UFC 161 Prelims: 968,000 viewer average

June 23, 2013

The Wrestling Observer reports that last week’s UFC 161 Prelims on FX scored 968,000 viewers for a rating of 0.68.  The ratings were the third lowest ever on FX.

UFC 161 Prelims featured Jake Shields versus Tyron Woodley in one of the least exciting fights of the night.  It did include the Fight and Submission of the Night with the James Krause defeat of Sam Stout.  Yet, the Prelims were handily defeated in the ratings by The Stanley Cup on NBC and even College Baseball on ESPN.

Via The Wrestling Observer (subscription required and recommended):

…with numbers that resemble TNA more than UFC, a 0.63 in Males 18-34, almost shockingly low for UFC on FX in that demo, and 1.10 in Males 35-49.

The Observer also points out that the ratings were lower than any Prelim events the UFC had on Spike TV.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect the fact that most of the UFC demo was tuned into the NHL or not tuned in at all. UFC 161 is probably not going to produce a high PPV number and the lead-in to the event didn’t help as it appears that some MMA fans decided to skip this event.

Nick Diaz Promotions Offered Pay What You Want PPV

June 23, 2013

Nick Diaz’s first foray into MMA promotions occurred last night with the introduction of WAR MMA.  As a way to promote the fights and create some buzz, it offered a Kickstarter-type PPV model as fans were able to pay what they wanted…including nothing at all.

The card which featured former UFC star Daniel Roberts against Justin Baesman in the main event occurred at the Stockton Arena in the hometown of Diaz.

The promotion also offered a free replay for fans not able to see it live Saturday night.  Nick Diaz’s web site also offered an autographed pair of fight gloves signed by Diaz for the person donating the most to the promotion.

Payout Perspective:

The “Pay What You Want” feature is an innovative idea and a good way to create buzz and market the new promotions.  The model is similar to the Kickstarter/Crowdfunding idea in which the public can contribute to a project any amount it wants.  The obvious concerns of how much to expect from the public and how to pay for up front/overhead costs may inhibit the profitability of this first card.  However, if Diaz sustains the promotion, this idea may be followed by others.

With this being said, the product must be something that people will want to see if they will be compelled to pay.  I have not had the chance to see the whole card but one might think that people will check it out and may donate if they like what they see.

Invicta FC goes to PPV July 13th

June 21, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Invicta FC will debut on PPV in the United States and Canada on July 13th.  The PPV has a suggested retail price of $14.95 and will feature Cyborg Santos vs. Marloes Coenen.

Via MMA Junkie:

Invicta FC officials today announced the company’s July 13 event will be available on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DISH and Avail-TVN in the U.S., as well as Bell TV in Canada, for a suggested retail price of $14.95. The night’s main-card broadcast is scheduled for a four-hour slot.

Notably, DirecTV was not included in the list of outlets.  As with UFC cards, one would suspect that the card would be around 3 hours rather than all four hours.

Payout Perspective:

A calculated risk?  After iPPVs on Ustream, it appears that the organization is ready to step up and take its show to PPV.  There will not be a worry about technical issues as it had with iPPV. With the Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat fight cancelled for Saturday, July 13th, it leaves the Invicta FC card as the only combat sport that night.  But will there be enough of an audience that will be willing to pay the $14.95 for the fights?  This may be more of trial balloon for Invicta FC (and maybe Zuffa) to gage the interest of women’s MMA.

WSOF 3 gate improves

June 21, 2013

World Series of Fighting 3 posted its attendance and gate figures for last Friday night from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, there were 2,501 in attendance to see Fitch vs. Burkman 2. for a gate of $106, 573  There were 1,107 tickets sold with 186 going unsold.  There were 1,394 comps.

The gate is an improvement from the inaugural event in November at the Planet Hollywood in Vegas which only received a gate slightly over $82,000.

(H/t:Roy Englebrecht)

Payout Perspective:

In comparison to Friday’s WSOF 3 event, TUF 16 Finale held this past December at the same venue received 2,500 (likely the max capacity) but with a gate of $318,525.  There are obvious differences between the WSOF’s product and the UFC but its an interesting comparison to see that the UFC can earn three times as much as WSOF in the same venue.  For WSOF, the fighter payroll of $200,000 exceeded the gate.

