The early sales estimate for December 30th’s UFC 207: Nunes Vs Rousey event in Las Vegas suggests that approximately 1.1 million people bought the pay-per-view.
That’s the word according to The Wrestling Observer’s Guy Meltzer, and if true that’s another home run for the UFC to round off what proved to be a hugely successful 2016 campaign.
In total the UFC logged a record five events in the past calendar year that did over 1 million buys, with UFC 196: McGregor Vs Diaz estimated to have done 1.5 million, then UFC 200: Tate Vs Nunes doing just over 1 million buys, followed by UFC 202: McGregor Vs Diaz II with a record-breaking 1.65 million and UFC 205: Alvarez Vs McGregor estimated to have done somewhere north of 1 million sales.
It’s a testament to Rousey’s star power that she was able to keep pace with those blockbuster shows despite the fact that she had declined to do any media leading into the fight, and the event was airing on a Friday night instead of the traditional Saturday slot.
Of course the down side is that, given the one-sided beatdown that she suffered for the second fight in a row, that could well have been the last time we ever see Rousey in the Octagon.
If that is the case then Rousey will have earned enough from that one fight to live comfortably for the rest of her life, having pocketed a $3 million basic salary in addition to a cut of the pay-per-view revenue that will add more millions to her bank balance.
Also cashing in big on the night was Amanda Nunes who also took a slice of the PPV revenue thanks to her champion status, as did Dominick Cruz, which will have made them both millionaires overnight.
It remains to be seen whether the UFC can continue to flourish in 2017, however. With Rousey potentially now gone for good and Conor McGregor out of the picture for an indefinite period of time while his long-time partner gives birth to their first child, there are no emerging stars at the moment who look like they could fill the shoes of those two mainstream icons.
With that in mind, perhaps now would be a good time to stop playing hardball and come to terms with Georges St-Pierre to facilitate his return to the Octagon, while Brock Lesnar will be eligible to compete again in July after serving a suspension, though it remains to be seen whether he will be interested in fighting again.
That being said, the real trick for WME-IMG if they want to claw back the $4.2 billion they invested in the company last year will be to invest their considerable resources into developing the pay-per-view stars of the future.