UFC 140: Payout Perspective

December 15, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This week we look at the UFC’s return to Toronto as the UFC made a stop at the Air Canada Center as Jon Jones defended his title against Lyoto Machida.

Jones chokes out Machida

Despite losing the first round, Jon Jones showed resolve to come back and defeat “The Dragon”. Jones used his size to complete a standing guillotine which rendered Machida limp.  Up next for Jones will be the winner of Rashad Evans/Phil Davis in January. At this point, Jones looks like he is gaining confidence and looks real comfortable in the Octagon, something to worry about for those in his division.

Mir snaps Big Nog’s shoulder

Frank Mir broke Tim Sylvia’s arm for his black belt and may have earned another stripe for his kimura on Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. Big Nog had Mir in trouble but Mir was able to gather himself to reverse Noguiera, grabbed his arm and locked in the kimura. The gruesome replay were shown over and over again with the crowd “ooing” each time the arm seemingly snapped.

Zombie surprises Hominick

It took only seconds for the Chang Sung Jung to defeat Canadian favorite Mark Hominick. A disappointing return for Hominick.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

As reported earlier in the week 18,303 fans attended for a gate of $3.9 million Canadian ($3.77 million U.S.).According to F4Wonline.com (subscription required), about 15,000 paid although it was not a sell-out. F4WOnline opined that the disappointing turnout may be due to the UFC coming back too fast.

MMA Junkie reported the bonuses for UFC 140 with each receiving $75,000.

KO of the night: The Korean Zombie
Submission of the night: Frank Mir
Fight of the Night: Jones-Machida

Sponsorships

The Octagon included Xyience, Toyo Tires, Dodge, TapouT, Musclepharm, the UFC’s Ultmate DVD Collection, StubHub, Batteflield 3 had the side pads (including graphics) and was on the mat, Bud Light was present on the ring pads and center.

Bony Acai, Harley Davidson and StubHub were presenting sponsors for UFC 140. The U.S. Marines had its usual “mini-fighter”  matchup for Jones-Machida.

UFC.com Store owned the fighter prep point.

Harley Davidson is taking part in the UFC Hometown Throwdown promotion which had been previously promoted at other events as well as 140. Similar to the WEC version, it asks fans to pick a city in which they would want the UFC to hold an event. The promotion asks for fans to provide an email address in order to take part. The UFC will email the fans when the final cities are chosen.

Mark Hominick wore the CFL’s Hamilton TiCats gear once again.

Jon Jones wore his Form Athletics jacket in the back and during the walkout.

Brian Ebersole is now sponsored by TapouT as one witnessed via the logo shaved into his chest. He also was sponsored by BuyMMACards.com, which replaced MiddleEasy.com on his shorts.

Logistics company and fight sponsor Blue Grace made subtle changes to its logo including a visible web address for people to see.

Notably, EBX, which is a Brazilian investment company, sponsored the Nogueira brothers. We might expect more Brazilian and South American companies jumping into sponsorship with the upcoming card this January and with TUF: Brazil.

No Suffer on Mir this time as he sported a simple Jaco Hybrid Training Black t-shirt in his walkout.

The Korean Zombie did not wear his popular shirt but a white shirt with his Korean sponsors.

UFCstore.com had the Fighter prep point

More info on walkout wear here.

Jon Jones and Frank Mir broke out Xenergy drinks immediately after their win before their post-fight interview.

Not a lot of notable new sponsors here. The Octagon seemed UFC heavy. Perhaps this is due to the anticipated holiday shopping season. The UFC had indicated that new sponsors would not occur until the first quarter of next year.

Post-UFC 140 Headline

The only real headline coming out of this event is what’s next for Jon Jones. While some wish for a Jones-Anderson Silva matchup, its more likely that Jones face Rashad Evans provided he gets past Phil Davis and stays healthy enough to make it to the showdown.

Odds and Ends

- Tito Ortiz is now calling himself “The People’s Champ.” I thought the Rock was “The People’s Champ?” Copyright issues? Of course, I thought that Marshawn Lynch would have copyrighted “Beast Mode” too.

- UFC Countdown show aired on the Fox Regional Sports Networks as early as Sunday before the fight (according to the Direct TV guide) but either I was not paying attention or there was a lack of notice, but I missed the Countdown show when it was on my RSN. It appeared on the Audience Network later in the week and was online so I was able to catch it. Not sure if anyone else had a problem finding it on their RSN.

Buy Rate

Early estimations on the buy rate for UFC 140 by the Wrestling Observer have it at 440,000 buys in the US and 480,000 buys worldwide. This is a positive considering the UFC’s string of sub-400 PPV buys.  It also shows that Jones is beginning to grow as a PPV draw. Jones vs. Rampage did 475,000 buys and it has improved if you take the worldwide buy rate.

10 Responses to “UFC 140: Payout Perspective”

  1. Bernard Lam on December 16th, 2011 10:14 AM

    Marshawn apparently has trademark rights over “Beast Mode” when used on apparel. So the Muscle Pharm t-shirt might be licensed or it could be a case of infringement. http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4005:53e1a2.2.6

  2. Bernard Lam on December 16th, 2011 10:57 AM

    Sorry, this link should work: http://goo.gl/zQTTU

  3. Assassin on December 16th, 2011 11:21 AM

    The quality if the card was excellent for those of us who bought it. I thought it was the card of the year.

