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Bump or trend?

When UFC 100 sold over 1.7 million buys, I was impressed but it wasn’t exactly surprising news. The show had several huge fights and the kind of hype from mainstream outlets that is only provided when your meaningless number system hits some impressive sounding new benchmark. But check this out: UFC 101 PPV numbers are starting to roll in, and it looks like this event broke the 1 million barrier as well! Now that’s an event kicking the asses of everyone’s expectations!

To keep things in perspective, here’s how the past batch of PPV shows has gone:

UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar – 900,000
UFC 92: Ultimate 2008 – 1,000,000
UFC 93: 350,000 buys (euro record)
UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 – 800,000
UFC 96: Jackson vs Jardine – 375,000
UFC 97: Liddell vs Shogun – 650,000
UFC 98: Evans vs Machida – 635,000
UFC 99: Franklin vs. Silva – 350,000+ (new euro record)
UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II – 1,720,000
UFC 101: Penn vs. Florian – 800,000-1,100,000

It will be interesting to see how UFC 102 performs considering Dana White has been AWOL all week and people seem to have designated Nog vs Couture as generally unimportant to the bigger MMA picture. This is the same vibe I was getting when Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva was coming up … what the fuck happened to everyone who was begging for these UFC vs PRIDE fights? Yeah, the ‘best before’ date may have passed, but it’s not like this thing has gone sour.

Regardless, the general opinion is that UFC PPV numbers should drop back down to ‘normal’ now that we have two non-title cards in a row and the mainstream media has gone back to ignoring us. They’ll show up again when the UFC builds another huge card around a vaguely interesting number like 111. But until then, I’m hoping this weekend’s show surprises us and 800k becomes the new 600k.