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Dana White: UFC 189 passed U.S. gate record following McGregor-Mendes announcement

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The sense of disappointment when Jose Aldo had to drop out of his scheduled UFC 189 main event against Conor McGregor due to a broken rib was widespread.

But the idea this would be a deathblow proved to be wrong.

UFC president Dana White said on Tuesday's edition of The Jim Rome Show that since the new main event of McGregor vs. Chad Mendes was announced, an additional $300,000 in ticket sales have been recorded. And that's been enough to give the event the biggest-grossing gate in U.S. mixed martial arts history.

What's crazy is, that fight [Aldo-McGregor] gets canceled," White said. "We bring in Chad Mendes, the gate in Vegas at the MGM $6.8 million, we put in Mendes, the gate went to $7.1 M. We actually had to add bleachers in there. The event is the biggest gate we've ever done in the U.S."

The previous gate record was just more than $6.9 million for UFC 148, which was headlined by the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch.

While White was as disappointed as anyone the original main event dropped out, he said he understands why Aldo had to pull out, noting the champion wasn't going to skip out on his biggest payday unless he absolutely had to.

"In this case, Aldo was going to make millions of dollars in this fight. This was the biggest fight of his career, financially and every other way. The guy's hurt. Andre Pederneiras, his trainer sent me video of him getting kicked. It's spinning heel kick to the ribs, which, the sparring partner shouldn't have been throwing to him two weeks before the biggest fight of his life.

"This is a contact sport." White continued. "You're looking at a guy, Jose Aldo, who hasn't lost in 10 years, defended his title seven times. Believe when I tell you he wanted to be here Saturday night, everyone loses except Chad Mendes. One man's loss is another man's gain. This happens, its a contact sport. It's like having Tom Brady as a quarterback and being upset that he's hurt. It's going to happen."