Saturday’s UFC 194 event was – from a live gate and attendance standpoint – the largest UFC event in their history in Las Vegas, drawing 16,516 to the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a live gate of $10.1 million. It beats the Las Vegas gate record set by Conor McGregor’s last fight – UFC 189 in July brought in a then-record gate of $7.2 million – and is the UFC’s second highest gate ever behind UFC 129’s $12 million figure, set with an attendance of 55,000.
After the event, McGregor set his sights on even bigger records: that of boxing superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. While they dwarfed every other sporting event with a previously unfathomable $72 million gate in Las Vegas in May, McGregor also pointed to the fact that both of those men had many years on him as draws, and he’s only getting started.
“What did Floyd vs Manny do? $72 Million? I’m catching up,” McGregor said at the post-fight press conference (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). “I’m only 27. Them old motherf***ers were 40 before they got that. I’m only warming up! I said to Lorenzo, and I said to Dana, I’m bringing in these big numbers. I’m bringing in these half a billion dollar revenues, like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has done. At 27 years of age, I stand here, the unified world champion. Back-to-back MGM gate records. This is trending as the highest pay-per-view, [UFC VP of PR Dave] Sholler I believe said, of all time for the UFC.
“At 27 years of age, with every record in the book, with weight divisions above, ready for me to go at, super-fights left and right. Tell me one other champion who has been like that. I’m bringing these numbers, and sky’s the limit.”
Penick’s Analysis: He really is just getting started. He’s now the must-see guy on the roster. More than Ronda Rousey, more than Jon Jones, Conor McGregor has become the draw, and he could be changing the game entirely as a top star in this sport. He’s a long, long way from anything resembling the Mayweather-Pacquiao record, and that’s unlikely to ever come close to a reality, but he’s going to be commanding significant money to see him in person going forward, and he’s going to continue drawing major numbers on pay-per-view. For the longest time the UFC pushed the organization over individual fighters, hurting their business somewhat with a lack of stars. Now, McGregor sits in a spot where he may now be bigger himself for his fights than the UFC as the organization. Notorious Promotions is on its way, and he’s going to be banking some major, major money in the very near future.