UFC 193: Payout Perspective

November 16, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at the happenings taken place down under in Melbourne, Australia as Holly Holm upset Ronda Rousey to win the women’s bantamweight title.

Holm, game plan takes out Rousey

No one would have thought this would have been the ending.  But, a headkick knocked out Ronda Rousey and the aura of invincibility was over.  Holly Holm, who hovered around an 8-1 to 12-1 underdog depending on where you looked, outclassed Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.  Holm’s game plan trumped Rousey’s athletic ability.  Moreover, Rousey’s boxing was exposed and it was clear that she was exhausted at the end of Round 1.

For Holm, it was the culmination of a long-term plan that had her and her trainers preparing for Rousey even before she was in the UFC.  Her management fought tooth and nail with UFC management in negotiating her signing with the company.  Turns out it was worth it.

As for Rousey, her loss seemed to satiate the thirst of every Rousey hater.  Everyone was quick to tweet with glee her loss and KO.  As is with most MMA fighters that gain more popularity than the others, MMA “fans” began to despise Rousey.  The good news for them is that she lost and MMA fans will turn their attention to Conor McGregor in December silently hoping for him to lose as many have those tweets ready for their timeline.

UFC Melbourne

Joanna Champion still Champ

It was not a dominant performance, but Joanna Jedrzejcyzk retained her 115 pound title with a unanimous decision over Valerie Letourneau.  Letourneau came down 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds and you have to think that it might have played a factor.  Overall, it was an entertaining fight with Joanna retaining her title.

Attendance and Gate

It was a record setting night for the UFC as the announced attendance was 56,214 with a gate of $6.8 million (U.S.).  It did better than UFC 129 which drew 55,724 in Toronto.  However, the gate did not exceed the 55,724.

As Darren Rovell tweeted, there were many comps for the event although the UFC no longer reports on the number.

Bonuses

This was a little curious as Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey and Kyle Noke earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Holm won for both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. Noke earned a Performance of the Night Bonus. Rousey drew a Fight of the Night bonus although you might argue that she didn’t deserve it for her part in the fight.  Certainly, there were other fighters (e.g., Ben Nguyen) that could have received a Performance of the Night Bonus instead of Rousey receiving one for FOTN.

Promotion of the Fight

Ronda Rousey went on Good Morning America in late August to announce her fight with Holly Holm.  Originally scheduled for January 2nd, the event was moved up in part to replace the main event of UFC 193 as well as attempt to set a new UFC attendance (and gate) record at Ethiad Stadium.

Perhaps the best video promotion for a UFC event was produced for UFC 193.  It debuted on Ellen’s web site which featured a younger Ronda Rousey learning martial arts with the underlying message that women could do anything.

A lengthier feature was shown after the UFC 193 PPV.

You might recall Dana White announced in a phone interview Rousey-Holm was moved from January 2nd to November 14th on a Friday night on ESPN. The date was moved up due to the usual injury issues.

The event was a reward for the province as a law which prohibited cagefighting was lifted.  With opposition still abound in the area, the attendance at the event (albeit with some comped seats) was still strong. USA Today reported on the “stir” in Australia with opposition to the sport of MMA.  Rousey spoke with local media about the controversy.

UFC Embedded, the video series, aired on Fox the Saturday before the fight.  Usually, it’s online but with a Rousey fight, it seemed to demand more visibility.  Also, Ruby Rose was the narrator for the series.

Rousey was also on the front page of the NY Times Sunday Styles Section in October.  This was one of several media obligations which catered to women.  It will be interesting to see if Holly Holm can continue this trend and appeal.

Sponsorships

In the octagon, we had a couple international UFC sponsors as well as the usual mainstays.  Unibet, Xbox’s Tomb Raider, DraftKings, Wargaming.net, Bud Light, the upcoming film, “Creed,” Bud Light, Reebok and Monster Energy Drink had the center. Unibet had the fighter prep point.   Holly Holm was sponsored by Unibet and announced a new deal with GRRRL Clothing.

Odds and Ends

Since it always comes back to gambling.  The betting line on Holm in Vegas and the aftermath:

 

Donald Trump weighed in on Ronda Rousey tweeting that he was glad that she lost because she is not a nice person.  I didn’t know they knew each other. 

EA Sports announced that Rousey would be on the cover of its latest UFC game coming out this spring.  Was it a video game cover curse?

