UFC president Dana White has claimed that despite Conor McGregor’s massive success inside and outside of the Octagon, that Ronda Rousey is still the sports biggest star.
“By far,” White stated on the HOT 97 radio show in NYC. “Not even close. By far the biggest star. Ronda Rousey is such a big star. When you go down to Brazil, they don’t care who you are. They want the Brazilian to whup your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian. Never seen that before in my life, and will probably never see it again. That’s how big Ronda Rousey is.”
McGregor may disagree with White’s assessment given that he’s already broken the UFC’s pay-per-view record twice this year, delivering 1.6 million buys for his first fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March, then racking up 1.7 million buys for their rematch at UFC 202 in August.
He could now be on course to do so a third time at UFC 205 in NYC this November as he challenges Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title.
Meanwhile, Rousey’s own PPV drawing power had only just broken into the seven figure category when she fought Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November of last year, which garnered 1.1 million buys, but didn’t go according to plan, with ‘Rowdy’ being KO’d in the second round.
If she had emerged victorious that night her stock would only have risen again though, so she may well have ended up on a similar footing as McGregor by this stage.
At the same time, Rousey certainly has a higher celebrity profile globally, having appeared in blockbuster movies like, ‘Fast And Furious 7’, ‘Entourage’ and ‘The Expendables 3’, and been a media darling across the world during her title reign.
Regardless of who is actually the bigger star overall, there’s no doubt that having both of them fighting in the UFC could propel the promotion to even greater heights than ever before, and with there being rumors that Rousey may finally return either late this year or early in 2017, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the sport.