MMA documentary set to debut at film festival

February 21, 2011

A new documentary, Fightville, focusing on mixed martial arts will appear at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas on March 12th.

Via Press Release:

For those looking for a sign that MMA is crossing over to the mainstream, the New York Times recently reported that of the 1,792 feature films submitted to the 2011 edition of the prestigious SXSW Film Festival in Austin, the largest single category of films represented were about combat sports. One of those films, FIGHTVILLE directed by Pepper & Bones, will premiere in the documentary competition at the fest on March 12, 2011.

The popularity of the subject matter doesn’t surprise the film’s co-director Michael Tucker, “When we first started filming FIGHTVILLE we knew very little about MMA, but after 18 months of filming we really came to love the culture of the fight world. Fighting is the stuff that movie legends are made of–who hasn’t wanted to be Rocky or Bruce Lee? MMA is the evolution of that legacy.”

However, as fast as the sport is growing, there is still a gap to mainstream acceptance and the filmmakers hope that FIGHTVILLE will open the door to MMA for a new audience. “Popular culture has long embraced boxing and there is storied history of literary greats championing the sport. Hemingway, London and Mailer were all fighters. That’s just now beginning to happen with MMA and we hope that Fightville will be able to introduce a wider audience to the beauty and passion of the sport while elevating the perception of MMA,“ says Tucker.

SXSW is the fastest growing media festival in the country, with film, interactive and music components. Last year, nearly 40,000 industry attendees swarmed into Austin looking for the next big thing. “SXSW is where decision makers come to take the pulse of popular culture and we are excited to premiere FIGHTVILLE in a place that embraces the future,” says Tucker.

The film focuses on the world of an up-and-coming feeder promotion called USA-MMA run by Gil Guillory in Lafayette, Louisiana–a place where fighting, for many, is as much ritual as it is sport. In FIGHTVILLE, life is a contest and the area around Lafayette, which includes a neighborhood that is the namesake of the film, has no shortage of fighters. Many of them train with veteran UFC fighter Tim Credeur at his Gladiators Academy, where more than just making champions, he seeks to “build better men”. One of those fighters, Dustin Poirier, quickly became the focus of the film, after a series of dramatic victories. “The first time I saw Dustin fight, I was immediately taken with him. You could just tell that the kid was going places,” says Tucker.

And go places he did, Poirier, defying all odds, recently defeated Josh Grispi at his UFC debut. “Dustin defines dedication for me. More than just fighting, FIGHTVILLE is about what it takes to be the best at anything,” says Tucker.

FIGHTVILLE will world premiere on Saturday March 12th at 4:30pm in the Vimeo Theater at the Austin Convention Center.


FIGHTVILLE from Pepper and Bones on Vimeo.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see how this does at the film festival. Sports documentaries, if done right, are a great way to bring in non-fans due to the compelling stories and captivating characters. From the preview, the documentary takes a gritty look at the less glamorous life of fighting.

Team Quest lawsuit: Henderson sues for name rights

February 20, 2011

This past Monday, Dan Henderson has sued Matt Lindland for the rights to the name of Team Quest. The lawsuit filed in California claims copyright and trademark infringement against Lindland over the Team Quest mark.

Via Cage Potato:

The dispute centers on ownership and rights to the Team Quest name. Henderson was at one point the sole owner of the fight club, but later sold a minority share in the company to Lindland. Henderson operates his branch of the franchise out of Temecula, California, with four other locations calling California and Oregon home. Money is no doubt at the heart of this battle. While Hendo is known to be soft-spoken, his counterparts in Oregon are no strangers to speaking their mind. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in and out of the courtroom.

