Tyson Nam still under Bellator control

August 31, 2012

Despite a surprise KO victory that should propel his career forward, Tyson Nam is concerned he may be engaged in a legal battle for a shot to continue his career.

Nam’s KO of Bellator Champ Eduardo Dantas received interest from major promotions.  But, Nam is under contract with Bellator and due to his contract, Bellator can match any offer.  However, Nam’s career with Bellator has been non-existent.  Twice he was scheduled to appear in the organization’s tournament but was pulled from each tournament.  Its reported that Bellator will place him in the promotion’s next tournament in 2013.

Nam’s trainer indicates that Bellator will not offer Nam a regular fight on a multi-bout agreement.    He states that Bellator is threatening a lawsuit if Nam accepts a deal with another organization.

Via MMA Junkie:

The dispute stems from a clause in Nam’s contract that gives Bellator matching rights on offers from other promotions 18 months after its expiration. Now that the fighter is a hot commodity, (Phil) Claud (Nam’s trainer) said, it gives Bellator undue leverage in controlling the fighter’s future.

Payout Perspective:

Nam is in an unfortunate situation. When he signed the Bellator deal he probably thought that it would be his big shot.  It was unlikely that he thought about the non-compete/right of first refusal clause in his contract.  For Nam’s counsel, it’s unlikely that this clause would be a deal breaker.  But, Nam’s sudden success seems to have surprised Bellator and it appears that the promotion was not ready for it.

From a public relations perspective, it seems like Bellator could pick up on the momentum of Nam and place him in a non-tournament fight and promote him around his surprising knockout.  Or, Bellator could release Nam if he receives a better offer elsewhere.  Based upon Claud’s description of the situation, it seems like Bellator is holding onto Nam and will not let him out of his contract nor put him on a card.

Edgar v. Aldo set for UFC 153

August 30, 2012

MMA Junkie (via USA Today) reports that Frankie Edgar will replace injured Erik Koch and face Featherweight Jose Aldo.  It will be Edgar’s first appearance at Featherweight and he gets the title shot against Aldo in Brazil.

Koch had to pull out due to an undisclosed injury.  Yet again, another injury close to an event.  Fortunately, there was sufficient time for both camps to prepare for their new opponent.

Edgar’s acceptance of the fight made Dana White happy.

Payout Perspective:

A good break for the UFC as it gets a good matchup in Brazil.  While Edgar is a fan favorite, he is not a PPV draw.  No disrespect to Edgar, but his substitution will not enhance the live gate based upon the previous UFC cards in Brazil.  With or without Edgar, the card would have done well.   But, the matchup provides the UFC a chance to promote a Champion v. (Ex)Champion fight.  We will see if this helps the card.

The Pro Wrestling Post: Saturday AM and WM on NBC ratings

August 30, 2012

Welcome to another edition of The Pro Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at the debut of the WWE’s Saturday morning show and ratings from the Wrestlemania repeat.

Saturday Morning Slam does better than TUF

F4WOnline.com (subscription required) reports the debut episode of WWE’s Saturday Morning Slam garnered an average 1,126,000 viewers for a 0.7 rating.  The CW series, dedicated toward kids, had a better rating average  than most TUF episode on FX.  It was the highest rating of all the shows on the new CW kids block.

Payout Take:  A good sign for the WWE as the show should reach out to a younger segment and would extend the marketing reach of the WWE Universe.  The head to head comparison to TUF may be unfair but is a comment on the brand awareness of each company.

Wrestlemania show on NBC does 2 million plus

FWOnline.com (subscription required) reports that Wrestlemania 28’s main event featuring The Rock vs. John Cena scored a 2.73 million viewer average.  It also did a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo.  The show was more a “music video” for the one hour it was on the NBC network.  The rating is up from last year’s presentation.  Although it went up against NFL preseason football, its rating was better than the UFC on Fox earlier this month.

Payout Take:  The ratings could be based upon the Rock-Cena matchup.  It is still a very good rating considering its placement (Saturday night primetime).

GSP cleared to return for November

August 29, 2012

Georges St. Pierre announced via Twitter that he was medically cleared for his return to the Octagon this fall. GSP will face Carlos Condit to unify the UFC welterweight champion in Montreal.

Via Twitter:

The announcement prompted trainer Firas Zahabi to say that UFC 154 in Montreal to break PPV records.
Payout Perspective:

Finally some good news for the UFC.  The news that GSP will be back in November in his hometown should give the UFC PPV business a boost. Certainly Zahabi’s comments must be taken in context. He’s hyping GSP’s return. UFC 154 and 155 (JDS vs. Cain II) could help boost the PPV average for the year.

