NBC’s Ultimate Women Challenge

July 26, 2010

The website for Ultimate Women Challenge is claiming that the proposed reality television series that will pit 16 women against one another in a mixed martial arts tournament will air to over 60 million homes on NBC this September.

Payout Perspective:

This isn’t a done deal just yet; there’s been no official press release or confirmation on the part of NBC that Ultimate Women Challenge will indeed be part of its Fall lineup. Plus, the UWC website only vaguely refers to a September 2010 debut in which the show would air in 60 million homes (a far cry from the 114 million that NBC regularly reaches).

Nonetheless, the idea of a women’s MMA reality series makes for an interesting discussion. It also brings us back to the debate over the true commercial potential and related viability of women’s MMA as a whole.

This is not a debate concerning gender equality. All rationale people recognize that women deserve fair pay, fair opportunity, and fair treatment – they should be able to do everything men can do (and vice-versa). Rather, this debate is about whether or not women’s MMA is something that people want to watch, will pay for and under what circumstances.

I tend to think it’s not something that a healthy number of people want to watch or are willing to pay for. The participants lack the speed, strength and damage threshold that make the sport so dynamic, exciting and aesthetically appealing. Women’s MMA would also seem offend the cultural paradigm with which this society views most everything – more so than MMA in general – in the sense that women are not to be harmed.

Perhaps the only circumstance in which any of this changes is when a sexual element is added into the mix a la Gina Carano, but I even question the longevity of that sort of business model.

Therefore, I question the idea that NBC would jump into MMA (itself a risk) by using a women’s reality television series, knowing that women are an even bigger risk from a backlash standpoint and they’ve yet to prove any material commercial potential.

If any network is looking to jump into MMA, the first and only real choice is the UFC. It comes with an established brand, over 30 million people in the United States that are at least casually interested in its product, and a near turn key operation from on the production end. This, of course, ignores the cost implications of the UFC, but MMA has never been a cash grab. You’ve got to have patience and you’ve got to invest for the long term in order to reap any sort of material reward from this business.

Is women’s MMA destined to linger on smaller or mid-level shows forever? It’s impossible to commit to that; a lot can change within a sport and society but a lot would have to change for women’s MMA to become viable at the highest levels of the sport.

MMAterial Facts 07/23/10: THQ Blames Competitor For Poor UFC Undisputed Sales

July 23, 2010

- THQ Blames Poor UFC Sales on Red Dead Redemption

– The Lights Are on and Lesnar’s Home

– World Title Muay Thai Fights to Broadcast on G4  on July 23rd

– Pound for Pound: Another Banner Year for UFC?

– CAMO Launches California State Tournament for Amateurs

THQ Blames Poor UFC Sales on Red Dead Redemption

In an interview with MCV, THQ’s UK marketing director had the following to say:  “Our sales were softer than where we would have liked them to be,” Rooke told MCV. “We know our UFC and MMA fans have bought it, but we haven’t delivered the broader sales yet. That’s largely down to Red Dead Redemption. Rockstar have probably taken a fair amount of our market share. They shipped 5m units, taking a lot of consumer dollars.” (PastaPadre)

The Lights Are on and Lesnar’s Home

James ‘Lights Out’ Toney was once known as a hard-nosed, rugged, relentless and merciless world champion boxer, a liquid stylist capable of making opponents miss punches by millimeters and then immediately pay for their inadequacies.  (Huffington Post)

World Title Muay Thai Fights to Broadcast on G4  on July 23rd

RISARC PRODUCTIONS and the Champions of Champions Elite fight series are positioned to take Muay Thai to new heights. Starting with the much anticipated premiere of the show on July 23rd at 8pm on G4, a new generation of fight fans are anticipated to join the established base ringside. Champions of Champions Elite look forward to presenting the true sport of Muay Thai to a waiting American audience. The series will introduce some of the most respected and revered fighters ever brought together in a series of championship fights. (PRESS RELEASE)

Pound for Pound: Another Banner Year for UFC?

