Rampage-Tito on first Bellator PPV

July 31, 2013

During Bellator’s live event Wednesday night, it was announced that Rampage Jackson would meet Tito Ortiz on Bellator’s first ever pay per view on November 2nd in Long Beach, California.

The announcement was somewhat of a surprise considering most had thought that Jackson would be boxing Roy Jones, Jr.

Rampage-Tito

Via Bellator press release:

“To have two of the biggest names in MMA headline our first PPV is awesome,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Rampage vs. Tito is a fight I’ve wanted to see for years and to have it as our Main Event on our first Pay-Per-View is a spectacular next step in Bellator’s evolution. They’re both re-energized, excited and ready for a war. This will be a great fight.”

 

“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born.,” Jackson said. “My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see Nov. 2ndwill be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen.  Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did.  But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on November 2nd, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now and Saturday, November 2nd on PPV, it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”

“I’m back,” Ortiz stated. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family.  I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and on Nov. 2nd, Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the People’s Champion.”

Payout Perspective:

Having Roy Jones, Jr. at ringside for the announcement added to the “swerve” that was announced.  Ortiz had taken pictures that he had gone to the Bellator headquarters in Newport Beach, California so the possibility of a comeback in Bellator was plausible.  Although both may be past their prime, the fight is a legitimate MMA fight and not a sideshow boxing match.  Certainly something that Bellator/Viacom took into consideration.  There was also the issue of the possibility that Jones KOs Rampage.  What would Bellator/TNA do with Rampage then?  

But for Bellator, this is as good a play as it can do to promote its PPV.  It needed two big names in the world of MMA to market it.  At this point, Askren, Lawal and Chandler are not known commodities outside of Bellator.  But, we should expect all 3 (and my prediction Eddie Alvarez will be back to fight Chandler) to be on the PPV card.  The hope will be that the 3 will be able to make name for themselves for future PPVs.  

Updated ratings for Fight Master, UFC on Fox 8 and WWE Divas

July 31, 2013

We have updated ratings for last week’s Fight Master episode, this past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 8 and WWE Divas.  While Fight Master’s DVR +3 rating and UFC on Fox 8 updated ratings boosted the numbers respectively, the debut of E!’s new reality show about the WWE women did well.

Updated Fight Master DVR +3 ratings for Episode 5 raised its ratings from 441,000 to 498,000.  Even with the additional days for viewers to watch, it did not do too much to raise the rating.

According to the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), UFC on Fox 8 received a final share of 1.5 and 2.384 million viewers which was down 32% from April’s UFC on Fox 7.  This boosts the final number from a 0.9 share/2.04 million and the initial report that it was down 40% from April.

The WWE reality show about its women wrestlers which made its debut on E! television Sunday (and was rerun after RAW on Monday) had an impressive 1.3 million viewer average.  The one hour show was heavily promoted by E! and the WWE.

Via Hollywood Reporter:

 The 10 p.m. broadcast of Total Divas took in 885,000 adults 18-49 and a 1.1 rating among households, making it the most watched premiere since Married to Jonas last August. This comes on the heels of lackluster launches for other Sunday fare such as What Would Ryan Lochte Do? and The Wanted Life.

WWE Divas has been given every chance to succeed.  It had E!’s biggest show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, as its lead-in and although it lost more than half of the Kardashian viewership (Kardashians had 2.8M viewers), it is in an advantageous spot.  A rerun of the show did 700,000 viewers (500K of those in the 18-49 target demo).

Payout Perspective:

The Fight Master updated ratings may be concern since it did not pick up many people that would have recorded the show for future viewing.  In its fifth episode, one would have hoped it would have built somewhat of a base.  As we indicated before, the UFC on Fox 8 rating was due to the card and the ratings (and attendance) reflected this.  Finally, the WWE Divas show was a surprising success.  An hour for relative unknowns, it will have to rely on a heavy base of young males.

