UFC 141: Payout Perspective
January 3, 2012
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we look at a special Friday night event from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada which featured Brock Lesnar versus Alistair Overeem.
Overeem kicks Lesnar into retirement
There’s a reason why Lesnar went off as the underdog in Vegas. It was uncertain how Lesnar would do considering he came back from diverticulitis once again. The fight was a no contest for Overeem as one kick to the gut and Lesnar was done for the night.
Classy speech by Lesnar at the end of the fight. It was the right thing to do as his last two fights have been very disappointing. For Overeem, JDS is next in what should be one of the bigger cards of 2012.
Diaz boxes out Cowboy
A lot of trash talk before made this co-main event something to watch. Indeed it was the most interesting match of the night. Diaz used the “stockton slap” as the Cowboy just stood in front of him in the first round. Cerrone used some leg sweeps to score some points but did little actual damage to Diaz.
An impressive outing for Diaz as he’s moving up in the lightweight division albeit he came in at 157 pounds.
Hendricks knocks out Fitch
Johnny Hendricks left hand was lethal as he flirted with the UFC’s fastest KO record with a knockout of Jon Fitch. A disappointing end for Fitch who was coming back from shoulder surgery. The stoppage was warranted as Fitch went limp and Hendricks was right on top to deliver more punishment if he the fight wasn’t stop.
Hendricks puts himself in line for a title shot. He’s not in the express line to a shot but is definitely someone that should be taking a step forward in the next year.
Attendance and Gate
MMA Junkie reports that UFC 141 drew a reported 12,158 fans for a reported $3.1 million gate. The figures, as custom, were given by Dana White at the post-fight press conference. The numbers fall well short of the top 5 draws in MGM Grand history but it did much better than last year’s UFC 125.
The bonuses were $75,000 each and went to Johnny Hendricks, Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone. Hendricks was the obvious choice for KO of the night while Diaz and Cerrone earned fight of the night honors. There were no submissions so no sub of the night.
Countdown to UFC 141 debuted on Fuel TV a week before the event and garnered a poor 15,000 viewers. Hopefully, the January 1st UFC marathon helped with marketing of the network as the new place for the UFC.
Salaries were released earlier than normal by the Nevada State Athletic Commission because lawyers for Golden Glory obtained an order to garnish the salary of Alistair Overeem. Of no surprise, Brock Lesnar topped the list. Overeem was set to earn $385K but was asked to garnish roughly 30%. However, it was revealed Monday that no bond was posted to garnish the salary as required by Nevada law. So, Overeem was able to receive all of his earnings. This will make the litigation between Overeem and Golden Glory much more contentious.
Clothing brand RYU and wireless service provider MetroPCS became sponsors of the UFC this month. RYU was a sponsor to the “backstage camera” and MetroPCS had signage in the Octagon. RYU also sponsored Jon Fitch. Unfortunately for Fitch, the RYU walkout shirt was seen much more than on his shorts as the fight lasted just 12 seconds.
With the addition of MetroPCS and Gina Carano’s new movie, “Haywire,” the regular sponsors (SafeAuto, TapouT, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Bud Light) were in the Octagon. Speaking of Haywire, Carano was in attendance and was interviewed about the movie.
Harley Davidson pumped up its Hometown Throwdown contest again.
MusclePharm had a special graphic shown during the tale of the tape before Overeem and Lesnar.
The Cowboy has used his hat to put sponsors on each side of the hat in the past and now he’s used under the brim. Way to use the real estate. Maybe that’s why he got so upset that Diaz flicked it off his head.
Jimy Hettes had sponsors AzadWatch.com and Palooka.com as sponsors. I noticed these two sponsors since they were on the back of his fight shorts and maintained dominant position on Nam Pham most of their match. Good placement for the two sponsors.
It was announced prior to UFC 141, that Lesnar signed an endorsement deal with Everlast. I wonder what impact his retirement will have on the deal?
Post-UFC 141 Headlines
Lesnar retires, what now?
With the retirement of Brock Lesnar, the UFC lost its top PPV draw. A Lesnar card meant 1 million PPV buys was a certainty. With his departure, and the absence of GSP for most of the year and Anderson Silva out until at least June, the UFC is in a precarious PPV position as its lost its top three stars for the first half of 2012. Jon Jones could be the next PPV breakout star.
But, perhaps as when teams go without its star, it makes the rest of the team stronger and better. This can be a time that the UFC can build up its existing stars (Jones, Edgar, Diaz). Of course, Rashad Evans is another top PPV draw but will be on the Fox broadcast on January 28th. His next fight (fingers crossed) will likely be the long-awaited bout with Jon Jones sometime this summer (maybe Memorial Day weekend). What will the PPV buys look like in the first half of the year?
Young fighters impress
Jimy Hettes and Alexander Gustafsson made statements in their fights on the main card of the PPV. Hettes was impressive in his fight with Nam Phan and Gustafsson took care of the Vladimir Matyushenko. Both of these guys look to be moving up the ranks of their respective divisions.
Odds and ends
-Why no Joe Rogan post-fight interview for Jimy Hettes? He deserved some mic time.
-After Diaz flipped Cerrone’s cowboy hat earlier in the week, Diaz gave Cerrone his beanie after their fight. It looked like Diaz wanted Cerrone to give him his cowboy hat kind of like an exchange of opponent jerseys in soccer.
-The last live event on Spike occurred with little or no mention that the UFC-Spike relationship was ending. Of course, if you are Spike, you are still showing the UFC library so why mention it.
-I was in Canada last week and noticed Rogers giving a top 5 of Lesnar’s greatest fights. It was interesting to me that the number 1 moment was his win over Frank Mir and they showed his infamous rant after the fight (“going to have a Coors Light because Bud doesn’t pay me” and “get on his wife” comments). That’s something they would not play in the US anymore.
This was the first time that XBox users could purchase a UFC events through its XBox Live platform. As a promotion for this, XBox gave away 30,000 free PPV passes to watch the event. Unfortunately, technical difficulties destroyed the opportunity for anyone to access the UFC on XBox. To make amends, the UFC promised all that purchased the event on XBox, it would be able to see another UFC event for free. The problem with this, is that consumers are now weary of this method of watching the PPV and less likely to use this platform. We see that there are some glitches in the system and the UFC must fix them, restore trust and address this PR problem as well.
In addition to the XBox problem, I received notice that Rogers in Ontario, Canada had technical difficulties as well. People that purchased the PPV were refunded money as the cable operator acknowledged the problems.
These problems do not bode well for the overall viewership of the PPV. Even with Lesnar at the top of the card, the final number could have been better but for these issues.