UFC on Fuel TV 5 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 30, 2012

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fuel TV 5 from Nottingham, England.  The event took place yesterday afternoon in the United States.

The event drew 7,241 for a gate of $970,000.  According to its web site, the Capital FM Arena has a maximum capacity of 10,000.

In addition the bonuses for the event were $40K:

Fight of the Night:  Stefan Struve v. Stipe Miocic

KO of the Night: Brad Pickett

Submission of the Night:   Matt Wiman

Pickett may have earned dance of the night with his Gangham Style dance after knocking out Yves Jabouin.

Overall, a decent afternoon of fights to mix in with your college football viewing.

Nick Diaz seeks judicial review of suspension

September 28, 2012

MMA Fighting reports Nick Diaz and his legal team is seeking judicial review from the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s ruling this past May.  Diaz’s appeal hopes to overturn a $79,500 fine and 12 month suspension.

The NSAC has 30 days to respond to the appeal by Diaz and Keith Kizer indicated that a response is forthcoming.  As most recall, Diaz was suspended after his February bout with Carlos Condit as a drug test revealed Diaz had used marijuana.  Diaz has authority from a doctor for marijuana and ceased using it 8 days prior to the fight with Condit.  Also, the NSAC took issue with the belief Diaz lied on his pre-fight questionnaire with respect to his marijuana use.

In his request for judicial review, the Diaz team argues that the marijuana metabolites found in his system was not prohibited as they argue that the rules are silent on drugs like marijuana “out of competition.”  Diaz also argues that he did not provide false information on his pre-fight questionnaire.

The Diaz team argues that Nick’s answers to a pre-fight questionnaire were truthful and the result of the responses were based on Nick’s interpretation of the question as the legal team cited the need for revising the questionnaire.

For instance, with respect to the question as to “”Have you taken/received any prescribed medications in the last two weeks?”  According to Diaz’s attorney the response no was premised on the fact that Diaz’s prescription was in California where he is given an informal prescription.

Additionally, the NSAC pointed out that Diaz did not identify his ADHD as a “serious medical decision.”  Diaz’s attorney claims that this response was truthful since the NSAC did not provide guidance on the term.

The Diaz legal team also made the following point to MMA Fighting:

“…Diaz finds it bizarre that the Commission is vigorously policing legal marijuana use outside competition while at the same time endorsing and sanctioning the use of steroids and testosterone — which has a direct effect on fighters and their opponents in competition. “

Payout Perspective:

A nice jab by the Diaz legal team to point out the fact that the NSAC is going after Diaz for marijuana use while it legitimatizes and legalizes the use of testosterone and steroids for those that apply.  This shifts the focus of Diaz’s issue to the controversial TRT issue seemingly endorsed by the NSAC.  The legal arguments by Diaz’s team are artful and point out a technical flaw with the NSAC’s argument.  The issue with Diaz filling out the pre-fight questionnaire interests me the most as we will see if the arguments have any weight upon judicial review. We will see if the judicial review will overturn the Commission ruling.

MMA Payout will continue to monitor this development.

White reveals top UFC PPV draws in response to Toronto Sun column

September 28, 2012

At the UFC 152 post-fight presser, Dana White admonished a Toronto Sun column which questioned the organization’s future.  Not only did White assail the columnist at the press conference, he provided evidence that the UFC is not in trouble.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun penned an article critical of the UFC as it visited Toronto this past Saturday.  “UFC a Jugger-Not” takes to task the problems with the UFC: the spate of injuries, the absence of PPV draws GSP and Brock Lesnar and the debacle of UFC 151.

It poses the question of whether the UFC should condense its events due to the  rash of injuries and card shuffling.  It also suggests the company is “at a crossroads” although he makes clear the suggestion is not one of demise.  But, the crossroads assertion makes a point predicated on fighter injuries, attendance and PPV buy rates.

