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UFC 257 PPV buys return blockbuster numbers for Conor McGregor despite widespread ESPN+ outages

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UFC 257: Poirier v McGregor Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Last weekend’s UFC 257 pay-per-view (PPV) in Abu Dhabi ended with a bang, thanks to Michael Chandler’s explosive debut over Dan Hooker, followed by Conor McGregor’s upset loss to Dustin Poirier, so the Sunday morning headlines didn’t have much room for what happened before that.

As with every UFC PPV, MMA fans hoping to stream “Poirier vs. McGregor 2” needed a subscription to ESPN+ on top of the actual cost of the UFC 257 fight card, but the digital network appeared to be ill-equipped to handle the “Notorious” demand, leading to widespread outages on fight night.

“We’re aware that a technical issue prevented a portion of users from accessing part of the ESPN+ pay-per-view event, and we apologize for that experience,” ESPN officials told MMA Fighting. “We worked as quickly as possible to identify and resolve the issue.”

Some fans ordered the UFC 257 PPV and got no fights while others could not even manage to purchase it. In spite of those issues, “Poirier vs. McGregor 2” is expected to finish somewhere in the 1.6 million range, according to Sports Business Journal (via MMA Junkie), with 400,000 of those PPV buys coming from overseas.

That tops the PPV buys for McGregor’s last fight, a technical knockout victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 146 (1.3 million) and ties it with UFC 100: “Lesnar vs. Mir 2” (1.6), as well as UFC 202 “Diaz vs. McGregor 2” (1.6). McGregor holds the all-time record alongside lightweight nemesis Khabib Nurmagomedov with 2.4 million at UFC 229 back in Oct. 2018.

No word yet from UFC or ESPN on possible refunds (or credits) for those customers with ongoing technical difficulties throughout the night.