The combat sports world was given a present gift earlier this week as it was announced that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao would square off on May 2.
The only people who won’t be celebrating the announcement are the UFC’s upper-management.
Mayweather-Pacquiao has drastically shaped the pay-per-view landscape of late April and the entirety of May. With UFC 186 scheduled to take place one week before Mayweather-Pacquiao on April 26 and UFC 187 scheduled to take place three weeks after the bout, it’s easy to see fight fans saving a few bucks and skipping the UFC pay-per-views for boxing’s last great super-fight.
For starters, UFC 186 was never a card that would do great numbers on pay-per-view. The headlining bout is a bantamweight title rematch between champion T.J. Dillashaw and former champion Renan Barao. The first fight was an absolute mauling by Dillashaw leaving appetite for a rematch minimal at best.
The co-main event of UFC 186 is a flyweight title fight between incumbent Demetrious Johnson and relatively unknown Kyoji Horiguchi. Johnson has never been much of a draw and that likely won’t change by facing a fighter a large percentage of MMA fans wouldn’t recognize if he walked down the street.
UFC 186’s main card is also decent at best. It features the return of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and main card mainstay Michael Bisping. Outside of those two fighters, the rest of the main card is full of unknown, unranked fighters.
Such a watered down card will definitely be passed over for Mayweather-Pacquiao by fight fans on a budget.
Taking place after Mayweather-Pacquiao is UFC 187, one of the best cards in UFC history. The card is headlined by two intriguing title bouts. The main event is a light-heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson while the co-main event is a middleweight title bout between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
The rest of the main card is equally fantastic with bouts between top contenders and former title challengers. The only issue is that it will happen on the heels of the most anticipated boxing bout of all-time. A bout that will likely cost about $100 on pay-per-view. A pay-per-view that costs that much will alter the way a fight fan spends their cash for at least the next few weeks.
Most fans already find paying $60 for a pay-per-view steep, but having to spend $220 on combat sports within a month is definitely out of question. The novelty of Mayweather-Pacquiao will likely lead to most combat sport fans splurging for that card and skipping UFC 186 and UFC 187.
The UFC was put in a hard place by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It’s an unfortuante situation for the promotion as it seemed that brighter days were finally on the horizon after multiple drug test failures and fights being cancelled due to injury.
The promotion will likely reap great rewards come July 2015, but their predictions for pay-per-view buys in April and May will have to be drastically reduced. Look for the UFC to put extra effort into crafting their cards between June and July to make up for the lost ground due to Mayweather-Pacquiao.