In response, White charged back defending his product as one would expect. In an effort to back his defense with evidence he provided a list of current top 5 PPV draws.  The list includes GSP, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen.  (via MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

The Toronto Sun column was not a hatchet job on the UFC although White’s response seemed like it did.  The column was critical and maybe its sole personal attack was referencing Jon Jones’ DUI.  Still, the column provides valid points along with the suggestion that the UFC cut back on the number of events in order to prevent replacement cards which equate to lower attendance, buy rates and eventually interest.

As for White’s response, it’s not surprising albeit over the top.  The injury bug is a legitimate issue in the UFC especially with the cancelling of two Zuffa events in a month’s time.  The continued shuffling of fighters is necessary, yet should not be a constant.  The suggestion from the Sun is that eliminating several cards would create cards that are more competitive from the bottom to the top of the card.  Thus, if the main event is cut due to an injury, there is enough competitive and name-recognizable fights that the UFC could still hold the card.  With the multitude of cards Zuffa runs, there is zero room for fighter injury.

Only Chael Sonnen is questionable as a top PPV fighter named by White.  This is in part due to the fact he was in the main event with Anderson Silva for two of his top PPV draws (UFC 117 and 148).  Recall that UFC 136 where he fought Brian Stann, only drew 225,000 viewers.  So the question is whether Sonnen sold those Silva fights and was the fact that Stann is not a fighter one can readily demonize was the problem with selling that event.  He also participated in UFC on Fox 2 which drew 4.3 million viewers (notably Rashad Evans was the main event on that card).  Silva is a legitimate draw despite a 335,000 viewer performance at UFC 134 – Brazil.  We will see what type of numbers he can draw at UFC 153.

GSP, Silva, Jones and Evans are legitimate PPV draws and despite a blip with a card (e.g., Evans at UFC 133), each of the 4 fighters have a high PPV buy average.  Jones is beginning to gain momentum as a PPV draw and we will see what the official buys are for 152 to see if his name added value to the card.

UFC 152 Prelims: 955,000 average

September 26, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC 152 Prelims airing on FX this past Saturday scored a viewer average of 955,000.  The average is second to last in all-time UFC FX Prelim ratings.

A further breakdown of the ratings has males 18-49 with a 0.82 rating and a 0.66 rating for males 18-34.  It’s the second straight UFC Prelims averaging under 1 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

An unfortunate downturn in ratings despite some enjoyable fights during the 2 hour card.  The ratings decline could be due to College Football and/or the lack of buzz for the UFC 152 card.

The Wrestling Post: Lawler, Hulu and the color Pink

September 26, 2012

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  We talk about Jerry Lawler’s new t-shirts, a new WWE partnership and the color Pink.

“Long Live the King” T-Shirts emerge after near tragedy

A week after a near tragedy on live television, WWE capitalized on the situation by selling Jerry Lawler T-shirts.  Lawler suffered a heart attack at the announce table on Monday Night Raw.  Fortunately, aid teams were on the spot and saved his life.  Lawler was taken to the hospital and is now back home resting.  He actually made an appearance on Raw this past week.

The WWE debuted new Lawler t-shirts on its web page.  Michael Cole, Lawler’s announcing partner wore the shirt which read, “Long Live the King.” The shirt sells $25-30 according to the web site.

Payout Take:  Is it poor taste for the WWE to take advantage of the situation or business savvy?  If Lawler gets a portion of the shirt revenue, then I’m shirt the King is all for it.  The WWE could have made a PR move here by announcing that portions of the shirt sales would be donated to charities assisting those with heart conditions (maybe tying in that sales go to “a Hart Foundation”).

WWE announces Hulu Plus Partnership

WWE announced a partnership with Hulu Plus which will allow fans to access WWE content the next day.  Hulu Plus has more than 2 million paying subscribers who spend $7.99 a month to access its programming.

The multiyear deal allows subscribers of Hulu paid services the ability to watch WWE shows including “Monday Night Raw,” “Friday Night Smackdown,” “WWE Superstars,” and more.   The partnership allows the WWE to monetize its library of programming online.

Payout Take:  This deal allows the WWE to leverage its bulk of content for the internet.  It gives the WWE another platform for its product and gets the WWE in front of “cord cutters,” individuals that have cancelled their television cable programming.  It’s a good deal and shows that the WWE continues to embrace online users as its YouTube channel has been very successful.

