UFC 257 wasn’t a great night for Conor McGregor in the octagon. But it’s likely to be followed up by a trip to the bank with a dump truck full of money. Maybe that will help cushion the blow.
On Tuesday, the Sports Business Journal (warning: paywall) reported that the first PPV event of 2021 for the UFC came in around 1.6 million buys. That’s a very positive number for the promotion, and puts it potentially among the top three to five PPV events in company history. Although the UFC does not publicly release numbers, UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov was believed to have come in around 2.4 million buys. UFC 202 was reported to have pulled in 1.65 million buys, on a card that featured McGregor vs. Nate Diaz meeting for the second time. Their first confrontation at UFC 196 also did in the 1.6 to 1.65 million range, although the numbers tend to vary by source.
The UFC 257 buyrate appears to have built on a solid number put up by the preliminary card. With little in the way of recognizable names to the casual fans, the televised prelims on ESPN averaged 1,433,000 million viewers, per Showbuzz Daily. The featured fight of that portion of the show saw Arman Tsarukyan defeat Matt Frevola, after the pair were matched up at the 11th hour following Ottman Azaitar breaking safety zone protocols, and Nasrat Haqparast being forced off the event due to illness.
In the main event, McGregor was knocked out by Dustin Poitier in a rematch of their 2014 meeting. The only other star power on the card, arguably, was Michael Chandler, whose move from Bellator to the UFC certainly resonated with dedicated MMA fans.
Last year’s UFC 246: McGregor vs. Cerrone card reportedly did in the 1.3 to 1.4 million buy range.
The UFC’s next event, UFC 258, sees Kamaru Usman put his welterweight title on the line against Gilbert Burns. That card takes place February 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.