The best performance of the year inside the Octagon was undoubtedly TJ Dillashaw’s exceptional title-winning performance over top pound-for-pound fighter and former bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 173 last month. According to multiple outlets, the event is being said to have sold just over 200,000 pay-per-view buys.
While the buyrate is not exceptional by any means, it is to be expected as both Dillashaw and Barao do not have quite the name recognition as some of the UFC’s bigger stars. Even with a co-main event that featured Dan Henderson being choked out by Daniel Cormier, the numbers were to be expected.
The real question that arises from numbers like these are whether or not the pay-per-view market is necessary for the UFC any more. Considering how many free events the UFC puts on every year, many casual fans decide to bypass watching the pay-per-views altogether or simply go to a bar to enjoy the fights instead of paying their hard earned money on a few names they may not know.
The last four UFC pay-per-views, not including this past weekend’s UFC 174, did an average of 355,000 buys. Leading the way was UFC 172 with 350,000 buys. That event was headlined by the light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira.
It is not likely that the UFC will end their pay-per-view programming anytime soon, but it is certainly possible that in the future we will see a decline in pay-per-view events unless it is a massive and highly anticipated fight.