Aldo vs. Faber: Payout Perspective

April 25, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we’ll be taking a look at WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber (only it wasn’t titled WEC 48 for various reasons we’ll cover below) that was held on Saturday, April 24th from the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. The event featured a plethora of great match-ups, including two title fights: Aldo vs. Faber and Henderson vs. Cerrone.

Okay Jose, Aldo dominates Faber and ends run at the top of 145

Jose Aldo’s name has been cropping up near the top of everyone’s pound-for-pound list more frequently as of late and his performance at WEC 48 will have done nothing to change that. Aldo was utterly dominant at WEC 48. In Aldo, the WEC has itself a new workhorse champion and it doesn’t look as though he’s going to be dethroned (no pun intended, I swear) anytime soon.

However, I think the real question on everyone’s mind is where does Urijah Faber go from here? Faber is unquestionably the WEC’s most popular fighter and single-handedly responsible for the WEC’s top four events in both attendance and live gate receipts. But he’s now lost three title fights in a row at featherweight and there are seemingly other challengers waiting in the wings. Its not exactly a Rich Franklin scenario yet, because there’s probably some interest in a Faber-Brown III (which makes sense now that they’ve both lost). And, if he were to string together a few decisive victories, he could maybe challenge Aldo again. I’m just not sure how competitive that rematch would be (even though it would probably still sell like hotcakes).

A few years ago, Faber had talked about moving down a weight class to fight Miguel Torres in a super fight, but the thinking at the time was that he didn’t want to interfere with Joseph Benavidez’s shot at the 135lbs strap. Still, there are some interesting match-ups for Faber down at 135 and it would certainly allow the WEC to keep Faber relevant within the organization.

Henderson dispatches Cerrone in quick fashion

I think the expectation – certainly my own – was that this was going to be another grueling war, so I was quite shocked when it ended so abruptly. It was even more shocking when held in contrast to the rest of the fight card that was literally a drag ’em out war from start to finish.

What’s next for Henderson? He’ll probably fight the winner of WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus, which is to be held in Edmonton, Alberta on June 20th (especially if its Varner). However, Shane Roller has strung together three victories in the octagon and his last loss came at the hands of Henderson; a rematch there could be interesting.

Garcia-Sung Jung put on a fight for the ages

Everything that’s right and good about the sport of MMA was embodied in the three round WAR that Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung fought on Saturday’s night prelim card on Spike TV: desire, heart, dedication, athleticism, skill, and sportsmanship. Garcia and Sung Jung beat the hell out of one another to the point of disbelief and came out all smiles at the end. Many thought Jung won the fight, but when Garcia’s hand was raised it didn’t matter – there were no losers. Rematch, please.

Some are even calling it the WEC’s Griffin-Bonnar moment, but we’ll reserve judgement until we see how the WEC’s next few events materialize. However, as I mentioned on Twitter last night, it will definitely be interesting to seeing these quarterlies come through on Monday or Tuesday, because they should be stellar. Even if that fight didn’t convince a ton of people to buy the show, it should help the WEC’s stock (although perhaps not as much considering the WEC was given nary a mention on the broadcast).

Aldo vs. Faber Sans the WEC

Dana White revealed on Saturday night that contractual conflicts between Zuffa’s two television homes – Spike and Versus – was the reason Aldo vs. Faber was promoted as a brand-less fight for the last month.

(Courtesy of MMAJunkie)

“[The WEC and UFC] are two different brands on two different networks,” White said. “Even though they’re owned by the same company, they’re two different brands owned by the same company. The networks aren’t going to let us do it.”


 With Versus, the traditional home of the WEC, committed to broadcasting hockey with the NHL playoffs, White instead turned to Spike TV as a place to air two preliminary fights as a lead-in to the WEC’s first-ever pay-per-view event.


But with Spike TV known as the home of the UFC on cable television and Versus holding the rights to the WEC, a compromise had to be reached. White said he was pleased that all parties were able to come to an agreement, even if it did result in an odd brand-free fight night.

It would have been nice for the WEC to tag its brand to the event and gain the additional impressions from all the promotion the fight was given, but in the end the organization is still going to gain tremendously from this event. The fans aren’t stupid. Those who watched the fights on Spike or bought the PPV, not knowing who Garcia or Sung Jung or Aldo or Faber was, are going to be damn curious as to how they can see them again – and they’ll find out.

Be sure to check out the discussion we had earlier in the week on this brand-less event.

Note: I’m still a little curious why, even on the PPV, there was scant mention of the WEC. I don’t want to speculate at all, because I have no working knowledge of the situation pertaining to Spike and Versus. However, the commentators didn’t mention the WEC by name, Bruce Buffer didn’t acknowledge the titleholders as WEC champions, and even promotion of the organization’s next event wasn’t titled WEC 49. Definitely interested to see how this continues to unfold.

Aldo vs. Faber sets WEC records

Aldo vs. Faber set WEC records in both attendance and live gate receipts: the 14,144 fans in attendance generated $1 million+ in gate money. If you’re looking to compare, WEC 48 outdrew UFC 73: Silva vs. Marquardt in attendance and was just 500 short of UFC 65: Hughes vs. St. Pierre II. However, both UFC events did far more in gate money. Still, not too shabby.

