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.

28 Responses to “Rampage and Tito promote Bellator PPV on ESPN”

  1. Chris on August 28th, 2013 5:03 AM

    Their First Take interview was all about the UFC, Bellator was mentioned 7 times, UFC 22 times and Dana 3 times.

    Also on Sportscentener ticker called them UFC stars, not Bellator stars, lol. I guess thats good for Bellator to try and trick viewers into thinking its a UFC fight and not Bellator so they buy it.

  2. aintitthetruth on August 28th, 2013 7:25 AM

    Uh you realise espn/disney is not going to be told what to do by bellator/viacom. nope, this piggybacking was for espn’s sake and if it helps bellator it is incidental.

  3. Jason Cruz on August 28th, 2013 8:23 AM

    Alas I agree with aintitthetruth here. Folks know these guys from the UFC and likely 80% of ESPN audience (if not more) refer to MMA as UFC and don’t even know Bellator exists. The hope is that in the long run Bellator will be recognized by ESPN but we are a ways away.

  4. Chris on August 28th, 2013 10:06 AM

    Do you think that was done on purpose or just ESPN not really caring much about mma and these are two guys known for being in the UFC and they just called them UFC stars?

  5. Sampson Simpson on August 28th, 2013 10:12 AM

    Smart move to stay attached to the UFC name I guess.

    If it does above 300,000 thats not good for Zuffa

  6. Chris on August 28th, 2013 10:16 AM

    You actually think this PPv is doing 300k buys Sampson?

  7. aintitthetruth on August 28th, 2013 11:24 AM

    Another dimension is the ufc espn falling out. espn could also be getting off on the fact that by promoting bellator it hurts the ufc. sure it gives ufc promotion. but anyone who has even heard of mma knows about the ufc already.

  8. duck on August 28th, 2013 11:54 AM

    TV ratings across the board are said to be going down, as Neilson will now be counting legal online streaming in around 1.5 million homes, so UFC and Bellator’s numbers will go down slightly (so will a lot of other TV shows) as they aren’t available for live (legal) streaming

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/08/27/whats-a-tv-rating-and-who-is-it-dating-2013-14-edition/199735/

  9. Jason Cruz on August 28th, 2013 12:22 PM

    @Chris

    A little of both to answer your question. But, I kind of think they don’t have B reel of Tito/Page in Bellator and needed something to show. So, they just went into their library and grabbed what they had of these guys that made them look good. The MMA Live segment they did showed Tito’s entrance at the 7/31 show. So it looks like they tried at least.

  10. Sampson Simpson on August 28th, 2013 4:30 PM

    I have no idea how many buys this thing does. It could be 50,000, it could be 500,000.

    These guys are names but it’s hard to gauge how casual MMA fans will react to the fight. A lot can happen between now and then to build up the fight to the non-hardcore fanatic.

    I really don’t care either way. Their play was to keep Rampage and Ortiz on Spike. This move seems more to appease the fighters and trash the UFC. I don’t really like it that much.

  11. Machiel Van on August 29th, 2013 6:22 AM

    If it breaks 150k I’ll be very surprised. What number would they have to achieve for it to be considered a success? Thoughts?

  12. Sampson Simpson on August 29th, 2013 8:55 AM

    Depends on the purses I suppose…

    I say anything less than 250k is a failure

  13. Chris on August 29th, 2013 12:26 PM

    .

    Most say because Affliction did 100k if Bellator does that its a success. I dont agree since they have two UFC stars, three title fights and Viacom/Spike, weekly TNA/Bellator promotion and shoulder programming Affliction didnt have.

    So I say its got to do atleast what WEC did, 150-200 I think they would take that and be happy. 250k is too high.

    Under 150k is a failure, 150-200 they take, 250 or more is a homerun.

  14. Sampson Simpson on August 29th, 2013 5:34 PM

    And if somehow the thing reaches 400k?

    What does that say for the future of the MMA landscape?

  15. BrainSmasher on August 29th, 2013 6:00 PM

    I think its a little more complicated to just throw a number on it as a success or fail. Of course if they do 200K. They are going to make a lot of money and it would be for sure a success. But even if they land some where around their break even point. It can still be a success in their eyes if the event goes well and it looks as if they can increase moving forward.

