There’s arguably no other fighter that the UFC has marketed more aggressively than Anderson Silva in the past six months. It all started back in July when the UFC started to heavily promote Anderson as the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, and kicked it off with a free card where Silva TKO’d James Irvin in the first round. Naturally, the assumption was that it would lure people in to buy a pay-per-view with Silva headlining.
The test to see how their efforts paid off came at UFC 90 “Silva vs. Cote.” According to MMA Payout, Countdown to UFC 90 pulled record ratings, which was supposedly a positive indication of a high buy rate. Turns out that wasn’t the case though. Dave Meltzer has the disappointing number.
The trending patterns as a prediction of the buy rate continued to be right on as the 10/25 show in Chicago headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote did 300,000 buys.
Yeah, that’s pretty bad, and actually lower than past events featuring Silva. Apparently, the “pound-for-pound” tag didn’t pay off quite like they hoped it would. But in this instance, maybe that was a blessing in disguise. Maybe it’s better that not that many people saw Anderson Silva’s performance against Patrick Cote. Newcomers might never want to see him fight again if so.
The question now is, why? Are people just not that interested in Anderson Silva? Was it the match-up? Or perhaps more alarming, contrary to what Zuffa has said, is the abysmal economy adversely affecting pay-per-view buys?
If it’s the latter that may not be a good sign. Dana White told anyone who would listen including ESPN that UFC 91 was going to do 1.2 million pay-per-view buys. What if that number only comes back at 500,000? Between you and me, I’d probably get a little chuckle out of it for having egg on his face, but honestly, that would probably be a pretty bad sign for everyone.
And that’s certainly nothing to laugh about.