NBC-Versus Merger Could Mean UFC on Network TV

December 22, 2010

An interesting end of the year prediction came out of the Sports Business Daily (h/t Sports Business Daily and John Ourand) earlier this week.

From the Sports Business Journal:

Versus will change its name to something that incorporates the NBC Sports brand.

Versus is going to become the NBC Sports Channel or the NBC Sports Network or maybe even SNBC. It’s going to start carrying some of the properties that are on NBC, like one or two of Notre Dame’s non-marquee games.

Payout Perspective:

If this prediction would come to fruition, it would mean that the UFC would be aired on an NBC affiliated channel. The UFC is scheduled to have four events on Versus in 2011. This move could lead the UFC closer to an inevitable spot on NBC. Also, more mainstream viewing by the casual viewer. Even though this is speculation, it is an interesting issue to keep an eye on for the new year.

Zuffa Credit Rating Upgraded to BB

December 22, 2010

Standard and Poor’s have upgraded Zuffa’s credit rating from “BB-” to “BB” on the strength of the UFC’s strong operating trends, improved profitability internationally, and good credit measures.

Report Summary

  • Zuffa has increased profitability in large part due to holding its events in more profitable domestic venues or international markets that facilitate live PPV broadcasting to the domestic market.
  • Specific mention is made of the UFC-WEC merger as potential source of incremental ticket and ppv sales growth.
  • The volatility of consumer tastes and preferences continues to be a slight concern as these may impact PPV revenues, but the report also cites the development of new fighter talent and regulatory acceptance as additional risk factors.
  • However, the company’s strong EBITDA margin and healthy cash flow conversion rate are reportedly sustainable over the near to intermediate term and partially off-set concern over volatility in PPV earnings and risk factors mentioned above.
  • The report reinforces that 75% revenues are event-related; PPV buys account for nearly 60% of all PPV event revenue while gate and sponsorships account for the rest.
  • The remaining 25% of revenue comes from live and taped broadcasts on SpikeTV, merchandise, and digital media revenue; much of that is broadcast revenue, but an emerging portion is merchandise and digital media.
  • EBITDA margins are expected to track within a consistent range in the future, even with expansion into new markets like Brazil.
  • Liquidity remains strong due largely to limited capital spending requirements.
  • Debt: $50 million credit facility expiring in 2012; $425 million term loan due in 2015.

Zuffa Credit History

November 2007 – S&P Cuts Zuffa Rating, BB to BB-
July 2008 – Zuffa Rating Goes Negative to Stable
July 2009 – Cuban Now a Zuffa Bond Holder
October 2009 – S&P Re-Affirm BB-, Slide Recovery Rating Down
December 2010 – S&P Raises Zuffa Rating, BB- to BB

Payout Perspective

Zuffa has invested a great deal of time, effort, and money to diversify its revenue sources over the last few years. I expected this focus on merchandising and digital media revenue generation to increase non-event-related revenues as a percentage of overall revenues, but Zuffa has matched this revenue growth with substantial growth in the PPV domain. Thus, there remains a 75-25 split between event and non-event related revenues.

Overall, the raised rating is not surprising. Zuffa has had another excellent year, breaking its PPV and live gate marks for the third consecutive time. I suspect it may break the record again in 2011 with the addition of the WEC roster that now gives them two more titles to use in its event scheduling rotation.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the UFC peaking, but I don’t think this is the absolute top of the mountain. Sure, the company is going to have its ups and downs – we can’t expect straight line 20% growth in perpetuity – but I do think there remains a host of growth potential both on the event-related side and the ancillary side. Its best chance for growth is to gain exposure domestically with a new television deal (somebody other than Spike). However, it may also achieve growth in other ways:

  • The UFC Gyms model
  • The continued development of its merchandising business
  • An aggressive digital media expansion to reach new audiences
  • Investing in a strong integrated marketing campaign (something they’ve yet to really do) to work on converting awareness to interest and beyond

UFC Gyms are perhaps the most exciting opportunity that has yet to be fully explored. I’m not sure they’ll provide material revenues (either in operation or through licensing fee), but the potential is there to leverage these gyms as first a means to greater exposure and then as a teaching tool. This seems to be even more crucial in MMA than other sports; it’s something that people don’t think much about trying, but upon doing so often realize the many health and fitness benefits to the training. These workouts often provide enough new perspective and appreciation for the sport that a new fan is born.

