Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg Payout Perspective
February 1, 2011
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we’ll be taking a look at the Showtime event headlined by Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz, as he made his return to the cage against Brazilian Chute Boxe member and challenger Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.
The event took place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and featured 4 fights: Nick Diaz vs. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, ”Jacare” Souza vs. Robbie Lawler, Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson, and Trevor Prangley vs. Roger Gracie.
Fighter Disclosed Payouts
MMAJunkie reports that Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg had a disclosed fighter payroll of $463,500.
Champ Nick Diaz: $150,000 (no win bonus)
def. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos: $20,000
Champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: $85,000 ($15,000 win bonus)
def. Robbie Lawler : $65,000
Herschel Walker: $5,000 (no win bonus)
def. Scott Carson: $5,000
Roger Gracie: $75,000 (no win bonus)
def. Trevor Prangley: $30,000
Nate Moore: $4,000 ($2,000 win bonus)
def. Nathan Coy: $3,000
Isaiah Hill: $3,000 ($1,500 win bonus)
def. Bobby Stack: $1,500
Ron Keslar: $3,000 ($1,500 win bonus)
def. Eric Lawson: $1,500
Germaine de Randamie: $3,000 ($1,000 win bonus)
def. Stephanie Webber: $1,000
James Terry: $3,000 ($1,500 win bonus)
def. Lucas Gamaza: $1,500
Jenna Castillo: $3,000 ($1,500 win bonus)
def. Charlene Gellner: $1,000
DISCLAMER: These are the base salaries reported to the commission and do not reflect the total amount earned by each fighter.
Attendance and Gate
MMAJunkie reports that Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg achieved an attendance of 9,059 (tickets sold: 8,817; tickets complimentary: 231, unsold: 11) with a gate of $533,214.50. 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 in the same venue, which drew 11,757 spectators.
- 11,757 spectators, “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum” (June, 2010)
- 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: Diaz vs Cyborg averaged 561,000 viewers (1.9 rating) and peaked at 853,000 viewers (2.8 rating) for the main event between Nick Diaz and “Cyborg” Santos on Showtime this past Saturday night . The average and peak numbers are the second highest for an MMA event ever on Showtime (topping previous events headlined by MMA ratings king Kimbo Slice and MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko), only trailing behind the Gina Carano vs Cris “Cyborg” event, which averaged 576,000 viewers (2.2 rating) and peaked at 856,000. 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).
MMAPayout has learned that both Strikeforce and Showtime are “thrilled” with the numbers and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the event was used to heavily promote the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix event, kicking off with Fedor vs Antonio Silva from New Jersey in just a couple of weeks.
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.
- 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 Positive Buzz From Event, Great Jump-off for Heavyweight Grand Prix
- Aside from the great rating numbers, Strikeforce has to be thrilled how the event turned out for them this past weekend. This is now their second big show in a row (Strikeforce: Henderson vs Babalu II) which produced some really memorable fights and finishes . Strikeforce now has the perception of a promotion that puts on quality and exciting fights for the fans, slowly filling the void that the demise of the WEC left for MMA fans. Strikeforce and Showtime were thrilled with the card and the numbers it generated, and used the 850K plus viewer platform who tuned in to effectively prop up and plug the upcoming Heavyweight Grand Prix, which both Showtime and Strikeforce are fully supporting throughout 2011.
- Herschel Walker was once again the difference maker for Strikeforce. Walker is single handedly responsible for bringing a good amount of intrigue and interest not only to MMA, but specifically to Strikeforce. Both events that Walker has participated in, Miami and San Jose, have resulted in some of the highest rated events for Strikeforce on Showtime. Not only does he get the casual fans attention who are familiar withhim for his college and professional football careers, but he brings in the casual and mainstream media coverage as well. In fact, Strikeforce Diaz vs Cyborg ranked in the top 10 both in Google Trends and Twitter. After the event concluded, it was made the lead-story on ESPN and put on the front page.
- RJ Clifford, 710ESPN host of MMA Worldwide, also posted on Twitter that Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg was on the front page of the USA Today app.
- The Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg ESPN chat with Josh Gross was the frontpage headline on the ESPN’s mobile page.
- As the Strikeforce event was happening on Showtime, there was a boxing event on HBO between Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley. the consensus was that the Showtime Strikeforce event was much better television than the boxing bout. Eddie Goldman, of No Holds Barred Radio host and combat enthusiast Eddie Goldman posted on Twitter: ”Showtime #MMA KOs HBO #boxing tonite. 3 sub wins vs. head butt-filled technical dec. Down goes boxing, again”…. as far as ratings go, Alexander vs Bradley peaked at 1.45 million viewers, but HBO is in more homes than Showtime and typically draws well for boxing events. Combined, there were over 2 million viewers watching boxing and MMA last night on the premium channels.
- Cris Cyborg and Fabricio Werdum received fan award trophies in the middle of the cage during the non-televised portion of the event.
- Cris Cyborg was said to be a big hit during the event. Reports say that she was one of the most popular fighters on the scene, usually dealing with big lines from MMA fans waiting to take pictures and get autographs from the Strikeforce 145 lbs female champion.
- There were many memorable moments from Saturday night’s event, but one that stands out the most to many is the shot of Showtime focusing on Cris Cyborg crying as her husband tapped out due to an armbar executed by Nick Diaz. Many from within the business stated that the shot of Cris Cyborg showing off the softer side outside of the ring not only created great drama for television, but will make her an even bigger star. Saturday’s show produced great drama and action for the fans watching live and the fans watching from home. Creating these storylines and humanizing the fighters to the level where viewers can relate will go along way for the promotion.
