Leading up to UFC 217, there was a lot of talk and debate as to whether the November 4th would pull big numbers, and it looks like the event did just that.
Although the card marked the first time Georges St-Pierre had fought since 2013, it wasn’t clear if the Canadian star was still a big draw. After all, it had been over four years since GSP had fought, and it wasn’t known if new fans were invested in his return. In addition, since St-Pierre’s bout with Michael Bisping was met with mixed reviews when it was announced, some questioned whether the New York City event would move a lot of -pay-per-view buys.
Well, immediately after the thrilling event, Dana White reported this:
“I told some of you guys this yesterday. Mayweather vs McGregor had the record in Canada, and we were number two and three. I’m pretty sure this beat Mayweather in McGregor tonight,”
“I told you that this would do a million buys, I was way wrong it did over a million, I’ll have a definite answer tomorrow, but it’s looking like we destroyed it.”
Now, MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer is reporting that early estimates indicate the event sold 875,000 PPVs. So what about White’s comments?
The 875,000 figure is for North America, and the aforementioned report notes that it’s believed UFC 217 did very well in Australia. That total also doesn’t include PPV purchases on the internet. So, it’s possible that the event did sell over one million buys as White noted.
Even aside from the question as to whether the card sold over one million PPVs, the 875,000 total is very strong. That would make it the top selling PPV card of the year for the UFC. The last event that’s believed to have topped that number is UFC 207 last December, which featured the return of Ronda Rousey (who was taken out by Amanda Nunes in the opening round).
So, in other words, clearly there is still interest in GSP, who on November 4th, became just the fourth man in UFC history to win titles in two divisions. It should also be noted, of course, that UFC 217 also featured two other title fights, as Cody Garbrandt lost the 135 title to rival T.J. Dillashaw, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk lost the 115 belt to Rose Namajunas.