2020 has been a tough year for businesses. The spread of the pandemic resulted in nationwide lockdowns for several months. The pandemic meant the death of live events. And the UFC was not exempt from this rule.
At a time when most sports completely shut down, Dana White and the UFC had the bold idea of continuing to put on fights with the highest safety protocols in place. The move to continue was met with incessant criticism from the media.
The UFC and Dana White managed to prove the doubters wrong as they put on a show almost every weekend this year with the fewest positive cases across most major sports. 2020 was a record-breaking year for the company from a business point of view in many aspects. We take a look at a highly successful year for the company and some of the records that were broken.
Khamzat Chimaev: Fastest turnaround victory
Khamzat Chimaev made his promotional debut this year. Within a few months, he has skyrocketed into one of the most famous and liked athletes on the roster. He made his promotional debut on July 15 with a submission win over John Phillips.
He then asked Dana White to book him for another fight as soon as possible and they obliged. ‘Borz’ was booked for a fight against Rhys McKee only July 25th, just 10 days after his previous fight. With this, Chimaev set the record for the fastest turnaround win in the company’s history.
Kevin Holland’s incredible 2020
A talk of breakout stars of this year is incomplete without mentioning Kevin Holland. ‘Trailblazer’ has been in the UFC since 2018. He made his debut with a loss against Thiago Santos. He then bounced back brilliantly and won his next three fights before succumbing to a loss against Brendan Allen.
However, 2020 saw a man reinvigorated. ‘Trailblazer’ started off the year with an impressive TKO win over Anthony Hernandez, followed by a TKO win over Joaquin Buckley as well. He then secured a split decision win over Darren Stewart before securing another TKO win over Charlie Ontiveros.
Holland saved the best for the last when he secured perhaps the most impressive KO of his UFC career. It came against his toughest test to date.
In the process, Holland moved to 5-0 for the year and set a record for the most fights won in a calendar year by a middleweight. Holland also secured a mind-boggling four of his five wins this year via T/KO.
Khamzat Chimaev fastest to three victories in the UFC
Khamzat Chimaev is one of the breakout stars of this year without a doubt. The 26-year-old has amassed a massive following for his willingness to fight and his ability to completely dominate his opponents. ‘Borz’ broke two records in three fights in the UFC this year. He set the record for the fastest turnaround victory when he fought twice in two days.
He then accepted a fight against veteran Gerald Meerschaert in September this year. It took him all of 17 seconds to knockout Meerschaert and in the process set the record for the least time taken to secure three victories in the UFC at 66 days.
Most successful PPV of 2020
The UFC has had multiple successful fight cards this year. However, there are two that stand apart from the others in terms of numbers. There is a dispute as to which is the most successful pay-per-view of the year. It is a close call between UFC 246 headed by Conor McGregor taking on Donald Cerrone, and UFC 251 headlined by Jorge Masvidal taking on Kamaru Usman.
Conor recently posted the official numbers of the PPV sales for UFC 246 at 1,353,429. While the official numbers for the UFC 251 are not available, Masvidal and his team are confident that they have sold more than Conor McGregor at UFC 246.
UFC 256: Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Deiveson Figueiredo is as game as they come. The flyweight champion won the belt in style against Joseph Benavidez. He then defended his belt for the first time against Alex Perez at UFC 255, where it took him under two minutes to submit Perez.
On the same card, Brandon Moreno secured an impressive win over Brandon Royval and called out Figueiredo for a title fight.
Both men wanted the fight, and the UFC obliged. ‘Daico’ set the record for the quickest turnaround title fight when he accepted to fight Moreno in 21 days. The fight lived up to all the expectations as the two men battled for five rounds in a fight of the year candidate at UFC 256.
UFC Business Numbers
The UFC has had a stunning year in terms of business. Despite losing out on revenue from live audience, the company has made up ground in other divisions. Here are a few key figures from a record-breaking year for the UFC. (Source: Dana White Instagram)
UFC Fight Island generated $1.3 Billion in earned media value
UFC stores sales at a record high (Increased 135% YoY)
152 million followers reached on UFC social media (up 62+% YoY)
Record high pay-per-view buys (average per event)
Live event viewership up 33% increase YoY
UFC on YouTube 2.5 billion views in 2020 (promotion record)
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