The haters didn’t miss the opportunity late last year to gleefully point out the UFC’s slumping pay-per-view buy rates.
After setting a high watermark with its gala UFC 100 show last July, America’s largest mixed martial arts promotion limped down the stretch into 2010. Numbers were down, great fights few and far between and with the bankable stars of its early-decade rise to prominence starting to get a little long in the tooth, the critics pounced. (Crave Online)

CAMO Launches California State Tournament for Amateurs

The California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization Inc. on Thursday unveiled plans for a statewide single-elimination tournament that will culminate with a series of state championship bouts on Dec. 4.

Open to all qualified CAMO fighters, the tournament will encompass 37 events over a three-month period and will crown amateur champions across eight weight classes. Open registration begins on Aug. 7 through the CAMO Web site (www.camo-mma.org), and brackets will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  (Sherdog)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Coker on putting an MMA show in Russia: “There is possibility of that. I know they have a big event they’d like to throw in Russia. They’d like to feature Fedor. It’s a big political summit [in the fall] and they want to showcase Fedor as the athlete in Russia. There’s ongoing dialogue about that. “Being good partners, if [M-1] wanted to do it, we’d do it.” (Josh Gross, Sports Illustrated)

QUICK HITS

  • Local fighters are part of Strikeforce card Friday in Everett (Seattle Times)
  • Strikeforce martial arts combat comes to Comcast Arena tonight (HeraldNet)
  • MMA superstar Emelianenko hands out awards at Moscow M1 Selection (RT)
  • UFC continues anti-piracy campaign, subpoenas Justin.tv and Ustream.tv (MMAJunkie)
  • Gerald Harris steps in for injured Jorge Rivera, faces Alessio Sakara at UFC 118 (MMAJunkie)
  • Strikeforce’s Roxanne Modafferi “riding the wave” (MMAJunkie)
  • With no opponent available, Thiago Tavares pulled from UFC  fight card (MMAJunkie)
  • Fighters on Weight for Strikeforce Challengers 9 (Sherdog)
  • Werdum vs. Anderson: The Paintball Diaries (Sherdog)
  • Building a Road to the Future for Japanese MMA (MMAFighting)
  • Strikeforce Set to Meet With Fedor’s Reps (MMAFighting)
  • VANCOUVER ON UFC’S 2011 RADAR DESPITE CHANGES (MMAWeekly)
  • ALVES’ BRAIN ANOMALY WAS WITH HIM SINCE BIRTH (MMAWeekly)
  • Gerald Harris Replaces Rivera, Takes On Sakara At UFC 118 (Heavy)
  • For Brian Stann, It’s About The Journey (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault: 2009 World GP Final HL’s at 8:00 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Fighting Words with Mike Straka (Frankie Edgar) at 8:30 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Inside MMA at 9 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World MAX 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (07/23/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime(07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World Max 2010 Final 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World GP 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/30/10)
  • UFC on Versus 2 : Jones vs Matyushenko at 10 PM ET on Versus (08/01/10)
  • UFC 117 : Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/7/10)
  • Bellator 24: Lombard vs Goodman on FSN (08/12/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs vs Taylor 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/13/10)
  • HDNet Fights: KOTC: Imminent Danger at 9 PM ET on HDNet (08/13/10)
  • WEC 50: Cruz vs Benavidez at 9 PM ET on Versus (08/18/10)
  • Bellator 25 on FSN (08/19/10)
  • Strikeforce: King Mo vs Rafael Feijao at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/21/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (08/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 on HDNet (08/27/10)
  • UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/28/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (09/2/10)
  • UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Belcher at 9 PM ET on SPIKE TV (09/15/10)
  • UFC 119 : Minotauro Nogueira vs Frank Mir 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (09/25/10)

UFC Serves Subpoenas to Streaming Websites

July 23, 2010

In a press release today, the UFC announced it has served two subpoenas to popular streaming websites Justin.tv and Ustream.tv seeking the information of individuals responsible for illegally distributing Zuffa content on the internet.

