UFC 254 was headlined by perhaps the biggest fight of the year in Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje. It also had a stacked main card with fights like Jared Cannonier vs Robert Whittaker, Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harriss and Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba to name a few. Moreover, it ended with an emotional announcement of the retirement of its lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov; where “the eagle of Dagestan” announced that he wouldn’t be fighting anymore without his late father. Given everything that went down, UFC 254 was obviously expected to pull in record breaking numbers.
However, that isn’t the case, as the event actually pulled in numbers that were lesser than expected; being only the fifth biggest ppv of the year.
“trending off the charts”: Dana White’s comments hyped up the ppv during promos
Even with all the hype that it generated, UFC 254 could only manage 675k pay-per-view buys according to Sports Business Journal. It was the fifth-biggest pay-per-view in 2020. This is in contrast to what the boss claimed it would do. UFC president Dana White’s comments in the lead-up to the event indicated that it was “trending off the charts” and would possibly be setting a PPV record for the company. But, the aftermath from the event have been making headlines ever since.
As big as the event ended up being, it is still behind UFC 251, UFC 246, UFC 253, and UFC 249. UFC 251, was the best selling ppv, coming in at 1.3 million buys, followed by UFC 246 with 1 million buys. UFC 253 pulled in as many PPV buys as UFC 249, with 700,000 PPV buys.