WWE going Pink

The WWE announced a partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.   John Cena will be wearing Pink branded gear which he will wear through the month of October.  The WWE will donate 100 percent of its profits of sales of pink-branded gear to the breast cancer foundation.

Payout Take:  Similar to what the NFL does in October, you will see Pink worn by the WWE’s most visible star.  In addition, the WWE had pink ring ropes for Monday Night Raw. The foundation has made the color synonymous with its cause through its tie-ins with the NFL and now the WWE.  It’s a noteworthy cause and this partnership should reach out to many women fans of the WWE.

Strikeforce fighters compensated despite event cancellation

September 25, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that the fighters from Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy were paid their show money from the recently cancelled card. Several fighters confirmed payment and sources indicated that all 19 fighters scheduled for the card would be compensated.

The report did not state the amount of money each fighter received although the speculation is that all will receive at least their show money.  The event scheduled for Saturday night and to be shown on Showtime was officially cancelled on Sunday night due to an injury to Gilbert Melendez.

According to the article, a promoter is required to give “reasonable compensation” to fighters if an event is cancelled 24 hours prior to an event.  Although there was no obligation to compensate the fighters here, Zuffa decided to do so.

Payout Perspective:

Dana White intimated that UFC 151 fighters were “taken care of” and it made sense for Zuffa to pay Strikeforce fighters here as the second cancelled event in as many months is bad precedent.  At least with paying its fighters, the company appeases those that trained for their fights as the event was cancelled through no fault of its own.  It also is a PR move as a sign that the company is still viable and that the cancellation does not equate to any problems with the company.

Strikeforce event canceled due to Melendez injury

September 24, 2012

Strikeforce announced late Sunday night that it was cancelling its event scheduled for September 29th in Sacramento, California. The cancellation comes with an injury to headliner Gilbert Melendez.

Melendez apparently separated his shoulder according to the Strikeforce light heavyweight champ in an interview with Inside MMA.

Showtime officials stated that the lack of its headliner in the main event and marquee undercard, the card must be cancelled.

Via MMA Junkie:

Ultimately, the decision to entirely cancel the event fell to Strikeforce officials. Of course, the promotion was likely expecting the licensing fees from the Showtime broadcast to cover expenses. For instance, at August’s “Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman” event in San Diego, Calif., the announced fighter purses (not including any non-contracted bonuses) totaled $368,000 while the official gate revenue for the event was confirmed by the California State Athletic Commission as $145,510.

Payout Perspective:

Injuries pre-fight are beginning to be the norm. It seems as though Zuffa must make an effort to survey fight camps to see their respective training methods.  It makes sense considering the numerous injuries that are occurring as the fight nears.  The cancellation was likely warranted given the economic losses it was set to incur.  Furthermore, without Melendez, the shots of the arena would look sparse which is not what the organization wants.  Probably not a good thing for since Strikeforce is trying to keep its head above water.

TUF 16 Episode 2: 872,000 viewer average

September 24, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that the ratings for the second episode of The Ultimate Fighter 16: Carwin vs. Nelson on FX dipped to an average of 872,000 viewers.  Broken down, the numbers included a 0.8 rating for M18-49 and a 0.7 for M18-34.

The ratings for the two hour debut of season 16 scored 972,000 viewers.  The one hour TUF Friday featured the first fight for the welterweights.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are slowly declining to the point that we are resetting expectations for this show.  Yet, Dana White stated that the show is a “home run” for FX’s target demographics.  While the numbers may reflect the fact that it’s doing well with its target demos, White seems to be a little sensitive with the ratings decline.  We will see if 872K will be the average of If it will dip even more this season.

UFC 152: Payout Perspective

September 23, 2012

Welcome back to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 152 coming from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Jones survives scare, subs Phenom

A first round armbar out of nowhere and Jon Jones almost saw his unblemished (let’s not count Hamill DQ) record go away and one of the biggest upsets this side of Matt Serra.  But, Jones survived and does what he does: dominate opponents.  This time, it was a Keylock that made Belfort submit.