    Jones did not disappoint in the fight and continues to be a polarizing force in the sport which bodes well for his ability to generate PPV buys. 480k is good, especially since some of the casual fans had to decide between this card and Lesnar’s card, plus some of those who just can’t afford 2 cards in one month, especially at Christmas.
    Plus a $3.8MM live gate is nothing to sneeze at (only beat by Brazil, Canada Stadium and 137).

    My guess is he could do 650k-700k+ for a Rashad fight and maybe more for Henderson.

    BTW, I can only imagine the outrage from the casual community and MMA haters had the top 2 fights been on Fox (Jones dropping the unconscious machida and mir snapping the shoulder)

  4. Mossman on December 16th, 2011 12:01 PM

    Nice observations Jason… however just an FYI.. .this was the return to just Toronto… not the Air Canada Centre, as the UFC had it’s first Ontario event in the Rogers Centre for 129.

    Decent card, should definitely be better than the last few and I hope you are right in your research of cracking 400,000 buys as its been a miserable run for UFC PPVs.

    Still extremely disappointed in the lack of new sponsors. The Battlefield addition was great, but thats another sponsor in EA who has been there before and just rotating titles.

    I find it interesting that we continue to see it more and more that the UFC can NOT sell it’s spots and ends up promoting its own brand elements with UFC DVD’s and the UFC Store.com. There is no high level strategy there. That is what we call UNSOLD inventory. You can’t possibly think the “UFCStore.com check-in point” is a genius brand play. In broadcast marketing we call that “house inventory” because it went unsold… and rather than give it away, we’ll use it to promote ourselves. (I would also think there is some of that for Xyience in here as well since its a Zuffa affiliate brand).

    Kind of sad. It’s also funny to see the same sponsors over, and over, and over like Dodge, Toyo, and MuslcePharm…when the industry damn well knows that Bud Light is the only one paying full price for the majority of that. Its like sponsors are paying to be in 5 or 6 events and getting 10 because the UFC has no one else buying… gonna make life tough when it comes time for renewal and you just bonused them 40-50% more than they paid for and try charging them more for the same amount next year!!!

  5. Jason Cruz on December 16th, 2011 3:39 PM

    @Bernard Lam,

    Thanks. Either Lynch-MP have a license deal or there will be an injunction/lawsuit.

  6. Jason Cruz on December 16th, 2011 3:40 PM

    @Mossman

    Thanks, nice observations as always.

  7. mmaguru on December 16th, 2011 5:56 PM

    Good PPV buyrate, but the card had a lot of big names, Tito, Big Nog, Machida & especially Mir to help with the buy rates. Can’t forget that Rampage is a good draw as well. I don’t think Jones can pull off 480K just yet without the supporting cast.

  8. BrainSmasher on December 18th, 2011 4:07 PM

    Mossman

    Dana has already said the current sponsorships dont run out un til the end of this year or sometime in 2012. Cant remember exactly. But it is very possible the UFC is waiting until the currently ones run out before taking up new offers before they get the jump in numbers from FOX. It would be silly to sign sponsors based on ratings and PPV buys from the Spike era when the FOX deal should increase all UFC numbers and demand more money from the sponsors.

    Opinion on the fights.

    I think Nog let his ego get in the way and lost that fighting being a moron. He had the fight in the bag. Mir was a couple punches from the ref stopping the fight. He thought he would land a cheap submission on Mir while he was out of it and it back fired. He should have just taken the win. He thought he would solidify himself as the best HW submission guy in MMA and instead allowed a rocked Mir to show he is the best. He tired to get cute and paid for it.

    Machida was a good match up felt for Jones. Has the speed, takedown defense, and power to give Jones problems. In the end Machida’s problem was the Karate that has benefited him in other fights. His straight left right punches were predictable and easy to defend. When Jones left hismelf open during the flurries. Machida never was able to throw the punches to take advantage. Jones was open for upper cuts and hooks. But the lack of diversity in his punches allowed Jones to cover up and block almost every strike. His lack of constant pressure didnt help either. Machida fights in busts and Jones fights at a slow steady pace. He needs to be forced out of his comfort zone. He isnt the most technical guy with his strikes and defense. He is fast so he is effective any way. Push the pace and force him to make mistakes.

  9. Mossman on December 19th, 2011 2:47 PM

    BS – That is some BS. Dana can say what he wants, the UFC is not cyclical or a sport of seasonality. In all reality they most likely have an ongoing roster of sponsor elements available for either a numbered or timed buy…i.e. you get exposure in X of Y fights, or For the calendar length of 24 months, you will recieve X amount of fights per year. I’m sure there is also some form of a tier between PPV, FOX, FX, inventory, etc.

    Why wait until Spike is over… that makes no sense. If anything, you should have been using the last 6 months to package up all of your un-used inventory to sell it to leverage the spots in the new and assumably higher viewed content with projected higher ratings. Not promoting UFCstore.com that doesnt reach anyone new outside of the hardcore fan.

    I’m just saying it seems like a lost cause. You think they were really waiting to announce that another t-shirt brand in RYU was going to enter as an official sponsor until the full FOX slate ramped up? Speaking of which… where the hell are the blue chippers? Outside of BL and Dodge.

    If I were monitoring the health of the property by taking the temperature of non-endemic sponsors… I’d believe they fall somewhere on the scale of pneumonia to died 15 minutes ago.

  10. Matthew Parker on December 19th, 2011 3:45 PM

    Mossman

    Zuffa apparantly has some new deals coming in next year.

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