Erick Silva to lose $12K after Reebok deal

May 31, 2015

Erick Silva is the latest UFC fighter to voice his displeasure with the Reebok deal.  Silva, who is scheduled to fight at the TUF Brazil 4 Finale in Miami stated that he would be losing $12,000 per fight once the new sponsorship deal is in place.

The comments come out at an interesting time as Silva is seeking to renew his contract with Zuffa and hopes that he improves on his current deal.  Obviously, he hopes to make up the money he will lose in sponsors with his new contract.

Silva fought 3 times in 2014 and is 1-0 in 2015 heading into his second fight of the year in June against Rick Story.

(h/t:  Bloody Elbow and Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte)

Payout Perspective:

Is going public with how much you will be losing due to the Reebok deal good public relations as you go into negotiations for your new deal with Zuffa?  Could his public announcement that he’d like a better deal help his negotiation leverage with Zuffa?  Unlikely.  But, the continued news that fighters are not pleased with the Reebok deal could facilitate another change toward the sponsorship policy.  While it’s unlikely that Zuffa would penalize Silva due to his statements, it might mean that they are tougher in negotiating a new deal with him.

UFC Fight Night 67 attendance (real low) and bonuses

May 31, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 67 held in Golania, Golas, Brazil.

The UFC announced an attendance of 3,500 from the Golania Arena.  As has been the custom with the UFC and its Brazil shows, no gate was announced for the event.

The 3,500 is the lowest announced attendance for a UFC show in Brazil since the promotion returned to the country in 2012.  According to this information its maximum capacity is 15,000.

The bonuses were awarded to Charles Oliveira, Nick Lentz and Rony Jason.   Olivera earned two bonuses equaling $100,000.  Oliveira and Lentz earned Fight of the Night and Jason earned a Performance of the Night.

Below is a list of UFC events in Brazil since 2012.  You’ll notice only 4 events where there was an announcement regarding the gate.

Date Event Location Main Event Attendance Gate (if provided)
1/14/2012 UFC 142 Rio de Janeiro Aldo-Mendes 10,605 $2,800,000
6/23/2012 UFC 147 Belo Hor WSilva-Franklin 16,643 $1,420,000
10/13/2012 UFC 153 Rio de Janeiro Silva-Bonnar 16,844 $2,550,000
1/19/2013 UFC on FX 7 San Paulo Belfort-Bisping 9,116
5/8/2013 UFC on FX 8 Jaragua Belfort-Rockhold 7,642
6/8/2013 UFC on Fuel TV 10 Fortaleza Nogueira-Werdum 6,286
8/3/2013 UFC 163 Rio de Janeiro Aldo-Korean Zombie 13,873 $1,500,000
9/4/2013 UFC Fight Night 28 Belo Hor Teixeira-Bader 5,126
10/9/2013 UFC Fight Night 29 Barueri Maia-Shields 6,621
11/9/2013 UFC Fight Night 32 Goiania Belfort-Hendo 10,565
2/15/2014 UFC Fight Night 36 Jaragua Machida-Mousasi 7,511
5/31/2014 TUF Brazil 3 Finale San Paulo Miocic-Maldonado 8,986
9/13/2014 UFC Fight Night 51 Brasilia Bigfoot Silva-Arlovski 8,822
10/25/2014 UFC 179 Rio de Janeiro Aldo-Mendes 11,415
12/20/2014 UFC Fight Night 58 Barueri Machida-Dolloway
2/21/2015 UFC Fight Night 61 Porto Alegre Bigfoot Silva-Mir 5,080
3/21/2015 UFC Fight Night 62 Rio de Janeiro Maia-LaFlare 7,707
5/30/2015 UFC Fight Night 67 Golania Condit-Alves 3,500

Payout Perspective:

You could have thrown in Carlos Condit in as a Performance of the Night winner but for the work of Do Bronx and Jason.  Condit was impressive in stopping Thiago Alves.  But the real story was that the attendance was quite low.  In comparison, UFC Fight Night 32 in November 2013 featuring Vitor Belfort-Dan Henderson drew 10,565 in Golania.  While the UFC blames the economy for the low turnout one has to wonder about whether or not the demand for better cards is the reason.  Certainly, Ronda Rousey’s appearance at UFC 190 should help.

