Bellator 125 Live +3 = 796K; peak at 1.25M

September 24, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that Bellator 125’s adjusted viewership rating for this past Friday’s event drew the initial rating up 54,000 to a Live plus 3 rating of 796,000 viewers.

The peak rating went up as well to 1.25M viewers.

Bellator 11th Season incl DVR 3 09.24.14

Payout Perspective:

Through three events of Season 11, we see that the average viewership has increased and remains steady (Live – 726K, Live +3 – 803K).  Also, the peak viewership is hovering over 1 million viewers.  These are all positive signs for the company.

Jones states he lost Nike sponsorship due to Cormier brawl

September 23, 2014

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones stated that he lost his sponsorship with Nike due to his August 4th brawl with Daniel Cormier. Jones revealed this information during Tuesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing.

Jones expressed remorse for his role in the fight and indicated he lost his Nike sponsorship as a result of the fight.  According to Jones’ attorney, the Nike deal was “over six figures” a year.  His attorney also indicated another potential sponsorship was lost due to the Cormier dustup.

In the end, the commission found Jones a credible witness and believed that he was truly sorry for what happened.  As a result, it ordered a $50,000 fine and 40 hours of community service.

Payout Perspective:

If Jones lost Nike due to the brawl it was a big blow for his sponsorship portfolio and shows the fragile relationship he must have had with the swoosh.  But let’s look at the recent landscape of when Nike decides to terminate deals.  Certainly it is image conscious and protects its brand.  It has pulled the contracts from Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun and Michael Vick. More recently, it pulled deals from Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.  Notably, Peterson’s deal was reported to be worth $750,000 a year per a recent Bloomberg article.

But in contrast, Nike has stood by other athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods when there were reports of infidelity.

So let’s look at the reasons each of the above-named athletes’ wrongdoing and what necessitated Nike to pull its support.

Lance Armstrong – admission of doping

Ryan Braun – drug violations

Michael Vick – dogfighting

Ray Rice – domestic violence

Adrian Peterson – alleged child abuse

Jon Jones – media day fight

What doesn’t belong?  You may recall that Jones had a DUI in May 2012 pre-dating his sponsorship with the apparel giant, yet he was still picked up later by Nike.

Obviously the above list is not a compilation of all of the reasons Nike pulls an athlete’s endorsement deal but it gives one a good snapshot.

So in this case, either Nike jumped the gun on dismissing Jones from his sponsorship, used the fight with Cormier as a reason out of its sponsorship or just did not want to sponsor him anymore.  Perhaps Nike does not have the same respect for MMA that it does for other sports like MLB, NBA, NFL or cycling.

UPDATED: 09/24/14

Silva issued 70K fine, indefinite suspension from NAC

September 23, 2014

In a busy session of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s monthly meeting, it issued a $70,000 fine and an indefinite suspension to Wanderlei Silva.  The ruling comes just days after Silva announced his retirement.

The ruling was based on Silva eluding a drug test in preparation for his UFC 175 match-up with Chael Sonnen.  The fine is equivalent to 35% of Silva’s fight purse at UFC 175 which would have been $200,000.  The commission was especially harsh with Silva since he ran from his drug test.

Silva was not present at the commission hearing nor was he on the phone which appeared to anger the commission members. Despite not showing up, Silva’s attorney indicated that they would appeal the order.

Payout Perspective:

Although Silva’s attorney challenged the jurisdiction of the Commission, it did not matter.  Despite Silva’s retirement, the commission issued its ruling.  Certainly, the facts of Silva’s case coupled with him not showing up before the commission likely made the penalty simple for the commission.

WSOF announces “Game Changer” in MMA PPV model

September 23, 2014

The WSOF has announced what it believes is a “Game Changer” in the MMA PPV business with the introduction of a PPV revenue sharing model set to be put in place with its foray into PPV in the second half of 2015.  The model would provide featured fighters with 50 percent of all of the PPV net revenue from the event.

Per portions of the WSOF press release:

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 23, 2014) – In a radical move that could forever change the earning potential of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, World Series of Fighting (www.wsof.com) has announced that it will enter the pay-per-view business in the second half of 2015 with an unprecedented revenue sharing model that will pay 50 percent of all net revenue earned from live pay-per-view events it produces, to the fighters featured on the telecasts.

