When it comes to PPV buy rates we never really get disclosed true and accurate figures. However the one reliable and lone source for UFC pay-per-view figures has and always will be, Mr. Dave Meltzer.
When people talk of buys, stating this PPV did this amount and this one did that, it is all based on his industry intelligence. The UFC never confirms figures, nor do the broadcasters, however, Meltzer’s time in the PPV business has gone on way before the UFC existed and therefore his estimates and contacts are widely considered as valid and on point.
With that being said, here is what he said via MMAFighting.com about UFC 174:
UFC 174, held June 14 in Vancouver, B.C., was expected to be the baseline test of the UFC brand appeal. The main event pitted flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson against an unknown contender, Ali Bagautinov. It was expected going in that it would be the lowest pay-per-view number for the UFC of the modern era. The only question was, how low would it go?
Estimates for the show are running in the 95,000 to 115,000 range, although Yahoo! Sports last week had a 125,000 estimate. UFC does not release its pay-per-view numbers. But by any estimate, it would set a baseline low for the company which only twice in the modern era had fallen below 150,000 buys, and those were for shows without a championship fight. It is believed the prior low for a championship fight was about 180,000 buys for the Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung featherweight title fight at UFC 163.
On Saturday night after UFC 175, Dana White talked about how UFC business is changing to being a worldwide promotion, and that people are going to not be watching every show and he’s accepting of that. He said that the Johnson vs. Bagautinov fight did exactly what they projected and they were not unhappy with the number, saying that the featherweight division is new, praising Johnson as champion and saying he would have no qualms about headlining another pay-per-view show with him.