UFC is a few hours away from becoming the first major sporting promotion to return after coronavirus induced stoppages. President Dana White has pulled out all the stops. Despite withdrawals from Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rose Namajunas, Amanda Nunes, and the absence of many international fighters, he has put out a stacked card for the UFC 249 event.
According to Yahoo Sports, Dana White says that there is “unbelievable pacing of buys” for the upcoming Ferguson vs Gaethje event.
As of Thursday, the pre-buys have doubled the buys of UFC 244, 245, 247, and 248 in overseas locations like Canada and Australia. The aforementioned cards featured the likes of Conor McGregor, Zhang Weili, and Jon Jones.
The fight card on PPV is $64.95. Yet the sales aren’t on a dip. The numbers are especially surprising, as unemployment is on the rise while companies retrench or follow the ‘last in-first out’ policy to balance their books. Over 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the last 2 months.
However, White believes that these figures showcase the thirst for sports that have built up amongst fans all over the world. The NBA and MLS seasons are suspended. Soccer seasons across the pond in Europe too, are on hold.
The UFC needed this windfall as they have suffered huge losses in making the event happen. They held Fight Night 170 behind closed doors. Later they postponed the Fight Nights in London, Columbus, Portland, Nebraska, Oklahoma City and Perth. Moreover, refunds were given to fans who had tickets for the original UFC 249 in Brooklyn.
Furthermore, the company secured an island to use for fights featuring international fighters. They have to build the infrastructure and set up everything for fighters there too. And they have spent a lot on tests. This is because safety is paramount, and no event will be held at the cost of it.
However, UFC 249 faces an eleventh-hour situation after a fighter tested positive for the coronavirus. Fans will keep their fingers crossed and hope it is not rescheduled yet again.
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