Report | UFC 249 draws big pay-per-view numbers amid pandemic

UFC-249-Poster

In the face of adversity, UFC 249 turned out to be a pay-per-view success.

The original UFC 249 event faced many challenges. The fight card was originally scheduled for April 18 before being pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was set to headline the main event against Tony Ferguson also withdrew over travel restrictions and his commitment to Ramadan. Also, middleweight star Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was dropped from the card after testing positive for COVID-19.

The organization’s president Dana White took several precautions to ensure the event would carry on, and he’s likely glad he did.

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, the risks paid off as the event drew over 700,000 buys at $65 per purchase.

Since the switch to ESPN+, it has been harder to measure PPV sales.

Industry experts were sceptical that the increase of unemployment and financial struggles would present a challenge for the UFC 249 PPV numbers. In contrast, the lack of other live sporting events proved to be instrumental in the event’s success.

Dana White revealed that the UFC 249 card surpassed UFC 248 which was headlined by MMA superstar and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The PPV success could also be attributed to the stacked UFC 249 card.

“From top to bottom, it’s probably the best card we’ve ever had,” Dana White announced.

The card was certainly one of the deepest the UFC has ever seen and proved to be an impressive feat given the extraordinary circumstances. It featured popular matchups including the Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz title fight and a heavy-hitter clash between Francis Ngannou vs. Jair Rozenstruik. The prelims proved to be just as stacked and ended with a rematch clash between former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and UFC record collector Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Main event fighters Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje were also expected to produce fireworks. The fight lived up to expectations, and it sounds like it was viewed by a lot of people.

What was your favorite fight from the stacked UFC 249 fight card? Let us know in the comments below.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/12/2020.