The numbers are starting to come out for Golden Boy’s foray into MMA, and they aren’t pretty, though estimates currently vary.
After it was announced months ago that Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz’s third and final fight would be upwards of 40$ on PPV, it was almost a given that it would be a tough sell. However, as the date approached it seemed the fight might do okay, as it appeared the MMA world all watched on as we saw ‘The Ice Man’ make his depressing return to the cage.
In the end, Ortiz had his hand raised, Liddell was knocked out once more, and Oscar De La Hoya continued to pronounce his star’s name “Lie-dell.” Yikes.
Tito Ortiz said the Monday following the fight that he’d heard the card did 200,000 buys. And even that might be low. Oscar De La Hoya said he was expecting the buys to be in that ballpark as well. So if you take both of them at their words, the card was a success right?
Well, despite what it seemed like with so many people apparently watching, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Lance Pugmire, the trilogy fight between Ortiz and Liddell did as low as 30,000 buys. With that news coming out, it would place it as one of the lowest PPV buyrates in MMA history. It’s also worth noting that Kevin Iole has heard that it’s possibly as low as 25,000.
The numbers, however, vary wildly. A sampling of PPV buys provided to Cageside Press indicates the show did a little under a third of the buys that UFC 230 did. That show was reported to have come in around 250,000 buys, which could see Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 as high as the low 90,000 mark.
Still, that’s a far cry from 200,000 buys or more.
It’s not shocking to see these low of numbers come out however, with the card riding on a battle between two retired MMA fighters, one of whom hadn’t fought in eight years. And who had lost multiple fights in a row prior to retiring. Still, there was a feeling the fight might fare better than expected, especially considering Chuck Liddell is one of the biggest stars the sport of MMA has ever seen.
It doesn’t appear that’s the reality, however. Liddell is almost 50 and his fighting days should long be over. A poorly booked undercard, one that would make even the smallest of regional promotions blush, didn’t help matters. Especially with a number of amateur fights. Add in the PPV price at a steep 40$, and it’s not surprising to see Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 struggle.
It’s worth noting that Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 is not alone. It joins the likes of Dynamite!! USA, Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni, and BodogFight: Clash Of Nations as some of the lowest PPV events of all time. Even the UFC has struggled to surpass the 100,000 buy mark for certain events in recent memory.