Report: Fewer Than 5,000 Tickets Sold for Ronda Rousey's UFC Debut at UFC 157

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIJanuary 2, 2013

August 18, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA;    Ronda Rousey (black shorts) enters the arena to start her fight against Sarah Kaufman (not pictured) during their Strikeforce MMA women's bantamweight title bout at the Valley View Casino Center. Rousey won in 54 seconds of the first round. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 157—an event meant to showcase the first-ever female UFC champion Ronda Rousey—has sold fewer than 5,000 tickets, according to a report by Dave Meltzer of

Rousey can't armbar fans into parting with their cash, or so it seems. 

Meltzer elaborated the situation: 

The location, the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., was also a risk. While Rousey is from Southern California, the Los Angeles/Anaheim market has never been an easy one after the immediate sellout of the company's debut show there in 2006. Generally speaking, the more a city is run, outside of Las Vegas which is a strong casino market, the harder it is to sell tickets.

While the 2010 Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez heavyweight title fight at the Honda Center got off to a strong start even that wasn't an instant sellout. But most shows at the Honda Center or Staples Center in Los Angeles have in recent years done more in the range of 6,000 to 7,000 tickets over he first week of sales.

Meltzer also noted that UFC 157's numbers displayed "slower early sales than most major UFC pay-per-view shows."

But despite such dolorous tidings, Meltzer also pointed out that it was too early to sound the alarms. "The Southern California market has done strong walk-up business in the past," he wrote. "[UFC on FOX 4] ended up selling 10,151 tickets to the Staples Center and had 16,080 in the arena."

Furthermore, UFC 157 isn't the only PPV to have put up poor initial numbers:

[UFC 157] is also ahead of the pace for UFC 150 in Denver on Aug. 11, headlined by Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title It's also selling tickets ahead of the early pace of UFC 133, a show on Aug. 6, 2011, the company's second trip to Philadelphia, which was originally headlined by Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis. 

The MMA world has gotten a bit carried away with Rousey-mania. True, an attractive, silver-tongued, kick-ass fighter seemed to have "top draw" written all over it (and, generally, web traffic in Rousey articles supported this fact). However, the most sacrosanct of metrics—dollar bills—show that society really doesn't care all that much. 

Perhaps the idea of women in a cagefight doesn't appeal to a wide audience? Or maybe MMA pundits refused to take off their triumphalism-tinted glasses and recognize that MMA is just a niche sport, even if it's a highly marketable woman that's doing the fighting?

Of course, ticket sales are only part of the equation.

The success of Ronda Rousey as a draw will be known for sure once the PPV numbers come in.

Then the world will see if women's MMA in the UFC will live or die. If the most prominent female fighter alive can't get PPV buys, the UFC's great female experiment will likely be considered a failure. The plug will be unceremoniously pulled, snuffing out the dreams of many a female fighter across the world.