PPV History (or lack thereof) of UFC 164 main eventers

August 31, 2013

As we get a UFC PPV just a couple days after a free TV event and a couple days before another one, we take a look at the PPV history of UFC 164 main eventers.


Benson Henderson

Henderson’s last two fights have been on Fox cards and his last two PPV appearances were against Frankie Edgar.  So, it’s hard to gage how much of a draw he is to PPV.  While the network cards brought good ratings, the PPV appearances against Edgar were sub-par. Henderson was on the big UFC 129 card but not the real attraction for that show.

UFC on Fox 7 Gilbert Melendez (w) April 20, 2013 3.7M
UFC on Fox 5 Nate Diaz (w) December 8, 2012 4.39M
UFC 150 Frankie Edgar (w) August 11, 2012 190,000
UFC 144 Frankie Edgar (w) February 26, 2012 375,000

Anthony Pettis

“Showtime” has not been in a main event position since his upset loss to Clay Guida at TUF Finale 13.  Pettis received KO of the Night for his performance against Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 in Japan.  Ironically, the same night Henderson won the title.

UFC on Fox 6 Donald Cerrone (w)(KO) January 26, 2013 4.4M
UFC 144 Joe Lauzon (w)(TKO) February 26, 2012 375,000
UFC 136 Jeremy Stephens (w) (split decision) October 8, 2011 225,000
TUF Finale 13 Clay Guida (L) June 4, 2011 1.8M

Payout Perspective:

If you were wondering, the final rating for their famous WEC title match drew an average of 615,000 viewers on Versus.  The fight took place on December 16, 2010 and we still see the highlight everywhere.

As for the rest of the card, Frank Mir-Josh Barnett should be an intriguing fight.  I didn’t go over their respective card histories since Mir is not the same fighter or draw he was at UFC 100 (1.6M PPV buys) or even UFC 140 (485K PPV buys) when he subbed Big Nog.  It’s the Warmaster’s return to the UFC and a step up in opponents.

Is this a card that the casual PPV fan will be interested in, or does the fact its sandwiched between two free cards on FS1 hurt its chances?

Fight Master Episode 10: 558,000 viewers

August 30, 2013

The overnight ratings for the 10th episode of Fight Master did an average viewership of  558,000 according to The Wrestling Observer (subscription required).  The season average on SpikeTV is at  615,000 with DVR +3 excluding the last episode.

The last episode of the season received a 0.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

Episode 1: 432,000 viewers – DVR +3; 489,000 viewers

Episode 2: 545,000 viewers – DVR +3; 635,000 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 – DVR +3; 498,000 viewers

Episode 6:  629,000 viewers – DVR +3; 745,000 viewers

Episode 7:  398,000 viewers – DVR +3; 505,000 viewers

Episode 8:  595,000 viewers – DVR +3; 648,000 viewers

Episode 9:  539,000 viewers – DVR +3; 661,000 viewers

Episode 10:  558,000 viewers

Its lead-in, TNA Impact drew 1.24 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Should Spike TV be happy with the first season ratings of Fight Master?  It did switch nights to address sagging ratings.  Thursday’s ratings were up slightly from episode 9 and did go up against the first night of college football.  We shall see if Fight Master will return for a second season.

UFC Fight Night 27: 824,000 viewers

August 29, 2013

The Wrestling Observer (subscription required) reports the ratings for Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 27 did a 0.69 rating for an average of 824,000 viewers. While the number is good for the network, its less than stellar for UFC viewership.

The good news for FS1 is that the ratings for Wednesday’s UFC live event beat out ESPN in all the key demos.  It also is the third-most watched show in the short lifetime of the network.  The first Fight Night on the network and the prelims scored higher than Wednesday’s event.  However, it did less than half of the UFC’s debut on FS1.  Of course, that event was on the initial launch date of the network and apparently fans were willing to find the event more than Wednesday’s Condit-Kampmann main event.

