UFC 155: Payout Perspective

December 30, 2012

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Vegas where Junior dos Santos-Cain Velasquez II took place.

Cain dominates JDS for UFC Heavyweight title

Total domination.  Cain Velasquez controlled Junior dos Santos for almost 5 rounds and regained the UFC Heavyweight title.  While it looked like Cain was going to stop JDS in the first round, the champ showed some heart and a second wind in at least mounting some offense.  But it was too little to overcome the mauling Cain put on JDS.

UFC 155

Lauzon-Miller put on Fight of the Year

Lauzon wore the crimson mask most of the fight but made every effort to submit Jim Miller  including a flying leg lock in the 3rd round.  Miller rushed Lauzon in the first with strong strikes which caused the cut on Lauzon.  It was a great match and with only 2 days left in 2012, could be the fight of the year.

Attendance and Gate

MMA Junkie reports that UFC 155’s attendance was 12,423 for a $3.286 million gate.  The figures outdid last year’s UFC 141 (which was held on a Friday) which did a gate of $3.1 million although attendance was higher at 13,793.  

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses which were announced at the post-fight press conference.  Notably, two of the three bonuses occurred during the Facebook fights.  Each fighter earned $65,000.

FOTN:  Jim Miller v. Joe Lauzon
Submission of the night:  John Moraga
KO of the night:  Todd Duffee

Sponsorships

The big news is that the newest sponsor for the UFC is Right Guard.  It appeared on the Octagon mat and was prevalent throughout the PPV.  Notably absent was the U.S. Marines which did not renew its sponsorship deal at the end of November.

The spoof movie, “Movie 43,” Harley Davidson, RYU, MetroPCS, TapouT, Right Guard and Bud Light were all in the octagon.  

Harley Davidson offered the winner of the JDS-Cain match a Harley Davidson in honor of its 110th anniversary.  The move created a little controversy considering that Jose Aldo’s motorcycle accident altered UFC fighter contracts to include a clause prohibiting its fighters from participating in dangerous activities outside of the Octagon.  So that nixes bull-riding and presumably motorcycle riding but for the fact that Harley Davidson is a major sponsor.  As a concession to his sponsor, Dana White stated that he was fine with the bike so long as it was not their primary source of transportation.

Junior dos Santos became the third UFC fighter to be sponsored by Nike.  He had an aesthetically pleasing fight banner with just the swoosh as his main sponsor.  Also, it was the lone sponsor on the back of his shorts.  We will see how the loss affects his sponsorship.

Virtustream, a cloud computing company, sponsored Joe Lauzon.  Bee Bald, a “hair care” products company focusing on the follicly-challenged, also sponsored Lauzon.  

Post-UFC 155 Headline

Who’s next for Cain?

Not Daniel Cormier if you ask either one of them as each nixed that idea during the UFC post-fight show on Fuel.  More likely, it will be the Alistair Overeem-Bigfoot Silva winner with JDS likely out for a while due to the pounding he took from Cain.

Cormier sounded like he would be willing to cut weight to fight at 205 and challenge Jon Jones.  We’ll see how that plays out considering Alexsander Gustafsson occupies the top slot to challenge Jones.

Odds and Ends

Deadspin.com published an interesting piece on the marketing of Cain Velasquez.  The main point of the article was questioning the UFC on marketing the Mexican America Cain as the champion of brown people in marketing to the demo.  The theory appears to be that although Cain is proud of his background, is marketing him as a champion to Mexicans plausible.  Its an interesting question.  You may have noticed last night that during his post-fight interview in the cage, he did not attempt to speak Spanish as he did when he won the title from Brock Lesnar.  With his championship reign, we shall see how much the UFC attempts to market Cain to the Mexican and Mexican American Community. One need only look at Cain’s “Brown Pride” tattoo to know that he is proud of his heritage (something Dana White defended this past week).  But, the Deadspin article questions whether this is valid marketing.

Erik Perez was cleared to wear a Lucha Libre mask to weigh-ins and he also donned the mask in his post-fight interview (along with his corner).  The mask had to be cleared by Dana White.  The UFC quickly took advantage of the idea by selling lucha libre masks at the event.

Nice to see Todd Duffee back in the UFC.  Hopefully he can add to the depth of the heavyweight division.

If you watched the Countdown show to UFC 155, it featured Joe Lauzon and how he has invested his bonus money into his MMA gym.  Lauzon said he spent 20K on mats for his gym.  This is one of the many examples of fighters investing their money in their craft.

Not sure if this has been happening more, but I noticed an inordinate amount of talk of gambling odds for fights.  Notably, Joe Rogan asking Jon Anik who was the favorite in the Miller-Lauzon fight during the fight.  

Conclusion

The last two PPV heavyweight main events have hit over 500K PPV buys: Lesnar/Overeem (535K) and dos Santos/Mir (560K).  The buzz for this event seemed a little compressed due to the Christmas holiday last week.  The rest of the card would not appeal to the casual viewer.  The PPV did go up against HBO’s Best of Boxing 2012 including reruns of Rios/Alvardo and Pacquiao/Marquez IV.  Its unlikely that the boxing reruns dented too much of the buy rate.  The allure of a heavyweight bout likely gets it to 500K PPV buys.

