Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is going to have to stop putting “Fight Night” quality cards on pay-per-view (PPV), unless the boys at WME | IMG — who paid $4 billion for the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion — are content to draw numbers this putrid.
UFC 216: “Ferguson vs. Lee,” preceded by UFC 215: “Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2,” were both box office busts, according to Dave Meltzer, who shared the not-so-good viewership news in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Bloody Elbow summarizes:
Meltzer had already written in his previous newsletter that UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 was estimated at 100,000 buys, so 216’s early projections have it at roughly 120,000. This would be the first time since 2005 that consecutive UFC pay-per-views have drawn less than 150,000 buys. UFC 213 also topped off at around 150,000, so three of the last four UFC PPVs have not even cleared 200,000.
The UFC 216 preliminary card on FX was also a ratings abomination, according to MMA Fighting, pulling in just 653,000 viewers. Not surprisingly, that number is the lowest in the history of the channel and the worst since UFC 179 roughly three years back.
To be fair, it faced stiff competition from college football and MLB playoffs.
The promotion has a chance to bounce back in a big way with the upcoming UFC 217 PPV on Nov. 4 in New York City, which features the return of Georges St-Pierre, along with a bantamweight title fight.
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