Diaz Joins The Noons-EliteXC Fray

August 31, 2008

The Nick Diaz camp makes it a Battle Royal, by responding to Noons vs EliteXC lovefest. Nick’s surrogates at Gracie Fighter unload. The piece picks apart KJ’s most recent statement to the press, line by line, with this probably being the highlight:

GF- 1) It is not up to you to decide who the #1 contender is. That is EliteXC’s sole discretion. Patrick Cote will soon be fighting Anderson Silva at the UFC’s sole discretion. Silva is not complaining because he fights whomever they put in front of him. Silva fought Rich Franklin after wrecking him the 1st time. Serra rematched GSP his very next fight after demolishing him. Serra got paid less than GSP even though he was the Champion after the 1st fight. These men are true Champions and fight anyone. This is a concept you cannot seem to grasp. 2) You are scared because Diaz, despite having a terrible showing last time was stopped by cuts. God forbid the doctor that let the fight continue against Gomi had been calling the shots at your fight. In your heart you know what would have happened and you would rather live the lie of being a paper champion. 3) What will EliteXC ever do without you? I guess you will have to watch from your couch. Drink a beer. Prepare to make a ritual of it.

Gameness Looking For West Coast Foothold

August 31, 2008

I’m a frequent reader of the Gary Ibarra’s blog about his business adventures with Graffight Apparel (check out the link as their website is now up.) Garry most recent blog mentioned another company mentioned previously on MMAPayout.com, Gameness. Gameness is a Nashville-based apparel company that has it’s roots in the jiu jitsu market, but they are looking to make moves into MMA, with an eye towards the west coast…….an exceprt from Garry’s blog:

Shane and I were talking about some of the ideas he has to extend Gameness reach to the west coast and to promote his new line of lifestyle apparel, he says he’s looking for a small company with a few of their own apparel items to possibly partner with or to acquire outright to accomplish this goal. The reason I’m mentioning this is because I know a lot of start ups read my blog so I wanted to offer this opportunity to anyone who thinks they may fit the bill. If your a start up company or even an established one with a niche carved out already, let me know if your interested. Gameness has over 450 distributors in the mid-west, south, and east coast so the opportunities for growing your business and creating a partnership with an already established retailer in the business is one that shouldn’t be passed up.

For anyone interested in such a deal or partnership, you can check out and contact Gameness via their website.

MMA Apparel Has Local Impact

August 31, 2008

One thing often overlooked in the business side of MMA apparel is the impact that the companies have on their local economies. The Press-Enterprise details the boon that TapouT has been to the local tax base in the Inland-area of California:

“2007 generally was not a good year in the Inland Empire for retail sales,” said Husing.

Berry said TapouT has been one of the higher sources of sales tax revenue for Grand Terrace.

The company sells its own brand of mixed martial arts shirts, caps, workout gear and accessories.

Berry said that last year it projected earnings at $12 million and is looking at $100 million this year.

But the city can only receive sales tax revenue from business done at its facility in Grand Terrace, not the company’s Internet sales.

In addition to the sales tax, you can also factor in the local jobs provided and the taxes derived from those workers as additional economic boosts to a local economy. We often look at the macro level of the MMA business, but it is good to remember the impact MMA can have at the micro level as well.

Big John's Gym A Breeding Ground For The Future

August 31, 2008

The Signal has an article on Big John McCarthy’s training facility in the SoCal area. The SoCal area as presented in the article is a blueprint for success for the future

Eight men at Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy in the Valencia Industrial Center are members of the gym’s mixed martial arts team.

According to the gym’s owner and operator, mixed martial arts personality and former referee John McCarthy, mixed martial arts teams number roughly 15 to 20 in Southern California.

Different gyms or schools put on amateur tournaments where the fighters are pitted against one another based on size and experience.

Having a wealth of gyms competing on the amateur level will be key to building up the talent level for the future. A healthy amateur scene will provide for a better finished product once these guys go up to the pro level and also allows for a greater volume of athletes to compete in MMA, casting a wider net if you will. The wider the net cast the better chance of finding diamonds in the rough who can be taken to the next level.

Kimbo Facebreaker Video Game Ad (Video)

August 30, 2008

MMAPayout.com on Inside MMA: Television & Finances

August 30, 2008

MMAPayout.com Editor Adam Swift discusses EliteXC, UFC, and The Effects of Differing Television Platforms on Financial Health:

Watch the entire episode here.