According to the Complaint, the story is a little different from Cage Potato, Henderson and Randy Couture created Team Quest in 1999. The Complaint claims Lindland joined Team Quest in 2001. It states that Henderson and Couture are “senior” users of the Team Quest mark, which include: Team Quest (since 1999), Team Quest MMA Fitness (since 2005) and the Team Quest Logo (the Team Quest “fist”). Couture has since relinquished any rights in Team Quest he may have had to Henderson. Lindland agreed to pay royalties to Henderson for Team Quest clothing. In 2005, Lindland filed trademarks for Team Quest without informing the US Patent and Trademark Office of knowledge that a party had senior rights to the trademark. A fight over the mark ensued thus the genesis of this lawsuit.

Payout Perspective:

I am sure that in 1999, Couture, Henderson or Lindland could not have imagined the financial success of MMA, let alone Team Quest. We do note that Lindland has not filed an official response (Answer) to the allegations by Henderson. So, we cannot tell the reasons behind Lindland filing with the USPTO the trademark and copyright for Team Quest in 2005.

This lawsuit shows the importance of branding as well as trademarks. With 6 gyms in Oregon and California, Team Quest has grown and the name is synonymous with the sport. But, Team Quest is much more than a fight camp, it also serves as a workout facility for ordinary people. The name recognition is important, so the battle over the rights to it will be very interesting.

Lesnar book out May 24th

February 18, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that Brock Lesnar’s autobiography is due out May 24th. The former UFC champ and current TUF coach wrote the book with Paul Heyman.

Via MMA Junkie:

Although notoriously closed-guarded and rarely one to seek out publicity, Lesnar promises to speak openly about his pro-sports career and life outside of competition.

The 208-page title retails for $25.99. The book follows recent releases from the likes of Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Randy Couture and Brian Stann.

Payout Perspective:

Lesnar’s contribution to the literary community will be interesting since it is being co-written by Paul Heyman. How much of Heyman’s creative stamp on this book may determine its success. The book could be interesting if it delves into the decisions to get into wrestling, the NFL, the UFC and his recent near-death experience. But, based on Lesnar’s seclusion from all, I don’t think we’ll get any of it. By the way, I remember when autobiographies occurred at the end of careers, after having experienced a lifetime of worthy experiences. Not saying Lesnar hasn’t had some worthy stories, but the book seems untimely. And its only 208 pages.

Hopefully, the marketing for this book will be better than this. Let’s hope Paul E has his hand in the marketing.

Strikeforce HW GP: Fedor vs Silva Payout Perspective

February 18, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we’ll be taking a look at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix first event televised on Showtime and headlined by Fedor Emelianenko, as he made his long awaited return to the cage against Brazilian giant Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

The event took place at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey and featured 5 Heavyweight fights: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva,  Andrei Arlovski vs.  Sergei Kharitonov, Shane Del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson, and Chad Griggs vs. Gian Villante, and Valentijn Overeem vs. Ray Sefo.  The prelims were also televised by HDNet and were headlined by John Cholish vs Marc Stevens and Igor Gracie vs John Salgado.

Fighter Disclosed Payouts

Fighter payouts were not disclosed for the event.

Attendance and Gate

MMAJunkie reports that Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva achieved an attendance of 11,287. The number stands as the second most attended event for Strikeforce in all of 2010 and so far in 2011, just trailing behind the Fedor vs Werdum event held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, which drew 11,757 spectators. MMAPayout has learned that the gate for the event broke the $1 million dollar mark, last achieved by the Fedor vs Werdum event at the HP Pavilion. This is a nice trend being set by Strikeforce but it also shows how much of a draw Fedor is, having the last two million dollar gates and high attendance, and as you will read below, now owning the ratings record previously held by Gina Carano vs Cyborg Santos.

