Nelson indicates he wasn’t tested prior to Saturday’s fight; USADA responds

September 25, 2015

MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn tweeted that Roy Nelson was not drug tested prior to his bout with Josh Barnett for Saturday’s UFC event in Japan.  However, USADA indicates that its representatives are in Japan and will test fighters participating at UFC Fight Night 75.

MMA Payout asked USADA whether it was conducting drug testing for Saturday’s event taking place in Saitama, Japan.  USADA’s Senior Communications Manager Annie Skinner stated in an email that USADA representatives were in Japan and “there will be testing occurring there.”

Payout Perspective:

First, USADA was very quick in response to my query.  Second, the fact that USADA reps are at the UFC event, does not necessarily mean everyone was/is being tested.  However, one of the questions that came to my mind after contacting USADA was whether there was out of competition testing prior to the event.  If we believe Nelson’s statement, then no.  USADA has the authority to conduct out of competition testing but it does not necessarily mean it is required for each event and every fighter.

While USADA appears to be conducting the in-competition testing (testing defined as six hours prior to the start of the scheduled weigh-in until six hours after the conclusion of the bout) in Japan, at least one of the main event fighters did not receive out of competition testing.

Certainly there is a presumption that at least the fighters in the main event would receive more scrutiny (i.e., drug testing).  Even though Nelson’s physique does not suggest any enhancements, the anti-doping program was put in place to clean up and monitor the UFC.  Testing fighters, especially in the infancy stages of the program seems like a necessity.

Bellator Dynamite quarter hour breakdown and DVR +3 ratings

September 25, 2015

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the quarter hour ratings for this past Saturday’s Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 on Spike TV.  It also has learned that the DVR +3 rating has bumped up the initial overnight rating of 800,000 up to 867,000.

The show peaked at 9:14pm ET which means that people tuned into the start of the show.

Fight #1

King Mo def. Linton Vassell via 2 Round decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #2

Phil Davis def Emanuel Newton via submission, Round 1

(1.1 million viewers)

Fight #3

Keri Melendez def Hadley Griffith via 3 Round decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #4
Paul Daley def Fernando Gonzalez via 3 round Decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #5

Josh Thomson def. Mike Bronzoulis via submission, Round 3

(909k viewers)

Fight #6

Saulo Cavalari def Zack Mwekassa via 5 round decision

(881k viewers)

Fight #7

Phil Davis def. Francis Carmont via KO round 1

(782k viewers)

Fight #8

Liam McGeary def. Tito Ortiz via submission, Round 1

(891k viewers)

Payout Perspective:

The DVR ratings reflect less of an increase from the two prior tent-pole events.

Bellator 141 overnight (Live +SD): 800K; DVR +3: 867K

Bellator 138 overnight (Live +SD): 1.6M; DVR +3: 1.7M

Bellator 131 overnight (Live +SD): 1.24M; DVR +3: 1.4M

Perhaps college football did contributed to less viewers last week.  Of course, Bellator 131 went up against a UFC show and college football.

The individual ratings reveal that at least two of the kickboxing matches drew 1 million viewers but there was a decrease in viewership of the MMA match that occurred after the kickboxing match.  Not sure if we can draw any conclusions that MMA and kickboxing do not mix or just an anomaly.  What is interesting, and maybe concerning, is that viewership decreased over the courtse of the broadcast.  Usually peak viewership occurs toward the end of an event as many tune in for the main event.  However, the conclusion of the light heavyweight tournament and the McGeary-Ortiz fight were watched less than the opening fights.

Hearing Friday could decide Zuffa Antitrust case

September 24, 2015

The Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit may come to a head tomorrow as a federal court in Nevada will hear Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss which could end the lawsuit brought by former UFC fighters against the organization.

The Motion to Dismiss was filed by Zuffa lawyers when the lawsuit was venued in Northern California.  The original date for the Motion to Dismiss was in late July.  However, when the federal court in San Jose transferred the case to Las Vegas, the dates were continued.

A summary of pleadings are below:

Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss

Zuffa’s Reply Brief

However, if you want to read them in full, you can find them here as well:

Zuffa Motion to Dismiss

Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Reply Brief – Motion to Dismiss

Payout Perspective:

It’s hard to fathom that Judge Richard Boulware, the presiding judge assigned to the case in Nevada, will dismiss this lawsuit.  More likely, if Judge Boulware determines that the Complaint filed by the former UFC fighters is insufficient, he may allow them to “Leave to Amend the Complaint.”  Essentially, he would grant them time to amend their complaint so that it would conform to the rules outlined in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal.  With a discovery fight over the documents on the horizon, we could see the court allowing the lawsuit to continue so that the Plaintiffs will have an opportunity to make their case.  It would still leave open the opportunity for Zuffa to file a Motion for Summary Judgment which would dismiss the case short of having to go to trial.  Of course, this would mean time and expense for Zuffa’s lawyers as they hope to do away with the lawsuit through this motion.  In the end, even if the court were to flat out dismiss the plaintiffs, they would still have an opportunity to appeal the decision.

