Emelianenko vs. Rogers Announced

August 26, 2009

Strikeforce and Showtime announced today during an open workout for Fedor Emelianenko that his next opponent will indeed be Brett Rogers (10-0).

While no date has been set, most are speculating that the fight will likely take place in November.

Payout Perspective:

Just a short note here, the addition of Fedor vs. Rogers to a possible November card could make for a very packed month of MMA action. Not only is Strikeforce currently planning a card, but the UFC will have two – 105 & 106.

It’ll be interesting to see whether UFC 106 and Lesnar’s title defense can steal most, if not all, of the media coverage for the Fedor-Rogers tilt.

More on this as details become available.

American Fighter & Silver Star Announce Franklin UFC 103 Walk-Out Shirt

August 26, 2009

Two of Mixed Martial Arts most well known clothing brands have teamed up to Sponsor UFC Star Rich Franklin September 19 at UFC 103 in Dallas Texas. American Fighter and Silver Star have released the Shirt Design that Franklin will wear. American Fighter is Franklin’s long time brand. Franklin and American Fighter President Jeff Adler own the American Fighter brand. American Fighter has been Franklin’s sponsor since he broke into the UFC in 2003. This marks the second time that the two brands have come together to Sponsor Franklin. The first sponsorship at UFC 99 marked the first time that American Fighter allowed another clothing brand as a sponsor. American Fighter President Jeff Adler stated, “It works with Silver Star because they have a brand that matches the American Fighter brand in terms of being pro military and meshing with the core message of American Fighter”.

American Fighter has long been popular with Military troops and Mixed Martial Arts fight fans. The meaning behind American Fighter goes far beyond the cage. “We have a definition to hang our hat on. American Fighter actually means something to the public”.   Says Adler, “Our definition is ‘One who overcomes against all odds, one who never gives up, a person of character who does not accept defeat’ …That speaks to Americans around this country”.  The two brands can co-exist in the same space because as Business Manager for American Fighter J.T. Stewart put it, “The Silver Star is one of the highest medals given by the military and it makes sense to have Silver Star on American Fighter, because we, as hard working Americans, need to be rewarded for the daily fight we are in to make our lives better. We have created a shirt that honors the men and woman who fight for our freedom, as well as the working man and woman who enjoy that freedom”.

The shirt can be viewed at americanfighter.com. For More information contact J.T. Stewart at jt@americanfighter.com

Comments Now Open on MMAPayout.com

August 26, 2009

One of the most frequent requests from readers has been the addition of reader comments and discussion. MMAPayout.com is happy to announce that comments are now open for those readers interested in discussing the business of MMA. It is our hope that the site can serve as a forum for some of the most intelligent discussion of MMA on the internet.

This is an experiment of sorts so please bear with us as we fine tune the system (in terms of requirements for posting and level of moderation) in order to provide the best forum for discussion of the business of MMA.  For now no registration is required, however, this may change as we move forward depending on how the process progresses and what our readers desire.

WAMMA Names Andrew Falzon New Rankings Chair

August 26, 2009

Today, WAMMA announced that Andrew Falzon, a respected member of the MMA media and occasional contributor here at MMAPayout.com, will be heading up the organization’s new rankings committee. Congratulations Andrew!

NEW YORK (August 25th, 2009) – The World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) today announces that Andrew Falzon will serve as chair of the rankings committee. Falzon will be responsible for overseeing monthly rankings, recruiting new members and assist in developing WAMMA’s online presence.

 

“After a thorough search, we are pleased to have Andrew come on-board,” says WAMMA CEO Dave Szady. “We are looking forward to using his vast knowledge of MMA to help promote our rankings and WAMMA’s mission.”

 

In addition to his background as a broadcast journalist, Falzon brings significant MMA media experience to WAMMA. He is currently a weekly panelist on the Fox News Fight Game with Mike Straka and previously served as the ringside reporter for the International Fight League.

 

“On or off the air, working in the Mixed Martial Arts World has been a pleasure and a privilege,” said Falzon. “I have had the experience of covering large organizations like the UFC, Strikeforce and the IFL, as well as working with regional promotions and look forward to putting that experience to good use with WAMMA.”

