ROUNDTABLE: Pay-per-view buyrate predictions for Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm headlined UFC 193 event

Ronda Rousey (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Spots)

How well do you expect UFC 193 to do on pay-per-view given Ronda Rousey’s recent successes and some significant promotion for the event?



UFC 190’s massive pay-per-view success really came out of left field. It was such a massive success that Dana White’s pre-fight buyrate prediction only overestimated total pay-per-view sales by about two million buys as opposed to his normal two point five million buys overreach. Congratulations, Dana.

That said, I can’t imagine this hitting as high as UFC 190. Part of the UFC 190 success, which was absolutely a one fight, nay a one fighter, draw was that it was riding the crest of the massive UFC 189 hype machine. No different than UFC 101 after UFC 100, and UFC 117 after UFC 116, UFC 190’s buyrate has to be partially attributed to the UFC 189 success? Right? Right?

UFC 193 this weekend is a much better card than UFC 190, but it’s six weeks after a pay-per-view headlined by one of the company’s (self-admitted, don’t blame the messenger) lowest draws Daniel Cormier. Six weeks is an eternity in MMA. And not only has it been six weeks, but it’s been a completely dead six week period for the sport as well. UFC 190 ended a run of (let me check my math… carry the one, cross my t…) 27 UFC events in a 19 day period, and every one of those events had 9 FOTY contenders on each card. So suffice it to say, people were buzzing for the sport back then, back in the day, back in the good old days.

Let’s say…. 800,000 buys for UFC 193, including one emanating from my basement.



I pegged her last one at 350,000 to 400,000 buys prior to realizing she’s the biggest star in MMA now. Not only did she easily surpass that, topping 900,000 purchases, she did so on a card that featured little else other than some washed-up Brazilians, fighting in front of their home crowd.

So, based on that, does she now have a shot at over a million buys? Well, she’s now been on the cover of everything, she’s shown up on all the shows on television, and her public persona has become enormous. Heck, if she lands the coveted Ms. Marvel role, she might be the first on-screen superhero who has all the requisite physical prowess to actually stop crime in real life. From a match perspective, she has an infinitely more interesting and skilled opponent in Holly Holm than the crazy-eyed Bethe Correia. Everything here is lining up for Rousey to trumpet her status as MMA’s biggest star by hitting that seven figure mark.

And yet, I’m hesitant to make that call, I’m even hesitant to say she equals the success of UFC 190. My initial reaction to this question was about 750,000 buys. And then I did a double take, that seems like a ton of buys, an almost impossible number with how things have been trending since Georges St-Pierre and Brock Lesnar have stopped fighting. But you have to realize, I’m looking at this as an MMA proposition, not a pop culture one. In an MMA vacuum, the card of Rousey and some other people in Australia is not my most anticipated of the year, it’s not even close. In a world where she’s long since transcended the sport and more people know who she is than who she fights for, this is the UFC event that people know and care about. Rousey’s got a real shot at a million buys. If she gets it, we are really going to have to start thinking about what her status is as a sports icon, because it’s immense.



I think it does very well. Around 900,000 would be on the low-end. I think this event can do 1 million or 1.1 million buys. Rousey is the draw, who she’s fighting is secondary. Now, obviously, if she’s fighting another big name that would push things over the top, but people want to see Rousey fight. I think this will be an enormous fight,and one that delivers on excitement and buyrate. Everytime Rousey obliterates an opponent, her legend grows. All these successes stack up and add to the appeal. Rousey is at a spot where people will pay to see her win, and some will also pay to see her lose. And every time she wins, that only grows. More people will pay to see her win, and more people will pay to see her lose. We haven’t reached the top of this wave just yet, so I think this show does at least as good or better as Rousey’s last fight did.



I’ve been hearing other prognosticators say that it is going to come in either just over or under a million buys and that sounds about right to me. To be more specific, I’ll say she goes a bit over, beating UFC 168, which was the last UFC pay-per-view to go over a million. I’ve had all sorts of people that don’t know what MMA is who know who Rousey is and have legitimate interest in her. I know that doesn’t always equal pay-per-view sales, but she got 900,000 out of a chump opponent and weak supporting cast at UFC 190.

I know the arguments: Correira sold the fight even if anyone who knew anything realized her chances were about as good as Adam Sandler ever winning an Oscar, whereas Holm’s passive personality has done nothing to sell. But the UFC has gone all-in Rousey and the promotion for this pay-per-view is above what they did for 190. Even if Holm isn’t the type to market herself to maximize her monetary value, the UFC has gone about promoting her boxing credentials the right way to intrigue the masses. So I stand by a million plus buys.

[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]


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