Despite months and months of some of the most outrageous trash talk Anderson Silva has ever been subjected to, he never really got too angry at Chael Sonnen. Maybe Silva’s just not the type to let words bother him, or maybe he knew all the hype Sonnen created around the fight was actually doing him a favor. Maybe he knew it would make him more pay-per-view bonus money than he ever has on his own. If that’s what he thought, it looks like he was right. According to Dave Meltzer (via WKR), early trending estimates suggest UFC 117 is approaching the one million buy mark.
We don’t have a buyrate and won’t have a really good indication on how the show did until at least next week. I do know that using the method I usually use on Monday mornings, which is usually pretty accurate in terms of a predictor (I came up with 1.5 million for UFC 100 and the real number was 1.6 million, and 1.25 million for UFC 116 and the real number ended up being about 1.1 million, so it’s sometimes up and sometimes down but usually close) the show is trending just slightly under the Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans show, which did about 1 million buys. Dana White on Saturday night said his early trending info had him ecstatic and was pointing to the biggest Anderson Silva fight of all time. Keep in mind the previous biggest Anderson fight was versus Forrest Griffin, which did about 900,000. The feeling from the UFC side Monday was that it’s likely going to finish at around a million buys or maybe just underneath that.
Anderson Silva has done well on pay-per-view in the past but only when he shared the card with proven draws like Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and BJ Penn. When he’s had to carry the card on his own he’s only drawn in the 350,000-400,000 range. Considering he was coming off that dreadful UFC 112 performance, and essentially failed to help Sonnen promote the fight (with the exception of a couple intense staredowns), I think it’s pretty clear who’s responsible for such a tremendous number.
And to think, there’s an even bigger card to come later this month. If Edgar-Penn 2 wasn’t enough, there’s Randy Couture vs. James Toney, which thanks to Toney has gained considerably more heat than I ever expected. It’s not unreasonable to think this may turn out to be the UFC’s biggest month yet.
Whether UFC 118 lives up to UFC 117 remains to be seen, but one man who couldn’t happier with how the month has gone so far is Dana White. Here he is talking to media about UFC 117’s numbers like a kid on Christmas morning.
Update: New estimates suggest the pay-per-view numbers were dramatically lower than initial estimates, but still very good nonetheless. Either way, they’re both still estimates and not final numbers. From Dave Meltzer (via BE):
UFC staff was told early last week that the UFC 117 numbers were looking to be just under 600,000 buys, significantly down from fight night expectations. I had actually predicted 550,000, though when the show was over the feeling I had was that it was an easy 1 million buys show. It should be noted that our trending numbers plus sources outside UFC are tracking it closer to 1 million. Part of the issue is that there are wide variations throughout the country with some systems showing huge numbers and other systems showing much smaller numbers. It’ll be several weeks before we get what we can really call a solid number.