The first buy rate estimate is in for Saturday night’s UFC 157 show and suggests that more than 400,000 people may have bought the event on pay-per-view which was headlined by the first ever female fight in the promotion’s history between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche.
If that turns out to be accurate then that’s definitely a home-run for all concerned. There had been some fears that leading with a female fight, regardless of the hype, may have had an adverse effect on sales, but that certainly doesn’t seem to have been the case.
By way of comparison, one of the UFC’s biggest PPV stars is Jon Jones who’s last fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 153 drew 450,000 PPV sales, while Anderson Silva’s headline bout with Stephan Bonnar at UFC 154 pulled 410,000 buys.
So Rousey is already in good company for her first ever UFC fight, though she’s still some way short of the 700,000+ PPV buys that Georges St.Pierre has consistently been able to draw for a number of years.
It’ll be interesting to see if she’s able to maintain these kind of numbers from now on as the novelty wears off. Rousey attracted a lot more mainstream attention than we’ve seen in the past including a front page article in the L.A Times, coverage in TIME magazine and Forbes, ESPN interviews and an HBO special, but it remains to be seen whether that was simply due to this being a historic ‘first’ in MMA, or if they will be back for her next fight.
Either way it appears this gamble on the UFC’s part to get involved in women’s MMA has got off to a successful start and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of female mixed martial arts.