    As long as they don’t lose a lot of money they can run more PPV’s and get more chances to make it work. I believe everyone needs their big break. The key imo is to not do so bad that Bellator is burned from doing another PPV. If Affliction ran things better and didn’t over pay fighters 10 times more than they had to. Then they could have ran a dozen events on the budget they spent on 3 events. Who knows. The first event may have turned a profit if they didn’t over pay. Maybe they land a tv deal in that time. The key for Bellator is not to lose money. IMO, that is selling around 100K buys. If they do and the event goes well it is a success. IF the event sucks then it is a failure.

    I don’t think Bellator is obligated to pay Tito and Rampage very much. I would be willing to bet that Bellator give them a large cut of PPV sales. This would take them off the hook of having huge salaries if the event didn’t sell unlike Affliction. This would also give both fighters incentive to work their ass off to sell the PPV like they are doing recently on ESPN. This cuts in the some of the reward for Bellator but also protects them from huge loses. I think they both are maybe getting 100K each. Maybe even 250K each. That is a far cry from the 1.5 million Affliction paid Arlovski when the UFC was only offering him around 150K and the millions they paid Fedor.

  16. BrainSmasher on August 29th, 2013 6:11 PM

    What is hurting Bellator right now is their tv ratings. The entire point of a tv deal when going into a PPV is to be able to get the message to the fans. Their ratings are not that great and it is causing them not to be able to get their message out to mma fans.

    If they sell 400K buys like Sampson suggested I would say it would change the landscape of MMA as we know it. I don’t think they will ever over take the UFC. I don’t think anyone can. But what they would do is give them enough revenue to poach a lot of fighters from the UFC. The product/talent level of the UFC would decline and Bellators would increase. It would be great for the fighters because it would increase pay for many high level fighters and big prospects. But it would be the fans who would be caught in the middle imo. Instead of having a A promotion and a D promotions. We end up with a B and C promotion and likely much higher expenses for a lessor product. Then Bellators relationship with TNA would really start to negatively impact MMA even more.

  17. Sampson Simpson on August 29th, 2013 6:11 PM

    That’s the cycle of business. If it’s made public that Tito and Rampage got a much bigger cut of PPV than when they were getting in the UFC and this event does well… guess what?

    Expect other UFC fighters to follow suit.

    It’s the unfortunate nature of the beast. You have to look at the overall repercussions of a strong buyrate for this Bellator event. If I was Dana I would be counter-programming on FS1 for sure.

  18. BrainSmasher on August 29th, 2013 6:16 PM

    BTW, if they did 400K. I would be willing to say that that would likely mean that every PPV estimates we get on the UFC are way under the real number. There would be no reason for this to do 400K when the UFC couldn’t go that with the same fighters with better brand and better promotion. So we would really have to doubt every estimate on UFC PPV buys. BUt I don’t think there is any chance in hell it does 400K. Like I said if they do 80-100K and the event goes well it will be a success. If it does 150K they will make a lot of money regardless if the event is crap and they never do a PPV. But I expect this PPV to do 40-60K buys.

  19. BrainSmasher on August 29th, 2013 6:29 PM

    I agree with that. But it would only be an option for the biggest stars. Others would sell on PPV and not get the big cut. At best it would be a tough decision to leave the UFC brand.

    I don’t think the UFC should counter program them. Reason being they have to much of a platform on Fox and countering them now would stir up the controversy it always does and get Bellator a lot of attention on the UFC platform. It would give them credibility. It was different when Bellator has no real platform of their own to take advantage of it, now they do. Also it takes some viewers away from the UFC events when they do that. There is always some people who watch the other event. I don’t think the UFC wants to be running half strength cards on Fox when they already have so many events scheduled. With the number of UFC events they cant counter every time if Bellator runs a bunch of big events.

    I think the UFC is going to sit back and watch this fail and Bellator wont have any excuse or false hope to cling to and no one else to blame. It also doesn’t help when on short notice the UFC would likely have to counter with main event fighters who don’t have the name value of Tito and Jackson. So its best not to draw everyones attention to those names even fighting by countering them.

  20. Chris on August 29th, 2013 6:42 PM

    if it hit 400k it would be a mega smash hit for them. Not sure what it would mean going forward but it says with a good card and two big UFC names and Spike promotion they can sell PPV.

    But I dont see any chance in hell it does 400k.

  21. Sampson Simpson on August 29th, 2013 6:47 PM

    Well I guess the only option is to sit back and hope they bomb.