Harris gets just reward

WEC 34 is probably a night that Reed Harris will always remember, because it marked a significant breakthrough for the company he founded 10+ years ago. He’s worked as hard or harder than anyone in the business to put his organization on the map, and it was nice to see him rewarded by the performance of Aldo vs. Faber (a card that will hopefully become another breakthrough for his company).

Congratulations, Reed!

Production Notes

The production was solid as always, but I noticed the new graphics scheme for the event and really liked it. The tale of the tape, the fight clock, the fighters key strengths, and the way broadcast cut to and from replays – it was simple, conservative, but also very modern and professional.

I hope it’s something the UFC considers adopting as well; it gave the entire event a very polished and pro sports feel.

Sponsorship Watch’s Sponsorship Blue Book has been updated (reminder that you can always find the Blue Book at the top of the every page).

Bud Light had a notably stronger presence on the PPV tonight. The logo was at the center of the canvas as always, but the Bud Light replay was used pretty consistently (although I’d still like to see Mike or Joe introduce it every time they use it) and there were several 3 second presenting sponsor inserts throughout the night featuring “Bud Light: Here we go.” which is a nice play on Goldberg’s oft-used catch phrase. There’s really some potential there to take that tag line and make a promotional campaign out of it.

AMP Energy Drink had a strong presence on the broadcast and they seem to really get it where activation is concerned. Not only have they sponsored the WEC, but they put a lot of marketing effort behind Urijah Faber with his commercial and AMP walkout kit (shorts, shirt, hat, head band, etc.). Not to mention the company also sponsored Chad Mendes whose fight was shown both on the prelim and the PPV.

20 Responses to “Aldo vs. Faber: Payout Perspective”

  1. Joe on April 25th, 2010 5:06 PM

    I bet 60k buys. Outside of norcal nobody cares about faber in the people who do know him. I’d rather fall on the sleep watching chavez jr fight at least that’s only like 30 Dollars down the toilet.

  2. mma guru on April 25th, 2010 9:10 PM

    A couple of things to note,

    If the gate was 1 million, than the average ticket price would have had to be around $70 – I would like to see how many comps were given out as that average seems rather low and falls between the 2 low ticket price points.

    PPV buys are going to surprise some, disappoint others. I was thinking it would be low, but after the way UFC pushed the event as another “UFC” event without the branding, Countdown show, prelims on Spike – I think it will do more than 100K, but how much more will be interesting to see.

  3. mma guru on April 25th, 2010 9:12 PM

    As a side, break-even will be higher than for a normal WEC event with the larger payouts, the higher production cost and the cost of marketing and “countdown” show.

  4. Wonderbrick on April 25th, 2010 11:01 PM

    @Joe I disagree that no one knows Faber. In Virginia, Faber is a name similar to Chuck Liddell that non-MMA fans after recognize or mention, amazingly.

    I hope the PPV figures turn out well, especially after such a great fights. I number of factors give me mixed messages as to the final figures:
    -Low friend turnout for PPV
    -High Faber popularity around Virginia
    -Widescale UFC advertising
    -SpikeTV free prelims
    -This PPV follows discouraging UFC and Strikeforce events, turning off some fans

  5. Diego on April 26th, 2010 5:17 AM


    I disagree that the Garcia-Sung Jung fight showed skill. I thought it was an embarrassing slop-fest. Yes, both showed heart and energy, but throwing wide stiff-armed punches that spin you around 180 degrees when you miss should not put you in the running for fight of the night. The Bonner-Griffin fight was a boxing clinic compared to this fight. I have a problem with that fight being lauded as the epitome of what an MMA fight should be – which is what earning Fight of the Night suggests. Any serious fight fans who tuned in for that fight would be left with the impression that MMA fighters have zero stand-up skill. An accusation which many boxing fans make and which every other fight on this card refutes. The Garcia-Sung Jung fight was great for the “Just Bleed” contingent, but I don’t know if it should have been rewarded with $130k worth of bonuses for the participants.

  6. Kelsey Philpott on April 26th, 2010 8:52 AM

    It was sloppy at times, yes, but there were also moments where both men put together great combinations to score or used great defense to avoid being hit.

    It certainly wasn’t Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin striking, but does every fight have to be that?

    Moreover, why take take the fight so seriously. It was entertaining. A bout like that doesn’t come along very often, it should be enjoyed.

  7. Charles Cieri on April 26th, 2010 10:06 AM


    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the praise being heaped on that fight is almost as misguided as the attempts to force this fight into the Griffen v Bonnar ‘breakout moment’ mold. However I do think it was a good fight in the sense that it gets asses in the seats and drives up pay-per-views. I just hope these people who are turned on and pulled into the fray by this display will settle down and let the nuances of proper fighting ease them from fight fans into MMA fans.

