Fight Factory series features AKA

July 24, 2012

MMA Gym, American Kickboxing Academy will be featured in an upcoming reality series on nuvoTV starting August 15th. “Fight Factory” will offer a behind the scenes look at the fighters training at AKA.

Here’s a brief preview from mynuvotv.com

In addition to the fighters, Fight Factory features the people behind the fighters. This includes MMA Agent Dewayne Zinkin. In the below clip he talks about how wrestlers are converting to MMA. A timely discussion considering we looked at this issue recently.

nuvoTV is a niche network as it caters to “American Bi-Cultural Latinos” 18-49.

Payout Perspective:

This looks like an interesting series behind the scenes at the hard work that goes on training for a fight. The only problem is how many people actually get nuvoTV. For those of you that enjoyed the TapouT show on Versus several years back, this seems like an updated version. On another note, SI’s Jon Wertheim had a feature on Greg Jackson’s gym which was just on NBC Sports Network.

WWE celebrates 1000 Raw episodes

July 23, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek featured Vince McMahon this week in lieu of Raw’s 1000th episode.  McMahon gave his secrets to managerial success in the article.

Some of McMahon’s gems in Bloomberg included:  Listen to your employees – and yourself, Treat every day like day one, Don’t cultivate fear, Clean your head and find your zone, Don’t settle for BS answers when interviewing job candidates and Complacency is your worst enemy,

USA Today also featured the company as it made it to 1000 episodes.  The article was an overview of the company and how its grown since the first Raw.

McMahon via USA Today:

“Many years ago, I had a chief financial officer say, ‘Vince, you make your money on pay-per-view, so why do all this other crap?’ Without all the other stuff we do, pay-per-view doesn’t work,” says the CEO, whose PPV revenues are up 30% after setting a record with 1.3 million buys for Wrestlemania 28 in April.

We’ll see if these numbers hold true when quarterly results are revealed next month.  We already know the PPV buys were lower than 1.3 million.

Payout Perspective:

Despite what some may think about fake wrestling, there’s something to be said about the longevity its had on cable television.  It’s somewhat amazing considering it was the early 90s when it first started and the company continues to reinvent itself.  I’m not sure if its an achievement that the WWE is the longest-running weekly episodic program in TV history with no reruns or its a testament to the tireless workers in the company.

The WWE had some good publicity leading into its episode 1000.  I think the Bloomberg article may be a little fluff considering the horror stories from some former WWE employees about working for the company.

UFC 149: Payout Perspective

July 22, 2012

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the much maligned card of UFC 149 from Calgary (dramatic Lance Storm pause) Alberta, Canada. In the main event Renan Barao defeated Urijah Faber to win the interim Bantamweight title.

Barao dominates Faber

Same game plan, same result.  Renan Barao dominated Urijah Faber to capture the interim Bantamweight belt and set up a matchup with Dominick Cruz when he returns from injury.  If you recall watching Faber’s fight against Jose Aldo in the WEC, Aldo used a stream of leg kicks to neutralize Faber and The California Kid’s lead leg swelled up.

This time, Faber attempted to switch lead legs to avoid damage but was not successful.  Barao used a mix of kicks and punches to stifle Faber and control most of the fight.  Barao was in genuine glee after winning the fight.  I’m interested in seeing the clash of styles with Dominick Cruz when they meet.


Boestch bests Lombard

In the words of Jim Cornette:  “Barbells don’t fight back.”  While Hector Lombard would have won a physique contest, he looked like he was standing in place against Tim Boetsch. Probably the biggest disappointment of the night as most that have not seen Lombard were interested to see if this guy could unseat Anderson Silva.  Based on his UFC debut, Lombard may not get that opportunity for a while.  Another surprising performance by Boetsch.  While this win may not get him a title shot, it should put him a couple fights away.

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses were $65,000 each and as follows:

Submission of the Night:  Matthew Riddle
KO of the Night:  Ryan Jimmo
Fight of the Night: Bryan Caraway and Mitch Gagnon

Caraway, Riddle and Jimmo (and of course Barao) were the most impressive on a night that was lackluster.