NYTimes on "Ultimate Branding"

August 30, 2008

Rob Walker of The New York Times does a good piece this morning on the the increasing proliferation of MMA related brands. Nothing too ground breaking if you read MMAPayout.com on a regular basis, but the article does a good job synthesizing a bunch of the differing elements into a pretty good read:

The activity often referred to as “ultimate fighting” — but known to fans by its proper designation, “mixed martial arts” — can be characterized in a number of ways: sport, entertainment, spectacle. John McCain once called it “human cockfighting” and the State of New York still calls it a crime. Whatever it is, mixed martial arts appears to be enjoying a fresh surge in popularity, as measured by the audiences for pay-per-view matches, cable reality shows and, perhaps the best gauge of a phenomenon’s penetration into mainstream American life, related brands.

Report: UFC & Couture Negotiating; Possibly Lesnar in November

August 30, 2008

Bloodyelbow.com is reporting that the UFC is currently in negotiations with Randy Couture for a potential return to the Octagon in November to fight heavyweight blue chipper and former WWE star Brock Lesnar. It’s worth noting that aside from Florian vs. Stevenson, no other fight, let alone a main event, has been booked for UFC 91 in Portland, Oregon.

Dave Meltzer has elaborated on the BloodyElbow piece over at the Wrestling Observer; explaining that the UFC is hoping to sign Couture to a new, three-fight deal that would do away with his old contract and end the current litigation between the two parties.

Several factors would seem to suggest that Couture’s renewed interest in negotiating with the UFC is based upon a weakening legal position, but also simply a desire to move forward. With an arbitrator’s decision on the horizon, perhaps Couture wants to re-negotiate now instead of facing a legally binding decision, the result of which he will not have any control over. There are literally hundreds of sports-related arbitration cases that establish precedence for this sort of action.

Couture has softened his stance since claiming that he would not fight for the UFC again; implying some sort of change of heart. It’s also no secret that he’s not getting any younger. With his competitive juices still flowing it seems abundantly clear as to why he’s moved back to the table.

Moreover, if Fedor truly does have an American non-compete clause with Affliction, there remains no further incentive for Randy to wait around. Even if the non-compete clause is a crock, the history between the UFC and Fedor’s M-1 implies that a deal might be extremely tough to come by. So, if Randy is bound to the UFC, one way or another, he might as well take the fight with Lesnar and headline a card that could potentially sell 600,000-650,000 PPVs; a figure that would likely rival a Couture vs. Emelianenko draw.

The potential long-term reward for Couture in a fight with Lesnar provides additional incentive for him to re-negotiate. And from the UFC’s perspective, there’s also a lot to gain – regardless of who wins the bout.

Immediately, this fight gives the UFC a strong headlining event for its November fight card and it helps to continue the momentum of a strong fourth quarter for the organization. Financially, Zuffa needs a strong fourth quarter in order to climb itself out of the rut it dug with creditors after a 2007 campaign filled with poor results and expectations’ failures.

Despite Couture’s legendary status among MMA hardcores, he hasn’t exactly translated that popularity into a casual fanbase or huge PPV buys. A win over Lesnar would help to increase his clout with the casual, PPV purchasing fan and potentially push him into the elite category of industry PPV draws for the future. Furthermore, a loss to Couture isn’t really going to hurt Lesnar’s image as a legitimate heavyweight prospect. The UFC would likely be able to save his credibility, chalking up the loss to experience, and start him back at the middle of the ladder.

On the other hand, a win over Couture would vault Lesnar’s credibility sky high amongst all MMA fans. It would go a long way towards giving the UFC and MMA that coveted heavyweight wrecking ball that the casual American fight fan has not had since Mike Tyson in the early 90s. Yet, a Lesnar victory wouldn’t necessarily spell the end of Couture’s fighting career or his work for the UFC. Certainly, retirement would be an option, but so too would a rematch. Then, there’s also the consideration that Randy could drop down to the light heavyweight division to challenge anyone of the talented fighters in the UFC’s most stacked division – possibly even Chuck as Meltzer suggests.

Let’s not forget the intrigue of the match-up itself. The storylines and potential lead-ins are the stuff that marketers dream of: young vs. old, athleticism vs. experience, an All-American wrestling battle, entertainment meets reality, etc.

If Randy vs. Fedor can’t happen, it’ll be a shame. With that said, there’s no reason to hold onto a dream that might never become a reality, while at the same time letting the career of one of MMA’s all-time greats slip into obscurity.

