President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Dana White, has hailed ‘massive star’ Jorge Masvidal for his part in the headline UFC Fight Island clash with champion Kamaru Usman which pulled in a huge 1.3million pay-per-view buys.
The success of UFC 251, the mixed martial arts company’s maiden show since lockdown on Sunday, was justification for their massive investment in securing four behind-closed-doors events on the island in Dubai.
Masvidal’s highly-anticipated last-minute challenge of Usman, in which headlined a card with two other title fights and a host of other high-quality match-ups.
UFC President White highlighted Masvidal’s key role in the event’s success in and overall popularity in the post-fight press conference, calling the welterweight standout a ‘star’.
The 35-year-old stepped in with six days notice to challenge Usman for the welterweight title to rescue the main event after Brazilian Gilbert Burns was forced to pull out having tested positive for Covid-19.
“I said it to you guys the other night, when you put on a fight, a successful promotion of an event, it’s a big melting pot of different things,” White explained. “Fight Island was a massive star in this thing. Masvidal is a massive star. Obviously, Usman, the champion and a guy that we’re all start to realise is tough to beat and a great card underneath.”
Masvidal was a breakthrough star in 2019 after winning three straight feats through knock-out while also claiming the BMF title.
The positivity around how the event played out were sentiments echoed by White ahead of the next three yesterday and the next two Saturday’s on 18 and 25 July.
“It all came together perfectly. It was a major success. Everybody’s healthy. It’s all good. Literally, not one negative thing that, I could point out.
“It was a very successful event,” White added, “We’re happy. The thing killed it across the board in every way you could possibly kill it. It was awesome. The thing did really well.”
UFC 251 reportedly secured 900,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States and totalled 1.3m when including international sales.
Using the standard $64.99 price to watch UFC 251 in the United States, that means a whopping estimated total of $77,988,000 (£62.3m) in TV revenue.
The event’s success is a huge boost financially for the UFC as they have been suffering without the ability to host regular shows with fans during the coronavirus crisis.