Belfort gave a lot more than expected but it was a definite mismatch after the armbar attempt.  This match showed the beauty of jiu jitsu in the UFC. First, Belfort’s armbar was perfectly executed and he would have subbed, or broken the arm, of almost every other fighter in the UFC.  Secondly, Jon Jones’ elbows sliced Belfort’s forehead and as Jones positioned himself for what everyone believed to be a mounted crucifix to reign more elbows on Belfort, Jones saw Belfort’s arm was bent and immediately went for the keylock.  Excellent strategy by Jones.

Mighty Mouse wins Flyweight title

Demetrious Johnson won a split decision over Joseph Benavidez to win the inaugural Flyweight title.  It was a great technical match up.  I had thought Johnson won the fight outright but the judges had it at a split decision.

It’s a great win for a guy with a good backstory as we learned from the Countdown show.

The fans were booing during the end of the match which made no sense to me.  Sure, the fight had slowed but its due to the pace in the early rounds.  The crowd reaction drew some criticism from Joe Rogan on the broadcast.

The Count includes Stann as win

Michael Bisping used his superior cardio skills and outclassed Brian Stann to stake a claim for the next title shot against Anderson Silva.   For as outspoken as Bisping is, he backs it up and did a good job of muting Stann’s offense.

Attendance and gate

MMA Junkie reports that the attendance at the Air Canda Centre in Toronto drew 16,800 for a gate of $1.9 million.  In comparison, the UFC 140 which featured Jon Jones taking on Lyoto Machida last December drew 18,303 fans for a gate of $3.9 million.

It’s interesting with the card shuffling that even with the addition of Jon Jones it did not move the ticket sales as compared to last December.

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses which were announced at the post-UFC 152 press conference.  Each fighter received a $65K bonus.

KO of the Night:  Cub Swanson

Submission of the Night: Jon Jones

Fight of the Night: Evan Dunham vs. T.J. Grant

Sponsorships

The octagon sponsors included Edge, Marines.com, Dodge, the upcoming film, “Here Comes the Boom”, video game Assassin’s Creed , UltimatePoker.com, TapouT and Bud Light with the center.  MetroPCS, RYU and Corn Nuts also sponsored portions of the PPV.

New UFC sponsor Allfuse had the prep point.  This is the second straight PPV where a new sponsor has had the spot where fighters get greased  before heading into the octagon.  I’m not sure if its being used as a one off for sponsors looking to dip its toe in the sponsorship game.

The biggest new sponsor was Nike as Jon Jones sported the swoosh in the Octagon for the first time. The Bones Knows t-shirts were worn by Jones on each media obligation he had prior to the fight.

In addition, Jones was sponsored by Muscletech.  In order to get some notoriety with the sponsorship, it aired a short swim workout Jones did in conjunction with the sponsor.  It was tweeted out to Jones’ followers.

Xyience is also a sponsor of Jones.  After the fight, one of Jones’ corner men reminded Jones he needed to hold the can when he had his hand raised.  But Jones shrugged him off and handed the can back to him.  Xyience was probably not happy about that considering a part of the deal is that he have the can.  After further review, Jones’ right arm was the one that was armbarred so maybe he couldn’t or didn’t want to hold it.

SKY was a prominent sponsor for Vitor Belfort.  Also, Gillette, BMG, Jaco and RVCA were on Vitor’s person.  Despite losing the fight, Vitor did well for himself.

Mighty Mouse was sponsored by Xbox once again.  Probably, one of the best brands and the strongest outside of the Swoosh to endorse.

UltimatePoker.com had a sponsor tie in with a “Belt the champ” contest in which the winner was able to put the belt on Jon Jones.

SE Solutions sponsored Brian Stann.  SE Solutions is an IT company servicing federal agencies focused on protecting America’s security.  The sponsorship fits with what Stann has done and who he is and that’s a good thing.

The cutmen were back to TapouT vests as opposed to RYU ones which they had last PPVs.

