Unrepentant White discusses Duran dismissal

July 26, 2015

Dana White talked about the Stitch Duran release Saturday night on FS1 after UFC on Fox 16.  Instead of an explanation as to the dismissal, White was on the offensive with remarks about Duran in the classic strategy of changing the topic.

FS1’s Karyn Bryant interviewed White post-event and fed White the question about Duran so that he could clear the air.  Instead of an explanation of the dismissal, White chose to address the post-release comments by Duran in the video clip:

You can find the video here.

White indicated the name of cutman Don House as an individual he considered “close.”  So, like references, if any media decide to interview House, one would ensure that he would give a glowing account of working for the company.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a classic move to change the subject on a topic rather than address the actual issue.  It happens in politics all of the time.  Instead of focusing on the issue, the dismissal of Stitch Duran, White’s response related to Duran’s post-release response about the fact that he was not directly contacted by White about his release.  Duran gave an interview to Bloody Elbow commenting on the fact that cutmen were not included in the Reebok sponsorship deal and that they were losing sponsor earnings as a result.  Duran was released shortly after the interview.  White’s comments were the first public response after the firing.  Instead of an explanation on the release or acknowledging the UFC faux pas, White switched gears by commenting on whether or not he was friends with Duran.  That was not the issue.  The issue was why Duran was terminated.  Yet, White can now say he’s addressed the situation and that is final.

UFC on Fox 16 draws 2.29M viewers

July 26, 2015

UFC on Fox 16 drew an overnight viewership of 2.29 million viewers on Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  The event received the highest share and rating in the adult 18-49 demo for the night.

UPDATED:  We will have updated ratings from Nielsen, tomorrow, Tuesday.  As pointed out by a reader, Shawn Jennings, the ratings for UFC on Fox 16 are not the final ratings.  The graph below, with the exception of UFC on Fox 16 are final overnight ratings.  So to be clear UFC on Fox 16 rating of 2.29M viewers is not final.  And to Mr. Jennings, we are “amateur hour.”  We will repost the ratings and table soon.

The main card featured T.J. Dillashaw taking on Renan Barao with Dillashaw stopping the former champion.  Notably, the rating is from the 8-10pm ET time slot.  However, the bulk of the Dillashaw-Barao fight occurred after 10pm which is not accounted for in the overnight rating at this time.

UFC on Fox 16 drew a 0.9 rating and 4 share amongst adults 18-49 which was the most for network shows on Saturday night.  Overall, CBS ruled the night as it won all time slots on Saturday night.  A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS drew more viewers in the 8pm time slot with 3.49M viewers and a rerun of Scorpion in the 9pm time slot drew 3.35M viewers.  In the 10pm time slot, a rerun of 48 Hours scored the highest viewership overall with 4.11M viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It was a good night of fights and the UFC did well against relatively no competition in network shows.  However, it did not do as well as UFC on Fox 12 last summer (2.5M viewers).  It did better than UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago (2.04M viewers).  Traditionally, the summer network cards do not fare as well as the other three cards during the year for a variety of reasons.

Based on the initial ratings, it looks as though it should surpass the final overnights of last summer’s UFC on Fox 12 which did 2.5M viewers. It has already eclipsed UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago.

UFC on Fox 16 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 25, 2015

In the post-event press conference, Dana White announced the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fox 16 on Saturday night from Chicago, Illinois.

White announced attendance at 11,663 with a gate of $1.2 million for the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  Notably, UFC on Fox 2 in January 2012 drew 16,963 for a gate of $1.271 million and UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 drew 10,795 for a gate of $863,655.

The bonuses of $50,000 each went to Edson Barboza, Paul Felder, T.J. Dillashaw and Tom Lawlor.  Barboza and Felder drew Fight of the Night and Dillashaw and Lawler scored the Performance of the Night bonuses.  White indicated that he also liked the Ben Saunders-Kenny Robertson fight and was impressed with James Krause’s win tonight.  It sounded that those three fighters may also receive additional compensation.

Payout Perspective:

The event was not a sellout as the ‘get in’ price as of noon Saturday was $59 according to StubHub.  The United Center could house 20,000 plus so it was far from selling out.  The fights were very good tonight which culminated in Dillashaw’s domination of Renan Barao.  Dillashaw earned a bonus and the lighter weight divisions are on a roll this month.

