UFC 134 Rio – Payout Perspective

August 28, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This time we take a look at UFC 134 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the HSBC arena. In the main event, Anderson Silva knocked out Yushin Okami in the second round.

First round KOs in the featured bouts

The most surprising thing of the evening was the fact that the top three featured fights ended in First Round KOs.

Spider silences Thunder
In a rematch of Anderson Silva’s last loss, the Spider stalked Okami and delivered a devastating kick to the back of the head at the end of the first round and ended him in the second. Okami’s training with Chael Sonnen was no help as Silva had his way with Okami.

Another impressive performance by Silva. It will be interesting to see who he fights next. Will it be the winner of Sonnen-Stann? Will it be Dan Henderson? Or will it be GSP as MMA Weekly reports?

Big Nog over Schaub
The crowd reaction to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s KO of Brendan Schaub was electric. If you had to say a fighter’s performance was carried by the crowd, this would have been the fight. Big Nog looked in great shape and although he was caught a couple times, he hit the “Hybrid” with some great shots.

The fight also gave us the line of the night: “I saw some Coca Cola fly into the Octagon.” Kenny Florian describing the scene after Big Nog knocked out Brendan Schaub.

Rua gets revenge over Griffin
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua ousted Forrest Griffin in the first round and avenged a loss to Griffin at UFC 76. Griffin did not look interested in the match and seemingly had no answer after he was knocked down by Rua. The broadcasting team mentioned that Griffin’s wife was due with their first child in a matter of days. Figure Four Online noted that Griffin’s wife went into labor last night/this morning and Griffin left immediately to be with his wife. Perhaps, Griffin gets a pass here he definitely did not look good.

Attendance and gate

The attendance and gate were not announced although the UFC indicated that the tickets for the 14,000 seat arena were sold out in less than an hour. The event was definitely a success.

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC handed out $100,000 bonuses for Knockout of the Night and Fight of the Night. Since there were no submissions, no bonus was awarded.

Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera – KO of the Night
Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza – Fight of the Night

The craziness of the first round of Miller-Poulhares could have been a runner up for FOTN honors.

Sponsorship Watch

In addition to sponsors Burger King, Edge Shaving Gel and Bud Light there were new additions for this special event. Manguinhos Refinaria, was shown in the Octagon as well as on Big Nog’s shorts. Upcoming movie Shark Night 3D and the city of Rio were sponsors in the Octagon too. Probiotica, a nutritional supplement company, also made an appearance. Bony Acai, a sponsor mainstay with many of the Brazilian fighters, notably the Noguiera brothers, became the official Acai of the UFC.

Intelgralmedica was another prime sponsor which was specific to this card.

Clothing sponsor Praetorian was a dominant sponsor among UFC fighters during the night. Also, Bad Boy seemed to have a resurgence as Shogun Rua and Erick Silva wore Bad Boy Club in their knockout victories.

Anderson Silva raked in major sponsors Nike, Burger King, soccer team Corinthians Paulista and Budweiser. He also sported MusclePharm on his fight shorts. The big sponsors were a testament to what the UFC broadcast team described as “Rock Star” status Silva has in Brazil.

Odds and ends

-Dana White stated that UFC 134 was seen by 30 million people in Brazil. This should compensate for some of the issues on the east coast. It would be interesting to know how Zuffa came to this number.

-White cleared up his comments about ESPN hating UFC earlier this week by stating that the issue was resolved. It may have hurt that friend of the UFC Jim Rome was on vacation all of last week which prevented White or any other fighter appearing on Rome’s show.

-Was it odd that the UFC goes back to the land where BJJ originated and there were no submissions? Furthermore, most match-ups were standup battles and there were few instances where fights were taken to the ground.

-Stanislov Nedkov was the only non-Brazilian to win a fight where a Brazilian competed. Yves Jabouin win also meant that no Americans won at UFC 134.

-Thoughts on Kenny Florian’s job filling in for Joe Rogan? I thought he did a decent job. While the analysis of fights was good, he did have some rough spots.For instance, Florian mentioned Anderson Silva’s “big sponsors” several times during the match as if he was told to do so (and maybe he was). It was similar to Rogan’s talk of Diamond MMA whenever someone gets hit with a low blow. Florian did have a hard assignment in working in Octagon interviews with interpreters.  With Rogan going back to “Fear Factor,” we could see Florian time to time on the call opposite Mike Goldberg.

-Does it hurt English-speaking viewership that most of the key players in UFC 134 do not speak English? Sounds like a silly question, but Silva, Okami, Rua and many of the lower card fighters need the use of an interpreter to speak English. UFC 134 provided a rare time where the crowd understood many of the non-English speaking fighters.

Conclusion

With the threat of a Hurricane and outages on the east coast of the United States, the overall buy rate for this event will suffer. It would be interesting to know the crowd that showed up in “Little Brazil” to watch the UFC Prelims. As a way to make up for this, should the UFC offer some of these fights on Facebook or for free on its web page?

