Dana White let slip a figure for the amount of PPV buys that UFC 196 pulled in on March 5th, and while we are still waiting for official confirmation, judging by what the UFC president said it's set to be another red letter day for the organisation.
With Conor McGregor headlining, the numbers were always going to be good but some thought that the late substitution of Nate Diaz in for the injured lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos would result in a dip in interest... Far from it. If anything, Nate Diaz's inability to "give a fuck" and desire to "fuckin' fight" drew in more curious viewers as White believes 196 is a record setting event for the UFC.
The previous record was held by UFC 100, which took place on July 11, 2009 and was an absolute monster of a card involving the likes of Brock Lesnar, GSP, Dan Henderson, and even a young Jon Jones. That event set the record for UFC PPV buys at 1.6 million, which has not yet been officially overtaken, but Dana White claimed that UFC 196 broke almost every record they had while talking to ESPN'S Max & Marcellus radio show:
We broke all our records on Saturday night. It was the biggest PPV we ever did. Social media was ridiculous. Even on FOX, FOX was for the prelims, on FOX right? We were number one on all broadcast and cable, you know, from 8-10 in every of the major demographics. You name it, we broke the record on Saturday night. It was incredible.
However, White later claimed on the same show that the figure for UFC 196 was 1.5 million buys, which would leave it short of the record:
People have been telling me 'what are you going to do when Chuck Liddell retires?' then 'what are you going to do when GSP is gone?' There is always new great fighters coming down the pipeline. In this sport, we put the best against the best, or sometimes we do crazy stuff like on Saturday night, where Conor McGregor says 'I want to fight Nate Diaz. I'll fight him at 170.'
These are things that capture people's imaginations. That is why the thing does 1.5 million PPV buys. That is because it captures the imaginations of fight fans.
So which is it?
There's a high chance that the initial figures that came through were 1.5, but he has since learned that they did in fact push past 1.6m, and said 1.5 as that was the figure he originally had in his head, but regardless, the figures are still ridiculous.
Since McGregor-mania took over the Top 5 PPV buys in UFC history have been seriously shaken up, but it seems that his loss to Nate Diaz, along with Holly Holm's unexpected loss to Miesha Tate, have been seen by more people than ever before.
And it's only set to grow.