The UFC Prelims on FS2 did only 109,000 viewers for a 0.25 rating.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings show that the UFC is the key content for the new network so far as its posted the biggest ratings on FS1.  While the 824K viewers is low compared to other UFC live events, it is good compared to other programming on FS1.  The bad news is that UFC FN 27 was much lower than the least watched UFC live event on FX.  As pointed out by MMA Fighting, the 972K viewers (UFC on FX 6) for an overseas live event on a Friday on FX with another live event the following night (TUF Finale) paints a bleak picture for the prospects of the UFC live cards on FS1.  While the initial show on FS1 did great in the ratings, it will be a task to ensure that viewers return to watch UFC live events.  This week will be a good test in fanship as there will be 2 live events, a PPV and a 2 hour TUF premiere in just a week’s time.  Is this too much UFC in such a short period of time?  The ratings may tell us.

UFC Fight Night 27 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 29, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 27.  Attendance was a reported 5,950 for a gate of $355,290.  In addition, bonuses were given out to the main event participants and two prelim fighters.

Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann were awarded the Fight of the Night bonus while Zak Cummings (Sub) and Brandon Thatch (KO).  All bonuses were $50,000 each.

The mid-week event included CM Punk and NBA player Roy Hibbert in attendance.  Hibbert actually took up MMA back in 2010 as a method of cross-training.


Payout Perspective:

An entertaining event of fights which were highlighted by early afternoon excitement as the prelims had 2 subs, 2 KOs and a controversial no contest.  The attendance and gate were probably expected due to the mid-week event and perhaps the lack of a marquee name. Realistically, the event was geared for television and live gate might be considered a secondary concern.

The Wrestling Post – 08.28.13

August 28, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at Total Divas ratings, a new philanthropic endeavor by the WWE and the plight of Jesse Sorenson.

Total Divas returns to form

The show that everyone hates but people cannot get enough of E!’s Total Divas did a respectable 1.46 million average viewers despite going up against the much talked about (due to Miley Cyrus) VMA awards.  The VMAs stole the night with an average of 10 million viewers.  Yet, the WWE show about its women wrestlers was up from its previous week when it went up against its own event, WWE Summerslam.

Episode 1:  1.34 million
Episode 2: 1.53 million
Episode 3: 1.67 million
Episode 4: 1.34 million
Episode 5: 1.46 million

Payout Take:  The show has found an audience and despite its corny hijinks, it is doing well for the E! network and the WWE.  Its even provided a storyline for RAW wherein one of the characters (AJ Lee) calls out the show for being stupid since its not “real”.

WWE creates $100K anti-bullying campaign

Wrestling is fake.  But, the WWE’s social conscious initiatives are real.  the WWE has been able to reinvent itself into a global company that is publicly traded.  One of the more impressive things about the organization is the different types of philanthropic endeavors which it aligns itself.  According to a WWE press release, it will offer 4 $25,000 grants to non-profit organizations that develop and implement programs promoting anti-bullying.

Via WWE press release:

“Our mission at WWE is to put smiles on people’s faces and we do that, in part, by supporting programs and initiatives that positively impact children and families around the world,” said Stephanie McMahon, Executive Vice President, Creative, WWE. “We are proud to offer organizations tools and resources to help fight bullying, a critical issue facing young people today in schools, communities and online.”

Payout Take:  This is an admirable program that will foster a lot of good will from people that do not necessarily like professional wrestling.  The WWE’s involvement is good publicity and allows it space into the childhood demographic which will in turn help its other departments (i.e., merchandise, television, etc.).

Ex-TNA wrestler forced to pay medical bills

The story of a professional wrestler having to deal with their own medical bills is not new.  But in the case of Jesse Sorensen, its a public relations hit for TNA.  Sorensen literally broke his neck in the ring during a match in TNA.  The injury caused him temporary paralysis.  News has surfaced (via HighSpots.com and The Wrestling Observer) that TNA refused to pay his medical bills. Moreover, he was released by the organization, along with several other wrestlers, as a result of what appears to be an overall cost-cutting measure.  Sorensen claims that TNA head Dixie Carter promised him a job for life within the company.