 

UFC on Fox 8 salaries and updated attendance and gate

July 30, 2013

The Washington State Department of Licensing has released the purse information from Saturday’s UFC on Fox 8 show.  Notably, Robbie Lawler led the roster with a total of $156,000 ($78K win/$78K show) while Flyweight Champ Demetrious Johnson was sixth on the roster in terms of base salary.

In addition, the DOL released the total attendance and comps.  Total attendance 8,967 and total gate $700,081. Total paid tickets 6,619. Total comps 2,348 tickets.

Via MMA Junkie:

Demetrious Johnson: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. John Moraga: $17,000

Rory MacDonald: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Ellenberger: $52,000

Robbie Lawler: $156,000 (includes $78,000 win bonus)
def. Bobby Voelker: $12,000

Liz Carmouche: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Jessica Andrade: $8,000

Jorge Masvidal: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Chiesa: $15,000

Danny Castillo: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Means: $12,000

Melvin Guillard: $84,000 (includes $42,000 win bonus)
def. Mac Danzig: $30,000

Daron Cruickshank: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Yves Edwards: $21,000

Ed Herman: $74,000 (includes $37,000 win bonus)
def. Trevor Smith: $8,000

Germaine de Randamie: $18,000 (includes $9000 win bonus)
def. Julie Kedzie: $9,000

Justin Salas: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Aaron Riley: $14,000

Yaotzin Meza: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. John Albert: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

The total payroll for this event was $850,000.  Lawler, Ellenberger, Guillard, Herman, Danzig and Masvidal all had higher base salaries than Demetrious Johnson.  In fact, Johnson tied for sixth on the list with Danny Castillo.  Rory MacDonald was low on the pay scale with a $24K/$24K payout here.

As for the reported gate, it was $35K lower than what was originally reported.  Also, over 2,300 comps shows that the UFC tried to fill up a rather sparse KeyArena.

UFC on Fox 8: Payout Perspective

July 29, 2013

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC on Fox 8 from the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington where hometown fighter Demetrious Johnson turned back challenger John Moraga.

Johnson armbars Moraga in 5th

Demetrious Johnson earned a 5th round submission of John Moraga in front of the hometown crowd.  Johnson was cruising up 4-0 going into the 5th round built on a relentless motor in which he outwrestled, outgrappled and scored more strikes than the challenger.  Moraga was game and defended numerous submission attempts until the eventual end.  But it was obvious that Johnson far superior than the former Arizona State collegiate wrestler.  

UFC_on_FOX_8_updated_poster

Jake and Rory both lose

Rory MacDonald won a unanimous decision in the Octagon in a fight that most in attendance hated in total.  Dana White blasted both fighters in the post-fight press conference which may have been a sign that MacDonald wouldn’t get a title shot (and thus calming any tension with the need to answer the question of fighting his friend, GSP) with this win.  Ellenberger looked as though he froze and didn’t press MacDonald at all.  In a fight which many thought to be the real main event, it was the least entertaining of the night.

Ruthless Robbie back in title hunt?

Robbie Lawler used a headkick to dispose of late addition Bobby Voelker.  For Lawler, its a career resurgence.  With the stinker of a de-facto #1 contender fight between Ellenberger and MacDonald, Lawler could find himself in the mix for a title shot in 2014 if the cards fall right.  

Carmouche outclasses Andrade

Liz Carmouche was one of the most popular fighters on this card. Similar to the Lawler fight, she dominated the whole fight.  Carmouche went from mount to back and it was a matter of time before she ended this fight.

Attendance and Gate

We discussed the attendance and gate in an earlier post.  The unofficial totals had it at 7,816 in attendance with a gate of $735,000.  Attendance was down from the last two shows in Seattle but this was largely due to the card.  As noted earlier, a lot of empty seats on a picture perfect day outside.  

Would you go inside?

Would you go inside?

Bonuses

The bonuses were $50,000 each with the only controversy being that Melvin Guillard received the KO of the Night over Robbie Lawler which received a highlight on Sportscenter.

