UFC: 5 Biggest Earning PPV Events In History (Ranked) 2023

9 months ago By Jhon Woug

When it comes to the world of combat sports, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stands tall as one of the biggest and most lucrative organizations. Over the years, UFC has not only produced some of the most thrilling fights but has also hosted events that shattered records in terms of pay-per-view buys and revenue. In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 5 biggest-earning UFC PPV events in history, ranked according to their pay-per-view buys and revenue.

  1. UFC 229: Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor

PPV Buys: 2,400,000 | Revenue: $180 million

UFC 229, held in 2018, remains an iconic event in the history of mixed martial arts. The main attraction of the evening was the fierce rivalry between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. This event recorded a staggering 2.4 million pay-per-view buys, making it the highest-grossing UFC event of all time. Khabib defended his UFC lightweight championship against the notorious Irishman, Conor McGregor.

McGregor, known for his striking prowess, faced a formidable opponent in Khabib, a master of grappling and ground control. The fight generated immense hype and anticipation. The event lived up to its billing, as Khabib secured a victory by submission in the fourth round. Unfortunately, the postfight brawl between their teams marred what could have been a historic rematch.

UFC 229 was a spectacle, showcasing the power of superstar rivalries and the financial success they can bring. It remains a landmark event, not only in terms of earnings but also in the UFC’s history.

  1. UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3

PPV Buys: 1,800,000 | Revenue: $120 million

UFC 264 in 2021 was a crucial chapter in the rivalry between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. The fight was the third installment of their series, and it was highly anticipated by fans and critics alike. McGregor, coming off a loss in their previous encounter, was determined to settle the score.

The event started with tremendous energy, but it took a shocking turn as McGregor suffered a gruesome leg injury in the first round, leading to a doctor’s stoppage. Poirier was declared the winner. Despite the unexpected ending, UFC 264 still managed to amass 1.8 million payperview buys and $120 million in revenue.

McGregor’s star power and the narrative of a fierce rivalry drew fans from all over the world to witness this fight. While the outcome may not have been what many expected, it highlighted the unpredictability and drama that make UFC events so enthralling.

  1. UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor II

PPV Buys: 1,650,000 | Revenue: $90 million

The second fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz took place at UFC 202 in 2016. Their first encounter ended in a shocking submission victory for Diaz, setting the stage for a highly anticipated rematch. McGregor, known for his charisma and fighting spirit, was determined to avenge his previous loss.

This event showcased the power of redemption stories in combat sports. McGregor and Diaz engaged in an intense battle that went the distance. McGregor secured a majority decision victory, and the fight drew 1.65 million payperview buys, generating $90 million in revenue.

UFC 202 was a classic showdown between two warriors who left it all in the octagon. It proved that rivalries could fuel the financial success of an event and create lasting memories for fans.

  1. UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II

PPV Buys: 1,600,000 | Revenue: $82 million

UFC 196 was a historic event for several reasons. Notably, it marked Conor McGregor’s move up to the welterweight division to face Nate Diaz, just months after his dominant victory over Jose Aldo. McGregor’s ambition to hold titles in multiple weight classes was on full display.

The fight itself was a rollercoaster. Diaz, a last-minute replacement, shocked the world by defeating McGregor via submission in the second round. This unexpected turn of events added to the allure of UFC 196, which generated 1.5 million payperview buys and $80 million in revenue.

McGregor’s willingness to take risks and face opponents outside his weight class added intrigue to this event. While he faced a setback, it was a testament to the unpredictability of MMA and the UFC’s ability to deliver blockbuster moments.

  1. UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz

PPV Buys: 1,500,000 | Revenue: $80 million

UFC 251 in 2020 featured a showdown between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. This event marked the first of two major clashes between the two fighters and showcased Masvidal’s growing popularity as a payperview draw.

Usman, the reigning welterweight champion, defended his title against Masvidal, who had stepped in on short notice. Despite the circumstances, the fight garnered immense attention. Usman secured the victory, and UFC 251 recorded 1.3 million payperview buys, generating $90 million in revenue.

The event exemplified the UFC’s ability to adapt and deliver compelling matchups even in challenging situations. Masvidal’s charisma and fighting style, combined with Usman’s dominance, made UFC 251 a significant financial success.

These top 5 UFC PPV events have not only left an indelible mark on the sport but have also significantly contributed to the organisation’s financial success. These events showcased the power of rivalries, the thrill of redemption stories, and the unpredictability that defines mixed martial arts. As the UFC continues to evolve and attract global audiences, it’s safe to say that the legacy of these events will endure, shaping the future of the sport.

Honourable Mentions:

UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor II (2016) This event marked a highly anticipated rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Their first encounter had been a stunning upset, with Diaz submitting McGregor in the second round. The rivalry between these two fighters had reached a fever pitch, and fans were eager to see if McGregor could avenge his loss.

The fight was delivered in spectacular fashion, with McGregor securing a hard-fought victory by decision. This event garnered an impressive 1,650,000 PPV buys and generated $90 million in revenue. It not only showcased McGregor’s resilience and star power but also solidified his status as one of the UFC’s biggest draws.

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 (2021) The third installment of the rivalry between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier was highly anticipated by fans and the MMA community. McGregor, known for his charismatic personality and explosive fighting style, faced Poirier once again in a bid to settle their feud. This event, while ending in disappointment for McGregor due to a leg injury, continued to highlight his drawing power.

With 1,800,000 PPV buys and a staggering $120 million in revenue, it reaffirmed McGregor’s position as one of the UFC’s top attractions. Despite the setback, McGregor’s return to the octagon remained a major spectacle.