    I’d be nervous if I was Dana. Transitions don’t happen over night but Nov. 2 could be the start of an ugly transition if Bellator is able to show their viability as a PPV promoter.

    “But it would only be an option for the biggest stars”

    That’s exactly the problem. It seems more and more the UFC is becoming a top heavy promotional company relying on GSP, Silva, Sonnen, Jones to drive the buyrates. Fighters are by nature self-serving and that makes this thing very dangerous territory to turn into boxing. Bellator is the promoter who hasn’t invested in the same type of infrastructure as the UFC and therefore is willing to give up a lot more to the “made” fighters.

    Interesting times

  22. aintitthetruth on August 29th, 2013 8:34 PM

    Even if this ppv does less than 100k i think they will try a few morw times to.see if they can get some momentum. bellator does not have all its eggs in one basket like affliction. I could die happy if this event did 300k. it won’t. 100k more likely but.even less would not surprise.

  23. Chris on August 30th, 2013 5:15 PM

    I dont think UFC is nervous at all. Fight Master did 531k viewers average for the season, they had to move it cause it couldnt carry a night. They are moving it to Fridays which is a terrible night. They are putting every big star they have on the PPV which leaves the upcoming season arguably the weakest season since they moved to MTV2.

    They arent selling a ton of tickets, tv numbers arent good, they are being moved around cause Viacom isnt gonna waste a good prime weeknight on them. So that isnt a company who is doing big things.

    As for the PPV everything is riding on this but lets say it does great, lets say 350k, smashing success. What does that mean going forward? That TIto and Page drew in fans. Does it mean the Bellator can put Curran vs Frodo on PPV and sell? No, it means two former UFC fighters sold a show. Doesnt prove Bellator has built their own stars that can sell. Thats why the UFC wont be worried.

    The day Bellator puts on a PPV with only their built fighters like Chandler or Curran and it sells well, thats the day UFC takes notice and says Bellator is a threat. I dont ever see that day coming to be honest with you.

    Bellator hsa to deliver now, they arent paying guys nothing, they paid Tito, Page, Mo, Chandler, Eddie, these shows have to bring in money now, they cant sit back and have 500k tv viewers selling 2k tickets and doing 50k PPV buys when they do a PPV. Thats not gonna cut it.

  24. BrainSmasher on August 30th, 2013 6:06 PM

    There is more to it than that Chris. If the PPV did 350K like you said. I would mean they made about 5 million profit on the PPV. It would not only give them incentive to big big money for big free agents from the UFC. But the money to do it. If they do 350K with these guys. Then they could do it with other big names and has beens they steal from the UFC. It would also means there is a lot of people seeing the other fighters on the card which will grow their appeal which would trickle onto other PPVs and Spike TV events. They would not only build their name with the free agents but also pass the torch to their own home grown fighters. If they did that kind of PPV buys it would be a game changer. They wouldn’t need Curran/Frodo to carry PPVs. They can buy out has beens like Shogun, wandy, and even coax retired guys into the cage. Then later when enough people have started getting used to following Bellator. A lot of them are going to take a liking to the Currans. Just like people have lighter fighters in the UFC. No one cared about them. But when the division was created and they fought on the card with other big stars. People started following them. Bendo might not sell 500K PPVs. But he has a lot of fans out there as does Pettis, Frankie, and all the other little guys. It would happen to Curran and those guys too if that many people were turning in to watch UFC has beens.

    BUt it isn’t going to happen. But it is fun to talk hypothetical lol.

  25. Sampson Simpson on August 30th, 2013 10:36 PM

    BS owned Chris

  26. BrainSmasher on August 30th, 2013 11:34 PM

    How so when I pretty much agreed with him except for a small part? He is right. The UFC isn’t worried. Bellator has like 500K viewers watching their show for free. That is viewers not house holds. Many of those viewers are 2-3 in the same home. Not every person buys a PPV. PPVs are sold by household. Bellator has maybe 200K households watching their free events. Only a percentage of them are going to buy the PPV and it likely isn’t going to be half.

  27. Sampson Simpson on August 31st, 2013 11:45 AM

    Chris has no ability to project any foresight past his nose

  28. aintitthetruth on August 31st, 2013 1:09 PM

    Chris is hysterical. she thinks one relatively mediocre ppv is going to make viacom go bellyup. I’m literally laughing as I
    type this. it must be that time of the month X’D

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