If you thought Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was experiencing a slow 2017 campaign, think again.
According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion is enjoying its biggest year to date. That may come as a surprise to many, considering the lack of massive pay-per-view (PPV) cards thus far, but “El Jefe” remains confident the calendar year will end in historic fashion.
“This will be the biggest year in the company’s history,” White said during UFC 217’s pre-fight press conference in New York City (full video replay here). “We’re on track for the biggest year ever. So it’s been good.”
While White has more insight into the financial status of the promotion than anybody else, it’s difficult to see how UFC is experiencing its biggest year of all time. As of now, UFC has only managed to sell an estimated 2.6 million PPV buys, which is considerably lower than where the promotion was this time last year (over six million buys). The organization’s low output so far comes from events such as UFC 213, UFC 215, and UFC 216 doing less than impressive numbers. However, UFC 214 helped saved some face as Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 2 brought in an estimated 860,000 buys.
Despite a lackluster in-house showing so far this year, UFC was able to land a major payday when lightweight champion Conor McGregor took on undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a superfight for the ages this past August. UFC ended up co-promoting the event and made out like bandits after the boxing match did an estimated 4.4 million domestic PPV buys, which could be fueling White’s claim.
In any case, UFC has a lot of work left in 2017. Not only is the promotion gearing up for arguably its biggest event of the year tomorrow (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) at UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre in New York City, but other premier events, such as UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar and the end-of-the-year UFC 219, are still left to promote.
If McGregor is able to make it back to the Octagon and headlines UFC 219 on Dec. 30 from Las Vegas, Nevada, White will have even more to add up in what he’s calling the best 12-month period in the company’s history.