UFC President Dana White previously stated that UFC 229, which goes down this Saturday in Las Vegas and will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, was on track to sell a record-breaking 2 million pay-per-views.
Now, White says the metrics he monitors ahead of big fights indicate the card could sell close to 3 million pay-per-views.
“I told you guys we were trending at close to 2 million pay-per-view buys,” White told ESPN of UFC 229 (transcript via Sherdog). “We’re closer to 3 million now. We’re trending close to 3 million pay-per-view buys for this fight.”
“This thing’s breaking every record we’ve ever had as far as numbers go,” White added. “If you look at Mayweather-McGregor, the first episode of Embedded in 24 hours did 800,000 views. This one’s at 1.7 million in 24 hours….I could just go on for days with numbers and how it’s scaling. It’s gonna be big.”
“Obviously Conor’s been gone for a couple years and he’s coming back and taking on the biggest, nastiest, toughest guy out there right now. Undefeated, 26-0, never lost a round. Khabib is the guy. Conor is so big and famous and people love watching him fight because this is the stuff he does. He goes right after everybody. He doesn’t care. If you’re a fight fan you love it.”
White then explained that tickets have been flying off the shelves for this UFC 229 card — and that many of the purchases are coming from overseas.
“Massive ticket sales from the U.K. and Ireland,” he said. “This is also the largest gate in Vegas we’ve ever done and the second biggest gate ever in UFC history. This thing’s gonna come in at $17 million. [Madison Square Garden] was $18 million.”
Because UFC 229 tickets are selling so fast, Dana White says the typically not-for-sale Zuffa section of cage-side seats has been halved and put up for sale.
“This is the biggest fight we’ve ever done. We don’t ever sell the Zuffa section, the section behind me. No fighters got tickets to this fight,” he said. “Daniel Cormier will be there. He bought three tickets. I bought tickets. [UFC owner] Ari Emanuel bought tickets. Everybody paid for their tickets. This is the first time ever we split the media section in half. We sold half of that section and the other half is media. Never done that before either.”
For context, the biggest UFC PPV so far, UFC 202, sold 1.65 million PPVs. How many PPVs do you think UFC 229 will sell?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/2/2018.