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March 25, 2019 Observer Newsletter: UFC PPVs to ESPN+, Wrestlemania 35 preview

It was only a few months ago when television commercials featuring famed boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer, and the sport’s leading active North American drawing card, Canelo Alvarez, talked about the $9.99 price tag of DAZN and how it would be the death of pay-per-view.

Given that UFC in 2018, did an estimated 5,515,000 pay-per-views buys, which generated approximately $185 million for the promotion, including the biggest show in company history in October, the idea that pay-per-view was anywhere close to dead seemed laughable.

And to a degree, the new deal announced Monday with ESPN+ and UFC seems to guarantee nothing of the sort will happen until 2025. But the announcement was still a seismic shift in the industry.

The new deal starts with the 4/13 show in Atlanta with a double interim title headliner of Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title and Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya for the interim welterweight title. It runs through the end of 2025.

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