Hayabusa becomes official glove for Glory

June 26, 2015

Glory has announced that it is partnering with Hayabusa to be the official competition glove for Glory Kickboxing.  The partnership will begin Friday, August 7th with Glory 23 according to a company release.

The gloves will be revealed to the public during fight week leading up to Glory 23.  The gloves will also be used during the co-promoted show with Bellator on September 19.

Via press release:

“The name Hayabusa is well-recognized by the world of combat sports as the ultimate in performance equipment and technical apparel,” said GLORY CEO Jon Franklin, who helped broker the deal. “Our athletes deserve the very best when it comes to not only their performance and comfort, but their safety, and we feel this deal provides the finest gloves available.”

Payout Perspective:

Hayabusa is one of the many combat sports brands in a state of flux as it navigates the new state of sponsorships in MMA.  The company announced that it would not be at the UFC Fan Expo this year as only official UFC sponsors will be allowed at the event.  With the UFC-Reebok deal, Hayabusa will no longer be in the UFC octagon and the company has shifted its focus.  A recent MMA Junkie article wrote about what MMA brands are doing in light of the UFC-Reebok deal.  For Hayabusa, it meant a 3 year deal with Glory.  The company intends to spend some of its marketing and sponsorship budget usually earmarked for the UFC to Glory and its fighters as well as Bellator.  We shall see what it means for Hayabusa and its business.

TUF 21 Episode 10 draws 450,000 viewers

June 25, 2015

The 10th episode of TUF 21 drew an average of 450,000 according to Sports TV Ratings.  It was the third-highest rated show this season.

The College World Series was the highest-rated sports event on cable TV Wednesday night which drew 1.665 million viewers on ESPN.

Episode 10 featured the Harley Davidson promo during the show as Michael Chiesa made an appearance talking up Harley Davidson.  In the fight of the episode, Nathan Coy defeated Valdir Araujo.

TUF 21 Ratings through Episode 10

TUF 21 Ratings
Live + SD Live +3 Increase
Episode 1 490,000 704,000 214,000
Episode 2 454,000 646,000 192,000
Episode 3 364,000 524,000 160,000
Episode 4 286,000 415,000 129,000
Episode 5 340,000 512,000 172,000
Episode 6 350,000 586,000 236,000
Episode 7 371,000 625,000 254,000
Episode 8 425,000 566,000 141,000
Episode 9 332,000 467,000 135,000
Episode 10 450,000

Payout Perspective:

In addition, to Episode 10, MMA Payout has learned that Episode 9’s DVR rating increased to 467,000 making it the second-lowest increase from Live to DVR this season.  The rating this week was a much needed improvement from last week and one would hope that the series end with better ratings.  The current average sits at 387,000 viewers.

With no vote in Assembly, MMA Bill dead in New York

June 25, 2015

A bill to legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York has failed to reach an Assembly vote once again this year.  Despite a concerted effort to attempt to push the bill through, which included revamping the bill to attempt to appease legislators, it appears that it will not make it to a vote on what is the last day of an extended legislative session in Albany.

Jim Genia relayed the bad news.  Genia among other New York MMA supporters gave up to the minute details on the sausage making in Albany and relayed the news to MMA fans that hoped to see the UFC in Madison Square Garden this December.

This year seemed different in Albany due to the removal of Speaker Sheldon Silver and a more MMA-receptive speaker in Carl Heastie.  But once again, the MMA bill was not brought before the Assembly for vote despite an extended session which many thought would produce one.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, the sponsor of the MMA bill, indicated that it needed 76 votes in the Democratic conference for a bill to come to the floor.  Prior to the revamp of the MMA bill a couple weeks ago, they had 70.

Payout Perspective:

MMA Payout will have more on this as more information comes out but this is a definite blow for MMA and the UFC.  Many believed that this would be the year that MMA would become legal in the state.  But, politics once again rears its ugly head.  As for options, we must wait another year in Albany but the Zuffa lawsuit against New York continues.  Its appeal of the dismissed lawsuit claiming the bill prohibiting MMA in the state is unconstitutional is in the Second Circuit and Zuffa’s briefing is due by August 4th.

Jedrzejczyk signs indivudal sponsor deal with Reebok

June 25, 2015

UFC Women’s Stawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has signed an individual sponsorship deal with Reebok per the UFC.  Jedrzejczyk also announced the deal via twitter.

She is coming off her first successful title defense this weekend on a UFC Fight Pass only show from Germany.  With the new deal, she joins Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant as the only other women with individual sponsorship deals with Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps the only bad news for Jedrzejczyk is that she might not be able to show her sneaker collection to everyone.  This could have been an untapped crossover talking point for her but with the Reebok deal she probably could buy more Air Jordans for her collection (although she probably shouldn’t let the public know).  She showed her personality during the Embedded episodes leading up to UFC 185.  Plus, her fighting style is fan friendly.  With her fight Saturday, and the new Reebok deal, it’s unlikely we’ll see her on a Fight Pass only card again.