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Zuffa, LLC, (“Zuffa”), the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®), announced today that it has served subpoenas on two streaming video websites, commanding them to reveal the identities of users who have uploaded video of live Pay-Per-View UFC events.

The websites, Justin.tv and Ustream.tv, enable anyone with an Internet connection to broadcast live streaming video to an unlimited audience. Although originally developed to bring user-generated content to a large live audience, these sites have been exploited by some users to broadcast illegally uploaded content, including UFC events.

For example, on January 2, 2010, over 36,000 people watched a live streaming feed of the UFC 108 Pay-Per-View event that was uploaded from a single IP address. Less than two months later, on February 21, 2010, that same IP address was used to upload multiple live streaming feeds of the UFC 110 Pay-Per-View event, which was watched by over 78,000 non-paying users. This piracy represents a significant loss of revenue to UFC and their mobile, online, cable and satellite distribution partners each year.

“I can’t wait to go after the thieves that are stealing our content,” said UFC President Dana White. “This is a fight we will not lose.”

Under §512(h) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a copyright owner can obtain a subpoena from a federal court ordering a service provider to disclose the identity of a subscriber who is allegedly engaging in infringing activities. The subpoenas served by Zuffa require Justin.tv and Ustream.tv to disclose information in their possession that Zuffa can use to identify those who have been pirating and rebroadcasting recent UFC events online. With this information in hand, Zuffa will prosecute civil actions against the individuals who have infringed Zuffa’s copyrights.

Zuffa is the largest provider of Pay-Per-View content in the world, and delivers exciting matches to fans in over 430 million households across 147 countries and territories. Zuffa encourages the development of new technology to deliver UFC content to licensed online platforms, mobile devices, and gaming systems. However, Zuffa does not condone the use of streaming video or other new technologies to violate intellectual property laws, and it will vigorously protect its copyrighted content against piracy in any medium.

Payout Perspective:

This news comes just a few weeks after Zuffa revealed it has privately settled with over 500 individuals and groups that were illegally distributing Zuffa content.

It will definitely be interesting to see what comes of this. The internet is such a vast place that most people assume they cannot be touched. Zuffa isn’t likely to gain much from a monetary standpoint, especially compared to what it spends in legal fees, but perhaps it can at least stem some of the supply of the illegal streaming or deter use on the demand side.

Silva, Evans Sign with MusclePharm

July 23, 2010

Musclepharm has reached multi-fight sponsorship agreements with two of the UFC’s biggest stars in Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans. The company made the announcement at the end of June.

MusclePharm(R) Corporation (OTCBB:MSLP – News), a fast-growing nutritional supplement company with a proprietary formulation used in eight performance products, is pleased to announce multi-fight sponsorship deals with two of the biggest stars in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former light heavyweight champion and No. 1 contender Rashad Evans.

Payout Perspective:

This isn’t terribly shocking: Anderson Silva was sponsored by Musclepharm at UFC 112 and Rashad Evans has been sponsored by Musclepharm since at least UFC 108 (the company has a deal with Greg Jackson’s Gym and sponsors many of the Jackson fighters on a fight-to-fight basis).

There’s long been a debate in sponsorship circles as to whether the actions of a sponsored property can negatively impact a sponsoring brand. Multiple studies have been performed regarding the topic, but none paint a stunningly clear picture. In fact, most suggest that it really depends on context: things such as pre-existing brand awareness, loyalty, consumer expectations, etc.

Sometimes I wonder what the impact of Anderson Silva’s performance at UFC 112 had on the Musclepharm brand. I can’t imagine it was severe. Yet just the same as the brand can be associated with a strong performance, I tend to think the brand may have been slightly impacted by Silva’s negative performance at 112: a less-than-entertained crowd had to suffer through the world’s best fighter dancing around for the better part of 30 minutes and the entire time that MP logo was stuck smack dab in the middle of it all.