MMA Payout will keep you posted.

TUF 22 Episode 3 draws 533,000 viewers

September 24, 2015

The third episode of TUF 22 drew 533, 000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  It reflects an approximately 15% increase over last week’s episode.

In the episode, Team Faber’s Chris Gruetzemacher defeated Team McGregor’s Sascha Sharma.  The episode featured a meltdown by McGregor as Sharma did not listen to his coaching during the fight.

TUF 22 Ratings
Live +SD DVR +3
Episode 1 622,000 902,000
Episode 2 463,000 740,000
Episode 3 533,000

TUF 22 Ratings through Ep 3

Payout Perspective:

Not sure about you, but I like the Conor-Faber back and forth.  Frankly, there was nothing special out of last night’s show but I found the interplay between the coaches entertaining.

The top sports cable show for the night was MLB on ESPN as the pennant race is here.  The Yankees-Blue Jays game drew slightly over 1 million viewers in the 7-10pmET time slot.  TUF came in second in its time slot for sports cable shows as the second game on ESPN, Dodgers-DBacks, drew 557,000 viewers.  The average through 3 episodes is 540,000.  In comparison, TUF 20 last fall drew an average of 514,000 viewers through 3 episodes and last spring’s TUF 21 drew only an average of 422,000 viewers.

Fortune chooses Rousey for 2015 “40 under 40” list

September 24, 2015

Ronda Rousey was chosen by Fortune as one of its “40 under 40,” in its annual list compiled by the magazine.  The list identifies the top young professionals that influence business under the age of 40.

Per Fortune, the list is “a measure of power and influence.”  To find out how they compiled the list, go here.

Rousey, 28, was chosen based on her undefeated record in the UFC and her burgeoning mainstream movie career.  According to Forbes, she’s made an estimated $5 million from fighting this year.  On a recent appearance on “Ellen,” Rousey stated that she was the highest paid fighter in the UFC.  Aside from “Ellen,” the UFC has made inroads into the mainstream TV talk show circuit due to the women’s bantamweight champion.  This includes Rousey appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to announce her latest fight against Holly Holm.

In addition to her movie appearances, the release of her book earlier this year has done well in sales.

The Forbes writeup also highlights a speech she gave about body image and gained more interest after Beyonce used it during a concert.

On another note, Rousey, nor any other UFC fighter made the list of Forbes’ world’s highest paid athletes for 2015.  Of course, if Rousey is the highest paid fighter, there would be no other UFC fighter on the list which has Floyd Mayweather at the top.

Payout Perspective:

While the cynical might note that the list might be PR driven, it still is a remarkable ascent considering the fact Dana White once said he never wanted women to fight in the UFC.  Rousey’s star is on the rise and the Fortune recognition shows her popularity.  Vicariously through this acknowledgement, it provides some good public relations for the UFC.  It will be interesting to see where we are one or two years from now and see if Rousey makes the transition (similar to The Rock, note that they share the same agent) to movies.

Gus speaks out about Reebok deal

September 23, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that Alexander Gustafsson is the latest UFC fighter to speak out about the Reebok apparel deal.  Although Gustafsson chose his words, he advocated for more pay for the lesser-established fighters.

“Pay the fighters a lot more money,” Gustafsson told MMA Junkie.  He also chimed in on the Reebok deal and while he did not criticize the deal, he believed that fighters that make less should benefit from sponsors to help those “pay the rent.”  “I don’t have anything negative to say about it [Reebok deal]. I just think, why take away from fighters who haven’t established themselves in the organization?”

Gustafsson also stated that fighters starting out (that make minimal money) should be supported from local sponsors.  He believes that this would help develop within the sport as being funded by sponsors would allow fighters to spend more time in the gym.

Payout Perspective:

While Gustafsson wanted to make sure that he did not want to be negative about the Reebok deal, he does offer a critique of what he observes is occurring as a result of the deal.  Without sponsors to help fund fighters, it inhibits those on the low end of the salary scale from dedicating the time to cultivate their abilities as most have to take on jobs to pay their bills.  Of course, training for a fight also costs money.  Thus, Gustafsson definitely sees the reasons why the deal does not help younger fighters.  It’s good that fighters like Gustafsson are willing to speak out about the Reebok deal even though they may not be directly affected.

TUF 22 Episode 2 up to 740,000 in DVR +3 numbers

September 23, 2015

MMA Payout has learned that the second episode of TUF from last Wednesday drew an increase of 60% from its initial live airing according to Nielsen sources.  The DVR +3 ratings was up to 740,000 viewers last week.

The increase in DVR viewership is up from the first episode’s DVR increase.  It was up 15% from last spring’s second episode which received 646,000 viewers.

TUF 22 Ratings
Live +SD DVR +3
Episode 1 622,000 902,000
Episode 2 463,000 740,000

TUF 22 Ratings through Ep 2

Payout Perspective:

Small steps, but the adjusted viewership from DVR watching is now better than last season’s average (821,000).  However, it still trails last fall’s TUF 20 in DVR viewership (888,000 through 2 episodes).  It’s still too early to tell if the McGregor-Faber pairing is helping ratings.