According to Cageside Seats, Sorensen relied on his mother’s medical insurance (we assume Sorensen was uninsured) to pay for the bills from his broken neck.  It appears that the insurance didn’t cover all bills as his mother filed for bankruptcy due to the overwhelming debt.

Payout Take:  This is another unfortunate example of the perils of the independent contractor.  Sorensen’s story is much more a PR problem considering his public injury and the alleged promises made to him about his bills and his position within the company.  We’ve heard of stories of the WWE stepping up and assisting retired fighters (that worked for the company) with medical care and pay for surgeries and/or rehab.  But, TNA is not the global company that the WWE is and without the funds to help people like Sorensen.  So the problem is the claimed assurances made by TNA that Sorensen would be taken care of after his horrific in-ring accident.  Unfortunately, it appears that Sorensen may need to seek legal help in this matter.

Rampage and Tito promote Bellator PPV on ESPN

August 27, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson participated in the ESPN car wash.  The appearances by the two give Bellator some mainstream exposure outside of Spike TV.

Ortiz and Jackson appeared on an ESPN “chat” where fans could log in and ask questions of the two.  They also appeared on MMA Live Extra where they sat down and talked about their upcoming fight and what sets Bellator apart.

During the interview with MMA Live Rampage talked about one of the knocks he had against the UFC was “restricting who you sponsors are.”  This is likely a direct shot for prohibiting Rampage to wear his sponsor Reebok.  Rampage recently starred in a commercial for Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting timing in doing the ESPN publicity as the PPV is over 3 months away. It is the last week before football goes full-time so maybe this was the only time that ESPN could fit in the Bellator promotion.  Of course, it is also the week that the UFC will run 2 events in the same week so their appearances may get buried and/or confused for a UFC promo.  Watching the MMA Live Extra video shows some highlights from the UFC so this would definitely be confusing.

HeadRush signs distribution agreement with One Punch

August 26, 2013

MMA apparel brand HeadRush has signed a global distribution agreement with One Punch Distribution.  The new partnership should broaden the reach of HeadRush products.

HeadRush joins other MMA brands under the One Punch Distribution banner including TapouT and Jaco.  One Punch Distribution is a wholesale distribution company that delivers brands in “Action Sports and Streetwear Apparel” to diverse retailers from the specialty stores to the big box retailers.

Dustin Poirier, Carlos Condit and Anthony Pettis are the only MMA fighters currently sponsored by HeadRush according to its web site.  Tri-Star impresario Firas Zahabi better known as GSP’s head trainer also has a HeadRush deal.  The brand also sponsors action and motor sports stars.

Showtime's Walkout Shirt (via FighterxFashion.com)

Showtime’s Walkout Shirt (via FighterxFashion.com)

H/t: Robnashville

Payout Perspective:

The deal should help expand the HeadRush brand with the hope that more people are buying its t-shirts in retail stores. This week should be a big week for the brand as Carlos Condit and Anthony Pettis are in the main event of UFC events.  Its likely that other fighters will be sponsored by the brand at each of the events this week.  With the distribution announcement, we should expect more visibility for the brand as its t-shirts will be available in more stores.

DMCA takedown notices sent to porn sites on Zuffa’s behalf

August 26, 2013

It is well known that Zuffa is an aggressive defender of its intellectual property.  It found itself in an unenviable position as the company it hired to issue DMCA takedown requests issued notices to child pornography sites claiming that Zuffa was the lawful rights holder.

IP Arrow, the company that Zuffa hired to do this work is an anti-piracy company that represents over 10,000 of Zuffa’s copyrights. Its latest reported request on August 23, 2013 has it making takedown requests of over 131 URLs.  IP Arrow has been identified as a company owned by Morganelli Group LLC.

According to tech blog, Techdirt.com, “IP Arrow is issuing takedown links to files that appear to be child porn while making the claim that Zuffa/UFC hold the copyright to these photos.”

More from Techdirt.com:

Judging from the quality of the DMCA notices it’s issued, IP Arrow either has no idea what it’s doing or just doesn’t care. What’s worse is that its submitted links have been taken down nearly 100% of the time, despite the fact that its DMCA notices are loaded with content its clients don’t own.