Should we read into the fact that Ronda’s mother was not at the fight a sign of discontent with her?  It is a long plane ride to Australia for sure, but her mother has already been there for her fights.

Rousey’s hang up during a UFC 193 Conference Call was an act of unprofessionalism despite the question asking about Travis Browne.  Even worse, the excuse that her “phone died” just insults everyone’s intelligence.  You mean, the UFC and/or Rousey’s management could not have given her a phone to finish the call?

At the end of Episode 3 of the Embedded series, Rousey uses an analogy about being bankrupt.  All the while, it shows her hitting mitts with Edmund.  His bankruptcy filing occurred this summer and comes to a head this month.  This issue had not been a problem in the past, but with the news surfacing now, it all makes it more of a deal. 

Letourneau was informed by USADA that Hector Lombard could not corner her for her fight as Lombard’s participation would have violated the new anti-doping policy.  Lombard, who admitted to using PEDs earlier this year would fall under the “prohibited association” rule of the UFC anti-doping policy. 

Lenny Fresquez, the agent/manager for Holly Holm, won six figures betting on her client.  There’s something that seems unsettling with a manager that is already making off of her client for representation to bet money on her client.  Sure, it’s legal and acceptable, but is there a conflict of interest?  

Notably, Fresquez said that Holm has 2 more fights under her existing contract.

FS1 could not carry the post-fight show until late due to the Pac-12 game between Utah and Arizona going to double OT.  Most of the post-fight was on FS2.

The PPV went over the 3 hour mark which is a rarity.

It was interesting that not much was made of the fact that one of the biggest cards in UFC history and it was headline by two women’s title fights.

In anticipation of a Rousey “vine” like finish, the UFC sent out a reminder to media outlets that you would be in violation of Zuffa’s copyright of the PPV.  It appeared as though the Huffington Post Sports twitter feed was allowed to post the finish (as it did).  Still, others posted the finish online.  In protection of its copyright (and in order for people to buy the PPV), the UFC wanted to deter people from posting their videos.   

Certainly a Rousey-Holm rematch seems ripe for July’s UFC 200.

Conclusion

It was interesting that despite Ronda Rousey google searches hitting 500,000 on Friday, there was a slight downturn (note: in the link the google trends embedded link is constantly changing over time which I think is pretty cool) in searches right around the time after the weigh-ins.  But, the searches jumped back up on Saturday afternoon.  What does this mean about PPV buys?  Who really knows?  But, if we are to look into the past history of Rousey fights, one might think this still does well.  I would predict 750,000 PPV buys. 

34 Responses to “UFC 193: Payout Perspective”

  1. Random Dude on November 16th, 2015 2:27 PM

    “Holm’s game plan trumped Rousey’s athletic ability.”

    Holm’s athletic ability is greater than Rousey’s. Rousey had no advantage in any area including even grappling. It was Holm’s superior athletic ability that allowed Holm’s to outgrapple Rousey, the fighter with much greater grappling training.

  2. Pink Pig on November 16th, 2015 5:36 PM

    Lenny bet on Holm… thats supposed to be unsettling? GTFOH

  3. Diego on November 17th, 2015 3:58 AM

    Pinky – it’s unsettling that a manager is betting on the fights of his client. Even if he bets on his client to win. NFL GMs are not allowed to bet on their teams as far as I know. Not a huge deal, but still, poor form.

  4. Spartacus on November 17th, 2015 7:25 AM

    Rousey is a far better fighter than Holm. Everyone who fights as aggressively as Rousey eventually loses. Odds makers have the rematch at 3-1 with Rousey as the favorite. I’d say that’s about right She’ll win the rematch.

  5. Mike on November 17th, 2015 7:47 AM

    Ronda will win the rematch. She will stay away from boxing and will take Holm down before the adrenaline dump and will win.

  6. MMAtruth on November 17th, 2015 7:55 AM

    @Spartacus and Mike

    Don’t think so. RR was outclassed and outgunned in every single aspect of the fight. RR had no plan B and could not adjust – terrible form for a champion. RR odds to win will be artificially inflated by non-sense like this and I can’t wait to collect some $ on the rematch.

    That is if RR comes back? That was a fall from the heavens and a life-changing beating.

