Key Difference between UFC “Fight Night” and “Numbered” UFC


Fans of the UFC will have two ways of keeping up with the action. They can either watch Fight Night or a numbered UFC event. But this poses a big question. What is the difference between these shows? 

The biggest difference is the price. UFC Fight Nights are broadcast on ESPN as part of a subscription. UFC fights are sold on a PPV basis. Another key difference is the type of names involved. Fight Nights tend to focus on rising stars while UFC numbered fights have established fighters. 

There are two main televised events that the UFC will broadcast. Keep reading to learn more about how each of them works.

What is UFC Fight Night? 

While UFC Fight Night is now a regular feature, it stems from humble beginnings. It originally began as the climax to the popular reality TV show, UFC Ultimate Fighter. Interestingly, the headline fight featured Ken Shamrock against Rich Franklin. The success of the event and the reality show proved that there was a big market which the UFC could tap into. 

UFC Fight Nights are broadcast on the ESPN+ network. Typically, these events will feature up-and-coming fighters. Though, occasionally, the events will feature a headline with one of the bigger mid-tier stars. It would be very unusual to see a major star, like Connor McGregor, fighting on UFC Fight Night. 

This program serves a few important roles for athletes. First, it allows them to introduce themselves to the audience. This can be a good way to grow a fanbase and develop momentum. Secondly, it will allow them to impress Dana White, who owns the UFC. 

The show also forms an important role for the business side of the UFC. It provides a steady stream of future stars. It’s also used to promote upcoming numbered events. For example, there might be interviews with the stars who will be headlining the events. This lets them build hype and excitement for UFC events, increasing the number of pay-per-view sales they receive. 

What is a UFC “Numbered” Event?

A numbered event is a pay-per-view fight. These tend to be much bigger events than Fight Nights. There are a few reasons for this. These are: 

  1. It features more well-known stars
  2. Headlined by a title fight
  3. More hype, created by the UFC Fight Night events

These events also have an important role in the business side of the business. The sales of pay per view form a crucial part of the revenue stream. For example, the UFC 257 event got over 1.6 million buys. Increasingly, this is where the company is deriving a lot of its revenue from. 

What Do the Event Numbers Mean? 

Some fans are confused about the way that UFC events are named. Often, it will just be a number. These numbered events move in sequential order. For example, the first UFC PPV event was one. The next one was two and so on. 

What is the Difference Between UFC and UFC Fight Night? 

There are a few important differences between these events. Some of the most important distinctions are: 

  • Where you can watch. Fight Night is available to anyone who has an ESPN+ subscription. To watch a numbered event, you will need to pay for the PPV. 
  • Price. UFC Fight Night is included with ESPN+, which costs around $69.99 a year. On the other hand, you will need to pay around $69.99 for the pay-per-view event. 
  • Importance. UFC events will hold title changes and bigger matches. 
  • Regularity. UFC Fight Nights are a fairly regular occurrence, happening weekly in the lead up to a pay-per-view. UFC numbered events will occur less frequently.  

How Many UFC PPVS are There Per Year?

The number of PPV events that UFC holds each year varies. However, it is often around one per month. This averages out to 12 events per year. 

How Often is UFC Fight Night? 

The frequency of the Fight Nights will also vary a little. For example, in 2019 UFC signed with ESPN. This deal meant that they needed to produce 42 events for the network. While these events won’t be held each week, there will be at least two or three ahead of numbered events. 

Does UFC Have an Off-Season?

Individual fighters will need to take a rest between matches. This gives their bodies some time to recover and allows them to prepare for the next match. However, UFC has built up a steady roster of stars. When one is injured, another will be able to take their place. Because of this, there is no off-season and the UFC can able to produce events throughout the year. 

What is the Highest PPV Buys in UFC History?

The UFC has several revenue streams. Though one of its most important is the number of people who are buying Pay-per-view (PPV) To date, the highest number of buy-ins came from the UFC 229 event. The headline was Connor McGregor fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov. This result in 2.4 million PPV buys. This doesn’t include the amount of money earned by people paying to attend the event in person. 

Several factors will determine the number of people who buy PPVs. However, history shows that the fighters are the biggest driving factors. Big names like Connor McGregor and Israel Adesanya become synonymous with big rises in UFC PPV buys.

Israel Adesanya

While the number of PPV buys is a good indication of how popular the card is, it isn’t the only way that the UFC can make money from an event. They will be able to sell tickets to the fight. They will also sell merchandise. Furthermore, they can sell the replays of the fight. This includes DVDs or licensing fees from television networks. Also, sponsors pay to have their advertisements placed around the venue or inside the octagon. 

Does UFC Fight Pass Have Every Fight?

For many fans, the cost of keeping up with PPV purchases can be a big problem. At an average of 12 per year and a cost of $69.99 per match, they would need to pay around $840 to see them all. As a result, many people turn to the UFC Fight Pass. The company refers to this as “The Netflix of Fights.” It will only cost around $10 per month to subscribe. 

If you opt to get the Fight Pass, you will be able to get access to a lot of content. This includes: 

  • Access to preliminary events for UFC fights
  • All the historic UFC matches
  • Original content, like interviews with the fighters
  • Events from other organizations. For example, you will be able to see Strikeforce. These events might be live. 
  • Martial Arts(Mostly Kung Fu) movies
  • The official UFC podcasts

However, if you want to see the UFC numbered bouts live, you will still need to pay a premium. After a month, the event will be included in the subscription service.

Is the Ultimate Fighter on UFC Fight Pass? 

One of the most popular TV reality franchises in the UFC is The Ultimate Fighter. This follows a group of up-and-coming fighters as they live and train together. Each episode ends with a fight. 

Since it first went to air, the show has built a large audience. The UFC Fight Pass has every episode of the show. It also has other reality shows, like Dana White’s Contender series. 

Final Thoughts

UFC is a major sports provider, broadcasting multiple events each year. These can be broken down into UFC Fight Nights and UFC numbered events. Fight Nights are available to anyone with an ESPN subscription. But if you want to see the bigger names and title fights, you will need to buy the PPV. This system works for the UFC, allowing them to build new names and promote their latest PPV events.  

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