The estimates for the UFC’s first event of 2010 are in, and they look like being the lowest the company has seen in North America for a number of years.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter the trending data for UFC 108 suggests around 255,000-270,000 buys.
At the post-fight press conference for the event on January 2nd Dana White stated his expectation was for around 400,000-500,000 buys, which had raised a few eyebrows since many had been expecting somewhere south of 350,000 paying customers.
Though the latest numbers will come as a disappointment, the reason for the sudden drop is easily identified. Due to the worst injury crisis in the company’s history the promotion were left with a severely weakened card that lacked the star studded line-up that had originally been planned for the New Year show.
The good news for the UFC, and indeed for MMA fans in general, is that many of the big names stars on the roster are returning to fitness which means that there are some stacked cards being lined up for the coming months.
The final hurdle to overcome first though is UFC 109 which has also suffered due to injuries, leaving it to be headlined by two veterans in their mid-forties – Randy Couture and Mark Coleman.
The UFC will be keeping their fingers crossed that fans buy into the idea of two legends of the sport finally getting into the cage, but, much like the Rashad Evans Vs Thiago Silva bout that headlined UFC 108, there has been some negative reactions to it in recent weeks.
Beyond that we can look forward to a string of major fights from late February onwards, including title showdowns between GSP Vs Dan Hardy, Machida Vs Shogun, Mir Vs Carwin (interim title) and Penn Vs Edgar.