In case you were not aware, UFC 157 was a pretty big deal. The historical card featured the first two women ever to compete under the UFC banner when Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche by first round arm bar.
Of course ultimately, the bottom line is all that matters. Was the hype backed up by the numbers? Early reports seem to indicate that, yes, the card measured up. MMA reporter Dave Meltzer predicts Rousey's Octagon debut will end up clearing the 400,000 mark.
Bloody Elbow transcribes:
Over 400,000....they're absolutely thrilled. The show, it was...they had predicted 250. Budgeted 250, I shouldn't say predicted. But I mean, the predictions internally were 250-300. So they blew away their predictions, big time. It's..uh..yeah..it's not as big as I've seen some numbers floating around, it wasn't THAT big, but if you think about what all things considered it was enormous. It was a huge success. Actually, the reality is that it was probably ... there was a very good chance that the promotion of Rousey was TOO successful because she's been offered a role in the next...whatever it is...the next Hunger Games movie that they're going to film. And once that happens it's like...you know, who knows? She's making a lot of money fighting, I don't know what those numbers are going to be when they come out when they're released. But she's making a ton of money. They signed her to a hell of a contract because they really did believe...not necessarily that she'd be this giant PPV draw, but in other ways she'd be incredibly valuable to the company. And so far she has turned out to be more valuable than they expected.
Not too bad for a fighter who many were not convinced could carry a pay-per-view on her back. Although she didn't quite reach Brock Lesnar levels for buys, she certainly stacked up nicely with many of the better buy rates from the UFC's past.
As the inaugural 135-pound champion, Ronda Rousey successfully defended her strap with the victory over the upset minded Liz Carmouche. By doing so, with her patented arm bar, Ronda Rousey lived up to the lofty expectations placed on her by the UFC, the media, and fans alike. The win should be applauded by all women fighters, as the result will likely bode well for their future opportunities within the UFC.
The first hurdle has been cleared for women's MMA in the largest promotion in the world. Time will tell if they can build upon that momentum, or if it has peaked too soon.