MMAPayout on FOXNews Fight Game

October 31, 2008

MMAPayout.com’s Andrew Falzon appeared on the second edition of the FoxNews Fight Game roundtable.

This week, the show is broken down into shorter segments, like a MMA championship bout, going 5 rounds of 5 minutes each.

Also appearing on the program:

Adam Weiss, Adam Weiss Public Relations

Marcus Mera, iGuilltone.com Clothing

Jennifer Santiago, World Combat League Champion

The topic of discussion for round 1: Anderson Silva’s performance at UFC 90

Creating Your Own Opportunity

October 31, 2008

Bringing in sponsors to the MMA game can often be a tough road, but key in being successful is being proactive in exposing the sport to the uninitiated and then cultivating these prospects for future business. In reading over the Underground forum, an excellent example of this would be the show being put on for the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Here a little more info and the who and the why:

LG and MTX put this fight on for free (at an expense) to educate these industry executives on how great our sport is and how special the athletes are that participate. Last year we out drew the Mary J Bilge concert and this year we have doubled the budget so expect big things.

If you want to be considered for the event please send us your bio and any links to your fight vids to info@lgsportsmarketing.com

The CES is a who’s who of the players in the technology business, with plenty of prospects for bringing in a blue chip company to advertise in the MMA arena. Forward thinking and being proactive like with this CES show are what will help take the sponsorships for fighters to a whole other level.

Billboard Rec Sports DVD Chart – 11/8/08

October 31, 2008

he Billboard Recreational Sports DVD Chart for the week of November 8th:

1 WWE: Hell In A Cell
2 NFL History of the Cleveland Browns
3 NHL: Sidney Crosby: On The Ice And Beyond
4 NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers 5 Greatest Games
5 2001 FedEx Orange Bowl National Championship
6 WWE: Unforgiven 2008
7 Bejing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony

8 UFC: The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage Vs. Team Griffin

9 NFL: Washington Redskins: Super Bowl Champions
10 TNA: Knocked Out

UFC 91 and 92 at the Gate

October 31, 2008

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (only $9.99 a month online) gave an update on the gates for the next two Vegas shows:

Lesnar- Couture, as of a week or so ago, was at 8,000 paid and $3.1 million, so tickets still aren’t moving with only $500 and more expensive seats left. With casino buys and such, the gate will end up comfortably north of $4 million, which would be among the biggest in history, but this was expected to break the $5,397,000 record……Tickets are now on sale for the 12/27 Las Vegas show… We don’t have numbers, other than the Internet presale was way slower than for Lesnar-Couture and for any of the major Vegas shows.

Looking back at a report from last month, sales have remained essentially flat over the last month. The card should see some pick up in sales as the event draws nearer. The north of $4 million figure is certainly over and above what they could have done if the card were held in Portland like originally planned, but has to be considered a mild disappointment. With Vegas being hit hard by the economic downturn, the UFC will have to temper expectations and projections for the next two cards. This is a problem that wasn’t avoidable, as MMAPayout.com had it’s doubts about the three cards in 2.5 months strategy right after it was announced.

HDNet Nearing Deal For IFL Assets

October 31, 2008

The rumored deal for HDNet’s purchase of the IFL’s assets takes another step towards being completed with news from the most recent filing from the IFL:

In connection with the Sale Motion, on September 19, 2008, IFLC and HDNet entered into an asset purchase agreement (the “Asset Purchase Agreement”), which contemplates the sale of substantially all of IFLC’s assets (the “Purchased Asset”) to HDNet for total consideration of $650,000 in cash and the assumption by HDNet of certain liabilities of IFLC. The Asset Purchase Agreement is subject to higher and better offers as set forth in the Sale Motion. The Court approved the Sale Motion on October 10, 2008.

On October 28, 2008, the Court held a hearing on the auction and sale of the Purchased Assets as contemplated by the Sale Motion and entered an order (“Sale Order”) authorizing IFLC to sell the Purchased Assets to HDNet for total consideration of $650,000 in cash and the assumption by HDNet of certain liabilities of IFLC, as set forth in the Asset Purchase Agreement.

The green light has been given for the purchase of assets, with closing on the deal expected soon. The deal seems to be foregone conclusion , but the contractual i’s need to be dotted and t’s need to be crossed. Once the deal is done, HDNet will be able to take advantage of the video library to add to it’s MMA offerings, as that looks to be the only plans behind the purchase.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Episode 7 Rating

October 31, 2008

MMAPayout.com has learned that The Ultimate Fighter 8 Episode 7 earned a 1.03 household rating — a 1.24 in Men 18-49, a .84 in People 18-49, a 1.53 in Men 18-34, and an average audience of 1.34 million viewers.

