A recent report by The Athletic has revealed that UFC 253 recorded more than 700,000 PPV buys worldwide.
The PPV was headlined by Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa and UFC president Dana White had previously claimed that it would be “the best fight of the year.”
What does the buyrate mean?
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Patrick Auger explains that numbers have been up for the UFC during the pandemic and we’re seeing relatively inflated PPV buys. He states that it doesn’t look so strong comparatively against UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, which reportedly generated 700k+ PPV buys as well.
And UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal in July recorded 1,300,000 PPV buys according to reports. Auger states that Adesanya may be a star within the sport right now, but he hasn’t become a crossover star just yet and doesn’t have the same appeal that previous megastars in the UFC have experienced.
There’s no doubt that Adesanya is insanely popular within the MMA community but he is yet to generate interest from casual fans and others alike. He’s not that huge megastar right now, but there’s a bit of inflation and popping him up right now before we’re already there.
Auger compares Adesanya to Jon Jones, who didn’t break 1M buys. Even the rematch with Cormier failed to break past 1,000,000 buys and came in at 860,000, per reports. That event was pre-ESPN+.
Auger also explains that there are two factors to becoming a megastar not just within the MMA community but outside of it, too: – they need to continually put on exciting fights and finishes – must also have that personality that allows them to break out Right now, it appears that Adesanya is popular with a small subset of the larger audience but would need to connect with the broader audience (e.g. appeal on late-night shows) to really breakthrough and reach the levels of McGregor, Rousey, and even Masvidal of late.
It’s an interesting situation because, as Riggs says, it’s easy to appreciate someone who is being themselves — and that’s exactly what Adesanya is doing. There’s no gimmick — it’s him being him. But he says that, right now, he could be considered too vulgar/out there for some fans. And that, combined with the perception of being too good and too skillful may actually hurt his chances of becoming a massive breakout star.
Drake wonders how things would be if he was cool with Paulo Costa after the fight…
So, can Adesanya get over 700k buys in the future? Maybe. But it might take a fight with Jon Jones or capturing a belt at light heavyweight to really hit that mark.
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Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.