We knew from trending patterns following the show that UFC 101 was going to be a massive pay per view event, but I’m not sure anyone expected this. From Dave Meltzer’s excellent Wrestling Observer newsletter (subscription only but worth every penny):
Last week’s early estimates of UFC 101 have been confirmed. We’ve had three different systems of six we’ve gotten reports on real numbers that reported the second best numbers, behind only UFC 100. The others did right at or just below other the big three of late (Couture vs. Lesnar, Griffin vs. Evans and Penn vs. St. Pierre). One national cable estimate was at this stage between 800,000 and 900,000 buys. Trending patterns indicate numbers higher than that, and if it was the same as the big three before UFC 100, or better, as indicated by the few direct numbers we have, it could top 1 million since UFC 92 hit that figure and 91 and 94 were just below
There are two potential reasons for the massive number:
- Every time Brock Lesnar fights on a show, he brings crossover fans from pro wrestling and the mainstream in for the show. Looking at trending patterns and history, it becomes apparent that many of the fans who tune in for Lesnar end up sticking around for a bit and ordering the next couple of shows. Lesnar fought Randy Couture in November last year on a show that did very well, but the December show following it exceeded even the most lofty expectations. We could be looking at the same trend in effect here; people tuned in for UFC 100, got excited about the product, and decided to stick around and check out the next show.
- The drawing power of Forrest Griffin could be far, far greater than we realized. Griffin was undoubtedly the major draw for the card, because neither B.J. Penn, Kenny Florian or Anderson Silva have proven themselves as legitimate pay per view attractions. Griffin has done that, however, and he could ultimately be responsible for how well this show did.
We’ll have Dave on The Takedown this Saturday night to discuss the numbers and what they mean, plus much more. Tune into the show on the 1560 The Game website at 7pm ET and stream it live.