Watch UFC 209 Woodley vs. Thompson is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will be held on March , 07 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, part of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Saturday’s UFC 209 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is off after Nurmagomedov was hospitalized Friday due to complications from a severe weight cut. It’s a rough blow to the company. Nurmagomedov-Ferguson may not have broken into the mainstream consciousness, but it was highly anticipated by core fans and promised to deliver a thrilling bout.
Now it’s gone, extending a drought of major 2017 matchups, just as the UFC tries to find its footing under its new ownership group, William Morris Endeavor. WME dropped $4 billion to buy the UFC in late 2016.
It’s why, now more than ever, it’s time for the UFC to solve its Conor McGregor problem.
That means ending the silly, distracting discussions about a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather and offering McGregor the greatest possible (non-Mayweather) payday available.
Set up a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz for this summer and make it worth McGregor’s while to end his break as he expects the spring birth of his first child.
McGregor-Diaz III may be the only fight (among any combination of fighters) the UFC can make that would assuredly draw more than 1 million pay-per-views.
That’s critical not just for WME, which has considerable debt service. The old days of the Fertitttas and Dana White being able to wait out downturns is over – they owned everything free and clear back then. Now a bill comes due each month.
It’s also important for the fans, who other than the hardcore followers, have been given little to get excited about thus far in 2017.
And it’s important for McGregor, mixed martial arts’ biggest star, who has technically stepped away from fighting but remains motivated almost exclusively by money, hence his public willingness to fight the world’s most elite boxer. He needs to focus on MMA, not circus acts.
McGregor’s two biggest pay-per-view successes came when he fought Diaz, a massively popular, if underappreciated fighter. The first fight had less than two weeks of hype and did a reported 1.3 million buys. The rematch went even higher – a reported 1.65 million. Not even McGregor’s headlining of the UFC’s historic first card in Madison Square Garden in November 2016 could approach either Diaz fight. It reportedly barely topped 1 million buys.
Pokrajac was expected to face Ed Herman at the event. However, Pokrajac pulled out of the fight in early February citing an injury ,UFC 209 and was replaced by Gadzhimurad Antigulov. Then, on February 0, Herman revealed that he was injured and also unable to compete at the event. In turn, promotion officials elected to remove Antigulov from the card and he will be rescheduled for a future event.