Attendance and gate:

MMA Junkie reports the attendance was 16,089 for a gate of $4.1 million.  Pre-UFC 149 estimates had the gate at over $3 million. The reported gate of $4.1 million is the second highest of the year (next to UFC 148).

Sponsorships:

UltimatePoker.com was the primary sponsor for UFC 149.  The usual sponsors were on the mat and ring posts for the event.  This included Bud Light (center Octagon), Ultimate Poker.com, Xyience, TapouT, Harley Davidson and Edge.  It also had signage for the movie, Total Recall.  TapouT had a Canadian-themed logo on the mat.

Boetsch wore a Marilyn’sMemoir.com t-shirt.  The web site indicates that its a scrapbook company.  The sponsor conducted a giveaway on its website.  It’s a bold move (considering the need to pay the UFC sponsor fee) by a company that does not appear to be in the target demo of the UFC.

Dodge unveiled its “Fight for your Dart” contest featuring 125ers Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson.  The contest will be through the UFC’s Facebook page.  The Dodge Dart promotions is a good step to hype the Flyweight division.

The UFC sponsored Hector Lombard for his debut match.  We might assume that he may be looking for another walkout shirt sponsor.

Urijah Faber lost Form Athletics and now reps MMA clothier Torque.  He still is sponsored by Amp Energy.

Uninspired Main Card

Dana White admitted pre-UFC 149 that the card had its challenges due to the injuries, and then admitted post-UFC 149 that he was “embarrassed” despite breaking attendance and gate records.  In an effort to make good, White has stated it plans to return to Calgary.

Post-UFC 149 Headlines

–  Barao new Bantamweight champ (for now):  It appears that Renan Barao may have one defense of the interim title while Dominick Cruz heals from his knee injury.  Barao showed his amazing skills against Urijah Faber and will provide some spark to the division.

–  Lombard loss muddles middleweight division:  Despite it being his debut, most people believed that Hector Lombard would be one or two fights away from Anderson Silva.  But, his uninspired loss has set him back from that goal.  For Tim Boetsch, a foot injury during the fight may put him out of the title picture as well.  This could clear the way for a Michael Bisping or Chris Weidman to be the next challenger to The Spider.

–  What’s next for Faber?:  Urijah Faber is a great ambassador for the sport of MMA and the UFC but his loss may mean he may never see another shot at a title unless he moves divisions.  Faber has been shut out in his last three title shots and it would seem unfair to give Faber another shot unless he starts at the bottom again.

Odds and ends:

The UFC once again released some fight videos of its main eventers.  I like this new strategy.   It also tips its cap to the fact that it is relying on streaming rather than the usual Countdown show route.

No Hitman- Although there was some buzz that Nick Ring would be accompanied by Bret “The Hitman” Hart, he was not seen on the UFC Prelims telecast.  Instead, FX cut straight to the beginning of the match.  Ring also made some news last month by stopping an assault in Calgary.

New warnings pre-PPV – Zuffa implemented some new warnings regarding the piracy of its PPV event at the start of the PPV.  This might not be related or if anyone else has found this, but if you have DirecTV, one cannot record the PPV (after purchasing) automatically from the DTV web site.

A Canadian poll had the UFC creeping up as the 4th most popular sport in Canada behind the NHL, NFL and CFL.  The hope is that it could compete in popularity with Football.  Its a good thing the poll was conducted before Saturday’s event otherwise it might have fared much worse.

What was better?  Ryan Jimmo’s KO or his robot into splits celebration?

Anyone else surprised that T.J. Dillashaw was the main coach for Faber?

How many UFC shirts did Hector Lombard have on when going to the Octagon?  For a guy that was proud of being in the UFC, he didn’t fight like it.  It could have been the jitters.

Conclusion

The usually hyped Canadian crowd turned on the event during the main card.  One really can’t blame them based on the Ebersole-Head, Kongo-Jordan and Lombard-Boetsch matches.  The Kongo-Jordan fight was especially disappointing as it was one that you could fast forward through, yet still see the fighters almost in the same place.

With all of the changes pre-UFC 149, the buy rate may have taken a hit even before the fights on Saturday.  Will it do better than UFC 147? Faber and the hype of Hector Lombard may have grabbed some fans but it’s likely that this PPV will be around 200,000 buys.

