If the numbers hold up, Ronda Rousey will have evolved from UFC champion to bona fide pay-per-view draw.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made history last weekend with its UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" pay-per-view (PPV) event (full results here), which emanated from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Feb. 23, 2013.
But did the history live up to the hype?
If you're grading on a scale of PPV buys, then yes, according to early estimates from longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) reporter Dave Meltzer (via Wrestling Observer), who predicts Ronda Rousey's Octagon debut will end up well over the 400,000 mark.
Bloody Elbow transcribes:
Over 400,000....they're absolutely thrilled. The show, it was...they had predicted 250. Budgeted 250, I shouldn't say predicted. But I mean, the predictions internally were 250-300. So they blew away their predictions, big time. It's..uh..yeah..it's not as big as I've seen some numbers floating around, it wasn't THAT big, but if you think about what all things considered it was enormous. It was a huge success. Actually, the reality is that it was probably ... there was a very good chance that the promotion of Rousey was TOO successful because she's been offered a role in the next...whatever it is...the next Hunger Games movie that they're going to film. And once that happens it's like...you know, who knows? She's making a lot of money fighting, I don't know what those numbers are going to be when they come out when they're released. But she's making a ton of money. They signed her to a hell of a contract because they really did believe...not necessarily that she'd be this giant PPV draw, but in other ways she'd be incredibly valuable to the company. And so far she has turned out to be more valuable than they expected.
Not too shabby.
Rousey won her headlining fight against Liz Carmouche via first-round submission (see it here) to retain her 135-pound title and live up to the high expectations put on her by fans and media alike. In actuality, every female fighter recently signed to ZUFFA should rejoice, as this kind of return on investment will keep them employed for the foreseeable future.
The bar has officially been set ... but is it too high to reach a second time?
Time will tell.