The eggs may not hatch until October 6th in Las Vegas, NV, but Dana White is already counting his chickens. All 2.5 million of them. The UFC president recently appeared on ESPN to hype up the promotion’s upcoming event in Las Vegas. And while there he noted that UFC 229 is on track to become the largest selling PPV in UFC history (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“It’s massive,” White told ESPN. “There has been a lot of talk about this thing doing 2 million buys. We’re trending right now at 2.5 million buys so that’s how big this fight is. The biggest fight we’d ever done was Diaz vs. McGregor at almost 1.6 million pay-per-view buys. Then we did the Floyd Mayweather fight. And now this by far is the biggest fight and one of the biggest fights ever in combat sports to be honest with you.”
McGregor is, without question, the biggest selling star that MMA has seen. And apart from the recent news that Floyd Mayweather is returning to boxing once again, he’s likely the biggest star in all the combat sports landscape right this moment. ‘The Notorious’ hasn’t fought since losing his boxing debut to Mayweather in August of last year. His last trip to the Octagon came back in 2016, when he beat Eddie Alvarez to win the (since stripped) UFC lightweight championship.
That likely hasn’t meant that McGregor’s time off (or boxing loss) have dimmed enthusiasm for seeing him compete again, however. The SBG Ireland fighter made massive headlines this spring, when he showed up unannounced to UFC 223 and threw a dolly at a bus – injuring several fighters inside and cancelling several bouts. While he ended up only serving 5 days community service for the actions, he’s recently been the subject of a lawsuit from fellow UFC fighter Michael Chiesa – whose bout with Anthony Pettis was cancelled due to cuts Chiesa suffered in the attack.
And while that may cost McGregor no small amount of money in the end. The incident has done wonders to keep his name in headlines during his hiatus from competition. That could mean that White’s estimates – that this will easily out-run the UFC’s previous best-performing shows – could be exactly right. After all, it’s still a far cry below the 4.3 million buys that Mayweather vs. McGregor put together.
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news, notes, and updates as UFC 229 approaches.