FOTN:  Trevor Smith-Dave Herman

KO:  Guillard

Sub: Demetrious Johnson

Television Rating

The overnight rating for UFC on Fox 8 was a 2.04 for a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo.  This made it the lowest rated UFC on Fox since it began on the network.  Still, it won its demo for the night and it aided in launching Fox’s late night adult cartoon shows.  

Sponsorships

The octagon sponsors included the usual:  MusclePharm, UltimatePoker.com, MetroPCS, TapouT. Dodge Ram, Alienware and Bud Light in the center.  

Head and Shoulders and UFC official sponsor Corn Nuts were also on the Octagon mat and bumpers respectively.

As always, Mighty Mouse had XBox 360 as his sponsor.  He also sported tights by Australian sports company Body Science.  It also touts Ironman Triathlete world champion Craig Alexander (and someone I saw at Lake Stevens, WA at a 70.3 earlier in the week) as an endorser.

Jake Ellenberger sported Virus Athletic Clothing and also longtime sponsor Lunar Pages.  He stated in the Seattle Times live chat that he got the Lunar Pages sponsorship after meeting its CEO.  It was also announced during the week a sponsorship with Body Glove Surge, an energy shot product.

Promotion of the Fight

The normal UFC Road to the Octagon show the Sunday before the Saturday night fight was excellent in detailing Demetrious Johnson’s training and family life while introducing the audience to John Moraga.  In addition, it looked at Ellengerger, MacDonald, Lawler and Voelker.  Out of all the fighters it was the Moraga portion that was compelling and made you want to pull for the guy.  

Locally, buses in and around Seattle had the UFC on Fox signage with Johnson/Moraga as the headliner for months.  During fight week Jake Ellenberger participated in a Q&A session with the Seattle Times.  He also had a get together for a sponsor in which fans could attend earlier in the week.

There were multiple ticket giveaways at MetroPCS stores in the area.  Most of them were in Puyallup, Parkland and Tacoma…basically Johnson’s neighborhood.  Matt Hughes and Ronda Rousey also had signings at MetroPCS stores.  For those wondering, the headquarters for T-Mobile (the company that has acquired MetroPCS) is in suburban Seattle, Washington.  MetroPCS was the only sponsor with a table promoting itself at the KeyArena.

Dana White also had two ticket giveaways which occurred near KeyArena.  One was near the International Fountains for those of you familiar with the Seattle Center area.

Odds and Ends

Maybe these summer events should be in the Eastern time zone.  It was sunny and 75 degrees when the first fight started at 1pm.  The fights ended and there was still 1.5 hours of sunlight left.  Sparse crowd for early fights whereas the last two events had more fans in their seats for the prelims.

Probably not seen on television but Germaine de Randamie and Jessica Andrade were very emotional on their walk outs.  

Did you know that there’s a UFC Gym in Seattle?  I didn’t until Friday at weigh-ins.

New hero, Manolo Hernandez, the trainer for Liz Carmouche. Very entertaining at open workouts.

Fun at open workouts

Fun at open workouts

At what point does Melvin Guillard have to drop the “Young” from his nickname?

So Seattle fans thought it dodged a boring fight when Brendan Scaub/Matt Mitrione were taken off the card. Then, we get Ellenberger/MacDonald.

Fighters in attendance that did not fight on Saturday night:  Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Dan Hardy, Joseph Benavidez, Pat Healy, Cub Swanson, Mark Munoz (coached Ellenberger) just to name a few.

Dana White met Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during fight week as the Hawks began training camp this week.

More criminal issues:  Jerramy Stevens or Jeremy Stephens?

Conclusion

A very entertaining afternoon of fights.  Sure, the attendance and ratings were low but you have to think that the UFC knew that this was a possibility.  Seattle is a very good market for the UFC and while Demetrious Johnson didn’t draw, its not like there was support on the card for the event.