Still, I don’t think it takes away much from the great work that Musclepharm has been doing to promote its brand and activate around that WEC partnership.

MMAterial Facts 07/22/10: Dave Herman, Zac Gearge Involved in Contract Disputes

July 22, 2010

- Herman, Bellator Locked in Legal Battle

– Featherweight Zac George earns Shine Fights release after two-month wait

– Athletic commission knocked out by City of North Van

– Bully Beatdown Does Not Violate Violence Code

– XYIENCE and Montreal’s TriStar Martial Arts Center Sign Sponsorship Agreement

Herman, Bellator Locked in Legal Battle

Herman, 25, is suing Bellator Fighting Championships for allegedly breaching a six-fight, 30-month contract he signed into with the promotion on Oct. 28, 2008. Herman is also claiming tortuous interference on the part of Bellator for a handful of fight assignments — including a four-fight contract offer from Strikeforce — he’s tried to secure since January. The promotion is countersuing for alleged breach of contract as well. (Sherdog)

Featherweight Zac George earns Shine Fights release after two-month wait

Signing the contract – a one-year, three-fight deal – was easy. But after that, everything seemed hard.

“It was a total disaster,” George said after MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today reported that several fighters from the canceled “Shine Fights: Worlds Collide” event had not been paid.

“Worlds Collide” was scheduled to take place May 15 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., before the North Carolina Boxing Authority pulled the plug on the show hours after it was set to begin… (MMAJunkie)

Athletic commission knocked out by City of North Van

City of North Vancouver councillors put the kibosh on hosting professional boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in the city, after voting to disband the North Vancouver Athletic Commission Monday night.

“I’ve watched enough of it (Ultimate Fighting Championship) channel surfing to know that I find it repugnant … barbaric,” said Coun. Pam Bookham in an interview with The Outlook. (BCLocalNews)

Bully Beatdown Does Not Violate Violence Code

The CBSC received a complaint about this program from an anti-bullying activist who felt that it was inappropriate for the program to promote additional violence as the solution to the societal problem of bullying. MTV Canada argued that the premise of the program is to show “to instil a sense of empathy in the bully by asking him to face someone who might cause him/her fear or anxiety.” MTV also pointed out that the program carried a 14+ classification and viewer advisories. (Broadcaster Magazine)

XYIENCE and Montreal’s TriStar Martial Arts Center Sign Sponsorship Agreement

XYIENCE announces that it has signed a sponsorship agreement with Tristar Gym, a 13,500 sq. ft. mixed martial arts (MMA) training center in Montreal. The agreement means that the facility will retail XYIENCE’s energy drink brand, Xenergy, the official energy of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and XYIENCE supplements, the original fight nutrition brand, to the exclusion of all other brands. The partnership was made official on Thursday, July 15, 2010, and also includes logo placement on the training facility’s mats and banner placement throughout the gym. (PRESS RELEASE)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Shark Fights 13 Poster