Hulk Hogan terminated by WWE after audio of racist rant surfaces

July 24, 2015

World Wrestling Entertainment has terminated the contract of Hall of Fame wrestler Hulk Hogan.  The decision was made based on audio that surfaced from 8 years ago.

Hogan has been wiped from the WWE web site and eliminated from his current position on the USA reality television series “Tough Enough.”

The audio tapes relate to racist comments made by Hogan 8 years ago.  The information appears to be a part of sealed information from the pending Gawker lawsuit in which Hogan sued the web site for releasing a sex tape.  It would appear that the release of the audio tapes were done as retribution for the lawsuit.

Hogan has released a statement apologizing for the racist comments.   The bad news for Hogan is that there are inferences that there is more audio coming out.

Payout Perspective:

Even though many people here are MMA fans, it’s clear that everyone knows Hulk Hogan.  This makes the decision by the WWE to immediately distance itself from one of its biggest stars ever more surprising, yet appropriate.  As a publicly traded company, the WWE did not want to come under fire for Hogan’s comments and suffer any financial repercussions.  While its WWE Network is gaining traction with consumers, it’s still needs to find a way for the investment to break even.  Negative publicity like this is not good for business.  As for Hogan, his reputation is marred and he joins Bill Cosby as a pop culture figure of the 1980s who we now see in a different light.

Did Gawker have anything to do with the release of these tapes?  Not sure.  But, it will make the trial between Hogan and Gawker that much more contentious.

Bellator 140 DVR + 3 increases to 774K

July 24, 2015

As an update to Bellator 140 ratings from last Friday, the adjusted viewership from DVR +3 numbers grew the viewership to 774,000 and a peak of 1,041,000.

Last 3 Bellator events on Spike TV
Bellator 138: 1,580,000 overnight, 2,100,000 peak; DVR +3: 1,700,000, 2,900,000 peak
Bellator 139: 764,000 overnight, 988,000 peak; DVR +3: 819,000, 1,200,000 peak
Bellator 140: 722,000 overnight, 977,000 peak; DVR +3: 774,000, 1,041,000 peak

Payout Perspective:

The Bellator 140 ratings increase reflects a 7% increase in viewership which is approximately 52,000 viewers.  The adjusted ratings bring this year’s Bellator shows (132-140) to 6 events with a peak viewership over 1 million.

UFC McGregor bio indicates UFC 189 did 1M PPV buys

July 24, 2015

UFC is reporting that UFC 189 drew 1 million PPV buys according to the biography of Conor McGregor on the company’s web siteMMA Junkie noted the information on McGregor’s bio.

Via UFC.com:

The fight attracted a record 16,019 fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, plus a $7.2-million live gate and 1 million pay per view buys, proving McGregor’s sizable drawing power. Some 3,000 Irish fans converged on Las Vegas and left deliriously happy.

UFC 189 would be the first PPV hitting 1 million PPV buys since UFC 168 which featured Silva-Weidman II and Tate-Rousey in December 2013. Prior to that, you’d have to look to July 2010 and UFC 116 (Lesnar-Carwin) for a PPV to strike 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

If the PPV number is correct, it shows that the ratings from the UFC 189 Prelims were an inconsistent indicator of PPV success. UFC 189 Prelims on FS1 drew only 847,000 viewers.  The televised Prelims usually entice “on the fence” fans to purchase the PPV.  Here, one might conclude that people already were set to buy the PPV because of McGregor.  This would be great for the UFC as it has a confirmed PPV star in the new interim Featherweight champion.

It’s interesting that the information on PPV buys was somewhat buried in the bio of McGregor and not officially announced by the UFC.  Usually, when organizations do well business-wise there is some release about the information.  For instance, Bellator’s tentpole events 131 and 138 ratings were announced immediately when received as the company was happy with the great ratings.  Here, no official announcement. We shall see if we get an official announcement soon.

Dillashaw signs deal with Everlast

July 23, 2015

UFC Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has signed a sponsorship deal with Everlast as announced by the company via tweet.  Dillashaw is set to make his second title defense against Renan Barao this Saturday at UFC on Fox 16.

Despite the talk of the sponsorship market shrinking due to the Reebok deal, Dillashaw has a deal with Onnit and now Everlast.

It was reported back in May that Dillashaw left his agents at MMA, Inc. to go at it alone.  Unless Dillashaw has signed with another agent, it appears that he has secured this sponsorship on his own.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting sponsorship since Dillashaw cannot wear any logos sporting the Everlast brand this week due to the new UFC outfitting policy.  The good news for Dillashaw is that the brand is willing to work with him outside of the UFC umbrella.  Perhaps a trend of seeking out the lower-weight divisions for sponsor deals.