Quarter hours for the show were:

.95
1.00
1.03
1.14

UFC Launches Video on Demand with Verizon

October 30, 2008

Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, on Wednesday announced it has launched into the video on demand (VOD) spectrum of entertainment with Verizon FiOS TV.

“As UFC continues to thrive in sports, we constantly look for new ways to deliver the UFC experience to our loyal fans around the world,” said Dana White, UFC President.  “The VOD program will provide more information on the UFC, training techniques, and some of the greatest fights in history available 24/7 through UFC On Demand.”

“Verizon’s FiOS TV customers are getting the ultimate entertainment experience with our industry-leading video-on-demand library,” said Terry Denson, vice president – FiOS TV content and programming.  “And now our FiOS TV customers have access to all of the best ultimate fighting action from UFC, available at any time.”

UFC On Demand is a unique and innovative VOD program designed to educate new and casual fans about the sport, while giving hardcore fans access to more UFC content. The service consists of a triple-tiered offering of three distinct services, with UFC Free Zone, UFC Fight Zone, and UFC Event Zone:

UFC Free Zone is an on-demand free service offering informative and entertaining short features on mixed martial arts rules, fighting disciplines, styles and techniques. The highly popular Countdown UFC shows and UFC event previews are also available via UFC Free Zone.

UFC Fight Zone offers single UFC library fights in their entirety, at $2.99 per fight with a 24-hour viewing period. UFC Fight Zone features fighters who will be competing in an upcoming UFC pay-per-view event, offering fans the opportunity to see these champions and challengers in some of their most legendary fights and prior matchups.

UFC Event Zone offers full UFC events and specials, starting at $4.99 per title for a 24-hour viewing period. Offerings include recent UFC pay-per-view events that feature fighters who will be competing in an upcoming UFC event, as well as the original and rarely seen “UFC Classics” from 1993-1998, along with UFC’s hottest selling full-length DVDs, UFC compilation specials and video-on-demand replays of current pay-per-view events.

For scheduling and programming information, UFC fans can visit ufcondemand.com. Verizon’s FiOS TV customers will have access to all three UFC On Demand folders, available in the VOD library under “All Movies and Events.”  Customers can simply press the “On Demand” button on the remote control to access the on-demand content.

FiOS TV is currently available to more than 8.2 million homes in 14 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

MMA Media Matters: Can You Trust What You Are Reading?

October 30, 2008

Ivan Trembow has a piece up that asks the hard questions about the UFC’s policy of buying off coverage from mainstream media outlets. Dana White recently elaborated on the UFC’s practice of exchanging of cash for coverage with respect to Scott Ferrall. Trembow boils down the argument pretty well:

So, without full disclosure from any media outlet that is being paid by Zuffa to cover UFC events, this runs the risk of tainting the water for everyone who covers MMA because consumers have no way of knowing which media outlets are being paid by Zuffa to cover UFC events and which ones aren’t. Without full disclosure from these media outlets, there’s no way to distinguish between media outlets who praise the UFC for genuine reasons and media outlets who praise the UFC because they’re “being paid to like it.”

This area is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to the media and how it relates to the UFC. Through various deals with media outlets, or the tying of access to coverage, what we have arrived at is a MMA media corps that lacks any adversarial role in its coverage of the UFC. And with a fanbase that is generally conditioned to support the organization over the fighters or the sport itself, you are left with readership that doesn’t care if the tough questions are asked. One of the best pieces of radio I have heard in the past few years was the infamous Dan Patrick interview of NBA head David Stern, with Patrick raking Stern over the coals for his suspension of players for a playoff game. Would that kind of scenario even be possible in MMA?

Commentary: The UFC's Cage Fighter Problem

October 30, 2008

With the recent banning of the Cage fighter brand, one has to question what is at the heart of the embargo on the MMA apparel line? From this perspective, the UFC’s push towards getting its fighter to sign the newly instituted merchandising agreements is playing a large role in the UFC’s moves toward blocking the ascension of Cage Fighter.

The main selling point of the the merchandise agreement to the fighters is the unmatched marketing power of the UFC machine. Heretofore, only the UFC or one of its surrogates (TapouT) would have the marketing strength or distribution channels to properly sell merchandise on a national level to a mass market. With the Cage Fighter brand making in roads with Wal-Mart, the fighter is faced with a viable alternative to signing the UFC’s merchandising agreement. The Wal-Mart deal offers a distribution channel unmatched in retailing, and would allow the fighter to maximize his marketing dollars while not signing away his rights in perpetuity to the UFC.

