Jon Jones sought by New Mexico police for hit and run incident

April 26, 2015

MMA Fighting is reporting that UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones is being sought by Albuquerque Police in connection with a hit and run accident that occurred Saturday night.

A police spokesperson for Albuquerque’s police department indicated that Jones is being sought in connection with a woman’s car being struck Sunday morning by another car with the other vehicle leaving the scene.

Despite previous reports Sunday, Jones was not detained by the police nor is a warrant out for his arrest.  Furthermore, it does not appear whether Jones was the driver of the car the fled and whether he is in any way culpable for the hit and run.

Payout Perspective:

What might be just a misunderstanding and a non-issue blew up the MMA twittersphere with rumors running abound that Jones was off of May’s UFC 187 card as well as other speculative information.  Of course, the police have yet to question Jones.  A lot of the conjecture is based on Jones’ prior history which includes a DUI and a one night stint in a drug rehab facility for admitting to cocaine use.  One would hope for all involved, that Jones’ latest incident is a simple car accident.  If there is more to the issue, it could lead to another public relations issue in the weeks to come.

UFC 186 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 26, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s UFC 186 from Montreal.  Demetrious Johnson led the bonus winners with his last second submission over Kyoji Horiguchi.

In addition to Johnson’s submission bonus, Thomas Almeida, Chad Laprise and Bryan Barberena earned $50,000 bonuses.

The event drew 10,154 fans for a gate of $668,000 according to Dana White in the post-fight press conference.  The event took place at the Bell Centre and multiple reports indicate it was a disappointing turnout largely due to the changes made to the card.

Payout Perspective:

According to the MMA Blue Book, it’s by far the least attended card for a PPV event in the venue.

UFC 158 GSP-Diaz, March 2013 – $3.71M, 20,146

UFC 154 GSP-Condit, November 2012 – $3.143M, 17,249

UFC 124 GSP-Koscheck, December 2010 – $4.6M, 23,152

As you can see, the constant was that GSP headlined the show, so there’s that factor regarding attendance.  The card could have used GSP as this event suffered numerous blows including the shifting of the main event, shuffling of fights due to injury and the Rampage Jackson issues.  You can add in the obstacles in trying to garner more fans for Demetrious Johnson and this card was destined to be one of the least-watched PPVs of this year.

McGregor signs Bud Light sponsor deal

April 25, 2015

Conor McGregor has signed a deal with Bud Light according to the outspoken UFC Irish Featherweight. McGregor made the announcement via social media.

As you may know, McGregor already as an individual sponsorship deal with Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

A long-time mainstay sponsor in the Octagon, you may have noticed it has been replaced in the center by Monster Energy Drink (and likely will be tonight since its biggest backer appears to be Rampage Jackson). But, Bud Light is still sponsoring the UFC and while the company has not made an official announcement it appears that it will back McGregor.  If you watched the UFC 186 weigh-ins Friday, you noticed several fighters wearing “Bud Light Living” t-shirts.  One would think McGregor will be involved in some sort of some sponsor activation in lead-up to his big fight this July.

Update on Zuffa Antitrust Lawsuit

April 25, 2015

In a brief litigation update, the parties in the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit recently agreed to mediation to occur no later than September 30, 2015.  The decision was determined as part of a pre-trial case management conference.

The parties met and conferred as to whether dispute resolution was appropriate for the case.  The parties have stipulated that mediation is premature at this point due to the upcoming motions related to transferring the venue to Nevada and Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss which will be determined in July.  But, the parties agreed to mediation, and choosing a mediator, by the end of September.

Le, et al. and Zuffa ADR Stipulation

ADR Certification by the Parties

Payout Perspective:

Means nothing at this point since the decision is a perfunctory matter under the local court rules (see CR 16) as litigation in this matter progresses.  Based on the decisions in the Motion to Transfer and Motion to Dismiss, one party may be more willing than the other to mediate the case.  It would have also been likely that the Judge may facilitate (i.e., force) the parties into ADR (“alternative dispute resolution”) at some point.  Even if the parties mediate the case, there is no guarantee that the case would be resolved at that stage and it may continue to trial.