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Spoke to Scott Coker yesterday. He’s receptive to promoting Werdum-Fedor 2 in Russia. And I know Showtime is looking at potential dates. (Josh Gross, Sports Illustrated)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC targeting ‘four to six’ Fight Nights in UK next year (ESPN UK)
  • Not So Fast – UFC China Office Yet to Open (BloodyElbow)
  • Matt Hamill vs. Tito Ortiz added to UFC 121 in October (MMAJunkie)
  • Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Brendan Schaub meet at UFC 121 in California (MMAJunkie)
  • Massachusetts eliminates double weigh-in policy for mixed martial arts (MMAJunkie)
  • Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Dan Hornbuckle not happening at Bellator 25 (MMAJunkie)
  • Strikeforce 135-pound tourney official (MMAJunkie)
  • Coker: Fedor Could Return in October, November (Sherdog)
  • Santiago-Misaki Rematch Headlines Sengoku 14 (Sherdog)
  • Bellator Hits ‘The Big Easy’ on Sept. 9 (Sherdog)
  • CAMO Launches California State Tournament for Amateurs (Sherdog)
  • Mike Russow Out Until Next Year With Injury (MMAFighting)
  • Joe Rogan, Mayhem Miller Rip Gus Johnson (MMAFighting)
  • ROXANNE MODAFFERI: I’LL FINISH THE FIGHT FOR HER (MMAWeekly)
  • MIKE KYLE SET FOR COMEBACK IN STRIKEFORCE (MMAWeekly)
  • Todd Duffee, Jon Madsen Agree To UFC 121 Bout (Heavy)
  • Phil Davis Replaces Nedkov, Faces Wallace At UFC 117 (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault: 2009 World GP Final HL’s at 8:00 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Fighting Words with Mike Straka (Frankie Edgar) at 8:30 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Inside MMA at 9 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World MAX 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (07/23/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime(07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World Max 2010 Final 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World GP 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/30/10)
  • UFC on Versus 2 : Jones vs Matyushenko at 10 PM ET on Versus (08/01/10)
  • UFC 117 : Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/7/10)
  • Bellator 24: Lombard vs Goodman on FSN (08/12/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs vs Taylor 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/13/10)
  • HDNet Fights: KOTC: Imminent Danger at 9 PM ET on HDNet (08/13/10)
  • WEC 50: Cruz vs Benavidez at 9 PM ET on Versus (08/18/10)
  • Bellator 25 on FSN (08/19/10)
  • Strikeforce: King Mo vs Rafael Feijao at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/21/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (08/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 on HDNet (08/27/10)
  • UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/28/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (09/2/10)
  • UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Belcher at 9 PM ET on SPIKE TV (09/15/10)
  • UFC 119 : Minotauro Nogueira vs Frank Mir 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (09/25/10)

European Ultimate Fight Nights

July 22, 2010

ESPN UK recently sat down with the UFC’s Managing Director in the UK, Marshall Zelaznik, and discussed his plans for the start of a European “Fight Night” series.

“We’re working towards bringing together a series of UK and European Fight Nights. My hope is that, come October, we’ll be able to put some real heat on this. Talks are underway,” he told ESPN.co.uk.

 

“My hope is that it will provide four to six guaranteed UFC events in the UK next year. We’re hoping to hold one more European event [in addition to UFC 120] before the end of the year, and then we’ll get these extra nights planned for next year.

 

“We’d like to come to Liverpool, Scotland, Newcastle, Birmingham, these places provide 10,000-seaters which will be great for Fight Nights.”

Payout Perspective:

I like the idea of local fights for a number of reasons:

1. Talent development
2. Market development and education
3. Television/content fodder

These events don’t have to be broadcast live. In fact, the model the UFC is projecting for itself in the future necessitates that some events will have to be taped for later broadcast. Not only will it be difficult to broadcast everything live (or even broadcast entire events, period), but it’s also likely the talent level for a great many of these European “Fight Night” events will not be able to match the quality that people have come to expect from the UFC. The UFC will likely have to pull a great majority of the fighters from Europe (hence the talent development part of the equation), because it wouldn’t make sense to fly over a bunch of the UFC’s regulars from North American fighters unless it’s just a couple to headline the show.

In this case, the UFC can just aggregate the best fights and highlights to produce weekly segments for television viewers around the world; something incredibly useful for providing additional quick and relevant content for the UFC’s growth markets.

Then again, this is perhaps a couple years down the road. Zelaznik did not elaborate, but the UFC may just be switching the 4-6 UFN shows it does in North America to the UK market in 2011. In that case, it may very well use a host of UFC regulars and broadcast the same day in North America.

