Even without a live gate, UFC 251 was one of the most successful PPVs in the organization's history. While it certainly didn't reach the levels of Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov from UFC 229 in 2018, it certainly was the highest since then.
According to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, UFC 251, headlined by Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal, did a whopping 1.3 million PPV buys.
UFC 251 was among the most stacked cards the promotion had put out in a long time. There were three title fights in the inaugural Fight Island event. The first one saw Petr Yan defeat Jose Aldo to claim the Undisputed Bantamweight Championship.
The second saw Alexander Volkanovski retain the UFC Featherweight Championship over Max Holloway in a razor-thin and controversial split decision. The UFC 251 headliner, of course, saw Kamaru Usman defeat Jorge Masvidal.
Was Jorge Masvidal responsible for UFC 251's success?
Apart from having a stacked card with three title fights, there's little doubt that Jorge Masvidal replacing Gilbert Burns on six days' notice played a big part in the success of the PPV.
Dana White even revealed in the post-fight press conference that UFC 251 was trending at an incredibly high level:
"The only thing thing this fight is comparable to is Conor-Khabib. Let me give it to you this way, I’ll give you an interesting stat: our UFC store, we’ve sold more merchandise already, now, than we did in all of 2019. We already beat 2019. This thing is trending as big of a fight as I’ve ever seen in my entire career.”
Jorge Masvidal has emerged as one of UFC's biggest stars following his incredible 2019 and the next fight he chooses will likely be on a big PPV. Perhaps his win over Nate Diaz at UFC 244 helped raise his star power significantly. It can even be seen in the difference in the post-fight press conference viewership on YouTube, where Jorge Masvidal was trending far more than the winner Kamaru Usman.Published 14 Jul 2020, 10:42 IST