UFC 131: Payout Perspective
June 12, 2011
Welcome to another edition of UFC 131′s Payout Perspective. This time the UFC made its way north to the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the main event Junior dos Santos retained his #1 contender spot by pummeling Shane Carwin.
JDS beats Carwin, Cain next
Junior dos Santos soundly defeated Shane Carwin to retain his number 1 contender spot and is set for Heavyweight Champ Cain Velasquez. Carwin was battered and bloodied in the first and had no answer for JDS. Even with the loss, Carwin should remain in the top tier of the division considering the status of Brock Lesnar. Bare in mind, Carwin, coming off of an injury, stepped in for Lesnar and was slated to fight Jon Olav Einemo – a more of a warm up fight compared to JDS.
JDS vs. Cain this fall. It should be good.
K-Flo defeats Nunes, Aldo next?
Give it up to Kenny Florian for 1) dropping over 30lbs to fights at Featherweight and 2) wearing a Boston Bruins jersey in Canuck country at the weigh-ins. And yes, an impressive victory over Diego Nunes.
It was less than a year ago that Dana White labeled Florian as someone that “chokes in the big fights.” That was after a loss to Gray Maynard. Now, K-Flo appears to be the next in line for Jose Aldo.
Munoz defeats Maia
30-27? Probably the most perplexing score of the night. I thought the judges had monitors to help them. Despite an improved standup game and an almost submission in round 2, Mark Munoz defeated Damian Maia. The win propels Munoz into a potential #1 contender match with Brian Stann.
Attendance and Gate
Although it did not do as well as last year’s appearance in Vancouver the UFC had a solid attendance of 14,685 for a gate of $2.8 million (h/t MMA Junkie). UFC 115 last June had 17,669 fans in attendance for a gate of over $4.2 million.
Notably, UFC 115 had 550K buys. That was with a main event of Franklin-Liddell. Two popular fighters in the UFC. Ironically, you may recall that the card initially was Liddell-Ortiz III but had to be scrapped due to an injury to Ortiz.
MMA Fighting reports the bonuses for UFC 131. Each fighter received $70K.
Knockout of the Night: Sam Stout. Stout’s left hook flush on Yves Edwards’ chin could be the KO of the year.
Submission fo the Night: Chris Weidman. Its rare to see a standing guillotine choke but Weidman saw the opening an executed it perfectly.
Fight of the Night: Dave Herman and Jon Olav Einemo. A back and forth fight with Herman looking in trouble numerous times before getting the KO.
The Octagon had Bud Light in the center and the mats and ringposts had MMA Elite, Xyience, MusclePharm, Jobbi.com, Tapout and the new UFC Peronal Trainer game coming out later this month. Dodge sponsored the Tale of the Tape.
Buy My Shorts.com – I noticed this at the weigh-ins with Dave Herman wearing the logo on the front of his shorts. At first, I thought it was Herman’s way of asking for a sponsor. But, its actually a web site that appears to sell fight worn shorts.
In addition to having the center of the Octagon, Shane Carwin was sponsored by Bud Light. Although not on his shorts, Carwin had a commercial spot for UFC-banned sponsor, sports drink Good4U the day before during Inside MMA on HDNet. It wasn’t the best comeback fight for Carwin, but he had a tough opponent. As we stated, Carwin is still near the top of the Heavyweight title picture and his sponsors will stick with him.
Hockey over MMA
The Vancouver Sun noted that while the UFC is usually the top draw in each city it goes to, it would not be the top sports story in Vancouver due to the Stanley Cup Final. As a result, ticket sales were slow and it was not a sellout with many hockey-crazed fans opting to spend their sports dollars on the Canucks. Compared to last year’s event where the tickets sold out in 30 minutes, the ticket sales were disappointing. The UFC put a positive spin on the situation recognizing the fact that while Canada is fond of MMA, it loves Hockey.
Post-UFC 131 Headlines
JDS vs. Cain: This should be a very entertaining fight between the division’s top two fighters. Odds appear to favor the challenger although it is early.
Munoz one fight away from title shot? Dana White was noncommital about Munoz next fight or whether the next fight would be a #1 contender fight. Many believe a showdown with Brian Stann will determine the next challenger to the Middleweight crown.
Florian impressive at 145. A lot of questions surrounded the weight cut, but Florian did not look emaciated in his new weight division. As a result, he is in line for a title shot against Jose Aldo. This fight should be booked as it would highlight the lighter weight division. Florian is a known name for UFC fans dating back to TUF 1 and it would garner recognition for the Featherweight division.
PPV Buy Estimates
Estimates pre-event for UFC 131 had many believing that it would garner somewhere between 300K-450K buys according to a poll on the Wrestling Observer (subscription required). In comparison, UFC 130 is estimated to have had between 300K -325K buys (h/t Wrestling Observer) . Last year’s Vancouver event, UFC 115, garnered 550K PPV buys. We note that all three of these had retooled main events. UFC 131 probably suffers the most from the change in the main event due to the loss of Brock Lesnar. While Carwin is a capable replacement, he does not have the appeal as Lesnar.
Odds and Ends
-This was the first event where fans could watch fights on YouTube. Now, fans can watch on Facebook and YouTube online before switching over to SpikeTV and then the PPV.
-Michihiro Omigawa will receive his win bonus according to Dana White’s twitter. In a fight on Facebook, Omigawa lost a controversial decision to Darren Elkins.
-Donald Cerrone affixed SafeAuto Insurance logos on each side of his cowboy hat. Talk about sponsor placement.
-The weigh-ins were held at the most picturesque place its ever been held. A good call for the UFC to have them outside overlooking the water.
-Speaking of the weigh-ins, Joe Rogan wore a Canuck shirt and Diego Nunes a jersey to get the fans behind them. Kenny Florian, in a move done by most heels, wore a Boston Bruins jersey. Not without precedent, he wore a Celtic jersey last year in Boston.
-June is now 1 for 2 for retaining #1 contender spots. JDS retained his. Anthony Pettis lost his.