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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Though the UFC's return to Brazil last weekend with UFC 134 was a gigantic hit with the country and for expanding the UFC's presence there, the same can't be said for it's impact in North America.
Dave Meltzer in the new edition of the Wrestling Observer newsletter reports some low trending numbers for the pay-per-view event, which can only be seen as a disappointment.
According to Meltzer, the early trending data is seeing the event doing slightly better than UFC 133 in Canada, while the U.S. numbers are down about 15% from the other August event. With that card coming in at just over 300,000 buys, that would put this card right around that number as well.
There are a number of factors that led to a low number of course. Hurricane Irene ripping through the east coast absolutely had an effect. The power outages that hit many states took out the possibility of those homes purchasing the event, or bars showing the fights, and just the threat of a power outage likely led many not to buy the event for fear it could cut out in the middle of it.
The fact that it was an out-of-country pay-per-view can't be overlooked either. Those events always do significantly less buys due to a lack of localized coverage in the U.S. and Canada, so even if a popular fighter is involved the numbers are low. And while the fact that it wasn't tape delayed would lead to the belief that it should have been higher, the Australia shows have proven otherwise, as even though they've made them live in the U.S. by staggering the start time to mid-Sunday in Australia, the cards still did not sell.
Additionally, while Anderson Silva has certainly increased his draw amongst MMA fans, Yushin Okami is certainly not a fighter that brings in viewers nor one that screams "exciting fight."
But while there are certainly plenty of valid reasons for the number to be significantly lower than expected, it is still a disappointment, especially with consideration to the perceived raising of Silva's stock over the last year.
Penick's Analysis: One of the other issues with the low number is the fact that it was the second pay-per-view of the month. Having two in a month is typically going to bring the numbers down on one or both events as fans may need to pick and choose what they can pay for. With the new deal on Fox, the UFC is reportedly going to reduce the number of pay-per-view cards from 15 or 16 down to just 13, with the Fox events likely representing pay-per-view worthy cards, and that could help the bottom line and the draw for some other events. But it is unfortunate that more people did not see what Anderson Silva did on Saturday night, and it is absolutely a disappointment. Still, they've got a break before three major events, but again they will run into some issues with one of them from a draw standpoint with them being so close together, and I think UFC 136 in Houston - despite being the most packed card - might suffer the most from being in the middle.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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