The preliminary trending numbers are in for UFC 96, and it's close to where I thought it would be. According to Dave Meltzer, the numbers are around 350K for UFC 96. Which is just below the 375-400K prediction I had prior to the event. While those numbers are paltry compared to the numbers put up by UFC 91, 92, and 94, I think it's respectable considering what Zuffa had to work with. Some may point to this as Rampage Jackson not being the PPV draw that some thought he was. I think it's a couple of things that's not really related to the power of Rampage as a draw:
- This event had a patchwork main event that was seen as a mis-match with little promotion and a pretty weak supporting card on paper
- UFC 76 that featured Jardine in the main event against Chuck Liddell, and UFC posterboy Forrest Griffin vs. Shogun Rua(in his UFC debut) only mustered about a 100K more PPV buys than UFC 96
- The UFC PPV numbers had to plateau at some point. There was no way for them to continue doing the numbers they were doing with the aforementioned PPV's of 91, 92, and 94.
So it appears that I missed the prediction by just a hair. I really thought and still think that event was sold on the UFC brand name more than anything. Like I said, there was little to no promotion for the event. I expect Zuffa to rebound well with UFC 97 on the horizon. Those crazy Canadians sure do love themselves some MMA.