February 11, 2013
MMA Fighting and the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer has filed a certification of UFC PPV numbers in a recent filing in the Eddie Alvarez-Bellator lawsuit. Meltzer, filing on behalf of Alvarez, attests to UFC PPV buy rates and makes an estimate on buy rates featuring GSP and Jon Jones.
Notably, in the January 24, 2013 certification, he testified that cards headlined by GSP average 770K PPV buys excluding UFC 100. Jon Jones’ average between 500-525K buys. His Certification also includes a breakdown of UFC PPV buys over the last 3 years. The premise is that Alvarez would have appeared on a card which headlined GSP or Jones.
In the Certification, he indicates that he is “one of the best, if not the best, source of pay per view buy rates in mixed martial arts.” Meltzer states that he has reviewed the Declaration of Ray Longboard as it relates to Mr. Longboard’s opinion that Alvarez would not have received 200K PPV buys if he were to appear on a UFC PPV. Mr. Longboard’s Declaration was filed in conjunction with Bellator’s opposition brief to Alvarez’s request for a preliminary injunction.
Meltzer states that the UFC has averaged between 450K to 475K PPV buys over the last 3 years. Only twice did the UFC draw 200K or below in those 3 years according to Meltzer.
Meltzer stated that if Alvarez appeared on a PPV with GSP, the buy rate would exceed 680K PPV buys. He stated that a Jones PPV with Alvarez participating would exceed 450K PPV buys.
Meltzer indicates that the “buy rates are an approximations which are calculated from various other indicators, but are generally accepted as accurate throughout the mixed martial arts industry.”
Interesting. In addition to the Certification, Meltzer includes a list of PPV buys (which he lists as “UFC PPV Estimates”) over the past three years. MMA Payout has updated our Bluebook and you can view them here. This is a very interesting turn of events as the Certification opens up the issue of how PPV buys are estimated. Although the Certification does not go into detail about how buy rates are approximated, this method will come out during a deposition and/or other phase of discovery. The question will be whether Mr. Meltzer will divulge his methods and/or sources. This brings up journalistic ethics versus the law. Would a Court require Meltzer to divulge a source and/or would Meltzer risk being in contempt? At this point, Bellator would argue that the methods of Meltzer are undefined and that his opinion of the PPV estimates lack foundation and call for speculation.
The discovery phase of the Alvarez case just got a little more interesting. We will see the extent as to how much Bellator will try to pull back the curtain on PPV buys.