UFC on Fox 8 overnight ratings: 2.04 million viewer average

July 28, 2013

Television By Numbers reports that UFC on Fox 8 overnight ratings scored a 0.9 rating/4 share (in 18-49 demo) for an average viewership of 2.04 million viewers.  Its the lowest rating for the UFC on the Fox network.

The ratings do not include the overrun which was approximately 15 minutes over from its time slot.  The ratings reflect a 40% ratings decrease from UFC on Fox 7 in April.

Comparing this to UFC on Fox 4 which was last year’s summer show which received an average viewership of 2.14 million and a rating of 1.1.  That show was headlined by Shogun Rua versus Brandon Vera.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings were expected and seems to be on par with what it put on last year on the network.

The UFC did win its demo for the night with a card that was not attractive to most fans.  It also served as a way to grab the young male audience for its late night Animation Domination programming.  So, despite being the lowest rating ever for shows on Fox it did do enough to grab its core demo and essentially served its purpose.

Sunny Daze: Attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fox 8

July 27, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that UFC on Fox 8 attendance and gate was a paltry 7,816 fans for $735,000.  The bonuses of $50,000 each were highlighted by Washington’s own Demetrious Johnson winning the Submission of the Night.

Bonuses of $50,000 each were as follows:

Ed Herman v. Trevor Smith – Fight of the Night

Demetrious Johnson – Submission of the Night

Melvin Guillard – KO of the Night

The gate and attendance are poor compared to the last two events in Seattle:

UFC on Fox 5 (Dec. 2012): $1,522,600 – 14,412

UFC Fight Night 24 (March 2011): $1,183,000 – 13,741

Would you go inside?

Would you go inside?

Payout Perspective:

Chalk it up to a sunny afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, people preparing for the city’s annual big parade through Downtown Seattle and a hipster music festival in the city as all reasons why people did not show up for this afternoon’s fights at the KeyArena in Seattle.  The Pacific Northwest is the strongest market for TV viewership of the UFC according to a recent Sports Business Journal article.  The first two UFC (March 2011 and December 2012) visits to Seattle showed that PNW viewership translated to a strong attendance and gate.  Perhaps the UFC was challenging the market with this card.  It did give Seattle a hometown guy in the main event.  But there were many empty seats in the lower bowl of KeyArena even during Johnson’s main event.  So, despite strong attendance and gate the last two times the UFC has come to town, UFC on Fox 8 was likely not going to do well for attendance and gate.

And for the reasons above I would dismiss these numbers that the sky is falling.  In fact it was without any clouds today.  Yes, its low but the card was built on Demetrious Johnson with an adequate supporting bout of MacDonald-Ellenberger.  But neither Jake or Rory are name brand draws.  And the lower weight divisions have yet to prove it can carry an event.  Moreover, ratings for UFC on Fox 8 probably will likely be low as well.  But, as many have pointed out, the summer Fox shows have not done as well as when supported by the NFL programming.

Jake joins Body Glove Surge Team

July 26, 2013

As he gets ready for his fight Saturday night, Jake Ellenberger recently signed on with sponsor with the Body Glove Surge Energy Team.  According to its web site, “its the first all natural energy shot.”

Via Body Glove Surge press release:

“Mixed martial arts is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. To perform at the highest level requires a total commitment to training, mental focus, discipline and healthy nutrition.  Body Glove SURGE has become an integral part of my training regimen. It’s a unique proven product that is particularly valuable on those days when I do a double workout. Body Glove SURGE gives me instant energy and stamina, improves my mental focus, quickens my reaction times and helps me to train at a higher intensity level. And since it’s all-natural, I know I am not putting any artificial ingredients in my body.  Body Glove SURGE helps me stay at the top of my game,” said Ellenberger.

