The UFC’s annual year-end show pulled in decent numbers this past year, as UFC 232 garnered between 600,000 to 700,000 buys on PPV.
PPV buyrate numbers are starting to trickle in for December’s UFC 232, which marked the return to action of troubled light heavyweight star Jon Jones. The hotly anticipated — and controversial — card was moved from Nevada to California at the last minute when news broke that Jones had a number of “atypical” drug tests in the months prior to the bout. Although the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, who handles the UFC’s anti-doping program, believed the tests to be the result of Jones’ prior ingestion of turinabol (for which he was suspended 15 months, following UFC 214), the close proximity of the card to the holidays meant the Nevada Athletic Commission did not have time for a hearing to review Jones’ license.
Despite all the turmoil, Jones won a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, giving him a 2-0 edge in his career series with the Swede. And it appears fans tuned in to watch Jones reclaim the vacant 205lb title. Per MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer, UFC 232 did an estimated 700,000 buys on PPV. The UFC, of course, does not release PPV numbers. However, a sampling of PPV data obtained by Cageside Press shows a lower estimated buyrate, closer to the 600,000 mark. That regional sampling does not include replays and online orders, however. While those might not make up the difference, an estimate between 600,000 and 700,000 seems reasonable.
UFC 232 was given a boost by the inclusion of a champ vs. champ super-fight between women’s bantamweight Queen Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg. Nunes wound up shocking the world and knocking out the feared Cyborg, claiming the featherweight title in the process. Jones, however, was unquestionably the biggest draw on the card.
Ultimately, the New Year’s Eve showcase was the promotion’s second biggest PPV event of the year, though it paled in comparison to UFC 229, which pulled in over two million buys thanks to the return of Conor McGregor in a grudge match against Khabib Nurmagomedov.