Report: UFC 162 does 550K PPV buys, UFC 161 grabs 150K buys (updated)

July 24, 2013

MMA Fighting reports the PPV buy rates for UFC 161 and 162.  The Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman fight drew 550,000 PPV buys whereas the unheralded Dan Henderson-Rashad Evans fight drew only 150,000 PPV buys.

In the post-fight press conference of UFC 162, Dana White had estimated 800,000 for the July 6th event.  It looks like based on the information that this estimate was off.  The 550K PPV represents a bump in viewership since Silva’s last appearance at UFC 153 (410K PPV buys) where he toyed with Stephan Bonnar.  But that event was in Brazil and those cards usually do not do as well as those in North America when it comes to PPV.  

In addition, UFC 161 only did 150,000 PPV buys as many fans decided that the June PPV would be one that they would skip.  While Henderson-Evans was a replacement main event, the Barao-Wineline scheduled main event would probably have not drawn more viewers.  

Update: From Wrestling Observer Newsletter, we get a bit more information on the PPV numbers. UFC 160 is estimated to have done around 380,000 buys while UFC 161’s full estimated range is between 135,000 and 150,000.


Payout Perspective:

Its almost expected that UFC 161was not going to do well.  The card didn’t have anything compelling and the numbers reflect the fact fans weren’t into it.  It seems that fans almost tune out on the June PPV.  Recall last year W. Silva versus Rich Franklin from Brazil drew only 140,000 PPV buys.  The year before that JDS-Carwin from Vancouver (a main event which could have been JDS-Brock) drew only 330,000.  Maybe June is a time UFC fans take off.

The PPV buy rate for 162 is a disappointment considering the expectations set by White post-fight.  Weidman was an unknown although the UFC utilized established UFC fighters (e.g. GSP, Rashad Evans) as the influencers to promote Weidman’s prowess and that he could upset Silva.  Well, fans didn’t buy it and it looks like that a good portion didn’t buy the PPV either.  This could be a reason why the UFC has gone on a full on assault with the hype for the last four PPV cards of the year.  Not only is it doing a press tour in various cities, it is producing Primetimes for 166, 167 and 168.  

Rousey gets opportunity in Stallone movie

July 23, 2013

The Wrestling Observer reports that UFC Women’s Champ Ronda Rousey will be in Sylvester Stallone’s movie Expendables 3. Boxer Victor Ortiz will also play a part in the movie which begins filming in August.

Sylvester made the announcement via twitter.


This will be the first role for Rousey in a major film. Rousey had signed on with William Morris this year presumably to find opportunities such as this. She recently starred in online ads for small business insurer, Insureon. Rousey will be working with Stallone, Jason Statham, Steven Seagal and former UFC Champ Randy Couture in this sequel.

Payout Perspective:

According to a report back on May 31st, production was due to begin in August. Its not known whether the shooting schedule will affect Rousey’s promotional schedule for TUF, her fight with Miesha Tate this December and any other obligations she might have had for the UFC. Its hard to blame Rousey here for taking the role especially since it was known that she signed on with a Hollywood agency.

Updated Fight Master DVR +3 ratings for Episode 4 help slightly

July 23, 2013

Updated Fight Master DVR +3 ratings for Episode 4 show a bump to a 607,000 viewer average according to information obtained by MMA Payout.  The initial ratings for last week’s episode scored only 505,000 viewers.

The 607,000 average represents a decline of more than 200,000 viewers from last week’s DVR +3 ratings.

Payout Perspective:

We just wrote last week that the Fight Master series was picking up momentum.  And now it takes a step back this week.  Even with its DVR +3 ratings, it did not reach the average live viewership of last week’s episode of 676,000 viewers.

Korean Zombie reveals pay for UFC 163

July 23, 2013

In an interview with South Korean MMA web site, CorMMA, Featherweight challenger Chan Sung Jung said he will be making $20,000 to show and $20,000 to win in his upcoming fight with Jose Aldo on Saturday, August 3rd.  Jung aka The Korean Zombie was a replacement for Anthony Pettis who was injured.

The Korean Zombie’s pay highlights the issue of pay which has been a popular trend.  In comparison, Featherweight  champion Jose Aldo made $120,000 to win and $120,000 to show in his last event at UFC 156.  Its expected that Aldo will make as much for the event.

