The latest estimates for UFC 125: Edgar Vs Maynard on January 1st indicates that the event pulled in between 270,000 – 300,000 pay-per-view buys.
The figures come courtesy of The Wrestling Observer who note that this is the lowest figures seen for a title fight in approximately five years.
It’s easy to see why the event failed to capture fans imaginations. Frankie Edgar Vs Gray Maynard was one of the least anticipated main events in the UFC in quite some time, with neither fighter commanding significant star power at this moment in time, and there being little in the way of pre-fight hype between the two to generate additional interest in the bout.
Furthermore, while the main card featured some well-rounded match-ups, the fact that Chris Leben Vs Brian Stann was given co-main event status gives a clear indication that this was far from being the most stacked card the promotion’s ever produced.
That’s not from a lack of effort on the UFC’s part however. Initially the event had been targeted for WEC featherweight champion and rising star Jose Aldo’s debut in the co-main event slot, but he was forced to pull out due to injury. Then a heavyweight clash between Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson was penciled in only to be scrubbed out due to contract issues.
It’s the second year in a row that the promotion have had to deal with such issues for their New years show, after widespread injury problems prior to UFC 108 on January 2nd of 2010 forced them into piecing together a card headlined by Rashad Evans Vs Thiago Silva which also garnered just 300,000 buys.
That will surely be a sore-point for UFC execs who have traditionally looked to ensure that their turn of the year events were blockbusters.
That trend started at the tail end of 2006 when their December 30th card featured a rematch between Chuck Liddell Vs Tito Ortiz, one of the biggest fights in UFC history, with Forrest Griffin Vs Keith Jardine on co-main event duties.
In December 29th of 2007 the trend continued with UFC 79: Nemesis being headlined by GSP vs Matt Hughes for the 170lb interim title with Chuck Liddell Vs Wanderlei Silva supporting it.
A year later at UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008, a 205lb title clash between Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans topped the bill with Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera Vs Frank Mir riding shotgun and Rampage Jackson Vs Wanderlei Silva also featuring on the main card.
As you can see below those stacked cards crushed more recent New Years offerings from the UFC in terms of PPV sales.
UFC New Year Events Ranked By Pay-Per-View Buyrates:
- December 30th 2006: UFC 66: Liddell Vs Ortiz 2 – 1,050,000 PPV buys
- December 27th 2008: UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 – 1,000,000+ PPV buys
- December 29th 2009: UFC 79: Nemesis – 700,000+ PPV buys
- January 2nd 2009: UFC 108: Evans Vs Silva – 300,000 PPV buys
- January 1st 2010: UFC 125: Edgar Vs Maynard – 270,000 – 300,000 PPV buys
The good news for the UFC is that they have several impressively stacked events in the near future which should make up for it, starting with UFC 126: Silva Vs Belfort on February 5th.
They may also take some comfort from the fact that despite initial skepticism over the Edgar Vs Maynard main event at UFC 125, the actual fight ended up being far more entertaining than anyone had been anticipating.
A rubber match between the two is now in the works for UFC 130, and wisely they are going to provide a stronger supporting cast this time round, with Rampage Jackson Vs Thiago Silva and Frank Mir Vs Roy Nelson also expected to feature.