UFC 168 brought eager fight fans to their couches and recliners across the globe by the millions—literally.
On Wednesday evening's edition of "Wrestling Observer Radio," noted MMA historian and journalist Dave Meltzer spoke with his co-host Bryan Alvarez, saying (h/t Fansided's Josh Sanchez for the transcript):
Bryan Alvarez: The UFC buy rate, what’s it looking like for the Silva show? It was not a failure, PPV is not dead when you have the right event.
Dave Meltzer: No, no, no. It’s between 1 and 1.1 million… The late buys haven’t been counted, and there’s always going to be lag in recording, things like that, so it’s probably going to end up 1.1 million.
If Meltzer's numbers are accurate, UFC 168 was huge for the business, and it sends the world's premier mixed martial arts organization into 2014 with plenty of confidence for what will come next.
Taking Meltzer's figure of 1.1 million buys and comparing it with data compiled by The MMApayout.com Blue Book, UFC 168 stands as the company's second most purchased pay-per-view to date.
The record holder, UFC 100, notched 1.6 million buys, while UFC 66, UFC 91, UFC 92, UFC 114 and UFC 116 all cracked the million mark as well.
This data regarding the December 2013 event is undoubtedly positive for the organization, but it should be met with bridled enthusiasm.
Yes, the UFC closed the year in emphatic fashion, but the organization is now without one of its biggest draws in welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and Anderson Silva—who fought in UFC 168's main event—may need a year (or more) to recover from a grisly leg injury suffered in battle.
Still, pulling 1.1 million buys is an impressive feat, and UFC 168 will go down as the first event since 2010 that drew one million fight fans out of the woodwork to check out some artful violence inside the Octagon.