UFC 90 Bonuses and Gate Numbers

October 26, 2008

Fight of the Night – Sean Sherk vs Tyson Griffin
Knockout of the Night – Junior Dos Santos
Submission of the Night – Spencer Fisher

Bonus amounts for UFC 90 – $65,000

15,359 attendance for a $2.85 million dollar gate.

Figures courtesy of MMAWeekly.

UFC 90 Thoughts

October 26, 2008

Watching the main event from UFC 90, we saw Anderson Silva face off against what may be his toughest opponent yet, the opponent that may be his ultimate undoing. No it wasn’t Cote, who generally looked to be incidental to the night’s festivities. Silva’s most daunting opponent on the night, and his biggest one going forward, were the twin devils of apathy and disinterest. Silva’s toughest task on the night seemed to be more about entertaining himself as opposed to fighting Cote.

The biggest portion of the action by Anderson in the first couple of rounds was based around integrating his Samba game with his fight game than trying to finish the tough French Canadian. Anderson’s game seemed very much slow to boil, never reach the critical mass, the swirling ballet of violence that he is so noted for. From my view, this sense of ennui was based in Anderson’s mindset for the fight rather than Cote doing anything of note.

If Anderson continues his reign at 185, he may face a future much like his boxing hero, Roy Jones Jr. RJJ spent a big portion of his career fighting in the netherworld between boxing’s middleweight and heavyweight divisions, outclassing his foes to a laughable degree and left to his own devices to entertain himself since his opponents presented little challenge. Age eventually caught up with RJJ, moreso than anyone else’s skill level. That may be the future that befalls Anderson, unless he takes a leap of faith into the 205 division, a division that would test his legend and could cement the UFC’s marketing campaign that have you think he is the best P4P fighter in the world. Such a claim is going to be hard to take serious if he stays at the 185 limit, and faces the likes of Okami, Bisping, or a re-match with Cote.

The UFC through its surrogates put forward the notion that a re-match might be in order, but nothing in the fight of note would warrant that idea. Cote playing the game existence til the end may be a personal victory but it won’t make for an interesting fight if they are to do this fight again.

Most impressive on the night was the performance of Thiago Alves. Alves’ dominating performance over Koscheck solidified in my mind his bona fides, making him a serious threat to the winner of the BJ Penn vs GSP fight. Thiago’s rise to prominence has eerily mirrored that of GSP. Alves is the handsome young foreign born fighter with the endearing ESL lilt who has went through a murderer’s row of Karo, Hughes, and Koscheck. We’ve seen this movie before, in an earlier time with a certain Canuck superstar. Alves dominating performance gives credence to his being a viable threat to GSP’s crown, to a degree unlike anyone he has faced recently.

Thiago’s striking may be the most dangerous in the 170 division, and I would be hard pressed to name anyone in the other divisions that has looked as crisp and dangerous in the stand-up. To go along with this, Alves’ ability to deny the takedown in his fights against Hughes and Kos should bode well for the dominant wrestler that GSP has involved into. Alves’ performance in his last three fights against name brand opponents have been a tranformational stretch, taking him from a mid-range player in the weight class that was vaguely interesting to a next level guy that could draw money in a match-up with GSP.

Fishman Adds Some Perspective on Station Casinos Trouble

October 25, 2008

There has been much talk recently on the troubles being encountered by the Fertitta family with their stake in Station Casinos. Many websites, ours amongst them, have detailed the troubles that have been brought on by the credit crunch and economic downturn: Fight Opinion, Bloody Elbow, FightLinker, MMAPayout 1, 2.

Bob Carson of Carson’s Corner spoke with with former casino executive and Pride associate Ed Fishman who gave perspective on the casino industry troubles and what they mean to Station Casinos in particular. Fishman is an oldhand in the casino business and does a good job of breaking down a lot of issues in layman’s terms.

Fishman doesn’t give much creedance to the idea that Lorenz may have been shown the door at Station. Colony Capital, which owns 75% of Station, doesn’t know the casino business and that gave them the impetus to keep them around once the company was taken private. Fishman characterized them as excellent operators and the performance of Station Casinos owes more to an industry wide downturn as opposed to any concrete mismanagement of the company.