Reebok receiving criticism for Duran departure

July 23, 2015

Reebok is feeling the heat after the UFC let go of cutman Stitch Duran.  The official clothier of the UFC sent out a tweet in apparent response to UFC fans outraged by his dismissal.

Not even one month into its official partnership with the UFC, it is feeling the brunt of criticism from the fans.  The dismissal of Duran after he spoke out about losing out on sponsorship money due to the Reebok deal has angered the MMA internet community and Reebok felt compelled to respond.

MMA fans were not happy with Reebok taking over as the company’s primary clothing sponsor which eliminated many MMA brands from the octagon.  It also angered fans and fighters when the UFC revealed payouts from the sponsorships which were below those that fighters received and now Duran’s departure has drawn the ire of many that follow the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

For those that believe that Reebok is looking for a way out of this deal think again.  Despite the harsh criticism, the brand needs the UFC as much as the UFC needs Reebok.  Reebok is seeking to establish a niche in the fitness market and boost sales for its parent company, Adidas, in the U.S.  The uniforms are a big deal for the brand even though public opinion seems to be negative overall.  If nothing else, Reebok can say it is an official outfitter for one of the biggest female athletes today, Ronda Rousey.

As many know, Adidas is owned by Reebok and there was speculation that it wanted to sell off Reebok due to poor profits.  There were earnings warnings in 2013 and 2014 for Reebok and shareholders were concerned.  Add to that, Adidas has fallen for the first time to number 3 in the U.S. sportswear market behind Nike and Under Armour.  Even the creator of Crossfit made it known in a ’60 Minutes’ segment this year that Reebok should be sold  to “someone young, fresh, excited and willing to enter into the modern era of things.”

However, it appears that profits have turned around in 2015 for the brand and the future of the fitness market is looking bright.  According to a report by CBS Marketwatch earlier this year, Adidas indicated that it would not sell Reebok.  Could some of the brand’s newfound momentum be from the UFC deal?  Even if there is pushback from fans, Reebok will likely ride out the wave of discontent in hopes of a promising future.

Judge denies motion to dismiss in Punk libel lawsuit

July 22, 2015

The Washington Post reports that the lawsuit between WWE doctor Chris Amman and CM Punk and Colt Cabana will continue after a Cook County (IL) Circuit Court judge denied defendants’ motion to dismiss the case.

As a result of the court’s denial to dismiss the case, CM Punk and Colt Cabana must answer Amann’s complaint claiming that the two libeled the WWE doctor during an episode of Cabana’s podcast.

On the Art of Wrestling podcast, Punk called into question Dr. Amann’s treatment of his concussion and an injury on his back with was diagnosed as a MRSA staph infection.  Cabana is being implicated for being the host of the podcast.  He is also a good friend of the now UFC fighter.

The WWE aided Dr. Amann despite not being a party to the lawsuit as it sent out a statement regarding the lawsuit and providing video purported evidence that Punk did not have a lump on his back.

Payout Perspective:

Procedurally, a motion to dismiss the lawsuit prior to answering the claims in a complaint is necessary and occurs when the one being sued believes that there is no merit to the claims.  Here, Punk and Cabana took their shot at dismissing the lawsuit.  But, there was a sufficient amount of information pled by Dr. Amman according to the court.  Its likely Punk and Cabana will deny the allegations in the Complaint when they file an Answer and we may see prolonged litigation.

Chavez, Jr.-Reyes on Showtime Saturday draws 663,000 viewers

July 22, 2015

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday’s Showtime event featuring Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and and Marcos Reyes drew 663,000 subscribers with a peak of 707,000.  Chavez, Jr. earned a unanimous decision.

The fight was slightly better than his last outing, an April loss to Andrzej Fonfara.  That fight ran opposite to Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov on HBO.

Per Sports TV Ratings, the feature fight drew 663,000 subscribers between 11:51-12:35 AM ET.

On the undercard, the co-feature averaged 464,000 with a peak of 533,000 and Imam-Angulo drew an average of 433,000 with a peak of 460,000.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are down for Chavez, Jr. as a feature as his fight with Brian Vera on HBO drew 1.39 million last March.  The Fonfara fight, JCC’s first fight on Showtime drew 618,000 viewers.  Perhaps it was the switch of networks or JCC losing a fan base or a combination of both.

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