UFC 148: Payout Perspective

July 8, 2012

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we look at the biggest card of the year: Silva v. Sonnen II at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Silva KOs Sonnen in 2nd round

Anderson Silva eluded a spinning back elbow from Chael Sonnen and began and assault with a knee to Sonnen’s  chest which was beginning of the end for the challenger.  Although it looked like an illegal knee, the replay showed that it was to the body and not the face.  In a first round that resembled most of their first fight at UFC 117, Sonnen took down Silva and attempted to ground and pound the champ.  It looked like Silva played dead as it looked like the Spider held onto Sonnen and closed his eyes.

Was Silva making a point by laying down in round 1 and then outstriking him in round 2?  For all of the hype, the fight was somewhat anti-climactic as Sonnen crumpled to the mat after a couple of Silva’s shots.  For all of the hype and the backing from fans , Sonnen’s performance in round 2 was disappointing.

Aside from the knee, Silva detractors will cite grabbing Sonnen’s shorts to avoid a takedown and rubbing the Vaseline on his brows onto his body during introductions as reasons to hate on the Spider.  But, you cannot deny Silva is one of the best fighters ever in the UFC.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.  Can the UFC really do Silva-Sonnen III based on this ending?  Its hard to say because Sonnen promos have been geared toward being an “Icon” and the “real champ”.  His post-fight

Griffin bolts before winning decision


That can describe the end of round 3 in the Forrest Griffin-Tito Ortiz fight.  At the end of the round, Griffin bolted the Octagon as he did in Philadelphia when he was outright humiliated by Anderson Silva.  While it’s easy to gather that he likely left because he believed that the judges would give the fight to Ortiz (and we know that Forrest is not the best of sports) for sentimental reasons it upstaged the final bout for Ortiz.

After receiving the UD, Griffin, apparently attempting to make amends, conducted the post-fight interview of Tito Ortiz.   To compound the confusion post-fight, Ortiz was heard complaining that he didn’t have his patented post-fight t-shirt which he was able to display at the very end.

It would have been nice if Griffin left after getting his hand raised.  That would leave Ortiz to soak up his fans and thank them for all the years of supporting him.  Instead, it was a rather awkward end to the Bad Boy’s career.  Ortiz will still be around MMA in some capacity (most likely commentator/guest analyst) and maybe a for Forrest a Griffin-Bonnar III would be a good Fox fight in the future.

40 year old Le gets first UFC win

Overshadowed by the main event was a very entertaining fight (and my pick for FOTN) between Cung Le and Patrick Cote.  Although Le was fading toward the end of the fight, he had enough to beat Cote.  Despite losing, Cote showed he could trade with the former Strikeforce Champ.  Le proved he still can be an asset to the UFC and it’s a no-brainer that he’ll be on the Macau card this November.  His international appeal is the reason for his lofty base salary.  As for Cote, he is still a respectable fighter and can be a mid-tier guy that can be gatekeeper for the division.


MMA Weekly reports the bonuses:

FOTN:  Griffin-Ortiz

KO:  Silva

Submissions:  None

All 3 received $75,000 each.  What about Chad Mendes’ KO of Cody McKenzie (who looked like a slim Mick Foley)?  Interesting that the 3 top salary earners from last night also received the bonuses.  It would have been nice to award a FOTN to Le-Cote.


UFC 148 set an MMA attendance record for the state of Nevada with a reported $6.5 million gate $7 million.  It’s the biggest in the history of the state beating Ortiz-Liddell II from 2006.   The attendance for the event was 15,016.


Forrest Griffin earned the highest salary of the night $275K ($150show/$175win) however it’s likely that Anderson Silva will make the most overall with his cut of the PPV.  Surprisingly, Chael Sonnen’s salary is relatively low compared to the amount he’s done in promoting the UFC (and himself).  Also, Cung Le took a significant pay cut from his UFC 139 salary of $350,000 to $150,000 at UFC 148.  Patrick Cote made $21,000 for his game effort.

Promotion for the Fight

A little surprising that the UFC did not do a three part UFC Primetime for this event.  Also a slight surprise that the lone UFC Primetime was not aired on Fox.   The UFC Countdown show was aired once in prime time during fight week.  One has to wonder if the UFC detoured from this platform for this event or whether it will be the norm.  With Sonnen , one would have to think the UFC wants him in front of a camera.  With the initial numbers, the UFC Prelim numbers on FX should be above average.