GSP’s return should mean a healthy PPV buy rate although GSP had lost some of his appeal with the criticism that he was not finishing fights. But, the long layoff should draw some interest to see how he does. Add to that the fact that he will be facing the interim champ to unify the title, and we should see a good number of PPV buys.

MMA to air on NBC Sports Network?

August 28, 2012

MMA Fighting reports that MMA organization the World Series of Fighting received its promoter’s license from the Nevada State Athletic  Commission  which allows it to promote its first fight in Nevada.  The organization is scheduled for November at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

MMA Fighting has obtained documents which indicate that NBC Sports Networks will air the card.  Although there has been confirmation from the World Series of Fighting, the network has yet to confirm.

Payout Perspective:

The card is set for November 3, 2012 which is ideal as it will not run opposite a UFC card or a big boxing match.  Bellator will be one day before and will not interfere.  The addition of MMA to the NBC Sports Network makes sense considering it has been successful with its quarterly boxing series and is looking to add more content to its programming.

Bellator 73: 167,000 viewer average

August 28, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that the Bellator Summer Series finale earned an average rating of 167,000 viewers.  Bellator 73’s rating brought the summer average to 180,000 viewers.

This summer’s season series is lower than last summer’s 229,000 viewer average.  The ratings for this past Friday’s event was lower than Bellator 72’s 193,000 average.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator has just one more season on MTV2 before the much-anticipated move to Spike TV.  The ratings have dipped for the Summer Series although I’m sure the main emphasis is to continue to promote Bellator through the network transition.

Jones apologizes for UFC 151

August 26, 2012

Jon Bones took to Twitter on Saturday to apologize for the cancellation of the UFC 151 card. Jones stated that he takes “full responsibility” for how UFC 151.

Payout Perspective:

I haven’t kept up with the various reactions to Jones’ tweets but I imagine there are some that don’t believe the apology. Its usual that “falling on the sword” would be a noble thing. From a public relations perspective, admitting fault grants the admitter some level of immunity from further blame. But does it here?  In this instance, it seems that Jones sent the tweet out in defense after White’s public berating of Jones for refusing to fight Chael Sonnen as a replacement.

In his tweets, he says he is “carrying the cross for his company.” An indirect comparison to Jesus? While Jones is trying to do the right thing, it seems as though he is overreaching. I’m not sure how he can take responsibility for how UFC 151 was handled. Realistically, it was White that called out Jones and Jackson. It was the UFC that decided to kill the card and name Machida as the next challenger when (as we know now) Machida had not yet accepted.  It is true that he could have taken the Sonnen fight.  But, would that fight have been for the title?  While Jones’ decision to refuse the fight can be debated, he did what he felt was best for him.

While the UFC framed the cancellation falling squarely on Jones and Jackson, it could have focused on Henderson’s injury and being too late in the game for Jones to prepare for a new opponent.  The UFC could have protected one of its top stars.  It does not seem fair that one guy should be the fall guy for the entire card. Yet, White framed the issue and it has taken off.

 

Battery charge pending for Mendes after brawl

August 25, 2012

UFC Featherweight Chad Mendes will be charged with battery according to The Hanford Sentinel.  The charges stem from a bar brawl in late July where it was claimed he “sucker punched” a bar patron and then left the scene.

Mendes was sought for questioning by authorities after the incident.  According to this Friday’s article in the Sentinel, Mendes claimed he had left for Ohio to coach one of his teammates after the fight.  Spokespeople for Mendes stated that the “majority of the facts pertaining to him (Mendes) in the story are absolutely false.”

Payout Perspective:

Another headache for the UFC to address.  Not only is the UFC dealing with the cancellation and aftermath of UFC 151, it now has one of its fighters wanted for battery.  Mendes has yet to give further information on what happened that night and from a public relations standpoint he may want to reveal the allegations he feels are false.  It will be interesting to see what the UFC will do (if anything) with Mendes.  The report of a “sucker punch” must be addressed by Mendes as this allegation puts him in a bad light.  People will think that not only is he a fighter by vocation, he is slinging punches at unsuspecting victims in bars.

Boxer sues Don King under Ali Act

August 25, 2012

Boxer Joseph Agbeko has sued Don King and his promotional company under the Muhammad Ali Act in New Jersey Federal District Court. The lawsuit claims that King took more money than he should have from several purses from the fighter from Ghana.  King is seeking to dismiss the claims made by the fighter.

