Though the card itself ended up being a bit of a snoozer, and at least one fight turned into a cringeworthy pox on the sport itself, that didn’t stop UFC 251 from doing gangbuster numbers in both pay-per-view buys and at the betting window.
Breaking: UFC 251, headlined by Kamaru Usman-Jorge Masvidal, generated approximately 1.3 million pay-per-view buys on ESPN+, multiple sources tell The Athletic. The debut of Fight Island in Abu Dhabi produced the most UFC PPVs since Khabib-Conor in 2018https://t.co/VsiYpzK9T6— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) July 13, 2020
From The Athletic:
UFC has hit the 1.3 million mark five other times, the most recent being UFC 229 — Khabib Nurmagemdov vs. Conor McGregor — which holds the UFC record for PPV buys with 2.4 million.
UFC 229 excluded, this is the company’s biggest PPV success since UFC 202 in August 2016, another matchup featuring the promotion’s marquee star, Conor McGregor fighting Nate Diaz in a rematch.
At $64.99 per person, that’s a cool $84 million in revenue to Dana White’s coffers just on the purchases through ESPN+ PPV alone. There’s likely a bonus for Jorge Masvidal due as he’s a fighter that tends to get backend points based on his ability to sell as well.
It doesn’t stop there, as DraftKings Sportsbook can confirm the card had plenty of people wagering on it as well.
* Usman vs Masvidal is now the #1 fight by handle for DKSB, beating Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone from UFC 246.
* UFC 251 card is now also top UFC card for UFC actives and overall handle.
Though specific numbers aren’t released, the book was likely happy with Kamaru Usman winning the main event: The handle the day before the fight saw as much as 66% of the cash on Jorge Masvidal despite him being listed as a +185 underdog.
If this is the kind of success the UFC is having for moving their operation to Abu Dhabi, it appears to be an investment well worth making so far.