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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
– 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.
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.