Aldo remains on UFC 189 card, Mendes contingency plan

June 25, 2015

The UFC has released a statement on UFC 189 with respect to the injury sustained by Jose Aldo.  The medical report is that Aldo’s injury is not a broken rib but a bruise which should allow him to remain in the main event for July 11th.  In the alternative, it has Chad Mendes ready to take on McGregor for an “interim” UFC featherweight championship.

The news release also indicates that Aldo has “every intention” of fighting McGregor.  Yet, Mendes remains as a stand-in if Aldo’s injury remains an issue leading up to the fight.

A potential fight for an “interim” belt is newsworthy considering that if Aldo cannot compete, the UFC will award a belt to either Mendes or McGregor.

Payout Perspective:

While the news that Aldo should remain on the card, his health remains an issue going into the fight.  Moreover, it’s apparent that the correct and appropriate strategy for McGregor now would be to target Aldo’s ribs (a “sweep the leg Johnny” strategy).  With Mendes on deck, it appears that the UFC will now have to pay him leading up to this fight even if he does not fight (one would assume).

The fight for an “interim” belt is usually meant for a champion that is injured and it is not known when they might return.  Here, Aldo might fight, but if he does not, someone else will share a title in his weight division.  This does not seem right if you are in the Aldo camp.  It’s clear that if he is unable to go on July 11th, he should be able to fight by at least the end of the year.  So, why have an interim title now?  Well, it’s clear that the magnitude of the event and the promotion seemingly demands some sort of title up for grabs.  If Mendes fills in, he has less than a month to train for what we assume would be a 5 round fight against McGregor.  This would favor McGregor immensely.

Does the news of an interim title put subtle pressure on Aldo to remain on the card despite injury?

More ratings from Bellator 138

June 24, 2015

Spike TV has released Live+3 data on Bellator 138 which reveals that 1.7 million viewers watched Friday night’s event.  The Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock fight drew 2.8 million viewers and peaked at 2.9 million making it the most watched Bellator event ever.

Adults 18-49 drew a 1.2 rating, Men 18-49 a 1.7 rating and Men 18-34 a 1.3 rating.

In comparison, Bellator 131’s DVR numbers bumped up last November’s telecast to 1.4 million with a peak of 2.246 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A remarkably good showing by Bellator as the live event showing plus 2 replays drew an average of 8.9 million viewers.  It did much better than Bellator 131 although you might recall it competed with UFC 180 that night.  Without another MMA telecast to compete with, Bellator had its best night on television.  We shall see how Bellator does September 19th with its third “tent pole” event.  It will go up against a UFC card but that is a Fight Pass only event.

UFC 189 main event in jeopardy with report of Aldo injury

June 24, 2015

The main event for UFC 189 is in jeopardy as news surfaced that Jose Aldo has an injury and could be scratched from his July 11th fight with Conor McGregor.  There is no official comment from the UFC as the promotion is weighing its options and Aldo’s camp is determining whether he can still fight.

Brazilian news outlet Combate first reported Aldo suffered an injured rib.

If the fight is scratched, it will be a significant blow for the company as the fight has been the center of its promotion around the biggest weekend of the company’s year.   It has spent a significant amount of money on the fight as well as you may recall the lengthy world tour and Embedded recaps earlier in the year.

Although the co-main event is a respectable Robbie Lawler-Rory MacDonald fight for the welterweight title, the UFC has focused on Aldo-McGregor with little attention paid to the “other” title fight on the card.

Payout Perspective:

The worst case scenario is happening for the UFC right now.  It banked on an Aldo-McGregor PPV with White proclaiming it would do 1 million PPV buys.  While Lawler-MacDonald would still be a good fight, the promotion would lose out on a significant amount of PPV buys.  If they keep McGregor on the card, it would mean that the big fight between the two may not happen until the end of the year assuming McGregor does not get injured and Aldo’s recovery time.  If it takes McGregor off the card, it would be a blow as well since McGregor is a draw.

Then there is the case of Jose Aldo.  With his recent comments speaking out against the Reebok deal, he might not be in the UFC’s good graces.  Tack on this injury and you might assume Dana White is not his biggest fan.  If he decides to fight, it will be at less than 100% and you might expect McGregor going for Aldo’s ribs which could mean he loses his title to McGregor.  Similar to Cain Velasquez, Aldo has been saddled with injuries that has constantly kept him off of cards.  Unlike Cain, Aldo has not been a marketable draw until this fight.  Will he be influenced to go through with the fight or lobby to have it moved until he is better?