 

Some of Falzon’s MMA reporting accomplishments include being one of the first to interview Brock Lesnar after he signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, picking Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah out of a crowd of over 700 that showed up to the show’s Season 7 auditions, and producing an in-depth feature on Eddie Alvarez for HDNet after his breakout performance at DREAM 5’s Lightweight Weight Grand Prix Finals.

 

Additionally, he has been the play-by-play voice of EVO MMA and the World Cagefighting Alliance and has also produced segments and highlights for HDNet’s Inside MMA. He has contributed articles to ESPN.com, FIGHT! Magazine, MMAPayout.com and MMAMadness.com.

 

WAMMA will release the August edition of the WAMMA men’s rankings on August 31st, 2009.

UFC 101 Buyrate Likely to Exceed Expectations

August 26, 2009

Dave Meltzer writes in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer that final UFC 101 buyrate figures may be set to exceed the predictions of just about everyone in the industry, including MMAPayout.com:

Last week’s early estimates of UFC 101 have been confirmed. We’ve had three different systems of six we’ve gotten reports on real numbers that reported the second best numbers, behind only UFC 100. The others did right at or just below other the big three of late (Couture vs. Lesnar, Griffin vs. Evans and Penn vs. St. Pierre). One national cable estimate was at this stage between 800,000 and 900,000 buys. Trending patterns indicate numbers higher than that, and if it was the same as the big three before UFC 100, or better, as indicated by the few direct numbers we have, it could top 1 million since UFC 92 hit that figure and 91 and 94 were just below.

Payout Perspective:

Essentially, three of the six systems used to tabulate and predict final PPV numbers are indicating that UFC 101 will surpass all but UFC 100 in terms of its PPV buyrate. The other three systems have placed the buyrate in the 800-900k range (something a little closer to what MMAPayout.com expected).

If true, this is obviously great news for the UFC, and just adds to their stellar year. And just to give you an indication of how good of a year it is: in 2008, the UFC did an estimated 6,700,000 PPV buys; but, if you include UFC 101, the company has already done over 5,500,000 buys as of mid-August (and with probably five events still to come).

However, something of interest to note is that, with the exception of a few outliers, most of the UFC’s successful events are clustered together in the span of a few months at a time. It suggests that momentum and coverage/interest piggybacking play significant roles in PPV buyrates. For example:

  • UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie – 620,000
  • UFC 61: Ortiz vs. Shamrock II –  775,000
  • UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral – 500,000
  • UFC 65: Hughes vs. St-Pierre – 500,000
  • UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz – 1,050,000
  • UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar – 900,000
  • UFC 92: Ultimate 2008 – 1,000,000
  • UFC 93: 350,000 buys (euro record)
  • UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 – 800,000
  • UFC 99: Franklin vs. Silva – 350,000+ (new euro record)
  • UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II – 1,720,000
  • UFC 101: Penn vs. Florian – 800,000-1,100,000

The UFC built a tremendous amount of momentum heading into June, 2009, and the results speak for themselves. However, in looking ahead there is some doubt that UFC 102 and 103 may be able to match, or even come close, to the events of mid-summer.

  • UFC 102 lacks a title fight, has generated mild media interest (especially relative to UFC 100 and 101), and the event itself is far from sold-out.
  • UFC 103 also lacks a title fight and will be competing against Floyd Mayweather (granted the fight will benefit from its Spike undercard coverage).

Furthermore, PPV events without title match-ups are traditionally thought of as second-tier events because they don’t draw as well: 27 title events have drawn an estimated average of 594,000 buys since 2006, while 7 non-title events have drawn just 353,000.

In other words, the expectation that the UFC is going to draw 1 million+ every event from here on out is probably an unwise one.

