UFC 167 Gate and Attendance

November 22, 2013

The Nevada State Athletic Commission today released the final live event numbers for UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks, which took place in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event drew a total attendance of 14,856 while tallying up a gate of $5,759,350.  Here are all the numbers:

Attendance: 14,856

Gate: $5,759,350

Tickets Sold: 13,621

Tickets Unsold: 57

Tickets Comped: 1,235


MMAPayout Perspective:

UFC 167’s gate was the third largest in the UFC’s history, only behind UFC 129: GSP vs Shields, which was the debut show for Toronto, which did a gate of $12,075,000, and UFC 148: Silva vs Sonnen II which did a gate of $6,901,655. At this time, UFC 168, which takes place next month, is on track to edge out UFC 167’s gate based on current sales and should overtake it’s sport as third best next month.

New study reveals $68 million economic impact with MMA in New York

November 21, 2013

Newsday reports on a new study provided by the UFC on Thursday which reveals that the legalization of MMA in New York State would result in a $68 million economic impact within the state.

The new findings from a study commissioned by the UFC reveal that the state’s potential economic benefit is 3 times the amount than that of a similar study in 2011.  In that study, it concluded an economic impact of $23 million.  The new study’s economic impact includes an anticipated 5 UFC events in the state and factors in events from Bellator, World Series of Fighting and Ring of Combat.  In addition, the study indicates that “statewide expansion of UFC Gyms would generate an additional $67 million in spending per year by 2017.”  This would boost the economic impact to $135 million.

Specifically, the study reveals that two UFC events in New York city would generate $16 million in economic activity.  The study also estimates $12.2 million in ticket sales per event which would be a record in the U.S.  Three UFC events per year in cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany would produce $18 million in those areas.

(H/t: Adam Martin)

Payout Perspective:

Will persistence ever pay off for the UFC in New York?  The latest study, which the UFC paid for, indicates that the events would give the state an economic influx from its events as well as business for the hospitality industry.  What has changed since the 2011 study is that the UFC is holding more live events and factors this into the new study.  Now an anchor on Fox Sports 1, it has the opportunity to hold a couple big events in New York City and three Fight Nights in upstate New York.  Also, there are other companies out there that would likely take advantage of the legalization of MMA in New York (i.e. Bellator, WSOF).  Will this new study persuade any New York legislator that cares to listen?

Over 40 live events in 2014 according to Fertitta

November 21, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Lorenzo Fertitta has announced that the UFC will hold over 40 events in 2014.  The number of live events is up from 33 this year as the UFC plans to venture into new markets abroad.

In the video (5:48 mark), Ariel Helwani interviews Fertitta and he talks about the plans which include the global expansion based on the Fight Night brand.  Fertitta talks about “tiers” of the UFC brand.  First, Fertitta talks about the “bottom” which is the TUF Franchise which it plans to expand around the world.  China is the latest for TUF.  He also mentioned the “premium” events which are the UFC PPVs.  Then there is the “middle of the pyramid” tier which he identified as the Fight Night product.  The expanse involves the “Fight Night” brand as the UFC plans to expand the number of Fight Nights as it takes it globally.

Payout Perspective:

Fertitta originally said that there would be 54 events but backtracked on that number during the interview.  Lawrence Epstein stated 46 events but there is actually no definite number at this point.  The expansion makes sense for its global footprint as the Fight Nights will be in Europe and Asia.  Thus, there will be more fights and more content for FS1/2 (although Fertitta did not specifically address where the events might air so this may change).  The likely addition of 10 more live events may not move the dial for North American viewers but the goal here is to introduce the product to newer audiences.  So, while ratings may suffer and featured fights on these cards may not be PPV worthy, it is a way for the UFC to get in front of new areas for its product.

Does GSP make $12M a year?

November 21, 2013

Forbes.com ran an article last week on Georges St. Pierre and how he makes $12 million per year.  The article gives a rundown of all of GSPs revenue streams including salary, PPV and sponsorships.

According to Forbes, GSP made “roughly $9 million combined from his past two fights” and another $3 million from “endorsements, memorabilia and licensing.”

If we are to parse out his past two fights, which would be UFC 158 (against Nick Diaz) and UFC 154 (against Carlos Condit) he would have made $870,000 in reported salary and bonuses and an additional $8,130,000.

GSP’s payday for UFC 158 was $400,000 total.  The buy rate was a reported 950,000 PPV buys.

