Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has given Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, multiple opportunities to build his star power, showcasing "Mighty Mouse" in the main event of three primetime UFC on FOX telecasts in 2013.
Johnson seemingly made the best of each situation, winning "Fight of the Night" against John Dodson at UFC on FOX 6, "Submission of the Night" over John Moraga at UFC on FOX 8 and an emphatic "Knockout of the Night" at the expense of Joseph Benavidez at UFC on FOX 9.
Johnson's good deeds were rewarded with the top spot on a recent pay-per-view (PPV) event, UFC 174, when he took on relative unknown Russian grappler, Ali Bagautinov, on June 14, 2014. But, the impressive performances and nationwide exposure have yet to translate to box office drawing power.
And that might be an understatement.
That's because UFC 174 only did 95,000 to 115,000 PPV buys, according to MMAFighting.com, which makes it the lowest level of PPV interest for a UFC event in the "modern era," according to MMAPayout.com.
"You would have to go back to June 2005 and UFC 53 to find the last UFC PPV with such a low buy rate. UFC 53, which featured Andre Arlovski in the main event, drew just 90,000 PPV buys."
To add insult to injury, it was revealed earlier this afternoon (full details here) that Bagautinov tested positive for Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (EPO) -- a hormone that controls red blood cell production -- and was slapped with a one-year suspension.
Of course, Johnson is not the one to shoulder all the blame -- he went out and did his thing. The promotion suffered for UFC 174 with "International Fight Week," which took place two weeks later, consuming much of the interest and his supporting cast (blame it on Arlovski!) offering little in the way of must-see firepower.
Just remember: THINGS CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE.