UFC 158: Payout Perspective

March 20, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 158 from the Belle Centre in Montreal where GSP defended his welterweight title against Nick Diaz.

GSP dominates Diaz

In a much anticipated match, Georges St. Pierre controlled Nick Diaz for 5 rounds and earned the unanimous decision.  Diaz and GSP shared pleasantries after the fight in which Diaz once again stole the show with the post-fight Octagon interview by inferring that it seemed like GSP knew his game plan and that he was retiring.

It was nice to see Diaz raise GSP’s hand when the final horn sounded and for GSP to put over Diaz.  Of course, this was sullied with Nick Diaz as he later stated he wanted a rematch and that he was not impressed with GSP’s punching power.

Diaz-GSP poster

Hendrix stakes claim to No. 1 Contender slot

Johny Hendrix used a mix of wrestling takedowns and his trademark left hand to turn back Carlos Condit to earn the next shot against GSP.  The fight displayed the high level of competition that the UFC wishes it had in every main event.  Hendrix proved that he should be the next in line to challenge GSP.

Despite losing 2 in a row, Condit is still in the upper echelon of the welterweight division.

Ellenberger stops Marquardt

In another welterweight matchup, Jake Ellenberger showed his power as his stopped Nate Marquardt.  Ellenberger’s impressive victory likely catapults him to one or two fights away from a title shot.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

We listed the attendance and gate here.  UFC 158 ranked fourth among UFC events at the Bell Centre.  Of course, the preceding events were not too bad despite what people think of how poor the undercard may be.  I think people go to see the people at the top of the card.  Just my opinion.

Only two bonuses were given out since there were no submission of the night.  Each received $50,000.

Condit-Hendricks – Fight of the Night

Jake Ellenberger – KO of the Night

Promotion of the Fight

Two Words:  Nick Diaz.  Two More:  Wolf Tickets

We talked about the Media Relations of Nick Diaz previously but his appearance at the teleconference and press conference for UFC 158 was stuff of media magic in a twisted sort of way.  Diaz’s unfiltered stream of unconscious talk went from the informed (a sermon on changes in MMA), to the ridiculous (accusing GSP of steroid use) to the unknown (wolf tickets).  Diaz did not disappoint with his post-fight comments.

I sort of felt like Joe Rogan needed to help Diaz out with the post-fight Octagon interview as he could tell that Diaz did not want to be interviewed.  Still, its Rogan’s job to get the most out of the interview and get out.  It seemed to trail in an uncomfortable sort of way.

A UFC Primetime was thought to happen for 158 but Diaz no-showed the scheduled interviews for the shows.  This had to anger White as he spent a lot of money on producing a show that never occurred.

Still, the usual mundane teleconference and press conferences became musts to see what Diaz would do or say.  For GSP, it looked and sounded like this was all wearing him down.  You could also see it as Diaz rattling him but at times GSP had the look as though he didn’t know what was going on.  Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks had to wonder why they were asked to come to the conferences when they barely said anything.

Despite the lack of the Primetime show, the UFC Countdown show did its usual job of hyping the fighters.

Meanwhile, the UFC Prelims did very well on FX.

Sponsorships

Boston Pizza, Alienware and The History Channel’s new show “Counting Cars” were new addition in the Octagon along with regular sponsors, Harley Davidson, Ultimate Poker, Toyo Tires, Dodge Dart, TapouT, Xyience, Musclepharm and Bud Light.

The broadcast had a preview of the “Counting Cars” show.  Anyone else think it was actually about counting cars.

GSP was sponsored by Affliction and Hayabusa.  He wore an Affliction shirt and a Hayabusa Gi going into the Octagon.  For those like myself that were wondering, Affliction is a lifestyle brand whereas Hayabusa is considered an MMA training brand.  It appears that neither brand paid for exclusive rights to GSP. Interesting that GSP’s cornerman, Firas Zahabi has his own deal with Headrush.

