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Why Comparing Mayweather-Berto PPV Numbers To UFC Stars Is Utterly Pointless

Why Comparing Mayweather-Berto PPV Numbers To UFC Stars Is Utterly Pointless
By Balls Team
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It was long suggested that Floyd Mayweather's final fight before 'retirement,' with Haiti's Andre Berto, was a write-off. When the fight was announced, repulsed writers and fans did accept, however, that the event itself would still likely do upwards of 600,000 pay-per-view buys.

The reality as the fight drew nearer was that nobody on Earth bar the most staunch Mayweather or Berto fan gave a fiddler's you-know-what about the main event, which unfortunately tainted what was actually a thoroughly enjoyable undercard.

The PPV figures are now in, and though figures vary, it's estimated that the fight did between 400,000 and 550,000 PPV buys - roughly 10% of what Mayweather's anti-climactic scrap with Manny Pacquiao pulled in last May.

Showtime vice-president Stephen Espinoza spoke with Yahoo!'s Kevin Iole about why he believed the numbers fell to the lowest Mayweather has seen in a decade:

To a large extent, anything we did coming off of that massive May 2 event was going to feel like a bit of a letdown. We didn't have available a really compelling list of available opponents. There's been a lot of speculation about a lot of things, but when you got down to it, there wasn't really a long list of available guys and none of them were slam dunk established stories or really compelling storylines.

That, of course, is bullshit. A fight with Amir Khan would probably have done close to three times those numbers, and Khan hasn't fought since May. A fight with Keith Thurman would have probably done a million, and a fight with Gennady Golovkin would arguably have been one of the most intriguing stylistic matchup's in the sport's history.

What really happened was Mayweather had one fight left on his Showtime contract and opted for a lap of honour against a fighter who is now 3-4 in his last 7 fights.


But if Berto was a soft touch, so too was Bethe Correia, who Ronda Rousey dismantled almost instantaneously - as expected - atop a UFC 190 card which still reportedly did twice that of Mayweather's final fair.

Fellow Mayweather detractor Conor McGregor's fight with Chad Mendes did close to 1m buys, too. But what does it all mean?


Nothing. It means nothing. Floyd Mayweather has done 14m PPV buys throughout his career, and his fight against Berto was the last of a six-fight, $300m contract with Showtime. Maybe people got tired of him being in riskless, drab, one-sided fights? Well, he is now retired, and worth over $400m.


Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey's profiles have risen astronomically in recent months, and it's possible that McGregor in particular might push 2m PPV buys when he finally clashes with Jose Aldo in December. Maybe it'll do more. But it won't do 4.4m, which Mayweather vs Pacquiao did. It may not do half of that, which Mayweather vs Canelo did in 2013, or Mayweather vs De La Hoya did six years beforeheand.

Why? Because, right now, MMA - or, in particular, the UFC -  is still a concept that is ingraining itself within the sporting subconscious worldwide. It's an incredibly well-marketed, beautifully packaged sport with astute highlight clips and spine-tingling promo videos - a sport built for social media, and in that capacity, leaving boxing behind.

But then, relative to boxing, nobody in Mexico gives a flying shit about the UFC. Japan has eight current boxing world champions and produces world class boxers year-on-year. Even the boxing-to-MMA interest levels in the UK, largely thanks to Sky Sports, are off the charts. One day, all of these countries will probably be invested and immersed in the UFC. But it does need a few years to fully globalise, which boxing has done for the past century.


Meanwhile, unless boxing adapts to this millenial society, package highlights and culture of 'immediacy,' (and with Premier Boxing Champions on domestic tv in the States, it is trying to - and succeeding somewhat), the UFC in particular likely will, one day, surpass it. It's possible also that, four years down the line, Rousey (if still fighting) or McGregor could top a card that does surpass 4m buys, and the UFC will boss whatever bullshit rivalry the suits behind both sports have manufactured in order to plug their own.

Maybe one day McGregor and Rousey will be worth $400m too. But the argument between fans of the two sports will remain the same, because the people who make it are idiots.

Until then, you're just comparing athletes at entirely different points in their careers, held in entirely different esteems by very different fans of their very different sports, very different sports which themselves are at entirely different stages in their evolution; one is growing, the other is about to enjoy a second wind.


Here's our tip: If you like one, watch it. If you like the other, watch that.


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