UFC 136: Payout Perspective

October 9, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we come to you from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas where fans saw one of the best cards of this year.

Edgar bullies Maynard

The first round of Edgar Maynard III looked a lot like Edgar Maynard II. Instead, Maynard remained composed throughout the rest of the round. However, Maynard seemed too lax in the second and Edgar got to Maynard in the fourth.

Maynard looked stunned after the match. Not sure who looked more crestfallen: Maynard or Kenny Florian.

Aldo outlasts Florian

Jose Aldo controlled the match and defeated a game Kenny Florian. When the final round ended, Florian had a look of a defeated fighter and someone that knew his career (at least trying to win UFC gold) was over.

Sonnen outclasses Stann

Chael Sonnen returned to the Octagon to beat Brian Stann. This was a definite step up in competition for Stann and it showed. Sonnen had his way with Stann and used the arm triangle to choke him out.

But what was more interesting than the fight was the post-fight interview. Short, brief and concise. Sonnen challenged Anderson Silva (who was in attendance and sitting next to Charles Barkley) to a loser leaves match (Silva leaves division or Sonnen leaves the UFC). A textbook pro wrestling promo: 1) Insult opponent, 2) challenge said opponent to a fight, 3) state when the fight is happening, 4) state stipulations and 5) leave.

Silva thought the promo was hilarious and the UFC attempted to diffuse the situation by panning the camera to Barkley.

Phan outlasts Garcia – Third fight upcoming?

In the fight of the night, Nam Phan defeated Leonard Garcia in another entertaining slugfest. How is it that Leonard Garcia got more post-fight interview time than Nam Phan? It seems like the UFC is trying to package these guys together. Initially, Phan said in the post-fight interview he didn’t want another fight with Garcia but seemed more receptive later. I think Phan is thinking about moving up and on but the UFC may sign them up for another fight.

Garcia will never be cut by the UFC although he really must try something different. All of his fights look like he’s swinging like a guy in a bar at last call. He’ll be in the same category as Pat Barry and Dan Hardy. Entertaining fighters but not successful.

Attendance and Gate:

MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta reported attendance of 16,164 for a gate of $2.3 million. According to the Toyota Center web site, the arena houses 18,300 for basketball and 19,000 for concerts. Not sure The attendance figure is better than the UFC’s last event at the arena, UFC 69. However, 69 produced a bigger gate: $2.8 million.

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports that the bonuses for UFC 136 were $75,000 each.
Fight of the Night: Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia
Submission of the Night: Joe Lauzon
KO of the Night: Frankie Edgar

Promotion of UFC 136

The UFC had an off beat promo for UFC 136 entitled, “The Great Debate.” It currently has over 191,000 views on YouTube.

The UFC also held another #Hunt4UFC, where White gave hints on places around Houston to be at for fans to win tickets.

UPDATE 10/10:  Forgot to include this great interview on CNN with Frankie Edgar.

Sponsorships

Upcoming movie release, Immortal, Tapout, Dodge, UFC Trainer, UFC.com store, Xyience, SafeAuto Insurance, Toyo Tires and Bud Light with the center were in the cage tonight. Is it me or is the UFC.com store being promoted much more.

Fighter walkout shirts are here. I like the track jackets that some fighters are using. Although its hard to pull over the gloves, its still another piece that clothing brands can market.

We saw for the first time the video game cover for the UFC video game, “Undisputed 3”. As reported by USA Today, Anderson Silva was voted to be on the cover after THQ conducted a poll to see which UFC champion should be on the cover.

Xyience took the fighting check point. It appears that its a revolving sponsor although Harley Davidson had the checkpoint for some time.

There was a huge push for the movie Immortal. Chael Sonnen wore it on his fight trunks and had an Immortal hat on during a taped interview in the pre-fight hype package.

UFC Fan Expo

The UFC held another fan expo in Houston which gave fans, sponsors and fighters the ability to interact. No word on attendance at the expo but we will follow up. With the first one going on in Toronto for 129 and this one happening for 136, we should expect at least a couple expos in 2012.

Post-UFC 136 storylines

Sonnen vs. Silva – Super Bowl Weekend. The event is not on the schedule yet but I guess we have our first fight. This will be a big event and should help jumpstart 2012 with a big buy rate. Sonnen will be in full promo mode and with the help of Fox, we’re going to be seeing Sonnen’s face all over the Fox networks. There are talks of this being in Cowboys Stadium although that seems like talk at this point.

Aldo vs. Mendes – An interesting matchup but what will be more interesting will be how much longer Aldo will stay in the Featherweight division. He’s had trouble with the weigh cut and an Aldo-Edgar, Aldo-Melendez fight would bring some spark to the lighter weight divisions.

