Contrary to UFC President Dana White’s recent claims that Ronda Rousey is “by far” a bigger star than Conor McGregor, the widespread perception seems to be that the Irishman is indeed the king of mixed martial arts, if not all of combat sports.
McGregor has, after all, repeatedly demolished records in the areas of pay-per-view sales and fighter pay. He has also been tasked with headlining UFC 205, the biggest card in the organization’s history, which is a clear indication of his value.
In a document recently obtained by MMAJunkie.com, McGregor’s importance to the UFC is set in writing.
This document, which was created in the midst of the UFC’s recent $4 billion dollar sale, explains that despite television broadcast deals, popular video games, and an official streaming service in UFC Fight Pass, pay-per-view remains the company’s biggest source of income. It elaborates that in 2015, this source of income was responsible for 40% of the company’s total earnings.
The same document then goes on to claim that a whopping 25% of those 2015 pay-per-view sales could be attributed to two Conor McGregor helmed cards: UFC 189, which saw him earn the interim featherweight title with a win over Chad Mendes, and UFC 194, which saw him defeat Jose Aldo to become the division’s undisputed king. The document then calls McGregor the biggest star in the sport’s history, explaining that he has crossed the 1 million pay-per-view sale threshold on several occasions, “compared to seasoned fighters [Brock] Lesnar and [Anderson] Silva who have achieved only [one] such fight to date”.
While this document does affirm McGregor’s role as the UFC’s biggest star, it also tips its hat to Rousey, explaining that she and the Irishman have been responsible for a baffling 56.1% of all UFC pay-per-view sales between 2012 and 2015.
McGregor’s next fight will occur in the main event of UFC 205 on November 12, when he will challenge lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the evening’s main event. If he’s successful in this effort, he’ll become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two divisions simultaneously. Rousey, meanwhile, is scheduled for a long-awaited return bout on December 30 of this year, when she’ll take on Amanda Nunes in the main event of UFC 207.
Do you consider McGregor the biggest star in combat sports? Sound off, PENN nation!