  7. Spartacus on November 17th, 2015 9:56 AM

    I remember Couture beating the piss out of Liddell beating him at his own game, then being dominated in both rematches. I’ve seen Holm fight a number of times, this was the first fight she ever even looked good. The rematch will be in Vegas at night, not early in the morning in the East, I also doubt Rousey will approach the fight like she did Saturday with a strike happy, careless scheme. I see Rousey taking it.

  8. Jason Cruz on November 17th, 2015 10:10 AM

    @Diego – that is what I’m getting at. At one point, the manager may look out for his/her betting interests instead of his/her clients (i.e., take fights in which they know their fighter cannot win or will not help their career)

  9. MMAtruth on November 17th, 2015 12:08 PM

    Those are very small factors in this caliber of a fight. Did you watch the same fight as I did? That looked like a PRO vs JOE type of match. I don’t see how Rousey can fix all those holes in her game in the next 6 months for UFC 200 , as rumored.

    Also if RR gets an immediate rematch that will be a terrible business decision by the UFC. RR losing decisively twice and in a row = the death of their biggest star. Might be a nice cash grab short-term but not long term, and bad for RR even more. RR needs to tune up and take a fight with Miesha tate, Cat Zingano, etc. before she gets back in the cage with Holm. RR has a long way to go in the striking department and if she can’t throw her opponent down she’s in trouble with HH.

  10. Spartacus on November 17th, 2015 1:17 PM

    Yes, I don’t believe you know what you were watching. As a matter of fact when Rousey took her down, everyone watching that fight thought it was about to end with the armbar. To her credit, Holm defended well, but a lot of it had to do with Ronda not being patient. Also the fight was competitive until the last minute of the 1st rd.

    As for the holes you speak of, she really doesn’t have much. Her strategy just needs to change. She fought very carelessly.

    The rematch is going to be massive and there would be no sense in a long delay because if she loses to Holm 2x anyway, her stock would drop significantly regardless if it comes after a tuneup win or not.

    She takes the rematch.

  11. Random Dude on November 17th, 2015 1:30 PM

    I have no idea why Couture and Liddell were brought up. Might as well bring up Hulk Hogan, he would be just as relevant in this discussion.

    Spartacus has obviously not watched Holly Holm fight, because she has looked good in MMA long before this. My only criticism of her would be she never puts herself in a dangerous situation, however, when the time is right, her killer instinct comes out (ask Ronda’s face). When Ronda landed one good punch, Holm immediately took her down, then got back up and reset the fight. Holm has an excellent fight IQ.

    Ronda is not going to get stronger than Holm or become a better athlete than Holm whether we are talking 6 months or a year. Holm is the superior grappler due to her strength and athleticism, even though she has less experience. Same way Daniel Cormier got dominated by Jon Jone’s wrestling even though DC is supposedly olympic level. The best 5th grade basketball player still can’t be me in a game, no matter how technically skilled they are. The physical tools are not there.

    The blueprint is now out for beating Ronda Rousey as well. Anyone who isn’t undersized like Meisha Tate or Bethe Correia stands a much improved chance at beating her now. The jig is up, much like the famed “Gracie Ju-Jitsu”.

  12. BrainSmasher on November 17th, 2015 1:51 PM

    This will do 1.5 million buys. This had way to much mainstream coverage and appeal. Remember. Rousey didn’t start to get mainstream attention until her last fight. It wasn’t until after that fight it blew up. But he PPV verses a no name on a Brazil card still did huge. Which doesn’t happen from Brazil cards. This has the full effect of her hype with much more mainstream coverage. Every single news source was covering her. Add that a much more credible opponent and story line.

  13. BrainSmasher on November 17th, 2015 1:54 PM

    How would her fight in Brazil do 900,000 and this only do 750,000? I think anything below 1.2 would be disappointing. I expect 1.5+ and could easily do over 2 million.

  14. Spartacus on November 17th, 2015 1:57 PM

    The analogy of Couture – Liddell was brought up in reference to how rematches go. If you read the discussion it would be clear.

    I’ve actually seen 4 of her fights, and she looked extremely over – hyped and mediocre. Notably in the Pennington fight where she arguably lost to a .500 fighter. Obviously, she looked great in last Saturday’s fight. I was not knocking her performance there, but to use that fight alone as for what her future holds is pretty off. She had some serious killer instinct in her last 2 fights also, righy? Lol.

