Silva vs. Bonnar: UFC 153: What's the PPV Rate?

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIOctober 13, 2012

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 153 has been criticized by everyone, from MMA journalists to the average fan.

The card was promising with Jose Aldo set to defend his title against Erik Koch and an old vs. young battle between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Glover Teixeira.

That seems like years ago as a series of injuries, including to both Aldo and "Rampage" has forced the UFC to do some quick thinking in the match making department. Joe Silva certainly had his work cut out for him in trying to save the card.

He was able to get the best fighter in the world out of hibernation in Anderson Silvas', but failed to get a noteworthy challenger in place. Stephan Bonnar brings a big name to UFC 153, but is anything but a credible challenger to "The Spider."

The saving grace for UFC 153 may be that the undercard is actually fairly strong. There are a handful of "relevant" fights mixed in with some for entertainment purposes. Does Dave Herman vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira mean anything in the heavyweight division?

Not really, but why wouldn't you want to see "Big Nog" fight?

Teixeira is a future superstar, Jon Fitch has vowed to be a more exciting fighter even if it means losing, Erick Silva is on the cusp of stardom, and Demian Maia finally (hopefully) gets a full fight at 170 pounds under his belt.

That's a recipe for some pretty exciting fights and given that the card takes place from Brazil, you know the fighters are going to feed off the insane energy provided by the fans.

Yet, ask most MMA fans what they will be doing this Saturday night, watching UFC 153 won't likely be the answer.

It's a card that's being looked past as UFC 154 waits in the wings.

Even the UFC seems to have given up on the card, focusing on advertising a spectacular knockout or mega upset as the main reason to buy the event.

With such a low-quality main event, can the pay-per-view manage to do a decent buy?

Looking at recent history would tend to lead fans to answer with a no.

Silva's last main event effort—that wasn't helped by the Chael Sonnen hype machine—was UFC 134 in Aug. of 2011.

That show featured a tough Yushin Okami as challenger but the Japanese star was still seen as being overmatched by Silva.

UFC 134 managed just 335,000 buys.

UFC 126, which was also headlined by Silva managed to do better at 725,000 buys but also had the support of a strong undercard.

Both of those events were title fights which likely increased some of the buys and will also decrease the buy rate of UFC 153 given the fact there are no titles on the line and no title implications on the line either.

The buy rate for this card will be a direct result of Silva competing on it. The big name boxers are able to sell worse cards than this given their drawing power so this will be a true barometer of Silva's popularity with the fans.

I'm thinking UFC 153 will do 300,000 to maybe 350,000 buys at the most. Silva is the best fighter in the world but isn't a huge pay-per-view draw with the fans.

There are a few popular fighters sprinkled throughout the card which will help but overall I see the majority of fans saving their money for the UFC 154 card.