Fight Biz Quote: Lou DiBella

May 28, 2009

MMA does not hurt boxing. MMA does not destroy boxing. Boxing fans aren’t running to MMA. That’s just all b.s. The reality was that long before MMA and the Fertittas [brothers] spent a gazillion dollars with the UFC, boxing was already fading. Boxing’s biggest problem is that it can’t attract young people. We have virtually no fans under 30, and that’s a problem.

JJ: Is boxing losing popularity to MMA ?

LD: No, it’s not losing to them. They are gaining popularity on their own and we are not gaining popularity. It is a marketing problem, yes, but there are also a lot of stupid people in the boxing industry. And frankly the investments that are being made by the biggest entities, they have no long term…

Lou DiBella, former HBO senior executive and current promoter, speaks with The Sweet Science and gives a sobering, honest look at boxing and its’ relation to the rise of MMA. The entire interview is a good read, I encourage you to go check it out.

UFC Eyes Indianapolis for 2010, Chicago A No Go for 09

May 28, 2009

The Times of NorthWest Indiana recently spoke with UFC Veep Marc Ratner and got some news on the chances of the UFC revisiting Chicao this year as well as whether the UFC would hit Indianapolis soon:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will not return to Chicago in 2009 according to Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs, but it may be coming to Indianapolis in 2010.

“Our schedule is pretty well done for this year,” Ratner said, saying Chicago is not on the promotion’s calendar for 2009. “But yeah — we’d like to go back to Chicago. It’s a great, great market. Maybe to the United Center this time. But we’re also looking at cities like Memphis, (and) we’re going to go to Portland (for UFC 102) at the end of August. We’re very ambitious.”

Ratner said the Midwest has been a market that has worked for the UFC. In the last three years, the world’s largest MMA promotion has put on events in Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Minneapolis and Nashville in an attempt to go into as many new markets as possible.

Ratner mentions that the possible card for Conseco Field house would be either a PPV card or a Fight Night for Spike. The gate for an Indy PPV show would somewhere in the neighborhood of what they did for UFC 87 in Minneapolis, which did $2.2 million at the gate, or UFC 90 in Chicago, which did a $2.8 million gate. I’d lean towards the lower figure.

The economic impact for the city would be somewhere in the $5 million range according to Ratner.

Indiana has just recently placed MMA competition under the state athletic commision, paving the way for a possible card by the UFC.

Ratner also notes in the piece that he will be in New York next week to testify for passage of MMA legislation for that state.

HDNet vs Time Warner Imbroglio Over Tiers, Not Fees

May 28, 2009

When the HDNet vs Time Warner situation broke, it was assumed in many quarters that the dispute in some way was linked to the licensing fees associated with programming. This is often a battlefield between content providers and cable companies, with Viacom being a recent example of this trend. That seems to not be the case with HDNet. I’ll ironically link over to the OC Register to find out what the nature of the problems are:

But according to HDNet owner Mark Cuban (yes, he’s also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), the deal wasn’t about the usual increase in carriage fees, which is the money companies pay per subscriber to offer a network’s TV channels. (Remember the whole Viacom fiasco when Viacom’s fee increase nearly resulted in the loss of Jon Stewart, Sponge Bob and MTV?)

“No, the exact opposite. We cut the fees considerably,” said Cuban, via e-mail.

Interestingly, Cuban says he was trying to get HDNet to become part of Time Warner’s digital basic cable package so that all customers could access the channel. HDNet Movies would remain on the special HD tier. The new deal would be “considerably less than what they were paying to have both on the (HD) tier,” he said.

Cuban looks to have been making a play to make his HDNet channel a more mainstream outlet on Time Warner’s system. The lower tier would mean a bigger subscriber base, which would be good for K-1, Sengoku, Dream, MFC , XFC and other MMA prgramming on the channel by virtue of more eyeballs. The fallout already seems to be taking place in the battle between the two, as HDNet has already been yanked from systems in Orange County, California ahead of the end of the month mandate from Time Warner.

Today's MMA Link Round-up

May 28, 2009

Nice article on Blue Entertainment and Sports Television. They are known in MMA circles for their association with Houston Alexander as well as the M-1/ Fedor/Gegard Mousasi group.

Fight Ticker has an exclusive interview with senior creative manager at THQ John Edwards. Mark Figula and Brian Furby do some good biz related articles over there.

Head-on over to Tri-State Fighter and check out the video of Fox Fight Game. Nice new digs for the crew over there.

Rampage and Machida face off….no not in the Octagon just yet, but in the newest ad campaign for Lugz. Rampage twittered about the photoshoot for the upcoming campaign. Lugz has sponsored Rampage in the past but i think this is the first print ad he will do for them.