    Also, saying that the better grappler is Holm because of her strength and athleticism is maybe the craziest thing i ever heard. That’s like saying Marcelo Garcia was more athletically gifted and stronger than his opponents on the mat. Rousey is much better on the ground which is why Holm was doing everything she could to keep the fight standing. Jones didn’t dominate DC in wrestling. DC gassed and was beaten standing which opened up take downs.

    Its amazing how many experts there are after a 7-1 dog won here. Based on all of this knowledge I bet a lot of got rich from the fight, right?

    Also, Gracie Jiu hits is used by every fighter in the ufc today to some extent. It revolutionized fighting. You may want to study the history of fighting rather than watching Hulk Hogan highlights to comprehend the discussion.

  15. Random Dude on November 17th, 2015 3:00 PM

    There have been more rematches than Couture-Liddell in the fight world. Mentioning them is as relevant as mentioning Hulk Hogan, particularly if you examine the skill sets of Couture vs Liddell. Since it is completely irrelevant to Rousey vs Holm, I won’t bother.

    You should go rewatch the DC/Jones fight. Jones dominated DC in grappling. Beat him at his own game. DC has to find a different way to win other than wrestling.

    Who is talking about Holm’s future? All anyone is talking about is that Rousey won’t beat her in the future, period. The fight wasn’t competitive at all. I think Rousey landed 2 solid strikes. She was beaten up from the beginning to the end. You must be bling or work for the UFC.

    Ju-jitsu has been around long before the Gracies. You sound like a dumbass. Are you BrainSmasher’s twin brother? I know he is also a Gracie fanboy. More importantly, the point is anyone claiming a single style of martial art is the greatest is a dumbass which is what the Gracies claimed and then got exposed on.

  16. Spartacus on November 17th, 2015 3:31 PM

    You simply do not know what you are talking about and are extremely ignorant.

    Go watch the DC-Jones fight again and look at who dictated the distance and see what happened in those early rounds. Jones softened him up early, hurt him with body shots and out worked him cardiovascular wise, and then, and only then took DC down and controlled him in the later rds.

    Yes, there have been plenty of rematches in the fight world. Couture – Liddell was one example. Hulk Hogan is a pro wrestler, bringing that into this equation is senseless.

    You are talking about Holm’s future, I guess you just aren’t aware of what you are posting. Rousey hit Holm more than you claim and when she got the take down and Holm’s back, she almost caught her arm. That’s how submission works. It took Holm over 6 minutes to put Rousey away when they were on their feet, how long do you think it would take Rousey to submit her on the ground? Kind of reminds me of Nog-CC, had Holm not transitioned quickly, she probably would have gotten caught. Small margin of error. Rousey takes the rematch.

    The guard was not around prior to the Gracies. You sound like someone who has no idea what he is talking about. The Gracies never evolved with the sport, however they revolutionized fighting with their style of fighting. If it weren’t for them, you would solely be watching pro wrestling.

  17. d on November 17th, 2015 4:00 PM

    Nice to see all of the trolling has been curbed(if you can’t detect it, that is sarcasm).

    Zero integrity!!

  18. d on November 17th, 2015 4:01 PM

    This is what I’m talking about. Take a look at the post above notably. Wasn’t this type of trolling supposed to have ended? It literally seems like this is intentional at this point. Tell me I’m wrong.

  19. its time1 on November 17th, 2015 4:07 PM

    Ha ha. Again a low prediction yall did the same thing for the McGregor vs Mendes.. I predict 1.1 mill

  20. BrainSmasher on November 17th, 2015 11:22 PM

    I might have to educate Random Dumbass on Mma history. I do not care for the Gracie’s so not sure where you get that at. However BJJ is the best style. That only changes where someone adds multiple styles together ussually with some BJJ. The Gracie’s brought a focus to ground fighting and bottom fighting that didn’t exist. Just because many of Bjj aspects existed in Judo’s pasted doesn’t change the facts they were not utilized. The Gracie’s made them effective with their ground and bottom focus while also testing them and evolving them in real fights that seperate them from any other martial art and what revolutionized martial arts and fighting. Credit where credit is due.

    Rousey will fight better in the rematch but she will lose. She has 2-3 aspects that made her own everyone. Holm took away her athletic ability gap and toughness gap and Rousey has never need or shown to have anything else. She hasn’t needed to be skilled or well rounded. She has walked over house wives and is now finally in a fight. The Couture example isn’t a good one because of age. He got old while Chuck was much younger. History tells us it’s hard to come back and win a rematch. The first winner wins more than 75% of the time.