Via Wikimedia

Via Wikimedia

KZ also stated that he would not be making any PPV points despite being in the main event.

How much fight money are you receiving for this fight?

I will be making 20,000 dollars to show, and another 20,000 dollars if I win. I do not get any PPV points. After 2 more fights, I will be able to negotiate my contract. Hopefully, I will be in a good position when that happens.

KZ’s pay actually represents an increase in his fight pay.  At UFC 140, he received only $5K/$5K but did win a $75K KO of the night bonus.  In his last fight, he made $17K/$17K as he beat Dustin Poirer on May 15, 2012.

Payout Perspective:

The one interesting note from KZ’s interview is that he said he let his girlfriend borrow $11,000 and jokingly said he “wasn’t nervous at all” in doing it.  At least KZ has a sense of humor.  He was very honest in the interview and the fact that KZ is getting outpaid by his opponent by at least $100,000 is eye-opening but not surprising.  KZ was a replacement for Anthony Pettis.  The last official reported payout for Anthony Pettis was at UFC 136 where he made $10K and $10K in October 2011.  There were no official salaries released for his last two fights against Joe Lauzon (Feb. 2012) or Donald Cerrone (Jan. 2013).  So, we may have seen the same discrepancy as well.

MMA still not legal in France

July 22, 2013

ESPN UK reports that the French Sports Ministry will continue its ban on mixed martial arts.  Despite lobbying efforts by Zuffa which had identified the country as a “massive opportunity” the country has decided to maintain its ban.

Showing that lobbying efforts have not shaped or change perceptions of MMA, the president of the Women’s Committee for Federation Francaise du Sport d’Enterprise stated, “I was appalled to find out how UFC was lobbying in France, especially when [told] how UFC has tolerated derogatory statements and attitudes against women. We cannot allow such an organisation to destroy all the work we have done to promote equality through French sports.”

Payout Perspective:

The French ban on MMA represents two things. First, it shows that MMA continues to hold a negative perception by many not informed about the sport.  Secondly, Zuffa lobbying has been ineffective in its attempts to persuade the “influencers” or other governmental groups to legalize MMA.  Although many in North America may not be concerned with the French ban, it does affect its plan for the globalization of the UFC brand.  It also is a sign that it must either rethink its lobbying strategy.


White blasts SI on fight fix discussion

July 22, 2013

Last week Dana White responded to an SI Roundtable chat which discussed whether or not the Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman match was fixed.  The SI Roundtable is an example of what we like and hate about perceptions of MMA.

In what has become usual for talking heads, the SI Roundtable featured four writers discussing different topics in the world of sports and giving their opinion.  The pane included boxing writer Chris Mannix and the Dan Patrick Show’s Andrew “McLovin” Perloff.  None of the writers indicated that they watched the whole fight or professed being an MMA viewer although they had working knowledge of the sport.

The discussion focused on whether the fight was fixed and Mannix (whose background is boxing) brought it back to his comfort zone – boxing.  He mentioned that the potential for an Anderson Silva-Roy Jones, Jr. boxing match.  While the discussion was based on the potential of fight fixing, it talked in general terms.

Obviously, Dana White was not happy about discussion of fight fixing especially when it came from media that did not cover MMA.

Sports Illustrated invited him on the show after the segment aired so that he might get the record straight.  White railed against SI for the discussion that the fight was fixed. White made the appropriate arguments that despite Silva’s antics, a fight would not be fixed because the odds weren’t stacked for a Weidman payday.

White pointed out that no one that discussed the fight “fix” on the roundtable actually watched the fight and were not MMA fans or familiar with MMA.  He also railed against the irresponsible nature of the roundtable since they basically had no idea what they were talking about.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly White has every right to defend the UFC against allegations of a fix.  Also a nice jab at SI when he mentioned he was on ESPN.  Talk of a fight fix is not good for the UFC brand or the sport of MMA.  He made his point known and added that the odds were such that if a fix were to occur, it would be for Silva.  Interesting enough, McLovin was the one that brought this up.  He also was the one that made the mistake about MMA being less regulated.  The talking head roundtable occurs in all aspects of the media and sometimes there are discussions like the SI version which displeased many MMA fans.  But, talk of a fix after Silva’s antics should not be some taboo subject and MMA media types shouldn’t jump to the sport’s defense blindly.  If the talking heads had actually seen the fight, discussed the pros and cons of why the fight was probably not fixed but pointed out the reasons why it seemed fishy I think the segment would have been fine.  Its the lack of preparation and opinion (which is prevalent everywhere) that was the problem.  And for that White was correct in correcting SI.


