Disclosed salaries of UFC 184 fighters

February 28, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the payouts for Saturday’s UFC 184. As reported yesterday, Cat Zingano will make more in show money than women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

The salaries were released by the California State Athletic Commission and obtained by Junkie:

• Champ Ronda Rousey ($65,000 to show, $65,000 to win) vs. Cat Zingano ($100,000/$100,000) – for women’s bantamweight title

• Holly Holm ($25,000/$25,000) vs. Raquel Pennington ($10,000/$10,000)

• Jake Ellenberger ($68,000/$68,000) vs. Josh Koscheck ($78,000/$78,000)

• Alan Jouban ($10,000/$10,000) vs. Richard Walsh ($8,000/$8,000)

• Tony Ferguson ($24,000/$24,000) vs. Gleison Tibau ($50,000/$50,000)

• Roan Carneiro ($12,000/$12,000) vs. Mark Munoz ($47,000/$47,000)

• Roman Salazar ($8,000/$8,000) vs. Norifumi Yamamoto ($15,000/$15,000)

• Dhiego Lima ($10,000/$10,000) vs. Tim Means ($17,000/$17,000)

• Derrick Lewis ($15,000/$15,000) vs. Ruan Potts ($10,000/$10,000)

• James Krause ($15,000/$15,000) vs. Valmir Lazaro ($8,000/$8,000)

• Masio Fullen ($8,000/$8,000) vs. Alexander Torres ($8,000/$8,000)

Payout Perspective:

Rousey will make more with her cut of the PPV and it is reported that she should make at least $1 million for her title defense on Saturday. As for the rest of the card, Holly Holm debuts with a $25K/$25K deal. Aside from Zingano and Rousey, Josh Koschek ($78K/$78K) and Jake Ellenberger ($68K/$68K) are the other high-paid fighters on Saturday’s card.

Cat to make $100K/$100K, Rousey $65K/$65K at UFC 184

February 27, 2015

Lance Pugmire of the LA Times tweeted that Ronda Rousey will be making less of a guaranteed purse than Cat Zingano at UFC 184. However, with her PPV cut and deals with official UFC sponsors, Rousey will clear $1 million on Saturday.

According to tweets from Pugmire, Rousey will make $65K to show and $65K to win. The challenger will get $100,000 to show plus $100,000 if she wins. There is no information on whether Zingano gets a PPV cut. However, Rousey is said to have a PPV cut which should get her over $1 million.

As many probably saw at the weigh-ins, this will be the first fight that Rousey will don Reebok. She received an individual deal from the soon-to-be official clothing sponsor of the UFC. In the past, she also has had deals with official UFC sponsors Monster Headphones and MetroPCS.

Payout Perspective:

Zingano will make more than 5x what she made at UFC 178 when she earned $9K and $9K against Amanda Nunes. Thus, last September she was only guaranteed $9,000. Just 5 months later she will be guaranteed more than 10 times that amount. So, no lockstep raises for Cat. Good for her.

It’s interesting to note that Rousey last made $120K to show plus a $50K win bonus over Alexis Davis at UFC 175 this past July. It appears to be a restructure of her pay here so that she will receive more from either sponsors and/or her PPV cut.

Koscheck gives opinion on fighter union

February 27, 2015

During the press functions leading up to UFC 184 this Saturday, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani interviewed Josh Koscheck.  He indicated that there should be a fighter’s union.

“There’s no 401K at the end of the day,” said Koscheck during the interview.  Koscheck, recognizing the end of his fight career is near, gave his perspective on what young fighters should do to prepare for their future and “residual income.”

Koscheck would not give specifics on when and if he would want to be involved in putting together a union, but indicated that a union would make the sport grow.  He also gave his opinion that UFC contracted fighters are employees and not independent contractors as they are currently classified.

Payout Perspective:

Just another perspective about fighters’ rights coming from a fighter that nears the end of his career.  It doesn’t seem that Koscheck wants to become involved in organizing a union in the UFC although he is not opposed to one being set up.  Koscheck seems like he has invested his fight earnings and is moving on to his post-fight career with business interests outside the octagon.

Slice-Shamrock scheduled for June Bellator MMA event on Spike TV

February 26, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will finally meet Ken Shamrock as part of a Bellator card slated for June 20th at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.  The show will headline a Spike TV televised main card.

As MMA Junkie points out, the Bellator event will take place on the same day as UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin.  The UFC event looks to be a Fight Pass only card.

Slice signed with Bellator MMA last month.  The 41 year old has not fought in MMA since his loss to Matt Mitrone in 2010.

Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock was the main event on an EliteXC card on CBS back in 2008.  MMA fans may recall that Shamrock was a late scratch and replaced by Seth Petruzelli.  Slice was knocked out by Petruzelli in the first round and the reputation of Kimbo took a big hit.

Payout Persepctive:

It will be interesting to see how the Missouri Athletic Commission deals with this fight as Slice is in his 40s and has not fought in 5 years.  Shamrock is 51 and although he was scheduled to fight in a bare knuckle match in April, he last had an MMA fight in November 2010.  The booking falls in line with Bellator’s “tent pole” events.  We saw this last November with Ortiz-Bonnar.  It was a ratings success.  Slice-Shamrock should provide the same.  Slice has been a ratings draw and Bellator is hoping that he still is.

WWE-Lesnar contract negotiations stall

February 26, 2015

Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting reports that Brock Lesnar and the WWE have stalled in negotiations on a new contract.  The former UFC heavyweight champ could be heading back to MMA with either Bellator or the UFC.

Lesnar was advertised to appear on this week’s WWE Raw on Monday but never appeared despite being at the arena.  Meltzer’s sources indicated that the no-show was due to an impasse on a new contract.  It was described as “resolvable, but not yet resolved.”

Lesnar has 4 appearances left with the WWE before his contract expires.  The WWE would like to extend his contract prior to it ending at this year’s Wrestlemania in March.

Despite being 38 years old, Lesnar would be welcomed back to MMA by the UFC or Bellator.

Payout Perspective:

It’s interesting that despite his previous injuries and age, Lesnar would command a bidding war.  One would think that based on the contract impasse with the WWE, that Lensar has some leverage as the UFC and perhaps Bellator would be interested in signing the former UFC heavyweight champion.  Despite his short stint with the UFC, Lesnar was a major PPV draw and despite his layoff, his return would likely be a big event.  One would think that the UFC would be willing to spend the money on Lesnar as it is in need of PPV needle-movers.  Also, Bellator might be a destination under the new Scott Coker regime.

UFC-DraftKings announce sponsorship deal

February 25, 2015

The Sports Business Daily reports that fantasy sports operator DraftKings has signed an exclusive partnership with the UFC.  The deal, which was rumored to occur earlier this month now makes DraftKings an official sponsor of the UFC.

The deal will include “offline and online branding assets for DraftKings” including “in-octagon signage” (which we’ve already seen) at UFC events.  One of the notable elements of the partnership is the unique UFC prizes for DraftKings players which include “trips to events, VIP experiences” with Dana White and “fighter meet-and-greets.”

Although the article indicates that daily fantasy MMA games lag behind football or basketball there’s promise that it may grow.

The UFC becomes one of several league partnerships for DraftKings which includes Major League Baseball, NHL, the Breeders’ Cup and the World Series of Poker.  It also has individual team deals with various NFL, NHL and NBA teams.

The deal was brought together by venture capital firm The Raine Group, an investor in the Boston-based fantasy operator.  It was at an investor conference earlier this month where it was reported that the deal appeared imminent.

This past December, DraftKings announced a deal with Jon Jones and the launch of Fantasy MMA on its site.

Payout Perspective:

The deal is done and makes sense considering the fantasy sports industry is booming right now.  With the UFC’s roots in the gaming industry, it was just a matter of time before this sponsorship was finalized.  It will be interesting to see if DraftKings will seek out individual MMA fighters for sponsorship opportunities.

WWE Network celebrates one year

February 25, 2015

The WWE celebrated the one year anniversary of its network on Tuesday by allowing all free access to its network.  Variety also posted an article summarizing what the company learned with its over the top network.

Its clear that the Network is inextricably tied with the company’s future financial performance as it is stated in the WWE’s latest earnings report that the company’s future financial performance is dependent on subscription adoption of the WWE Network.

The company surprised analysts by besting Wall Street expectations for the fourth quarter and all of 2014.  While the company has incurred a net lost due primarily to the large investment in the network, it has not been as heavy as previously predicted.

As it reported in January, the network surpassed 1 million subscribers and is picking up more viewers as it rolls out in more foreign companies.  It has also done well with its promotions for the network including a free November and allowing subscribers to pay mont-to-month rather than establish a 6 month commitment as it was originally rolled out.

Variety cited 4 lessons the WWE has learned since its launch last February. Among the lessons it indicated the “balancing act” the company had with its “direct-to-consumer” initiative while maintaining its partnerships for distribution.  Essentially, this means keeping the people paying for its television rights fees happy as while as having amicable relations with the cable and satellite company.  The latter being a harder balance considering the company has cut into PPV revenues.  It also may have angered companies by playing most of the Royal Rumble last month during an episode of Raw due to the live event cancellation as a result of snow.