MMA Payout will keep you updated.

Mousasi sues Fear the Fighter, Makdessi

April 24, 2015

MMA Junkie is reporting that UFC middleweight Gegard Mousasi has sued clothing company Fear the Fighter and its president UFC fighter John Makdessi for unpaid sponsorship pay.  A source in the article indicates that Mousasi is owed over $25,000.

The lawsuit is filed in Canada and while it has not been disclosed, one assumes that he is seeking damages for breach of contract of the sponsorship agreement.  He claims Fear the Fighter has not paid him for his last 2 fights.  Also, Mousasi claims that other fighters are also owed money from Makdessi’s company.

Makdessi is a UFC lightweight fighting from Canada.  According to corporate records, he is the president of the clothing brand.  Makdessi is scheduled to fight Saturday at UFC 186.

Payout Perspective:

This is a first of its kind lawsuit where a fighter has sued a fighter.  Obviously, the circumstances are unique as Makdessi owns a company that sponsors fighters.  This situation actually lends itself to the argument that UFC-Reebok deal is warranted as the fighters would be guaranteed their pay.  The issue of sponsors not paying a fighter is not a new thing and the UFC sponsorship deal should help address the situation.  We shall see what is to become of this lawsuit and the reaction Makdessi may receive Saturday.

UFC on Fox 15 Prelims and final overnight ratings for main card

April 24, 2015

Before we enter the weekend, via a Nielsen source we report that the Prelims from this past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 15 airing prior to the Fox network drew 1.4 million viewers.  In addition, the UFC on Fox main card rating came up to 2.7 million from 2.43 million.

The only other time that the UFC on Fox Prelims aired on Fox was in July 2014 when UFC on Fox 12 drew 1.3 million viewers.

This past Saturday’s Prelims event featured Beneil Dariush defeating Jim Miller by unanimous decision.  The 2 hour Prelim event aired from 6:00pm to 8:00pm ET.

Payout Perspective:

Prelims improved from its last airing on the network and we shall if it has another opportunity to do the same in July with what looks to be a stacked card.  The Prelims went up against the NBA and NHL Playoffs.  The final numbers for the main card fell short of the last two UFC on Fox cards but did better than last April’s UFC on Fox 11 event which drew 2.5 million viewers.

The Ultimate Fighter 21 Ep 1: 490,000 viewers

April 23, 2015

Wednesday’s debut of The Ultimate Fighter 21: ATT vs. Blackzilians on FS1 drew an overnight rating of 490,000 viewers with a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demo.  The 90 minute debut was the second most-watched show on the network Wednesday.

In comparison, the debut to TUF 20 did 536,000 viewers, TUF 19 did 476,000 and TUF 18 drew 595,000 viewers.

Soccer came first in terms of viewership on FS1 on Wednesday.

Topping the cable ratings on Wednesday was NBA Playoff basketball featuring the San Antonio Spurs and LA Clippers which aired during a part of the TUF debut.  The NBA on TNT drew 3.848 million viewers during the Spurs-Clippers game.

(H/t: Sports TV Ratings)

Payout Perspective:

The NBA and NHL Playoffs likely hurt the debut of TUF.  But this season of TUF seems to have less buzz than many other seasons.  This, despite the wrinkle this season with fight teams going at each other.  We’ll see how the season plays out and whether there will be an audience.

Zuffa retains former Solicitor General for NY appeal

April 23, 2015

The legal fight in New York is not over yet. This week, the UFC announced that it has retained former U.S. Solicitor General, Paul Clement to appeal Judge Kimba Wood’s dismissal of Zuffa’s lawsuit in New York.

Via the UFC release:

The judge’s dismissal of the UFC’s case against the State of New York in March was based on a technicality, and the decision confirms the state is misapplying the law. UFC was advised by the judge to “consider filing new vagueness claims.” Wood also stated the New York Attorney General’s “recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned MMA” were made “despite [the law’s] plain language to the contrary.” UFC also believes that Judge Wood erred in failing to recognize the serious First Amendment problems with the New York law.

Clement’s job as Solicitor General required him to be the representative of the federal government before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has argued over 75 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court according to his law firm bio.