16 Responses to “UFC 155: Payout Perspective”

  1. Sundog on December 30th, 2012 11:26 PM

    Anik seems to pay a lot of attention to the sports books, based on his Twitter

  2. Brain Smasher on December 31st, 2012 12:58 AM

    I look for a heavy push to market Cain. Imo i think the UFC expected Cain to win their first match when he had so much of a hispanic folloowing after his win over Brock. The speed in which he recieved a rematch and his choice of opponent to get that rematch only supports that belief. The UFC come off this spelling like a Rose. They have their hispanic fighter to promote and they are in position to do the rubber match maybe in Brazil and do great numbers down there or any where they want to put this fight.

  3. Diego on December 31st, 2012 7:42 AM

    They know they can get good turnout in Brazil with any number of fighters. I think they should use this opportunity to push the sport in Mexico. I still have my doubts about how much juice they can get out of Cain down there – there’s a big difference to Mexican fight fans between Mexican-Americans and “pure” Mexicans (born and bred) but if they are going to make a push, now is the time. They can add Erik Perez and throw in whatever other Hispanic fighters they can scrape up and make as big an impact as possible.

  4. jose on December 31st, 2012 9:37 AM

    I think it’s funny that Dana thinks Cain’s racist “Brown Pride” tattoo isn’t a problem. Dana thinks he can make the issue go away if he calls everybody who notices the giant racist tattoo on Cain’s chest a moron.

    Cain tries to play it off that, oh, it’s just pride in being Mexican. That’s BS. For one, there are black and white people in Mexico. Asians, too. Mexico is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society. Especially in 2013. If you want to show pride in being Mexican or Mexican-American than get a Mexican tattoo, wear Mexican colors. Show pride in country, not pride in skin color. Cause that’s racist.

    Tito Oritz did it right carrying both flags. There are tons of Mexican and hispanic fighters that are able to show pride in their country without being racist. Erik Perez wore the luchador mask. Mexicans of all skin tones can take pride in the history of luchadors in Mexico. People of all skin tones can. There’s lots of black, white, and asian kids out there with Rey Mysterio masks. When you make it about pride of country and culture then you invite others in, when you make it about pride in skin color then you exclude most of the world.

    The other funny aspect is that Cain himself is paler than most “white” people I know. The typical southern European has a darker complexion than Cain. Cain is also much paler than people from Southeast Asia or South Asia. In fact, compared to most people on the planet, Cain is really white and pale-skinned. In fact, it’s because his skin is so white that his stupid “Brown Pride” tattoo is so easy to read. The black ink stands out crisply on Cain’s pasty skin.

    Cain seems like a fairly decent guy. I think he made a mistake as a young man getting such a bigoted, intolerant message inked on his chest. Young men often do stupid, offensive things. He should get his racist tattoo removed.

  5. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 11:34 AM

    @Diego – I agree with your point – “there’s a big difference to Mexican fight fans between Mexican-Americans and “pure” Mexicans (born and bred) ”

    I don’t think the UFC brass really gets that point. I also agree that a rematch between Cain and JDS would be better in Mexico, if they can manage it. There are a number of Brazillian fighters who could pack a stadium, but few of Mexican descent/heritage–and Mexico is a huge untapped market. Also, Mexico and Brazil have a strong rivalry in soccer/football, so a big event in Mexico would guarantee a huge Mexican and Brazillian following.

    @jose — I think you hit the nail on the head regarding Cain and his Brown Pride tattoo. It is a shame, since Cain himself does not appear to be a person with estreme beliefs as his tattoo suggests. I agree it probably was a youthful mistake–but now he is famous for it–he cannot remove it without more controversey.

    Cain Velasquez’s win was a bonus from a UFC business perspective. If Cain had lost, it would have put him and the UFC in a strange position. With two losses to the champ, Cain could only fight non-contender worthy opponents. Now a whole raft of possible matchups is available thanks to Cain winning the championship again.

    UFC 155 capped off a strange year for the UFC, given all the injuries which plagued the promotion. Even though Dana White is a master of promotional spin, I buy his argument that if the UFC can make money in such a tough year, then it is here to stay.

    It is important to remember that the UFC is no longer solely a PPV company. According to a number of sources, they are making $100 million a year from their Fox TV deal. Worldwide, the UFC is also raking in cash–including countries such as Canada and Brazil where separate TV deals also exist. In addition to the growing global presence via media deals, merchandising of UFC products is also a factor in total revenues.

  6. Jason Cruz on December 31st, 2012 12:47 PM

    Salaries in from the NSAC via MMA Junkie

    Cain – $100K plus $100K
    JDS – $400K

    more salary info upcoming or click on link

  7. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 12:59 PM

    By the way, regarding the Lucha Libre mask–I thought it was stupid as did many of my friends who watched the event.

