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Dana White: UFC 249 PPV pre-buys for ESPN+ ‘more than double’

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be returning to action tomorrow night (Sat., May 9, 2020) to host UFC 249 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. It will be the first event for the promotion since UFC Brasilia nearly two months ago due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While UFC’s decision to stage an event this weekend isn’t a popular one across the board it is a massive step in the right direction in returning some normalcy to the sports world. After all, no other majors sports organization is opening its doors sooner than UFC. The promotion is taking a big risk in staging UFC 249 this weekend and is ultimately going to serve as a guinea pig for the rest of the sports world.

Luckily, UFC’s expensive efforts already seem to be paying off.

According to UFC president Dana White (via Yahoo Sports), the ESPN+ PPV pre-buys for UFC 249 are already taking off. Through Thursday, the pre-buys have more than doubled that of UFC 244, 245, 247 and 248 in international markets like Canada and Australia. The pre-buys have not quite doubled in the U.S., but they are much higher than the normal average.

“Unbelievable pacing for buys,” said White.

What makes this report even more astonishing is the fact that millions upon millions of people around the world are either unemployed due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak or struggling to maintain financial security. If UFC 249’s pre-buy rate is doubling throughout the world it truly shows the power of sports and the global reach of UFC as a whole.

I guess this is what you get when you stage the most stacked UFC card of all time.

While fight fans would have loved to see Tony Ferguson take on Khabib Nurmagomedov this weekend at UFC 249, “El Cucuy” will instead fight Justin Gaethje for the interim UFC lightweight title. That main event will cap off a night of incredible fights, which includes notable stars like Henry Cejudo, Francis Ngannou, Dominick Cruz, Donald Cerrone, Fabricio Werdum, Anthony Pettis, Ronaldo Souza, Michelle Waterson, Jeremy Stephens and Greg Hardy.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 249: “Ferguson vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.