MMAPayout.com Announces New Staff Writer

August 25, 2009

Today MMAPayout.com announced David Wolf as its newest staff member. Wolf holds a BA in Political Science/Journalism with high honors from Rutgers University and graduated magna cum laude from the Cornell School of Law where he was Order of the Coif and an Articles Editor on the Cornell Law Review. After graduation he clerked for the Honorable Max Rosenn, Senior Judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and later worked as a Litigation Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C. He left the practice of law voluntarily two years ago and is currently training in MMA at Lloyd Irvin’s MMA Academy in Camp Springs, Maryland.

“I am excited to welcome David to MMAPayout.com,” said Adam Swift,  Executive Editor of the site. “David’s credentials are impeccable and he will make a great addition to MMAPayout.com.”

“It’s an honor to join the staff of MMAPayout.com, especially at a time when the business of MMA continues to grow at an enormous rate, with one million buy pay-per-views becoming almost commonplace, something unthinkable even a year ago,” said Wolf. “I’m very excited about the future business of our sport, and I look forward to covering it here at MMAPayout.com.”

HDNet to air "HDNet Fights Presents: M-1 Global Breakthrough" Live on Friday

August 25, 2009

DALLAS (August 25, 2009) HDNet will feature exclusive coverage of “HDNet Fights Presents: M-1 Global Breakthrough,” LIVE from the historic Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, Friday, August 28 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

In a special feature attraction, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko – the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet – makes his live U.S. television debut in a grappling exhibition against newly crowned Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi.

In the main event of the evening, the former NCAA wrestling champion and undefeated MMA star Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal makes his U.S. debut against another former NCAA Champion Mark “The Smashing Machine” Kerr. The fight is an unparalleled opportunity for Kerr, a former star in both theUFC and PRIDE, to launch a major comeback on national television.

“It is indeed special to have two of the top fighters in the world in Fedor and Gegard – with a combined record of 56 wins and 3 losses – put on a grappling exhibition for HDNet’s MMA fans,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “There has also been a lot of buzz internationally about King Mo and Karl Amoussou and I’m pumped that fans will get to see them LIVE on HDNet!”

The rest of the card features some of the most promising international prospects in MMA.

In other action, Lucio “Spartan” Linhares (12-4, Finland) meets Mikhail Zayats (8-3, Russia), Jessie Gibbs (8-2, Holland) squares off with Rob Broughton (10-4-1, England), Karl “Psycho” Amoussou (10-2-1, France) faces “The Iron Bull” John Doyle (9-8, Philadelphia, PA), Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks (17-8, San Diego, CA) collides with Michael Kita (5-3, Poland), plus Daisuke Nakamura (19-10, Tokyo, Japan) tangles with Ferrid “The Hurricane” Kheder (14-3, Los Angeles, CA)

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net, twitter.com/hdnet) is the independent network with unique and provocative content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

HDNet is the exclusive, high definition home for popular, original programming, including television’s only HD news feature programs “HDNet World Report,” and the Emmy Award winning “Dan Rather Reports,” featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather. Only HDNet goes beyond the headlines to deliver real news that is redefining the way we look at our world. HDNet News is provocative, sometimes controversial and always relevant – telling the important stories of our time in-depth, with attitude and with independence.

HDNet presents championship sports coverage featuring five regular season games from the Premiere Season of the United Football League. HDNet also features the best of Mixed Martial Arts with its Friday night series, “HDNet Fights” (www.hdnetfights.com, twitter.com/hdnetfights). “HDNet Fights” works with leading MMA promoters including Affliction, DREAM, Sengoku, XFC, M-1, K-1, K-1 Max, MFC, Adrenaline and more. HDNet produces more live Mixed Martial Arts events than any other network and HDNet’s “Inside MMA” is the hottest Mixed Martial Arts program on television, giving MMA fans their weekly fix for everything MMA.

HDNet also delivers the world’s largest and most diverse concert line-up through the HDNet Concert Series. The HDNet Concert Series features leading artists and bands including Coldplay, Gwen Stefani, John Mayer and more. HDNet also features revealing lifestyle programming featuring “Art Mann Presents,” “Vegas Confessions,” “Deadline” and “Get Out!” HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning documentaries as part of the InFocus series. “NASA on HDNet” presents all live shuttle launches through 2010.

