As a private company, the UFC doesn’t officially release numbers for their pay-per-view events, so those reported wind up being best estimates based on a number of industry factors. However, the fighters involved in the events with a pay-per-view stake are privy to that information, and one such fighter has given a look into how his events have done in the last year.
In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, Daniel Cormier talked about his year in pay-per-view, saying that his fight with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in May at UFC 187 drew below 400,000 buys, and his most recent fight with Alexander Gustafsson did shy of 300,000. That’s in line with numbers reported by Dave Meltzer in his Wrestling Observer newsletter, and Cormier talked this week about needing the right opponent to draw better numbers.
“You really do need the right person to make it happen,” Cormier said. “… The fight [at UFC 187] with [Johnson] had [Middleweight Champ] Chris Weidman on there too, who did almost 1 million against Anderson Silva. But against Vitor Belfort, it was hard for us to crack the number that we wanted to. You have to look at it as a whole.”
Cormier believes there will be an uptick for his next fight, a rematch with a returning Jon Jones. Their first was one of the better draws of the year, and the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion believes the rematch will be a significantly bigger show.
“Way over 1 million,” he predicts for the rematch buyrate. “I would love for us – for Jon and I – to do 1 million-and-a-half [buys]. In our first one, we did 700,000, but there are a lot of factors that could make this one really big. Not only our rivalry, but Jon coming back from his legal issues.
“I believe that it can be a really, really big pay-per-view.”
Penick’s Analysis: It’s interesting to get a closer idea on these types of numbers from someone directly in the mix like Cormier here. It’s not surprising that his fights with Johnson and Gustafsson didn’t draw very well; the Johnson fight was supposed to have Jon Jones prior to the hit and run, and Cormier entered having lost to Jones the last time out. And with the Gustafsson matchup, the Swede had been knocked out by Johnson earlier this year, and so you had two fighters not perceived as the best in the field. Things will be different for Jones’ return fight, and though a million and a half is almost assuredly not going to happen, it should rival or best the very good buyrate they pulled at UFC 182 earlier this year.