On August 4, the UFC took over the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California with UFC 227. The card featured two title fights: a bantamweight title rematch between champion TJ Dillashaw and challenger Cody Garbrandt, and a flyweight title rematch between long-time champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo.
Despite the fact that this card featured two title fights, it was not expected to be much of a pay-per-view hit. Bantamweight and flyweight title fights are not typically big business for the UFC, and the rest of the card was not particularly stacked either.
In the end, however, the card did surprisingly well in terms of PPVs. According to Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, it’s estimated to have sold something in the area of 300,000 PPVs. This number makes the show about as successful as UFC 223, the injury-riddled April card topped by a lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta.
Per Meltzer, it’s difficult to explain why this card did so much better than expected in this era when all UFC PPVs seem to be slumping (to remind, the stacked UFC 226 did less than 500K).
One possibility is interest in the main event:
“Based on searches, Garbrandt and Dillashaw far outdistanced Johnson and Cejudo, even though Cejudo’s title win was easily the biggest news story coming out of the show,” Meltzer said in his report for MMA Fighting. “Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw did have a grudge match element in the buildup, and that usually makes a big difference, and it was a rematch of an exciting first fight.”
Meltzer also notes that the recent announcement of Conor McGregor’s return might have caused an overall surge in interest in MMA.
“Another aspect revolves around the man UFC revolves around, Conor McGregor,” Meltzer explained. “McGregor’s fight with Nurmagomedov was announced the day before the fight, and another big fight with Nick Diaz vs Dustin Poirier was also announced that week. The announcements led to more mainstream media talk about the UFC and may have led to people thinking about UFC and wanting to get together to watch a double title match show.”
Are you surprised that UFC 227 did so well from a PPV sales standpoint?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/14/2018.