While UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson may have been mired in controversy that did nothing to stop fans from lining up to pay $65 for the pay-per-view. In fact, all of that controversy probably helped push UFC 232 to its position as the second best selling UFC pay-per-view event of 2018.
UFC 232 is reportedly estimated to have draw roughly 700,000 pay-per-view buys, second only to UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor at 2.4 million buys. The estimate comes from industry veteran Dave Meltzer at MMAFighting.
UFC 232 was originally slated for Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, but was moved to Los Angeles the week of the fights in order to keep Jon Jones in the main event opposite Alexander Gustafsson.
Jones returned an abnormal result on a Dec. 9 drug test that was credited not to any new ingestion of a banned substance, but considered the residual effect of the substance for which he had already served a suspension and had been deemed to have likely come from a contaminated supplement.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission felt it didn’t have time to adequately review the case and determine whether or not Jones should be approved to fight in Las Vegas, but was confident enough to allow the California State Athletic Commission to take on the event in its state.
Not only was there the drug testing issue, but there were also critics of the UFC forcing dual-division champion Daniel Cormier to relinquish his light heavyweight title in order for Jones and Gustafsson to fight for the belt in their main event rematch.
All of that swirling controversy, as well as the UFC’s first women’s champion vs. champion superfight between featherweight titleholder Cris Cyborg and bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes, surely pushed the numbers to the second best of the year.
Jones is waisting no time getting back into the Octagon in 2019, as he is already scheduled to make his first title defense against Anthony Smith in the UFC 235 main event on March 2 in Las Vegas, pending athletic commission approval.