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ESPN+ train wreck leaves UFC 236 short of 100k PPV buys

UFC 145: Jones v Evans - Press Conference Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

I think most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans expected the UFC 236 pay-per-view (PPV) event to skew low, now that Dana White and Co. have transferred the entire business to ESPN+, but coming in at less than 100,000 buys is a complete disaster.

Which is unfortunate when you consider how great some of the fights turned out to be, including the championship showdowns pitting Dustin Poirier against Max Holloway and Israel Adesanya opposite Kelvin Gastelum, just to name a few.

That number is brought to you by Dave Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, courtesy of Bloody Elbow, which puts it in the same company as the sub-100k UFC 224 and just under UFC 225, which also failed to generate much interest from paying customers.

UFC 236 had a couple of things working against it. First and foremost, it was streamed exclusively on ESPN+, limiting the number of buys to current subscribers who wanted to purchase the show. Secondly, in-app ordering was not yet available, forcing fans to their desktop computers to order the event.

It was complicated, as predicted.

The latter has since been rectified, but it’s hard to predict how much improvement the promotion can expect for UFC 237 this weekend in Rio, headlined by a women’s strawweight title fight pitting Rose Namajunas against Jessica Andrade.

I guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

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