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UFC 181 PPV buys may explain demise of Rory MacDonald welterweight title fight

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The estimated pay-per-view (PPV) buys are in for UFC 181, which took place earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And they ain't too shabby.

Headlined by the Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler 170-pound title fight, as well as the lightweight championship showdown between Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez, UFC 181 returned between 375,000 and 400,000 buys, according to MMA Fighting.

UFC hasn't seen numbers like that since Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey did work last July.

Considering the tepid sales from recent PPV offerings -- based largely on the lack of available talent -- UFC 181 generated a pretty healthy return, which likely helped fuel the promotion's decision to pass on Rory MacDonald in favor of "Lawler vs. Hendricks 3" (more on that here).

Nothing personal, just business.

Lawler was able to capture the crown in a close decision victory in "Sin City" after their previous five-round war -- considered one of the best fights of 2014 -- last March in Dallas, Texas. That anticipation, coupled with the return of "Showtime," undoubtedly played a significant role in drumming up interest.

How the trilogy unfolds remains to be seen, but if "Ruthless" has a say in it, we may not have our answer until Memorial Day Weekend.

Stay tuned.

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