GSP’s payday for UFC 154 was $200,000show/$200,000 win plus $70,000 for Fight of the Night for a total of $470,000.  The buy rate was a reported 700,000 PPV buys.

If GSP received the rest of his pay via PPV revenue for the past two events, he received around $5 per PPV buy. While his $9 million in pay has been reported from sources close to GSP according to the article, extrapolating the numbers from the pay sources (i.e., salary, bonuses, PPV), it’s debatable whether his earnings were $9 million for the past 2 fights. He may have received another lump sum bonus, but once again, this seems like a hefty amount of money to give GSP.

The $3 million in sponsorships is believable as GSP has blue chip sponsors in Under Armour, Coca Cola, Google and MMA brands Affliction and Hayabusa.

Next year, GSP’s earnings will also include his part in a Captain America movie which will open in 2014.

Payout Perspective:

As Dana White told and retold reporters on Saturday night, GSP is rich.  GSPs salary/bonuses and PPV upside has to be the biggest in the company if he could make over $8 million in PPV earnings alone. But making $5 per PPV buy would seem very high for just one fighter.  Whether or not GSP has made $9 million in his last two fights, it’s clear that he’s the highest paid fighter in the company.  The TMZ rumors are bad for business for GSP’s personal brand but should not affect his UFC earnings.  At this point, GSP does not need to fight so long as he’s invested his money wisely.  But knowing that he’s a big draw, the UFC will try to keep him (despite his hefty salary) from taking too long of an absence.

The Wrestling Post: 11.20.13

November 20, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at Wrestlemania’s economic impact on New Jersey and this week’s Total Divas ratings.

New Jersey Receives Economic Impact of $101.2M from Wrestlemania

The WWE and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that this year’s Wrestlemania 29 taking place at Met Life Stadium provided a $101.2 million economic impact to the region according to a study.  Its the second straight year that the WWE has provided such a strong economic boost for its host city.

Via press release:

“On behalf of the great state of New Jersey, we thank all of WWE’s devoted fans who descended on our region from all over the world to be a part of WrestleMania,” said Governor Chris Christie. “The entire week of events helped generate a tremendous boost for our economy, and we look forward to the possibility of MetLife Stadium hosting a future WrestleMania.”

A capacity crowd of 80,676 fans from all 50 states and 34 countries attended WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza this past April, making it the highest grossing entertainment event at MetLife Stadium. Key highlights from the study include:

  • $101.2 million of direct, indirect and induced impact derived from spending by non-locals visiting specifically for WrestleMania 29.

  • 54% of fans that attended WrestleMania were from outside the New York/New Jersey area and stayed an average of four nights.

  • The economic impact derived from WrestleMania Week was equal to the creation of 943 full-time jobs for the area.

  • $5.2 million was spent by non-locals at New Jersey and New York restaurants.

Payout Take:   Regardless of what you may think of professional wrestling, the money the WWE generates from its annual event, Wrestlemania, brings in tremendous amounts of real money.  This is the reason why you see cities vying for the right to host the event.  The amount of people traveling to the event from around the world is a testament to the WWE and its brand.  It also is a boon for the hospitality industry in the region.

Total Divas 2nd Episode Up in Return

Television By Numbers reports that WWE’s Total Divas scored an average viewership of 1.4 million viewers.  The show which airs on Sundays at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET improves from last week’s 1.3 million average.

Via Television By Numbers:

  • E!’s “Total Divas” on Sunday, November 17 from 10-11pm scored the series’ best episode since September 1 across nearly all demos including P18-49 (903,000), W18-49 (558,000), M18-49 (346,000), P18-34 (537,000), W18-34 (363,000), Total Viewers (1.4 Million) and HH (1.0 Million).

  • The show also grew week-to-week across all demos including P18-49 (+21%), W18-49 (+12%), M18-49 (+40%), P18-34 (+3%), W18-34 (+1%), M18-34 (+7%), Total Viewers (+12%) and HH (+11%).

Payout Take:  The interesting takeaway is that the series which mainly drew from a woman audience is not picking up males 18-49 (up 40% this week).  This week occurred without the network’s top show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”  Despite what you may think about the show, it is drawing.

Bellator 108: 793,000 viewers

November 19, 2013

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Bellator 108 scored an average viewership of 793,000 viewers.  However, Rampage Jackson’s debut with the company scored a high of 1.1 million viewers with a peak of 1.2.

