Ronda Rousey’s returned to Pay-Per-View against Amanda Nunes for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship at UFC 207 and early estimates are in!
Dave Meltzer of MMAFighting says that the event will likely draw around 1.1 million buys — making it the fifth card to do break the 1 million buy mark in 2016. Prior to last year, the UFC’s best year only had three Pay-Per-Views draw a million buys.
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) January 5, 2017
The pre-fight and post-fight shows on FOX Sports 1 did 572,000 and 404,000 viewers respectively — making both shows among the top-five all-time.The preliminary bouts on FS1 were headlined by Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny, and the pre-PPV offering drew 1,511,000 million viewers according to Meltzer, becoming the fourth-most watched preliminaries of 2016. Hendricks vs. Magny peaked at ~1.8 million viewers.
The Pay-Per-View event also featured the rise of Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt, who defeated Dominick Cruz to become the new Bantamweight Champion of the world at just 25 years old. Cruz and Garbrandt aren’t proven PPV draws, but the two were spotlighted leading up to the Dec 30 PPV because of Rousey’s absence — appearing in a series of interviews in which they repeatedly bashed each other in an attempt to sell their 135-pound grudge match.
The off-night Pay-Pay-View (Friday) wasn’t expected to draw as well as it looks like it did, but one must still question whether or not Rousey’s media blackout and the lack of build-up to the Women’s Bantamweight Championship affected the drawing power of UFC 207.
The demographics for women ages 18-49 were also above normal. This suggests that Rousey still has appeal towards those outside the UFC targeted demographic, specifically women who otherwise wouldn’t care to watch UFC programming. Would the same exact card have drawn closer to 2-million buys in the traditional Saturday night time slot?
When you get the call on Saturday afternoon from friends who want to come over for UFC tonight. Knew this would happen.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) December 31, 2016
Will Ronda Rousey return to the UFC after drawing such a huge number on PPV or will the former Women’s Bantamweight Champion retire after getting mauled by ‘The Lioness’ in just 48 seconds at UFC 207?