– 11,757 spectators, “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum” (June, 2010)
– 11,287 spectators, “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva” (February, 2011)
– 9,059 spectators, “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg” (January, 2011)
– 8,635 spectators, “Strikeforce: Houston” (August, 2010)
– 8,196 spectators, “Strikeforce: Nashville (April, 2010)
– 8,136 spectators, “Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery” (May, 2010)
– 7,559 spectators, “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Noons II (October, 2010)
– 7,146 spectators, “Strikeforce: Henderson vs Babalu II (December, 2010)
– 7,010 spectators, “Strikeforce: Miami” (January, 2010)
– 5,259 spectators, “Strikeforce: Los Angeles” (June, 2010)


MMAJunkie reports that Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva averaged 741,000 viewers (2.13 rating) and peaked at 1.1 million viewers (3.2 rating) for the main event between Fedor and “Bigfoot” Silva on Showtime this past Saturday night . The average and peak numbers are the highest for any MMA event ever broadcasted on Showtime, topping the previous record held by Gina Carano vs Cris Cyborg, which averaged 576,000 viewers (2.2 rating, note that this rating is only higher because Showtime had less subscribers 18 months ago) and peaked at 856,000 (2.91).  Another eye popping stat is that this event drew a higher rating than any MMA broadcast on television since December 5, 2009, when Kimbo Slice fought on Spike against Houston Alexander, and the show drew a 2.38 rating (H/T F4Wonline). Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva also broke records with the key demographics, achieving a 2.35 rating in Males 18-34 and a 1.91 rating in Males 35-49, which is skewed more to the younger viewers, which is not typical for Showtime since a big portion of their subscriber base are older.  The main event between Fedor vs Silva did a 3.55 rating in Males 18-34 and 2.83 in Males 35-49. Kimbo Slice vs Roy Nelson on Spike TV hold the all time TV ratings record, achieving a 4.26 rating and 6.1 million viewers.

MMAPayout has learned that both Strikeforce and Showtime are “extremely happy” with the numbers as it builds momentum for the rest of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, the next taking place on April 9th on Showtime featuring Alistair Overeem vs Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs Brett Rogers.

NOTE: A key number to observe here is the peak number, which means more for Showtime because of the correlation between how many current and new subscribers are watching Strikeforce, which differs from the UFC, WEC, Bellator, and other promotions with TV deals (with non-subscription channels) which are ad and rating dependent.

– 741,000 viewers (1.1 million peak), “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva” (February, 2011)
– 576,000 viewers (856,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg” (August, 2009)
– 561,000 viewers (853,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg” (January, 2011)
– 517,000 viewers (peak not available), “Strikeforce: Miami” (January, 2010)
– 412,000 viewers (700,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum” (June, 2010)
– 367,000 viewers (470,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Houston” (August, 2010)
– 350,000 viewers (509,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Noons II (October, 2010)
– 341,000 viewers (465,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Henderson vs Babalu II (December, 2010)
– 308,000 viewers (448,000 peak), “Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery” (May, 2010)
– 164,000 viewers (197,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Los Angeles” (June, 2010) [Special Wednesday Show]

Storylines Coming Out of Event

Strikeforce Gets Huge Buzz From Event, Smashes TV Records, and Provides Great First Round in the  Heavyweight Grand Prix

– Aside from the superb rating numbers, Strikeforce has to be thrilled how the event turned out for them this past weekend.  This is now their third big show in a row (Strikeforce: Henderson vs Babalu II & Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg) which produced some really memorable fights and finishes . Strikeforce is riding the momentum in 2011, holding true to the perception that they put on quality and exciting fights for the fans.  Strikeforce and Showtime were thrilled with the card and the numbers it generated, and used the 1.1 million plus viewers who tuned in to effectively prop up and plug the next leg of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, which both Showtime and Strikeforce are fully supporting throughout 2011.  The HW GP Opening Ceremony and the production upgrades was great to see, and hopefully it’s something that we see on a  more consistent basis and will continue to improve. They are hopeful that Lenne Hardt, the original announcer from PRIDE Fighting Championship can also work some of the events in the future.

