MMA fans will have a lot to look forward to over the coming weeks. Unfortunately for MMA organizations the numbers might not look so good for the first quarter of 2009 with one notable exception.
Afflicted…but for now much longer
The main event for “Day of Reckoning” will feature Fedor Emelianenko putting his WAMMA title on the line against Andrei Arlovski. This fight is one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in recent times but apparently no one is interested in seeing the fight live.
There have been reports in the past week that have pegged actual sales numbers at just 1,500 to 2,000 of the 15,000 available tickets for the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Affliction.
President Tom Atencio has told MMA Junkie, “That’s absolutely not true,” and maintains sales are “comparable” to its first show that took place in July 2008. Sales for that show were around 11,000.
Rear Naked News went to extreme lengths to get to the bottom of things in his article “Affliction Is Busted” which worth a read.
Time will reveal all shortly. One thing is for certain. If these numbers are anywhere near the final take and PPV numbers are reflective this could be Affliction’s swan song in MMA.
UFC 93: A PPV bust?
Unfortunately for the UFC this one may be a bust. The original idea for UFC 93 was to air the card free on Spike TV. But reports indicated that Spike had not budgeted for the show. That left Zuffa with no other option but to make it a PPV event.
The PPV numbers are never as good for a European show because of the several hour time delay. The UFC will do a live PPV at 3pm eastern and then re-air it at 10pm eastern. I cannot see this card doing much better then UFC 80 which was the last PPV they did in Great Britain. That card featured BJ Penn taking on Joe Stevenson for the lightweight belt and did around 225,000 buys.
Personally I think the UFC should have lowered the price for this PPV. If it were half the price many fans, who have decided to pass on the show, might actually buy the card. But lowering your price can always hurt the brand value and they could end up getting a bad buy rate regardless.
That being said, the main event will feature an intriguing fight between Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson. Todd Jackson and I will be debate who we think will win in “The War Report” which will be published tomorrow.
UFC 94: Biggest PPV ever?
Some thought that going into this fight card it had the potential to be the biggest PPV ever for the UFC. That was before Dana White made the shocking claim that UFC 92 had topped UFC 91 by 100,000-175,000 buys. UFC 91 did 1.01 million buys.
These numbers haven’t been substantiated yet but if true they are beyond impressive for a show that was originally projected to do around 600,000 buys.
Spike TV will be airing “UFC Primetime” on January 14. It will be a 24/7 show following both George St. Pierre and BJ Penn through a day in their life to hype the fight. While this PPV should be very successful it will be hard pressed to top the numbers UFC 92 may have done.
There is a real possibility that the fight card could underperform given the glut of recent shows.
UFC 96: No Chuck Liddell?
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer said on this weeks radio show that Chuck Liddell will not be a part of the main event at UFC 96 in Ohio. This could bode disastrous for the fight card and would leave “Shane Carwin vs Gabriel Gonzaga” as the fight card’s main event.
While the heavyweight showdown is a compelling matchup – and the winner could become a No. 1 contender – it is simply not main event material. The event also features intriguing matchups like Dustin Hazelett vs. Ben Saunders and Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller.
However, if the card remains as is this could be one of the worst PPV cards in recent times. Let us hope Dana White and Joe Silva have an “ace up their sleeve” but as of now their options seem very limited.
…In fighter news
Forrest Griffin could be out for up to a year. That’s according to the The Sun which today reported that the former light heavyweight champion is out at least until fall, throwing a wrench into plans to keep him active and busy in the talent-rich 205-pound division.
Griffin revealed in the post-fight interview that he had broken his left hand in the second round of his fight against “Sugar.” And the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) issued a medical suspension until June 27, 2009, unless he had the injury cleared by an orthopedic physician sooner.
MMAWeekly report is less “gloom and doom” saying that they recently spoke to sources close to Griffin later on Tuesday morning who stated that the “Ultimate Fighter” alum is recovering well from surgery on his hand. He is hopeful to make a return during the summertime and should not have to sit out for any major period of time.
Either way the news should all but solidify a title fight between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad “Sugar” Evans. Jackson had said he might be interested in a rematch with Griffin before getting a title shot but Griffin’s injury should rule out any rematch until the second half of 2009.
New WEC featherweight champion Mike Thomas Brown will defend his title for the first time on March 1 against Leonard Garcia in the co-main event of WEC 39 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. This the first time a major MMA event has been held in the Lone Star State since UFC went there for UFC 69 in Houston, April, 2007.
Both Brown and Garcia last fought at WEC 36. Brown pulled off the stunning upset over WEC poster boy and former champ Urijah Faber while Garcia get made quick work of Jens Pulver, notching at TKO victory in the first round. This fight could produce some fireworks.
Faber will be taking on Jens Pulver in a rematch at WEC 39. If he wins a fight with the winner of Brown vs. Garcia seems like a foregone conclusion.
In the “other” main event welterweight champion Carlos Condit put his title on the line once again in a rematch against Brock Larson. If you haven’t seen Condit fight you are missing out on one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. Make sure your cable has the VERSUS channel to catch all the action.
That’s all for now MMA fans. Make sure to watch “UFC Primetime” on Spike TV tonight and enjoy UFC 93 this weekend. We will see you back next week.