UFC 264 sets record, doesn’t top UFC 229 for PPV buys

Jul 10, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor moves in for a hit against Dustin Poirier during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 264 was a big night for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and ESPN. However, it was not enough to usurp the top pay-per-views buys spot from UFC 229.

UFC 264 scores 1.8 million buys globally

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal is reporting the UFC’s most recent offering on Saturday night is now the second best-selling PPV in promotion history. Earning 1.8 million buys, with all but 500,000 of them coming exclusively on the sports broadcasting juggernauts ESPN+ streaming app.

The event was headlined by a trilogy fight between Irish superstar Conor McGregor and top-ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier. The bout ended the second frame after McGregor broke both his tibia and fibula late in the opening round and was unable to continue. Poirier was awarded the victory by technical knockout, handing him the deciding win in their three-fight rivalry, that started in 2014.

Not only did the promotion and ESPN+ do big business on PPV, but the broadcasters flagship station ESPN also saw a boom in numbers for the preliminary card of UFC 264. Averaging 1.615 million viewers between 8 pm and 10 pm ET, which amounted to an 11% increase on UFC 257’s prelim numbers. That January card was headlined by McGregor and Poiriers rematch. The UFC 264 prelims featured three finishes and several highly competitive and entertaining fights.

UFC 229 remains the UFC’s PPV king

ufc 264
Oct 5, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor are separated by Dana White during weigh-ins for UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, UFC 264 did not come close to the mammoth buy numbers of UFC 229. That event–headlined by a highly anticipated UFC lightweight title fight between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov–scored 2.4 million buys in October 2018. The divide in buys between the two events confirms the global star power of Nurmagomedov and McGregor combined for a perfect revenue recipe for the UFC.

This weekend’s event still beat the 1.6 million buys earned by UFC 257 earlier this year, and UFC 202. The latter was headlined by McGregor versus Nate Diaz in a rematch of their UFC 196 clash. That event falls to sixth overall. McGregor, 32, has been a part of the top seven PPV earners in UFC history.

Join the discussion on this topic...