UFC 257 was a big hit on social media. The pay-per-view event took place this past weekend in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, as Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round of their lightweight headliner.
It was one of the most shocking moments in the sport with social media naturally exploding soon after. And according to Nielsen (via MMA Junkie), the official UFC accounts generated almost 43 million engagements and close to 100,000 mentions throughout fight week.
When it comes to the fighters, McGregor — the biggest draw in the sport — still dominated social media as he generated 22.7 million engagements leading up to the fight, which was 1.7 times more than Poirier.
Additionally, he saw his social media following increase by a combined 439,000 followers. This is fewer than the 1.4 million fans he gained ahead of his fight with Donald Cerrone last year. However, it should be noted that McGregor already has a huge following with nearly 40 million followers on Instagram for example.
“Conor McGregor has once again shown that his popularity on social media continues to remain at unprecedented levels, despite spending a year out of action,” U.K. managing director of Nielsen Sports, Spencer Nolan said. “Online conversation centered on the fact that McGregor lost, and not that Poirier won. This tells us that, win or lose, he remains a pivotal character that has transcended an entire sport.”
Poirier Following Increases Significantly
It wasn’t all bad for Poirier on the social media front as he saw his combined following increase by 520,000 which is more than the 341,000 followers Cerrone gained ahead of his fight with McGregor last year.
Those new followers will certainly help contribute to Poirier’s “The Good Fight Foundation” in addition to potentially leading to further sales for his new hot sauce.
Social media analytics also showed that interest in a Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor rematch is present with “12,000 separate discussions simultaneously mentioning the two fighters over the course of just three days.”
“Analyzing the conversation across social media during fight week in more detail, it’s clear there is a demand from fans to see a rematch between McGregor and Nurmagomdov,” Nolan added.
“Driven by Khabib’s presence in the UFC’s own channel content during fight week, we can see that conversation was rife regarding the promotion’s two biggest assets meeting again.”
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However, the chances of a rematch got a whole lot slimmer after the events of this past weekend.