Edgar vs. Melendez or Aldo? – The worst kept secret is that the Strikeforce lightweight champion is coming to the UFC to “unify” the titles. The matchup makes sense and would draw interest. But when will it happen. Melendez is slated for a Strikeforce title defense in December. But, Dana White is bullish on Melendez in the UFC lightweight division. White also said that he’s interested in Edgar going up against Jose Aldo.

PPV Buys

Last night marked the end of a three week period where four UFC titles were up for grabs. UFC 136 was one of the best, if not the best card the UFC has put on this year. Top to bottom, the card was exciting. It will be interesting to see what the PPV buys will end up at. Does anything lower than 400K say anything about fan perceptions of the lower weight divisions? Or is it just that there are too many PPVs going around that fans just can’t buy them all?

Odds and ends

Rashad Evans got booed again when the camera panned to him. What was funny is when the camera widened fans cheered for Forrest Griffin who was sitting next to him. Griffin looked back at Evans and playfully laughed at him. Pretty funny considering these two fought for the title a couple years ago.

Chad Mendes was announced as the newest member of Team Edge. Good for him considering he may get the next title shot against Jose Aldo.

Another loss by Tiequan Zhang. He was thought to help garner interest from Chinese fans. But, his losses are mounting and it seems like the UFC may have to look to someone else to make inroads into the Chinese market.

The Spike Prelims featured Anthony Pettis and Demian Maia. Good match-ups which should mean another good rating.

Among the writeups for UFC 136, there was this one on Nam Pham.

14 Responses to “UFC 136: Payout Perspective”

  1. Mossman on October 10th, 2011 6:21 AM

    Jason… its Rashad. R A S H A D. There is no R in there.

    It’s no secret to anyone who sells advertising that when a property is promoting its own in house product… i.e. ufc.com on the canvas… its just unsold inventory and they are filling a spot. I think the most telling thing about the ‘business of the UFC” besides the sliding PPV buys, is that outside of the occasional movie or video game, they have not introduced any new, mainstream sponsors since Dodge came on board in April… As well… if you have been paying attention… sponsor stalwarts the last year or two in companies such as Affliction and Boost Mobile, have been absent for most of the summer. As well as Harley being seen few and far between…

    Is the UFC losing sponsors?

  2. Jason Cruz on October 10th, 2011 8:22 AM

    Mossman,

    Apologies to Mr. Evans. His name and Urijah Faber’s name are hard for me for some reason.

    As for the sponsors, I’m not sure if the UFC is losing sponsors. Boost Mobile was on the mat for 135 I believe. It also was present earlier this year for Rampage when he faced Matt Hammill at UFC 130. I think that we can see a change in sponsors as the UFC heads to Fox. The partnership can help the UFC gain more mainstream sponsors so its unlikely that the UFC will lose sponsors but gain new ones. Yes, we might see some companies no longer sponsor the UFC but those will eventually be replaced. Another thing to think about is whether companies like Affliction and Boost Mobile are willing to invest its marketing into the UFC. Are the companies doing well financially that it would pay the UFC sponsor fee? We could see a shift in sponsorships in 2012.

    I’d also point that the UFC signed Edge Shaving Gel this summer and Bud Light resigned with the UFC. So, it may not be that bleak for the UFC.

  3. Jason Cruz on October 10th, 2011 8:36 AM

    See above for the updated video from CNN on Frankie Edgar.

  4. Machiel Van on October 10th, 2011 1:55 PM

    Sonnen’s pro wrestling style promo was awesome, and I’m glad it didn’t come off as cheesy. Even with the now always looming issue of TRT usage, Sonnen’s performance was very impressive considering the extremely long layoff and personal issues he’s endured. Jon Fitch could certainly learn from his style…

    UFC 69 attendance: http://mmaweekly.com/live-gate-info-for-ufc-70-ufc-69-ufn-9-2

  5. Jose Mendoza on October 10th, 2011 2:02 PM

    Good stuff Jason!

    Hopefully we will have some news regarding the PPV buys in a couple of days.

  6. BrainSmasher on October 10th, 2011 7:31 PM

    Im not sure there is a problem with sponsors. It seems the same as always. It could be the UFC has just decided not to sign long term sponsors until after the FOX deal starts. Santos vs Cain is going to be a game changer. It would be crazy to lock yourself into long term low pay deals before a mega event like that. After that the demand will be through the roof and they will get top dollar and lock it in for many years.

