No one in the MMA media knows more about PPV buys than Dave Meltzer. An analysis of Benson Henderson's PPV buys for UFC 164 on Aug 31 compared with those for UFC 150, indicates that while there are other variables, a significant part of the 42% growth comes from headlining two successful free shows on FOX. The other factors cited by Meltzer are that the opponent in the second fight, Anthony Pettis, is more charismatic than Frankie Edgar, and that the co-main events were stronger at UFC 164.
UFC 164, headlined by Benson Henderson's lightweight title loss to Anthony Pettis, is currently estimated at doing 270,000 buys based on a variety of sources. The number is an estimated 42 percent increase from the 190,000 estimate for Henderson's previous pay-per-view main event, at UFC 150 in Denver, against Frankie Edgar.
In between, Henderson headlined two FOX shows. His Dec. 8 title defense over Nate Diaz, helped by heavy promotion during the NFL season, did 5.7 million viewers, putting it in ninth place as far as the most widely watched MMA fights on U.S. television. On April 20, Henderson's title defense against Gilbert Melendez, without the promotion during NFL telecasts, was viewed by 4.97 million viewers.
It's clearly early to draw exact conclusions, but it does look like headlining two television matches that drew large audiences did make Henderson into a bigger drawing card, but didn't bump him into the status of the upper echelon stars.
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