Only HDNet Movies (www.hdnetmovies.com, twitter.com/hdnetmovies) delivers exclusive Sneak Previews of new movies before they hit theaters. The HDNet Movies Sneak Preview series features top Hollywood stars in critically acclaimed performances including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joaquin Phoenix, Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Vera Farmiga, Parker Posey, Brian Cox, Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow, Eric Bana, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt and Robin Williams.

Upcoming Sneak Previews include “The Burning Plain” starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.

In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, HDNet Movies presents viewers with over one hundred films and an average of twenty-five “HD Premieres” each month. HDNet Movies viewers enjoy the best films from the classics of the 1950s-1970s, to favorite films from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films.

HDNet Movies offers subscribers a premium movie viewing experience in true HD, and more original movies shot entirely in HD than any other network.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available on AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies. To receive HDNet information via email simply go to www.hd.net/listpage.

MMAPayout.com to Feature UFC 102 Video Coverage

August 25, 2009

MMAPayout.com will feature the UFC’s embeddable video player leading up to UFC 102. The stream will include LIVE coverage of the pre-event press conference, weigh-ins, and post fight press conference. The complete schedule of LIVE coverage is as follows:

  • Thursday Pre-fight Press Conference at 4pm ET/1pm PT
  • Friday  UFC 102 Weigh-in – Will begin at 7pm ET/4pm PT
  • Saturday  UFC 102 Post Fight Press Conference – Will begin shortly after the main event has ended.

The player currently features content previewing UFC 102. The stream is available by clicking the UFC 102 tab in the MMAPayout.com navigation bar or by clicking here.

TV Sports Advertising Marketplace Slow in 2010

August 25, 2009

John Ourand and Tripp Mickle of Portfolio.com have written a telling piece on the state of the television sports advertising marketplace, indicating that sales are down and significant amounts of inventory remain for high-profile events such as the Olympics and Superbowl:

Wall Street may be showing signs of life with an unsteady bull market, but such indicators are not as positive for the television sports marketplace, where the advertising market is moving at a glacial pace for two of the biggest ticket items of 2010— Super Bowl XLIV and the Winter Olympics.

 

Though the events are less than six months away, their network rights holders both have considerable inventory left to sell, and ad buyers seem content to wait until much closer to the events to make their buys. While NBC is said to be holding the line on its pricing for the Olympics, ad buyers described CBS as more flexible, with the average cost of an A-position 30-second spot during the Super Bowl dropping from the $3 million that NBC pulled last year.

 

The challenges facing two of sports’ biggest media properties underscore the toll the recession is having on the sports marketplace and undercut the widely held belief that sports are a recession-proof business.

 

Both CBS and NBC budgeted steady ad sales revenue to help meet cost projections for the first quarter, and most insiders say a slow market for these big events serves as an indicator for other television sports programming down the food chain

Payout Perspective:

This news comes hot on the heels of the recently detailed slumping advertising sales of primetime television; numbers which may fall by as much as 20% in 2009.

What does it all mean for MMA? A possible reduction in advertising revenues.

Despite MMA’s strong demographic pull, the fact that NBC and CBS are having difficulty selling significant quantities of their Olympic advertising inventory – and that even the NFL’s regular season advertising sales are moving sluggishly – suggests that the sports marketplace as a whole, even including future UFC ad sales on Spike, might also be adversely impacted.

Bud Light is planning to pump additional money into a re-brand of sorts, but it would appear as though advertising budgets for 2010 – reflecting the significant downturn in 2009 – may dwindle the number of willing participants for all sporting contests. The resulting reduction in demand is going to force down the price on some of these inventories and that’s precisely what advertisers are waiting for.

However, it’s not really a question of if the slots will be bought – they will – it’s just no longer an up-front market as in previous years.

UFC Is Going Back to CA for UFC 104

August 24, 2009

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – It’s been more than two years, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) is finally bringing world-class mixed martial arts back to California, and when the lights go down for the main event of UFC 104 on Saturday, October 24th, fans will witness a battle between two of the most dynamic fighters ever to set foot in the world-famous Octagon™, as Brazil’s Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida defends his UFC light heavyweight title for the first time against his countryman and fellow superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Also waging war at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on the UFC 104: Machida vs Shogun card, which is presented by TapouT, will be a clash between two of the heavyweight division’s top rising stars, unbeaten Cain Velasquez and UFC newcomer “Big” Ben Rothwell.

