The early buyrate estimates for UFC 261 have come in.
According to Sports Business Journal (H/T Jason Cruz), last Saturday’s championship tripleheader in Florida tallied at least 700,000 domestic pay-per-view buys, aka units sold in the United States. We don’t know the global pay-per-view details as of yet, but it looks as if this outperformed UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya, and currently sits right behind the Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier rematch as the best performing UFC PPV of 2021.
This is actually down from last July’s first matchup between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, which totaled a reported 900,000 PPV buys domestically and 1.3 million overall. That card also featured three title fights, although Usman vs. Masvidal I proved to be anticlimactic compared to the extremely climactic ending to their rematch.
Masvidal’s star power grew exponentially as a result of his 2019 wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, with the Diaz fight representing the UFC’s highest-selling PPV of the year. We didn’t have any info on the UFC 258 sales for Usman’s win over Gilbert Burns so one can assume that it wasn’t worth touting, and that Masvidal has been the draw in both Usman fights. With Usman’s emphatic KO of Jorge, perhaps this could mark the start of Kamaru as a formidable A-side headliner moving forward.
The next pay-per-view is UFC 262 in Texas on May 15th, which features a lightweight title bout between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira, plus a five-round non-title co-main between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards. It’s the first time that either Chandler or Oliveira has been a PPV headliner.