
Injuries and illness then struck, wiping out the main event, and several other fights on the card and forced the UFC to promote the Forrest Griffin Vs Tito Ortiz co-main event to the top of the bill.
A new report from Dave Meltzer suggests that the replacement bout did not capture people’s imagination, with estimates that the final PPV figures will fall into the 360,000 – 370,000 range. That is perhaps in the region of a 100,000 south of what many people had predicted, and at least several hundred thousand lower than Lesnar would have been expected to pull in.
What are the likely reasons for this outcome?
There was undoubtedly a big hangover from the Lesnar fight being cancelled. The UFC also had their hands tied due to the fact that several other major fighters were also injured around the same time, leaving them with few options to create another blockbuster fight in it’s place.
Under the circumstances Griffin Vs Ortiz was a serviceable bout, but with both fighters coming off of losses in their last fights, and in Ortiz case,coming back from an 18 month layoff, the bout did not capture the fans imagination, and there was a noticeable lack of anticipation heading into the event.
The fact that the promotion had also aired UFC 105 for free just a week earlier may also have been a hindrance. In addition Strikeforce had also aired a major event on CBS for free just two weeks previously, which had garnered considerable fan and media attention.
After the enormous feel good factor for the company following the hugely successful UFC 100 event this summer, the numbers from recent shows have brought a certain reality back to the proceedings.
At the same time it would be wrong to suggest at this early stage that the promotion is in decline. If the original main event had went ahead as originally scheduled then we would more than likely be talking today about another hugely successful UFC event.
Despite this, it may be some time before things improve again. With a number of other events being considerably weakened due to injuries in the coming months, particularly the UFC 108 event on January 2nd, the UFC will now have to brace themselves for the likelihood of further disappointment until the spring – summer period when many of their big name stars are aiming to return to action.