Payout Perspective:

The WWE Network has had measured success despite criticism about the product.  It may have not met its lofty expectations of subscribers yet but one may have to wait to see how it fares with international distribution. For its part, the WWE has been willing to make changes on the fly to the network (i.e. Free November, month-to-month payment, content, convenient options for viewer usage, etc.) It was a bold move for the WWE to take this step to create the network and the early adopters have spoken.  In year 2, we will see if more subscribers add on, or if the Network will face more hurdles for subscribers and retention.

Due to Reebok deal, James Krause states he’ll lose $20K in sponsor money

February 24, 2015

James Krause spoke out about the Reebok deal and stated that due to the new uniform policy he will be losing $20,000 in sponsor money.  In speaking with MMA Fighting, he indicated he did not know how much he will be making, but know how much he will be losing.

Krause is not the only fighter to state that he will be losing money due to the new policy.  Brendan Schaub indicated on his podcast that he would be losing 6 sponsors and that he gets paid twice as much from sponsors than he does from his UFC fight purse.

In his last bout, a loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 178.  Krause reportedly earned just $15,000.  He did earn a double bonus at UFC 161.

Although Krause is hopeful about the Reebok deal will bring, the fact that he is not ranked as a lightweight likely means he will not be seeing payouts close to what he received from his sponsors.  The Reebok deal is based on rankings with ranked fighters getting more than unranked fighters.

Payout Perspective:

The article is an interesting and thoughtful perspective on the impact of the new Reebok deal.  For his part, Krause is thinking ahead and planning for the future which is a good thing.  The article indicates he owns two gyms and a Metro PCS franchise (notably, an official UFC sponsor).  He also owns an MMA promotion too.  But, most fighters are likely not as financially forward-thinking as Krause.  With the fact that most fighters do not know what the Reebok deal will make them, there is great concern ahead as they lose their current sponsors.

GGG posts 862K viewers for Saturday afternoon fight on HBO

February 24, 2015

Steve Kim of UCN Live reports the Nielsen information that HBO’s Saturday afternoon live showing of Gennady Golovkin defeating Martin Murray drew 862,000 viewers and peaked at 938,000.

GGG KO’d Murray in the 12th round after dominating most of the fight.  The fight was shown live on HBO and replayed later that night.  The event took place in Monaco.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael also added that it bested 2014’s Saturday afternoon cards of (Froch-Groves II 700K and Klitschko-Pulev 620K).  The night replay added an additional 571,000 viewers for a total of approximately 1.433M.

 GGG Fights on HBO

November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)

July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)

October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)

Payout Perspective:

Although the ratings are down from his last fight on HBO, we have to factor that it was a Saturday afternoon.  The numbers reflect the fact that GGG is a popular fighter that should receive a higher profile fight.  However, it appears that most fighters are unwilling to get into the ring with him or the usual promotional issues are a hurdle.  862,000 fans tuning in on a Saturday afternoon is a great number and reflects the fact that boxing is re-surging (or continue to surge depending on who you ask) in popularity.

UFC Fight Night 61 draws 1.2M viewers, Prelims 813K

February 24, 2015

UFC Fight Night 61 airing on FS1 Sunday night drew an average viewership of 1.2 million viewers in initial overnight ratings according to Nielsen.  It’s the second straight year that a February Fight Night from Brazil has exceeded expectations.

Last February, UFC Fight Night 36 drew 1.4 million viewers on FS1.  Last year’s event featured Lyoto Machida taking on Gegard Mousasi in the main event.  Also, Ronaldo Souza took on Francis Carmont in the semi-main event.  The event was on a Saturday night and went up against NBA All-Star Saturday night and the Winter Olympics.

Sunday’s event went up against the Oscars and WWE’s Fast Lane PPV.  The main card started at 8pm ET and Mir’s KO of Bigfoot ended the fighting portion of the event around 11pm ET.

Broken down in demo ratings it drew 0.81 in adults 18-49, 1.16 for males 18-49 and 1.23 for males 18-34.

UFC Main Cards 2015

UFC Main Cards 2015

In addition, the UFC Prelims which immediately preceded the main card drew 813,000 viewers.  The main card was anchored by an upset by Marion Reneau of Jessica Andrade.

Payout Perspective:

The overnight viewership ratings are impressive considering the amount of choices viewers had for Sunday night.  Also, the fact that the event was not on the traditional Saturday night schedule may have thrown people.  Mir-Bigfoot was not a marquee fight and the overall card did not amaze but the amount of upsets and action was very good and viewers still tuned in.

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