Ronda Rousey May be the UFC’s New Pay-Per-View Champ

August 28, 2015

It’s sometimes difficult to compare UFC pay-per-view numbers, mostly because there are no official UFC pay-per-view numbers to compare. At least, there are none that the UFC will reveal. The company likes to hold its financials as closely to its chest as possible.

But if current estimates are correct, not only is UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey the most magnetic media presence the company has to offer, she is also becoming its biggest pay-per-view draw.

Rousey’s most recent fight, a 34-second stoppage of Bethe Correia at UFC 190, was not a blockbuster event. Not in the traditional terms. The promotion pulled out all the stops with its advertising and media blitz for UFC 189, which was originally supposed to feature Jose Aldo putting his featherweight belt on the line against Conor McGregor, but Rousey vs. Correia got more of the traditional treatment, although her natural charisma got Rousey media coverage that even the UFC’s deep pockets couldn’t buy if it had wanted to.

Rousey vs. Correia, purely off of Rousey’s drawing power, led to pay-per-view buys north of 900,000, according to MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer, a longtime industry leader in prying pay-per-view figures out of the shadows. And if he’s accurate, that would be the top UFC pay-per-view draw of 2015 thus far.

The mega-promotion behind UFC 189 was good enough for an estimated 825,000 buys, while Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier drew an estimated 800,000 in January.

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Of course, those are estimates and subject to question, since we don’t get factual numbers from the UFC. But even if they are close, the telling factor in all of it is that Rousey is the draw.

ronda-rousey-ufc190-post-750 copyYou can guesstimate that Jones was the larger draw in the fight with Cormier, and that McGregor was the magnet in the fight with Aldo, but both of those bouts were marquee match-ups, fights that fans and pundits thought would be highly competitive. They were big fights.

In Rousey’s case, there was nary a person that felt Correia had more than a puncher’s chance of taking Rousey out, yet people still tuned in to watch. MMA websites, such as, recorded record traffic from Rousey’s expected domination of Correia. It was a typical fight for an extraordinary champion.

Even with McGregor’s meteoric rise, he has yet to scratch the surface of Rousey’s universal appeal. The question now is: how high can Rousey’s stock rise?

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