Even without much promotional effort on her behalf, Ronda Rousey looks to have done another big pay-per-view number in her return. Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting is reporting that early estimates have UFC 207 at about 1.1 million buys, well above what many were predicting in the days leading up to the fight.
This show had many excuses available should it have underperformed. First, it was on a Friday night, only the second pay-per-view in modern UFC history to be held outside of the normal Saturday night timeslot. The other time, UFC 141 headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem did several hundred thousand buys less than expected.
Secondly, Rousey did zero promotion to build up the fight. One of Rousey’s strengths as a draw is that she is able to get covered by outlets that normally would not cover MMA or UFC and reach a unique audience that is only interested when Rousey is fighting.
Finally, Rousey was coming off of a devastating loss to Holly Holm that killed the mystique of Rousey as the invincible superhero.
It appears that her audience found her anyway, as the 1.1 million estimate is right in line with the Holm fight, the most bought fight of her career.
Rousey lost a quick and decisive TKO to Amanda Nunes in the main event and the nature of the loss could spell the end of Rousey as a pay-per-view attraction and perhaps as a fighter all together.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: This number well surpassed my prediction, which was more in the 800,000 range but, considering Rousey’s history, it shouldn’t be too surprising that this show did as well as it did as Rousey routinely surpasses her expectations. At least from a business perspective. Back in October I wrote: “If there’s a perfect fighter to draw buys on a Friday night, it might be Rousey. Rousey has a lot of fans who tend to only buy her fights, so they will be less attached to the traditional Saturday night timeslot than the typical month to month UFC fan.” I think that’s exactly what happened here. Rousey’s fans probably hadn’t bought a fight or even thought much about UFC until her comeback was announced. These fans may not even be aware that Saturday is the “normal” night for UFC. As for the lack of press she did, maybe all that was needed was for her to go on “Ellen” as she did back in October to talk about the fight one time and that was enough to get word out there when the fight was for many people and then the UFC machine could take over the rest from there. Rousey’s media moratorium became a story enough in itself that it was able to make up or the lack of actual interviews.
Despite the nature of her loss, I think Rousey has one more big fight in her, if she has the desire, and I think the fact that UFC and Rousey will make a ton of money off of UFC 207’s success that both will be motivated to give it at least one more shot.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer said on “The Pony Hour” podcast that Amanda Nunes is “like Chuck Liddell with a clitoris.” He went on to clarify “minus the penis.” Former UFC fighter and current Invicta FC commentator Julie Kedzie rebutted on Twitter. “Sort of can’t wait for the day when fighters don’t need genital comparisons to quantify their talent.”
–Mike Goldberg acknowledged his departure from UFC for the first time this weekend with a post to his Twitter page thanking fans and fighters who have reached out to him since his parting of ways with UFC was announced. “What an incredible ride,” he said.
-UFC has announced Marlon Vera as a replacement for Bryan Caraway to fight Jimmie Rivera on the Jan. 15 UFC Fight Night from Phoenix, but Rivera has responded. He now says he is refusing the fight. “I’m not bullying some guy who wins some and loses some,” he told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. “I want to fight the best of the best.” UFC is still advertising the Vera-Rivera fight on their website as of Sunday.
-The Invicta FC bout between Megan Anderson and Charmaine Tweet will not be for the Interim Featherweight Championship as current Invicta Champ Cris Cyborg has been active in UFC in 2016 and also was recently flagged for a potential USADA violation, potentially putting her out of action for one year. (SOURCE)
-MMA was brought up tonight in front of a huge audience in an unexpected environment. On tonight’s Golden Globe Awards broadcast on NBC, Meryl Streep said: “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out, you’ll be left with nothing but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts!” She is not familiar with the diverse nationalities of MMA fighters, nor the broad definition of what qualifies as art.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP…
-Jacare Souza vs. Tim Boetsch at UFC 208 on Feb 11 from Brooklyn.
-Shogun Rua vs. Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night Fortaleza on March 11.
-Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night London on March 18.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE 1/7: Jon Jones reveals his thoughts on Ronda Rousey’s UFC 207 loss (w/Cervantes Analysis)