It hasn't been an easy week for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Jon Jones was removed from his main event rematch with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200, Anderson Silva then took his spot, Brock Lesnar's Heavyweight tilt with Mark Hunt moved into the main event spot and then Miesha Tate's championship showdown with Amanda Nunes bumped Lesnar off the marquee to solidify the card.
Despite all of these changes, UFC 200 still remains a massive event. According to UFC execs, fight fans will still rush in record fashion to get their orders in for UFC 200's pay-per-view (PPV) main card when the action begins later tonight (Sat., July 9, 2016) live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, starting at 10 p.m. ET.
"This will be our biggest pay-per-view event," said Marshall Zelaznik, exec-VP and chief content officer, UFC, per a recent report by Ad Age. "We've made sure that all our distribution partners are prepared for an onslaught. Every effort has been made to prepare for the crush of orders. It's a monumental moment for us."
"When boxing was at its peak, there was always a moment when there was a fight where the world would just stop everything and watch. We think UFC 200 is going to be another big 'stop and watch' event."
Zelaznik could be right -- UFC 200 is already commanding unprecedented spotlight and the removal of Jones may have even shed more attention on the promotion's bicentennial baby.
While Lesnar is no longer part of the main event, he's undoubtedly the main attraction at UFC 200. Besides current UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor, the WWE superstar remains the biggest draw in the promotion's history, which is evident by the top five highest selling UFC PPV events of all time (shown below, courtesy of MMA Manifesto).
1. UFC 100 -- Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir (1,600,000 PPV buys)
2. UFC 196 -- Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz (1,500,000 PPV buys)
3. UFC 194 -- Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor (1,200,00 PPV buys)
4. UFC 116 -- Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin (1,160,000 PPV buys)
5. UFC 193 -- Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm (1,100,000 PPV buys)
Only time will tell, but UFC 200 has the potential to crack the 2 million PPV buys mark. Pulling off the impossible and bringing Silva in on short notice to fight Cormier is certainly going to help UFC break records later tonight.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 200 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.