There are many things the people of this industry have yet to discover (myself included, certainly). However, one I feel quite strongly about is the notion that a.) while everyone may “get” MMA, not everyone is going to like it, and b.) not all those that like it, come to like it in the same way or for the same reasons. MMA has to learn to be flexible and accommodating to all sorts of people that like the sport for various reasons or get into the sport in various ways. The UFC Gym idea is something that helps in this regard.

WEC 53: Payout Perspective

December 21, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective: WEC edition. The final WEC event took place in Glendale, Arizona at the Jobing.com arena. In the main event, hometown favorite Benson “Smooth” Henderson faced Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Fitting for the WEC, it ended with a flourish with the kick seen everywhere.

Business Storylines

It’s Showtime! Pettis claims UFC lightweight title shot

Anthony Pettis solidified his promotion to the big show by defeating Benson Henderson. Whatever you want to call the kick, everyone has seen it and commented on it. We have looked at its promotional value and the mainstream attention it has drawn.

The kick is the biggest MMA move to occur in the era of social media. Don’t think so? Just look at how many times it was looped on ESPN. It was featured on Top Plays of the Night, commented on Pardon The Interruption and Pettis was interviewed on ESPN’s First Take. It was an Internet sensation.  It even received a posting on Deadspin.  Not to mention, Pettis’ twitter account exploded with 4,000 more followers in a day.

For the WEC, it was an appropriate way to send it off. For Pettis, it is not hyperbole to think that the kick propelled him as an overnight sensation. For Henderson, a dominant reign in the 155 pound division ended on the biggest night for the title. An instant shot at the UFC title and a main event on MMA’s biggest stage was on the line. But, Pettis looked prepared for Henderson and implemented a strategy which wore down Henderson (by literally riding his back for almost one round) one of the best conditioned athletes in the lightweight division.

Pettis will be a marketable 155 pounder if he shows well against Maynard or Edgar.  Fans will like his flash, his fighting style and the anticipation that he will put on a “Showtime” move at a moment’s notice.

Cruz defeats Jorgenson—possible TUF coach versus Faber

Overshadowed by the “Showtime” kick, Dominick Cruz dominated Scott Jorgenson to win the new UFC Bantamweight title. It’s rumored that Cruz and Urijah Faber will oppose each other as TUF coaches in 2011. This would be a great way to introduce the Bantamweight division and the Cruz/Faber rivalry to the UFC viewers.

Zhang loses

Tiequan Zhang lost by unanimous decision to Danny Downes on the undercard.  This is a setback for Zhang, the first fighter from China, as Zuffa is trying to garner more interest from the China market. Zhang’s fight was televised live in China.

Versus Pre and Post Fight Show

Once again, Versus included a Pre-Fight and Post-Fight Show. Prior to the pre-fight show, Versus ran the World MMA Awards. A good lead-in to a night of fights. The Pre-Fight Show served as the ad hoc retrospective for the WEC. The broadcast did a sufficient job of previewing the fights while looking back at the best of WEC.  Still, it would have been nice to have had a dedicated hour to look back at the best fights and fighters. 

Promoting the Fight

Most of the promotion for the fight centered around hometime favorite Henderson, which makes his loss more bittersweet. Henderson made appearances at the Phoenix Coyote hockey game and at a rally in his honor. His gym, MMA Lab, held daily Ben Henderson contests on twitter giving away Henderson memorabilia leading up to the fight.

Bonuses

Fight of the Night – Henderson v. Pettis – $10,000

Submission of the Night – Shane Roller – $10,000

Knockout of the Night – Eddie Wineland – $10,000

These bonuses will be much more in the UFC. As you may recall, UFC 124 fighters made $100K bonuses–ten times what was dished out at the final WEC card. Unlike UFC 124, the main event, Henderson/Pettis, was definitely the fight of the night.

Sponsorship Watch

-Henderson sported t-shirt maker Dethrone Royalty while Pettis was a Form Athletics endorser. After the win, Form Athletics sent out a press release congratulating Pettis and maybe made a little jab at Henderson’s sponsor.