TUF 9: US vs UK Episode 9 Ratings

May 28, 2009

TUF 9 Week 9 earned a 1.1 household rating — a 1.34 in Men 18-49, a .88 in People 18-49, a 1.58 in Men 18-34, a 1.26 in Men 12-17, and an average audience of 1.4 million viewers.

The quarter hour breakdown was as follows:

1.02
1.12
1.11
1.18

Rampage, BJ, Coleman Rep Cage Fighter, MMA Elite at Wal-Mart (Vid)

May 28, 2009

Watch Rampage, BJ, & Coleman at Walmart on RawVegas.tv


Good friend of the site Mike DiSabato’s Cage Fighter/ MMA Elite brand had a recent autograph signing before UFC 98 at a local Vegas Wal-Mart. Former World champions Rampage Jackson, BJ Penn, and Mark “The Hammer” Coleman were on hand to sign autographs for fans. Mike talks a bit at the beginning about his early vision for getting MMA lifestyle apparel into Wal-Marts.


HT to MMA Mania
for the find.

“SUGA” RASHAD EVANS AND QUINTON "RAMPAGE" JACKSON TO COACH SEASON 10 OF "THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER®"

May 28, 2009

16 Heavyweights Featured For New Season Premiering September 16

New York, NY, May 28, 2009 – Former UFC light heavyweight champions “Suga” Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will serve as coaches for Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” premiering Wednesday, September 16 at 10:00pm, it was announced today by Dana White, UFC President. This season will showcase 16 heavyweights, the first time this weight class has been featured on “The Ultimate Fighter” since Evans himself was a cast member on Season 2.

In May 2005, Evans stepped into the UFC training facility as an unknown novice in the heavyweight division for Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Four years later, the former UFC light heavyweight champion and winner of Season 2 returns to Las Vegas to serve as coach for a new crop of aspiring heavyweights. This season marks the second time the charismatic Jackson has served as a coach for “The Ultimate Fighter” as he opposed Forrest Griffin for Season 7 last April.

“The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” will feature the two fan favorites coaching the best up and coming mixed martial artists in the heavyweight division. Two finalists will square off in a live finale on December 5 in Las Vegas with the winner being declared “The Ultimate Fighter®” and netting a six figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, the premier mixed martial arts organization in the world.

Production on “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” begins in Las Vegas in early June and will last six weeks. The series will once again be hosted by UFC President Dana White.

“The tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter is going to be the most highly anticipated one in years, and with two of the greatest pound for pound fighters in the world today, both of which have personalities as large as their skill-sets, it promises to deliver,” said White.

A native of Niagara Falls, NY, “Suga” Rashad Evans was an all state wrestler in high school before moving on to Michigan State University, where he competed in the 174 lbs weight class. Shortly after graduating, Evans burst onto the mixed martial arts scene by capturing the heavyweight title on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He has since dropped down to the light heavyweight division, and, under the tutelage of Greg Jackson, compiled a stellar record in the UFC against some of the top competition in the world, including wins against Stephan Bonnar and Michael Bisping, and a vicious knockout of Chuck Liddell. The win against Liddell cemented Evans’ place as an elite light heavyweight, and earned him a title shot against another champion of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Season 1’s Forrest Griffin at UFC 92. Evans made the most of his opportunity, using his brutal ground and pound skills en route to becoming light heavyweight champion by defeating Forrest Griffin via TKO in the 3rd round. He lost his coveted title at UFC 98 on May 23 via a 2nd round KO at the hands of Lyoto Machida, but is eager to get back in the mix to reclaim his belt.

A native of Memphis, TN who trains in Liverpool, England with the Wolfslair Academy, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is one of the most complete fighters in the UFC®. An All-State wrestler in high school, Jackson made his UFC® debut in February of 2007 and made quick work of Marvin Eastman. The victory earned him a title shot against Chuck Liddell, and a little over three minutes into the first round of their bout at UFC 71, Jackson won the UFC® light heavyweight title with a stunning combination of strikes that caused the fight to be stopped. Jackson put his newly acquired title on the line against PRIDE champion Dan Henderson at UFC 75 on Spike TV, and won a grueling five round decision to unify the titles and become the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world. He relinquished his belt to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86, but has since defeated longtime nemesis Wanderlei Silva via KO at UFC 92 and Keith Jardine at UFC 96 to put him in line for another title shot.

UFC Inks Deal With Fuel TV in Australia

May 28, 2009

According to Dana White’s twitter page, the company head of the fighting organization recently inked deal with Fuel TV to get the fighting organization more coverage in Australia:

Will be in aus very soon! Just did a deal with fuel tv so you guys can see the tuf finale live!!!

Wikipedia gives a little more information on the Aussie extreme and action sports channel:

FUEL TV is an cable and satellite action sports network that airs in Australia.