Ortiz tops Bellator 142 payouts

September 23, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the salaries from this past Saturday’s Bellator 142.  Tito Ortiz received $300,000 in a loss to light-heavyweight champion Liam McGeary.  The disclosed payouts were provided by the California State Athletic Commission.

The payouts do not include the Glory Kickboxing fights held the same evening.

Liam McGeary: $50,000 (no win bonus)
def. Tito Ortiz: $300,000

Phil Davis: $130,000 (includes $65,000 win bonus)
def. Francis Carmont: $17,000

Josh Thomson: $10,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mike Bronzoulis: $10,000

Phil Davis: See above
def. Emanuel Newton: $70,000

Muhammed Lawal: $15,000 (no win bonus)
def. Linton Vassell: $30,000

Gabriel Carrasco: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Neal: $2,000

Adam Piccolotti: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Salvador Becerra: $1,750

Thomas Diagne: $3,000 (no win bonus since fight ended in draw)
vs. Mike Malott: $2,000 (no win bonus since fight ended in draw)

Francis Carmont: See above
def. Anthony Ruiz: $5,000

Payout Perspective:

Ortiz making $300,000 is probably not too surprising.  He’s still a big draw despite his advanced age.  Notably, Phil Davis making $65,000 to show and another $65,000 bonus is a good start for a Bellator debut.  On the other end, Josh Thomson reportedly made $10,000 without a win bonus.  Media members are indicating he was paid more than this.  Let’s hope so.  In his last UFC fight this past July at UFC Fight Night 71, Thomson made $85,000.  Also of note, King Mo made $15,000 without a win bonus while his opponent Linton Vassell made $30,000.

Mayweather-Berto replay on Showtime draws 587K Saturday night

September 22, 2015

The PPV replay of Floyd Mayweather and Andre Berto Saturday night on Showtime drew 587,000 subscription viewers on Saturday night from 10:16pm-11:08pm per Sports TV Ratings.

UPDATED:  I misread the ratings a bit.  The three ratings for the fight were all the same showing and was just chopped up per segment.  The Mayweather-Berto fight did draw 587K from 10:16-11:08pm.  The Roman Martinez-Orlando Salido fight drew

The post-fight interviews at 11:08-11:25pm drew 383,000 subscription viewers.  The epilogue showing of Showtime’s All Access for the fight airing from 11:25-11:42pm drew 219,000 subscribers.

As many know, PPV estimates for Mayweather’s last fight under his current Showtime contract drew between 400-550K PPV buys.  If the estimates are correct, it would be the lowest PPV buy rate since Mayweather fought Carlos Baldomir in November 2006.

The replay also included a fight between Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido.  That fight drew 258,000 viewers from 9:08-9:58pm.  The interim time between the Martinez-Salido fight and the Mayweather fight drew 392,000 viewers.

Notably, Mayweather’s last fight against Manny Pacquiao drew an estimated 1.18M HBO subscribers.  Of course, that fight served as the opening act for Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland.  Unfortunately, we do not have the rating for the replay on Showtime.

Showtime is in approximately 28 million homes according to Television By Numbers.

Payout Perspective: 

Overall, when adding up the viewership ratings during the 2 hour, 30 minute airing, approximately 1.6M Showtime subscribers watched the replay Saturday night when you count up the viewers for each showing segment.  As one of our commentators point out, its probably an incorrect assumption to simply add the number of viewers for each segment of the program to conclude that 1.6 million viewers watched the program.  On a night which was dominated by College Football as well as Bellator’s latest tent-pole event, the replay of Floyd Mayweather’s last fight replayed on Showtime.  Frankly, the ratings are low which reflects that many did not care about this fight.

WSOF 23 payout: 2 make $100K

September 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the salaries from WSOF 23 held on Friday night.  Champions Justin Gaethje and David Branch were the top earners making $100,000 each which includes their win bonuses.

Via MMA Junkie:

Justin Gaethje: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Luis Palomino: $20,000

David Branch: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Teddy Holder: $12,000

Timur Valiev: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Tito Jones: $3,000

Ben Fodor: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Roberto Yong: $2,000

Brian Foster: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. LaRue Burley: $4,000

Vagab Vagabov: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Grinnell: $1,500

Clifford Starks: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Krasimir Mladenov: $3,000

Matthew Frincu: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Danny Davis Jr.: $3,000

David Nuzzo: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Andres Ponce: $1,000

Joey Miolla: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Randy Steinke: $1,500

Benny Madrid: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Jeff Fletcher: $1,000

Payout Perspective:

Gaethje made $60K ($30K/$30K) in his last fight which was against Palomino too.  Palomino received a raise for this fight as he made only $11,000 in his first fight with Gaethje.  Notably, 5 fighters made $2,000 or less but all made at least $1,000 for the night.  The highest show money was $50,000 by Gaethje and Branch.

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