“This is a proud day for the sport of mixed martial arts and our organization and one that we hope will create a better opportunity for the fighters who put everything on the line every time they step inside the cage,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.

“Until now,” continued Sefo, “one of the main things holding this sport back from becoming even bigger than it is today has been fighter compensation and the inability of the sport’s top athletes to earn on par with top-level professional  athletes in other sports.

“If fighters can’t earn a fair share of the money at the top,” said Sefo, “the fighters lose hope or become disenchanted with the sport, which impacts their commitment to training and preparing properly for title fights.  That is about to change, thanks to this major step we are taking now fighters will train harder than ever to become a champion giving the fans some epic championship bouts to enjoy. We want to thank NBC Sports and NBC for giving us such an amazing stage to grow World Series of Fighting since its debut.

Since it launched its live event series on Nov. 3, 2012 with a stellar six-bout fight card on NBC Sports Network that reaches over 80 million homes, World Series of Fighting has effectively been building its brand and on July 5, the promotion made its debut on broadcast television before a live NBC audience of nearly 1 million viewers.

World Series of Fighting has successfully expanded its footprint to over 80 countries and counting with its premier fight programming as part of a multi-year agreement with IMG the world’s leader in sports content distribution.

Ray Sefo - WSOF

Payout Perspective:

The assumption of having the PPV in late 2015 is to help build up the promotion to a point where it will have a sufficient television draw and following to be ready by late next year.  While Sefo does say some truthful things, it is still the execution of the plan and how much fan interest there will be in the end that will determine whether this business model is a game changer.  Recent forays by smaller organizations (e.g. Glory rumored to have only 6,000 PPV buys) have not proven to be big sellers and based on the price point of a PPV (likely between $30-$40), it’s hard to fathom a huge PPV number.  Thus, the fighters probably would not be raking in big money from PPV revenue.  Overall, it’s a way to incentivize fighters to work harder and help assist in promoting the PPV.   But in the end, I do not think that fighters would make more money from the model than they would if they were paid in traditionally.  We will continue follow and see how this develops.

Weidman out, Hendricks-Lawler II for UFC 181

September 22, 2014

The UFC announced this afternoon that Chris Weidman is out of his main event fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 182 on December 6th.  In its place, the UFC has inserted Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler as the main event for the PPV.


Hendricks-Lawler had been rumored to be scheduled for early 2015, possibly Super Bowl weekend.  Instead of putting Gilbert Melendez-Anthony Pettis at the top of the card, the UFC decided to add the welterweight title match to the card.

With Weidman’s injury, if all goes well, we could see Weidman-Belfort on the same card as Nick Diaz-Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

Payout Perspective:

The move to insert another title fight into the mix for UFC 182 reflects two things.  The first is that the UFC wants to end 2014 on a high note with its PPVs.  Certainly so far there’s been some real underwhelming PPVs and even a cancellation.  Secondly, while no one will admit to it, there has to be a concern that the Gil-Pettis title fight may fall victim to injury.  Thus, Hendricks-Lawler serves as insurance for the PPV.  The Weidman injury is a blow to the PPV but at least the Belfort TRT issue will not be a part of the pre-fight media.  Based on the slate of fall PPVs upcoming, the UFC definitely wanted a big card to end the year and adding the rematch to what was arguably the best fight (so far) of 2014 helps.

Bellator 125: 742,00 viewers

September 22, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Bellator drew 742,000 viewers.  It also received the highest rating of the season in the coveted males 18-34 demo.

The highest quarter hour was the during the 10:45-11:00pm slot which drew 937,000 viewers.

Bellator 11th Season - 125

Payout Perspective:

The main event which saw Melvin Manhoef KO Doug Marshall in the first round ended the night early for Bellator programming so apparently a lot of viewers got in just to see the last fight.  The ratings are a good sign for Bellator as it continues to trend up even with its lesser known talent.

Cyborg to 135 and Invicta sets new date on UFC Fight Pass

September 22, 2014

The UFC has announced another Invicta event which will take place on UFC Fight Pass on November 1st. The UFC also announced that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will make her first appearance on UFC Fight Pass on December 5th.