Bellator Wednesday ratings disappoint

June 20, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Wednesday nights Bellator’s debut posted disappointing numbers.  Spike officials point to the NHL Stanley Cup as contributing to the poor ratings.

Hoping to continue with its strong ratings, and 809,000 viewer average from its first season on Spike TV, Bellator had high hopes for continued momentum.  The Bellator summer series featuring Mo Lawal received a 0.4 rating and 480,000 viewers.  The Fightmaster debut received 432,000 viewers as it aired after the live fights.

Via MMA Fighting:

Fightmaster, which got generally strong reviews, only did a 0.4 in the target Male 18-49 age group and 0.3 in Males 18-34. Ultimate Fighter on Spike routinely did 1.5 or better in the Male 18-34 demographic, which was usually its prime audience.

The NHL Stanley Cup which aired opposite Bellator received 6.64 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Although Bellator did not have its pro wrestling lead-in, it still had a Bellator 360 marathon (which included Chandler-Alvarez) as a lead in. While Spike can lay claim to the strong NHL ratings as a reason for Wednesday’s performance, there must be concern that the ratings were almost sliced in half from its first season on the network.  I am not entirely sure that the issue is that lost TNA Wrestling as its lead in. Yet, with the poor ratings for Fightmaster, there has to be some worry if the ratings do not turn around by next week.

No Vote for MMA in New York

June 19, 2013

The New York State Assembly will not vote on a bill to legalize professional MMA in the state.  With the latest loss, Zuffa will have to wait another year to lobby Albany once again.

Newsday reports that after a meeting with the Democratic conference on Tuesday night, it was decided not to be put to a vote.  Although the MMA bill had 64 sponsors attached to it, a groundswell of opposition probably led to another year without a vote.  However, 35 Democrats voiced opposition to the bill which was due in part to a sexual discrimination claim  which was not handled properly by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  MMA Fighting reports Silver stating that over 40 Democrats opposed the bill.  A simple majority of the 150 members of the Assembly was needed for passage.  While there are 104 Democratic seats in the Assembly, the block of opposition did in the MMA bill this year.

Of course, Zuffa blames the Culinary Union of Las Vegas for the failure of the bill yet again.

Payout Perspective:

Whether it was the lobbying power of the Culinary Union or the sexual scandal which denied Zuffa another shot at New York, its becoming clear that Zuffa must reassess its strategy if it would ever have an event in New York.  If you were wondering about Zuffa’s lawsuit against the state, the Court has yet to rule on New York’s Motion to Dismiss Zuffa’s First Amended Complaint.  Even if the Court denies the Motion, any legal battle would continue on through 2013 and thus seeking resolution through the courtroom will not happen this year.

UFC trying to avoid FS1 1 licensing issue

June 18, 2013

The UFC is attempting to dodge a legal nightmare as there is a possibility of having the debut card on the new Fox Sports 1 1 from being displaced from its Boston location.  A state legal requirement that fighters must have a social security card may derail the August 17th event.

A state law requiring all fighters licensed in Massachusetts must have a social security number according to The Boston Herald which first reported the issue. It was a requirement of the Massachusetts Department of Safety since it began regulating MMA in 2010.  Yet, it apparently was not enforced when the UFC held an event in Boston in 2010.

The UFC’s Marc Ratner told MMA Fighting that Massachusetts is the only state that requires a social security number of its fighters.

All concern for the event was seemingly put to bed as the UFC issued a press release promoting the show at the TD Center on Tuesday morning.  But, another release posted Tuesday night stated that it expects a “positive outcome.”

The UFC will still need to clear some licensing issues as it must apply for social security numbers for fighters that are in need of visas to fight in the US.  You must have a visa for 10 days before receiving a social security number. According to this document from Social Security, there are two ways to apply for a SS#.  The first is to apply with your visa application in your home country.  If you did not apply for a SS# on your visa application you must be in the United States 10 days before applying for a social security card.

According to the licensing requirements under the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, section 6.01(9) states: “…all applicants for licensure shall provide their social security number on the application.”