Via Body Glove

Via Body Glove

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the announcement that Ellenberger would be sponsored by Body Glove Surge, he also will be sponsored by Virus Action Sport performance clothing.  Ellenberger wore a full body suit (long sleeve and tights) during the UFC open workouts on Wednesday.  In addition, he will be wearing his familiar sponsor, Lunar Pages as well.  The new sponsorship plugs into the “energy shot” market which has grown 60% from 2008-2012 according to a recent report.  In 2012, the sales from the energy drink/shot market was worth over $12.5 billion.

Fight Master Episode 5: 441,000 viewer average

July 26, 2013

Ratings for Bellator’s reality series, Fight Master, on Spike TV continued to drop as episode 5 drew an average of only 441,000 viewers.  It was the second straight week the ratings have dropped and this week’s episode was the second lowest of the season.

Episode 1: 432,000 viewers

Episode 2: 545,000 viewers

Episode 3: 676,000 viewersDVR + 3; 810,000 viewers

Episode 4:  505,000 viewers – DVR + 3; 607,000 viewers

Episode 5: 441,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

So much for the steady increase during the season.  The reality show did not do well against other cable shows in its time slot.  For instance, Television By Numbers shows that FX original series, “The Bridge” scored 1.7 million in its third episode and Joe Rogan’s new series on SyFy, “Joe Rogan Questions Everything” received an average viewership of 1.3 million.  The numbers must be concerning as this is the part in the show that should start to get interesting.

Chandler signs long term deal with Bellator

July 25, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Bellator has signed Michael Chandler to a “long term deal” with the organization.  According to Bellator, the signing makes Chandler one of the highest paid lightweights.

According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, Chandler will be with Bellator for a “minimum of eight fights.”

Ironically, Chandler’s deal was made easier due to the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit.  Chandler defeated Alvarez for the Bellator belt.

Via MMA Junkie:

Of course, Chandler admitted, it helped that an ongoing legal battle between Bellator and Alvarez has made the details of the organization’s offer to the former champ public knowledge. It showed him what Bellator was willing to pay a man he’d already beaten, and informed his own notion of what he should expect to make for a new deal, he said.

Payout Perspective:

Securing Chandler to a long term deal made sense for Bellator but did it for Chandler?  The UFC is still the major leagues in MMA when it comes to competition and earning potential.  No word on the type of money Chandler could be making but we may assume he’s one of the top paid in Bellator.  It is interesting that Chandler (and his reps) would not have known the market for him but for the Alvarez contract becoming a matter of public record.  While it’s likely that they would have known a ballpark figure, the documents produced in Alvarez’s lawsuit helped with filling in specifics.  For Chandler, being the top guy in the lightweight division Bellator may be a good career choice provided he’s afforded sponsorship opportunities and other revenue streams.  If Bellator/Spike contract with Chandler to help build his brand and grant him opportunities outside of the Octagon (e.g. Spike TV appearances, announcing, specials) the deal could help Chandler beyond the length of the deal.

Rampage-Jones set for Viacom PPV fight

July 25, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Viacom is planning a pay per view by the end of the year featuring Rampage Jackson versus Roy Jones, Jr. in a boxing match.  No word on the date of the PPV or if Bellator matches will support this very odd main event.

Jackson’s representatives indicated that they have been negotiating with Jones for “over seven months.”  It was rumored that Anderson Silva would fight Jones if Silva defeated Chris Weidman earlier this month.  In fact, Jones was in attendance at UFC 162.

Payout Perspective:

An interesting and disturbing announcement from Viacom.  Interesting because we had expected that Bellator would hold a PPV (as we were informed in the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit) although we didn’t know when.  We should expect that Bellator matches will be on this card and we may expect its top stars (e.g. Askren, King Mo, Chandler) to be a part.  Disturbing because its decided to have a sideshow in its very first PPV.  Also unfortunate since it adds another blemish to the legacy of Roy Jones, Jr’s boxing career.  We forget that he was the best pound for pound fighter in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  Jones last fought in 2012 in Poland when he defeated Pawel Glazewski via split decision.

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