The first pay-per-view buy estimates are in for last month’s UFC 197 event, with Dave Meltzer at MMAFighting.com reporting that the card drew between 375,000 and 450,000 buys.
The card was headlined by a late replacement fight between Jon Jones and Ovince Saint Preux for an Interim Light Heavyweight Championship following an injury to Daniel Cormier in the weeks before the event. Unlike past occasions with an injury removal, Jones opted to accept a late replacement fight, and he defeated Saint Preux by decision in that main event in Las Vegas.
Jones returned to the cage in that fight for the first time in over 15 months, having last appeared at UFC 182 in January of 2015. The oft-troubled pound for pound best fighter in the world spent almost all of 2015 sidelined due to his actions in a hit and run accident in Albuquerque, then wound up in jail early in April after a parole violation in a dubious traffic stop. He shook the latter incident off in order to compete on the card, and bested the late replacement with a one-sided performance.
UFC 197 also featured UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in his latest title defense, as he defeated Henry Cejudo in the first round for his eighth consecutive defense.
Penick’s Analysis: This can be seen as a good number for this card. It’s where many of Jones’ fights have been at, with his spikes in buys coming against the right type of opponent. Cormier may have been that man, though the fact that Jones beat him in their first meeting may also work against the rematch regardless of the fact that Cormier now has the title. Of course, they’ll get the boost by being on UFC 200, because that number and the pushed historic narrative of the card will prop that one up a bit further. Still, Jones is good for around 400,000 buys no matter what, so this is keeping with that range in a late replacement setting. It would have been considerably less had Jones not opted to remain on the card.
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