I’m curious to if this downturn is hitting Station to a higher degree than others in Vegas. The rise of Station Casinos under Lorenzo and Frank III is usually tied to their performance in the locals market, but from all I’ve read on the brothers, an equal part of the success was a big play in scooping up real estate in the Vegas area, essentially being ahead of the game in land speculation. Speculation like that is usually dependent on high levels of financing that would be a significant albatross around their neck now. Some of that may have been lessened by taking the company private and having Colony Capital assume a large part of the equity in the company. Regardless, there is still in excess of $5 billion in debt that is pressuring operations, as they look to cut costs.

On a related note, there was also an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal that forecast a less than enthusiastic opening for the new property owned by the Fertittas, the Alliante, and also gave a look at the size of the downturn for the industry as a whole:

Station Casino executives told state gaming regulators Thursday they don’t know how well the $662 million Aliante Station will perform when it opens next month given current economic conditions.

“There’s not a lot of visibility in our business today,” said Thomas Friel, Station Casinos’ chief accounting officer. “It’s a bit of a crap shoot to figure out where things might be.”

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved licensing of the North Las Vegas property, which is scheduled to open Nov. 11, but asked the gaming company’s executives questions about how the company plans to operate the property in the current market.

Gaming revenue in North Las Vegas declined 17.81 percent in August to $18.1 million, and is down 6.3 percent to $284.7 million for the last 12 months ending Aug. 31

BSN Adds UFC Coverage to Website

October 25, 2008

Lifestyle marketing analyst Finn McKenty noted that nutrition and supplement company BSN has added to it’s sponsorship deal with the UFC by including coverage of the UFC 90 weigh-ins on their company website:

BSN is proud to announce for the first time ever, the weigh-in for this historic UFC® 90: SILVA VS. COTE will be broadcast live and free on www.bsnonline.net at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, October 24, 2008. See the biggest names in the UFC® like Anderson Silva, Patrick Cote, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck, Sean Sherk and Tyson Griffin weigh in the day before their big fights … live and free!

McKenty had some great perspective on the weigh-in deal on his Lifestyle Marketing Blog:

It’s great to see BSN leveraging their UFC sponsorship in new ways and becoming more tightly integrated into the events like this. Normally I’d say that weigh-ins aren’t really a great showcase for a brand, but for a sports nutrition brand like BSN, it’s a great match! What more appropriate occasion to talk about supplements than weigh-ins?

UFC Standardizing Advertising Banners (Updated)

October 25, 2008

A recent edict by the UFC has sought to standardize the appearance of banners that fighters use as a backdrop during pre-fight introductions. The reasoning behind the shift, put forward in an e-mail that MMAPayout.com has obtained, is solid. To Wit:

By standardizing the format and size of the banners, our goal is to create a more professional appearance and improve their overall effectiveness on behalf of your sponsors. It will simply look better and that’s good for everyone involved in the event.

As has been the practice in the past, however, you may only display one (1) banner during the introductions only. After the introductions have concluded, the banner may not be displayed inside or outside of the Octagon® at any time.

Standardizing the these banners is a good idea. A uniform presentation will allow for a more professional and visually pleasing experience. Sloppy work in this area reflects poorly not only on the fighter and said companies, but the UFC as well. Some might see this as a bit authoritarian, but this would be a bit misguided, as the logic put forth in the edict is hard to argue with. A cleaner, crisper presentation benefits all brands involved.

Update: One thing of note is the mandatory inclusion of UFC and Venue logos on all banners. With the ubiquity of naming rights for venues, the UFC is able to offer this as a value added item when negotiating with venues. It does, however, come at the expense of the fighter. Article 22.2 of the Zuffa Standard contract allows the UFC to force inclusion of their logo or their sponsor’s logos on the fighter without his consent and without compensation.

