In the world of sports, records are meant to be broken.
Heading into the gigantic clash that was the UFC 229, Dana White projected that the event’s pay-per-view numbers would erase previous records in the promotion’s history. It looks like the UFC president’s prediction has aligned with the stars as the final PPV figures for the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor fight are likely to hit over 2 million.
— Full Game Replay (@FullGameReplays) October 12, 2018
The UFC 229 headlining act featured the undefeated and reigning champion Nurmagomedov against a returning McGregor, who has been off the cage for nearly two years. The Russian champ was on a mission to protect his lightweight strap and his unblemished 26-0 record while the Irish star tried to reclaim the lightweight belt he last held two years ago.
The highly-anticipated bout between the best grappler and best striker would not be called the ‘biggest fight in UFC history’ for nothing. Not only did it feature the biggest box office draw in McGregor but also contained major storylines that were used as the hype machine during the fight’s build-up.
The company turned to the infamous backstage brawl last April, where a dolly-throwing McGregor attacked a bus containing some MMA fighters including Nurmagomedov, as its main inspiration for the fight.
During a pair of pre-fight pressers, the Dubliner hurled a flurry of offensive comments at the defending champion. Khabib remained nonchalant about the insults and vowed to make his challenger pay by smashing him in the actual fight.
Safe to say, the UFC has succeeded in luring MMA fans in with the drama surrounding Khabib and Conor.
MMA fighting reported last August that tickets for the UFC 229 headliner were already sold out and was already the second largest gate in MMA history just three minutes after they put on sale.
Two months after, the Khabib-Conor showdown plotted another milestone as it reached a new all-time high for the MMA pay-per-view buys.
The company did not release official numbers but it was estimated that the fight topped 2.4 million PPV buys after it tallied 1.9 million on traditional PPV and another 470 000 to 480 000 from streaming PPVs.
Although it was a million shy of White’s 3 million-forecast, the UFC 229 main event still emerged as the top drawing PPV event in UFC history. This feat also showed that McGregor has yet to lose his star power even after a two-year layoff.
‘The Notorious’ also holds two biggest UFC pay-per-view events. His rematch with Nate Diaz in 2016 scored 1.5 million, the second highest in UFC history, while his first encounter with ‘The Stockton Slugger’ came in third after recording over 1 million PPV buys.
(Featured Image Source: UFC/YouTube)