UFC 142: Payout Perspective
January 19, 2012
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This week we look at the UFC’s return to Brazil in which Jose Aldo defended his featherweight title against Chad Mendes.
Aldo finishes Mendes and celebrates in crowd
Jose Aldo’s explosive power was on display as a knee coming out of a clench ended Chad Mendes’ title shot. After the fight, Aldo ran into the crowd which provided a great moment albeit a gasp for UFC security.
Realistically, Aldo’s security breach is much ado about nothing. He knew that he had the crowd behind him and he wanted to celebrate with his fans. Sure, someone could have done harm to him, but as I stated, he knew his audience. If someone wanted to do harm to him, they could have done so on the walkout. While the trampling of fans may have occurred, it seems as risky as when fans storm the court or field as they do in football or basketball. Do fans feel concerned when a Green Bay Packer does a “Lambeau Leap” after a touchdown? Yet, this was a “teachable moment” for UFC security for next time. It was awkward seeing Aldo trying to shake UFC security as he was trying to celebrate. Even Reed Harris tried to step in to direct Aldo back to the cage.
For Aldo, he’s cleaned out the Featherweight division. It will be interesting to see what he’ll do next. A possible superfight with Frankie Edgar (or Ben Henderson) would be a great matchup and something that could be promoted as a battle of current division champs.
Belfort chokes out Johnson
What a bad trip for Anthony Johnson. A failed weight-cut, losing a portion of his show purse, a first round submission and Johnson returns to the United States without a job. Johnson weighed in on Friday at 197 pounds for his middleweight fight. That means he was 11 pounds over (considering the 1 pound allowance). Belfort, understandably would agree to take the fight if Johnson weighed no more than 205 pounds on Saturday. If Johnson didn’t make it, it certainly would have killed the top end of the PPV. Fortunately, he made weight Saturday.
Still, making Dana White sweat the night before whether one of his fighters would make weight was the likely nail in the coffin for Johnson’s UFC career.
Johnson has had past problems with cutting weight. He definitely is a chiseled athlete, but an athlete that should fight at 205.
For Belfort, its another step back toward Anderson Silva’s title.
Attendance and Gate
According to the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), the attendance at the HSBC Arena garnered 10,605 paid fans for a gate of $2.8 million. The arena is said to hold 14,000 so we may extrapolate the number of comps assuming the arena was at capacity.
In Brazil, UFC 142 was seen on Globo, its top-rated network. Although the three live fights were shown between 12:45am to 2:00am, it garnered 23 million viewers (Wrestling Observer).
MMA Junkie reports that the bonuses were worth $65,000 each. Edson Barboza won KO of the night for his spectacular spinning heel kick of Terry Etim. Barboza and Etim also won Fight of the Night. The leg lock machine, Rousimar Palhares won for submission of the night.
UFC Prelims on FX
This was the first time that the UFC Prelims appeared on FX and it received an 880,000 viewer average. The ratings were lower compared to its regular showings on Spike TV. We will try to update you with the UFC 142 Countdown rating on Fuel.
The Octagon included MetroPCS, Xyience, Burger King, Bony Acai, Manguinhos Refinaria, and IntegraMedica with Bud Light in the center of the Octagon. In addition to these sponsors, the UFC advertised its upcoming video game UFC Undisputed in the Octagon.
Burger King also ran a promotion with Anderson Silva in which he would have lunch with a fan that won a contest for what the Spider should do to celebrate 1 million twitter followers. The Burger King sponsorship has only been in Brazil but we shall see if the relationship will extend to the United States.
KMart is back with the UFC as it placed a voiceover at the beginning of the first round of each fight for its new promotion offering $10 off for UFC 143. It was a nice form of brand activation as its logo and the promotion reminded viewers at the beginning of each first round on the PPV.
MMA Junkie reported on soccer clubs getting into the sponsorship of UFC fighters in Brazil. The UFC was said to be cautious about the newfound sponsor money due to the intense rivalries between the clubs.
Along with his normal pre-fight sponsor banner, Belfort had another banner in honor of his kidnapped sister. He also spoke about the rash of kidnappings in Brazil at the post-fight press conference.
It will be interesting to see how much value the Brazilian sponsors such as IntegraMedica and Manguinhos will bring to the UFC and vice versa.
Odds and ends
-Another set of fights which ended with first round stoppages. UFC 134’s main events all ended in the first round and the same occurred for UFC 142.
-Aldo’s crowd surf and Barboza’s heel kick were featured on Deadspin right after the fights. Barboza’s heel kick made number 3 on ESPN’s top plays of Saturday night.
-No word whether there were any glitches with the XBox Live platform as many of those shut out of UFC 141 were given 142 for free.
-For you pro wrestling fans, Aldo’s run in the crowd, reminded me of DDP of WCW fame heading into the crowd after a match.
-Mike Pyle embraced the “heel” role in his victory over Brazilian Ricardo Funch as he egged on the crowd after his victory.
UFC 142 was a success from the perspective of its further ties with its Brazilian fan base. There were many PR events during the week including UFC fighters taking surf lessons and open workouts. No doubt the UFC has reengaged with the fans and it bodes well for local viewership of the first international Ultimate Fighter held in the country this year. But, the U.S. buy rate will not reflect the same as it ran opposite the NFL Playoffs. In addition to the playoffs, the fact that this card catered to Brazilian fans meant less known names to the U.S. fan base which will affect the final buy rate results. We also have the factor that a lighter weight division was at the top of the card which has meant (in recent history) a lower buy rate.