These honourable mentions demonstrate the enduring appeal of marquee matchups and iconic fighters in the world of MMA. The UFC has consistently delivered blockbuster events that capture the imagination of fans worldwide. These events not only draw huge audiences but also contribute significantly to the promotion’s financial success. McGregor, in particular, has played a pivotal role in elevating the UFC to new heights in terms of PPV buy rates and revenue generation.

As we reflect on these honourable mentions, it’s evident that the UFC’s ability to create compelling narratives and showcase the skills of its top fighters has been instrumental in its growth.

Each event represents a chapter in the ongoing story of mixed martial arts, where rivalries are settled, champions are crowned, and new legends are born. The UFC’s commitment to delivering high-quality entertainment has made it a dominant force in the world of combat sports, rivalling even the most established traditions like boxing. With each new event, fans eagerly anticipate the next historic moment that will shape the future of the sport.

**The Future of UFC PPV Events:**

The future of UFC Pay-Per-View (PPV) events holds immense promise and excitement for both fans and the promotion itself. As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve and capture a global audience, UFC PPV events are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping its trajectory.

One of the most compelling aspects of the future of UFC PPV events is the emergence of a new generation of superstar fighters. While the likes of Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jon Jones have been central figures in recent years, the sport continually produces fresh talents eager to make their mark. Fighters such as Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman, and Amanda Nunes are already drawing attention and building their legacies. As these athletes ascend to greater prominence, UFC PPV events will feature new marquee matchups that captivate fans worldwide.

Moreover, advancements in technology are set to enhance the viewing experience for fans. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are being integrated into live broadcasts, offering fans a more immersive and interactive way to engage with the action. Imagine watching a UFC championship fight from the perspective of the fighter, feeling the adrenaline and intensity as if you were inside the octagon. Such innovations will make UFC PPV events even more special and unique, bridging the gap between fans and fighters.

The global expansion of the UFC is another exciting aspect of its future. The promotion has made significant strides in hosting events in different parts of the world, from Asia to Europe to the Middle East. This not only broadens the fan base but also introduces a diverse array of fighters with unique styles and backgrounds. UFC PPV events will continue to reflect this global reach, featuring matchups that transcend borders and showcase the best talent from around the world.

As the sport of MMA gains wider acceptance and recognition, UFC PPV events are likely to attract more mainstream attention. Major celebrities and athletes from other disciplines are increasingly showing interest in the sport, both as fans and participants. This crossover appeal can lead to unprecedented levels of viewership and revenue for UFC PPV events. The line between sports and entertainment will blur even further, making these events a must-watch spectacle.

**What Makes UFC PPV Events Unique and Special:**

UFC PPV events hold a distinct place in the world of sports and entertainment, thanks to several key factors that make them truly unique and special.

First and foremost is the raw and unscripted nature of MMA. Unlike scripted professional wrestling, MMA fighters engage in real combat with no predetermined outcomes. Every punch, kick, submission, and knockout is genuine, creating an atmosphere of unpredictability and excitement that is unparalleled in sports. UFC PPV events deliver this authenticity directly to viewers, ensuring that every moment is a potential game-changer.

The personal narratives and rivalries in MMA add a layer of drama and emotion that captivates fans. Fighters come from diverse backgrounds and have compelling life stories. Whether it’s a champion defending their title or an underdog rising to the occasion, these narratives create a deep emotional connection between fans and fighters. UFC PPV events are platforms for these stories to unfold, making every fight not just a competition but a human drama.

Another aspect that sets UFC PPV events apart is the high level of skill and athleticism displayed by the fighters. Mixed martial artists are some of the most well-rounded and conditioned athletes in the world. They combine striking, grappling, and submission skills, requiring years of training and dedication. UFC PPV events showcase the pinnacle of this skill development, with fighters pushing their limits to achieve victory.

The global fan base of the UFC adds to the uniqueness of its PPV events. MMA enthusiasts span the globe, creating a diverse and passionate audience. Whether you’re watching from Las Vegas, London, Rio de Janeiro, or Mumbai, the shared experience of a UFC PPV event connects fans worldwide. This global reach is a testament to the sport’s universal appeal and makes each event a global celebration of combat sports.

Lastly, the UFC’s commitment to innovation and production values elevates its PPV events to a cinematic level. From the thrilling walkouts to the intricately designed fight cards, every detail is meticulously planned to enhance the viewer’s experience. The use of advanced camera angles, slow-motion replays, and in-depth analysis adds depth to the broadcasts. UFC PPV events are not just fights; they are immersive spectacles that engage the senses and emotions of fans.

The future of UFC PPV events promises to be an exhilarating journey marked by the rise of new stars, technological innovations, global expansion, and increased mainstream recognition. What makes these events unique and special is their authenticity, the compelling stories of fighters, the high level of skill on display, the global fan base, and the production values that create a one-of-a-kind viewing experience. As the sport of MMA continues to grow, UFC PPV events will remain at the forefront, delivering unforgettable moments that define the essence of combat sports.

UFC has undoubtedly cemented its position as a major player in combat sports, rivalling even the world of boxing in terms of audience numbers and pay-per-view figures. With blockbuster events like these, the UFC continues to capture the imagination of fight fans worldwide, and the financial figures reflect its undeniable success.

It’s worth noting that these financial figures are subject to change as the UFC continues to grow and attract new fans and sponsors. As the sport evolves, we can expect even more record-breaking events that will add to the rich history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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