UFC 225, a show that was supposed to feature two title matches, is currently estimated at doing about 250,000 buys on pay-per-view.
The number has been the subject of controversy over the past several days because of a Los Angeles Times original report that listed an industry official saying the show did less than 150,000 buys.
That number would have been considered low, and perhaps shockingly so for the event, although the two title matches didn’t feature any fighter with a drawing history.
UFC attorney Hunter Campbell claimed that the estimate in the Los Angeles Times article was a “material misrepresentation” of how the show did and was short by “something in excess of six figures,” but would not give a number.
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.
Headliners Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero had no previous history of drawing power. Romero failed to make weight, so some of the luster of that fight was gone since the middleweight title wasn’t at stake.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington was another title fight. But historically, interim titles — especially when fans recognize that the real champion, Tyron Woodley, is coming back soon — usually aren’t big draws.
Tai Tuivasa, the Australian heavyweight who came in with nine straight knockouts, faced Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski has had a long tenure as a star, which helped add depth to a card that also included name fighter Holly Holm and former pro wrestling superstar CM Punk.
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.
The number would be in the same range as UFC 222, which was headlined by Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya. For 2018, it would be trailing UFC 220, which featured Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier each defending their heavyweight and light heavyweight titles, and UFC 223 headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta, and a women’s strawweight title fight with Rose Namajunas retaining over Joanna Jedrzejczyk.