Pettis overcame a nearly 2-to-1 underdog rating, dethroning lightweight title-holder Ben Henderson in the card’s featured fight of the night.

Maybe reading into this, but it would be a funny jab to use dethrone in describing Pettis’ win.  Despite the loss, Dethrone still has a champion stable of Velasquez and Aldo.

-It was interesting to see Henderson’s primary short sponsors as The Gun Store and Iron Bridge tools. The Gun Store as a sponsor seems a little contrary to Henderson, a devout Christian.

-MusclePharm continued as a mat sponsor despite a report that it settled a debt in which it owed the WEC $375K for outstanding sponsorship debt.

-The Kenny Powers/Uriah Faber commercials for KSwiss are hilarious. They are not new, but it shows the marketability of Faber.

Attendance

According to MMA Junkie, 6,348 fans attended the event at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. It is the seventh largest crowd in WEC history. The top three were WEC events in Sacramento. It was the promotion’s first time in Arizona.

The venue was chosen as a result of a fan vote from the “Hometown Throwdown” promotion sponsored by Amp Energy.

(UPDATE) Ratings

MMA Junkie reports that the event scored a strong 0.62 household rating and an average audience of 615,000 viewers. In addition, the post-fight show on Versus scored a 0.34 household rating with an audience of 352,000.

Conclusion

For the last round of the last fight for an outstanding organization, it would have been nice if Versus kept with the fighters as they came out of their corners. Instead, we saw the two fighters in the center of the ring. It was a small thing, but it’s the details that would help close out the organization.

I was surprised that there was little closure to the end of the WEC. Reed Harris mentioned in more than one interview that he’s been “too busy” to think about the ending of the WEC. Yes, this may be true, but it seems like he is ignoring the history of the situation. Perhaps this was the corporate edict-business as usual. Definitely, Zuffa could have capitalized on the ending of the WEC with a retrospective and a bigger lead-up to the event. It could have released a “Best of” DVD just in time for the Holidays. Although the WEC 53 pre-show provided some memories, it seemed like more could have been done.

But, the story of the night, and what made the night a success was the “Showtime” kick. It was a good sendoff for the WEC.

Scott Coker Interviews With Mike Straka and Ariel Helwani

December 21, 2010

Questions regarding Strikeforce’s future continue to be raised as rumors of a possible Heavyweight tournament and weekly TV show continue to be focal talking points for the company. Scott Coker was a part of some pretty insightful interviews released over the weekend, both which he went into great detail addressing numerous topics and criticisms.

HDNet: Fighting Words with Mike Straka – Scott Coker:

Backstage With Scott Coker:


Payout Perspective:

A criticism I hear all the time towards Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is that he doesn’t go out enough and promote his promotion and brand.  Another is the lack of creating centralized goals and milestones for the company and effectively expressing them to the fans.  The segments involving Mike Straka and Ariel Helwani were informative and from the feedback I’ve heard, have been well received by the fans.

Some interesting notes from the videos:

– Scott mentions the Shine International deal being a 7 figure deal that provides a good source of revenue from them.

– They hope to enter “Phase 2” of their development plan next year, where they hope an announcement will be made soon.

– A good amount of information regarding Coker’s past, including working in Japan for K-1 and being a producer on ESPN.  Really great information here.

– The state of the Japanese fight scene, how he deals with criticism from the UFC, being a big Japanese fight scene fan, etc.

White pays for girl’s liver transplant

December 21, 2010

UFC head Dana White is paying a substantial part of the costs for a liver transplant for the baby daughter of a well-known Muay Thai instructor.

Rattanachai “Kru Nai” Jadngooluem’s four-year old daughter Tuptim, will be the recipient of the new liver. Jadngooluem teaches in Phuket, Thailand at Tiger Muay Thai, where many professional MMA fighters have trained.

From USA Today: (UPDATE: The story originated from mixedmartialarts.com)

Doctors at the start of the month estimated Tuptim would die by the end of the year without a transplant because of an ailment that prevents bile from being carried out of the liver. Tiger recently started a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 needed for the operation.

White was notified of Jadngooluem’s predicament through an online message board. A UFC employee responded to the plea for assistance with assurance that White would cover the costs. Subsequent logistics were made for the young girl to have the operation.

