Fight Biz Quote: Dana White

July 31, 2008

See, this is the one part of the business I fucking hate. Everybody wants more money, they want it now. And then all these fighters are like, ‘We’re the superstars, not the UFC! It should all be about us.’ You dumb motherfuckers. You don’t know what you’re fucking with.

–Dana White, from the June 12th, 2008 Issue of Rolling Stone

UFC Video Game Maker THQ Takes Losses

July 31, 2008

THQ recently released financial information for their most current quarter. For the quarter ending June 30, 2008, the company posted net earnings of $137.6 million, $33.1 more than what it took in a year ago. At the same time, while noting “important improvements in our creative development organization,” THQ reported a net loss of $27.2 million ($0.41 per share) for the April-June quarter. The cost of games has seen a marked increase for the company, according to website Gamespot.

The company expects to see a boost in profits with a strong game line-up for the rest of fiscal 2009. The company also sees UFC 2009 Undisputed in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 as a strong earner for the company in the future. Fiscal 2010 first quarter for THQ would cover the months of April, May, and June of 2009.

IMMAE This Weekend: TapouT vs Ecko

July 31, 2008

IMMAE is an industry trade show and consumer exposition showcasing the fastest growing sport in American history, Mixed Martial Arts. The Expo takes place this August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Long Beach Convention Center. Fighters scheduled to make appearances at the Expo include Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia, Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, Nate Diaz, Frank Mir, Dan Henderson, Josh Koscheck, among many others.

One interesting angle at the International Mixed Martial Arts Expo will be the shared platform for TapouT and Ecko Unlimited. Those two clothiers are alone as Gold Sponsors for the Expo. The pair are a study in contrasts as it relates to where they come from, where they are, and where they are going in the current MMA apparel landscape.

TapouT is generally seen as the king of the MMA apparel mountain, as perhaps the definitive brand for fanciers of mixed martial arts. The TapouT is an empire that has been built from within the sport, having been founded in 1997. Tapout has been around since the beginning and has reached a point where it has almost become synonymous with MMA. Much like the sport itself, Tapout quietly grew at a very modest pace until the MMA explosion touched off by the debut of The Ultimate Fighter. After doing just $12 million in sales in 2006, Tapout is projected to do $100 million in sales this year and $225 million in 2009. TapouT is seeing such expansive growth through their improving distribution with traditional brick and mortar channels, such as Foot Locker and Champs.

The other gold sponsor is one that has built it’s empire outside of the MMA world. Ecko Unlimited dwarfs Tapout in size doing $400 to $500 million a year in sales, with Marc Ecko Enterprises as a whole doing around $1 billion in sales a year. While Ecko Unlimited has the size and resources to be a significant player in the MMA industry, they seem to have not fully committed to the market. If and when they do, they have an a mature distribution system and an ability to cross-promote through their other brands that would make for a strong competitor for the TapouT crew.

The battle between the two should make for an interesting backstory to this week-end’s events.

"Becoming the Natural" Makes The Bestseller List

July 31, 2008

“Becoming the Natural” by Randy Couture and Loretta Hunt hit book stores July 22nd and judging from the resulting sales, the book looks to be quite a success. The book will debut on the New York Times bestseller list on the Expanded list at #33 on August 10th.

“Becoming the Natural” details the life of Randy Couture in and out of the cage. The book covers his childhood, his time in the army, his quest to make the Olympic wrestling team, and his career inside the Octagon.

Randy Will be doing in-store book signings in the following locations over the next several days:

Thursday, July 31st – Las Vegas / Barnes & Noble (7:00 PM)
Monday, August 4th – Chicago / Borders in Schaumberg (7:30 PM)
Tuesday, August 5th – Cincinnati / Joseph-Beth Booksellers (7:00 PM)

Affliction Promoters Speak

July 31, 2008

Tom Atencio and Roy Englebrecht recently did separate interviews of note:

Roy Englebrecht sat down with MMAMemories and spoke about his boxing and MMA cards, his Fight Promoter University, and his work with Affliction. Englebrecht will also be the promoter of record for Affliction’s upcoming card in Las Vegas in October.

