There's no denying that Conor McGregor is still likely the most valuable member of the UFC. Mystic Mac has brought a lot of money to the promotion, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
His move to welterweight, combined with Holly Holm's first title defense, contributed to an absolutely huge number of pay-per-view buys for UFC 196. UFC President Dana White appeared on a recent episode of ESPN Radio and told the hosts that UFC 196 did an estimated 1.5 million pay-per-view buys:
"Guys, Saturday was amazing for us. We broke so many records. It was the biggest pay-per-view we ever did. Social media was ridiculous. From the prelims, we were No. 1 on all broadcast and cable from 8 to 10 p.m. in all the major demographics."
Exact pay-per-view numbers are impossible to get this quickly, but the UFC would have its own internal numbers based on orders off its own website and satellite numbers, which are usually a good indicator. Some figures from different cable sources indicated significantly larger numbers than either UFC 193 or UFC 194.
We all knew this would be a big card, but once Rafael dos Anjos dropped out, the UFC had to have been pretty nervous. It was able to scramble and nab a prime-time fighter in Nate Diaz, though, and it turned out to be a good move.
That being said, it wasn't the biggest UFC event of all time. That distinction goes to UFC 100, which had an estimated 1.6 million buys.
However, the PPV price of UFC 196 is much higher than UFC 100's was. That combined with additional revenue streams that the UFC has developed since then, and an $8.1 million live gate (the third-biggest in company history), makes UFC 196 very likely to be the most lucrative event the promotion has ever put on.
UFC 196 was huge. That's the bottom line.
What do you think?
Were you happy with your purchase (or non-purchase) of UFC 196?