Payout Perspective:

There are two things interesting about this story. First, this gesture shows the generosity and compassion of White and the UFC. White has not attempted to take advantage of the press it is receiving. From all accounts, they are not making a big deal about the donation.

Second, it shows that White and the UFC are paying attention to what’s written online. Obviously, White and the UFC likely made sure that the story was true to avoid a hoax. But, it shows the forward thinking of the company. Although White chastises internet writers, he still pays attention to stay in touch with his audience.

This is a great story and hopefully the young girl has a successful transplant. The one concern White (and the UFC) may face is what to do about these types of requests. The UFC has the money to pay for hundreds of surgeries to save lives, but how does it approach these situations.

Another question, did White personally pay for the operation or did the UFC?

Regardless, during the holiday season, it is good to see such a great gift.

UFC Makes Weekly Top Twitter Trends List

December 20, 2010

Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age reports on the trendiest topics on Twitter from last week. The list includes the UFC at #10, ahead of the NFL and the other major North American sports leagues.

“And it’s interesting to me,” Liz continues, “how in the past couple of years, the UFC — Ultimate Fighting Championship — has become a rival to the enormously popular wrestling and internationally popular boxing circuit. I think it might have something to do with the regularly scheduled large-scale events and the fact that the fighters are a very international group of athletes.”

 

Remarkably, the UFC (at No. 10) charts higher on our list than the NFL (No. 15) — though European football (soccer) beat them both, taking the No. 1 spot this week, thanks largely to Mazembe.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC has done a remarkable job of using social media to engage its fans and increase interest in its brand. It truly is leading all other North American sports properties in this regard. Now, the results are starting to speak for themselves as UFC fans are taking to Twitter or Facebook to interact with the brand and fellow fans; in the last week alone hashtags like UFC124, GSP, Danzig, and Pettis have been trending topics worldwide.

Digital Royalty is the specialty marketing agency that has helped the UFC to implement much of its social media strategy, including the very popular #Hunt4UFC series in local event markets. I love these Hunt4UFC’s not just because they allow the company to interact with fans and reward them for their dedication to the brand, but also because the meeting places help drive business to corporate partners like Burger King or Dave & Busters. It is very difficult to measure return on sponsorship, but the UFC is providing its partners with tangible benefits with these Hunt4UFCs and that goes a long way. Right now it might just be a gesture of goodwill, but in the future this is something the UFC can offer as a part of its benefit package to sponsors.

SoCal promoter introduces Fight Club OC

December 20, 2010

Longtime Southern California promoter Roy Engelbrecht will introduce Fight Club OC to SoCal fight fans for 2011. Fight Club OC will be a bi-monthly event with boxing and MMA on the same card.

Engelbrecht promoted the “Battle in the Ballroom” series in Irvine, California. With Fight Club OC, he is moving the promotion to The Hangar, a larger venue in Costa Mesa, California.

From Fight Club OC’s press release:

In addition to the mix of the two most popular combat sports in the world today, Englebrecht is also using this new venture to raise the bar in terms of how fans enjoy live events, including becoming the first fight series ever to offer All-Inclusive Ringside Luxury Suites, a separate entrance and parking lot for Season Seat Holders and sponsors, and a special Happy Hour event at Baja Blues right next to The Hangar!

It is anticipated that the events will be held ever Thursday starting in February 2011.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting concept for a local promotion. Boxing and mixed martial arts (especially MMA) are very popular in Southern California. It will be interesting to see the attendance figures for the bi-monthly fight series. Of course, the attendance and success will be dependent on the quality of fights.

I am interested with the luxury suite component of this promotion. I was not aware of a demand for luxury suites at local events. If this is a way to get in spectators, especially the up-scale OC crowd, then I think this idea can work.

Strikeforce Big Plans for 2011: 8 Man Heavyweight GP, Weekly TV Show Possible

December 19, 2010

Brazilian magazine TATAME is reporting that Strikeforce has plans to host an 8-man Heavyweight GP in 2011.

The report states that Fedor Emelianenko will face Antonio Silva in a yet-to-be-announced Strikeforce February event as part of the semi-quarters, along with Fabricio Werdum, coming off his historic victory over Fedor, versus Sergei Kharitonov in a March event.  The other two possible fights for the tournament could involve current Strikeforce HW Champion Alistair Overeem against former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski, and recent Strikeforce acquisition Josh Barnett could face Strikeforce HW prospect Brett Rogers to round out the tournament.

