UFC 139: Payout Perspective
November 21, 2011
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This week we look at UFC 139 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, California where Dan Henderson defeated Maurico Rua in a 5 round battle.
Henderson defeats Rua in instant classic
It appeared that Dan Henderson would make short work of Mauricio Rua as it appeared that Rua was a goner in the first round. However, Rua survived, the referee did not stop it prematurely and fans saw an epic back and forth fight. Rua came back in rounds 4 and 5 but it wasn’t enough. While both fighters were gassed at different points of the fight, this is probably the reason why the UFC wanted main events to go 5 rounds. Both fighters showed a warrior mentality and left it all in the octagon.
Silva KOs Le
Sandstorm may be heard again in the UFC. Wanderlei Silva defeated Cung Le in front of Le’s hometown crowd. The win likely ensures that Silva will fight once again in the UFC. For Le, it appeared that he lacked the cardio needed to fight three rounds. A disappointing debut.
Faber submits Bowles; another rematch with Cruz next
Urijah Faber choked out Brian Bowles to earn another shot at Dominick Cruz. It seemed as though Faber’s presence on this card was undersold. Yet, there are rumors that Faber and Cruz will be the next TUF coaches. Based on Faber’s post-fight trash talk, this isn’t a bad idea considering the solid ratings this season’s TUF. The animosity between the two fighters and its debut on the FX channel should propel next season’s TUF.
Attendance and Gate
MMA Junkie reports attendance of 13,173 for a gate of $1.268 million. In comparison, Fedor vs. Werdum in June 2010 drew 12,698 fans for a gate of $1.1 million at the HP Pavillion in San Jose.
MMA Junkie reports the bonuses for UFC 139. Each fighter received $70,000. Interesting that there was a tie for Fight of the Night. In my opinion, Rua vs. Henderson was the clear winner for FOTN honor. If there was a tie, I would have given the bonus to Chris Weidman for Sub of the Night.
Fight of the Night: Cung Le vs. Wanderlei Silva; Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson
Submission of the Night: Urijah Faber
Knockout of the Night: Michael McDonald
-The usual suspects were in the octagon for UFC 139. Xyience, Dodge, Tapout, Harley Davidson, MusclePharm and Bud Light had the center of the Octagon a well as the side pads. The UFC also advertised its Ultimate Fight Collection just in time for the holidays.
– Clinchgear was featured via Dan Henderson. I really like Henderson’s branded DH apparel.
– Tom Lawlor was sponsored by XBox as part of its Kinect Sports 2 launch. He sported a t-shirt at weigh-ins and XBox 360 on his shorts. It was the only sponsor on his shorts. According to an XBox rep, this is just a one-time opportunity as it was specifically for the launch. Pat Barry had a similar sponsor opportunity with XBox 360. Demetrious Johnson remains as the only UFC fighter to continually be sponsored by XBox 360.
Notably, Dan Henderson and Shogun were trending an hour after the PPV. In Brazil, Rua and Wanderlei Silva were trending topics after the PPV. The Henderson-Shogun battle received a lot of buzz via twitter. On another note, Bellator’s Chandler-Alvarez fight received its share of twitter buzz too.
Post-UFC 139 Headlines
– What’s next for Hendo? Does Dan Henderson fight at 205 or 185? Either division would present interesting title match-ups. At 205, Henderson would come up against Jon Jones, a guy almost 20 years his junior. At middleweight, Henderson could get a rematch with Anderson Silva. Or, a Team Quest alum fight with Chael Sonnen. Either middleweight match-up seems more attractive than Jones.
– Cruz-Faber trilogy. Can this rivalry assist the lighter weight divisions? Certainly this season’s TUF is helping draw a steady viewership. A possible TUF with the animosity of these fighters should propel next season’s version.
Odds and Ends
– Talking about a guy’s widow’s peak and hair gel is pretty personal Mr. Faber. This rivalry is heating up and that’s a good thing.
– I wrote about the interesting weigh-ins this time around and the opportunity for a fighter to create their own personal branding. It also helps to make weight.
– Was Stephan Bonnar’s post-fight apology attempting to mitigate any possible lawsuit from Josh Koshcheck about making t-shirts with his likeness?
– For as good as Hendo-Rua was Dana White stated that the fight would have been too violent if it had aired on Fox as the UFC is still in the “education process.”
After the big UFC on Fox airing, UFC 139 seemed like an afterthought. It was a very good card but lacked the buzz. One reason may be that Fuel aired the one hour countdown show
instead of Spike TV before Spike aired it late Thursday night. Second, many casual viewers may not know Dan Henderson or Mauricio Rua. Certainly, these guys showed that they could put on a good fight. Yet, they aren’t known names. Finally, there is a level of fatigue the casual viewer (or perhaps every viewer) has with these PPVs. It seems like every other week fans are spending money on fights. With the holidays coming up, some budgeting has to take place and that may mean a decline in PPV purchases. Based on the last couple of PPVs (UFC 136-225K buys, UFC 137-280K buys), it would not be out of line to state that UFC 139 is in the neighborhood of 250K buys. With that being said, it may be time to recalibrate how many PPV buys makes a card successful.