– After the event had finished, all anyone could talk about was Fedor’s shocking loss.  This event lacked the big names that typically get the mainstream media’s attention, but Fedor surrounded by the intrigue of the HW Grand Prix did more than enough to lure the hardcore and the casual fans.  In fact, Strikeforce Fedor vs Silva  ranked in the top 10 both in Google Trends and Twitter (in multiple countries as well as worldwide). Fedor’s loss caused a heated debate between the MMA media and MMA fans, where Fedor fans were quick to defend their fighter against those who came out after the event was over and claimed that Fedor is overrated.  Among those who caused controversy, UFC’s Dana White – who argued with Fedor fans throughout the night, and other famous sport personalities like Jim Rome, who both made negative statements towards Fedor.  All it did was cause Fedor fans, fighters, and MMA media personnel to challenge their views.  Among the notables, MMA fighters BJ Penn, Shane Carwin, Matt Mitrione, Phil Baroni, and MMA pioneer Pat Miletich were quick to defend Fedor and his status as one of he greatest champions our sport has ever had. Needless to say, the event and Fedor’s loss made this event one of those events you will remember for a very long time.

– HDNet aired the Strikeforce 2/12 New Jersey event undercard live.  The prelims announcers for the bouts were Mike Schiavello and Bas Rutten, who received a ton of compliments from MMA fans and were very please with HDNet’s presentation.  John Cholish and Igor Gracie made the most out of their match-ups, both looking impressive and Cholish looking like he may be ready to be featured on future Challenger events defeating his opponent by an impressive knee bar.

– Fedor was the number 1 searched item on Google for hours and Strikeforce and “Strikeforce Heavy Weight Tournament” was near the top as well.  It was near the top on Twitter, Google, and many other websites. The event was so popular in Brazil, that the top 3 trends there were “Strikeforce”, “Fedor”, and “Pezao” the entire evening on until the next day. Even the station that televised the event in Brazil and Latin America, “HBO Plus” was a top 10 trend.

Strikeforce and CEO Scott Coker featured on Bloomberg – Scott Coker, chief executive officer of Strikeforce, talks about the mixed martial arts promoter’s revenue and profitability outlook. Coker speaks with Michele Steele on Bloomberg Television’s “InsideTrack.”

– HW fighters made it no secret they were pumped to see the HW Grand Prix: Shane Carwin: I am looking forward to the HWT Grand Prix tonight. Go Fedor! Roy Nelson: Getting ready to watch the Strikeforce Hwy tournament.

– After the event concluded, it was front-paged and made the lead-story on ESPN, now the second event in a row to do so, which is a first for Strikeforce. Showtime: Check out the main page of! This is becoming a regular thing for @Strikeforce…

– Showtime Posts Strikeforce Fan Video, Making Strives At Connecting with Fans.

– MMAPayout reader, Diego, was on scene for the event and shared his thoughts and observations here on MMAPayout:

11k+ in attendance and Fedor was hugely popular. Of big events I’ve only been to UFC 111 and this one, but Fedor got a huge pop when he was introduced at the beginning and the place went ballistic when he got in the cage. He got a louder reaction, by far, than any other fighter (out of the two cards I’ve seen live).

A lot of Fedor shirts were being worn, and a lot of Russian being spoken. (It was hilarious that when Silva was in half-guard and looking to pass about 20 Russian guys behind me were chanting “stand them up”.)… it seemed like half of Brighton beach showed up to watch him. I speak enough barroom Russian to know the ringside doctor who stopped the fight should avoid any Russian restaurants for the near future.

– One of the things that I have noticed as of late is the great job Strikeforce and Showtime are doing to convey a story within the fights.  Cris Cyborg did so a few weeks ago as she sat at cage-side watching her husband battle Nick Diaz for the belt.  This time around,  Fedor vs Silva produced such a great fight and story, that pro wrestling personalities analyzed the fight and are researching MMA events. Due to Bobby Lashley, Dave Batista, and big Pro Wrestling fan Mauro Ranallo’s association with Strikeforce, it has intrigued a new wave of Pro Wrestling fans who are crossing-over to MMA.  This was the case with Missy Hyatt as she watched Strikeforce & compared it to pro wrestling, in a wonderful must-read article on F4WOnline (subscription required) that details the emotional investments fans have while watching MMA:

