Sport Jorge Masvidal’s drawing power is clear after UFC 251. Now what can he do with it? | Opinion
Reports: Burns out of UFC 251, Masvidal could replace
Reports: Burns out of UFC 251, Masvidal could replaceLater Saturday, ESPN reported that while Burns will not fight welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC's Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, there are "active negotiations" to book Usman and Jorge Masvidal as the new main event.
“This thing is trending off the charts. This thing is trending higher than a Conor McGregor fight. … This thing is trending as big as a fight as I’ve ever seen in my entire career.”
When UFC president Dana Whitethe day before UFC 251, you figured he was just doing his job as a promoter. Not that Jorge Masvidal didn’t become the breakout star of 2019 (he certainly did), but when you start talking about the possibility for anyone’s fight to outdo Conor McGregor numbers, it’s hard to believe.
And yet, it was revealed Monday in a report by The Athletic that UFC 251, which featured Masvidalin the headliner, generated this past Saturday on ESPN+ only. It marked the fifth time that the UFC has reached 1.3 million buys for an event, with the most recent being UFC 229 in October 2018 – headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over McGregor – which holds the promotion’s buyrate record at 2.4 million.
Report: Usman, Masvidal agree to UFC 251 title fight
Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal have agreed to a fight for the welterweight championship at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi, ESPN's Ariel Helwani reports. The fighters must pass a COVID-19 test before they can travel to the event. Both combatants flew into Las Vegas on Sunday, where fighters on the UFC 251 card are being transported to Abu Dhabi. Coronavirus tests are administered in Las Vegas, and fighters must quarantine while awaiting results. Usman wasThe fighters must pass a COVID-19 test before they can travel to the event.
So, let’s try and put this into perspective. Just how big of a star do these numbers suggest Masvidal really is? Consider the following:Masvidal’s first fight of 2020, with practically no promotion, outdid McGregor’s highly anticipated return to MMA after more than a year off in January at UFC 246, which sold 1 million. UFC 251 performed higher than any of the pay-per-views headlined by one of the promotion’s biggest stars, Ronda Rousey. UFC 245 last December featured many of the same components as UFC 251 – Usman in the main event, Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski 1, Jose Aldo, and Petr Yan. We don’t know the numbers from that event (likely because they weren’t great), but if I had to make a generous guess, I’d say no more than 500,000. And I’m probably being too generous, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s go with that, which basically would equate to Masvidal single-handedly being responsible for roughly 800,000 buys. If anyone doubts the latter statement above, Masvidal’s UFC 251 post-fight news conference video has on YouTube compared to as of this writing. And just to make one other comparison between UFC 245 and UFC 251 as it relates to MMA Junkie, our play-by-play post – always our biggest traffic driver on fight nights – did 40 percent more page views than it did .
In other words, Masvidal isn’t just a “BMF.” He’s a “BMF” who sells.
Kamaru Usman opens as 3-1 favorite in UFC 251 title defense vs. Jorge Masvidal
's first crack at a UFC title Saturday will come with fairly sizable odds against him. Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC) has stepped up on less than a week's notice and will challenge welterweight champion (16-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) for the title in the UFC 251 main event at…Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC) has stepped up on less than a week’s notice and will challenge welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (16-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) for the title in the UFC 251 main event at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Masvidal, widely believed to be the top contender a few months ago, was on the outside looking in when Gilbert Burns was given the shot. But when Burns tested positive for COVID-19, he was removed.
Prior to accepting the Usman fight, Masvidal was with White and UFC executives over his compensation, which is why the bout fell through in the first place. Usman’s original UFC 251 opponent, Gilbert Burns, gave Masvidal all the leverage he needed when the UFC came calling in an emergency, but even then he admitted he – but it was enough to make him happy.
One day before UFC 251, Masvidal was asked about what he learned from these negotiations and.
“Know your value,” he said. “A lot of the young guys just don’t know their value. Because a lot of the young guys don’t know their value, and it’s not their fault. I didn’t know my value. When I was 19, 20 years old, if somebody offered me $2,000, I’d kill a gorilla. It’s tough as these kids are coming up.
Jorge Masvidal on UFC 251 negotiations: 'I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it'
While didn't get exactly what he asked for, he has come to terms with the UFC. With Gilbert Burns out due to a positive COVID-19 test, Masvidal will step in on just six days' notice to face welterweight champion in the UFC 251 headliner at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi o n Saturday. Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC), who initially was thought to be the No. 1 contender earlier this year, was replaced by Burns after Masvidal’s negotiations with the UFC fell through. He revealed that the UFC called when it needed a replacement for Burns and offered him a better deal that he agreed to.
“All I can tell them is know your value and stick to your guns.”
Masvidal certainly knows his value now, and there’s no question that future fights with McGregor, Nate Diaz, Colby Covington, or even Leon Edwards after their infamous “three-piece and a soda” encounter, would capture the attention of the general public and sell big to varying degrees.
Can he stick to his guns, though, to ensure he gets paid exactly what he deserves moving forward? At 35 and nearing his 17th year as a professional fighter, it’s super necessary he does.
[opinary poll=”which-of-these-fights-would-you-like-nex-D7sBHD” customer=”mmajunkie”]MORE:
Jorge Masvidal plans to knock out 'mentally weak' Kamaru Usman and add extra 'super necessary punches' .
Jorge Masvidal relishes the idea that he's going to get the opportunity to hurt Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.“If the referee trips on the way to stopping me and I get to get a couple extra, extra punches, I wouldn’t mind,” Masvidal said during the UFC 251 virtual media day. “They’re going to be a little bit more than the super necessary punches. It’s going to be something a little special. I’m going to have to go into my fast-forward speed and truly send this guy to another plane.