For those that may have already forgotten UFC 236 was an absolutely great card.
The event’s main event and co-main were two fight for the ages, as Dustin Poirier defeated Featherweight Champion Max Holloway and we saw Izzy Adesanya take on Kelvin Gastelum in an absolute five round war.
The rest of the card was also great but the results of the pay per view buys says otherwise. UFC 236 came in at a measly 100,000 buys which is a huge let down for a card of that magnitude. Even UFC 234 with a replacement main event was able to net 175,000 buys!
This leaves some questions to be answered as to what the cause for such a low result of PPV buys is. For starts, ESPN+ on the day of the fight was having some major issues, customers were complaining off the wall they were not able to view the PPV right away after purchasing it. Obviously this is unacceptable but is it the cause for such low numbers?
I think this could be only the beginning for the PPV number struggles of the UFC in 2019. The UFC has made it harder for fans to watch PPV’s and made it less affordable for fans to get access to all of the UFC content. This could be starting to drive fans towards free streams.
The UFC’s fan base is mostly males in their 20’s who are not willing to pay money every month for ESPN+ and then another charge of $60 per pay per view. Free streaming has always taken a toll on UFC numbers but now they finally might have push even more people over to the dark side of illegally streaming.
The real problem is the UFC doesn’t care about the buys anymore as ESPN pays them off the bat as if each PPV does 500,000 buys. Since the UFC already has their guaranteed money from ESPN and doesn’t have to struggle to hype up pay per views in hopes of hitting 300,000+ buys.
This hurts the fighters who have a percentage of pay per views factored into their pay. Fighters will now have to hope the PPV does well for the sake of their check, which may even force them to do even more self promotion than some fighters already do.
This new deal with ESPN+ has not only had a negative affect on the PPV buys but also on some of the fighters pay and most importantly the fans. Hopefully the crazy low numbers were just a fluke but we shall see as UFC 237 is coming this Saturday and does not have the main event draw that UFC 236 had.