Show Money Episode 4 discusses fallout of Reebok deal

May 31, 2015

It’s back.  Show Money Episode 4 with Bloody Elbow’s John Nash and Paul Gift discuss the Reebok deal.

Alves-Condit not tested prior to UFC Fight Night 67

May 30, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 67 main eventers Carlos Condit and Thiago Alves have not been drug tested by the Brazilian athletic commission, the Comissao Atletica Brazileira de MMA (CABMMA) prior to their fight Saturday.  The commission indicated that all of the fighters on the card would be tested on fight night but none of the fighters have been tested prior to their fights.

At a time when the UFC has lobbied for tighter rules with fighter drug testing, we see a probable issue in the implementation of its new policy that will go into effect July 1.  While Nevada and California have passed stricter rules and harsher penalties, the question of drug testing overseas may be an issue.

Payout Perspective:

Although the UFC pledged to fund commissions like CABMMA, the question of how much and what oversight will take place to ensure that the UFC’s policy is administered and enforced remains a question.  The UFC indicated that it would enlist a third-party to assist in the drug testing and regulation but none has been identified at this point.  While the recent moves by the NSAC and the CSAC are positive signs for the UFC, it will be interesting to see how the UFC works with international governing bodies to ensure its policies are enforced.  When the UFC heads to new areas (e.g., South Korea), it will be interesting to see how it will handle its new drug policy.

California passes law enforcing harsher penalties for failed drug tests in combat sports

May 29, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that the California state senate passed a bill that will grant the state athletic commission to withhold 40 percent of a licensed fighter’s pay in the event of a positive drug test.  The bill was supported by the UFC which spent $30,000 so far this year in the state of California.

The bill also gives the commission authority to drug test licensed fighters which would lead to out of competition drug testing.  The state would pay for the additional drug testing.  The bill states that the commission may conduct blood and urine testing.

California follows the Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Code as adopted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The text of the bill can be found here.

Payout Perspective:

The bill is another positive step for the UFC as it looks to strengthen its stance on drug testing.  Of course, it spent $30K for lobbyists to aid in passing the bill.  The new law also identifies funds earmarked for drug testing which provides transparency in the amount of money the state is committed to the program.  We shall see what affect this has on other jurisdictions.

UFC responds to McMann about gender equality

May 28, 2015

The UFC has issued a statement in light of the comments made by Sara McMann stating that the pending UFC-Reebok sponsorship deal is disproportionately unfair to women fighters.

Via MMA Fighting:

“The new UFC Athlete Outfitting Policy (AOP) equally recognizes each athlete’s tenure in UFC, as well as any bout appearances in the WEC and Strikeforce for the period those organizations were under the Zuffa, LLC ownership. Women fighters with limited bouts under the tenure model are treated the same as other experienced men or women new to UFC from other organizations not included in the tenure model. This new policy was designed to provide an equal opportunity for both men and women in each tenure tier. In addition, the champions and challengers, regardless of tenure, will be equally compensated under the AOP for their bouts, something few other sports can claim.”

Payout Perspective:

The interesting part about this Reebok deal is that if the UFC kept the policy based on the media rankings and the pay were the same across the board for men and women divisions, Zuffa would not be facing a potential gender discrimination lawsuit.  Even though a company policy may not be discriminatory on its face, if the application of the policy results in a disparate impact upon a protected class (i.e., women), then the policy may be a civil rights violation.  While the UFC’s statement does not harm its position, it is not persuasive either.  Civil rights lawsuits are expensive, take time and are hard to prove.  Still, the threat of litigation has to have Zuffa concerned.

TUF 21 Episode 6: 353,000 viewers

May 28, 2015

The 6th episode of TUF 21 drew 353,000 viewers last night on FS1 according to Nielsen sources.  The episode is up slightly from last week’s 340,000 viewers.

In the fight of the show, the Blackzilians Jason Jackson defeated ATT’s Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya via majority decision.  The Blackzilians have now won 5 of the 6 fights this season.

