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Industry expert downgrades Bare Knuckle boxing’s ‘greatly exaggerated’ PPV buys

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Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship - Paulie Malignaggi v Artem Lobov Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

The whole point of estimating pay-per-view (PPV) buys is to establish a number that is generally in the neighborhood of the final tally, while also providing a margin for error in both directions.

Touting 200,000 PPV buys with a plus or minus of 150,000 is what we call “doing it wrong.”

I’m not sure how else to explain the recent estimate from Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), which had last month’s “Malignaggi vs. Lobov” event in Tampa markedly downgraded by a new report from MMA Fighting.

Industry expert, Dave Meltzer, breaks down the “greatly exaggerated” number.

Reports the Paulie Malignaggi vs. Artem Lobov bare knuckle boxing match on June 22 did better numbers than UFC did on many of its pay-per-view shows appear to be greatly exaggerated.

Based on industry estimates, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships look to have done in the range of 18,000 buys on traditional television pay-per-view. Digital numbers for FITE TV are unavailable, but it is extremely rare that a pay-per-view event that airs on television does nearly the same number on digital. The BKFC show is believed to have done well based on the standards of a FITE TV broadcast, but unless it’s a giant UFC or boxing event, doing even 25,000 buys on Internet pay-per-view is a rarity.

BKFC 6 had a lot of hype surrounding its most recent event, thanks to the high-profile feud between retired boxing champion, Paulie Malignaggi, and UFC import, Artem Lobov, while drawing additional buzz from MMA megastar Conor McGregor.

Meltzer also notes that Google searches can be a strong (but not perfect) predictor of PPV buys. When UFC hits 500,000 searches, the return is generally in the 150,000 range. One million searches results in 300,000 buys.

BKFC 6 produced 200,000 searches.

The promotion is expected to return to action with BKFC 7 in August, headlined by UFC veterans Jason Knight and Leonard Garcia. It will be interesting to see if newer fans who tuned in for “Malignaggi vs. Lobov” will stick around for next month’s effort.

Stay tuned.