Dana White believes UFC 189: Aldo Vs McGregor will be the biggest event the promotion will put on this year, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is to prove it.
“I’m gonna go out there and say, we probably spend more money promoting this fight that we have ever spent on any fight in UFC history,” White stated on the UFC Tonight show on Wednesday night.
His comment came in the midst of a whirwind ‘World Tour’ to promote the event, featuring stopovers at destinations around the globe including Rio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Toronto, London and Ireland.
“Personally, I think this is the biggest fight of the year,” White said. “This is a fight, that the world will be watching. When you have a fight where countries… literally countries care about the fight, it’s a big deal. All of Brazil will be watching (Aldo) defend his title, all of the UK will be watching. And then you have Canada, the United States, Australia…”
With Aldo and McGregor flying in separate private jets, staying at the fanciest hotel rooms in town and being followed around by ‘UFC Embedded’ film crews, that alone will be costing a pretty penny – or, as White himself describes it – “god damn expensive.”
It appears to be paying off though. The UFC 189 World Tour series of Embedded has already broken records with each episode being avidly watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube to an overwhelmingly positive response and there’s undoubtedly a blockbuster buzz surrounding this fight that we’ve never witnessed before for a featherweight fight in the UFC.
White expects his initial investment will pay off handsomely, telling Ariel Helwani yesterday in New York that he anticipates it being the fastest selling event in the history of the company and estimating a massive $7 million gate for the Las Vegas show on July 11th which will take place as part of the UFC’s International Fight Week festivities in the city.
He also appears to be having a whale of a time accompanying the two fighters on the tour. Despite being an old hand at this type of thing, White describes the UFC 189 World Tour as, “One of the most unique experiences of my life.”
Meanwhile, the outspoken McGregor, who’s magnetic personality is the lynchpin of the event’s success, is talking about breaking the UFC’s PPV record and claims he’ll make more than $7 million himself for the event.
That may be overly ambitious – UFC 182: Jones Vs Cormier had a huge amount of hype behind it and ended up with around 800,000 PPV buys – excellent by the UFC’s recent standards, but not at the level McGregor is targeting.
Having said that, clearly McGregor has managed to negotiate a slice of the PPV revenue for the show, as will Aldo due to his champion status, and as long as they stay injury-free there’s no doubt that this is going to be the biggest payday of their careers to date by a large margin.