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 the subscription based Wrestling Observer about UFC 166:
It’s far too early to get an accurate PPV number, but the early trends are, at least to me, hugely disappointing. When Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson did far lower than any Jones show to date, it had the built in excuse of being one week after Mayweather vs. Alvarez. While the boxing/MMA crossover isn’t that large, that event, when you’re talking 2.2 million buys at $75 a head and the fight that everyone was talking about, that is the exception. Dana White has said that the number (which he wouldn’t reveal) was better than he expected, but he’s also a bigger boxing fan than most.
Various sources have pegged it as lower than the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley boxing match seven nights earlier. No national number has been released for that fight either. Like with Jones, this based on earliest samples, looks to be the lowest Velasquez main event. That’s saying something since his last fight was with Bigfoot Silva, who he had massacred a year earlier, and was on a show with a strong undercard.
There is the argument that the boxing PPV drew a predominately Mexican-American audience, the same audience that Velasquez largely draws from. The idea that after getting together and spending money one week that getting people who as a general rule are not rich, to spend the next week would be difficult. But at the same time, if you have a main event people want to see, they are going to buy it. In addition, HBO replayed the Marquez vs. Bradley fight and had a very strong live main event in Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Mike Alvarado. That fight was expected to be a war and from most accounts, delivered. It was also a show geared strongly at the Mexican-American fan base, which went head-to-head.