A unique promotion for this event included daily cartoons of Sonnen and Silva on the UFC Facebook page.  It also segued into a monetization opportunity as the UFC sold Sonnen/Silva cartoon hero t-shirts.

Jim Rome Smackoff in May.  Silva infamously added his own trash talk to the fight via UFC teleconference.

In addition to the main event, it was Tito Ortiz’s last fight with the UFC.  It was an added touch that he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during the same day as his last fight.  He did various media rounds and helped with promoting the card.  Ortiz is a polarizing figure but nostalgia has regained some popularity he may have lost.

The Las Vegas Review Journal provided some timely articles on the business of the week including the UFC obtaining a TRO to fight bootleg vendors and the economic impact of International Fight Week.  Based on the UFC report, the LVRJ wrote that Vegas expects an $140 million boost from this week’s activities.  It’s hard to fathom that this week could have that much impact despite factoring in the many fans flying in (including from Brazil).

The UFC also released several big fights of its co-main eventers.  Usually, you’d have to purchase them from the UFC library but the UFC granted fans the access.  It was a great way to highlight the fighters and get the casual fan interested in purchasing the PPV.

The UFC also bought ad space at the Facebook login page.  Did anyone see this?  The UFC also scoured the backgrounds of most major MMA web sites.

ESPN did an extensive job of covering UFC 148 including a Sonnen promo montage and featured the fight on its “What 2 Watch 4” segment at the end of Sportscenter Friday night.  In fact, it probably did more in on air promotion of the fight than Zuffa’s partners at Fox.  According to Dana White, ESPN hates the UFC.  I wonder how much it would promote the sport if it actually liked it.

International Fight Week

The UFC partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority to sponsor International Fight Week.  The UFC Expo was a part of International Fight Week along with a plethora of events which took advantage of the Fourth of July holiday to entice visitors to come and stay for the fight festivities.

It included a session  where MMA media could be trained by UFC fighters.  Interesting way for the fighters to get back at those keyboard warriors.  Of course, some of them train full contact 4 times a week.

The thought is that this will be an annual event which would be a great way to work in conjunction with Las Vegas to promote tourism and the UFC.


Ortiz sported Soul Headphones instead of the customary Beats, which has become the chique headphone for athletes.  The company had its logo on Ortiz’s shorts too.

Silva came out at the weigh in wearing a shirt with Burger King and Nike logos as well as his marketing agency 9ine.  It was interesting that his training shirt had a bigger Nike Swoosh than normal.  Also, Silva’s fight banner was adorned in swooshes. He was also sponsored by Philips.

Courtesy of MMAFighting.com


Edge Shave Gel took its turn as the sponsor in the prep zone.

Sonnen sported the MP of MusclePharm on his shorts.

UltimatePoker.com was on the mat among other places for UFC 148.

Odds and ends

How much would have a Faber-Cruz fight added to the interest of UFC 148?

Not only is Tito Ortiz out of business , the person that prints up Ortiz’s shirts is probably done as most shirts have sponsors all over them.

Ortiz-Griffin did that “soccer jersey exchange” thing but Griffin was seen wiping his face with Ortiz’s shirt.

Interesting that Silva shook the hand of Jon Jones before entering the cage last night.  Also, does Silva’s picture with LeBron James make you like or hate him more?

Can someone who speaks Portuguese confirm Anderson’s post-fight words to Chael about attending a barbecue?

Speaking of Silva, did anyone else think that Anderson Silva’s post-fight speech to the fans was reminiscent of Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky IV?

The definition of gaunt was Demian Maia at weigh-ins. His face was reminiscent of James Irvin’s attempt at middleweight.  But, he won so that all that matters.


This was a big show for the UFC and it invested  a lot of promotion into creating a buzz for the Sonnen-Silva showdown.  The reported gate of $7 million shows the interest in this event and the UFC hopes it can bank on this equating to a huge PPV number.  I am a bit skeptical about whether it can do UFC 100 numbers as promoted by Dana White, but it may hit a respectable $800K buys.  A number like this could equate to a third fight between Silva and Sonnen for the end of the year.  But, based on the result, how much better could a third fight be and would Silva agree to a third fight against a fighter he’s beaten twice.

