Looks like the trilogy fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz earlier this month wasn’t the massive blockbuster draw that newly-minted MMA promoter Oscar De La Hoya expected it to be.
According to Lance Pugmire of LA Times, industry sources believe the pay-per-view (PPV) event did a dismal 30,000 buys. Remember, Ortiz predicted his main event grudge match with Liddell, which ended with Ortiz finishing “Iceman” via first-round knockout, was going to command at least 200,000 PPV buys. At this rate, Ortiz is going to be massively short of his own expectations.
Industry source tells me the Liddell-Ortiz PPV buys may be as low as 30,000....but the Tiger-Phil golf might reach 1 million (all refunded, but a glimpse of what a low price can generate).— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) November 30, 2018
In addition to Pugmire’s sources, Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports is hearing that the PPV event only managed to pull in 25,000 buys.
I’ve heard 25k for the fight— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) November 30, 2018
If these reported numbers are remotely on target, that means the debut of De La Hoya’s Golden Boy MMA promotion was an unmitigated disaster. Having predicted that Liddell and Ortiz would make more money for their trilogy fight than they did in any other fight in their MMA careers, De La Hoya may have extended himself a bit too far for this PPV dud.
While a select group of hardcore fight fans were anticipating the trilogy fight between two of the most popular fighters of all time, casual viewers didn’t seem to catch on. Not only was Liddell returning from an eight-year retirement, but the two light heavyweights hadn’t fought one another in nearly 12 years. It just wasn’t the type of fight casual fans were going to sink their teeth into, especially on a busy Thanksgiving Day weekend featuring a PPV golf match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
In the end, Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 offered more proof that it’s difficult to sell in today’s MMA market. Despite plastering notable combat keepsakes on the marquee banner, Golden Boy MMA wasn’t able to even scratch the surface.
Stick with Mania as more numbers roll in.