TapouT A Back To School Fashion Trend

August 29, 2008

In a further sign of the mixed martial arts lifestyle moving towards the mainstream (either that or a sign of the apocalypse), TapouT seems to be one of the fashions of choice for those making their back to school fashion purchases:

Action-packed mixed marital arts are also spilling onto the fashion scene with the rising popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).

One of the most popular brands associated with the sport is called TapouT, which refers to a specific term in the sport when a person is relinquishing defeat — it indicates that you are out of the fight. So by wearing a TapouT T-shirt ($34.99), it’s encouraging the other to tap out or give up.

“The TapouT product is exploding,” says Chino. “We can’t keep it in.”

In addition to TapouT, Kundo shoes by Adidas ($90) are a lightweight mixed martial arts shoe that have transitioned into being a low-profile streetwear shoe — ideal for on-the-go students who don’t want to be weighed-down with bulky footwear.

I don’t know about the Kundo being a mixed martial arts shoe, sounds more like the expert in the piece is trying to associate the shoe with MMA to boost it’s profile, to reflect in MMA’s glory if you will. That may be a trend in the future, with nebulous connections to the MMA world being made to boost marketability.

Virtue: Powered by ASR Debuts Next Week in San Diego

August 29, 2008

Virtue: Powered by ASR Debuts Next Week in San Diego
Events, seminars and collections tailored to the MMA, FMX, the tattoo culture, music and art shine at the Hard Rock, September 5th and 6th

San Juan Capistrano, CA (August 27, 2008) –Virtue: Powered by ASR debuts a showcase of edgier lifestyle brands this September 5th and 6th in San Diego, CA. Virtue, located across the street from ASR at the new Hard Rock Hotel, will feature collections inspired from the cultures of mixed martial arts (MMA), freestyle motocross (FMX), and tattoo artistry.

“Virtue has been met with a resounding enthusiasm on both the buyer and exhibitor front,” says Andy Tompkins, ASR’s Group Show Director. “Many retailers have benefited by carrying this growing category, but don’t fully understand the market. Virtue will give an all-around look at the products and lifestyle, while also featuring seminars to help retailers to better understand how to make this category work for their businesses.”

The growing interest in these emerging, youth culture brands will benefit from ASR’s 18,000 + attendees to create a robust buying atmosphere. Over 30 brands will be showing at Virtue, including the biggest names in MMA, FMX and tattoo culture lifestyles. A full list of brands is below.

On the eve of Virtue’s debut, Thursday, September 4th, Punishment Athletics and Tito Ortiz will hold a VIP Cocktail Reception & Preview in The Edge & Legends Ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel. VIPs are welcome from 6PM-8PM for an industry networking event and special preview of the exhibit floor.

The next day Tito Ortiz leads a seminar themed “How to Stay In the Fight! MMA in the Marketplace” on Friday, September 5th from 12PM-1:30PM in The Edge, Hard Rock Hotel. Learn from the industry’s best as he discusses the rapid growth of the MMA industry and how to increase profits through the momentum of this growing sport and surrounding lifestyle.

Industry leaders address the opportunities and challenges facing the emerging niche markets of MMA, Freestyle Motocross, Tattoo Culture, Art and Music as they become part of mainstream culture during the keynote luncheon on Saturday, September 6th. “Mixed Culture Panel Discussion – Dissecting the Retail Impact of Emerging Brands” will be moderated by Vipe Desai of Propaganda HQ at noon in The Edge ballroom. The panel will cover the longevity, placement, enthusiasts and unification of these markets.

Come meet the Hart behind the Hart & Huntington brand, during an autograph session post seminar at the Hart & Huntington display in the Hard Rock’s Abbey Road on Friday, September 5th and Saturday, September 6th at 2PM.

To see a full list of brands and events at Virtue, please go to VirtueByASR.com. Register once for both ASR and Virtue at ASRbiz.com. Registration is free for qualified buyers through August 29th.

Brands showing at Virtue By ASR include:

Tapout

Triumph United

Premier Fighter

Hitman

Sinister

MMA Authentics

Extreme Pain

Adell Ink

Toe to Toe

Punishment

Sullen

Hart & Huntington

Crooked Jaw

MMA Classics

Contract Killers

Valhalla

Kush Kills

Mob Star

Rev Gear

Bad Boy

5th Sun

Hostile

Kana Beach

Inked Magazine

Throwdown

Adx

Yellowman

Grudge

Stagr

Miss Emmae

Eternal United

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