In the main event of the two hour broadcast, Jackson fought Joey Beltran earning a KO in the first round.  During the main event, the broadcast, between 10:30 p.m.-10:45pm drew 1.1 million viewers with a 1.2 million peak.

Season 9 (Fall 2013):

Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers

Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers, 704,000 DVR+3

Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers, 736,000 DVR+3

Bellator 101 – 649,000 viewers, 710,000 DVR +3

Bellator 102 – 675,000 viewers. 774,000 DVR +3

Bellator 103 – 539,000 viewers, 638,000 DVR +3

Bellator 104 – 615,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3

Bellator 105 – 520,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3

Bellator 106 – 1.1M viewers

Bellator 107 – 683,000 viewers, 782,000 DVR +3

Bellator 108 – 793,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

One might infer that the strong ratings show that Rampage Jackson is still a draw and that Bellator made the right decision to sign him.  Although his shoulder programming leading up to the nixed PPV, Rampage 4 Real, fizzled after the cancelled fight people tuned in on Friday to watch him.  The ratings high during the two hour event jumped during his fight and he did not disappoint those that tuned in with a first round KO.  We shall see how Bellator plans to use Jackson in the future.

UFC 167 Prelims: 998,000 viewers

November 19, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that the UFC 167 Prelims scored an average of 998,000 this past Saturday on FS1.  It was the highest prelim rating since it moved to FS1 this past August.

UFC Prelims on FS1

UFC 164         809,000

UFC 165         722,000

UFC 166         628,000

UFC 167         998,000

Average:          789,250

Payout Perspective:

The 998K is a very good rating for the UFC which may reflect interest in the PPV card.  It’s the best number since the last UFC Prelims on FX which was 163 in August which scored 1 million viewers.  The Prelims featured Donald Cerrone versus Evan Dunham in the last fight on the Prelims.  Cerrone looked sharp and eventually submitted Dunham.

UFC 167: Payout Perspective

November 19, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at the big 20th Anniversary Show of UFC 167 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bruised and battered but GSP wins split decision

If you disagree with the decision review the 1st round because it appears that is the round where two judges scored it for GSP and 1 for Hendricks.  The rest of the rounds the judges agreed.  It was a close call, but ties go to the Champion.  Of course that’s not how it’s scored but many probably came to that conclusion on Saturday night.

Who do we blame? The Nevada State Athletic Commission for the judges?  The judges themselves? Hendricks’ corner for not telling him to keep pressing? Or do we chalk this one up to a bad decision?  Then again, was it a bad decision?

While the judging may have been suspect, based upon how the 10-9 scoring system, it was a plausible outcome.

Two items from the actual match between GSP-Hendricks.  There was the theory of a phantom tap by Hendricks during the match spotted by many.  But GSP did not stop and did not argue a tap.  Looking back at Bendo-Pettis, even if a tap is not detected by the referee, the fighters would likely have stopped themselves.  You may recall that Bendo lost his title this past August when he verbally submitted to Pettis although the ref did not stop the fight immediately.  It seems like guys like Hendricks and GSP would have the sportsmanship to admit if a tap had occurred.

Also, it appeared as though Hendricks had yelled out that GSP was either holding the fence or his shorts on the ground as a way to keep position during a scramble on the ground in the 5th round.  Yet, there was nothing done in that instance.  Perhaps this was some desperation by GSP in trying to keep position on Hendricks.

And now for the post-fight story.  Give Joe Rogan credit for not giving the stock platitudes in the post-fight interview and actually pressing GSP.  Even though he didn’t get the answer, Rogan saw GSP wanted to say something and followed up with questions.

One of the reasons Dana White was so hot at the post-fight press conference was that he was not given (official) notice that GSP was leaving.  Thus, he was mad at the commission and its judges.  If Hendricks won, White would not have been steamed.  He would have had a new marketable champion and could give GSP the time off to do what he needed.  According to reports, White was able to speak with GSP after the post-fight press conference (GSP was not at the press conference at the beginning).  One might deduce their discussion was an attempt to get to the bottom of the cryptic statements GSP made in the Octagon and persuade him to not take a leave of absence.  TMZ has reported the alleged personal issues of GSP (which is in part being denied according to a report picked up by Bloody Elbow). We shall see what becomes of this situation and how GSP will address what now is becoming a public story.

