After a state ban of nearly two decades, ultimate fighting/mixed martial arts made a big comeback in New York on Saturday as UFC 205 drew more than 20,000 fans.
People from all over flocked to New York City's famed Madison Square Garden to watch Conor McGregor take on Eddie Alvarez in the main event. In the end, McGregor came out victorious, winning the lightweight title via total knockout of Alvarez in the second of five rounds.
McGregor's win makes him the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time. He also holds the featherweight title.
According to TicketIQ, some tickets for the fight sold for more than $18,000, an indication of pent-up demand for a sport that New York had once banned. In Saturday's postfight press conference, UFC President Dana White said the fight set a new record for a live gate at Madison Square Garden, bringing in $17.7 million dollars.
The previous record was set in 1999 in a boxing match between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, which brought in $13.5 million.
With tickets to the fight selling at such high prices, White said he realized the organization might be pricing itself out of future audience members.
MMA fighting was banned in the state until new legislation was passed in March that legalized and regulated the sport — paving the way for the UFC battle.
White said the return of the sport will have big benefits economically for New York.
"If you look at, you know, how many people were here from other countries and different parts of the United States, they're staying at hotels, they're eating at restaurants every night, they're shopping at stores. The economic impact for the city of New York was outrageous," White said.
McGregor, seen as the poster child for UFC, announced during Saturday's postfight press conference that he would be a dad early next year.
Following his announcement, he made it clear that he wanted to have his own stake in the UFC organization.
"I've earned something … like I mean, who owns the company? There's people that have shares in the company. Celebrities, Conan O'Brien, owns the UFC nowadays, so where's my share? Where's my equity? If I'm the one that's bringing this … they've got to come talk to me now, that's all I know," McGregor said.
McGregor's comments are similar to those he made in an interview with CNBC earlier this year, where he mentioned he wanted to get into investing.
The UFC was bought for $4 billion in July by the WME-IMG group.