Missy Hyatt: The last time I watched Strike Force was when Nick Diaz fought Evangelista Cyborg. I told a fellow old school wrestler to watch the fight for the wrestling psychology. You had a heel champion in Diaz that overlooked his underdog challenger. The underdog in Cyborg gave the champion a big beating only to lose cleanly by the champion. The end result was the baby face challenger raised his stock by coming very close to beating the champion. The heel champion got over by cleanly beating his opponent & flipped somebody off on camera to still gain the ire of the crowd

The Fedor Emalienko VS. Antonio Silva fight told an amazing story from a wrestling stand point. Fedor was beyond over in the building based on his won-loss record & mystique. John Cena had nothing on Fedor in being a babyface last night in New Jersey. Antonio Silva came across almost like Andre The Giant as a heel in the manor that the fight played out. You had the baby face go toe to toe with his larger foe. Silva had the baby face reeling at times. Fedor would deliver flurries that had the crowd on their feet.

The idea that Fedor vs Siva could be compared to Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant is an interesting take that Hyatt has here.  You can really see where the pro wrestling mind differs from an MMA fans perspective, though ultimately, both fan bases yearn for the same thing.  Learning how to apply and better convey storylines to the fights definitely sells, though sometimes boxing and the UFC have had a tendency to manufacture them, only to see each guy hugging each other at the end of the fight and telling each other that they didn’t mean what they said and they were only trying to sell the fight.

Missy Hyatt: The second round had Antonio Silva gain the advantage & came close to choking out Fedor on several occasions. People were literally on their feet & going nuts for Fedor barely escaping every submission attempt. The crowd went nuts when Fedor reversed a knee bar in to an ankle lock. The best description I could think of would be a Dusty Rhodes or Hulk Hogan comeback in their prime. Silva came across as such a monster heel by waving his finger that the ankle lock was not hurting him to a round of boos at the end of the second round… People were hoping that Fedor would come out in the third round to finally make his comeback in beating Silva. When the doctors stopped the fight for Fedor’s swollen eye, the crowd was angry for a few seconds. When they saw the swollen eye & face of Fedor, they showed genuine empathy.

When looking at this fight thru a wrestling perspective. I saw the biggest baby face sell for his opponent, have flurries of comebacks, come close to defeat, & then lose by a referee stoppage. The end result was Silva gained the respect of the crowd for beating Fedor cleanly. Fedor became even more over with fans by hoping that his hint at retirement will not happen until he avenges his loss… Everybody was leaving the building in a state of shock that Fedor lost two in a row. All they kept talking about was the possibility of Fedor coming back in to the tournament in an alternate spot. I was amazed on why wrestling can’t create a baby face that was as over as Fedor. I also realized that nobody in wrestling can understand the concept in which a baby face can lose & still get over. Plus Strike Force elevated the stock of Antonio Silva as a possible drawing card in the future. The chase for a rematch can possibly bring in even more interest & money for the future. There is even money on the table for a Fedor comeback.

I’m a wrestling purist, but there were many lessons that people in creative could learn from MMA. Wins & losses do elevate stars. The chase for the title is a theme that never gets old in real sports, movies, & in wrestling.

Post-Event Notes

– Strikeforce announces and advertises the March 5th event in Columbus, Ohio.  It will be a part of the Arnold Classic and will be headlined by Strikeforce LHW Champion “Feijao” Cavalcante as he takes on MMA legend Dan Henderson. The co-main event will be Strikeforce 135 lbs champion Marloes Coenen, as she takes on title challengers Miesha Tate.  Time Kennedy vs Luke Rockhold and Jorge Masvidal vs Billy Evangelista will also be on the televised portion of the event. The rest of the cast and poster can be found here.