“It’s been two years since the UFC was in Southern California and we knew we had to bring something special for our return to the capital of mixed martial arts,” said UFC President Dana White. “Lyoto Machida captured the imagination of fight fans with his knockout of Rashad Evans, and while he seems unbeatable right now, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua not only has the tools to beat any 205-pounder in the world, but he’s coming off a knockout of Chuck Liddell in his last fight, so his confidence is sky-high. This has the potential to be one of the greatest light heavyweight title fights ever.”

Tickets for UFC 104 will go on sale Saturday, August 29 at 10 a.m. PT and will be priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100, $75 and $50. Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000 and are also available at the STAPLES Center box office. Prices do not include service charges.

UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thursday, August 27 starting at 10 a.m. PT via UFC.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers on Friday, August 28 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

A man that remains a mystery to every opponent he’s faced in his mixed martial arts career is Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (fighting out of Belem, Brazil). With a perfect 15-0 record and three finishes in his last three fights, the 31-year-old Brazilian has dominated the UFC light heavyweight division. His highlight-reel second-round knockout of undefeated Rashad Evans not only captured the UFC light heavyweight belt, but established Machida as an international superstar. With an unorthodox style and a Machida Karate black belt, Machida remains one of the hardest targets to hit in the Octagon™. The lifelong martial artist also holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is dangerous anywhere the fight goes.

“I’m honored to be making my first title defense in Los Angeles,” Machida said. “The fact that I get to fight someone as respected as Shogun is an honor as well. My last fight before I won the title was against Thiago Silva, so I know how tough my fellow Brazilians are. I’m training extremely hard for this matchup and I’m looking forward to a great fight.”

A fighter that has faced the best in the world throughout his career, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) has now made a name for himself in the UFC. With a “Fight of the Night” TKO victory over UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman at UFC 93 and a devastating first-round TKO over another Hall of Famer, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Rua has positioned himself as the No. 1 contender for the UFC light heavyweight title. At only 27 years old, “Shogun” has already compiled an 18-3 professional record, including wins over former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kevin Randleman and Ricardo Arona.

“I feel very happy about fighting for the UFC belt,” Rua said. “It’s a huge opportunity in my career and in my life, and having this chance gets me closer to reaching my career’s ultimate goal and my life’s biggest dream. I think fighting Lyoto is a great thing because he is the man to beat right now. He’s wearing the belt and he has a very well-rounded game.”

A former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Arizona State, Cain Velasquez (fighting out of San Jose, California) has parlayed his successful wrestling career into a stellar mixed martial arts campaign. The 27-year-old heavyweight contender is a perfect 6-0 with four UFC wins, three coming via TKO. At UFC 99, Velasquez faced his toughest test yet in proven striker Cheick Kongo and earned a hard-fought unanimous decision victory. Now the Salinas, California native faces his most experienced opponent yet in Ben Rothwell.

“Ben is a great opponent with heavy hands,” Velasquez said. “He is an all-around big fighter that comes out of a great camp. I look forward to putting on an exciting fight for the fans at UFC 104.”

Winner of 14 of his last 15 professional fights, Ben Rothwell (fighting out of Davenport, Iowa) has the credentials to touch gloves with anyone in the heavyweight division. Despite fighting all around the world, this seasoned heavyweight – who owns wins over Krzysztof Soszynski and Roy Nelson – will make his Octagon debut when he faces the decorated former college wrestler. At 6-foot-5, 265 lbs., Rothwell can definitely create a stir in the UFC’s ultra-stacked heavyweight division.

“I’ve been in this fight game for 10 years and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be competing in the UFC,” Rothwell said. “It’s the reason I started fighting in the first place. I’m very grateful that they would give me such an established opponent in my first match. Cain’s a tough guy and I’m looking forward to putting on a great show.”

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