MMA Payout will have more on post-UFC 148 news this week.

18 Responses to “UFC 148: Payout Perspective”

  1. Alexandre on July 8th, 2012 1:13 PM

    I’m from brasil(therefore i speak portuguese) and anderson silva invitation to chael sonnen go for a barbecue in his house was true but what the translator didn’t say was that anderson said that his wife was going to cook the barbecue , so definitely it was an answer from the spider.

  2. Sampson Simpson on July 8th, 2012 5:00 PM

    UFC looks to be slowly going the way of boxing.

    Bulk of success will be relegated to a few stars.

  3. BrainSmasher on July 8th, 2012 6:00 PM

    A little less bias on the Silva fight please. I can’t believe you actually suggested Silva laid down in round 1. He has never shown to be able to stop the takedown early or get off his back. It’s crazy to suggest anyone at this level would lay down when a simple cut can end the fight. Silva didn’t want to be on the bottom. Vein punched doesn’t feel good even if the puncher isnt a great finisher. This is why Silva was putting grease on his body. He did t want on the bottom. To claim these violations are meaningless and just excuses really hurts the credibility of the article.

  4. Jason Cruz on July 8th, 2012 7:32 PM


    I’m going out on a limb and say that you are not a Silva fan.

  5. BrainSmasher on July 8th, 2012 11:20 PM

    Before this event i was kind of neutral. Everything people like him for he did the complete opposite. Chael made Silva millions with his trash talk for this fight. Anyone with a brain knew Chael wasnt serious. Yet out of all the bad guys and scumbags and grudges in UFC history no one has ever stooped to a cheap shot like Silva did in the weigh ins. Not even back in the old days when half the fighters were street trash and thugs. This wasnt the first grease gate but was the most embarracing one. GSP did not grease himself. His corner did it. Silva greased himself with the entire world watching. He didnt grab Chaels shorts in the heat of the fight. He grabbed, held, and pulled on them for about 1 minute. Even the knee he was tryin gto hit him in the face with it. Not only do i believe he intended to land it illegally but the entire Fuel TV broadcast team said they believed it too.

    Regardless of the outcome of the fight really looked bad as a person. The guy was come in as the champ and he was scared to death. By putting grease on his shoulders and body he showed he had very little confidence in himself. He didnt want to be on the bottom taking a beating again. The champ was scared of the contender. Then his actions in the weigh ins and the fight showed he is very weak minded. The champ has a child like mind. Easily manipulated. People want their champs to be strong minded and confident. Not fragile children who you can break before the fight even starts.

    Both fighters looked bad in the fight. Both made very poor decisions from start to finish and looked bad technically too. But both failed to live up to the image and reputations they portreyed. Ironic. Chael was the bad guy who got humbled. Silva was the humble guy who got exposed as the scumbag bad guy. I believe the antics of both guys cheated us out of what surely would have been another great fight like the last one.

  6. Aintitthetruth on July 9th, 2012 12:51 AM

    Maia looked fit at 170. One more solid win and then a title shot for him.

  7. Tash on July 9th, 2012 7:36 AM

    Maia is going to do good in welterweight. Brainsmasher what helped silva win was his power and accuracy in throwing punches. They will always be haters.

  8. Nicholas on July 9th, 2012 10:57 AM

    If you think the knee was illegal, or landed with “illegal intentions”, I’m going to call you an imbecile. There’s not much room for him to land it and he clearly hits him in the chest. His THIGH doesn’t even him in the face. If he really wanted to drill him in the face, he would have in that position. The shorts grabbing I could do without though.

  9. Diego on July 9th, 2012 11:41 AM


    Even for you this is mindless prattle and childish insults. Get a grip. Your comments are not even believable.

    Silva got taken down but looked cool under fire and sustained no damage. Then he grabbed Chael’s shorts. I don’t think it helped him stop the takedown since Chael was trying to press his shoulders into Silva at the time and pushing on the shorts the way Silva did would not have an adverse effect. He did hold on to the shorts while punching Chael, but the ref quickly slapped his hand away and honestly, I wish any opponent I fought would grab my shorts while punching, that means I can punch them with two hands while they only punch me with one. The knee on the ground was no different than what Rashad did to Tito, and it essentially ended the fight, though Chael is stubborn enough that it took some reinforcing.

