Current estimates have UFC 197, the April 23 show headlined by Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux, doing in the 375,000 to 450,000 buy range on pay-per-view, based on ranges from different industry sources.
UFC rarely releases pay-per-view numbers.
The number tells a few stories. The key is while Jones is probably still the UFC's third-biggest drawing card behind Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, he needs an opponent to do big numbers.
The fight was the first for Jones in almost 17 months, a period where he made more headlines for arrests and public relations snafus than for fighting. During that period he was stripped of the light heavyweight title, and was originally scheduled to get a title shot against Daniel Cormier. Because he hadn't lost the title in the cage, most viewed him as the best, whether he had the title or not. After Cormier suffered a ligament injury in his lower leg and had to pull out, Saint Preux came in as a late addition and it was promoted as an interim title fight.
Historically, Jones draws well with a name opponent and his best in a grudge match situation. His biggest numbers in the past have been with Cormier, Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen. The former two had major personal issues with him that the public saw, while the latter two also promoted the fight hard.
Saint Preux, a late replacement for Cormier, wasn't a big name, nor a big talker. Most felt he didn't have much of a chance at winning.
The show itself had a strong action undercard, with a Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo flyweight title match, and an Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Pettis match. It was also seven weeks between shows, a longer than usual gap, which should have helped slightly.
It did better than the Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit fight in January, and ahead of what Cormier drew as champion against Alexander Gustafsson.
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