Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of pay television service by which a subscriber of a television service provider can purchase events to view via private telecast. The UFC has been using this format since its inception on November 12, 1993.
The UFC has experienced astounding success over the past decade. Thanks to Zuffa, it elevated the sport from being branded by critics as human cockfighting to becoming embraced by most. Mixed martial arts has now a niche in the general sporting landscape.
Today, UFC’s recent failings are few and far between, with consistently strong showings both in ratings and event buys. Right now, the company is led by its new pay-per-view king Conor McGregor.
McGregor’s rematch against Nate Diaz benefitted the UFC in PPV revenue, amounting to $1,650,000. With the exception of boxing matches, the UFC is the only promotion ever to top 1 million buys on North American pay-per-view.
The WWE, before largely getting out of the pay-per-view business, did more than 1.2 million buys on two separate occasions for WrestleMania events. But those are worldwide numbers and they did anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of their buys outside North America.
This was UFC’s third show of 2016 to top the 1 million mark, with UFC 200 in July joining the two Diaz vs. McGregor fights. Previously, only a handful of UFC shows have topped that mark, most headlined by Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey or McGregor.
But, no matter how much success one attains, there are going to be low points. Some pay-per-view events simply do not pull in the numbers that a production like the UFC should.
Here are the top six UFC events that disappointed and flopped in the pay-per-view box office.
UFC 136: Edgar vs Maynard III
BJ Penn laid the foundation for fighters who compete at the lighter weight classes and proving that they are exciting to watch and they matter. UFC had a PPV card in October 2011 that is headlined by a rubber match between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
Meanwhile, Jose Aldo was in the co-main event, defending the UFC featherweight title against Kenny Florian. Even though it had two title fights on the card, the casual fans don’t respond well to smaller fighters.
The event had quality firepower, but UFC 136 only grossed 225,000 buys.