Eyebrows were raised last week when an industry insider told the Los Angeles Times that UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero had not even cleared 150,000 pay-per-view buys. A UFC attorney shot down that claim, saying that number was off by “something in excess of six figures.”
Well MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has his PPV estimates, and it turns out “in excess of six figures” is roughly 100,000 buys, making the new total 250,000 when including online purchases.
Industry sources with knowledge of the number pegged that as of the end of last week, it was estimated at doing about 250,000 buys, a number that would combine both the traditional television purchases and the streaming purchases. That would be lower to what would be expected for the show.
The main event, a non-title middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero (whose weight miss made this non-title instead of a Whittaker title defense), only managed 150,000 buys for their first fight at UFC 213. This was a more stacked card and thus was expected to fare much better, and in fairness it produced a very healthy $2 million live gate at the United Center in Chicago.
Of course, one of the main interests on this pay-per-view was the second pro MMA fight for former WWE star CM Punk. His lopsided unanimous decision loss to Mike Jackson was given a main card slot in efforts to boost the buyrate. While this PPV did about 200,000 fewer buys than UFC 203 (CM Punk’s debut), search trends suggest that there was some interest in seeing Punk compete again.
A 250,000 number likely indicates Punk had some positive impact, but nothing compared to the interest in his first fight back in 2016.
Google searches, which usually help gauge who had the most impact on the number, saw Punk well in front of anyone on the show, with secondary showings by Holm and Covington.
According to Meltzer, UFC 225 would be right around the same total as UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya, and behind UFC 223: Khabib vs. Iaquinta and UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou, of which the latter’s 350,000 buys is currently the best-selling UFC event of 2018.