Tito Ortiz is suddenly 'Doggy Bag' fodder. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Everyone answers to somebody, so we, the staff at Sherdog.com, have decided to defer to our readers.
“The Doggy Bag” gives you the opportunity to speak about what’s on your mind from time to time.
Our reporters, columnists, radio hosts, and editors will chime in with our answers and thoughts, so keep the emails coming.
This week, readers have a slew of question about recent developments in the MMA world, including the sudden resurgence of Tito Ortiz and his rematch with Rashad Evans at UFC 133, a Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber rubber match, Scott Coker’s new role, Melvin Guillard and Carlos Condit as UFC title contenders, whether Brian Stann-Chael Sonnen was the fight to make at UFC 136 and Bellator’s tournament format.
Is the insertion of Ortiz into the lineup a net improvement or a decline in pay-per-view buys versus the original booking of Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones for the title? Is Ortiz, post-Ryan Bader, enough of a draw to be worth more money to Zuffa than an actual title fight between the two best 205ers in the world? Seems like a harsh thing to say, but even with Jones’ new life on commercials and late-night TV, he can’t possibly hold a candle to Ortiz as a marketing draw after the latter tapped Bader, can he?
I think Ortiz is perceived as hot, and, even though the first fight wasn’t a classic, I think half a million buys is possible, with the same old-school demographic that buys based on Tito’s name. -- Jake from Toronto
Jordan Breen, administrative editor: We have no way of knowing what a Jones-Evans pay-per-view would have drawn. We can try to extrapolate based on interest in UFC 128 and knowing that Jones’ star is rising, but with their unique personal feud and the high stakes, it’s feasible that Zuffa would have pulled out all the stops to sell such a fight.
What’s important, however, is that it will assuredly outsell Evans-Phil Davis. There’s not much reason to think Evans-Davis would’ve outsold, say, Evans-Thiago Silva at UFC 108, which barely did 300,000 PPV buys. The injection of Ortiz gives this event a basement figure of likely around 350,000 buys, and it could possibly climb higher.
After all, Ortiz is still a name. In the wake of UFC 132, my casual sports fan father, a 51-year-old whose MMA knowledge is next to nil, asked me, “So, Tito got that big win, huh?” I was amazed he even knew. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber? Sure, they put on a thriller in the main event, but my pops didn’t know or care. He did, however, know all about Ortiz’s narrative, facing retirement and the improbability of his victory, which says a lot.
I think 500,000 buys is optimistic, given the fact that we’re three weeks away and Evans-Ortiz isn’t exactly a Lesnar or Georges St. Pierre-level spectacle. But if it can get to 400,000, that might represent another 100,000 PPVs at $50 and $60 a pop that the event wouldn’t have garnered otherwise.
As for Jones, if he had gotten the first go-around with Evans, knowing all that would’ve went into promoting it, it would’ve more than likely drawn 500,000-600,000 buys and helped make Jones a bigger star. However, that wasn’t the dilemma with which the UFC was faced. In the end, it saved a hot prospect in Davis from taking a fight that was potentially too much too soon, upped the number of PPV buys for an otherwise unremarkable event and struck while the iron is hot when it comes to Ortiz.
I do think Evans will win in a fight that’s less competitive than the Davis fight, so this isn’t perfect. But given the ongoing Octagon injury epidemic, this is a pretty darn peaceable solution.
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