It’ll be interesting to see how this develops. The way the UFC handles these events will give us a glimpse of how it may carry out part of its international expansion. Moreover, I suspect that these events will also help the UFC to stress test its current capabilities and experiment a little bit.

EA Sports “Ultimate Gaming Makeover”

July 21, 2010

EA Sports and Sony have partnered with Great Clips to produce a very unique sweepstakes entitled the Ultimate Gaming Makeover where MMA fans and patrons of the hair salon franchise can enter to win a 52″ Sony Bravia, Sony PS3, EA MMA the video game, and more.

Payout Perspective:

There’s a certain lack of image fit between MMA and the art of hair styling that makes these companies unlikely partners, but image fit isn’t always a necessary component of a successful partnership. Sometimes all that’s needed is a shared target market. In the case of EA Sports, Sony, and Great Clips, that market is males aged 18-49.

Great Clips isn’t a fancy salon that pushes techno music, cutting edge hair styles and charges customers $50+ per visit. It’s a simple meat and potatoes type of place that charges $15 for a quick hair cut designed for the young person or working professional that doesn’t really care or doesn’t really have time to care about their hair. That fits in pretty well with the MMA demo.

The salon I visited had so many advertisements posted that it would have been near impossible to miss, especially for any gamer that has an image of the EA Sports logo seared into their memory. If that holds throughout the rest of the Great Clips locations in North America (2800 in total), it’ll prove to be pretty valuable exposure for EA MMA. The fact that EA and Great Clips allow an individual to enter the contest via text message is also a smart move; give people something to do while they’re at the salon for 15 minutes and don’t let them forget by the time they get home.

Moreover, the structure of the contest leads me to believe the exchange was probably of an in-kind nature. Sony contributed the prizes, EA contributed the game and likely some advertising, and Great Clips benefits from an association with both. The cost:benefit ratio is probably pretty solid.

Kudos to the teams at EA and Sony for putting this together.

Note: I do want to mention the interesting word play in the advertisements. I doubt it’s any coincidence that the name of a contest featuring an MMA product is called the “Ultimate…” something. It’s a subtle jab at the UFC, but legal nonetheless.

UFC’s Zelaznik on International Business

July 20, 2010

Ben Fowlkes of MMA Fighting has posted an interesting interview with the UFC’s Managing Director in the U.K., Marshall Zelaznik, that broaches a variety of subjects including the UFC’s latest absence from the U.K. market.

The U.K. market seemed like a big deal to the UFC when it first began expanding internationally, but so far in 2010 you’ve been to places like Australia and Abu Dhabi, but no U.K. shows. Do you worry that the U.K. fans will feel like they’ve been ignored as the UFC focuses on the rest of the world?

I think that if anyone has that impression, when you look objectively at how we haven’t been here in over a year, you can understand how someone might feel that way. But no one is ignoring the U.K. It’s just an effect of trying to be everywhere at one time. And just the way schedules work out, we probably would have been back in the U.K. earlier, but the TV dates we commit to and how we start working out our calendars, with the lack of availability of venues in the U.K., it just worked out this way.

We would have liked to have been in the U.K. before the summer, but it just didn’t work out with the schedules and the availability. But the offices here in the U.K., there are ten of us who live and breathe the U.K. and we’re always focused on it, so if people hear that they should know that no one is thinking of them as second-class citizens.

Payout Perspective:

It remains to be seen exactly what UFC 120 is going to look like, but it appears as though the UFC will rely on a bevy of British fighters to anchor yet another UK card without a title fight. The UK has not hosted a title bout since January 2008 when BJ Penn defeated Joe Stevenson at UFC 80.

The UFC cannot afford to bring a title fight to the UK every time it visits, but it must be careful not to treat the market as an after-thought. The company has devoted a lot of time and money into developing the UK and it must continue to serve the fan base with appealing fights with beyond the likes of British fighters like Bisping and Hardy or UFC legends like Matt Hughes and Randy Couture.

