When Conor McGregor emphatically declared that he's the money fight in every division, he wasn't lying. The featherweight champion has been responsible for the biggest gates in the UFC's history, all while pocketing a pretty penny along the way.
UFC 196 once again saw the king of Pay-Per views deliver, providing another record-breaking event for the promotion. The night saw Nate Diaz take on the much hyped Conor McGregor in its main event, with Holly Holm and Miesha Tate squaring off in the co-main event.
Incredibly, it was the co-main event that had a UFC belt on the line, with the headline fight being a welterweight bout with nothing on the line. If anything, that shows the box office attraction that McGregor commands.
Speaking to Max & Marcellus of ESPN, UFC president Dana White revealed just how big a night 196 was:
“We broke all our records on Saturday night,” White said. “It was the biggest PPV we ever did. Social media was ridiculous. Even on FOX, FOX was for the prelims, on FOX right? We were number one on all broadcast and cable, you know, from 8-10 in every of the major demographics. You name it, we broke the record on Saturday night. It was incredible.”
The UFC has been thrust into the mainstream world of sport, largely thanks to the antics of the boisterous Conor McGregor and dominant performances of female sports star Ronda Rousey. Many fighters paved the way for where the sport is now, but never has the worlds media paid such attention to the sport like it does now. To think that the promotion was the number one watched programme on all broadcast and cable is extraordinary.
However, following the defeats of Holly Holm and Conor McGregor, the UFC now finds itself facing a McGregor without that unbeatable aura. Something the hosts put forward to Dana White.
“Think about the zillions of dollars that were spent on Pacquiao-Mayweather and the fight, that I think you know, the fight actually damaged the sport of boxing,” White said. “Whereas Saturday night, it was awesome.”
“Let me tell you what. We had all these celebrities there right. These celebrities have done it all, seen it all, and been to everything and they were in the back room with me blown away going, ‘I can’t believe what just happened!. I can’t believe!
“It’s awesome. It’s exciting. It’s fun. I mean, that’s what fighting is supposed to be. That’s the way you’re supposed to feel when a fight is over.”
As Dana White said, it's the unpredictability of the UFC that makes it so exciting to watch. The idea that a firm fan favourite, previously undefeated can fall to anyone at anytime is something not seen in any other sport. Anything can happen in a fight.
With UFC 200 just around the corner, expect these records to once again be smashed as the hype surrounding UFC continues to grow.