UFC 167

Evans pounds out Sonnen

It was quick work by Evans who destroyed Sonnen with a flurry of punches on the ground in the first round. There was a little hope that that this would be a good match considering Sonnen’s last outing against Shogun Rua.  Then after Evans took Sonnen down there was little hope that it would last past round 1.  Evans looked rejuvenated from a poor outing against Little Nog in February and a so-so performance in June.  Does it mean he’s somewhere in the Light Heavyweight title picture?  We’ll have to wait.  As for Sonnen, he gets a TUF Brazil coaching spot and Wanderlei Silva.

Lawler jumps back into title picture after upset

Not a good night for the Tri-Star Gym.  Not only is GSP out indefinitely, its “next in line” was upset by resurgent Robbie Lawler.  MacDonald is still very young and will be back but for Lawler it was a definite step forward. Lawler is 3-0 since coming over from Strikeforce. As Lawler proposed at the post-fight press conference, maybe a Hendricks-Lawler fight could be in the future.

Attendance and Gate

As reported, the gate was the best since UFC 148 at the MGM.  14,856 were in attendance for a $5.7 million gate.  Although not factored in the actual number, the secondary market had its biggest demand since 2009 with an average of $580 per ticket.  But, it does show the demand for this event.


Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were GSP-Hendricks, Donald Cerrone for his sub of Evan Dunham and Tyron Woodley for his highlight reel KO of Josh Koscheck.

Reported Salaries

The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the UFC 167 salaries and as expected Georges St. Pierre topped the payroll earning $400,000 with no win bonus although GSP earned a FOTN bonus making his total earnings $450,000.  Johny Hendricks earned $50,000 for his split decision loss but did pick up another $50,000 to top out at $100,000.

UFC Primetime

While the viewership for the UFC Primetime series has been down since moving to FS1, they were well-done this time around as it introduced you to Johny Hendricks.  I think the introduction of the challenger in these programs is important and Hendricks came off as a likeable guy. I also like the spotlight they did on Firas Zahabi as you don’t get to hear too much about the story behind some of the trainers.


The sponsors in the Octagon included Assassin’s Creed IV “Black Flag”, MusclePharm, UltimatePoker.net, Harley Davidson, Dodge, Toyo Tires, the movie Grudge Match, Alienware, MusclePharm and Bud Light in the center. Corn Nuts and MetroPCS had its usual placements within the PPV broadcast.

Reebok signed Johny Hendricks to wear its logo into the Octagon for UFC 167.  Hendricks wore Reebok crossfit shorts and had a walkout shirt via Reebok.  Also, Hendricks sported its shoes and promoted them via social media.  A lot was made that Reebok paid the sponsor fee for Hendricks but did not for Rampage when it was announced Reebok would be sponsoring Hendricks.  We will see if Reebok continues to sponsor Hendricks and/or other fighters.

Hendricks did have UFC official sponsors Corn Nuts and Alienware as his sponsors in addition to Bass Pro Shops and “Rags to Rick,” a  Comedy reality show.

GSP wore his Hayabusa gi (no controversy this time) to the Octagon and his corner wore Affliction.

It was the first time that I’ve seen PS4 advertised during a UFC broadcast.  This may not sit well with Mighty Mouse’s primary sponsor, Microsoft’s Xbox.

Robbie Lawler was sponsored by the Air Force Reserve.  It’s an interesting sponsor considering that some pushed to curtail U.S. military sport sponsorships earlier this year.

Interesting sponsor of the night:  Rick Story was sponsored by PaleoRanch.com.

Post-Fight Headlines

What’s going to happen without GSP?  An interim title will likely happen if GSP is out for a prolonged period of time. In addition to Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Matt Brown and maybe Nick Diaz will be names to look for in the welterweight division. The loss of GSP is a hit for the UFC which now may have 3 of its champions out for extended periods of time (GSP would join Dominick Cruz who plans to be back after a long absence from injury and the recently injured Anthony Pettis).  This doesn’t even include what may be happening with Jon Jones.  We shall see what the UFC plans to do with the welterweight division in GSP’s absence.

20th Anniversary

It was the 20th Anniversary show and with it came the UFC retrospective show last week on FS1.  It was well done and gave some detail of the early years for those of us that picked it up in the Zuffa days.  The weekend also included some notable fighters over the years in attendance. The UFC also bought a special advertising section in the Sports Business Journal which told the UFC’s story and gave it some added publicity.

