MMAterial Facts (01/22/10)

January 22, 2010

  • UFC launches personal fitness business: UFC Gym
  • Q&A with Brian Diamond (Spike TV Executive)
  • Bellator’s Plan: Talent, Efficiency & YouTube
  • Bellator CEO hoping for another ‘magical’ season

UFC launches personal fitness business: UFC Gym

With more than 3,500 people signed up, the company’s first UFC Gym will open for business Saturday in Concord, Calif., and a 40,000-square-foot facility will open in June in Rosemead, with enrollment starting next month.

“We plan to shake up the fitness industry,” UFC President Dana White said.

White, former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and fighters Anthony Johnson, Jon Fitch and Cain Velasquez are expected to attend Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening in Concord.

The fitness center is intended to be a family-oriented operation, including a kid’s gym, that will provide introductory MMA training to members, with a fitness regimen employed in the world of MMA: Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu and self-defense

A company spokeswoman said there are plans to have as many as 10 UFC gyms opened in 2010. (LA Times)

Q&A with Brian Diamond (Spike TV Executive)

SI.com: The cards scheduled for Versus in 2010, what is your take on that?

Diamond: It’s always been common knowledge for us and for them that they had the ability to do this. For us, it only makes the sport bigger by being out in a different universe. It was kind of interesting because our universe is a little bit bigger, but you know what, the more people seeing the sport the better.

SI.com: That Versus card is very well put together. By it being on Versus, Spike doesn’t have access to Jon Jones versus Brandon Vera. That doesn’t concern you in any way?

Diamond: No. No. We’ve got plenty of fights to show on the air between what we’re doing, what we’ve done. It’s all good.

SI.com: Is the audience still the same?

Diamond: It’s still young men, but you know what’s really interesting is it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for five years. The guys that were 18-34 are now 23-39, so they’re growing and there’s a new audience coming in behind them. I think that’s adding to the volume. And you’ve got new people coming in because they see Kimbo, Chuck or Tito. And then you’ve got The Ultimate Fighter with guys like Kenny Florian who were starting out on TUF 1 and he’s a veteran fighter in the UFC now. There’s all these different streams of consciousness and things happening at the same time that are just lifting the sport up, and up and up. As a sports fan I was introduced to mixed martial arts doing this, and I just think it’s a tremendous sport. The other level of success you see is in local communities with gyms and training centers and camps opening up. I live in New Jersey and you’ve got the Millers up north and (Kurt) Pellegrino and (Frankie) Edgar down south. It’s just going from strength to strength.  (Sports Illustrated)

Bellator’s Plan: Talent, Efficiency & YouTube

“We put our money into two areas of our business. One of them is our fighters and the other is production,” Rebney said of the long-term financial viability of Bellator.

He isn’t afraid to point out where others have failed.

“All of the superfluous expenses that the EliteXCs and the IFLs spent millions upon millions of dollars on, and they’re public record, is something we’re just not doing,” Rebney said. “The reality is that the expenditures of those organizations were foolhardy at best, and we’re keeping it cheap where it needs to be cheap.”

The commitment to fiscal responsibility in Bellator is so great that, according to Rebney, Bellator’s offices cost a 10th of what EliteXC’s offices cost and even executive employees fly coach to save a few extra bucks on the bottom line.

Throw in the trio of television deals that Bellator has secured with Fox Sports Net, Telemundo and NBC, and you have to start wondering if a few years from now we’ll all be talking about the stranglehold Bellator has on young talent in the sport. (Sherdog)

Bellator CEO hoping for another ‘magical’ season

“Overall, I’m most excited that there will be an awful lot of competitive fights. We’re going to have an awful lot of that,” Rebney told Cagewriter. “Every guy that we’ve announced so far are guys that I think, I would actually stay home from dinner out with friends because I wouldn’t want to miss the fight. That’s what we were shooting for. It wasn’t about getting names that people recognized, but bringing world-class fighters into the game that would be magical to watch and would make great fights and would could conceivably become big-time names.”

The other big move that Bellator made in their off-season was signing a deal with Fox Sports, NBC and Telemundo, which guarantees that Bellator fights will be available to 12 times the viewers than with their previous deal with ESPN Deportes.

“When we finalized that 12-show run with ESPN, I had to ask, how do we go from being a very cool promotion that reaches a Spanish-language audience only to a promotion that you can see every week on multiple distribution platforms that reach a bigger audience? How could we make it so that I would never go on a blog or message board again and read, ‘Bellator’s cool but I can’t see it.’ This will ensure that we’ll be around for the long haul and ensure that a lot of people will see us, week in and week out.”

“Right now, we’re finalizing agreements for the almost three-quarters of the venues for the entire 24-show run. So, you’ll see fighter announcements for the next week and a half, and then you’ll start seeing venue announcements after that. We want to be out there three, four months in advance. We’re going to some really cool places, too. We’ll be in a lot of different locations, too, which is cool because a lot of different people will get a chance to be a part of the Bellator experience.” (CageWriter)

QUICK HITS

  • TUF 11 Goes Into Production in Vegas (MMAWeekly)
  • UFC on Versus 1 Fight Card (MMAFighting)
  • Strikeforce headliner Marius Zaromskis ready for Nick Diaz now, Jay Hieron later (MMAJunkie)
  • Strikeforce’s Coker not shying away from Pride comparisons (USA Today)
  • Tonight’s ‘Inside MMA’ on HDNet Brings Together Some of MMA’s Heaviest Hitters (PRNewswire)
  • “Strikeforce Challengers VI” tickets on sale today, start at $30 (MMAJunkie)
  • Cristiane Santos: I only train with men. I usually hurt the women (5OzsOfPain)
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims Officially Booked for Strikeforce: Miami (MMAFighting)
  • Herschel Walker’s effort at mixed martial arts is no joke (USA Today)
  • Rolles Gracie: Keeping The Family Legacy Alive At UFC 109 (Heavy)
  • Spike TV features Brock Lesnar in “UFC Unleashed” episodes tonight (MMAJunkie)
  • Titles Aside, Jay Hieron Focused on Joe Riggs (MMAWeekly)
  • Strikeforce signs middleweight Joey Villasenor to four-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva at heavyweight? Manager says it’s possible (MMAJunkie)
  • Anderson Would Welcome St. Pierre (Sherdog)
  • Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Rear Ended In OC Car Accident (TMZ)
  • Buffer, Sherdog at LA Fit Expo This Weekend (Sherdog)
  • Seven opponents turn down bout with Erin Toughill, January 30 FCF bout scratched (5OzsOfPain)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • MMA Live (01/21/10) – It’s all about Brock Lesnar. MMA Live analyzes Lesnar’s SportsCenter exclusive. Also, why is there a new date for UFC 113? And Strikeforce welterweight contender Jay Hieron stops by to discuss his upcoming bout with Joe Riggs.

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  (Frye vs Thompson, Pulver vs Sakurai) at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

2 Responses to “MMAterial Facts (01/22/10)”

  1. dan on January 25th, 2010 10:16 AM

    these are great updates- love them!

  2. Kelsey Philpott on January 25th, 2010 5:27 PM

    I agree. Jose has been doing a tremendous job for the site!

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