UFC 251, the pay-per-view event that UFC held last Saturday did large numbers for the company, reaching 1.3 million purchases in the American market. Reported by Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, the figure is the highest the UFC has seen since moving it’s product exclusively to ESPN in 2019.
A figure above 1.3 million hasn’t been reached by the promotion since 2018, where Conor McGregor challenged UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, earning 2.4 million buys.
The biggest PPV in the ESPN era before was UFC 246, which saw the return of McGregor against veteran Donald Cerrone to an American audience of one million.
UFC 251 featured three championship bouts, with Jorge Masvidal challenging Kamaru Usman in the main event slot. The show took place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates without a live crowd due to COVID-19.
Masvidal, one of the more recognized fighters in the UFC currently, took the main event fight on short notice after the previously scheduled Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19. Usman won the main event bout via unanimous decision after 25 minutes of action.
The popularity around Masvidal was mostly achieved in 2019, where the Miami-based fighter scored a flying knee knockout over Ben Askren. He main evented a show last November competing against fellow fan favourite Nate Diaz. It was announced on Saturday that Masvidal will be a cover athlete for the upcoming video game “UFC 4” alongside UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.