Inside the CSAC

April 26, 2008

MaxBoxing.com’s ran an interesting three part feature on the CSAC last week. The series provides an in-depth look at the policies and politics of one of the most influential athletic commissions in the country.

Dream Pulled From Prime Time in Japan; Lands HDNet Deal

April 26, 2008

In anther setback for MMA in Japan, Sherdog.com reports that dream has been pulled from prime time by TBS. The move was made following disappointing ratings for the promotion’s debut event on March 15. According to the report, “TBS is now scheduled to air the forthcoming April 29 Dream card on a week’s tape delay in heavily edited one-hour installments. The broadcasts will air both in afternoon and after-midnight timeslots. However, future Dream events will air live on SkyPerfecTV pay-per-view.”

Yesterday, HDNet announced a partnership with the promotion. DREAM 1 and 2 will air next weekend on the network.

Redbelt Feature on ESPN.com

April 25, 2008

The roll-out of David Mamet’s Redbelt continues with an in depth feature on ESPN Page 2. The entire piece is worth reading, but here are a few interesting exerts.

On MMA in Hollywood:

Despite MMA’s increasing popularity and appeal to the coveted 18-34 demographic, Hollywood has been reluctant to get in line with MMA-themed big-screen fare. “Everybody in Hollywood passed on it,” Mamet says of his arduous journey to sell the project. “One of the things I talked about (in the pitch) was the demographics of UFC. Look at who goes to these fights. Look at how many follow on TV. It’s huge among young males, exactly the demographic studios are trying to reach. You’re wondering how you can get these people to see a film? Well, this is your answer. The reaction was baffling.

On Never Back Down:

“Here’s the difference — this movie is not an attempt to capitalize on a phenomenon,” says Mamet, when asked about “Never Back Down.” “If it happens that, synergistically, there’s a phenomenon out there that’s going to help people get into the movie theaters, I’m happy for it. ‘Wag the Dog,’ my script about the president having an affair with an underage girl, came out exactly at the same time that the Clinton scandal broke. Nobody planned that. It worked out that way. The film must succeed on its merits.”

More Details on 7/17 Affliction Event

April 25, 2008

More details are emerging on Affliction’s first promotional effort which is set for July 17 in Dallas are beginning to emerge. So far the only “announced” fights for the event are Tim Sylvia v. Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Lindland v. TBA. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Sylvia’s payout for the event is rumored to be $800,000. Other names rumored to be attached to the promotion/card are Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, and Ben Rothwell. Sources tell MMAPayout.com that the total bankroll for the event may approach $5-6 million.

TUF 7 Rating – Week 4

April 24, 2008

MMAPayout.com has learned that the fourth episode of the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter drew a 1.0 rating (1.3 million viewers). The program drew quarter hour ratings of 0.94, 0.88, 1.00, and 1.06. The demographic breakdowns were 1.49 in M18-34 and a 1.25 in M18-49.

The quarter hours actually average out to a 0.97, which rounds to a 1.0, but the series is very close to breaking the 1.0 support discussed on MMAPayout.com last week. The number is also under the 1.5 million viewers Spike averaged in prime time in the first quarter.

Downsizing: UFC Planning Major Roster Cuts

April 24, 2008

One of the UFC’s favorite talking points in demonstrating its dominance of the MMA industry is the number of fighters it has under exclusive contract. 250 is the standard talking point, although Forbes magazine reported it at 275. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the actual number is closer to 200, but not for long.

Dave Meltzer reported in the most recent edition of the newsletter that the company plans to cut its roster down significantly, perhaps to as low as 150 or less. The stated rationale is that the company is struggling to keep all of its fighters active, despite having recently increased cards from nine to eleven bouts.

The first casualty of the new policy appears to be Jake O’Brien who was cut after suffering his first career loss to Andrei Arlovski. Kalib Starnes is the latest announced cut, although he claims to have requested a release, but will not be the last. The recently announced move to cut the WEC Light Heavyweight and Middleweight divisions also fits nicely with the new policy.

According to Meltzer, the company’s goal is three fights per year for contracted fighters. That number looks about right for the top fighters, but will likely be less well received by mid to lower level fighters who are accustomed to fighting 4-5 times per year at a minimum and depend on their fight purses to a much greater degree than more established names.

Money is another obvious factor in the move. The company is not doing as well financially as it was in 2006 with rumors of a round of layoffs at the corporate office and pressure to reduce costs. As the minimum contracted payouts slowly, but steadily, increase the incentive to sign and stockpile talent diminishes, particularly at the bottom of the card where it becomes cheaper to bring in new talent.

To some degree Tim Sylvia fits into this conversation as well, as an example that the days of simply paying what it takes to keep a guy are over. The company appears to be serious about containing its fighter costs and is willing to let some of its top fighters go.

Billboard Rec Sports DVD Chart 5/3/08

April 24, 2008

  1. WWE: Triple H: The King Of Kings
  2. NFL: Super Bowl XLII Champions New York Giants
  3. WWE: The Legacy Of Stone Cold Steve Austin
  4. UFC: Best Of 2007
  5. WWE: The Best Of Raw: 15th Anniversary 1993-2008
  6. WWE: No Way Out 2008
  7. UFC: The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes Vs. Team Serra
  8. UFC 79: Nemesis
  9. WWE: John Cena: My Life
  10. WWE: Undertaker 15-0

Update on UFC-FOX Negotiations

April 24, 2008

A quick follow-up on yesterday’s story on negotiations between the UFC and FOX. MMAPayout.com has learned that the UFC is talking to FOX’s entertainment division as opposed to its sports division. This was the company’s same tack in negotiations with CBS and NBC. In theory, the promotion would enjoy greater editorial control as an entertainment property, which was reportedly a sticking point in its negotiations with HBO and CBS.

3/26 WEC Rating

April 23, 2008

WEC Live on Versus on 3/26 did a 0.52 rating (548,892 viewers) according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The brand is averaging a 0.50 rating (472,488 viewers) for its live broadcasts. The 6/1 event featuring Faber-Pulver is expected to break the brand’s record high of 0.7.

UFC on Network TV: Dana Says Deal Within 6 Months; FOX Rumored to be Frontrunner

April 23, 2008

Last week in an interview with the Canada’s The Score, when asked about the UFC following EliteXC onto network television, UFC President Dana White said “we’ll have a network television deal very soon.” When pressed for a time frame, White said within six months.

MMAPayout.com has learned that FOX is now widely believed to be the leading candidate to become the UFC’s network television partner. Earlier this month White met with FOX executives in Los Angeles. While a deal with FOX is not believed to be imminent, industry sources have told MMAPayout.com that they believe the companies are making progress toward a deal.

In February MMAPayout.com reported that the network was rumored to have made a bid to buy the UFC during a round of negotiations earlier this year.

Last month MMAPayout.com reported that the UFC was involved in “extensive” discussions with ESPN. Sources tell MMAPayout.com, that the network has not made a decision on whether or not to get involved in MMA.

It should be noted that this is an unconfirmed report. As a result, it should be considered rumor or informed speculation at best. It also bears mentioning that the situation is fluid and can change quickly.

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