Shlemenko suspended 3 years and fined $10K by CSAC

June 24, 2015

Alexander Shlemenko was suspended three years and fined $10,000 by the California State Athletic Commission as it is the harshest penalty against an MMA fighter since it began regulating the sport.  In addition, Shlemenko’s win against Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 has been overturned.

The commission voted unanimously by a 7-0 vote in favor of the penalty.  Although Shlemenko’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, argued that there was a lack of a “B” sample and a possible violation for not splitting the urine sample.  The commission did not agree with Jacobs’ arguments.

But the commission did not agree.  The fact that Manhoef was knocked out by Shlemenko may have played a role in his penalty.  Of course, Shlemenko’s tests were another reason.  Per MMA Junkie, the tests revealed the steroid oxandrolone and oxandrolone metabolites as well as a testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 50-1 in Shlemenko’s post-fight urine test (the commission’s limit is 4-1).

It is not known if Shlemenko will appeal but if he does not, at 31 years old, it’s unlikely we’ll see him fight again.

UPDATED:  According to Combat Sport Law’s Erik Magraken, Shlemenko will seek judicial review of the commission ruling.  I would expect that this will happen more if commission’s seek to dole out these stiff penalties.  Realistically, what does Shlemenko have to lose?  His career is likely over if he accepts the punishment.

Payout Perspective:

One would think that if Shlemenko has a compelling case, his attorney could still appeal the commission decision by seeking a judicial review in a California Superior Court.  The heavy-handed penalty reflects a newfound position by athletic commissions in light of the UFC’s stance on PEDs.  There is an argument that the penalty is unjust but the commission can point to the glaring test results and the T/E ratio to justify its suspension.  Moreover, the TKO victory might have persuaded commissioners to allow the penalty as one commissioner put it that Shlemenko could have killed Manhoef.  We shall see if this decision will be appealed.

PBC adds FS1 to its stable of networks

June 23, 2015

With two network shows this past weekend, Premier Boxing Champions seems to be on every channel.  You may now include Fox Sports as another network that has added PBC to its programming.

Last week PBC replaced Golden Boy Promotions on FS1 as the network allowed its contract with Golden Boy end and signed a deal with PBC.

The list of networks that air PBC include FS1, NBC, NBC Sports Network, CBS, ESPN, Spike TV and Bounce TV.  Also, PBC has some of its fighters on Showtime.

According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, it’s not clear if the Fox Sports deal is a time buy like with some of its other deals.  Also, there was no immediate word if the Fox network would air PBC cards.  Expect PBC on FS1 sometime this summer.

Payout Perspective:

PBC replacing Golden Boy on FS1 has to sting especially since Golden Boy is suing Al Haymon and others regarding PBC’s business strategy alleging antitrust violations.  We will see if this move has repercussions with respect to Golden Boy’s lawsuit.  As for viewership, we shall see if PBC does better on FS1 than Golden Boy promoted fights.

Updated Bellator 138 ratings has peak viewership at 2.4M

June 23, 2015

Updated ratings for Bellator 138 are in and as expected the ratings have gone up from its initial ratings yesterday.  Notably, the Friday telecast peaked at 2.4 million viewers at 11:53pm ET during the main event.

Additionally, the fight between Slice and Shamrock drew 2.3 million viewers alone for the 3 minutes it lasted (11:51-11:54pmET).  In addition the replay immediately after the event drew an additional 339,000 viewers.  The next day, another replay on Saturday, June 20th drew 428,000 viewers.

The overall live telecast from 9-12:03pm drew 1.6 million viewers.

A ratings breakdown of some of the fights from Friday (live) are as follows:

Pitbull-Weichel- 1.9 million viewers

Lashley-Charles- 1.8 million viewers

Straus-Corrales – 1.3 million viewers

Chandler-Campos – 1.1 million viewers

Slice-Shamrock – 2.3 million viewers

In comparison, here is the breakdown (in order) of the fights for Bellator 131 last November:

King Mo-Joe Vedepo – 1.1 million viewers

Mike Richman-Nam Phan – 1.1 million viewers

Joe Schilling-Melvin Manhoef – 1.6 million viewers

AJ Matthews-Kyle Bolt – 1.3 million viewers

Will Brooks-Michael Chandler – 1.3 million viewers

Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar – 1.9 million viewers

Payout Perspective:

Viewership is up for Bellator’s second “tent pole” event. The replays drew a modest audience as Saturday night’s replay went up against PBC on NBC as well as US Open Golf.  Still, the average viewership for fight are positive.  The DVR viewership should increase these numbers even more.

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