Here Comes the Boom, the upcoming movie about a mild-mannered teacher becoming a UFC  fighter to raise money for his school.  The UFC gave James, a huge UFC fan before it became mainstream, license and access for the movie. But, was Kevin James supposed to look that big in the promo for the movie, “Here Comes the Boom.”  James is living the dream.  Not only was he in the King of Queens opposite Leah Remini (at her best), now he’s opposite Selma Hayek in a role where he allegedly becomes a MMA fighter.  I know, we are supposed to suspend reality…

Roger Hallet was sponsored by MMA Bodyguards.  The company offers security assistance leveraging their MMA training.  Former UFC fighter Josh Neer is on the web site.

Sponsor Assassin’s Creed had a UFC tie-in with Royce Gracie winning a contest voted on by the fans.  Sure, we’ll buy it.  The contest and the video game.  Edge had a similar activation with Joseph Benavidez winning the Edge new “fresh face”

Although the two companies can be considered  competitors , RYU sent a welcome to Nike.

Post-UFC 152 Headlines

What’s next for Jones?

Is a Chael Sonnen showdown really what the UFC needs?  Sure, it will sell a PPV but what about the long-range direction of the division.  We can argue that the division has been cleaned out and now the UFC should just find the biggest fight.  Sonnen can hype a fight.  But does he stand a chance on winning.

How much will we see the Flyweight division?

With the crowning of a champion, it will be interesting to see how much we will see this division featured on PPV.  I think that the division should start out on Fuel and FX Prelims and eventually gravitate to PPV.  But, from the crowd reaction, it may take some time for fans to adjust.

Does Bisping deserve a title shot?

We may hate him as much as Jon Jones but Michael Bisping is a top contender in the middleweight division.  He controlled Brian Stann and should be thought of as the next in line for a title shot against the Spider.

Odds and ends

-The initial headliners: Johnson-Benavedez and Stann-Bisping did some promos where they hung off of the CN Tower.  All that and they didn’t even receive top billing

-We outlined the PR issues Jon Jones has and the main point from that is Jones needs to mature and be himself with the understanding that he couldn’t please everyone.  But his entrance song last night:  Bob Marley’s “Could you be Loved” as if it were a plea to his fans to like him.

-I believe it is now mandatory that Ronda Rousey appear at anything UFC related.  She was seen in the crowd at the event.  Also, Strikeforce fighters Luke Rockhold (wearing black) and Daniel Cormier (wearing white) to which Cormier mouthed to the camera “Ebony and Ivory”.   It’s the details that make me laugh.

-Any twitter jokes that the Marines Keys to Victory figures of Benavidez v. Johnson were their actual sizes?

-Can someone tell me the other man that Matt Hume told he should quit his full time job to train as a fighter?  Mighty  Mouse was one, who was the other?

-We will address Dana White’s post-UFC152 fury at a Toronto columnist in a separate post.

Conclusion

It will be an interesting buy rate for UFC 152.  Arguably, the cancellation of 151 could have helped with buys since fans would be Jonesing for UFC fights.  Still, the card shuffling and main event of Jones-Belfort didn’t seem like it was a real attraction.  A buy rate of 450K-500K would be a success.  But think what the buy rate would be if Jones was not on this card.

Big weekend for the Jones brothers

September 22, 2012

The USA Today (via MMA Junkie) writes about the famous Jones brothers as it looks at this rare weekend where all three will be working.  Jon fights tonight and Arthur and Chandler play each other Sunday.

ESPN also had a feature with Jon Jones as well as a studio game in which he plays along Arthur v. Chandler.  Notice the Nike Bones Jones shirt as well.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously the Ravens-Patriots are playing and not just Arthur versus Chandler.  This is a unique weekend for the Jones brothers.  Assuming Jon Jones wins tonight, we can expect a camera shot or appearance on the sidelines or skybox at Sunday Night Football.  It’s a definite talking point and interesting factoid for the broadcast.  Plus, it’s another good PR move for the UFC to get the story out there and the UFC/Bones Jones Brand.

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