The tournament could be broken into three events, where the semis and/or finals are potential candidates to spearhead the first Strikeforce pay-per-view event since signing a deal with Showtime/CBS after purchasing the Pro Elite assets back in 2009.  MMAPayout has also learned although all the details are not confirmed as of this time, it is Strikeforce’s intent to run the HW GP and have contacted several HW’s in their roster to prepare in case injuries or other rumored participants cannot compete.


Payout Perspective:

Though there are quite a few that have scoffed at the idea of Strikeforce hosting a HW GP next year, quickly pointing out how the planned Middleweight GP never materialized, it is important to note that there were many reasons that the MW GP did not occur, most importantly was the idea of making it a one-night event, which the commissions would not allow.

Strikeforce appears to have moved on from that notion, and in fact has matched-up their MW division this past few months based on what they were originally planning for the MW GP.  Current Strikeforce MW Champion “Jacare” Souza defeated Tim Kennedy, who quickly dispatched MMA veteran Trevor Prangly in the Los Angeles event,  to become the MW Champion back in August. Previous to the Kennedy title bout, Jacare impressively defeated MMA veteran Joey Villasenor earlier in the year, after submitting Matt Lindland the previous year.  Robbie Lawler, who is coming off of impressive victories against Melvin Manhoef and Matt Lindland, is now scheduled to face Jacare for the Strikeforce MW title in the upcoming January 29, 2011 event, set to take place in San Jose.

It is also expected that the budding company has plans to air a 30 minute weekly syndicate Strikeforce show sometime next year, which would provide much needed brand and fighter exposure outside of the Showtime network.  The show would be utilized to promote upcoming fights and also show fights from recent shows.  Although a reality TV show was mentioned by Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker earlier this year, MMAPayout has learned that talks are still in the early stages between the parties involved, and it is not yet known when a potential deal could materialize.

Other big rumors involve Strikeforce taking their promotion outside of the USA for the first time as an MMA promotion.  Scott Coker expressed his intent, in a recent interview on “The MMA Show!”,  to bring Strikeforce into Canada next year.  There are also rumors of Strikeforce possibly holding an event in the United Kingdom, which would be centered around a possible Paul Daley Welterweight title fight late next year.

Everlast partners with Sears, KMart

December 18, 2010

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that fight glove manufacturer, Everlast, has partnered with Sears Holdings in which Everlast would grant a license to Sears so that products will be sold exclusively at Sears and Kmart stores.

The move was due to the increased competition Everlast faced from other brands in the sporting good retail market.

From Rovell’s SportsBiz web site

It’s what facilitated the Everlast move. By selling to Sears, they get both the department store play and the mass retailer in Kmart. Of course, the sporting goods retailers aren’t going to want the Everlast brand much after this, but it doesn’t seem like the brand was getting much traction anyway outside of the equipment space because they don’t crossover into the fashion space like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour do.

Rovell spoke with Everlast CEO Neil Morton and President Adam Geisler about the strategy behind its partnership with Sears.

Adopting a “value market” strategy was due to the high threshold of entry into the higher end sporting goods stores. Essentially, Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are competing for spots within The Sporting Authority’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Thus leaving niche brands like Everlast off the prime spaces in a sporting goods store.

Payout Perspective:

This is a good snapshot of the current state of the sporting goods market. Everlast, an established brand, is competing with bigger brands for market share. It has discovered that it has been priced out of traditional sporting goods stores. In an effort to remain viable as a brand, it has forged a partnership with Sears so that Everlast products are exclusive to those stores. This move appears to be a means of survival in a market where Nike, UA and Adidas are covering any and all sports. For Everlast, a brand synonymous with boxing, it recognized the growing trend and adjusted its business model to the trend.

It is also interesting that Everlast has changed its brand focus from boxing to “fighting” in an effort to include MMA. Another sign that MMA is taking over as the top form of combat sport.

The Promotional Value of the Pettis Kick

December 17, 2010

Anthony Pettis became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter on Thursday, December 16 when in the 5th round of his WEC lightweight championship fight he leapt from the ground, pushed off the cage, and delivered a roundhouse kick to the face of a stunned Ben Henderson and dropped him to the floor.

