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:
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.