    In sum, great performance by the champ to come back in the second round with a devastating TKO of a man who had never been stopped with strikes.

    I don’t know what fight you were watching, but Silva did not look scared, broken, weak minded or any of the other idiotic accusations you make. He looked confident and in control – even when Chael had him mounted which is a tough look to pull off.

  10. Diego on July 9th, 2012 2:27 PM

    In other news, the rest of the card was not very exciting. Tito and Forrest should both retire. I don’t know what else Forrest has at this point, his high-water mark was out-hustling a flat-footed Rampage. He hasn’t looked impressive since and he didn’t exactly impress on that night either. I he wants to cash in a few more paychecks fine, but not as a main or even co-main event.

    Maia looked fit, but I wish it had gone longer just to see if his cardio was up to par. His frame definitely looks more appropriate for 170 than 185.

    Joe Silva blew it big time with the McKenzie. No way he was ready for a former title-challenger. That match-up should have never happened.

    Patrick Cote has been gone from the UFC a while and other than toughness I’m not sure what he brings to 185. I had to look up his recent fights to find out where he has been fighting. I think he’ll be back out of the UFC shortly. He’s a gutsy fighter but he appears to me like the sport has passed him by.

  11. BrainSmasher on July 9th, 2012 4:27 PM

    Come one Diego. are you going to address the Greasing or just spread your man love for Silva on the net? You cant tell me all his attempts to cheat had no effect and meant nothing and tell me he was confident while the guy stood there wiping grease on his body. If he was fighting a bum he doesnt do that. He does it because he lacks confidence in his abilities verses Chael.

    The guy should be suspended. The cheap shot shoulder strike alone should have got hims suspended. Paul Daley got kicked out of the UFC for a cheap shot in the cage. Silva throws a cheap shot outside the fight and gets nothing. Greases himself down and gets nothing. Grabs/holds/pulls shorts and gets nothing? It will be interesting to see what the commission does. He was caught at the very least trying to cheat. IF nothing happens then they send the message to fighters that they can try to sneak grease into fights and its no big deal. You cant give a free pass to try and cheat. You have to make fighters not even try to cheat. I would expect a fine by the commission.

  12. Diego on July 10th, 2012 4:55 AM

    Now you’re just trolling, but I’ll indulge you even with your childish, homophobic “man love” comments.

    The take down by Sonnen was around Silva’s waist, at the shorts. Grease did not play a part.

    Again, look at Silva’s performance. He did not lack confidence whatsoever. Even when Chael had him mounted. If Silva had any grease on his body it would be from Chael’s head, as he put it on the champ’s chest to get him down and as he rubbed it in after getting him down.

    I’m fine with the commission punishing him because he broke the rules. But it’s pathetic to hear haters like you claim that it made a difference. Chael had two opportunities to clinch and get Silva down in the 2nd round. In the first one Silva grabbed Chael’s shorts (and Chael admitted that earlier he himself had grabbed Silva’s shorts) but it’s doubtful that it had an impact. The second time Silva simply defended the shot. Both times Chael went for a double around Silva’s shorts so grease would not have played a part, though both fighters would have been covered with it by then since Chael had been rubbing his head on Silva’s chest for the entire 1st round. Shortly after the 2nd takedown attempt the fight was over.

    The fight reminded me of the Silva-Henderson fight. In the first round Henderson got Silva down but did not do any serious damage. In the second Silva stuffed Dan’s takedown attempt and shortly thereafter the fight was over. It’s not like this is unprecedented.

  13. Diego on July 10th, 2012 5:00 AM


    If you honestly think Silva greasing himself played a part in Saturday’s result, rather than Silva’s takedown defense and Chael’s ridiculously off-balance spinning backfist, then you don’t know nearly as much about the sport as you always claim to. Check your hatred for the man and try to be analytical instead of emotional for once.

  14. BrainSmasher on July 10th, 2012 10:52 PM

    “Now you’re just trolling, but I’ll indulge you even with your childish, homophobic “man love” comments.”

    If you are insulted or find that comment to be negative then you are the homophobe. My comments never specified wether “Man Love” was a good or a bad thing. However you taking offense to the comment shows you see “Man Love” or homosexuality as a negative thing.Step outside that glass house before tossing that stone.

    “Again, look at Silva’s performance. He did not lack confidence whatsoever.”

