UFC 145: Payout Perspective
April 22, 2012
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This time the UFC hit Atlanta for UFC 145 where the much anticipated fight between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones took place.
Jones outclasses Evans
Did the fight live up to its expectations? Despite the hype, the outcome was never in doubt. Jon Jones dominated Rashad Evans to win via decision. Jones’ ability to utilize his reach and unique strikes did in Evans.
Both fighters received their share of boos from the crowd. It’s interesting to witness that folks hate Jones. Is it due to the perceived arrogance?
It appears that Jones is heading for a clash with Dan Henderson in a fight where most fans will be behind Henderson.
Next big thing?
Rory MacDonald may be the next dominant fighter in the sport. He dominated Che Mills to continue his ascent up the welterweight ladder. He is adamant that he’d never fight GSP if it came down to it. But, that scenario is down the line. We will definitely see more of him and he’s still very young.
Rothwell ends Schaub quickly
Honestly, I went out of the room during introductions and I came back and this fight was over. This was the second straight fight in which Schaub was knocked out. A good win for Rothwell who looked like he was in much better shape than his last fight against Mark Hunt.
Attendance and Gate
The UFC announced on Friday that 145 had sold out the Philips Arena. We’ll update the numbers once we recieve them. UPDATED: MMA Junkie reports 145 drew 15,145 for a gate of $2.2 million.
– The big news for UFC 145 was that headliner Jon Jones would sport UFC branded gear. As we noted, it appears that this will be a trend for the future. Frank Mir, who will take Alistair Overeem’s place at UFC 146, will be the next fighter to wear UFC gear.
As it turns out, MicroTech and Xyience were secondary logos on Jones’ UFC gear. Xyience had prominent space on the back side of Jones. In the end, is this new trend a conflict of interest?
Evans was sponsored by MMA clothing manufacturer Jaco. But, he also was sponsored by Bony Acai, MusclePharm and Corn Nuts. Three UFC Official Sponsors. Coincidentally, MusclePharm was a prime sponsor of the main event.
Frankly, we do not know the relationship between Official UFC Sponsors and what opportunities each gets in terms of signage/visibility at each event. So, it’s possible that the UFC placing its official sponsors on UFC branded fighters is a complementary piece to its existing partnership. It could also charge its official sponsors for being secondary marks on the UFC branded fighters. The UFC has indicated that branding fighters is a sign of the future. As we hypothesized, the UFC could be inching out other MMA sponsors from the fighters in the Octagon. As a result, there might be a time the UFC could entice more sponsors to become official UFC sponsors so that it could be on fight shorts or walkout shirts.
– Metro PCS, Dodge, RYU, US Marines and Corn Nuts all sponsored different portions of the night. Metro PCS sponsored the weigh-ins on Friday. MusclePharm sponsored the main event.
– Some new fight sponsors I noticed last night:
Kalapaki Joe’s – Its is a sports bar in Hawaii. Interesting that a sports bar with locations in the islands decided to sponsor UFC fighters. The good news is that one of its sponsored fighters was Rory MacDonald.
Square – Full disclosure. I actually use this device. It allows businesses to swipe credit cards remotely.
Majors Pharmacy – Mark Bocek’s sponsor on the back of his trunks. It was easy to see and it helped that Bocek had top position most of the fight.
Husky – Rashad Evans was sponsored by this company although after an internet search I could not find them. Always have your website with your logo folks. I seem to think that this is an industrial-type company but if any reader can help, I’d appreciate it. UPDATED: According to a commenter, Husky is a tool and construction accessory company.
– The UFC didn’t have its usual walkouts as the main and co-main events were the only walkouts shown. This is a new trend that may hurt sponsors in the end. As it turned out, with the KOs, there was some filler time between fights which could have been done with walkouts.
MMA Junkie reports that the bonuses for the night were $65,000 each.
Submission of the Night: Great ji-jitsu by Travis Browne to submit Chad Griggs.
KO of the Night: As I stated earlier, I missed the Rothwell-Schaub fight because it was so quick. But after rewinding, it was an impressive KO.
Fight of the Night: Eddie Yagin and Mark Hominick – Hominick included his customary pushups after the final bell rang. In return, Yagin did some situps. It was like they were completing a workout or something.
The UFC Primetimes were pretty interesting but were hidden away on Friday night and with TUF Live as a lead-in. For all the efforts in promoting the fight, there were not enough opportunities to see a pretty good Primetime lead-in for the fight.
UFC Primetime Episode 1: 462,000 viewers
UFC Primetime Episode 2: 573,000 viewers
There was a lot of mainstream promotion for Jones-Evans. The two traded verbal jabs on ESPN, UFC 145 sponsored a segment of Sportscenter (and I thought Dana White said the network hated MMA and the UFC?), they made an appearance on the NBA on TNT’s post-game show featuring Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal and Jones was featured in the Wall Street Journal. The TNT appearance probably was due to the fact that the event was in Atlanta where TNT studios are located.
Mashable also had an article which featured the UFC’s social media strategy. In the article, it reports the UFC purchasing Promoted Tweets for UFC 145 which should increase trending visibility for the event. Despite paying for tweets, many UFC Fighters were trending topics last night on twitter organically.
The UFC is also starting to use Pinterest – which I still am not clear on how it works.
A criticism about the promotion of this card is the fact that not enough was done to promote the undercard. There was little time spent on MacDonald-Mills, Rothwell-Schaub or any of the other fights.
Post-UFC 145 Headline
– Henderson next for Jones: The only one real headline after the PPV. The young lion versus the old vet. Will Henderson have a chance against Jones? Can he pull a Randy Couture? Henderson packs more of a punch than Evans but will face the same reach disadvantages as Evans. Also, Jones’ conditioning is phenomenal and one need only look to the Rua slugfest at 139 to see that Henderson may be in trouble.
Odds and Ends
– If the UFC is coaching certain fighters in interviews, it must have talked to Michael McDonald when he said he was going to party after his fight, “But not with alcohol, with the sweets.” Ben Rothwell is another for thanking strangers, who he revealed were the fans of the UFC. Of course, I am joking about this. I was chastised on twitter about making light of McDonald. Now I know how Cage Potato feels. Ok, not exactly.
– Che Mills had the best walkout music of the night. Too bad he faced Rory MacDonald.
– I had hoped that Rashad Evans would have come out with his Bill Gates Mug Shot T-Shirt (FighterXFashion has the backstory). The same one he wore after his knockout of Chuck Liddell at UFC 88 in Atlanta. Evans did walkout to the same music at 88.
– Anyone else think that the “Jones vs. Evans” lettering on the poster for UFC 145 was an odd choice?
In the end, the success of this PPV will hinge on the main event as the UFC put all of its marketing and promotional force behind the one fight. It received some good mainstream acknowledgment which should help. Also, Jones and Evans are great ambassadors for the sport. This was the first PPV in which you could see some tweeks which could be influenced by Fox. This included the elimination of walkout entrances of most fights except the main and co-main events. Venturing a guess as to the PPV buys, I would speculate we see somewhere in the 500K neighborhood.