Affliction VP Tom Atencio spoke with MMAWeekly about some of the numbers surrounding the Affliction: Banned event. Some ballpark figures are thrown around in the article as to possible gate and PPV revenues. Atencio attempts to clarify reports that Affliction purchased $500,000 of the show tickets itself. Usually something like that requires a press conference.

Full Ratings for UFC 84 on Spike

July 31, 2008

The Spike premiere of UFC 84: Penn vs. Sherk (Saturday 7/26/08, 9-1130p) delivered a 1.23 household rating, a 1.47 among Men 18-49, a .95 among Adults 18-49, a 1.54 among Men 18-34 and had an average audience of 1.6 million viewers.

“UFC 84: Penn vs. Sherk” did a 1.5 in Men 18-49 and a 1.5 Men 18-34.

EliteXC Unfinished Business 7/26 Payouts

July 31, 2008

Courtesy MMAFighting.com:

(W) Robbie Lawler – $45,000 + $45,000 = $90,000
(L) Scott Smith – $14,000

(W) Nick Diaz – $60,000
(L) Thomas Denny – $8,500

(W) Jake Shields – $35,000 + $10,000 = $45,000
(L) Nick Thompson – $25,000

(W) Cristiane Cyborg – $3,000 + $3,000 = $6,000
(L) Shayna Baszler – $8,000

(W) Antonio Silva – $100,000 + $100,000 = $200,000
(L) Justin Eilers – $20,000

(W) Rafael Feijao – $10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000
(L) Travis Galbraith – $5,000

(W) Wilson Reis – $2,500 + $2,500 = $5,000
(L) Bryan Caraway – $2,000

(W) Anthony Ruiz – $2,001 + $3,000 = $5,001
(L) Jeremy Freita – $2,500

(W) Carl Seumanutafa – $2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000
(L) Mike Cook – $2,000

(W) Drew Montgomery – $1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000
(L) Brandon Tarn – $2,000

(W) David Douglas – $2,500 + $1,500 = $4,000
(L) Marlon Mathias – $2,500

Total payouts were $533,501

Huerta: I Don't Care If I Fight In The UFC

July 31, 2008

Neal Taflinger has an explosive piece in this month’s Fight! Magazine, where he gets Latin Lightweight Superstar Roger Huerta to open up about his displeasure with some of the financial practices of the UFC.



Huerta is one of a growing number of Zuffa-contracted fighter who feel that there is a disconnection between the company’s success and the way fighters are compensated. Huerta’s disillusionment with the UFC began when he did press tours for his employer in Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and London and received a $50 per diem for his troubles. It sounds like a a good deal until you factor in time away from training, friends, and family, days often stretch twelve hours or more, and an exchange rate of one UK pound for two American dollars. “Why do you think I don’t do PR for the UFC any more?” he asks.

He’s also unhappy with the terms of his current contract, but to Huerta, the press tours underscore a larger point: by and the large, Zuffa does not treat its contracted fighters with sufficient loyalty or respect. He argues that many UFC fighters barely make enough to cover their training expenses. He brings up teammate Keith Jardine repeatedly, incensed that a main event fighter is working for ten and ten- $10k to show and 10k to win – while his opponent regularly makes ten times as much.

Huerta’s expression hardens and becomes more animated as talk turns to endorsements. The common counter-argument for complaints about fighter pay is that fighters often make more from endorsements and sponsorships than they do for competing. But Huerta has soured on the system after receiving lowball offers from companies who expect fighters to jump at the chance to endorse products. He rails against a Fortune 500 company for offering a deal to build him as a spokesman that included unpaid work. “Are you serious?” Huerta ask. “I know Dale Earnhardt Jr isn’t doing appearances for free.”