Recently we spoke with Elie Deshe of VFD Marketing who is the marketing firm for Nick Diaz.  He indicated that despite what people may think of Diaz, he doesn’t have a problem with getting sponsors.  As you could tell from Saturday, he had a ton of sponsors on his shorts (more than usual I think), despite just wearing a Stockton pullover to both the weigh-ins and fight.

Sponsor Instaloans was prevalent on many fighters.  Some had the logo placed on the hips which I thought was interesting placement.

Johny Hendricks participated in some good will by auctioning off some of his gear for the Wounded Warrior project.  He also sent out a pic (h/t: FighterxFashion) of his fight shorts which shows a bevy of sponsors including Bass Pro Shops, Wild Wing, Instaloan, Alienware, Sannation, TRX, MGR Construction Services all on his Ecko Shorts.

johny-hendricks-ufc-158-shorts

Its interesting that MGR Construction Services is involved in MMA sponsorship.  It even has a tab on the front page of its web site.

Chris Camozzi made some news by writing a blog post in which he called for UFC fighters to turn down lowball offers from sponsors in order to get what they deserved.  We’ll write about his later but its an interesting take on the state of sponsorships.  It was interesting that he had two black pieces of tape over each shoulder on his walkout shirt.  Perhaps a problem with that sponsor.

Post-Fight Headlines

Tax woes for Diaz. What is becoming a story after 158 is not what happened in the Octagon but once again Diaz’s comments.  He indicated that he hasn’t paid taxes and may go to jail.  The comments took everyone off guard.  Cesar Gracie indicated on The MMA Hour that Nick has paid taxes and that while his brother Nate has an accountant, Nick has not followed suit.  His comments created a mainstream buzz and many brought up the name Wesley Snipes.  Hopefully, Nick will seek some accounting help and straighten everything out with the IRS. Certainly, announcing not paying taxes may make one susceptible to an audit.

What’s next for GSP?  Although I initially thought he would fight Anderson Silva this November at Madison Square Garden, it looks like that Johny Hendricks may get the shot.

Ronda Rousey on the next TUF.  Yes, we could not stay away from mentioning that Ronda Rousey will coach men and women on the next season of TUF.  An obvious move to grab mainstream fans and take advantage of their asset (Rousey).  We’ll see if this will garner ratings as the UFC has tried everything else.  In order to pull some ratings for its Prelims show, the UFC waited until the end of the show to make the announcement.

Odds and Ends

–   The Mike Ricci-Collin Fletcher fight might have been on PPV as a favor to GSP and the Tri-Star Gym.  I do not know why else it would be on the main card and not Patrick Cote.  Speaking of Fletcher, he’s someone that could give you nightmares by just his appearance.

–  Interesting to hear that there was an argument in the back before the main event that Diaz’s camp claimed there was an issue with GSP’s gloves.  Where was Naazim Richardson when you needed him?

–  Nick also inferred that there may have been a “mole” in his camp that told GSP his gameplan.  Unlikely.  Regardless, it wasn’t the reason he lost.

– Did the UFC change the promo poster after Diaz complained of his pic on it?

French UFC 158

–  Best moment of the post-UFC 158 interviews was the Fuel post-fight where GSP was seen caught off guard and eating pizza while being interviewed.

–  Nick Diaz camp posted a video on YouTube of him hitting a speed bag for 23 minutes.  Two questions:  why did they post it and why did I watch the whole thing.

– Dana White and Vince McMahon could have had a match at Wrestlemania according to White.  We’ll have more on this in The Wrestling Post later this week.

–  Did anyone else feel like Diaz was going to slug GSP after the fight because he was being too nice?  The scene post-fight reminded me of pro wrestling where everyone is a friend and then someone turns.

Conclusion

According to initial reports, the PPV buys were strong.  Dave Meltzer had filed a Certification in the Bellator-Eddie Alvarez case where he believed that buys for UFC 158 would range between 750K to 850K PPV buys.  Despite what you think of his style and that he hasn’t finished a fight in years, GSP is still the king of the UFC PPV since Brock Lesnar left.  As many reports indicate, it will likely hover around Silva-Sonnen II range due to the added heat brought by Nick Diaz.  We could see it hitting 900K PPV buys.

