Dana White recently did an interview with ESPN The Magazine that revealed a few interesting nuggets. White is such a busy guy in an ever-changing and evolving business that something new is revealed just about every time he speaks publicly.
UFC 91, at last count did a little over a million buys. White’s statement in this interview indicates that UFC 92 blew 91 out of the water by over 150,000 buys. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
WHITE: The last Lesnar pay-per-view did really well, and then our Dec. 27 show crushed it.
ESPN The Mag: When you say it crushed it, are we talking a million buys for Griffin/Evans?
WHITE: I don’t want to get into numbers too much—that’s our policy. But it crushed it. I’ll say this: The Christmas show crushed the Lesnar fight by 150,000-175,000 buys.
ESPN The Mag: Were you surprised by that?
WHITE: No, I wasn’t surprised; I was happy. I was f’ing thrilled. We lowballed our prefight estimates on that card and were blown away. I think what happened was two things. One, it was a kick-ass card. Two, I think we were a little off because of the holidays. I guess everybody thought, you’re burnt out by everything, what do you want to do? You want to get back together with your buddies and watch some fights. We were crapping our pants when the calendar came up when we saw the last Saturday of the year fell two days after Christmas. Then the economy went down. We didn’t know exactly what to expect. But we were surprised by how well it did.
If these numbers are true, then that means the UFC held back-to-back events that both did over a million Pay-Per-View buys. That is definitely a first for the world’s leading MMA promotion and damn impressive by any one’s standards, especially in today’s economy.
Almost as interesting as the Pay-Per-View buy rates is the fact that UFC 91 has undergone a name change. Apparently, UFC 91 is now being referred to as, “The last Lesnar pay-per-view” and “the Lesnar fight.” They should at least change it to “Lesnar vs. Couture” or it is going to get very confusing.
Really though, is Lesnar’s assett to the company viewed so highly that he gets credit for the entire Pay-Per-View? White even calls it “the Lesnar fight” as if he had no opponent or it made no difference who he was in the cage with.
The other part of this interview that many MMA hardcores may find intriguing is the fact that once again Lyoto Machida (or Thiago Silva) is still not being considered for a light heavyweight title shot. Instead, it appears Quinton Jackson will be given the opportunity to win back the UFC Light Heavyweight Title that Rashad Evans took from Forrest Griffin at the UFC event after the last Lesnar Pay-Per-View, a.k.a. UFC 92.
ESPN The Mag: Will Rashad Evans fight the winner of Lyoto Machida/Thiago Silva for his first title defense?
WHITE: No, I think it’s going to be against Rampage (Jackson).
ESPN The Mag: But Rampage seemed pretty intent on getting a rematch with Forrest Griffin first?
WHITE: Rampage changed his tune a few days after he said that. He said, ‘Screw that, I want to fight for the title.’
White goes on to say that Chuck Liddell’s next opponent will most likely be Shogun Rua if he defeats Mark Coleman at UFC 93 or Wanderlei Silva. Most UFC fans would probably agree a Liddell vs. Shogun fight would be much more intriguing than a Wandy vs. Chuck part two.
White does indicate a Forrest Griffin vs. Chuck Liddell match is likely to happen in the future.
To read Dana White’s entire interview with ESPN The Magazine check out their website at ESPNTheMag.com.