Dana White: UFC wants Aldo vs. McGregor to be 'everything Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was not'
LAS VEGAS -- Dana White is predicting between 1 million and 1.2 million pay-per-view buys for UFC 189. Yet, even if the UFC gets that, he said, it might not actually make any money on the card headlined by Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.
"Over a million PPV buys and we'll probably break even," White said. "That's how much money we're spending. We're spending lot of money."
White unveiled the Aldo-McGregor teasers and commercials that will air globally beginning Saturday in a closed press conference Friday at MGM Grand. The spots will air during the NBA Finals and other big events worldwide. They were produced by Digital Domain, a visual arts company that has won seven Academy Awards and has done special effects for movies like Titanic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Transformers.
"It's the most expensive commercial we've ever shot, but without a doubt the most bad ass commercial we've ever done," White said.
White said he bought eight tickets to the huge boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao earlier this month and came away disappointed -- not so much by the fight, but by the production quality. The UFC boss panned boxing for just using the fight as a money grab and not investing money back into the sport.
"A typical boxing event where you rip all the money out of it," White said. "Not only did they not have any value in the production during the show, the fight sucked. It's typical boxing. It's what they always do. They're never worried about the future of the sport."
He believes the UFC is doing that with UFC 189. White said there will be 10 more Embedded episodes leading into the card following up on the World Tour that Aldo and McGregor did in April. The World Tour Embedded did more than 13 million views, per White. There will also be a 30-minute television special that will air everywhere called Bad Blood: Aldo vs. McGregor.
White said the UFC has spent more money on media marketing on UFC 189 than any other card and he expects it to be the biggest MMA card of the year.
"What we want this to be is everything that Mayweather-Pacquiao was not," White said.
White said that early estimates have 25 percent of UFC 189 ticket sales coming from Ireland and the United Kingdom and 17 percent from Brazil. He expects to earn more than $7 million from ticket sales, which would be the UFC's best gate at MGM Grand.
There are three teaser spots the UFC and Digital Domain did for Aldo-McGregor and one larger scale commercial. They will premiere Saturday during UFC 187.
Bas Rutten named to UFC Hall of Fame Pioneer wing
Bas Rutten is the latest addition to the new-look UFC Hall of Fame.
The former UFC heavyweight champion and King of Pancrase was named to the Hall's Pioneer wing Friday night. UFC president Dana White surprised Rutten by telling him he was in during a segment on AXS-TV's Inside MMA, of which Rutten is a co-host.
The 50-year old Holland native made his name in Japan, where he fought everyone from Ken Shamrock to Frank Shamrock to Masakatsu Funaki to Minoru Suzuki under the Pancrase banner.
Rutten made his UFC debut in 1998 with a TKO win over Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, then defeated Kevin Randleman via split decision at UFC 20 to claim the heavyweight title.
That turned out to be the second-to-last match of Rutten's career, as he suffered several injuries in training, most notably knee and neck injuries. He returned for one final bout in 2006, defeating Ruben Villareal via TKO at the WFA: King of the Streets show at the Forum in Los Angeles. He retired with a record of 28-4-1, having gone unbeaten over his final 22 fights, and launched a second career as an MMA broadcaster.
"I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame," Rutten said. "I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short. Most of my big wins were in Japan. I saw the new UFC Hall of Fame format and I thought maybe I could get in eventually as a Contributor because of my years of commentating. But I'm so honored that the UFC recognized what I did as a fighter."
Earlier this week, the UFC named Jeff Blatnick to the new Contributors wins and the legendary Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg encounter at UFC 52 to the Fight wing. This year's inductee to the modern era wing will be announced during the UFC 187 prelims.