UFC 108 is just a few days away, and the anticipation is nonexistent. If anything, people are almost dreading this show given what it represents: the culmination of a series of injuries leading to disappointing cards and lackluster PPV events. It’s hard to blame the UFC for what happened to this card, but you also can’t blame fans for refusing to reward cards like this with $50. You can be sure that if this show does a surprisingly high number, it will only encourage the UFC to present weak shows more often in the future.
This is truly the show that will test the North American base number. My suspicion is that the base is somewhere around 300,000 buys, which is still a healthy number, but hitting that base over and over again will push it lower. The only hope for a decent number is Rashad’s popularity coming off the reality show, but I’m hard pressed to see this doing better than 325,000, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it dipped as low as 260,000 buys.
While everyone knows the buyrate will be bad, the show is still very important because of the main event. A lot rides on Rashad Evans winning in impressive fashion. If he knocks out Silva and calls out Jackson, the Rampage-Rashad fight in May will be gigantic. If Thiago Silva pulls the upset, I don’t think the Rampage-Rashad fight goes up in smoke, but the heat behind it will diminish significantly. It will be interesting to see if Jackson makes an appearance at this show.
I think that the lesson the UFC should take from this card is the need to increase flexibility. By the time the card was an unmitigated disaster, it was simply too late to take it off PPV or cancel the show altogether. Such is the price of insisting on scheduling dates well in advance of actually planning cards. In the future, perhaps it would make sense to include provisions in their deals with InDemand and Spike that would allow cards decimated by injuries to be moved to Spike TV to avoid long term damage to the UFC PPV brand.
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