17 Responses to “UFC 158: Payout Perspective”

  1. Jose Mendoza on March 20th, 2013 9:36 AM

    Nice read Jason!

  2. Diego on March 20th, 2013 10:52 AM

    It was a good card, even though the main event went the way pretty much everyone in the world thought it would. I was impressed with some of what Diaz did – he hurt GSP a few times, stuffed more takedowns than people generally do and had some success in the clinch – while still getting thoroughly dominated.

    It’s amazing that in GSP’s last two fights, we can talk about what his opponents did well even though the fights are 50-45 shut outs. Everyone has such high expectations of GSP that when his opponents do anything right we’re all impressed, though GSP still wins round after round. Case in point: Nick Diaz continually getting up (though he was immediately taken down again) and stuffing several takedowns in a row (though GSP just shot in again) and landing a huge body punch (though GSP quickly got him down). It seems all you can get against GSP is a moral victory or two.

    With that said, he has looked beatable in later rounds against both Condit and Diaz. Is he slowing down, or is he so big (he looked huge on Saturday) that the weight cut is getting more difficult?

  3. Diego on March 20th, 2013 10:53 AM

    In case anyone was wondering, the fight of the night was Bradley-Provodnikov.

  4. Tribute on March 20th, 2013 11:22 AM

    I heard Dana say that there was never an intention to do a Primtime for this event as they did one for the previous PPV (Rousey v Carmouche).

  5. Weezy02 on March 20th, 2013 11:34 AM

    It is interesting that the biggest PPV draws in boxing and MMA have both gone 8-0 with 1 finish in their last 8 fights. The one finish, for both of them, was a champion coming up from a lighter weigh class. MMA fans seem more impatient for finishes that boxing fans. Arguably the greatest boxer of all time, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, for example, had a 9 fight streak during his championship run where he only had one finish.

  6. Jason Cruz on March 20th, 2013 12:06 PM

    @Diego

    I think you might be right. What I found interesting was that that fight was happening at the same time as GSP-Diaz. I found myself checking twitter to get updates.

  7. Jason Cruz on March 20th, 2013 2:23 PM

    @Tribute

    Maybe. But if GSP is one of your biggest draws, I would think you would want to take advantage of that. Sure it may become repetitive like Mayweather with 24/7 but still.

  8. Brain Smasher on March 20th, 2013 3:21 PM

    Jason. I think the UFC is looking ahead. GSP/Diaz was going to do what it was going to do. I think with so many past GSP prime times. The UFC has to be very selective now. They know there is the possibility of him fighting Silva. That is a must for Prime Time. The only 2 real chances to beat GSP(imo they both will, especially Hendricks) is Hendricks and Ellenburger. Now i dont believe they will do a prime time for either guy. But when GSP loses they will for the rematch for sure. So i think its a combination of to mant in the past and better fights in the future that caused them to pass here. You dont want to tire people out of GSP faster than you have to. He is already getting a full 25 minutes each fight lol.

    Basically i dont think anyone credible expected this fight to be compeittive. We knew GSP wasnt going to finish because Diaz chin and bottom game. We knew Diaz was helpless vs wrestlers and to slow and have much of a punchers chance. So really whats the point of a Prime Time? Diaz fans are already buying it and baked enough to think he has a chance. This fight already had the interest a Prime Time is meant to create.

  9. Diego on March 20th, 2013 6:40 PM

    I can’t see Hendricks having more than a puncher’s chance. And only in the first 2 rounds. Everyone is getting excited for the fight and the line opened at -225/+175 which for a GSP fight is ridiculously close, but as far as I can tell, if Hendricks doesn’t get the KO early, he either loses or barely ekes out a win.

    I wasn’t impressed with his performance against Kos, and I thought in a 5-round fight Condit would have finished him. Add in a split decision win against Pierce and a loss to Rick Story and frankly, I’m failing to see him as a world beater. A solid wrestler with a heavy, though predictable punch, I’m not seeing him bring anything new to the table.

