UFC 157: Payout Perspective
February 25, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 157 from The Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In the main event, Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in the first ever women’s bout in the UFC.
Rousey submits Carmouche, UFC wins
Saturday night’s title fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche could not have gone better unless it had gone 5 rounds…or even 2. But, Rousey’s trademark armbar with just seconds left in the first round left the crowd and many fans satisfied with the main event.
The fight legitimized women’s MMA. Rousey did what she does (i.e., armbar) and Carmouche showed that she was not a tomato can. In the end, the UFC ended up winning as it showed that the women could put on a show. It took a risk in putting this as the main event and the women came through. Now the only issue is where it goes from here.
Machida wins, the fans do not
This fight complemented the main event because it was not an entertaining fight. If Rousey-Carmouche were not on top of the card it would have been this fight. Fortunate for everyone, the UFC went with the women. With that said, it was a tactical fight that was slow paced. Whether it was Machida’s in and out or Henderson’s constant measuring of the Dragon, the fight lacked any excitement.
Machida will get another shot at Jon Jones but after watching this fight, I’m not sure if that excites anyone.
Faber chokes out Menjivar
The details of jiu jitsu. If you have the fight on DVR, during the finish watch how Urijah Faber uses his non-choking arm to peel back the forehead of Ivan Menjivar which exposed his neck despite Menjivar’s attempts to tuck his chin. With the neck exposed, Faber slid in his arm and coupled with the body triangle Menjivar was forced to tap. The peel back of the arm is what Carmouche was unable to do with Rousey when the two were in a similar position.
An impressive win for Faber as he looked fresh and reminiscent of his time in the WEC. However, the rub is that he’s in a place where he’s better than the mid-card but not good enough to claim a title. We’ll see what the UFC does with Faber.
Attendance and Gate
Announced at the post-fight press conference, the Honda Center was sold out with 15,525 for a gate of $1.4 million. There was no confirmation on paid attendance versus comps.
As we detailed here, it was the highest attended event at The Honda Center which included UFC 121: Velasquez versus Lesnar. It also bested the two Affliction events held at The Honda Center although Affliction: Banned earned more ($2.1M gate per MMA Payout’s Blue Book).
It seems as though Anaheim is the “go to” venue outside of Vegas. This venue worked for this event. The Honda Center is down the road from Rousey’s home in the LA area and up the road from Carmouche’s in San Diego. Most fans could travel easily up or down Interstate 5 to support their fighters. Southern California is a hub for MMA and is more progressive than most areas of the country. Sure, it’s in Orange County but it’s in Anaheim, not Newport Beach.
As reported previously, the bonuses were $50,000 each and were awarded below:
Fight of the Night: Dennis Bermudez v. Matt Grice
Submission of the Night: Kenny Robertson
KO of the Night: Robbie Lawler
Promotion of the Fight
Rousey was on every media outlet imaginable: ESPN, SI, The Jim Rome Show, Time and HBO Sports to name a few. The UFC stated that this event received the most media attention ever and Rousey has received more media than Brock Lesnar. The Rousey media blitz drew support from mainstream notables that gave their support via twitter.
— Stuart Scott (@StuartScott) February 24, 2013
Congratulations Mohr Stories veteran @rondarousey . Amazing fight. Brilliant finish.
— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) February 24, 2013
Who all is watching Rouzey vs Carmouche?!?! Major night for women!!! Lets entertain the world!!! Who you going for? #fb
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) February 24, 2013
The UFC pitched gay media to focus on the Liz Carmouche her story. The UFC did a good job in marketing Carmouche as a pioneer for the gay community without exploiting her sexual orientation. It also stressed the fact that she was a U.S. Marine.
With Danica Patrick competing at the Daytona 500, media were eager to jump on the women’s weekend. Realistically, it’s hard to blame the media focus: it is historical, out of the ordinary and an easy lead that would get readers/page views.
The 3 part UFC Primetimes were especially good this time around. It had more meat to it for the obvious reasons. Both fighters had compelling stories that drew you in. It’s what the Primetimes are supposed to do. It seemed more like the good HBO 24/7s especially the last 5 mins of the first and third episodes. Good narration and great writing made the shows.
The night’s sponsors in the Octagon included Xyience, MetroPCS, UltimatePoker.com, Toyo Tires, Dodge Dart, TapouT, new sponsor Head and Shoulders and Bud Light in the center. Corn Nuts also sponsored the corner cam.
Rousey was sponsored by the UFC as she donned the UFC-Monster headphones and wore UFC sponsored gear although I believe that Lululemon Athletic made the fight gear. Will double check on that. She also had a Xyience patch on her shorts.
In addition to inside the Octagon, Rousey also has deal with Fuji gis.
Carmouche had several sponsors including VA Home Mortgage (which sponsored several fighters on the card), Salesforce and Torque.
Henderson had his Twitter and Facebook handles on his shorts in addition to Clinchgear.
Machida was sponsored by official UFC sponsors Bony Acai and Head and Shoulders in addition to Venum,
Kenny Robertson won submission of the night and also gets the award for best sponsor: Mason Funeral Home. A funeral home sponsoring a UFC fighter? Everyone dies so it is in the UFC demo.
Josh Koscheck and Lyoto Machida are still sponsored by Lugz. I didn’t know that the company was still around. But, these two have had long-term sponsor deals with the company.
Post-UFC 157 Headlines
What’s next for women’s MMA – It was a good debut for the women in the UFC. It was an exciting, competitive match and no blood. There was the concern of Rousey almost losing her top but the UFC avoided that issue. So, what’s next? Rousey will be a draw the next time she fights. But, the bigger issue is what happens when other women fight. The UFC would not be able to get as much buzz for another women’s fight if Rousey is not in it. We’ll see how the UFC uses women’s MMA to complement the male card.
Machida next for Jones – Is anyone excited to see this rematch? Perhaps the UFC hoped for Henderson to win here to get a redo for UFC 151. I’d rather see Alexander Gustafsson get the shot.
Odds and ends
– Kenny Robertson will be teaching class on Monday at his “day” job.
– I was sitting on the tweet that Henderson was going to knock the head off of Machida’s shoulders all night. It didn’t happen.
– I wonder if there was a proposition bet on whether Carmouche would have gotten out of the 1st round. If so, that would have been exciting.
– It’s obvious that the UFC has a working relationship with Invicta as Carmouche’s coach wore the shirt and the logo was seen during the UFC Primetimes. Zuffa wouldn’t let this happen unless there was a business relationship. If women’s MMA starts to take off could we see another Zuffa purchase? More likely I could see the UFC using Invicta like a farm system and call up fighters to fight on a UFC card.
With all of the great media attention the UFC received for Saturday’s event, it will be interesting to see how much of the media attention will convert to PPV buys. It reached out to more media than usual in getting attention for this event. Rousey and Carmouche have been great ambassadors for women’s MMA. But, I think it will boil down to whether the casual viewer can stomach the possibility of seeing a woman busted open and bleeding like Joe Lauzon at UFC 155. Or, can they watch an arm be broken right in front of their eyes. These are questions that seem silly but will really determine whether women’s MMA can succeed with the UFC.
With that being said, a low to mediocre PPV buy rate would be disappointing considering the amount of public relations and press buzz the UFC received for this bout. Yet, how many new viewers can be added for this event? Would the backstory of Rousey and the novelty of the women’s fight be enough to convert non-UFC followers to pay for the PPV. Last year’s PPV average hovered around 450,000 buys. If UFC 157 hit the average it would be a success.