I tend to sympathize with Zelaznik and the UFC in regards to scheduling and timing, because if a few fights go the other way, they’re probably bringing two title fights to the UK in 2010. Just think about what could have happened had Bisping won at UFC 100, Hardy won at UFC 111, or the UFC had not suffered a host of injuries near the end of 2009 that put pressure on the company to re-establish some momentum in North America in 2010.

Yet, I also tend to think this entire situation exemplifies why rapid expansion is so difficult: the UFC has a limited number of resources and can’t possibly give each market the attention it deserves. The fans in the UK want a title fight, but so do the fans in Canada, Germany, Australia, and every other place the UFC visits.

I understand the allure of big markets like China and India, but the UFC can only move so quickly. It would be foolhardy to expect otherwise.

MMAterial Facts 07/19/10: FEG (K-1, DREAM) Plans for Global Domination

July 19, 2010

- FEG (K-1, DREAM) Plans for Global Domination

– Fans attracted to ‘forbidden fruit’ of violence (CNN)

– Death in the Cage: The Michael Kirkham Story

– Bout between Toney and Couture could bring boxing-vs.-MMA debate to head

– UFC’s Marshall Zelaznik Talks UFC 120, Global Expansion and More

FEG (K-1, DREAM) Plans for Global Domination

Mike Kogan, Director of FEG USA, on Friday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the lucrative new deal between DREAM’s parent company, Fighting and Entertainment Group, and Shanghai-based investment bank PUJI Capital is an important step in regaining MMA’s foothold in Japan and the rest of the world.

But for DREAM to thrive, Kogan said it’s crucial that the company converts some of its fanbase to “a paying public.”  (MMAJunkie)

***

FEG

MMAPayout Notes:

1) PUJI CAPITALS Managing Partner’s Michael Chen was present at the press conference. He said that investment company PUJI Holdings (part of PUJI CAPITAL) was established 6 years ago. Their base is in Shanghai and they are expanding to Beijing and Singapore. The PUJI group cover a lot of ground in their projects like for example natural resources stuff (oil, coal, etc). By request from the Chinese government they are also expanding into Australia and Africa. (NOB)

2) Present were officials from Japan, China, and Korea, hoping to form a combat coalition to expand the DREAM and K-1 brand firmly into these countries and beyond, with the exception of the US since they believe the market is saturated and too developed at this time.

3) FEG Korea is currently in discussions to bring in Taekwondo practitioners recommended by the Taekwondo Association to make their K-1 debuts.  FEG want’s to have the full support of Korea, China, along with Japan for world class combat sport athletes to take part in K-1 and DREAM.

4) PUJI is currently in negotiations with the following:

Shanghai Media Group (SMG): The number one media management business in China.

Infront Sports & Media: Main office in Switzerland. Top 3 international sports marketing enterprise. They fix televising rights licenses for the FIFA world cup for example. (NOB)

5) About PUJI Wealth Management: Puji is a rapidly growing financial services and investment group, encompassing private equity, wealth management, property investment and mortgage broking services in the Peoples’ Republic of China and holds a portfolio of wealth management assets. Puji’s Property interests include a joint venture with the Constellation Hotel Group to develop and manage mid-tier hotels in China. Puji is also the largest mortgage broking group in Shanghai and a leading mortgage arranger for the Bank of China and ICBC.