    GSP is going to put him on his back for 2 rounds to get him tired and then begin beat him bloody. At least Diaz could avoid punishment off his back, I don’t think Hendricks has the same level of skill. And if Rick Story could out-wrestle him and he struggled to beat Kos, I don’t give Hendricks much chance of avoiding GSP’s takedowns. GSP could get that finish he’s been looking for – maybe in the 4th or 5th when Hendricks is gassed.

  10. Chris on March 20th, 2013 7:25 PM

    UFC only has 4 Primetimes a year, they just did a Ronda/Liz one and they knew GSP sells and Diaz wasnt showing up for a countdown, getting him to do another Primetime would be a pain in the ass.

    I think they will save the Primetimes for fights that need the extra push.

    Looking at the schedule you have Cain/Big FOot, Barao/Wineland and Silva/Weidman.

    My guess is SIlva/Weidman just because its a way to introduce Chris to the public, he has been off a year and his last fight was on Fuel. I do remember hearing something like Silva doesnt like doing it thats why they only did a one episode Primetime for Silva/Sonnen 2.

    But thats probably the next one they do, promote Silva, promoted the big July card and introduce Chris to the world. Lets face is Weidman isnt exactly the biggest personality.

  11. Brain Smasher on March 20th, 2013 8:46 PM

    Diego

    As good as those odds are. They are still off. Hendricks will smash GSP. You have to realize any GSP opponent is only going to be given a punchers chance. It is a very uninformed way to look at the fight. GSP is more well rounded fighter. But that doesnt mean he will win or should win. He is also more well rounded than a Prime Chuck Liddel. But it wouldnt keep Chuck from stopping takedowns, getting up if he did, and knocking GSP out. You could technically call it a punchers chance. But it is a very high chance it would also be a horrible match up for GSp style wise.

    I cant see GSP beating anyone by anything other than a 5 round decision. Just because thats his only way to win doesnt make it any less likely to happen. Yes Hendricks best chance is to win by KO early. But just because he isnt going to win by sub or 5 rounds of LnP doesnt make his early KO any less likely or credible. He is knocking guys out fast because its what he does and what he is good at. We cant keep chucking it up to lucky punch or punchers chance and ignoring why he was able to win that way.

    Now im not saying GSP has no chance. He has a way to win and very well could pull it off. But it will be very hard for him because Hendricks style and attributes. His hand and foot speed are faster than anyone that has competed at 170 that i can remember. This is why staples at the top of the division were blown out by him. They are not used to seeing that speed and have no answer for it. They cant make him miss and when they do he gets off 3-5 strikes to their 1. He closes the distance super fast and gets off before they can react. GSP isnt the toughest or best chin. He also has a history of being hit a lot by the quicker guys he has fought. Penn busted him up in the first fight. If you watch closely. Hendricks strikes exactly how Serra did. Serra brawled his way inside using his heavy hands and speed that come from being a small guy from 155. Hendricks is also fast, strikes the same way, has the wrestling to buy time on the feet Serra didnt, and more power and skill on the feet.

    GSp has to get him down. The problem with that is Hendricks is fast on the feet and short. He will not be able to telegraph a shot from way outside striking distance. So he will have to get in Hendricks striking range and clinch up and work for it from there. But look how many punches Hendricks got off in the clinch vs Condit. He has to take some shots and survive. He isnt going to be able to shoot on a fast moving target with wrestling background. He isnt going to be able to land strikes on Hendricks and will get countered every time he tries. If he can take some punishment and get the fight down he can use his size to maul Hendricks. But im not sold he can take the shots he will be hit with. Faster fighters can load up more power in their punches while bigger guys take some off to get the speed to land. A guy like Koscheck cant load up power in his punches. Hendricks can and will and still be able to land.

    The fights Hendricks has trouble with are guys with great chins who share his style. Like a Ellenburger or Story. Or possibley someone with a great bottom game.

