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Dana White: UFC 229: Khabib vs. Conor is ‘killing Mayweather vs. McGregor’ in pre-fight numbers

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If Dana White is to be believed, UFC 229 won’t just surpass all previous UFC PPV buy-rates, it will absolutely crush them. The president of operations gave a glowing prediction for this weekend’s fight card featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title defense against Conor McGregor, pushing beyond previous estimates to suggest that the card is trending toward 2.6-3 million buys.

But that’s not all. He also noted that, at least in terms of web traffic for programs like UFC Embedded, this card is blowing beyond even Mayweather vs. McGregor for pre-fight fan engagement.

“Well, let me put it to you this way: We’re trending between 2.6 and 3 million, right?” White said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “But, everything is trending, killing Mayweather/McGregor – the numbers. I’ll give you an example, one small example: UFC Embedded, the first episode with Mayweather & McGregor, did 800,000 views in 24 hours. This one did 1.7 million in 24 hours. It’s just, all numbers like that are just double what we did on May/Mac. What does that mean for PPV? I don’t know, we’re going to find out.

“The thing that scares me about PPV: All you PPV fans, if you know you’re going to buy the fight? Buy it now,” White warned. “Buy it now. Just go on your TV and order it. Because, what happens is, you get so many people trying to order at the same time, these systems crash. Whether you’re buying it on OTT, or you’re buying it on cable or satellite, do it now. I’m sure you’ve been there before; tried to order it the night of and these guys don’t have their shit together and everything crashes and you can’t order the fight.”

When asked what kind of money McGregor would be making as a result of those astronomical PPV projections, however, White was more evasive. He mentioned McGregor’s new six-fight deal, but no hard and fast numbers. Instead he turned the focus onto McGregor’s seemingly successful ‘Proper 12’ whiskey brand launch, which White predicted could make the ‘Notorious’ Irishman a billionaire.

“Well the big question this time is, how long is Conor going to take off after this fight? How long is he gonna… you know? The last thing you need to worry about is his check. The whiskey thing is probably gonna make this kid a billion dollars. Oh, his ‘Proper 12’ whiskey? They can’t keep it on the shelves. It’s flying off the shelves. All the casinos here are not only serving it, they’re selling it. He’s killing it, man. Good for him.”

“Of course he can,” White continued when asked if McGregor could end up making ‘Mayweather money.’ “You start to look at the PPV numbers for Conor McGregor, he’s one of the biggest PPV draws of all time. If you look at how long… Floyd Mayweather was around for 28 years. He didn’t start to make that big money ‘til the end of his career. Conor McGregor has been doing it his whole career.”

UFC 229 takes place this Saturday, October 6th, in Las Vegas, NV. That’s when the UFC will find out whether all their pre-fight estimations have fallen into place and whether McGregor has delivered a new all-time UFC PPV highest seller. As for what percentage of that McGregor ends up seeing? At the pre-fight press conference McGregor told fans and media that he could make as much as $50 million if UFC 229 hits 3.5 million buys.


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