The most recent Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event UFC 257 has ranked as one of the highest pay-per-view (PPV) buys for the promotion.
Reportedly, the event totalled 1.6 million PPV buys, made up of 1.2m on ESPN+ in the US and 400,000 internationally, making it the third most successful event in UFC history.
The headline event saw the return of one of UFC's most popular fighters, Conor McGregor, as he went toe-to-toe in a rematch with Dustin Poirier. If reports are correct, it would mean McGregor has been involved in five of the top six most-selling cards of all time, cementing his position as one of the biggest draws in the UFC.
The event with the most buys in UFC history remains UFC 229 from 2018, where 2.4 million people viewed Khabib Nurmagomedov defeat McGregor. In second place stands UFC 202, where McGregor defeated Nate Diaz in front of 1.65 million paying customers to the event.
Figures from Nielsen, revealed that the Irishman generated 22.7 million engagements online throughout the event, 1.7 times more than Poirier, despite the latter winning the fight.
“Conor McGregor has once again shown that his popularity on social media continues to remain at unprecedented levels, despite spending a year out of action,” said Spencer Nolan, managing director, UK, at Nielsen Sports.
“Online conversation centred on the fact that McGregor lost, and not that Poirier won. This tells us that win or lose, he remains a pivotal character that has transcended an entire sport."
Nolan added: “Analysing the conversation across social media during fight week in more detail, it’s clear there is a demand from fans to see a rematch between McGregor and Nurmagomdov. Driven by Khabib’s presence in the UFC’s own channel content during fight week, we can see that conversation was rife regarding the promotion’s two biggest assets meeting again.
“Here is another example of how rights holders can work effectively to leverage their athlete's following and create key moments for key athletes around their sport as well as the opportunity to potentially amplify a brand's messaging.”
Author: Jake Wilkin