UFC Primetime Specials for UFC 166, 167 and 168

July 21, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC is planning 3 “Primetime” specials for the last 3 PPV events of the year.  UFC 166, 167 and 168 will have its own set of specials and while nothing has been officially announced, one might assume that the specials would air on Fox Sports 1.

The first special will feature the third fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.  The second special, UFC 167, will feature Johny Hendricks as he challenges Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title.  The UFC 168 special will presumably feature Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate and the anticipated rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva.

Payout Perspective:

The specials complement the multi-city/multi-country press tours that were just announced by the UFC.  The shows should land on FS1.  Hopefully, most of us will get to see them pending carriage agreements (with DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner) yet to be completed.  The specials reflect the commitment the UFC has to the last quarter of 2013 PPVs.  It is spending a lot of time, energy and money on each and its expected that these shows produce for the bottom line (i.e., gate revenue and PPV buys).

LA Times features Roy Englebrecht

July 20, 2013

The Los Angeles Times had a feature story on local Southern California promoter Roy Englebrecht.  The story highlights his career in the fight game and how things have changed with the sport of mixed martial arts.

After a career of promoting boxing fights, Englebrecht stumbled upon an MMA show in 2004 and realized that it was something that could grow.  When he began adding MMA bouts to his boxing cards he liked the action and his audience did too.  He noted that his first live MMA gate hit $54,000 whereas his typical boxing card reached an average of $42,000.

Englebrecht’s business has been mainly in California although there have been cards popping up in Washington state.  Some may recall that Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions purchased his business and ran it for a couple years before he took it back over.

Roy Englebrecht

Roy Englebrecht

Payout Perspective:

The LA Times story is an interesting look how a promoter realized the limitations of the market and became a success. While there are tons of regional promotions across the country, some do not succeed because it wants to be the next Bellator or UFC.  Englebrecht’s business model has capitalized on opportunities (e.g., MMA) while restricting its growth.  Englebrecht had balked at iPPVs or renting out big arenas because he wanted his promotions to be top notch and make money.  Outside of the Southland you may not know of Englebrecht’s business, but the Times story is a good weekend read.

UFC Press Tour hits 11 cities, 5 countries

July 19, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that the UFC will hold promotional tours in 5 countries to promote its fall lineup of PPVs.  The 11 city tour will occur the week of July 29th and will feature GSP, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey and Cain Velasquez.

The UFC announced the tour which will hit the Bay Area, Vegas, LA, New York, Montreal, Houston, Stockholm, Dallas, London, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.  Most of the press events will be open to the public.

Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson, GSP-Johny Hendricks, Ronda Rousey-Miesha Tate and Cain-JDS will be the fights promoted during the tours.

Payout Perspective:

Taking a page from boxing, the UFC will drum up media coverage with these press tours.  The press tour is an interesting concept in this day and age but it still yields the necessary buzz to promote events.  But, there is a big cost for these events (e.g., travel and accommodations).  One need only look to the Canelo Alvarez-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. press tour which Golden Boy/Showtime has spent $1 million in putting on.  With its recent announcement of the Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse under card fight, the two will go on a mini 3 city press tour.  We will see how much coverage the tours will receive and if this strategy will equate to bigger gates and PPV buys.

Fight Master Episode 4: 505,000 viewer average

July 19, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Episode 4 of Fight Master on Spike TV scored an average of 505,000 viewers.  This week represents a 25% dip in ratings from Episode 3.

Fight Master did not make the top 100 in cable ratings.  Although there was no baseball on Wednesday for the All Star Break, the show went up against the ESPYs which averaged 2.26 million viewers.

Episode 1: 432,000 viewers

Episode 2: 545,000 viewers

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

Payout Perspective:

Fight Master may pick up some viewers in the DVR +3 ratings but it does reflect a stall in the ratings momentum. As for the actual show, the use of the multiple camera shots at the same time during the fights was unique.  It will be interesting to see how the show does now that the drafting phase is over and we will see more fights from here on out.

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