Payout Perspective:

This certainly could be a PR debacle if the UFC cannot get its fighters social security numbers.  However, it looks as though the UFC is working toward getting the appropriate paperwork finished in order to obtain the social security numbers.  In this instance, the fact it had held an event in Boston previously without any enforcement of the social security number requirement may negate some heat off of this issue.  Yet, it had to be someone’s job to ensure that all non-citizens would be able to compete on the card.  This would mean making sure that it was in compliance with state rules.

Burkman, Fitch top WSOF 3 salaries

June 18, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the disclosed payouts by the Nevada State Athletic Commision from Friday’s World Series of Fighting event.  Josh Burkman and Jon Fitch topped the $200,000 payroll for the event.

The salary list is as follows:

Josh Burkman: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Fitch: $30,000

Steve Carl: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Tyson Steele: $7,000

Jacob Volkmann: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Lyle Beerbohm: $15,000

Justin Gaethje: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Cobb: $8,000

Jerrod Sanders: $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus)
def. Jeff Smith: $4,000

Dan Lauzon: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. John Gunderson: $6,000

Carson Beebe: $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Murphy: $4,000

Krasimir Mladenov: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
def. Kendrick Miree: $4,000

Branson Hansen: $5,000 (includes $2,500 win bonus)
def. Josh Montalvo: $1,000

Payout Perspective:

Jon Fitch topped the card in terms of salary and likely topped the card in terms of disappointment.  $30K for a minute of work before Josh Burkman submitted Fitch.  Burkman had a $16K base and a $16K win bonus.  Notably, Jacob Volkmann had a $7K base in his defeat of Lyle Beerbohm who made 2x more than Volkmann’s base salary. In only his third MMA pro fight, Josh Montalvo made $1,000.

UFC 161: Payout Perspective

June 17, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 161 from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where Rashad Evans took on Dan Henderson in the main event.

Evans edges Henderson

UFC 161

In what was an entertaining fight, Rashad Evans regained some career momentum with a split decision victory over Hendo.  The result could have gone either way with each fighter having their moments.  Hendo was visibly upset after the result and took a jab in the post-fight Octagon interview at Lyoto Machida stating that “at least Rashad fought him.”  For Hendo, its his second straight split decision loss.  This is definitely not what he wanted after he had to back out of his title shot against Jon Jones in September.

For Evans, the speculation is that Glover Texeira would be next.  Gatekeeper or another shot at making a run for the title?  We will see.

Stipe stops Nelson

Stipe Miocic upset Roy Nelson in the co-main event of the evening.  Despite fighting just six weeks prior, Nelson looked sluggish and lacking cardio.  Miocic looked crisp compared to Nelson who desperately needed a first round KO to win the fight.

Miocic gets a quality win under his resume and can continue to build it.  In fact, he’s cracked the UFC Heavyweight rankings.  For Nelson, the fight represented his last under his current Zuffa contract.  It was a risky proposition for Nelson to take the fight on short notice even if his fight with Cheick Kongo ended in the first round.  Now, with a disappointing loss and at 36 years old, Nelson has little bargaining power in negotiating a new contract with the UFC or any other organization.  Nelson turned down an extension earlier this year and another offer prior to 161.  This and we didn’t even touch upon his “Uncle Tom” comments this week during the pre-fight press conference.

Attendance and Gate

As we reported, attendance was 14,754 for a gate of $3.15 million (not sure if Canadian or US dollars – regardless a good gate).  According to Dana White, it was the best gate for the venue and outdid The Rolling Stones at the same venue.

Bonuses

The UFC debut of James Krause was memorable as he not only pulled out a submission in the last seconds of his fight with Sam Stout, he received an additional $100,000 in bonuses for his work. Each received $50,000 each.

Fight of the Night: Krause-Stout

Submission of the Night:  Krause.

KO of the Night: Shawn Jordan

Sponsorships

UFC official sponsor Alienware was the presenting sponsor for UFC 161.  It had signage on the mat and had the fighter “prep point” at the event.  The octagon had its usual sponsors including Prestone, Harley Davidson, TapouT, Xyience, Musclepharm, Dodge, SafeAuto Insurance, UFCFit.com and Bud Light with the center Octagon.  Also, Disney’s The Lone Ranger was a sponsor on the mat and ring posts.  Disney sponsoring the UFC?  Not too surprised considering that it fits within the demo for the movie.