Odds and Ends

-Erik Perez rocked the Lucha Libre mask once again.

-Was this the first time that they dropped the lights during a main event for Bruce Buffer to announce the fighters?

-GSP has been with the company for a while, shouldn’t the UFC have a French interpreter so that Georges doesn’t have to interpret for the entire room during press conferences.

-First time I recall FS1 insets on PPVs.  Speaking of FS1, the Prelims did the double screen in between rounds with showing the corner at the top right hand of the screen during a commercial.

-Tyron Woodley made a statement with his KO of Josh Koscheck.

-Seemingly, Rory MacDonald had the most sponsors ever seen on shorts.  If the UFC allowed for spats, he could have made a killing.

-Arnold Schwarzeneger was in the crowd…and to the benefit of Ali Bagautinov who admitted at the post-fight presser that he is a big fan.

-Boxing fans know Edwin Rodriguez? Despite getting docked $200K for missing weight in his fight with Andre Ward on Saturday he would be the second highest paid fighter on the UFC 167 card. This assumes GSP salary plus PPV upside.  Rodriguez made $800K after the $200K deduction.

Forbes ran a piece on GSP and how he makes $12 million a year.  We will have more on that this week.


GSP is the company’s biggest draw.  And while we cannot conclude that a higher gate will equate to a higher PPV buy rate, the rumors that GSP could be fighting in his last fight may have prodded folks to pay the money to watch one of the best in the sport in his last match.  Additionally, the main event was well-supported on paper by Evans-Sonnen and Lawler-MacDonald.  While the UFC had hoped the last four PPVs of 2013 would have done well, it will get 2 of the 4 doing a good number.  I would say UFC 167 would do somewhere in the 800K range and GSP once again comes through for the company.

GSP tops the UFC 167 payday roster

November 18, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the salaries for Saturday’s UFC 167 event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Georges St. Pierre topped the UFC roster with a reported $400,000.

MMA Junkie reports as revealed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission:

Georges St-Pierre: $400,000 (no win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks: $50,000

Rashad Evans: $250,000 (includes $125,000 win bonus)
def. Chael Sonnen: $100,000

Robbie Lawler: $166,000 (includes $83,000 win bonus)
def. Rory MacDonald: $50,000

Tyron Woodley: $104,000 (includes $52,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Koscheck: $78,000

Ali Bagautinov: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Elliott: $12,000

Donald Cerrone: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. Evan Dunham: $25,000

Thales Leites: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ed Herman: $40,000

Rick Story: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Ebersole: $18,000

Erik Perez: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Edwin Figueroa: $12,000

Jason High: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Lapsley: $8,000

Sergio Pettis: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Will Campuzano: $10,000

Gian Villante: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Donovan: $8,000

Payout Perspective:

No win bonus for GSP but it’s likely he gets a PPV upside.  He actually received $450,000 if you include his Fight of the Night Bonus.  Also, Woodley received $154,000 (so the holidays should be good for his family as he pleaded for the bonus in his post-fight Octagon interview) and Cerrone topped out at $146,000 with his sub bonus.  Evans still a top earner with a  $125K base and another $125K win incentive.

Stay tuned for more information from UFC 167 in its Payout Perspective.


UFC 167 attendance, gate and bonuses

November 17, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 167.  The attendance was the second highest reported gate in the UFC’s history at the MGM Grand Arena since UFC 148 and the night’s main event scored the Fight of the Night.

The reported attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 14,856 for a live gate of $5.7 million.  As always, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will confirm the numbers in the coming weeks.  It comes second to only Silva-Sonnen II at UFC 148 for biggest gate at the MGM Grand.

Also announced at the post-fight presser were the bonuses which were the standard $50,000 each and were as follows as:

Fight of the Night:  GSP-Hendricks

Submission of the Night:  Donald Cerrone

KO of the Night:  Tyron Woodley

Payout Perspective:

As we reported Friday, UFC 167 was a hot ticket as they were going for an average of $580 per ticket on the secondary market.  While the reported gate does not consider the secondary market, it was a good indicator of how lucrative it would be.  A GSP fight with the rumors (and now maybe reality) that this may be his last time in the Octagon drove the interest for this fight.  As for the bonuses, all seemed spot on and we have not heard the last of the controversial decision in the main event as well as GSP’s “leave”.

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