- After the Diaz victory over Cyborg, a couple of drunk fans were mouthing off at Diaz from their seats 20 feet away from the cage and eventually threw a drink at him after Diaz threw his mouth piece at them. The drunk fans were quickly confronted and surrounded by Diaz supporters. Both men were escorted out of the building by security as Diaz supporters heckled both men and chanted “209″ as they exited the area. Cesar Gracie pulled Diaz from the cage and told him to focus inside the ring and to let it go. Some fans thought Diaz was directing his comments at Cris Cyborg after he defeated her husband, but that was not the case. Cesar Gracie tells the story on the UG: http://tinyurl.com/4bvf9nb.
- MMAPayout learned through sources that Strikeforce was already looking at the possibility of hosting future tournaments in other weight classes before Saturday nights event. During the telecast, Strikeforce and Showtime asked the fans which weight class they would like to see host a GP next. The fans voted 1) MW 2) LHW 3) LW 4) WW. The results are very interesting considering most hardcore MMA fans were looking at the Lightweight class as the next logical choice. It seems that fans that tuned in on Saturday night were more interested in both the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions.
- Before the event started, a number of fans pointed out that there was a Facebook add popping up [H/T to @Martinitus] stating the following “DANA WHITE fans! See Diaz vs. Cyborg Sat, Jan. 29 at 10 pm et/pt plus 3 more fights on SHOWTIME! “Like” us here!” … This is fascinating to point out considering the UFC just streamed the prelims to last weekends “Fight for the Troops” event on Facebook, which they gained over 60,000 “likes” during that weekend.
- Strikeforce announces 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. Jorge Gurgel vs Tyler Combs, Roger Bowling, and Jason Riley are all expected to participate in the event as well.
- HDNet is scheduled to air the Strikeforce 2/12 New Jersey event undercard live. It will be the kick-off event to the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
- Loretta Hunt from LA Times: Watched Dream’s Shinoda and @cokersf negotiate at 2am in lobby – april 9 @strikeforce highly likely for japan
- Roy Nelson, Stephan Bonnar Tweet About Strikeforce Fights: Roy Nelson: “http://plixi.com/p/73465700 @andrewhdnet @SchiavelloVOICE here we eating bbq and watching strikeforce”; StephanBonnar: Damn…just watched the 1st rd of diaz vs cyborg…all I can say is “holy f*ckin sh*t!” Shhhhhhhhh!!!! Don’t tell me what happens.
- Josh Gross of ESPN reports that Real Entertainment/Dream plans to promote lightweight GP w/Strikeforce fighters in May: http://es.pn/fFdcc0
- Nick Diaz stated that under the new contract signed with Strikeforce, he is free to fight a professional boxing bout for Showtime. He has already called out Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga as potential opponents for him. Strikeforce giving him the opportunity to pursue his boxing career, as well as compensating him fairly well were two factors for Nick to re-sign with the promotion. He is also hesitant to go to the UFC since both his brother and his training partner Jake Shields are already fighting in the Welterweight division. It will be interesting, now that Showtime has signed Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosely away from HBO to see how much cross-promotion they will do with both sports. Showtime has both MMA fans and boxing fans tuning in for upcoming bouts in both sports, and it was a major coupe by Showtime and CBS.
Twitter and Google Trends
Great news for Strikeforce here, as the key words “#Nick Diaz“, “#Herschel Walker“, “#Cyborg“, “#Jacare“, “#Roger Gracie“, and “#Robbie Lawler” were all top twitter trends during the evening of the Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg event. In fact, one hour after the event had already finished, “#Nick Diaz” and “#Herschel Walker” were remarkably still top trends on Twitter. Another great stat here is that 6 out of 8 fighters who fought on the televised portion of the event were top twitter trends for the evening.
Also, “Nick Diaz” and “Strikeforce Diaz vs Santos” were top searches. They were among the top 20 Google Trends in the U.S. on that evening, with “Nick Diaz” breaking the top 10.
That would make it 6 out of the last 8 events that have trended on Twitter for Strikeforce, with the previous being the highly entertaining rematch between Dan Henderson and Babalu Sobral back in December of last year.
Sponsor, Promotion and Marketing Watch
- All the usual sponsors where there for this event: FullTilt Poker, Rockstar, GoDaddy, ClinchGear, etc. As we like to point out here on MMAPayout, we always like to see more synergy between big sponsors and the promotions.
- Strikeforce had a promo to Tweet where you were seated and you had a chance to win floor seats, dubbed #sfpickme. Three luck fans won floor seat upgrades at the event.
#sfpickme congrats to @carmean83 @csmithmedia @doubledge007 you won floor seat upgrades!
- Verizon and Showtime team up to create an interactive experience for its subscribers. According to both parties “With SHOWTIME HD and FiOS, you can access interactive fight features right on your TV screen. Just click your remote during select live Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts events.” The cutting edge features the services provide on your TV screen include fighter stats and records, live polling with instant results, bios and quotes, updated fight calendar, and live trivia games.
- Strikeforce is slowly integrating the fighters and their brands with the promotion. If we take a look at the Strikeforce Store, we see that Herschel Walker was advertised on the front page with his own signature shirts for the event with the Strikeforce brand also on the t-shirt. 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.