The terms of the UFC’s merchandising agreements have been discussed before as being remarkably one-side in favor of the company. Media outlet MMAFA Blog has discussed the agreement in great detail, going over the pitfalls of the contract for the fighter. The MMAFA blog details the draconian terms of the agreement. The UFC’s merchandising agreement looks attractive only in the absence of any viable alternatives. Cage Fighter and its deal with Wal-Mart is the first step in such a viable alternative being available, and as was much the case with other fighting promotions, the UFC looks to counter-program.

It should be interesting to see what form the Wal-mart deal takes for MMA Authentics. With the Cage Fighter or associated brands not being allowed in the Octagon, the next logical step would be to offer athlete branded merch. The UFC can impact your brand if it doesn’t allow Cage Fighter in the Octagon, but a shirt that also brands the fighter on an equal level with the company would be much less vulnerable to such moves. The UFC will ban a Cage Fighter shirt, but a shirt branded with say BJ Penn’s name on it would be much harder to impair. The UFC has to push Penn, with his status as Lightweight champion and Top 5 P4p’er.

Behind the Shout-out

October 29, 2008

In listening to the fighters in the after fight interview, it is often we hear the sponsors being thanked in their role call. Welterweight star Thiago Alves did one better in his victory speech after defeating Josh Koscheck. After naming off his sponsors, he also threw in a “You’re the man, Malki”, recognizing the efforts of his agent, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, in doing such a great job of bringing sponsors to the table. We caught up with Malki for a quick interview about his relationship with Thiago and his activities as Alves’ agent.

MMAPayout.com: so malki, we heard the shout out Thiago gave you the other night. how did you become involved with Thiago?

Malki Kawa: I represent Marcus “Conan” Silveria, head coach over at ATT, and he introduced me to him. We talked, and the rest is history. I’m not Thiago’s manager, but I’m his agent. I handle all appearances, endorsements, and sponsorship opportunities.

MMAPayout.com: Thiaigo seems to be very appreciative of your work, could you elaborate on your relationship?

Malki Kawa: It’s been a wonderful experience and I can tell you we’ve built a very good working relationship but better yet we’ve become very good friends. We speak almost every day, and some times its just to see what’s up with the other. We have a mutual respect for each other and I think that’s whats been the key. I respect what he does as a fighter, and he respects what I do for him as his agent.

MMAPayout.com: You seem to have quite the relationship with ATT? How did that all start?

Malki Kawa: Again, because of Conan, he introduced me to one, then to another and another, and for the most part I’ve been able to get them deals, and very good deals. So I help almost all the fighters there in some capacity or another.

MMAPayout.com: I hear that BJJ black belt Dan Lambert has been key in your success, could you elaborate a bit?

Malki Kawa: That particular black belt is the owner of ATT, and the manager for Thiago. he’s the reason why Thiago is here in the us, and probably the reason for his maturation as a fighter and as a man. He’s helped me in MMA in ways no one could understand, and mentored me indirectly. anything I ask he answers, anything I need, he gets done. more importantly, he allows me, a person who also manages fighters, to represent his fighters in a huge aspect of their careers, marketing and sponsorships. says a lot about him and I am indebted to him. anyone that knows him knows he’s a stand up guy, and is very humble. He has the number 1 fight camp for a reason. Besides all the fighters, coaches and trainers, I think it starts with him.

MMAPayout.com: You have also managed NFL guys, what made you make the leap over into MMA? You have made some contacts in the NFL world, how are those serving you now in mma?

Malki Kawa: I haven’t left the NFL, I love football and it still continues to be my first love, but MMA is huge and growing every day. As I started to speak to fighters and the type of deals they had, I knew they needed someone like myself. My NFL contacts are helping in a huge way. Don’t be surprised if you see some of those NFL sponsors get involved with MMA very soon. I have to thank Peter Schafer, of All Pro Sport and Ent., my partner in football for helping me develop those contacts.

MMAPayout.com: We hear that you have been getting some big deals done for Thiago, like the deal with Champion Nutrition. What’s your gameplan when bagging these sponsorships?

Malki Kawa: No real gameplan. It goes back to a very basic concept in negotiating. Both sides need to feel they won, so, I try and make that happen every time. I never do a deal just because of money. I want the sponsor to know he’s getting his money worth, and I make the fighter understand what his role in this company is. I always make sure that whomever the sponsor is, that they meet the fighter to make sure the synergy is there. Then, once the deal is done, I ensure that both sides deliver on their promises.

MMAPayout.com: What would you say is the best deal you’ve done so far for Thiago?

Malki Kawa: Honestly, all of his deals have been good. Every one of them is six figures, and I’m proud of all of them. I’ve been able to get him more than champions in the UFC, and I am continuing to do that for other fighters as well. Honestly, its a testament to Thiago and his marketability. He’ll be the most marketable guy in about 1 year.

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