UFC 229 was dubbed “the biggest event in UFC history,” with Conor McGregor returning to action against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Last Tuesday, Dana White was saying that the pay-per-view was trending close to three million buys, and by Friday he even suggested this had a chance of eclipsing the 4.4 million buys from McGregor’s boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.
Well a little over two days after the blockbuster card, and the post-fight fracas instigated by Nurmagomedov when he went after Dillon Danis, White is thrilled with the early PPV returns so far, even if the 3 million mark apparently wasn’t achieved.
“We didn’t do 3 million,” White told TMZ Sports. “But it’s so hard to crack 2 million. Even [Mike] Tyson vs. [Evander] Holyfield was at like 1.995 [million]. Things like that didn’t crack 2 million. We’re way over 2 million, so I’m happy.”
White also noted he’s in a “much better mood” than he was on Saturday night, during which he told media at the press conference that he wasn’t thinking about PPV buys after what transpired after the main event.
His remarkably lofty pre-fight projections aside, if White’s most recent statement is true, then this will be the first UFC PPV that has ever eclipsed the two-million buy mark. UFC 202: McGregor vs. Diaz 2 is thought to be the standard for the promotion’s biggest buyrate, and this news comes on the heels of a disappointing estimate of 130,000 buys for UFC 228.
Combine the 2+ million buys with a $17 million gate and you really do have yourself one hell of a revenue generator. McGregor’s return to the cage was big business on multiple fronts.