May 31, 2014
No Fight of the Night bonus was awarded although 4 performance bonuses were handed out at $50K each. Gegard Mousasi, C.B. Dolloway, Niklas Backstrom and Magnus Cedenblad were the recipients as announced by UFC executive Gary Cook at the post-fight press conference.
Also announced was the attendance at the O2 World Berlin which drew 8,000 fans according to the UFC post-fight press conference. There was no breakdown available for the number of comps, if any, for the event. Regardless, it sounds like the UFC was impressed with the event and the local coverage as it has already initiated plans to return in May 2015.
Mousasi and Dolloway probably did the most for their positions in their divisions at UFC FN 41. A look at the dimensions of the venue and it would appear that UFC FN 41 was not at capacity. Still, it appears that the UFC was happy with attendance and the overall reception of the UFC. With its initiative to expand in new territories, garnering a following in Germany would help with the UFC efforts. The UFCs last two visits to Germany (UFC 99 and UFC 122) drew more attendance but also received opposition.
May 30, 2014
Before we head into one of the bigger combat sports Saturdays in a while, we welcome you to another edition of the Wrestling Post.
In a bit of bad timing for the WWE, this Sunday its Pay Per View event, Payback in Chicago will now go up against Game 7 for the Chicago Blackhawks as it plays the Los Angeles Kings to see who makes it to the Stanley Cup. The card itself is not that strong and the importance for many Chicago sports fans will be centered around the hockey team.
Also on Sunday will be the Season Finale for Total Divas on E! In its second season, (and renewed for a third) the episode culminates at Wrestlemania and Daniel Bryan’s wedding. This season’s average through 10 episodes is slightly over 1.16 million viewers. It’s likely that it will not surpass its first season of almost 1.3 million viewers per episode. For the second time this season, the episode will run up against its own brand so we might expect a certain segment of fans putting the finale on the DVR.
Regardless of the outcome of the finale, Total Divas has proven to be an asset for the E! network. According to a recent press release, the network credited Total Divas for its 7% increase across key demos.
Via E! press release:
Returning series Total Divas is one key driver of growth, out-delivering year-ago programming across all key demos by impressive triple digit growth up to +135% in Total Viewers (1.0 Million), +103% in Women 18-34 (252,000), and +142% in Adults 18-49 (628,000). Total Divas is pacing as E!’s best sophomore original series in two years (since May 2012) and is the network’s second-most watched original program after Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Total Divas also ranks as a Top 5 ad-supported cable show on Sundays 9pm to 10pm in Women 18-34 (#3) and Adults 18-34 (#5).
Payout Take: Despite what you may think about the reality show, it has become valuable to the E! network. Even though there has been a slight decrease in viewership this season, it is doing well with key demos. In its first season, it was positioned to succeed with a prime spot after its top series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This season has gone without Kim and Chloe as a lead-in but still has produced on one of the busiest nights on television.
May 30, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that this past Wednesday’s TUF episode received 424,000 viewers for the 10pm episode and 68,000 for the 1am replay on Fox Sports 1.
The seventh episode drew the season average to roughly 460,000 viewers.
This week’s episode featured the continued reaction after the last episode’s controversial decision. In the episode’s fight, Patrick Walsh defeated Anton Berzon via decision.
Wednesday’s NBA Playoffs won the cable ratings on Wednesday with the Pacers-Heat game on ESPN receiving over 7 million viewers. This week’s episode brought this season back down to earth after the ratings bump from the talked about controversial decision.
May 29, 2014
Sports Illustrated reports that the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight on May 3rd received 900,000 PPV buys. According to the Chris Mannix article, the PPV buy rate is from multiple industry sources.
ESPN Dan Rafael had previously reported that the fight sold between 800-900K PPV buys. Thus, the estimate was right on track. The SI article points to the lack of promotion for “The Moment” as opposed to “The One,” the September 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez which drew 2.2 million PPV buys. This time around, there was no press tour which was due in part to the fact that Maidana was not a known boxing name for the casual viewer. If a rematch were to happen this September, we could expect more promotion surrounding a second fight now that fans know of Maidana and his style.
