On many fronts UFC 134 was a hugely successful event. The promotion crucially hit a home run in Brazil with some 30 million fans believed to have watched on free TV, while the 14,000 who attended the show on Rio witnessed a great night of exciting fights from start to finish.
Back home in the U.S things didnt go so well however. Despite the fact that the card was strong, with the likes of Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on-board, and the intrigue of the first event in Brazil in over a decade it appears that UFC 134 was not a hit in terms of the pay-per-view numbers.
According to The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer the early buy rate estimate comes in at just over 300,000.
That’s significantly below what many had estimated prior to Saturday night’s show, with the general belief being that it should at least been nearer to the 500,000-600,000 mark.
If accurate it marks a continuation of a fall in sales below 400,000 that started back at UFC 130: Rampage Vs Hamill in May.
As for why this particular event didn’t perform well – foreign events tend to underperform, but that’s often believed to be down to things like time differences and tape delays which was not the case in this instance as the show aired in it’s regular time-slot.
Hurricane Irene could certainly have had an influence with some areas not having power, while bars would have been reluctant to pay for the show knowing that there was going to be a low turnout on a night like that.
Whatever the reason the numbers are sure to be a disappointment to the UFC brass and they’ll be keen to turn things around at the earliest opportunity.
The good news is that there’s every reason to believe they will do so based on the shows they currently have lined up, starting with UFC 135: Jones Vs Rampage later this month.
UFC 136, UFC 137 and UFC 139 also have big title fights lined up and that’ll lead the promotion nicely until up until the end of the year.