May’s UFC 173 event is currently estimated to have fallen around the 200 – 215,000 pay-per-view sales mark by The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer.
If so, that’s a low number by the UFC’s standards, but still around what was expected for a card that never looked like being a big hit.
As it turned out the headline fight saw the performance of the year so far as TJ Dillashaw completely outfought dominant champion Renan Barao to become the new Bantamweight title holder, but neither fighter have yet established themselves as a box office draw, so unfortunately it was always destined to be a fight that was watched by a relatively small number of fans.
It’s quite possible that the number would have been lower still had it not been for the fact that the event had a good co-main event in Daniel Cormier Vs Dan Henderson, while Robbie Lawler Vs Jake Ellenberger was a solid third fight on the bill.
UFC 174 suffered similar problems in that a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov was never going to move the needle, but it didn’t have genuine star power in it’s co-main event to fall back on either, instead relying on a meaningful welterweight match-up between Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley.
It’s too early to predict with any certainty how UFC 174 has fared, but the early indicators suggest that it might drop considerably lower than UFC 173, and if so that could potentially make it one of, if not the lowest UFC pay-per-view of the Zuffa era.
With all that in mind the promotion will no doubt be hoping for a big number for their upcoming UFC 175 event which fields not one, but two title fights as current champions Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey defend their titles against Lyoto Machida and Alexis Davis respectively.
That’s a good line-up, though the event has lost out on a major third fight on the bill between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva which could itself have helped shifted a good number of PPV’s.