Will the UFC be more popular than Football in Canada?

July 21, 2012

The USA Today reports a recent poll conducted by a Canadian polling firm determined that the UFC was 4th in sports popularity in Canada.  The NHL, NFL and the CFL were ahead of the UFC in terms of popularity.

The article ran earlier this week in lead-up to Saturday’s UFC 149.  Despite the rash of injuries and card shuffling, UFC 149 appears to have the second highest gate of  2012.  This is due in part to the fans of Canada.

Payout Perspective:

Can the UFC be on the same level as football?  As identified in the article, it would be a hard sell considering the longevity that both the NFL and CFL have with its fans.  But, with homegrown fighters and the UFC’s willingness to hold events in Canada, it can gain steam.  The answer really will depend on the UFC’s longevity in popularity.

The Wrestling Post: The Hitman seconds Ring; new WWE IR channel; TNA show cancelled

July 20, 2012

Welcome to another edition The Wrestling Post.  In this edition, Nick Ring gets a boost from Bret Hart, the WWE unveils its Investor Relations channel and a TNA show is axed.

Bret Hart to walk to Octagon with Ring

Nick Ring will be escorted to the ring by hometown hero, WWE superstar Brett Hart (via UFC Canada Twitter). “The Hitman” is one of the most famous  wrestlers in the past 25 years.  Ring, a native of Calgary, made news earlier in the year by thwarting an assault in his hometown.

Promise and The Hitman

Payout Take:  The crowd should give Ring and Hart a nice pop when they walk to the ring.  Despite the abbreviated entrances for the Prelims, I’m sure the UFC will find a way to include the walkout for this one.

WWE launches investor site

Earlier this week the WWE launched investor relations channels over its social media platforms:  Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  The purpose, according to the WWE press release, “ is to facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of WWE’s strategy, operations, performance and customers.”  The press release states, “you can find timely updates of important financial developments, such as our upcoming earnings announcement, on Twitter, and a video presentation demonstrating the strength of our diverse global businesses on YouTube.”

Payout Take:  Transparency through social media.  The WWE is ahead of the curve when it comes to social media and it has found creative ways to utilize the platform.  As it sees the ways to communicate shift, it is utilizing the platforms to become more effective in getting its information out.

Spike TV cancels TNA Rewind after one episode

Maybe Spike TV should have waited until the DirecTV-Viacom dispute was over.  But, Spike TV decided to cancel the third hour of its TNA wrestling lineup on Thursday when it got rid of TNA Rewind after one episode.

Payout Take:  The review show scored very low ratings for its one and only showing.  Interesting that the show was on a short leash.  One would have thought it would be given a month before pulling the plug. Regardless, 3 hours for TNA seems like too much in one night to digest.

DirecTV-Viacom end 10 day blackout

July 20, 2012

Ad Age reports that Viacom and DirecTV have ended its 10 day blackout over its fee dispute and the 26 Viacom channels that had been blacked out since July 10th are back on DirecTV.

Via Ad Age:

All 26 networks will return to DirecTV, Viacom said today in a statement. As part of the agreement, El Segundo, California-based DirecTV, the largest satellite TV service, has an option to add the EPIX channel to its offerings.

Payout Perspective:

Good news for all of us DTV subscribers as we can watch Bellator tonight on MTV2.  The EPIX offering is intriguing considering it carries some boxing events on its channel.  MMA Payout will have more on the settlement in the coming days.

Spider visits Nike Headquarters

July 19, 2012

Fighters Only poses the question whether Nike will produce an Anderson Silva clothing line.  Silva was recently pictured wearing a “Silva Knows”  t-shirt as he visited Nike’s main headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

Silva has been tweeting his visit and taking pictures.  The Swoosh has sponsored Silva inside and outside of the Octagon for almost a year now and the visit could mean that there are bigger things ahead.

Silva Knows

Day 1 at Nike

Photos via Anderson Silva’s twitter @SpiderAnderson

Payout Perspective:

As you may have noticed, Silva’s swooshes were extra big on his walkout attire at UFC 148 just so we all knew.  It wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw signature Silva gear come out in Brazil and maybe in limited quantities in the U.S.  Silva’s meetings at Nike can only mean more endorsement opportunities for Silva and more visibility for the sport on a whole.  Nike is capitalizing on Silva’s dominance in the Octagon and putting out t-shirts would make sense at this point.

