In the lead up to UFC 257, Conor McGregor has given us a rare peek behind the financial curtain.
Last month, “The Notorious” posted this tweet, revealing the exact number of PPV buys that the Irishman generated in his fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. According to the invoice sent to McGregor Sports & Entertainment LLC, UFC 246 was projected to do around 1.28 million buys and ended up being collecting around 1.35 million purchases. While it was a far cry from the reported 2.4 million buys against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, it’s not a bad day at the office consider the new
Congrats to the @ufc on a well fought 2020! The only sporting company on the planet to come through the entire year! Incredible!
I am honoured to secure their highest PPV of the year with McGregor Vs Cerrone.
Congrats Donald, and also on his double submission win last night. #No1 pic.twitter.com/Xvh76Gki3U
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 21, 2020
Although McGregor’s intention of sharing the exact numbers was most likely to boast, he consequently highlighted something rarely talked about—the inaccuracy of current PPV buy reports.
Ever since the UFC and
Just how off are the numbers? Let’s use UFC 246 as an example.
Originally, Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting reported that under the old PPV model, UFC 246 would have sold the equivalent of 2 million buys. While he did not give an exact translation as to how much that sold through the
The 1 million PPV buy rate for UFC 246 was then touted for the next 10 months by fans and media alike. As new estimates cropped up for subsequent 2020 UFC pay-per-views, UFC 246 was described as the second-highest-grossing PPV of the year behind UFC 251, which stood at an estimated 1.3 million purchases. It wasn’t until McGregor revealed the numbers in December that questions began to arise what the highest selling PPV in 2020 actually was, with most trusting McGregor’s claim to the accomplishment.
The above highlights the difficulty in trusting estimates under the new
As we kickoff 2021 with another McGregor pay-per-view extravaganza, remember that the numbers you hear following the event may be inaccurate—until McGregor inevitably posts the receipts later in the year.
UFC 257 streams live this Saturday, January 23, on the
Patrick is a consultant turned journalist who loves the fight game and everything to do with it. Focusing on the politics, business, and general state of MMA are his mainstays, though he'll dabble in analysis and best bets when he can. He also enjoys football, basketball, baseball, and great jokes in general so feel free to reach out and berate him on social media whenever you disagree with him.