The DMCA takedown notices request the online service provider (e.g. Google) take down the offending material and that it makes a sworn statement that it has a “good faith belief is not authorized by the copyright owner” and that the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed”  See 17 U.S.C. sec 512(c)(3)(v)-(vi).

Techdirt had attempted to contact Zuffa about these takedown notices but had not received response. It had heard from Lynda.com, another client of IP Arrow, which issued the following statement which we might assume may be the same position Zuffa would take:

…On our behalf, IP Arrow issues batch DMCA takedown notifications for links to directories containing our content. Those links often contain keywords designed to drive traffic to adult or illegal material in directories that happen to also contain lynda.com videos. Many of the URLs highlighted in this TechDirt story, implied to be targets of erroneous takedowns, at one time contained our files but no longer do.

It would be easy to conclude that the UFC may argue the same thing.  At one time, the sites targeted by IP Arrow – including the porn sites, had keywords which may have included Zuffa content.  Therefore, the takedown notices would not appear as arbitrary as it might seem.  Nevertheless, its hard to fathom that all of the sites that are being taken down contained Zuffa-owned material.

Payout Perspective:

Based on a look at some of the takedown notices sent out by IP Arrow, we may assume that Zuffa never held a copyright interest in any of the sites.  Moreover, from a PR standpoint, the practice of sending out blanket notices, especially to porn sites may look as though it is tied to these sites.  This is something it likely does not want to have happen.  What we may surmise is that these takedown notices were incorrectly aggregated.  Thus, the notices were likely made to sites that did not infringe UFC copyrights, another bad scenario.

But, the “whac a mole” strategy may have turned into a “excavate the earth” as IP Arrow is using a broad stroke in taking down any sites remotely linked to Zuffa.  Is Zuffa taking advantage of the system by issuing these notices?  Will this strategy show any results?  Or, will it just be a useless exercise in taking down sites that will “pop-up” somewhere else?


Henderson receives NASCAR raceway sponsorship

August 24, 2013

The Phoenix International Raceway has announced that it will sponsor Benson Henderson in title defense against Anthony Pettis on August 31st. Henderson will wear the PIR logo on his walkout shirt and on his banner.

Henderson will also serve as an honorary pace car driver for the track at the National Sprint Cup Series in November 10th.

Via Phoenix International Raceway web site

Via Phoenix International Raceway web site

Via PIR’s web site:

We are truly delighted to be supporting Benson Henderson in his upcoming title fight,” said [Phoenix International Raceway president Bryan R.] Sperber. “Having a local Champion represented PIR in this important bout will be an exciting moment for all our NASCAR fans across the valley and around the state.”

Payout Perspective:

A good local tie in for PIR which has tapped Dominick Cruz and Anderson Silva in the past. Henderson is a Phoenix area resident and his name recognition should help draw interest to its November event. Its MMA sponsorship should get some good sponsor airtime as Henderson will be in the main event at UFC 164.

Boston City Council issues non-binding ban on minors attending MMA events; UFC responds

August 23, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that the Boston City Council has banned minors from attending MMA events without being accompanied by an adult.  The regulation comes after the UFC’s latest appearance in the city.

The UFC issued a response to the council’s passing of the resolution pointing out that its a “non-binding and merely concluded that the city should follow existing state laws.”

The resolution of Stephen J. Murphy entitled, “Resolution Demanding That Children Be Prohibited From Attending Live Cage Fighting Events in the City of Boston” is an inflammatory resolution if you are a fan of MMA.  It requests that a copy of the resolution is given to the Boston Police Department and the TD Garden.

A copy of the resolution can be found here.

Payout Perspective:

I am not necessarily against adults accompanying minors under 16 years of age to an MMA event.  But the issue is the non-binding resolution which seems to enhance stereotypes of the sport.  Fortunately, the UFC responded by pointing out the misrepresentations made here.  It will be interesting to see whether or not the UFC will make efforts to return to Boston despite the opposition.

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