If Zuffa were to appeal the judge ruling (which we should know soon), it will go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

UPDATE:  Zuffa has filed its official Notice of Appeal to the Second Circuit.  It not only will appeal the Court’s dismissal of the vagueness claim, but the other causes of action previously dismissed.

Payout Perspective:

The retention of Clement certainly means we shall see an appeal of Judge Wood’s dismissal. It appears that the appeal will encompass not only the recent dispositive motion dismissing Zuffa’s claim that the New York law is unconstitutionally vague but also the causes of action dismissed previously by Judge Wood which includes the UFC’s argument that the New York law violates the First Amendment.

Clement has had his share of sports law cases in his past including representing the NBA during labor negotiations in 2011, NFL v. Brady (which was filed during the NFL lockout in 2011) and NCAA v. Governor of New Jersey II (regarding the fight to legalize sports gambling in New Jersey).

Dish Network ditches UFC 186

April 23, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that satellite provider Dish Network will not be offering UFC 186 this Saturday and thus prohibiting its approximately 14 million subscribers from ordering the pay per view.

The UFC issued a statement regarding the situation.  The statement in part reads:

Due to contractual issues, DISH Network will not be offering UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi on Pay-Per-View this Saturday.  While all other providers in the U.S. have come to an agreement on renewal terms, DISH Network has elected not to renew its distribution agreement with UFC.

Via MMA Junkie:

The industry leader signed a multi-year deal with Dish that ended on Jan. 31, though an extension was inked for March’s UFC 185, according to a person familiar with the UFC’s agreement. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

A Dish Network rep confirmed the impasse with the UFC and that it would not offer the pay per view to its subscribers.  It did indicate that the two sides were in negotiations for further events.

Payout Perspective:

According to this Broadcasting & Cable article in which Dish inked a deal to carry the Weather Channel, Dish Network is a notoriously difficult negotiator.  Of course, the UFC probably is seeking a bigger percentage of the PPV revenue.  At this point, it has some leverage in a new deal since it had a big first quarter of 2015 with its PPVs and Dish has lost PPV revenue due to the WWE Network.  You may also argue that due to the bigger cut HBO/Showtime is taking from PPV revenues from distributors, Dish is not seeing returns via PPVs.   Thus, the UFC is seeking a better contract.  Of course, UFC 186 is one of the weakest cards (on paper) despite the return of Rampage Jackson to the card.  We will see if the two sides will be able to come to an agreement by UFC 187 which looks to be a big show.

Ratings from Saturday night’s events on HBO-Showtime

April 23, 2015

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the ratings from Saturday’s boxing events on HBO and Showtime.  The shows went head to head with two intriguing main events.

HBO had the much anticipated fight between Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov drew 1.243 million subscribers and peaked at 1.38 million.

Rafael also reports that the fight between Julio Cesar Chavez-Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime drew 618,000 viewers with a peak of 836,000.  Fonfara upset Chavez in the latter’s return to the ring.  The last time Chavez fought was on an HBO card that drew an average of 1.4 million HBO subscribers.  On the Showtime undercard, the fight between Amir Iman and Walter Castillo averaged 346,000 viewers with a peak at 427,000.

Prior to the Matthysse-Provodnikov fight, Terrence Crawford knocked out Thomas Dulorme.  That fight drew 1.0004 million viewers peaking at 1.084 million viewers.  Crawford’s last fight on HBO in December drew 836,000 subscribers of the premium network peaking at 936,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to dueling boxing events, Saturday night was the UFC on Fox, NHL and NBA Playoffs so there was lot for sports fans to pick.  However, for boxing fans the big event of the night was the showdown between Matthysse and Provodnikov which many thought was a draw despite Matthysse pulling out the victory.  It was also a nice bounce back for Terrence Crawford in terms of viewers as he had disappointing numbers in December despite being backed by a Pacquiao replay.  This time, being linked with Matthysse-Provodnikov likely helped too.  Yet, the average for Chavez Fonfara has to be considered a disappointment based on Chavez’ name value.  Of course, it could be extrinsic factors about JCC that may turn boxing fans off

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