It launched in 2004, and is owned by Premier Media Group. Fuel TV mainly airs content originally sourced for the American FUEL TV. It also screens limited original content, and airs Attack of the Show! and X-Play from G4.

As we have noted before, the action and extreme sports dovetail nicely with the demographics of the UFC, so a pairing of the two on Fuel TV should be a good match for the UFC and a source of more exposure Down Under.

Dana Talks to The Edge About Loretta-Gate, Steroids

May 28, 2009

Dana White spoke with gay and lesbian lifestyle website Boston Edge during the UFC 98 show, part of which can be seen in his videoblog. The actual interview itself is up on their website and you can read more in depth on his discussion about the GLAAD situation and the fallout. That is well trodden territory at this point, so check out the link for more info on the subject. There were a few other general interest items, one of which caught my eye.

The interviewer hit on the subject of steroids and the UFC’s policy:

EDGE – Steroids in sports are a hot topic lately. Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez are a few who have been implicated in PED use. It seems like every day another top name gets linked to the culture. Can you explain how UFC fighters are tested?

We comply with each state’s athletic commission. Every state athletic commission randomly test a number of fighters before the fight and then EVERY fighter is tested after the fight.

EDGE – So does the UFC do any additional testing?

Right now the Ultimate Fighter is the grass roots for us. All the guys who come in and try out for the Ultimate Fighter are background checked and drug tested. Not only for steroids but any other drug as well. I think we already have a tough policy for steroids.

“We comply with each state’s athletic commission.” Check

“Every state athletic commission randomly test a number of fighters before the fight and then EVERY fighter is tested after the fight.”

Not every state tests before a fight, Las Vegas is a leader in this respect and reserves the right to do so but even they went several cards without exercising that right (Ivan Trembow did some excellent reporting on this for MMAWeekly, he will be missed greatly over there). They did decide to pre-test this time, selecting 4 out of the 22 fighters on the card for UFC 98. The UFC itself doesn’t test before fights in Europe, otherwise they would have pinched Chris Leben for juicing prior to his Bisping fight. The state commissions also don’t test everyone on the card after the fights. UFC 98 drug tests aren’t back in yet but on the most recent Vegas card prior to that, UFC 92, 12 of 20 fighters were tested.

“Right now the Ultimate Fighter is the grass roots for us. All the guys who come in and try out for the Ultimate Fighter are background checked and drug tested. Not only for steroids but any other drug as well. I think we already have a tough policy for steroids. ”

So if you didn’t start off in TUF and haven’t fought overseas, is it quite possible a fighter has never had to take a Zuffa administered drug test? Looks that way.

The UFC has a policy, that much is true, but I don’t think anyone would describe it as tough. I have expressed my issues with the UFC’s steroid policies in the past: here, here, and here. I’ll say again what I’ve said before: the policy as it is currently constituted is too piecemeal and lacking openness and transparency to be considered effective. The UFC needs to have a fully realized policy (preferably one published on their website) that includes unannounced out of competition testing. Only then can fans believe they are not watching the MMA equivalents of Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez fighting in the cage.

Shane Carwin Signs With Extreme Sports Marketing, MMAAdNet

May 28, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. – May 28, 2009 – Exosphere, also known as Extreme Sports Marketing, Inc., (Pink Sheets: EXSA), a sports marketing and holding company focused on one of the fastest growing sports today, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) — today announced that Shane Carwin, one of the top ten Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight fighters in the world, has signed an agreement to endorse and exclusively represent Extreme Sports Marketing’s MMA Advertising Network (www.MMAAdNet.com) as its spokesman.

Carwin is ranked eighth in the world, and is undefeated as a professional Mixed Martial Artist. He is a contender for the UFC Heavyweight Title. The announcement of the expanded relationship comes just two weeks after Carwin, through his website, www.shane-carwin.com, was named as an affiliate of MMAAdnet.

“Shane’s decision to become not only an affiliate, but an endorser of the MMA Advertising Network, is an outstanding opportunity to help us in growing our network,” said Extreme Sports Marketing CEO Jason Genet. “The initial relationship as spokesman is for a 12 month period, and we hope it will extend long beyond that.”

“I have a lot of faith in Jason’s vision of MMA, and how we as fighters can capitalize on our efforts,” said Shane Carwin. “I am proud to support the MMA Advertising Network, and I will promote the service through my channels and do whatever I can to help the MMA Advertising Network to grow its business.”

“In addition to spokesman duties, the endorsement agreement includes advertising in and around Shane’s upcoming bouts,” Genet explained. “His website will also include tie-ins to the MMA Advertising Network Affiliate Marketing program, making Shane available to its Publishers for exclusive and breaking news stories and more.”

MMAAdNet has been featured previously on MMAPayout.com. MMA webmasters looking for more information on MMAAdNet can visit the company website for details and contact information.

« Previous PageNext Page »