Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor have no love lost for each other but the heated rivalry that headlined UFC 229 on Saturday night will go down as the biggest card in company history.
In the weeks leading up to the fight, UFC president Dana White had predicted gaudy numbers for UFC 229 including an estimation that the card could go as high as 3 million pay-per-view buys.
As it turns out, White’s expectations were a little too lofty but UFC 229 was still a massive financial success for the promotion.
According to White, early pay-per-view numbers have started to roll in and the card headlined by Nurmagomedov’s fourth round submission win against McGregor will be the biggest show in the history of the UFC.
“We didn’t do 3 million [pay-per-view] buys but it’s so hard to crack 2 million,” White explained when speaking to TMZ on Monday. “I mean even [Mike] Tyson-[Evander] Holyfield was at like 1.995 [buys], things like that didn’t crack 2 million.
“We’re way over 2 million so I’m happy.”
The previous biggest selling card was McGregor’s 2016 rematch against Nate Diaz where UFC 202 reportedly sold around 1.6 million pay-per-view buys.
Even if UFC 229 only sold 2 million pay-per-views, it would already be the most successful UFC show of all time.
White admits getting those pay-per-view numbers on Monday helped lessen the blow from the disaster that unfolded on Saturday night when Nurmagomedov leapt over the cage and ended up in a brawl with one of McGregor’s teammates.
“I’m a little giddy this morning. The pay-per-view numbers just started to roll in,” White said with a laugh. “I’m in a much better mood than I was on Saturday. Obviously that night I was very bummed out, been working for a long time on this sport and the biggest show ever, you don’t want something like this to happen but it did happen and we’ll deal with it.”