UFC 162 notebook: Dana White predicts pay-per-view buys to hit 800,000

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dana White was hardly conservative when it comes to predictions on Saturday night’s UFC 162 pay-per-view, headlined by Chris Weidman’s upset middleweight title win over Anderson Silva.

"It’s trending at 800,000 buys," said White after the press conference.

Any number near that level would have to be considered a major success for the company’s marketing campaign for the show. Weidman came into the fight without ever having headlined a pay-per-view, and his signature win over Mark Munoz was on a Fuel show with a relatively small audience. Silva has topped 800,000 buys twice before, for his 2010 fight with Forrest Griffin, which was really a dual headliner for a show that also included a B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian lightweight title match, and for his 2012 rematch with Chael Sonnen on the same weekend last year.

The number would be well above most predictions for the show, and would be the second-best number this year, trailing only the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight on March 16, which in the most recent estimates did just under 1 million buys. "The bar business was huge," White said as well, telling a story about being told people were on the streets going crazy right after the fight because of the magnitude of Weidman’s win, which will go down as one of the most historically important fights in company history because it ended Silva’s nearly seven years on top and record setting 16-fight winning streak.


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There were a lot of other notes on a bevy of subjects in the post press-conference scrum:

*Even in losing, Silva seemed to be White’s major subject after the show. He noted that in his mind, he believes Silva should be ranked above Weidman in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings. He didn’t go into details on the numbers, saying Jon Jones, St-Pierre and Jose Aldo should be at the top. But he said that because of all the records Silva has had, that he deserved to be ahead of Weidman. It’s almost unheard of for a challenger to be ranked above the champion in those rankings, let alone a champion who has just scored a knockout win over the challenger. Silva and Georges St-Pierre had been back-and-forth as No. 1 on nearly every pound-for-pound rankings since 2008. Over the past few years, since St-Pierre has been winning fights via decision while Silva hadn’t lost since early 2006, and had won his last five fights via conclusive stoppage.

*The loss by Silva does end all talk of the superfight, whether it would have been Silva vs. Jon Jones or Silva vs. St-Pierre. "That fight cost GSP, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva a lot of money," he said. "In those superfights, he was the link to both of them." *Another subject White talked about was a Roy Jones Jr. vs. Silva boxing match. Everything is theoretical, noting that he had early talks with Jones Jr. feeling him out, and Jones Jr. was at the show. This was clearly not White’s primary objective with Silva, but it was an idea being entertained. He joked that if Jones Jr. asked for $7 million, or a figure in that range, then the discussions would end at that point.

*The subject of the bantamweight championship and Dominick Cruz came up with White noting that a decision was going to have to be made. Renan Barao will be facing Eddie Wineland in the co-feature at UFC 165 on Sept. 21 in Toronto for the interim bantamweight title. Cruz has been out of action with multiple knee surgeries, with his last fight being on Oct. 11, 2011, and with no fight scheduled in the near future, that means he will go an unprecedented two full years without a title defense.

White didn’t outright say Cruz would be stripped, but indicated he is going to be talking to Cruz soon and they are on the verge of having to make a decision.

* The UFC 166 show, headlined by Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos and Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez on Oct. 19, will have added significance because the show will be airing in Mexico on Televisa, which was confirmed by a UFC source on Saturday night. This is part of UFC’s new deal with Mexico’s largest media conglomerate, which includes the proposed 24-hour pay channel. UFC will have, as part of the deal, four live events on Televisa, the leading station in Mexico, with a market share far larger than FOX in the U.S. The shows are scheduled to be in a one-hour format, live, with two fights.

*White also noted that he had a talk with Stephan Bonnar for the first time since he tested positive for the steroid Drostanolone in his first round TKO loss to Silva on Oct. 13 in Rio de Janeiro. Bonnar and Forrest Griffin were inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame together earlier Saturday. White wasn’t happy with Bonnar with the test failure, noting he came up with reasons but White wasn’t satisfied with them. "He lied to me," White said, but that they worked it all out. White said that it didn’t bother him Bonnar didn't acknowledge the situation or apologize for it while he gave a long speech accepting his award, saying he felt it was his moment and he could say whatever he wanted.

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