Roy Nelson just signed a deal with Affliction.  Probably not the best signing for the clothing company.

Evans wore a Jaco track suit to the Octagon. He also wore a “Refuse to Be Ordinary” Jaco shirt.

Notable sponsor of the night:  Alexis Davis was sponsored by Purchase Green – an artificial grass manufacturer.  Davis had other sponsors but the Purchase Green logo stood out due to the motto on the back of the shirt – Kickin’ Grass.

Other notable sponsors:  Roland Delorme represented Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. Delorme’s opponent Edwin Figueroa was sponsored by River City Ink and Steel. Sean Pierson was sponsored by Cookin’ Greens – a company focused on helping people eat healthier with fresh, frozen greens.

Post-UFC161 Headlines

– Status of Bantamweight Division.  With its original champion, Dominick Cruz out indefinitely and its interim champion, Renan Barao, injured – what to do with the division? There have been some good fights in the division but there needs to be a title defense soon so that fans don’t forget about it.

– What happens with Roy?  It was a gamble and Roy lost.  Now, with a loss and heading into free agency, what will Nelson do?

– What will Hendo do?  2 losses by split decision is not the kind of resume to ask for a title shot unless your Chael Sonnen.  Hendo is not at the cliff of his career but there can’t be too much time left.

Odds and ends

– “City on Steroids” was the headline in the print edition of the Winnipeg Free Press.  Obvious poor choice for this sport. Yet, Winnipeg Press gave good reviews of the fight night.

– The UFC 162 preview with Jay Z’s music was the second best commercial featuring Jay Z this weekend.  The first of course was the Samsung commercial during The Finals Sunday night (IMO I think Rick Rubin was the key).

– I wondered why Tyron Woodley v. Jake Shields was not on the main card.  I watched the fight and realized why.

– Shawn Jordan’s backflip may have been more impressive than his KO of Pat Barry.

– It’s good to see that Rashad went back to BDP for his entrance music.   Evans’ walkout music wins best of the night although Alexis Davis’ “Its Tricky” by Run DMC runs a close second.

–  Anyone else notice the octagon side camera view near the cage in the Sexton-Davis match during the end of the second round?  I don’t believe I’ve seen it before but it definitely is an added view to what is going on with fighters grappling on the ground.

– MetroPCS ran a new Cain Velasquez commercial during the Prelims.  It seemed like a little more focus on his Mexican roots in this commercial..

– Worst weekend? Jon Fitch or Roy Nelson.  Have to go with Fitch here.  Not only was he portrayed as a malcontent by his former employer, he lost in under a minute and was paid half the amount of his former salary ($30K).

Conclusion

Although it was received well by the local fans, the overall PPV buys will not be good.  Even if the Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland interim championship match and the Shogun Rua-Lyota Machida fight took place, it would not have moved the dial too much.  If there’s anything that can be seen as a positive from this weekend’s event is that it appears that based on the attendance figures and local press, the UFC has grabbed another Canadian city it could rely on if it returned to the area.  Notwithstanding this, a PPV buy rate of 250,000 would be good.

UFC 161 attendance, gate and bonuses

June 16, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for last night’s UFC 161 from Winnipeg. It was the UFC’s first show in the city and it drew well.

Attendance and gate as reported from the post-UFC161 press conference was 14,754 for a gate of $3.15 million.  Dana White indicated that it was a record for the venue, the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.  White tweeted the previous record for the venue was The Rolling Stones.

Bonuses doled out by the company had Prelim fighter James Krause receive two bonuses for $100,000 total.

The bonuses were $50,000 each:

FOTN:  Krause v. Sam Stout

Submission of the Night:  Krause

KO of the Night: Shawn Jordan

The city of Winnipeg seemed to like the event.  But maybe Gary Lawless’ print article with the headline “City on Steroids” might not be the best choice to associate with this sport.  (via Ariel Helwani’s Instagram)

Payout Perspective:

A decent night of fights which saw a good main event and an upset with Stipe Miocic taking out Roy Nelson.  The record gate may be a little misleading dependent on the price for tickets however when you can say you outdid The Rolling Stones that is an accomplishment.  Certainly Stones tickets weren’t cheap.  MMA Payout will have more on the event in its Payout Perspective.

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