Sunday, June 12, 2011

UFC 130 "Rampage vs. Hamill" pay-per-view estimate comes in at 300-325K buys

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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The UFC was put in a bad spot last month with their UFC 130 event. The card was supposed to have a Lightweight Title rematch between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, and after their fantastic fight to a draw in January interest was expected to be up.

But both fighters suffered injuries that took them out of the event, and the already maligned co-main event between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Matt Hamill was thrust into the top spot by default.

However, considering the circumstances, the event was a success on pay-per-view for the UFC.

According to Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer newsletter, pay-per-view estimates for the event have it coming in between 300,000 and 325,000 buys.

That number is low for the UFC's average, but actually a really good number for this particular event. Considering the Edgar vs. Maynard fight at UFC 125 only drew around 270,000 buys, as did February's UFC 127 event with B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch, this card did much better than expected.

The UFC continues a very unclear stretch of pay-per-view draws over the summer on Saturday, when Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin square off in a number one contender fight in the heavyweight division.

Carwin has been a part of a show that drew a million buys in last year's UFC 116 event, but that was for Brock Lesnar and there's no telling how his performance in that fight will translate to buys. Same goes for Dos Santos, who has never headlined a UFC event but who did have over a million people watching him as a coach during this season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Then next months' UFC 132 event has a Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz headlining against Urijah Faber, despite the fact that Cruz is making his UFC debut. Add to that the fact that Faber's pay-per-view headlining fight with Jose Aldo last year brought in under 200,000 buys and neither fighter has proven anything yet in terms of their draw. Faber being a part of UFC 128 in March may help, as that show did fairly well and he was the co-main event, but these are two guys that a large segment of the UFC pay-per-view buying fanbase either doesn't know much about or hasn't paid for in the past.

UFC 133 then comes next with Rashad Evans and Phil Davis in the top spot in August, and that card is likely to test the basement for UFC events as well.

Until UFC 134 in August in Brazil, there aren't any major proven draw fights on the schedule, so for now expectations will be tempered for any of these cards. But this number for UFC 130 means that this card did better than expected, and that's a good thing for the UFC.

Link to story at WrestlingObserver.com (subscription required)

Penick's Analysis: Rampage is still a draw, at least for now, regardless of the opponent, and that's probably a large part of what made this card do as well as it did. Of course, after yet another fight going to the judges, that may not translate to people continuing to tune in to make him a draw, but with the next fight being a title fight with Jon Jones I think interest will be back up again. The summer is going to be rough for the UFC, but the fall could bring a lot of business as some of their champions get back in action and some better overall fight cards are available to them to put together.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/UFC_2/article_9577.shtml

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