Naturally, my reaction was “Nice kick. I wonder how much it’s worth?”.

Payout Perspective:

I’ll point out that the promotional value of the Pettis kick depends on the assumptions made. It’s nearly impossible to come up with an accurate number because there are so many factors that influence a UFC PPV event purchase decision. Yet, I always enjoy estimating the value of fights and performances simply as an exercise to further my understanding of how the fight game works. So, let’s have some fun and play with it a little:

UFC

The promotional value of this kick to the UFC will be determined by a number of things: increased interest in the UFC, its PPVs, its live events, it’s television events, and its merchandise. However, for simplicity’s sake let’s just look at the number of people influenced by Pettis to watch his next fight. In this case the short term is far easier to estimate than the long term (just know that the more success Pettis comes to have, the more this kick will continue to add value to the UFC in the future).

I’ll start with asking a simple question: how many people were watching the fight last night? We’ll know in a few days, but the peak viewership was likely in the 500,000 to 750,000 range. Now let’s make two assumptions:

1. Nearly everyone that saw last night’s event has been motivated to watch Pettis his next fight.
2. The UFC will get 1 PPV buy from every 10 of those fans (this is consistent with the notion of 10 fans per viewing party)

This gives us 50,000 to 75,000 PPV buys as the result of Pettis’ performance (the kick being the last thing that most fans remember is very influential here). The calculations then are as follows:

– 50,000 x $49.99/2 =  $1.25 million
– 75,000 x $49.99/2 =  $1.9 million

*Note: under the terms of the UFC’s agreement with PPV companies, it receives approximately half of that $49.99 (although I understand that the UFC is starting to earn a more favorable term here).

Now, it’s here that we need to adjust our estimate based on the likelihood that those watching the WEC show are the types that buy UFC cards every time out. In other words, how do we know those 500,000-750,000 fans watching WEC (most likely semi to hardcore fans) aren’t the types that buy every PPV anyway? It’s a valid consideration. So, let’s assume that 50% of those watching the WEC card would have been on the fence as to whether to buy Pettis’ next fight. The new estimated value of the kick is then probably closer to $625,000-$950,000.

MMAPayout.com’s Jason Cruz rightly points out that the UFC will use this kick in a host of future promotional videos, Spike TV Countdown Shows, ESPN SportsCenter, and other PR efforts in order to convince casual fans that missed the fight that Pettis is a dynamic and exciting fighter worthy of challenging for the belt. It’s plausible, depending on how much they push Pettis’ kick and dynamic abilities that this could translate into as few as 25,000 PPV buys or as many as 50,000 more. This adds an $625,000 to $1.9 million to the value pie.

Thus, we arrive at an estimated short term promotional value of the kick at between $1.25 million and $2.85 million.

Pettis

The value to Pettis is harder to determine. Immediately he received a $10, 000 bonus for fight of the night. I’d also venture to guess he’ll be given a sizable discretionary bonus from Zuffa (anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000). However, in moving to the UFC, we have to be careful to separate the extra value Pettis will receive as the result of that kick from what he would have received just because of the move itself.

The easiest way to estimate this is perhaps to just take a percentage of the UFC’s value. The UFC typically pays out ~20% of its gross revenue to the fighters and this translates to anywhere between $250,000 to $570,000 over the medium term. I say medium term because there’s going to be a lag between what the UFC earns due to Pettis and what Pettis earns due to himself (as the result of contracts that lock him into a certain compensation set for a period of time).

Don’t forget sponsorship value too. Pettis will be a hot commodity for his fight with the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard.

Conclusion

The kick was incredibly impressive. It’s moments like that which make this sport so incredible. It’s also more support for the idea that the key to developing PPV draws is finding those with immense and entertaining fighting ability. All the charisma and good looks in the world cannot match the selling effect of a beautifully timed jumping roundhouse kick off the fence. It all starts and ends with fighting ability. Everything else comes second.

Perhaps the only thing I would have changed is the fact that it happened in the WEC. Imagine the value of that kick if it happens in the UFC (or even for the WEC in an earlier show). I also think this kick (and the card as a whole) is demonstrative of the value the WEC’s divisions will add to the UFC.

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