Episode 1 – 490,000 Live +SD

Episode 2 – 454,000

Episode 3 – 364,000

Episode 4 – 286,000

Episode 5 – 340,000

Episode 6 – 353,000

TUF 21 Ratings through Episode 6

Payout Perspective:

The NBA and NHL Playoffs ruled the night with respect to sports TV on cable as the Houston-Golden State game drew 8.8 million viewers on ESPN and the Anaheim-Chicago game drew 2.3 million viewers on NBCSN (h/t: SportsTV Ratings).  The viewership numbers are up slightly bringing up the season average to 381,000 viewers.

TUF 21 Episode 5 shows positive gains in Live+3

May 28, 2015

The 5th episode of TUF 21 on FS1 from last week drew the third-largest DVR +3 rating of the season with a gain of 172,000 viewers drawing the viewership for last week’s show to 512,000 viewers.

The Live + 3 rating average is at 560,200 viewers with an average gain of 173,500 viewers.

TUF 21 Ratings DVR+3

Episode 1 – 490,000, DVR +3 704,000; Gain +214,000
Episode 2 – 454,000, DVR +3 646,000; Gain +192,000
Episode 3 – 364,000, DVR +3 524,000; Gain +160,000
Episode 4 – 286,000, DVR +3 415,000; Gain +129,000
Episode 5 – 340,000, DVR +3 512,000; Gain +172,000

Payout Perspective:

A little better than the last two weeks but the overall ratings are still quite low.  Next week TUF will go up against the first game of the NHL Stanley Cup Final which could take a lot of viewers away from TUF.

UFC 187 Prelims draw 780,000 veiwers

May 27, 2015

The UFC 187 Prelims on FS1 drew a viewership rating of 780,000 per Nielsen sources.  The ratings reflect a modest increase from last month’s UFC 187.

The Prelims featured John Dodson taking on Zach Makovsky with Dodson getting the win.  The viewership from the adult 18-49 demo was up from last May as it drew 453,000 viewers (vs. 382,000 last May).

2015 UFC PPV Prelims

UFC 182 – 1,030,000

UFC 183 – 1,546,000

UFC 184 – 1,205,000

UFC 185 – 1,003,000

UFC 186 – 710,000

UFC 187 – 780,000

UFC PPV Prelims 2015

Payout Perspective:

The ratings do not compare to the first 4 UFC Prelim cards of the year but Saturday’s show was a modest 9% improvement from April’s card.  The NBA and NHL Playoffs probably contributed to the ratings as both leagues started games in the second hour of the UFC Prelims broadcast.

McMann believes gender inequity in Reebok deal

May 27, 2015

MMA Fighting reports UFC women’s bantamweight Sara McMann is speaking out about the UFC’s new uniform deal and is considering legal action because she believes that the policy may be unfair to female fighters.

McMann was interviewed by Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and believes that the pay structure based on the number of fights a fighter has with the company is unfair to women. Women were added to the UFC two years ago and according to McMann 86% of the women in the UFC will fall in the first tier of compensation. Thus, they will receive only $2,500 per fight.

While Ronda Rousey is one of the top stars and highest paid fighters in the UFC, she is the exception to most women fighters in the company. Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will make $40,000 per fight from the Reebok deal. All champions make $40,000 per fight.

McMann indicated that she is speaking to a lawyer with experience in “Title IX cases.”

Payout Perspective:

Title IX relates to gender equity in education but is known mainly for equality in college athletics. Thus, McMann would probably want to look into whether the UFC is committing a civil rights violation because she is claiming that its new Reebok policy discriminates against women. McMann is choosing her words when talking about this subject as she did not use the word discrimination. But, when she talks about “gender equity” or “inequity” she is referring to the “d” word.

Civil rights claims are difficult to prove and certainly the UFC can argue the fact that just 2 years ago women began fighting in the UFC as a reason women are being paid less with the new sponsor deal.   It could also bring up Rousey and Jedrzejczyk as examples of women that are being paid in the upper tier as they are champions in the UFC. Of course, Jedrzejczyk’s first title defense is on UFC Fight Pass next month instead of a UFC PPV. A point that could fall in favor of McMann’s argument that women are treated differently than male fighters.

Of course, there’s the issue of UFC fighters being independent contractors as opposed to employees of Zuffa.

In the article, McMann did not say she would file a lawsuit, but take her concerns to the UFC which could mean that she could meet with the company and that they may take her complaint into consideration. Whether or not it would address the pay for female fighters will be something we will look for in the future.

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