    The mask links the UFC to fake wrestling in the minds of most viewers–including Mexican viewers.

    While many marketing types consider a WWE — UFC fusion good for the sport–most hardcore fans despise the WWE and view the WWE to be antithetical to MMA.

    It is not just that the WWE is fake wrestling–but that the WWE represents the nadir of melodrama and bad acting.

    As MMA seeks to be seen as a legitimate sport, links to fake wrestling do not help in this effort. Dana White et al should realize that encouraging Mexican fans by allowing such masks may very well repel non-Mexican fans.

    The more the UFC and MMA are seen as a sport, the longer it will last–but the more it becomes just entertainment, it may garner temporary benefits but long term–it will be subject to the whims and caprice of current taste.

  8. Diego on December 31st, 2012 1:27 PM

    I’m not sure what to think about the mask. You don’t see any Mexican boxers donning a mask for their ring walks or post-fight interviews (although you do get plenty of ridiculous sombreros and sarapes). I’m not against it if it gets fans fired up but I agree that although Lucha Libre has an esteemed place in Mexican and Mexican-American culture, people understand that at its core it’s fake. And I’m not sure that’s a parallel you want to make with MMA, especially since at this point MMA is a sport that many Mexicans are unfamiliar with. A Lucha Libre style introduction to the sport is not something I’m comfortable with.

    But I suppose I could be wrong. I’ve been on both sides of the issue in my mind.

  9. Diego on December 31st, 2012 1:33 PM

    As for Cain’s Brown Pride tattoo – that’s a Hispanic-American thing – mostly SoCal and the Southwest. You don’t see those tattoos in Mexico. I don’t like it, but I do think it’s fairly harmless. Yes, racist and hypocritical (imagine the reaction to a caucasian fighter with a “White Pride” tattoo) but harmless. If I were Cain, I would get it covered up. I’m Mexican-American raised in Monterrey, Mexico and right or wrong I’ve always associated those kinds of tattoos with gangbangers from East LA.

  10. Diego on December 31st, 2012 1:34 PM

    Bottom line on the tattoo – it may get him fans north of the border but I don’t think it does anything for him in Mexico proper.

  11. Brain Smasher on December 31st, 2012 8:05 PM

    Cains Tattoo isnt racist. There is nothing racist about having pride in your race. What i do think is due to the double standard of other races not being “allowed” to do it(imagine how “White Pride” would go over) it is in very poor taste of him to use that way to show pride in his race. Noone should be ashamed of being black white brown or green. Cain doing that doesnt make him racist but like a black person saying the N word it makes him look ignorant and insensitive to those who dont get that right to express their pride in their race. It seems people are taking it out on Cain when it really isnt his fault. Whites have to walk on egg shells and act ashamed of their race while other flaunt their race in out face.

    As for marketing Cain. I agree it might be hard to lure in the Mexican fans. But think the UFC is just trying to lure in the Mexican/American fans that are in the US. There are tons of them which is why the UFC booked him in the LA area. Not sure he will go over will in a event in Mexico though.

    I dont care about the mask. The UFC did the right thing. Clearly this mask meant a lot of the fighter who wore it. The UFC used many opportunities to make it clear what the mask meant and why they allowed it. There isnt many fans who are going to see that mask and not the explaination that was given on the ait during the fight and at the post fight show and in the MMA news media. I think it was important to address it wasnt a Pro Wrestling stunt but now it is a non issue. If people cant tell the different between a real fight and pro wrestling due to a mask then is that really the fans this sport wants? I dont think so.

  12. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 10:59 PM

    I wonder if Alexander Gustaffson could walk out the octagon with a Viking horned helmet and Thor’s hammer?

    He could claim it had personal cultural significance to his people.

    I really don’t have a huge problem with the mask thing, I am just worried that it is the thin edge of the wedge. I tend to favor a more reserved austere entrance, and a focus on fighting–not gimmickry packaged as cultural expression.

  13. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 11:30 PM

    BTW: On the Brown Pride issue–I don’t particularly like it, but I am not offended by it–I only shrug when I see it. Meh. Bottom line: Cain is an American fighter; not Mexican.

    Where I live most of these race issues don’t exist, but I am sure Cain must have had some traumatic experiences when he was younger.

    As far as MMA is concerned, I think it is cool to see fighters from all over the world competing–and it is becoming more international each year.

  14. jay on January 2nd, 2013 5:42 AM

    Cain’s tattoo is immense.

  15. killer on January 2nd, 2013 10:14 PM

    i wonder what this apparent take over by other races will do to the large white male fanbase in america. will they quit watching when their people are pushed out like they were in boxing

  16. Jason Cruz on January 14th, 2013 10:12 PM

    Updated attendance figures: $3,286,025 gate, 13,561 attended

    “The Nevada state athletic commission’s numbers showed that 10,590 tickets were sold while 2,971 were comped, leaving 347 tickets to the Dec. 29 show unsold.”

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