MMAJunkie: Fedor Emelianenko wanted Strikeforce bout to continue, hints at future fights

Josh Gross (ESPN): Strikeforce’s Gina Carano to end hiatus – Coker told the fight against a to-be-determined opponent would take place in San Jose, Calif., likely on a card [late June] that features a welterweight championship bout between Nick Diaz and Paul Daley.

Loretta Hunt (LA Times): Strikeforce still gunning for April event in Japan – Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has given himself one more week to secure a venue in Japan for a planned April event…Should the event be held stateside, Coker said he is considering Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, states whose athletic commissions have apparently agreed to license Josh Barnett…

M-1 Global and Showtime: TV Deal to Broadcast the M-1 Challenge this year is in place. Deal is for 4 televised events, the first set to air on March 25th at 11 PM ET.

Twitter and Google Trends

Great news for Strikeforce here, as the key words “#Fedor“, “#Strikeforce“, “#HBO Plus“, “#IZOD“, “#Chad Griggs“, “#Del Rosario“, “#Lavar Johnson“, “#Arlovski“, “#Kharitonov“, “#Gina Caran0“, “#Pezao“, and “#Antonio Silva” were all top twitter trends during the evening of the Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva event. In fact,  “#Fedor” and “#Antonio Silva” were remarkably still top trends on Twitter hours after the event had finished. Another great stat here is that 7 out of 10 fighters who fought on the Showtime televised portion of the event were top twitter trends for the evening.

Also, “Fedor”, “Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix”, “Antonio Silva”, “Andrei Arlovski”, “Sergei Kharitonov”, and “Strikeforce”,  were all top searches. They were among the top 20 Google Trends in the U.S. on that evening, with “Fedor” reaching and staying at #1 for hours after the event ended.

This event was so popular in Brazil, that the top 3 trends for the evening were “#Strikeforce“, “#Fedor“, and “Pezao“.  “HBO Plus” was trending since that is the network that televised the event in Brazil and in the majority of Latin America.

That would make it 7 out of the last 9 events that have trended on Twitter for Strikeforce, with the previous being the highly entertaining match-up between Nick Diaz and Evangelista “Cyborg” just a few weeks before this event.

Sponsor, Promotion and Marketing Watch

– All the usual sponsors where there for this event: FullTilt Poker, Rockstar, GoDaddy, ClinchGear, EA Sports MMA, etc. As we like to point out here on MMAPayout, we always like to see more synergy between big sponsors and the promotions. Metal Mulisha and Cage Hero are steadily growing in their roles in fighter sponsorship throughout these events.

– Strikeforce had a promo to Tweet where you were seated for a chance to win floor seats again, dubbed #sfpickme. Again, a great way to utilize the social media tools that they have.  They are also hosting a Ring Girl Contest on their Facebook page as well to keep the motto going.

– Strikeforce is slowly integrating the fighters and their brands with the promotion.  If we take a look at the Strikeforce Store, we now see that Dan Henderson is now being advertised on the front page with his own signature shirts for the upcoming Columbus event on March 5th.  We will keep a look out and see if they will keep this strategy for future big show headliners.  They have recently added new Fedor, King Mo, and Jason “Mayhem” Miller signature shirts as well.

Strikeforce Apparel for St. Louis Henderson vs Babalu Event

M-1 Challenge Returns to U.S. on 3/25, Showtime Debut Expected

February 17, 2011

Sherdog reports that the on March 25, M-1 Global will hold their first stateside M-1 Challenge event of 2011 in Norfolk, Virginia at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. MMAPayout was able to verify that Showtime has tentatively scheduled the event to be televised on the network.

Showtime is scheduling the event to air on the network on March 25, placing it in the 11:00PM – 1:30AM time slot. The deal was said to be a multiple event deal, 4 events, which would broadcast M-1 Challenge events on the network throughout the year, as MMAPayout reported back in September of 2010.

The M-1 Challenge event will be headlined by Lightweight champ Artiom Damkovsky, as he takes on 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament winner Jose Figueroa.