“The truth is, I don’t really care if I fight in the UFC or somewhere else,” Huerta says. The fighter says he understands that Zuffa has to keep an eye on the bottom line, but he wants to work, “For a company that is as loyal to me as I am to them.”

The piece elaborates on Huerta’s contract status with the UFC. Roger has two fights left on his contract and if he beats Kenny Florian he could be held out of competition and be subject to the Zuffa Freeze-out, as used on Andre Arlovski and Brandon Vera during contract negotiations. Huerta has a back-up plan in case this tactic is used, as he can enroll in college and finish up his business management degree this fall at Augsburg College.

Fight! Magazine is available at a local bookstore or news stand near you. The entire article on Huerta is quite good and worth picking up if you get the chance.

EliteXC 7/26 Gate Figures

July 30, 2008

Coutesy of CSAC and MMAWeekly.com:

Gate was $268,715.

Attendance was 6,518.
3,701 were sold
2,817 were comped.

The gate figures for EliteXC tend to be all over the map. Their Kimbo vs Tank show did 6,187 spectators for a gate in excess of $500,000. Their 5/31 show did 8,033, with no figures on the gate or amount of comps. The only cards to draw exceptionally well have been their co-promotions with Strikeforce, due to Strikeforce usually drawing strong in their San Jose base.

EliteXC: We Know Who's Out, But Who Is In?

July 30, 2008

Who is in, as in who is in control over at EliteXC Headquarters?

The moves within ProElite to shed itself from the management of Gary Shaw, Doug DeLuca, and Dave Marshall can be laid at the feet of a couple of parties, one obvious and one not so obvious. As was reported by MMAPayout.com earlier, CBS/Showtime, believed to be the company’s second biggest shareholder, has had a growing role in how ProElite has been run since the initiation of their TV deal with the company . While CBS isn’t a holder of an overwhelming amount of stock, they are integral to the success of the company through their broadcasting deal. One need only look at Carl Icahn and his recent dealings with the Yahoo/Microsoft imbroglio to see how an influential investor can exert heavy influence over the company.

Without the recent infusion of cash from CBS/Showtime with the issuance of various warrants for stock and notes payable, the ProElite stock would more than likely be lumbering towards insolvency. CBS/Showtime recently infused the company with a $3.0 million dollar loan in June. Prior to that, when the EliteXC-CBS TV Deal closed, Showtime exercised warrants that provided ProElite with another $4 million in proceeds. In short, CBS/Showtime are providing the gas that is keeping this engine running. Controlling the purse strings as well as the future of the company through their TV deal indicates that CBS/Showtime are the only ones with the power to make a move against the three men who formed the company in DeLuca, Marshall, and Shaw.

Also exerting influence has been Santa Monica Capital Partners. The largest shareholder in the company, it is believed they have taken a more active role in the company of late. With a significant interest in the company and recognizing the necessity of CBS for the company’s success, SMCP seems to have gone along with these moves so as to protect their investment.

MMAPayout.com Editor Adam Swift gives a quick synopsis of CBS’s influence in this clip from Inside MMA:

With Shaw, DeLuca, and Marshall out of the company, the question now is who will step into the power void. ProElite seems to have been checking around for the availability of experienced upper management for the company prior to the announcement of DeLuca and Shaw’s departure.

Previously, sources told MMAPayout.com ProElite had shown significant interest in acquiring the IFL and that Jay Larkin was considered the company’s top asset. Larkin has a long history with Ken Hirschman at Showtime. With a sale of the the IFL’s assets to UFC being rumored, EliteXC looks to have moved on to other options.

Other prominent names mentioned at the time of Shaw’s demotion in late June as possibly moving up the corporate ladder were Jeremy Lappen and Terry Trebilcock (KOTC promoter). Lappen looks to have definitely taken a step up as far as his profile to the general public, since Shaw’s move to “consulting” for the company. Lappen’s past in the MMA business includes stints as manager of Randy Couture and also as CEO of the WFA before joining EliteXC.

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