UFC Mag and Roots of Fight collaborate on UFC Legend Series

July 19, 2012

The UFC announced today a new collaboration with clothier Roots of Fight.  The UFC Legend Series will begin with the October/November issue of the magazine’s print and tablet edition.

Via UFC press release:

The Roots Of Fight UFC Legends Series pays tribute to historic battles waged in the Octagon with an exclusive documentary combining new interviews with the combatants and includes archival fight footage. Each documentary provides a new perspective on fights years after they take place and oftentimes long before the participants reached superstar status. The first documentary in the Roots Of Fight UFC Legends Series reaches back to April 2005 when Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar made their Octagon debuts to fight for the light heavyweight title on the premiere season The Ultimate Fighter®.

Roots of Fight produces high end clothing which focuses on the history of combat sports.  It has produced shirts commemorating Bruce Lee, Helio Gracie, Eddie Bravo, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.

Payout Perspective:

If you haven’t checked out Roots of Fight, take a look at its web site  to see their collection.  In my opinion, pretty cool shirts.  They do have a higher price point than most shirts.  It’s a nice coup for the clothing company from Vancouver as its relatively new to the market.

The announcement today boosts the UFC Magazine as well with this promotion.  We haven’t heard too much about the UFC Magazine since last fall.  This series may help both the UFC Magazine and Roots of Fight elevate their respective profiles.

House votes down military sports sponsor ban

July 18, 2012

Politico reports that the House voted in favor of military sports sponsorships.  A bi-partisan amendment seeking to cut $72.3 million in sports sponsorships was voted against 216 to 202.

As we reported last week, the U.S. Army cut its sports sponsorship spending.  Some proponents of the U.S. Army ban sought an expanded sponsorship ban and labeled the further ban the “UFC Amendment” after the MMA and its partnership with the U.S. Marines.

The language in the Amendment, via the  USA Today, that addressed the sponsor ban in the budget read:

“None of the funds made available in this act may be used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, wrestling or other sports.”

The Culinary Union took interest in the ban and supported an effort for Veterans to call on the U.S. Marines Corp. to cut ties with the UFC.  The Culinary Union, under the name or in conjunction with the group “Unite Here” produced a 2010 Sponsorship Agreement in addition to a press release.  The Sponsorship Agreement was between the U.S. Marines and Zuffa and was for $2.1 million.

Payout Perspective:

The U.S. Marines will stay another year with the UFC but the vote was much closer than expected.  As budgets tighten, a return on investment will be examined much more in detail.  The argument for cutting military sponsorships was the lack of quantifiable return.  With NASCAR, the pro-ban supporters believed that the sponsorship was not addressing the correct demo.  The UFC audience is much younger and one can argue that its sponsorship makes sense especially when you think of young, males interested in combat sports.

Strikeforce – Rockhold vs. Kennedy: 420,000 viewers

July 18, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that this weekend’s Strikeforce event in Portland, Oregon received a Showtime ratings average of 420,000 viewers.  The numbers pale in comparison to other Strikeforce on Showtime events but is decent considering the lack of promotion for the card.

Via MMA Junkie:

Strikeforce’s previous three events in 2012 averaged 426,000 viewers. The season average now stands at 425,000 viewers. By comparison, Strikeforce’s eight 2011 “Arena Series” events drew an average audience of 521,375 viewers on Showtime.

Payout Perspective:

It would be interesting to compare ratings for the Strikeforce event with HBO Boxing’s Khan vs. Garcia.  I have to say Khan vs. Garcia was compelling considering the momentum shift in the third round.  As for the Strikeforce ratings, it’s not clear to me what Zuffa will do with the Strikeforce brand.  If it intends to keep it, there needs to be more of a promotional push leading up to the event.  “The Marine vs. the Surfer” promos Strikeforce ran were not compelling.  The quality of the Silva-Sonnen II promos were far better than Rockhold-Kennedy.  Yes, the talent level is higher in the UFC but the effort to push the Strikeforce fighters should be there.

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