Is the newest UFC champ a PPV draw? Ex-champ says no

Since the UFC and ESPN don't release PPV numbers it's up for debate.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 weeks ago

UFC pay per view numbers are increasingly unknowable in the streaming era. In the old cable TV days, Dave Meltzer and others with insider contacts in the cable industry could compile reasonably accurate analysis but in 2023 only Disney, ESPN, Endeavor and UFC brass know for sure.

Henry Cejudo makes claims about UFC 292 PPV sales

Former two-division UFC champ Henry Cejudo has been taking advantage of that information vacuum to disparage the drawing power of new bantamweight champ Sean O’Malley.

“Guess what, guys, I have friends at ESPN. I’m not gonna say who but Sean O’Malley [vs. Sterling] did anywhere between 300,000 to 350,000 [PPV buys],” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel (transcription via MMA Fighting). “That’s it. That’s all Sean O’Malley made in pay-per-view buys. Is 350,000 pay-per-view buys — is that a surplus or is that down? The other guy who will probably more likely know is Aljamain Sterling.

“Everyone was projecting that this event was one of the biggest of the year. It’s not true. So, my question is to Sean O’Malley: Do you have that sauce to sell, to be a pay-per-view superstar? Yeah, you just won the belt but you would imagine you’re fighting in Boston against a current champ who has gone down and got wins over legends, how big is the name of Sean O’Malley? Yeah, does he have a following through Instagram? 100 percent. But can he sell pay-per-views?”

MMA: UFC 280-Yan vs O Malley Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sean O Malley (blue gloves) defeats Petr Yan (red gloveS) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Abu Dhabi UAE, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xCraigxKidwellx 20221022_jla_ooo_368
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Craig Kidwell

Sean O’Malley whips out much bigger numbers in response

Not one to let a diss from a rival slide, Sean O’Malley took to X (formerly Twitter) with a counter-claim.

“Henry sayin Me and Aljo “only” did 350k ppv according to his (girlfriend ) source. I just talked to the ufc and I heard upwards of 570k … legit no kizzy not making this up heard Aljo vs Henry did 135k. Also Henry 5’2 lol”

As a point of comparison, Dan Raphael reported Jake Paul vs Nate Diaz did 450,000 buys.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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