    Oh really? Did you not see him beg to the ref to stand the fight up to get him out of the bottom? Did you see him grease? Why would someone confident they were going to win try to cheat? Hmmmm I wonder…..If it wasnt lack of confidence it was abundance of FEAR. One or the other.

    “I’m fine with the commission punishing him because he broke the rules. But it’s pathetic to hear haters like you claim that it made a difference.”

    Yeah these picture shows nothing at all. Hold a guys shorts and punching him in the face has no effect at all.

    Its kind of hard to drop down for the legs on this takedown when Silva has under hooks and a fist full of shorts making it impossible to get out of the under hooks and get to his legs.

    Im not going to argue with you over the grease. There is no way to know if it had an effect or not. Only the fighter knows why he cant grab someone. Its stupid to claim it didnt have an effect when you cant see it. Fact is it is illegal and by him doing it makes it very possible to have had an effect. But just like the Penn GSP fight if his legs slide off his back or GSP slides out fo a sub it still doesnt prove it was due to grease. There is no way to know for sure. But once you grease you lose any benefit of a doubt. Its like saying Chaels high levels of Testosterone didnt help him in the first fight. If it did or it didnt there is no way to tell by looking at the fight. You get the results of the test and you assume it did help and the commission would have ruled it a NC had he won. When you grease there is no proof but it should be assumed it did help and there should be a rematch.

  15. Jason Cruz on July 11th, 2012 8:51 AM

    UFC Prelim numbers on FX 1.8 million average.

  16. Ron on July 13th, 2012 6:43 AM

    This guy BS must have lost money. Grabbing shorts goes on all the time, and Chael said he did the same thing. This is a fight, why cry about something so meaningless?? I think the rules say if a fight grabs shorts the ref should say “don’t grab the shorts” or something to that effect. No deduction, no disqualification, so even the rule makers see it as meaingless.

  17. McDerp on July 14th, 2012 3:33 PM

    Chael is just trolling away using fox-news style character playing and adversarial mega troll to get his name in the news and it worked.

    He even made himself a fake belt at onetime and was walking around with it claiming he won the first fight, of course media is going to gravitate towards him. He called every foreign interviewer a ‘commie socialist’ and straight up WWE style would deny everything he said even when played back to him in interviews. 100% pure troll, but not real.

    By hyping this he made Silva multi-millions in ppv buys. Wonder if sonnen got a cut of that, since they only paid him a paltry $50k for losing lol.

    Regardless expect Sonnen to appear at all UFC reality BS shows and media events to troll some more. He’s the new Lesnar the UFC has been looking for.

  18. BrainSmasher on July 17th, 2012 12:11 AM


    No i didnt lose money. I picked Silva to win. But i expect a fight of the night like last time with Silva getting a late KO or Late Sub. But we were cheated of that imo. Yes you can get a point deducted for grabing shorts. But you are right it is up to the ref to call it. Chael said he grabed shorts too. But he wasnt punching Silva in the face as he did it. What Silva did directly effected the fight. I posted two picks above of how he effected the fight and explained it.

    Chael was over the legal limit in their first fight. Is there any proof him being over the limit effected the fight? No there isnt. But Chael broke the rules and when that happens it is assumed it did help him even if there isnt any proof. All you can do is speculate if it helped or not. But if Chael would have won the fight would have been ruled a no contest and would not have counted. Silva was caught greasing. He was caught pulling shorts. Do we know those effected the fight? No we done. But like what Chael did. They are against the rules and like the commission and fans did with Chale. They should assume since he broke th erules that it did have an effect. The fight should have been ruled a no contest. But i dont think that is needed. Silva fans claimed Silva was hurt the first fight and thats why Chael did good. Chael fans didnt buy the rib excuse and though the same thing would happen. The rematch was used as a way to settle that debate. A 3rd fight would settle the Silva cheating debate. If Silva acts respectable and doesnt cheat and wins then all 3 wins go down in history as legit. If Chael wins it leaves doubt over the last fight. No need to change the result. No one cares that Cabbage beat Tank Abbott at UFC 43 due to a cut because a year or two later Tank knocked him cold. That ended the debate about what would have happened if there was no cut. Let Chael and Silva settle it in the cage with no doubt looming. Silva has no one to blame but himself due to his repeated attempts to cheat. regardless if those attempts were successful or not.

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