“The reason for Dana White’s relief was that a non Conor McGregor event delivered over 1m PPV buys”
Dana White is quite often given to Hyperbole. However for once his words matched the occasion.
” This was the greatest event in the history of the UFC”
Now he did go on to slightly couch his words but in fairness the whole card delivered in spades. Whether or not it was the greatest remains a matter of conjecture but he will have woken up last Sunday morning a mightily relieved man.
The reason for his relief isn’t the fact that he put on a superb show and everyone delivered their lines on cue. No the reason for the relief will be that a non Conor Mcgregor show delivered north of 1 million PPV buys.
As much as everyone wants Conor back in the Octagon the UFC are embarrassingly reliant on him for revenue at the moment, well right up until last Saturday night in Madison Square Garden that is.
At the moment Mcgregor has them bent over a barrel with his grip not just on the fight game but particularly his grip on the numbers.
Dana White was very quick to point out that PPV buys for UFC217 in Canada beat the Mayweather / McGregor buys. But i wouldn’t get too cocky with the bonanza of good news from just one night.
For a start there was a lot of pent up frustration in those numbers. The last two UFC cards were abysmal on the PPV front and they just didn’t catch the public imagination. Throw into the mix you had several high profile cards wrecked by last minute withdrawal’s going right back to Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson at the beginning of the year. There was a huge hunger from MMA diehard’s and your once or twice a year fan’s to watch a big card especially one with three title fights.
The fact that the event threw up 3 new champion and that one of them is an older but seemingly improved GSP is just an added bonus. While 2017 hasn’t lived up to previous years in many fan’s eyes i think 2018 promises to be a hugely interesting year. I would go as far as to say that it will be the year the new ownership get’s it’s teeth into the groundwork they have been laying over the past 12 months or so. Look out for the 2 following in particular.
Boxing to be rolled out as an extension to the UFC brand
Russian and Chinese Markets to be more fully exploited.
One thing is for sure the while the UFC is still able to pull in these numbers without McGregor the brand is strong and the support solid.