Fans attracted to ‘forbidden fruit’ of violence (CNN)

In late June, a mixed martial arts fighter, Michael Kirkham, died two days after getting injured in a competition. His death, which is under investigation by the South Carolina athletic commission, brought attention to the controversial sport once likened to human cockfighting. This was the second death in the sport; another MMA fighter, Sam Vasquez, died in 2007. (CNN)

Death in the Cage: The Michael Kirkham Story

Michael Kirkham lost that amateur fight in Columbia, S.C., on April 24 via a technical knockout, a bout he lamented on Facebook should have resulted in the disqualification of his opponent. Kirkham was given an automatic 30-day medical suspension for the TKO loss, but it doesn’t appear that he followed up with a doctor.   (MMAFighting)

Bout between Toney and Couture could bring boxing-vs.-MMA debate to head

The 41-year-old Toney, a former boxing champion in three divisions, has signed on for his first mixed martial arts event Aug. 28 against former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight king Couture, 47. The rhetoric is already heating up.  (LA Times)

UFC’s Marshall Zelaznik Talks UFC 120, Global Expansion and More

It’s already been a busy year for Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC U.K. President and Managing Director of International Development, and the fall isn’t looking any easier. In October the UFC returns to England for the first time in nearly a year with UFC 120, and then later this year the UFC will once again turn its focus toward Germany. (MMAFighting)

PICTURE OF THE DAY


UFC 119 Poster

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Mike Kogan (Director of FEG USA):  “Just funds alone are not enough,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest reasons why all these MMA organizations that come out in the U.S., [such as] EliteXC, IFL and all these other places – even Bellator, I think Bellator is on their way out pretty soon – they think that you go get venture capital money, and you’re like, ‘OK, I’ve got 100 million dollars, I’m going to get all these people to fight each other and life will be good.’ Obviously, as its shown, that’s not true. (MMAJunkie)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC 119 gets four more bouts, Guillard vs. Stephens set for main card (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC 119 in Indianapolis gets Spike TV “UFC Prelims” special, after all (MMAJunkie)
  • Jake Shields signs with UFC, meets Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 (MMAJunkie)
  • Damm-Kujala Completes Aug. 13 Strikeforce Women’s Tourney (Sherdog)
  • Mir-Nogueira Rematch, 2 Other Bouts Official for UFC 119 (Sherdog)
  • Silva, Kharitonov, Overeem Shortlisted for Fedor (Sherdog)
  • Weekend Rundown: Starnes, Drysdale, Somdet Victorious (Sherdog)
  • Cain Velasquez Won’t Trade Trash Talk With Brock Lesnar (MMAFighting)
  • Somdet, Tsuchiya, Okazaki Retain Titles at The Way of Shooto 4 (MMAFighting)
  • SANCHEZ VS. GROVE KICKOFF BELLATOR TOURNEY (MMAWeekly)
  • FRANK SHAMROCK HAS NO REGRETS (MMAWeekly)
  • Notes: Fading stars a sad sight (Yahoo! Sports)
  • “UFC Prelims” Special Returns For UFC 119 (Heavy)
  • Bellator 26 Set For Kansas City On August 26 (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault: 2009 World GP Final HL’s at 8:00 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Fighting Words with Mike Straka (Frankie Edgar) at 8:30 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Inside MMA at 9 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World MAX 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (07/23/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Challengers: Del Rosario vs Mahe at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime(07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World Max 2010 Final 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/23/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World GP 2010 at 10 PM ET on HDNet (07/30/10)
  • UFC on Versus 2 : Jones vs Matyushenko at 10 PM ET on Versus (08/01/10)
  • UFC 117 : Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/7/10)
  • Bellator 24: Lombard vs Goodman on FSN (08/12/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs vs Taylor 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/13/10)
  • HDNet Fights: KOTC: Imminent Danger at 9 PM ET on HDNet (08/13/10)
  • WEC 50: Cruz vs Benavidez at 9 PM ET on Versus (08/18/10)
  • Bellator 25 on FSN (08/19/10)
  • Strikeforce: King Mo vs Rafael Feijao at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (08/21/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (08/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 on HDNet (08/27/10)
  • UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (08/28/10)
  • Bellator 26 on FSN (09/2/10)
  • UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Belcher at 9 PM ET on SPIKE TV (09/15/10)
  • UFC 119 : Minotauro Nogueira vs Frank Mir 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (09/25/10)

Staff Position Available

July 19, 2010

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