Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White recently revealed that business was alive and well for the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
While that may very well be the case, it doesn't mean it's not subject to a few pay-per-view (PPV) flops, like UFC 174, which according to this report, did somewhere between 95,000-115,000 buys.
That was enough to make it the lowest level of PPV interest for a UFC event in the "modern era."
UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, the man who headlined the June 14, 2014 event alongside relative unknown Russian grappler, Ali Bagautinov, admits he was disappointed in the numbers, as it was his first time headlining a PPV event.
His words on The MMA Hour:
"At first, I was a little disappointed. My goal for myself for headlining my first pay-per-view was to at least be 100,000. That was my goal, that was it. But after hearing what Dana said about it, where he was like, 'We're past that point. It's not about oh, 100,000 PPV's, that's a flop or a fail.' I'm happy to hear him stick up for me like that. I'm glad there's a group of people out there who want to watch me fight. Yes, I'm known as the most technical fighter in the world and I'm going to keep on continuing to keep that as my brand because I love fighting technical. I don't like to go out there and have these slug fests. I like to go out there and dominate my opponents. That's what I plan on to continue to do in my fights."
Known for being a well-versed person who never talks trash about any of his upcoming opponents -- no matter how hard they try to bait him -- "Mighty Mouse" says he doesn't plan on going full Chael Sonnen-mode anytime soon just for the sake of increasing PPV buys.
However, while he doesn't care much for trash talk, he will tune in to a fight that has has plenty of back-and-forth verbal warfare between two opponents, as long as the rivalry is true (like this one), not just something fabricated out of thin air.
"Obviously, I'm not okay with that number. I would love to do six million buys and I want the whole world to watch me fight. But if people are going to tune in to hear me trash talk, then they're not fight fans. They just want to see a guy who's talking shit get his ass whooped. That's basically what they want to see. Everyone has their cup of tea of what they want to see. I have some fights that I love watching that I'll say, 'We ain't doing nothing Saturday, we're staying home.' Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, they're about to fight. They've been talking shit the whole time to each other. Jose Aldo said this, and Chad Mendes came back and said this and that and I was like, 'Whoa, Chad Mendes is throwing fighting words out there.' But that's an actual true rivalry, they don't like each other. That's the beauty about it. But if people just want to pick fights with me, I'm like, 'Dude, I ain't got the time of day.' I got a wife and kid and I got better things to put my energy in. That's where I come from, that's not in my nature. Now if somebody disrespected my wife and disrespected my son, then that goes beyond fighting. It's like when I see you, though I won't do nothing because we'll get arrested, but I'll lose respect for you."
As Floyd Mayweather Jr. has proven time and again, people will definitely pay to potentially see a shit-talking fighter get his or her ass kicked. But that's not Johnson's style and it never will be, though he has shown small glimpses.
He is, however, a very good champion with only one loss under the UFC banner that has the "Fight Night" bonuses to back up his worth. Unfortunately, as White reiterated, fight fans are still having a hard time gravitating toward the 125-pound division.
It's either that or the fact that UFC is putting on a record number of events each year, many of them on free television, is allowing fans to go a weekend (or two) without their fight fix.
Whatever the case may be, Johnson won't have all the pressure on his shoulders to outdo the UFC 174 PPV rates in his next outing, as he his upcoming title defense against Chris Cariaso has been pegged as the UFC 177 co-main event, which takes place at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 30, 2014.
The featured bout of the evening will see T.J. Dillashaw defend his UFC bantamweight title against Renan Barao, the very man he took the title from at UFC 173 earlier this year.
Another event that wasn't exactly a PPV homerun.