900,000 PPV buys is nothing to be upset about but Mayweather fights have an expectation of lofty PPV buys. It could be the lack of known opponents that is hurting the Mayweather PPVs. Canelo Alvarez is a widely popular star in Mexico and thus his drawing power plus the promotion for their September 2013 fight equated to the huge buy rate. So, the question is who out there is a big enough star that fans would pay $75 to see fight Mayweather.
May 29, 2014
MMA Junkie reports on the UFC’s new policy of requesting its contracted fighters to sign a release of their personal information for background checks including details related to their medical, educational and criminal history.
As pointed out by Stephen Marocco’s piece, the request includes a waiver of “doctor/patient confidentiality” which circumvents HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws. Essentially, Zuffa could discuss a fighter’s health history with a fighter’s medical provider.
According to the article, the information has been collected for several years but the new document encompasses all of the releases in one form.
There are obvious needs for the releases from the fighters. The UFC does not want to be surprised by any unknown criminal issues or associations such as Will Chope or Benjamin Brinsa. The health information is important because the UFC probably does not want to discover a pre-existing health condition which might preclude the fighter from fighting.
The Junkie article also talked to Sports Law professor Warren Zola about whether the release of information is standard for independent contractors. Zola indicated that while the request is “more than many employers would ask,” it was not illegal. Zola goes on to indicate that Zuffa’s leverage allows it to request the information and most fighters wanting to fight for the company must abide by its rules otherwise there’s the possibility that they may not work for the company. Only top-notch talent would have some bargaining power over these consents.
Overall, the request for information is a way that the UFC is trying to protect its brand. As it continues to grow and expand internationally, these new consents are a way to ensure that all of its bases are covered with its fighters so that it does not get blindsided with possible PR issues in the future.
If you read the article, you will find that Professor Zola uses the “M” word (he actually says “They have close to a monopoly…”) when talking about the UFC and its leverage to obtain these consents from its contracted workers.
May 28, 2014
MMA Fighting reports that Bellator 120’s PPV has surpassed 100,000 buys. Despite losing its main event, Bellator exceeded most expectations with the amount of buys.
Greg Savage of Sherdog first reported the buy rate. The initial buy rate floated out there was 65,000 buys according to Dave Meltzer on his Wrestling Observer podcast with Bryan Alvarez on Tuesday. According to the Sherdog article, the buy rate will be available in Viacom’s SEC filings later this year.
Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting:
I won’t be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it’s just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th.
The news of a 100K plus PPV buy rate after Eddie Alvarez had to pull out is a great achievement by Bellator. It is really good considering it competed with HBO Boxing that night with Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado.
What propelled the 100K plus buys? Rampage Jackson-King Mo? Tito Ortiz? Whatever it was, the buy rate means that Bellator will definitely plan additional PPVs in the future. Certainly, Rampage-Tito, Alvarez-Chandler or Brooks would be good choices to headline the next Bellator PPV.
The UFC is the standard for MMA PPV with few others attempting it. As MMA Fighting notes, only Affliction’s PPV in July 2008 (Fedor v. Sylvia – 100K buys) has put on a PPV with a buy rate hitting 100K. WEC also had a PPV (Aldo v. Faber) in April 2010 which did 175K PPV buys. However, the UFC owned WEC at the time.
May 28, 2014
MMA Payout has learned that UFC 173 Prelims received a rating of 697,000 viewers. The prelims on Saturday saw a 7% decrease in viewership from April’s UFC 172.
UFC PPV Prelims on FS1 or FS2
UFC 164 809,000
UFC 165 722,000
UFC 166 628,000
UFC 167 998,000
UFC 168 1,554,000
UFC 169 933,000
UFC 170 936,000
UFC 171 305,000 (FS2)
UFC 172 750,000
UFC 173 697,000
The featured fight was Michael Chiesa defeating Francisco Trinaldo.
The prelims went up against a lot of sports on Saturday night including the NBA and NHL playoffs as well as an MLB game on Fox. The competing sports programming and Memorial Day weekend probably contributed to the lower ratings although it was not far off of UFC 172.