This is the second straight PPV where the UFC needed to fill an hour due to KOs in its scheduled fights. The fact that the UFC must show either Facebook fights or Spike Prelim fights is understandable especially for UFC 134 where the fans were rabid for all fights. However, doesn’t it seem like you should get more for your money? After all, 1) the filler fights were shown for free earlier in the evening; and 2) the fights were not deemed PPV worthy. How should the UFC address this? Could they show main events from past PPVs? For instance, wouldn’t folks want to see Silva vs. Henderson from UFC 82.

The great success of UFC 134 has White, et al. talking about returning in 2012 with a stadium show. Not only did the UFC gain new sponsors, the press and crowd proved the popularity of the UFC in Brazil. This bodes well for the continued globalization of the sport.

12 Responses to “UFC 134 Rio – Payout Perspective”

  1. Machiel Van on August 29th, 2011 7:10 AM

    Jason,

    In regards to the extra hour of PPV time, there’s really no better option. UFC officials have told industry insiders that the Facebook prelims draw a very small audience, so the majority of people who purchase the PPV haven’t seen them anyway. Personally, I enjoy when they show a fight from earlier in the night because it allows me to use the bathroom, get food/beverages, talk about fights, etc. Showing previous fights would not go over well in my opinion (for me it would actually DEFLATE the value of the PPV). They could’ve also used some of that extra time to promote UFC 135, maybe with some more interviews, promo package, etc. From the way you describe it, we would be getting “more for our money” if there were no free fights on TV/Facebook at all. While this may be true in a de facto sense, I feel like we’re getting the most of the UFC product as is.

  2. Diego on August 29th, 2011 8:56 AM

    When I purchase a PPV I purchase it because of the fights on the card with the understanding that if it ends in a KO, it may be a quick night. Adding the prelim and facebook fights is OK as a filler, but honestly, once Okami got clobbered I switched over to the Pvetkin-Chagaev fight because I had already seen all the UFC fights. Adding interviews or promos wouldn’t add any value for me.

    Good match-ups and good performances in those match-ups are the only things that add value and for me UFC PPVs deliver that more consistently than any other sporting event. Normally once the main event is done the PPV ends even if there is time left on the broadcast. I would be OK with that.

  3. Michael on August 29th, 2011 9:15 AM

    I think that when they show fights from the undercards, you can be pretty shure that the fights that they selected to show are good fights, or at least they show the best fights from the undercard.

  4. Diego on August 29th, 2011 10:08 AM

    If the UFC really did get a 20% rating (30 M households or whatever) that is a huge number and makes UFC Rio the most watched (live) MMA event in the history of the sport correct?

  5. Roberto on August 29th, 2011 11:11 AM

    Hi, I’m Brazilian and there is an error: It’s integralmédica from brazil, not integra-médica. The first one is a nutrition company in Brazil

  6. Machiel Van on August 29th, 2011 11:11 AM

    Records for the amount of viewers watching a single MMA event can’t really be determined. Take UFC 100, for instance: 1.6 million buys = ? total viewers (1 “buy” at a sports bar/restaurant could amount to hundreds of viewers, just like 1 “buy” can also equal 10-20 viewers in a single household). You just can’t verify the number of individuals watching each event. That said, 30 million households is huge, if ratings work the same way in Brazil as they do in the U.S. It certainly beats CBS Presents EliteXC Saturday Night Fights 1 in terms of total households.

  7. Jason Cruz on August 29th, 2011 2:33 PM

    Hi Michael,

    I think the last to PPVs had to show all of the fights since there was still an hour left of PPV time left.

  8. Jason Cruz on August 29th, 2011 2:33 PM

    Roberto,

    Thanks for reading and finding the error. I will correct it.

    Jason

  9. Simco on August 29th, 2011 6:41 PM

    Machiel Van,
    I do not remember the exact numbers, but they have a formula for estimating viewers by purchase. It may even depend on several variables each night. Regardless, White is told the number by whatever company is being paid to decipher it.

  10. BrainSmasher on August 29th, 2011 7:06 PM

    I think the UFC should keep some fights in their back pocket. Do not give all your fights on Facebook, or Spike, etc. If the main card is short then show them on the PPV. If you do not need them take all the unseen fights from 3-5 events and make it a special show or a new Episode of unleashed with never before seen fights. IMO, there is nothing worse than watching the prelims on facebook or Spike then have to set through them again on the PPV. This time they were short and sweet so no big deal. But often they are 3 round fights. That is no good at all.

  11. mmaguru on August 30th, 2011 5:14 AM

    I think a 350K buy rate for this event would be considered a success even with the big names on the card. As always, thanks for the write up Jason.

  12. Jason Cruz on August 31st, 2011 8:09 AM

    @mmaguru: Thanks for reading as always

    @Simco: I think its either 4-6 viewers per PPV buy.

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