Dana White is a man fond of hyperbole, so it’s no surprise that he’s predicting big things when it comes to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor showdown on Aug. 26.
“There’s ton of big fights that I’ve been involved with, but obviously nothing as big as this,” the UFC president said during a media call on Wednesday. “This is the biggest event ever in combat sports history. It is the most distributed event in pay-per-view history. This thing is in over 200 countries on pay-per-view. Boxing doesn’t usual do a lot of digital. You can buy this thing though UFC.TV, through the Showtime app, Amazon, Sony, Apple, etc.
“If you’re in Manhattan or you’re on a desert island somewhere, if you have wifi somewhere you can buy this fight.”
The benchmark for pay-per-view figures is currently the May 2, 2015 boxing match between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The bout, which Mayweather won via unanimous decision, drew more than 4.4 million buys in the United States. Oddsmakers recently set the over/under on pay-per-view buys for Mayweather vs. McGregor at 4.99 million, a figure White expects the fight to easily surpass.
“The numbers are tracking huge. We’re gonna do the numbers that everybody has been talking we’re gonna do,” White said. “The line in Vegas, the over-under is 4.9 million. Everything is tracking right now to say that we’re going to kill this thing.”
McGregor has done pretty well for the UFC as a pay-per-view draw, attracting large estimated audiences for his bouts against Jose Aldo at UFC 194 (1.025 million), Nate Diaz at UFC 196 (1.3 million) and UFC 202 (1.6 million) and Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 (1.3 million). While White admits to promoting some blockbuster fights in the UFC, he says none of them can compare to what lies ahead on Aug. 26.
“I mean there’s tons of big fights that had a big fight feeling. But this is the biggest fight ever,” White said. “It’s tracking right now to be the largest commercial pay-per-view ever done in the history of pay-per-view. It’s the most distributed pay-per-view event in history. The list goes on and on of records this thing will break.”
Once it appeared that Mayweather-McGregor would actually come to fruition, White knew it was destined for big things.
“When Mayweather-Pacquiao did the numbers they did, first I said, ‘Good for them’ and No. 2, I said, ‘That sets the bar.’ That showed me if you have the right fight at the right place at the right time, people are willing to watch,” he said. “I knew once this thing started to materialize that this fight would be so much bigger worldwide than anything else that had ever happened. This thing is the biggest event that ever happened in combat sports. This fight will reach over a billion homes worldwide.”
And while the bout will continue to fuel the debate of boxing vs. mixed martial arts, White doesn’t believe it will ultimately hurt either sport, regardless of the result.
“I don’t think it hurts either sport. This is one of those cool situations where two guys are willing to take the risk to fight each other,” he said. “This thing has captured the imagination of people. This fight was really built through the fans and the media.”