    As for PPVs. They are the same as they have always been. Noone on this card was a PPV draw. Sonnen is getting there hopefully not never shown to draw numbers on his own. Neither has anyone else. Do we not remember the numbers for the last Edgar/Gray fight? The UFC draws still draw. The Mega Fights still blow up. The UFC Brand still draws 300K plus. This PPV had no real PPV expectations. It had a good LW fight that didnt sell well the second go around and the Main Attraction imo hadnt fought in over a year. No one cares about Aldo yet. That what this fight was for. To get him cred by beating a real UFC name. But Florian hasnt looked good in a long time.

    In short this was one of the few stacked cards on paper that lives up to the hype. This had the most ranked fighters(top 10) on 1 card i have ever seen and most of the fights were top 10 vs top 10 guy. It delievered big time. It was a great card for fight fans but not mainstream fans. They could careless about any of these guys so it likely wont sell a ton of PPVs.

  7. mmaguru on October 11th, 2011 5:18 AM

    Really impressed with the fights. Best card this year IMO.

    Not sure how well the buy-rate will be, but if you bought any card this year, this would be the one.

    While watching the card, I was thinking wouldn’t it be great if we had some independent broadcasters commentating the event. It’s just sad how bad the UFC commentating is these days. If it were not for Rogan, I think I would watch with no sound.

  8. mmaguru on October 11th, 2011 5:24 AM

    I’d also like to say the “loser leaves” promo was terrible. Am I the only MMA fan left that thinks this is a legitimate sport and not professional wrestling?

    Anyway, that is my opinion. Promoting or not, it’s not the way we need our sport to grow.

  9. Diego on October 11th, 2011 8:05 AM

    I have to bring this up. It’s not an attempt at fighter bashing, I’m just curious – is Sonnen allowed to take steroids by the comission? He looked in better shape than I’ve ever seen him and absolutely manhandled in Stann a guy who hung tough against Phil Davis at 205. He also had a nasty case of backne.

    Is he now allowed to take steroid supplements because of his alleged hypogonadism? If so, I assume only up to a certain level? I’m wondering how that works with the commission.

  10. mmaguru on October 11th, 2011 12:18 PM

    Diego, perhaps he is taking a harder to detect substance. The commission does not use Olympic style testing. Matter of fact I think they don’t do any blood testing in most jurisdictions in the US for MMA — could be wrong on that one.

  11. BrainSmasher on October 11th, 2011 4:04 PM

    Diego

    Sonnen does have permission by the commission to be treated for TRT. But that permission is kind of meaningless. If he is over the normal levels they are not supposed to allow him to compete. As long as he is at those level for the fight testing the commission wouldnt know what he was taking legal or illegal.

    really the biggest difference that being treated for TRT makes is it is now easy for Sonnen to get Testosterone. But no one is regulating his usage. That is the problem. Sonnen and others are given a steroid and put on the honor system. He can up his dosage and train longer and harder than normal. This makes him bigger and stronger and better shape than normal. Then goes back to normal doses a few weeks before the fight and his numbers level out and the commission never knows his performance is enhanced.

    This is why the Nate case was worse. He was over the limit even around fight time. He admitted asking his Doc to give him more to train harder because “he felt sluggish”. If you feel sluggish at normal levels then Low testosterone isnt your problem.

    So yeah Chael more than likely has Low Test because of illegally using it his entire career. Now he is give test and there is ZERO chance he is using it properly. Not when there is a good chance he used it illegally and now has millions of dollars riding on his performance.

  12. Machiel Van on October 12th, 2011 7:01 AM

    People really need to get past this stigma against pro-wrestling elements being used to promote MMA. Look: they’re both PPV driven businesses, therefore they’re also heavily entertainment oriented. Highlight reels alone won’t sell PPVs, and neither will drab interviews with canned responses. Other “legitimate” sports don’t need this because they are on free TV; the challenge to get someone to pay $45-$55 for a few hours of sports entertainment when they can watch the NFL, MLB, and NBA on free, network TV is steep, and therefore fans need to have something to care about beyond the contained experience of the event itself. You can’t argue that Sonnen made his fight with Silva more interesting to the majority of fans due to his shtick. You just can’t.

  13. mmaguru on October 20th, 2011 11:36 AM

    PPV Buyrate projected at 250K (Dave Meltzer)

  14. Jason Cruz on October 21st, 2011 5:51 AM

    @mmaguru – Unbelievable if the PPV projects hold. Two title fights and in my opinion one of the best, if not the best cards of the year and this could be the worst buy rate for 2011. Unfortunately, with GSP out for 137, this could be a grim month of October for UFC PPVs.

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