Payout Perspective

Back in September when MMAPayout broke the news regarding the negotiations between M-1 Global and Showtime, it was speculated that this was part of the deal in order for Fedor to re-sign with Strikeforce and keep him on board, which was a key piece since Strikeforce and Showtime were already working on putting the Heavyweight Grand Prix together.  Since that time, sources close to the negotiations have informed MMAPayout that this TV deal between Showtime and M-1 Global was seperate to the Fedor deal, and has been ongoing since September of 2010.

M-1 took a big blow with Fedor’s loss in the first round of the HW GP this past Saturday, as he almost announced his retirement on the network, but with Showtime TV set to air the M-1 Challenge events and Fedor’s most recent comments that he will continue to fight, the blow has at least softened a bit.

UFC 129: $40 million economic impact for Toronto

February 17, 2011

Dana White predicts a $40 million economic impact for Toronto as a result of UFC 129. White also stated in a conference call Tuesday that UFC 129 could bring $1.5 million in revenue to the city from ticket taxes alone.  In addition, the UFC has sold $11 million in tickets for the event

Via Rogers Sportsnet:

Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, said the Ontario Athletic Commission will also benefit to the tune of five per cent of the gross ticket sales. That’s $550,000, working on the gate figure of $11 million.

Via MMA Junkie:

The demand was shocking even to White, who had seen the promotion do big business in all five of its trips to Canada. White added that UFC 129 also broke a box office record previously held by the NFL in the Rogers Centre. The arena previously has hosted events with up to 69,000 spectators. However, given the UFC’s event-night layout, large video screens, and the UFC president’s commitment to maintain as much as the “intimate atmosphere” of a live UFC-show experience, officials initially expected 50,000 to be the absolute maximum capacity for UFC 129.

Payout Perspective:

Outstanding numbers for the UFC and further evidence that the UFC’s popularity can affect the economy of the cities where it holds its events. For the skeptics, the $40 million figure does seem huge, but if you factor in the money generated from the Fan Expo the same weekend, the number could be possible. The numbers also supports the premise of the NY economic study provided by the UFC several weeks ago in that MMA can stimulate the local economy. More fuel for the argument that NY should legalize MMA.

Strikeforce offers Ring Girl contest on Facebook

February 16, 2011

The UFC is not the only MMA organization using a promotion on Facebook to attract fans. In lieu of its March 5thevent in Columbus, Ohio, Strikeforce is using its Facebook page to conduct a contest for young women who aspire to be a Strikeforce Ring Girl.

Facebook users that “Like” the Strikeforce fan page can vote for young women that upload videos stating why they would make the best “Ring Girl.” Contestants must be 21 years or older.

The winner will receive roundtrip airfare, hotel and represent Strikeforce at the Arnold Sports Festival. They will also be a Strikeforce Ring Girl on March 5th.

Payout Perspective:

It’s nice to see Strikeforce using its Facebook page to promote its upcoming event. This contest should garner a lot of “Likes” for the obvious reasons. Driving fans to its Facebook page is becoming a key component in promoting an event. As we’ve written about, this card is important for Strikeforce as it takes the UFC’s place at the Arnold Sports Festival.

Strikeforce Columbus: Feijao vs Henderson Poster and Card

February 15, 2011

With two of the most successful events for MMA on Showtime taking place in the last couple of weeks, there is no time for Strikeforce to take a breather.

Strikeforce is already preparing for their upcoming Challengers event this Friday in Austin, Texas, and just a few weeks later, the Strikeforce Columbus: Henderson vs Feijao event will take place, which has big implications for the company as they join the famed Arnold Sports Festival this year while making their promotional debut in Ohio.

– Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (10-2) vs. Dan Henderson (26-8) **LHW Title Bout**
– Marloes Coenen (18-4) vs. Miesha Tate (11-2) **135 lbs Title Bout**
– Tim Kennedy (12-3) vs. Melvin Manhoef (24-8)
– Billy Evangelista (11-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (20-6)

– Roger Bowling (7-1) vs. Josh Thornberg (4-1)
– Jorge Gurgel (13-7) vs. Tyler Combs (14-5)
– Brian Rogers (6-2) vs. Mojo Horne (5-1)
– Jason Riley (9-5) vs. Jason Freeman (5-4)
– Marc Cofer (6-5) vs. Mitch Whitesel (15-19)
– JP Felty (0-0) vs. John Kuhner (1-2)

H/T: GatewayMMA

Payout Perspective:

No rest for the weary should be Strikeforce’s motto for 2011, already hosting 2 major shows and 1 Challenger event in the first 6 weeks of the year and gearing up for another Challenger event on Friday and the big Columbus event in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival in about 3 weeks. The key for Strikeforce is to keep the momentum going coming off hugely successful events in San Jose and New Jersey, in order to direct everyone to the now highly anticipated April 9th event which will host the second event of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, headlined by Alistair Overeem vs Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs Brett Rogers.

While there is a good amount of quality MMA coming in the next few months from the UFC, Bellator, MFC, Tachi Palace, etc, I believe the Strikeforce Columbus event is being overlooked at the moment, but I don’t expect that to be the case as we get closer to the event.  Not only will the event be used to promote the second event of the HW GP, but the card looks like it should be another night of exciting fights for Strikeforce, and with their willingness to work with HDNet and Sherdog to televise the prelim bouts, fans are starting to soak in the brand and the fighters through the extra exposure.  HDNet mentioned last week that they will not be broadcasting the March 5th Strikeforce prelims on the network this time around, though sources tell MMAPayout that Strikeforce will be looking to stream them, either through Sherdog or their own website. An announcement on the matter is expected within a couple of weeks.

Taking over for the UFC at the Arnold Sport Festival gives Strikeforce a great opportunity to expose their brand to thousands of sport enthusiasts.  Luring in a portion of those fans and keeping them around will be a key factor, and perhaps they may make it a staple in their annual schedule as the UFC looks to expand to different countries as they branch out more towards the global market.

First international TUF likely in Philippines this year

February 15, 2011

MMA Weekly reports that the ongoing UFC reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, will have its first international show in 2011, likely in the Philippines. Dana White made this announcement during a conference call Tuesday.

Via MMA Weekly:

“This year,” White confirmed about when an international “Ultimate Fighter” will debut. “I’m pretty sure the first one’s probably going to be the Philippines.”

The Philippines has become a hotbed for mixed martial arts over the last few years, and even UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre commented late last year that the area he’s seen the most rabid fan base was in the Philippines.

Payout Perspective:

At first, it seems odd to name the Philippines as the first place to have an international TUF. But, not only are fans wild about Manny Pacquiao, they are huge fans of MMA. In fact, it was believed the UFC was heading to the PI in 2009 to hold an event. Before GSP’s visit last year, Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera visited to crowds excited about MMA.

Obviously, with the show going international, logistics will be a big issue. I’d imagine that the UFC would take advantage of the Philippines and showcase the country in some way rather than the usual “gym-house-gym” routine of TUF. No plans were discussed today so it is still up in the air if the potential show would feature US fighters, international fighters or a mix of both.

Form Athletics releases Vegas-inspired video to support new clothing line

February 15, 2011

Form Athletics released a video supporting its Fall 2011 clothing line. With its tagline: “Finally a brand you’ll want to wear,” it looks to be more than just t-shirt designs.

The video shows the Form stable including Urijah Faber, Mark Munoz, Jon Jones (shooting pool in the shadows), Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgenson and Anthony Pettis.

Payout Perspective:

A very cool video inspired by Ocean’s 11. With its recent signings of Jon Jones, Showtime Pettis as well as its focus on being a lifestyle brand, Form is differentiating itself from other MMA brands. It looks like the style is cleaner with fewer huge logos. One sticking point, may be price. A Jon Jones’ hoodie costs $87.99. Will the MMA crowd shell out the money to buy clothes at a higher price point?

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