May 28, 2014
MMA Payout has learned that last week’s controversial TUF episode scored the highest ratings of the season with an average viewership of 611,000 viewers per a Nielsen source. It was 32% higher than its season average of 464,000.
Last Wednesday’s episode was hyped up by the UFC and some MMA media for its controversial ending. Hopefully, I do not spoil it for you but the crux of the controversy was the win by Roger Zapata of Team Penn over Ian Stephens of Team Edgar. In the first round, Stephens used his wrestling to control Zapata on the ground despite not inflicting much damage. Zapata did better in the second round despite Stephens taking him down. The third and final round saw Stephens control Zapata on the ground yet not doing much again. Zapata attempted elbows but was docked a point by ref Steve Mazzagatti as he deemed them illegal. Mazzagatti had alerted Zapata of the elbows earlier in the fight but this set off Dana White who left before the fight ended.
In the end, despite having a point deducted Zapata won which threw everyone for a loop. In one of the more confusing explanations and processes to declare a winner, the judges were told to circle who won the fight due to the fact that two judges had the fight a draw and one of the judges decided that Stephens won. So, Zapata ended up winning.
There was much hype for this episode and it looks like that people tuned in to see what the talk was all about. The fight and subsequent winner may be a comment on the style of fights the UFC wants (i.e., no lay and pray). Yet, when watching you have to scratch your head as to how Zapata ended up winning despite losing a point. The end result: the best ratings of the season.
May 27, 2014
Dana White did not hold out hope for the passage of a bill to legalize MMA in the state of New York this year. At the UFC 173 post-fight press conference, White stated he had “No hopes” and “No aspirations” on the possibility that the bill would be passed, let alone come to a vote this year.
“It will be whatever it is,” White told a reporter asking about the New York issue. While he stated that MMA has “tons of support” in Albany, it appeared as though he has soured by the fact that Sheldon Silver has not brought the bill to a vote. While the bill passed the state Senate this year, the obstacle of a vote in the state Assembly has been the problem.
UPDATE: We have updated the video which is White’s post-fight scrum and not the press conference.
There is also talk about the scary health issues that is happening in New York due to unsanctioned bouts. The question was based on Jim Genia’s excellent Deadspin piece crystalizing the reasons why MMA should be regulated in New York State.
This may not be shocking to most for those that have followed the fight for MMA in New York. Obviously, the Culinary Union has been a thorn in the side of Zuffa’s efforts in trying to get MMA legalized in New York. White also seems to place blame with Sheldon Silver for not bringing the bill to a vote before the Assembly. Does White have some information we do not know, or is he just setting expectations for what may be confirmed next month – no vote and no MMA in New York again?
May 27, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries for Saturday’s UFC 173. The total disclosed payroll for the event was $1,024,000 per the release by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Via MMA Junkie:
T.J. Dillashaw: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Renan Barao: $74,000
Daniel Cormier: $170,000 (includes $85,000 win bonus)
def. Dan Henderson: $100,000
Robbie Lawler: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Ellenberger: $68,000
Takeya Mizugaki: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Rivera: $15,000
James Krause: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jamie Varner: $17,000
Michael Chiesa: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Trinaldo: $12,000
Tony Ferguson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Katsunori Kikuno: $10,000
Chris Holdsworth: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Chico Camus: $12,000
Mitch Clarke: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Al Iaquinta: $14,000
Vinc Pichel: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Njokuani: $20,000
Sam Sicilia: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Aaron Phillips: $8,000
Jingliang Li: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. David Michaud: $8,000
Robbie Lawler was the top earner of the night based on the reported payouts with $100,000 base and another $100,000 win bonus. TJ Dillashaw earned a total of $136,000 with his two bonuses plus his $18,000 and $18,000 reported salary. Previously, Dillashaw made $14K and $14K. Daniel Cormier was also a big earner with $170,000 ($85K/$85K) for his work on Saturday. Hendo also pulled in $100,000 with his loss.