  12. Jason Cruz on March 20th, 2013 9:19 PM

    @BS

    You might be right. My take is that when your main PPV guy is fighting, you do extra (no matter how repetitive or annoying it may be) to make sure people know he’s fighting. GSP-Diaz had storylines without anyone having to produce them.

    But, I can see its use of Primetimes strategically (read: only 3-4x a year) to put over big events.

  13. BrainSmasher on March 21st, 2013 12:25 AM

    Maybe it was Diaz not being able to be counted on that made them not do it. Remember this fight was canciled once and these things are expensive to produce. I can see why they didn’t count on Diaz filming or going through with the fight. It would have been a big gamble.

  14. Diego on March 21st, 2013 5:18 AM

    BS,

    I hope you’re right. I just see GSP either getting Hendricks down or grinding him out against the cage. Hendricks likes to jump in with that left hook (which is his only weapon) and if he jumps in, I’m looking for GSP to change levels and take him down. If he doesn’t jump in because he’s wary of the takedown, I’m looking for GSP to jab him at distance, drive him into the fence and grind him out there. If Hendricks can avoid either scenario the fight gets interesting, and it’s true that he has some speed that GSP may not be used to, but I just don’t see it going that way and I can’t get excited for it.

    Look at the Kos v. Hendricks fight – it was extremely close, with both guys landing shots and neutralizing each other’s wrestling. I think Hendricks is basically a southpaw Kos, and Kos got blown out by GSP over 8 rounds. I don’t see it going different for Hendricks unless he can land something big early- which GSP will be looking for and will have trained for.

    My prediction – 50-45 GSP. Same with Ellenberger. And Damian Maia. And McDonald.

  15. CodeMaster on March 21st, 2013 7:36 AM

    I agree with Diego.

    Hendricks does have the proverbial puncher’s chance with the power he packs–but his wrestling has not lived up to his NCAA pedigree in MMA.

    Hendricks was on top of Condit and could do nothing–he actually seemed uncomfortable on top. With Koscheck–Hendricks’ wrestling did not seem better than Kos’s wrestling.

    GSP needs to survive the early rounds. Hendricks has a 69″ reach while GSP has a 76″ reach. What does that mean? The only way Hendricks can land on his feet is to close distance fast–and that opens him up to a quick level change–at which GSP is the best in the business.

    One point I might disagree on is that GSP is the same GSP as always. GSP had an injured achilles and was running a fever when he dominated Diaz. When he fought Condit–it was his first fight in a year and a half of operations and rehab.

    I think if GSP can manage to be in top form for the Hendricks fight–we will see that he has made improvements to his game.

  16. Jeremy Lynch on March 22nd, 2013 5:54 PM

    Regarding Hendricks/GSP: If Johny can’t take GSP out in the first two rounds, his chances are slim. He was exhausted in the 3rd against Condit, how will he handle the 4th and 5th?

    He also telegraphs his attacks. At some point, Condit went for a flying knee EVERY time JH came in and either landed it or came close as he knew exactly what Johny was doing. GSP’s movement is better than that of Condit and JH.

    And while his takedowns were strong, his actually ground game looked bad. I don’t see him outgrappling GSP.

  17. Brain Smasher on March 23rd, 2013 9:10 PM

    JH wont need to wrestle. I agree he wont take GSP down. He is to big. But he will destroy him on the feet. GSP will try to keep him away with jabs but it wont work. JH will eventually swarm him and GSp can not just throw back or cover up. He will either try to get away for panic and try to grab ahold as he gets smashed. Watch Hendricks striking. His speed is to much for GSP. Did you see him throw 3 left hooks in a row and Condit couldnt even get his hands up. GSp has a stiff jab but his actual punches in exchanges are slow. When ever JH starts throwing his only option is to survive. He wont even be able to fight back in those situations. IF he can get it down he can win. But i think the odds are way against him. In the end he just doesnt have the chin to execute his game plan. His chin makes JH punches by far the most effective weapon in the fight. With a chin JH power isnt as much a factor and the rest of the skills come in.

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