For the record, some of the changes being instituted:

– Total size of banner is 6′ (6 feet) wide by 4′ (4 feet) tall.
– All artwork (including venue logos) must be placed 6″ below the top of the banner, center aligned.
– The venue logo shall be at least 44″ wide by 4.5″ tall. The font used is Arial Black. The background for the venue logo shall be black and the letters in white.
– UFC logos are to be placed 3″ from the left and right edges of the banner, aligned with the bottom of the venue logo. The UFC logos should be separated by 2″ gap on each side of the venue logo. The UFC logos shall be at least 5” by 1.5” and also be in white.
– Camps have a 66″x32″ workspace located 2.5″ below the venue and UFC logos, 3″ from the left and right sides, and 3″ from the bottom of the banner to display their approved sponsors in.

The Ultimate Fighter 8 Episode 6 Rating

October 25, 2008

TUF 8 Episode 6 did a 1.29 household rating, with 1.674 million viewers. The show did a 1.44 in men 18-49, 1.35 in men 18-34.

After some wild swings in the ratings, going from a .79 one week to a 1.42 the next, the numbers seem to have stabilized a bit with last week being a 1.1 and this week a 1.29. Spike executives should be happy if they can see a consistent number in that 1.2 range.

Online Company Looking to Purchase EliteXC Websites

October 24, 2008

5thRound.com is reporting that there has been some interest on the part of Online Broadcasting Systems, the parent company of RingSports, to purchase the online assets of EliteXC. Ringsports CEO commented:

RingSports CEO Manny Fernandez said in a statement, “I hope we can build on some of the great aspects of their internet foundation, especially the technology of their websites and their social networking aspects.”

Latest “Strikeforce on NBC” Episode Draws Record 1.1 Million Viewers

October 24, 2008

SAN JOSE, Calif. —Last Saturday’s episode of “Strikeforce on NBC” generated over 1.1 million viewers, a new high for the first-ever 52 week mixed martial arts (MMA) series in network television history, according to Nielsen Ratings.

The record number of viewers shattered the previous high of 949,000, which was recorded on May 9th.

The all-new, 30-minute program showcased the drama-filled light heavyweight (205 lb. limit) rematch between former South African National Wrestling Champion, Trevor Prangley (18-5), and former world championship challenger, Anthony “A-Train” Ruiz (21-12), which took place at Strikeforce’s second event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on September 20th.

“It’s obviously great to see our product growing substantially on the network, but it’s more than just that,” said Strikeforce Founder and CEO, Scott Coker.  “The consistently strong ratings we’ve seen are a sign that the sport of MMA is flourishing and continuing to gain new fans as its visibility grows on national television.”

“Strikeforce on NBC,” which premiered on April 12th, airs every Saturday, immediately following NBC’s hit poker tournament series, “Poker After Dark” (check local listings).  MMA legend Ken Shamrock and award-winning ESPN announcer, Lon McEachern, co-host each program and provide expert, play-by-play commentary.

This Saturday’s “Strikeforce on NBC” episode will mark the premiere of the classic Strikeforce world lightweight (155 lb. limit) championship showdown between rival superstars Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) and “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (14-2), which took place at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on June 27th.

About Strikeforce:

Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history.  The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265.  Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”  Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007.  On April 12th of this year, Strikeforce launched the first-ever 52 week MMA series on one of the four major television networks in The U.S. – NBC.

Billboard Rec Sports DVD Chart – 11/1/08

October 24, 2008

The Billboard Recreational Sports DVD Chart for the week of November 1st:

1 NHL: Sidney Crosby: On The Ice And Beyond
2 WWE: Unforgiven 2008
3 UFC: The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage Vs. Team Griffin
4 2001 FedEx Orange Bowl National Championship
5 TNA: Knocked Out
6 Bejing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony
7 UFC 85: Bedlam
8 Beijing 2008: Michael Phelps Inside Story Of The Beijing Games
9 NFL: History Of The Dallas Cowboys
10 WWE: The Life And Times Of Mr. Perfect

A Sit Down with GSP (Video)

October 24, 2008

UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre spoke with Mike Straka of Fox News Fight Game for an extended sit down interview. In a sport that still sometimes faces a perception problem, GSP comes across in the interview as quite possibly the best public face possible for MMA and the UFC. GSP exudes a classiness and appeal that should make him the public face of the UFC for the next 8 to 10 years.

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