Strikeforce Miami: Payout Perspective

February 1, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we’ll take a look at some of the business story lines surrounding Strikeforce’s latest offering, Strikeforce: Miami, which took place Saturday, January 30th from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Strikeforce: Miami by the Numbers

Attendance & Gate


Disclosed Payout Figures

– Nick Diaz $100,000 (no win bonus) def. Marius Zaromskis $30,000
– Cris “Cyborg” Santos $35,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus and $5,000 championship bonus) def. Marloes Coenen $2,000
– Herschel Walker $600 (no win bonus) def. Greg Nagy $5,000
– Robbie Lawler $100,000 (no win bonus) def. Melvin Manhoef $5,000
– Bobby Lashley $50,000 (no win bonus) def. Wes Sims $25,000
– Jay Hieron $65,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus) def. Joe Riggs $30,000
– Pablo Alfonso $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus) def. Marcos DaMotta $2,500
– Hadar Hassan $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus) def. Ryan Keenan $2,000
– John Kelly $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus) def. Sabah Homasi $1,000
– Michael Byrnes $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus) def. David Zitnik $1,500
– David Gomez $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus) def. Craig Oxley $1,500
– Joe Ray $1,500 (includes $500 win bonus) def. John Clarke $1,000

Total Disclosed Payouts: $469,600

TV Ratings

MMAJunkie is reporting that Strikeforce: Miami pulled in 517,000 viewers, which represents a 52% increase over the last show in December(Evolution). It’s also the second best ratings in Strikeforce’s time on Showtime, sitting second only to Carano-Cyborg last August which did 576,000.

Business Story Lines

Diaz puts on MMA boxing clinic, awaits next challenger:

Nick Diaz over came a first round knockdown to put on an MMA boxing clinic; confusing the highly-touted Zaromskis with a series of quick, pin point strikes that landed from different angles. The victory was impressive, but he’s yet to face a serious ground threat during his time in Strikeforce.

Now is the time for Strikeforce to start developing its divisions and forming a line of talent to successively challenge its title holders. Many thought Jay Hieron would earn a title shot with a victory over Riggs on the under card, but first he must negotiate a new contract. Scott Coker also mentioned after the fight that he’d likely try to secure Mach Sakurai for Diaz’s next title defense.

Cyborg dominates, but win won’t tell us much about women’s MMA:

It’s only a matter of time before the next challenger arrives to threaten Santos’ crown, but it’s pretty difficult – as it always is when a dominant champion is involved – to imagine someone beating her. The combination of her power and accuracy is currently unmatched in women’s MMA. But many are still wondering whether she is capable of being the face of women’s MMA.

Is her dominance enough? Is that what fans are looking for in women’s MMA? The ratings on this card won’t be of any help, because of Walker and Lashley. We’ll likely have to wait until her next defense before we can make a better assessment of whether she’ll be able to carry the flag.

Lawler stuns Manhoef, rumors of UFC abound:

It wasn’t pretty, but Robbie Lawler got the job done by withstanding a brutal onslaught just long enough to take advantage of an over-extended Manhoef, land an overhand right, and finish him with a left on the ground. Lawler was non-committal regarding his future plans, but it’s likely he’s open to the idea of returning to the UFC. The feeling is probably mutual, too: Lawler brings the fight and would add an interesting element to the UFC’s 185 division.

Walker, Lashley draw attention, mixed reviews:

Walker did a great job of drawing attention to the fight in the weeks leading up to the event: appearing on PTI, various radio and television interviews, and countless print articles (including coverage on CNN). The fact that this event was held on the same weekend and in the same city as the Pro Bowl only amplified the coverage he was able to garner the event.

However, there is some part of me that questions how much value Walker truly added to the Strikeforce brand. His fight was often labelled “Former NFL Star Set to Compete in MMA” or “Walker Set to Fight”, and rarely were those pieces as effective at building the Strikeforce brand as they were at simply pumping the overall sport of MMA.   Not a bad thing, but they paid him $100k+ not just to draw people to the event, but also in an effort to build awareness and interest in the brand itself.

The fights themselves left something to be desired. Walker looked stiff and tentative against a highly unskilled opponent. Lashley didn’t exactly blow the doors off of Sims, despite having a tremendous power and conditioning advantage. There’s now the feeling that Lashley is going to need to step up on the competition end of things in short order if he wants to continue generating the interest that he has. Coker was quoted as saying he’d like to see Lashley take on Brett Rogers in the future, and that would be a test worthy of Lashley’s hype.

Camera angles improved, scheduling and commentary still a mess:

It would seem that Strikeforce has learned its lesson about the importance of proper camera angles and switching. The November show on CBS was atrocious, but Evolution and Miami were much improved.

However, the event scheduling is still a mess. Strikeforce didn’t cancel a fight this time, but still had to push Byrnes-Zitnik behind the main event in order to get it in. The event also ended with a full 20 minutes of air time left that could have been used to air an under card bout. The UFC may get knocked for some of its “stale” production from time to time, but it’s tremendous experience virtually guarantees a program devoid of these problems.

The commentary also left something to be desired; especially considering this was an event where the presence of Walker and Lashley managed to draw a lot of curious sports fans looking to understand the sport. The men behind the booth weren’t informative or entertaining, and they were downright annoying in their praise for Walker.

Strikeforce encounters problems with EA Sports stream:

EA promised to air a live stream of the under card bout featuring Hieron and Riggs – two fighters on its EA MMA roster – from its website, but technical errors prevented viewers from seeing the fight. Mistakes happen, sure, but the feeling is that if you’re going to offer a free fight and promote the fact that you’re doing so, you better have the capability to do it.

3 Responses to “Strikeforce Miami: Payout Perspective”

  1. Anthony on February 1st, 2010 10:17 AM

    “But many are still wondering whether she is capable of being the face of women’s MMA.”

    Ugh, not with that face. (shutters)

  2. Matt C. on February 1st, 2010 12:43 PM

    Good stuff.

    I keep seeing the rumors of Robbie and the UFC but I never see anyone talk about the status of his contract. Is Robbie’s Strikeforce contract up? Does anyone know Robbie’s contract status?

  3. Steve on February 2nd, 2010 4:34 PM

    There is always talk of Robbie returning to the UFC, but he said the after the fight the Elitexc/Strikeforce contract was for another year. Robbie is awesome (most of the time) and I would watch him wherever he fights.

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