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Returning Conor McGregor generates record-breaking $20m gate for UFC 303

Published at :May 13, 2024 at 6:43 PM
Modified at :May 13, 2024 at 6:43 PM
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(Courtesy : UFC)

Blesson Daniel


“The Notorious One” is again smashing the box office with his return

Conor McGregor’s return has already shattered the UFC’s live-gate record, according to Dana White, two months before the bout. McGregor will meet Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 303 on June 29, his first fight in three years. In July 2021, McGregor fractured his leg in his second consecutive defeat against Dustin Poirier.

However, concerns about McGregor’s ability and fitness appear to have had little impact on the excitement surrounding his return. According to UFC president Dana White, McGregor versus Chandler created a new live-gate record for the company, totaling “way over $20 million”.

Dana White announced this at the UFC Fight Night press conference

White announced the news at a Fight Night press conference on Saturday (May 11). Fans have criticized the high ticket costs for UFC 303, which will be held at Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, but many tickets have already been sold, including VIP packages that have cost more than $12,000 in some cases.

The current UFC live-gate record is $17.7 million, established following McGregor’s knockout victory against Eddie Alvarez in 2016. The two headlined UFC 205, which was held at Madison Square Garden for the first time in New York City.

In second place is McGregor’s 2018 loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Russian submitted McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena, with a live gate of little under $17.2 million. Conor McGregor would be looking for his first win since January 2020, as he prepares to face Chandler. Michael Chandler last fought in November 2022, losing to fellow American Dustin Poirier by submission.

Dana White takes a dig at Stephen Espinoza

Breaking the $20 million milestone also allowed White to take his shot at a former competitor, who earlier derided the MMA promotion for failing to reach the heights of some of the most famous boxing events in history.

Stephen Espinoza, who oversaw Showtime Sports before Paramount shut it down at the end of 2023, notoriously claimed that the UFC had never done a $20 million gate despite marketing his third such event in the same calendar year, a 2023 event headlined by Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo.

Of course, Espinoza and White were at odds for years after co-promoting McGregor’s boxing battle against Floyd Mayweather in 2017. They seldom missed an occasion to shoot at each other, and this was no exception.

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