This Is The Exact Amount The UFC Will Lose By Leaving Conor McGregor Out Of UFC 200
While we are disappointed that Conor McGregor is officially off the UFC 200 card, we’re certainly glad that this roller coaster ride has come to an end.
Dana White put it to bed yesterday, when he announced on Good Morning America that Jon Jones will challenge Daniel Cormier in a rematch of their original fight, for the UFC light heavyweight title.
“UFC 200 has been, uh, interesting to say the least, putting this thing together,” White said. “There’s been some crazy things that have gone on. Some ups and downs. Jon Jones just fought on Saturday night and won his fight against OSP. He’s been out for 15 months, and now he’s back, and he wants his light heavyweight UFC title back. So the main event will be Daniel Cormier versus Jon Jones.”
The decision to axe Conor McGregor has been highly debated this week, with many feeling McGregor crossed the line when he rejected the UFC’s demands for him to attend a press conference in Las Vegas last week.
“Is it fair for everyone sitting up here? People came in here from Poland and Brazil. I mean how many times do I gotta say that, is that fair?” White said at the press conference.
And while there is certainly a need for UFC President Dana White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to stamp some power and authority, the decision to axe their biggest star from the card which is allegedly going to be the biggest card in history, could prove to be a costly mistake.
The team at ESPN believe that the stubborn stance that the UFC have taken will cost them $45 million dollars.
Now before we break it down in more detail, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind the UFC’s stance on this.
McGregor’s rapid rise over the past 18 months has created a money and power hungry monster. A feud between the two parties has been brewing for some time now, so for White, it was important to push a clear message that no fighter is bigger than the organisation that pays their cheques. Everyone is replaceable.
“We put up all the money, we’re spending $10 million on the promotion of this fight and we can’t even shoot a commercial with the main event?” White said when justifying his decision to pull McGregor off the card. “The whole production crew is here, they came in from L.A., shooting all these guys here. They’ve been shooting the commercial the last three days.”
But whether you like him or not, McGregor is the biggest name in combat sports by a long stretch, and his promoting for the UFC in the past 2 years is nothing short of mind blowing.
So how has ESPN come up with the $45 million loss at UFC 200?
Well, Conor’s last fight with Nate Diaz did 1.5 million pay per view buys. The original Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier fight on the other hand, did an underwhelming (by comparison) 800,000 pay per view buys.
Taking into account that it would be a rematch, there could be arguments that there are less buys second time round, but as a conservative approach, lets say the difference between Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz II and Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier II is 500,000 buys.
At $70 per buy, that equates to $36.7 million in additional gross revenue to the UFC.
The next factor to consider is ticket prices. It’s expected that UFC 200 tickets will be the most expensive in history.
UFC 196 broke the record for live gate revenue, at $8.1 million. At face value, the McGregor-Diaz prices started at $204 and were selling for as much as a whopping $1,454.
If we compare this to the previous card, UFC 195, ticket prices for Condit-Lawler were $104 and maxed out at $804. It also had almost 3,500 less fans at the door. That equates to a live gate difference of $6 million.
Being the card it is (or was supposed to be), $10 million could be achievable. Without Conor McGregor though, it’s extremely difficult to justify such a substantial price hike.
Throw in another cool $800,000 for additional merchandise royalties and concession revenue and you can quickly come to the realisation that $45 million isn’t that far off.
And depending on the condition of their relationship moving forward, the decision to axe McGregor from UFC 200 could end up costing them a lot more than $45 million.