Agbeko claims that King took more money than he was owed from his fights when King promoted the fighter.  Agbeko was promoted by King in seven fights since 2007.  The legal papers reveal the amount of money taken from Agbeko’s purse which makes one understand the enactment of the Muhammad Ali Act.  Agbeko’s representation requested information from Don King under the Ali Act.

Agbeko claims that in one fight in 2008, he was paid only $4,000 but was charged $21,000.  In addition, King deducted this money without substantiating these deductions.  Furthermore, the suit claims that King did not pay the IRS for Agekbo.  Thus, not only did he not receive a full fight salary, he had to pay his tax obligation.

Timeline

Don King’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss scheduled for September 17, 2012.  The motion looks to dismiss most of Agbeko’s claims with the exception of the financial disclosure requirement (15 USC 6307e(b))under the Act.  It will seek a summary judgment motion under that claim.  King contends that Agebko made “hundreds of thousands” of dollars while advancing Agbeko training fees and other needs.  Additionally, King’s attorneys call Agebko’s complaint “confused and [a] confusing seven-part complaint.”

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit is an interesting look at fighter pay for boxers.  Agbeko is not a household name yet was a alphabet champion. There were still many deductions that were taken from his fight earnings that could not be substantiated by King according to the Complaint.  King’s attorneys claim that the Complaint does not support a claim under the Muhammad Ali Act and at its core is “inadequate disclosure.”

One of the claimed issues by King’s attorneys with the Muhammad Ali Act is the disclosure requirement (below) for promoters.  Under the Act, a promoter must disclose its payouts before the promoter is paid. Yet, as argued by King’s reps, this number may be unknown since promoters do not know the actual gate and attendance ahead of the fight.

15 U.S.C. 637e(b)

(b) Disclosures to the boxer

A promoter shall not be entitled to receive any compensation

directly or indirectly in connection with a boxing match until it

provides to the boxer it promotes –

(1) the amounts of any compensation or consideration that a

promoter has contracted to receive from such match;

(2) all fees, charges, and expenses that will be assessed by or

through the promoter on the boxer pertaining to the event,

including any portion of the boxer’s purse that the promoter will

receive, and training expenses; and

(3) any reduction in a boxer’s purse contrary to a previous

agreement between the promoter and the boxer or a purse bid held

for the event.

There are not many cases that are being litigated under the Ali Act and it will be interesting to see how the Court will rule.

Some have queried whether MMA should have a Muhammad Ali Act.  While there are some definite positives out of full disclosure for fighter pay, the interpretation and application of the Act by courts will have to be examined.

MMA Payout will keep apprised of the hearing.

Belfort replaces Machida at UFC152

August 24, 2012

After it was announced at a press conference that Jon Jones would face Lyoto Machida at UFC 152, Machida has declined the fight and Vitor Belfort will face Jon Jones.  The surprising news occurred late Thursday night.

Belfort was scheduled to face Alan Belcher in Brazil.  That fight is off although Belcher is likely to fight a replacement.  We assume that the UFC will have that fighter sign first before its announced to the public.

(h/t MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

Yesterday we posted the fact that Jones refused to fight late replacement Chael Sonnen.  Now, we hear that Machida turned down the fight after it was announced.  It begs the question on whether or not Machida was ever notified that he would fight Jones.  The refusal looks bad for the UFC as it had announced it to the press and made up posters for the fight as the main event at 152.

The fighter refusal of Jones and Machida points to the fact that fighters are now pushing back against the UFC.  No longer can White plug and play some of his fighters into matchups.  A case of biting the hand that feeds you or are fighters finally gaining some leverage?

Perhaps Machida thought that he didn’t have sufficient time to train for Jon Jones.  And, if he lost the second rematch, there would be no chance of another title shot unless someone beat Jones.

Of course, he knew he’d get the next title fight (assuming Jones beat Hendo), so we may ask why he wasn’t ready.  It might be that he had planned the fight to occur sometime in 2013 and took time off from training.  We may get a better sense today if his team releases a statement.

In the aftermath of the Jones refusal, it’s interesting to hear the comments of Chael Sonnen about Jones.  Also, the news that Anderson Silva would have fought at UFC 151 to “save” the card.  I think the Silva news may be public relations for Silva to make him appear the hero.  The news is he would not have faced Jones (that would be foolish and if that fight would happen, the UFC would want ample hype time) but an unspecified opponent. Whether or not the UFC would have agreed and who that opponent would be are all questions that will go unanswered.  But, it make Silva look like more of a company man.

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