Cyborg stated that she will move down to Bantamweight which means that an eventual fight with Ronda Rousey should happen in the not too distant future.

The news was announced via a special, “UFC Minute.”

Payout Perspective:

The news of the return of women’s MMA to UFC Fight Pass should peak the ears of many fans that have gravitated to the women’s division.  More important, the news that Cyborg will be returning to Invicta in December should spark more interest since it means an eventual jump to the UFC and fight with Ronda Rousey (possibly July 2015 to headline the annual big UFC show).

Spike TV to air “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” Saturday

September 22, 2014

Spike TV announced that it will air both Eddie Alvarez fights against Michael Chandler in Bellator in opposition to UFC 178 this Saturday.  Spike TV is calling the program, “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike.”

Via Spike TV press release:

MMA fans can sit back enjoy Eddie Alvarez’s two most memorable bouts against Michael Chandler for free on Spike TV on Saturday, September 27 at 10:00pm ET/PT. The 90-minute “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” special will kick-off with his first bout with Michael Chandler at Bellator 58, regarded by many as  the  “Fight of The Year” in 2011.  Then, your night of free Eddie Alvarez continues with his rematch with Michael Chandler from Bellator 106 from November, 2013 where Eddie regained the title in a dramatic 5-round decision.

The program airs at the same time as the start of UFC 178 on PPV.

Payout Perspective:

With the past salary dispute between Alvarez and Bellator, the title of the program, “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” might have a little irony to it.

Does this sound familiar?  Previously, Spike TV has done well with airing MMA programming opposite the UFC.  Spike TV used the UFC library during UFC events in the past as a result of an inexplicable rights agreement that allowed Spike TV the UFC library for a year despite its move to Fox.  It makes sense from Bellator’s perspective and the title says it all.  It basically tells you why pay $55 when you get guaranteed exciting fight for free on Spike TV.  With the original main event (Jones-Cormier) moved to next year, SpikeTV/Bellator has a shot to grab some viewers not willing to pay to see Demetrious Johnson headlining a PPV.

Silva retires the week before NAC hearing

September 21, 2014

Wanderlei Silva announced his retirement from the UFC in a video post on Friday afternoon.  Silva blamed the UFC for having to retire.  Silva’s retirement comes the week prior to his hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

According to the retirement post on YouTube, Silva stated the UFC “tried to turn my fans against me.”

The full video can be seen on his YouTube channel here:

Silva’s disciplinary hearing is set before the NAC this week as it will assess a penalty for evading a drug test.  Silva’s counsel has filed paperwork opposing the disciplinary proceedings and requesting that Silva’s complaint be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  The argument is that since Silva did not have a license at the time, he was not under the jurisdiction of the state of Nevada.

Payout Perspective:

Will the Commission decide that it has no jurisdiction and let the state Attorney General proceed with its case against Silva?  Does the fact that Silva announced his retirement make a difference?  Silva’s retirement probably has no bearing on what the Commission will do this week.  Perhaps if the case is dismissed against Silva, then we might see Silva rethink his retirement.  But, if the Commission denies Silva’s motion to dismiss and rules in favor of the AG, we will never see Silva in the UFC again.

The Wrestling Post – 09.21.14

September 21, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this post we’ll catch up on Total Divas ratings and the WWE brokers a new television deal in Latin America.

Total Divas Ratings –Season 3, episode 2

The second episode of the third season of Total Divas did just 974,000 viewers with a 0.5 rating.  It’s a decrease from the debut episode for the third season which drew 1.2 million viewers.

Payout Take:  Without a Kardashians lead-in on the E! Network, Total Divas is finding it hard to grab its own audience.  It also doesn’t help that it is up against the NFL and other must see Sunday night television.  Don’t expect a huge uptick this Sunday as it goes up against a WWE live event on the network.

WWE and Fox Sports Latin America announce 5 year pact

Earlier this week, the WWE announced a deal with Fox Sports Latin America.  The 5 year deal includes Fox Sports Premium platforms across all of Latin America which will make WWE programming available in 56 million homes.  The deal begins October 6th with WWE airing Monday Night Raw across the Fox networks.

Payout Take:  The move into countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela will help with its global footprint.  It will also help with the future proliferation of the WWE Network.

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