Chad: Remember back in June, when it was briefly rumored that UFC 174 did fewer than 100,000 pay-per-view buys and the most devout among us heralded it as a sign of the impending apocalypse? A later report from Yahoo’s Kevin Iole purported the number to be around 125,000, but either way it meant the event was the UFC’s worst-selling PPV since the advent of The Ultimate Fighter.
Enter UFC 177 which, objectively speaking, looks much, much worse.
UFC 174 had kind of a dud for a main event, pitting the awesome but unappreciated Demetrious Johnson against the awesome and unknown Ali Bagautinov, but at least it had help from the undercard. At least Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley were there to provide a reasonably interesting welterweight contender bout. At least it had the return of Andrei Arlovski and future “main eventers” Ryan Bader and Ovince St. Preux.
By comparison, UFC 177 has what could turn out to be a reasonably competitive (but wholly unnecessary) bantamweight title rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao and…wait...hold on, here...let me check...yep, that’s pretty much it.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo or Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler, per se, but those bouts aren't going to make anybody plunk down $60 (after fees and whatnot) to watch.
Because of the tepid public response to Dillashaw-Barao II—and since we’re doing predictions, I’ll just go ahead and say Tylor Jeffery wins again—and its very weak supporting cast, this show will founder, falling short of even the modest mark set by UFC 174.
What say you, Jonathan? Will this bad boy get to 100,000 buys?
Jonathan: I've jumped into the deep end, exploring this issue in gruesome detail. The abbreviated version, however, is simple enough. This show is lousy.
The main event features a rematch no one demanded, between two fighters only the most ardent fans have ever heard of. Dillashaw was a non-entity before upsetting Barao, the champion by default after Dominick Cruz's body began to self destruct.
Sometimes a card can survive a dud on top, if it's carefully propped up by a solid main card. That isn't the case here. Danny Castillo, the poor man's Joe Benavidez, is maybe the fifth-most popular fighter at Team Alpha Male. His opponent, Tony Ferguson, is the forgotten TUF winner, a fighter with potential and nothing more.
From there it just gets worse. Will it slip beneath 100,000 buys? I think that's a distinct possibility, even if the UFC trots out a friendly journalist to report otherwise. This is a show that would struggle to stand out on Fox Sports 1. It certainly doesn't belong on pay-per-view.