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UFC 177 estimated to have done 125,000 buys

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It now appears that if the UFC runs a pay-per-view event, that even if everything goes wrong, they are going to get 125,000 buys.

That figure is the estimate for UFC 177, which was a show where, from a promotional standpoint, things couldn't have gone worse. The Aug. 30 show in Sacramento had a weak undercard from a star standpoint. The show was originally set for two title fights, at bantamweight and flyweight, but the flyweight fight was moved back a month to headline UFC 178 when Jon Jones was injured.

The bantamweight title fight wasn't a blockbuster, but it did have a story behind it. Renan Barao had gone undefeated for nine years, covering 33 to 35 fights, depending upon whose records you believe, and was then thoroughly dominated, and finished by T.J. Dillashaw in what ranked as one of the two biggest title change upsets in UFC history.

The main event was scheduled as the rematch.

Barao never appeared to be himself in the fight. Whether that was because of a bad weight cut or because Dillashaw was too fast and had the better game plan, or just got to him first early, there was still an unanswered question whether it was a onetime fluke and a guy having a bad night. Ultimately, that question wasn't answered, and may not be for a long time. The fight fell apart when Barao slipped while cutting weight, knocking himself out, and being taken to the hospital, missing the fight. Joe Soto went from his UFC debut in a prelim fight to being the most unlikely main eventer in years.

The number was roughly the same as UFC 174, where Demetrious Johnson defended his title against a largely unknown Ali Bagautinov, although that show had what was in theory a stronger co-feature with Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley, two strong welterweight contenders.

While those numbers look to be the lowest in years for UFC, it did exceed a lot of predictions.

The first conclusion one would come to is that as long as UFC has a show about once a month, there are 125,000 homes, or at least groups of people, who are big enough fans that they are not going to miss a pay-per-view. And perhaps the cancellation of UFC 176, meaning it was eight weeks between shows, may have had some people ready to get together for a big show, even if the show, from a star power, wasn't up to the usual standard.

Another thing to look at is the communal aspect of pay-per-view and people making plans. Pay-per-view is generally not something people watch individually, and thus, there are plans involved. While Dillashaw vs. Soto was hardly a fight one would have expected to do even 125,000 buys, Dillashaw vs. Barao was advertised for weeks, and would have been expected to do a larger number than that.

It could be as much that people made plans to get together in advance, and when the fight fell through, they kept their plans of watching UFC that night with their buddies.