    Anyway, here is my attempt to level out some of the lopsided coverage of that fight:

  8. Machiel Van on April 26th, 2010 10:53 AM


    As for the tickets, I was in attendance sitting in the 10th row up from the floor. My ticket was only $75 so its not that surprising that the average fell between the $50-$75 price points. The WEC doesn’t have as many pricing tiers as the UFC for the seating sections at their events, and I remember buying floor seats for Faber vs Brown II for $150. WEC tickets just aren’t that expensive relative to the UFC (they are similar in price/pricing tiers to Strikeforce’s prices at the HP Pavilion from my experience).

  9. Brain Smasher on April 26th, 2010 12:01 PM

    Yeah. My fiends went to WEC in Columbus adn the tickets were only $25 a piece. To put it in perspective that was how much i paid for tickets to UFC 41 over 7 years ago before the UFC becaome popular. The last UFCs i attented 68, 77, 82, 88, 96 were all almost $100 per after fees for the cheap seats. Not to mention the price of premium seats at the UFC went through the roof.

  10. mmaguru on April 26th, 2010 6:25 PM

    Thanks Guys,
    I can’t believe the tickets are so cheap, and well worth it for the WEC who always puts on a good show.

  11. Diego on April 26th, 2010 9:17 PM


    I’m OK with enjoying the fight, I’m just not OK with that fight being lauded as the best performance on the card. Exciting, yes, a measuring stick to judge MMA by, no way.

  12. Michael C. on April 26th, 2010 11:02 PM

    wec48 was great . I am a UFC fan , never miss a ppv . ALDO VS. FABER was a ufc caliber event , breaking attendance and ppv expectations . I think wec fighters should mafe a payday comparible to there star power !

  13. on April 27th, 2010 6:58 AM

    Aldo vs. Faber: Payout Perspective : The Business of MMA…

    Aldo vs Faber was one of the best cards in MMA of the year; it will be interesting to see what Zuffa does with the brand after this, as well as how some of the key fighters like Faber, Aldo, etc, are used/matched up, in the future….

  14. mmaguru on April 27th, 2010 2:32 PM

    Early projections are indicating a buy rate of between 150K to 200K. I suspect the final number will fall somewhere around 125K, Affliction territory.

  15. Brain Smasher on April 28th, 2010 2:13 PM

    I have more respect for the Garcia fight over the Bonner vs Forrest fight. Bonner and Forrest both have pillow hands so its no suprise they can hit each other back and forth because they are not finishers on the feet. Its like Tyson Griffen, Frankie Edgar, Clay Guida, etc fighting each other. None of them can finish a sandwich yet we are suprised when there fights are 3 rounds of back and fourth wrestling. Overrated IMO. At least Garcia has power so when both guys are landing its more meaningful than the pillow fights that get most of the attention. Sloppy yes. But so was the tired swinging for the fenses Bonner and Forrest put on.

    I would take a fight like Chuck vs Wandy over Forrest Bonner any day. There is a whole new level of respect when a fight has 3 rounds of banging with 2 guys who have power. It actually takes heart to stand in there and get hit and land punches of your own. Dont take much guts when your opponent cant break eggs.

  16. mma guru on April 28th, 2010 8:50 PM

    Final attendance #’s are in (mmajunkie) –

    The California State Athletic Commission today released a final report on the event and said 12,555 paid attendees packed the ARCO Arena this past Saturday to watch current featherweight champ Jose Aldo take on hometown favorite and former champ Urijah Faber.

    The event produced a total of $954,635 in gate receipts, an average cost of $76.04 per ticket issued.

    This makes it the highest grossing WEC event at the box office. All 4 of their top events were at the ARCO arena.

    Official salary figures are out as well –

    $336,500 not including the fight of the night bonuses

  17. Stan Kosek on April 29th, 2010 2:25 PM

    Guru, that 336k number has Faber making 28k, that is why the released numbers can be very misleading, especially for main eventers. Either the last Affliction event or his first Strikeforce show had Fedor’s released pay at 5k.

  18. mma guru on April 29th, 2010 7:50 PM

    Hi Stan,
    Yeah, I think Faber is getting some cut from the PPV buys, but I can’t be 100% sure as I read this a while back when he re-signed.

  19. Stan Kosek on April 29th, 2010 7:53 PM

    I figured he got some major bump in pay, because right before he resigned he was on Adam Carolla’s podcast complaining about his low pay from WEC (I think it was the 2nd Brown fight, I don’t remember the disclosed payroll, but he said he was getting 100k from Zuffa to show, and that didn’t include sponsors) but with the 28k listed I can only imagine he got a PPV slice, and since he resigned before PPV was announced and probably before it was finalized, I would imagine he gets a cut of the gate, especially in Sacramento.

  20. Diego on May 4th, 2010 11:52 AM


    Wandy v. Chuck was awesome because of the power involved. With that said, I don’t think Garcia is exactly gifted with power. I like the Bonner Griffin fight better because the technique they showed was actually miles more advanced than the what we saw with Garcia. That’s sad to say, because Bonner Griffin wasn’t exactly a technical affair, but at least both fighters understood that when you throw a punch you shouldn’t end up with your back to your opponent.

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