    Holm is a bad style fight for Rousey. What she has in her favor though is Holm doesn’t match up as well with the other woman. She could get beat and Rousey is so good in her area she will still walk over everyone else. McMann, Tate, catzigano, the black girl from TUF are all stylistically better fights against Holm.

  21. Spartacus on November 18th, 2015 8:27 AM

    BS agreed on the Gracies, random dude is educated on the subject, however, your Liddell-Couture argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. How did he get old where he was 39 in the original fight and Liddell was in his 30s already, then the rematch was less than 2 years later and Randy didn’t look like he lost a step after destroying Belfort? Not to mention Couture won the hw title a year after the 3rd fight and defended the title?

    One more thing to note- all it takes is 1 take down from Rousey to win a fight against anyone including Holm. Why would it be so hard to conceive she will get one like she did in this fight, then finish her?

  22. Spartacus on November 18th, 2015 8:36 AM

    isn’t educated

  23. Random Dude on November 18th, 2015 10:48 AM

    Wow, people actually arguing that BJJ is the best style? Who took us back to the 90s?

    Spartacus did you watch the fight? Rousey tried to take down Holm’s multiple times and only succeeded once and it was a weak takedown. Not to mention Holm’s easily pulled out of the armbar attempt. So she did get her one takedown and failed miserably. Rousey’s wrestling is also non-existent. She has judo, but she is not a wrestler.

    Holm’s had a much more aggressive takedown on Rousey than Rousey did her. Rousey does not have the athletic ability to submit Holm. And Holm’s never allows herself to stay in a dangerous position,which you would know if you actually watched her fights. How is Rousey going to get an armbar that is expected against a fighter with a great gameplan, great cardio, stronger, faster, and mentally doesn’t break?

  24. tops E on November 18th, 2015 12:12 PM
  25. Spartacus on November 18th, 2015 2:38 PM

    Well if this were the 90s you would be only following pr wrestling.

    I certainly did watch the fight, several times. Yes, Holm’s take down defense was very good, but as you acknowledged, she did take her down. Judo is a form of grappling as is wrestling, there is an overlap in the two styles. Judo take downs are similar to Greco-Roman, working out of the clinch. Not sure why you even mentioned that. Holm defended the armbar well, but she may not be so fortunate, next time. It doesn’t take much with Rousey.

    Saying that Rousey doesn’t have the atletic ability to submit Holm shows that you have no idea how submission works. Go to any mma gym on Earth and they will laugh at anyone who suggests that . Holm was also in a dangerous position in that fight when Rousey had her back. She also was dropped by Pennington in their fight and arguably lost that fight after getting her nose busted. Had you seen her fights, you would know that.

  26. Random Dude on November 18th, 2015 4:25 PM

    Definitely Brainsmasher’s brother, the stupidity is strong with this one. You know it’s bad when someone has to resort to “i know you are but what am I” style copying of speech.

    You are actually arguing strength and athletic ability have no influence in grappling? So with a keylock, armbar, heel hook, etc. delivered by Brock Lesnar vs Rousey, the only difference is technical ability? The difference in my strength and athletic ability to Rousey and Lesnar will make no difference in escaping the submission for me? You are joking right (seriously)? You can’t be that dumb.

  27. turd on November 18th, 2015 4:33 PM

    i dont see how anyone can say rousey will win the rematch were they watching the same fight as me .

    holm destroyed her , she took roundas sould on saturday ronda will never be the same

  28. Spartacus on November 18th, 2015 5:10 PM

    I understand that you do not read so well, and you are a pro wrestling fan who came over with Lesnar, but go back and read what I said. Strength/atleticism is relevant, but the key to grappling is technique. Also, Zingano is just as big and strong as Holm, how did that one end? Did Royse Gracie have some type of impressive strength/athleticism when he was taking out roused opponents like Shamrock/Kimo? How did Marcelo Garcia do against Rico Rodriguez? Shouldn’t Rocco have destroyed him seeing how he outweighed him by 200lbs?

    Your problem is you’ve been watching too much pro wrestling, your focus was on figure 4s and the cobra clutch?

  29. Pink Pig on November 18th, 2015 9:12 PM

    Lenny bet on his fighter to win.

    Not to lose…

    Any other projections of future nonsense is just that… sniveling nonsense.

    If he bet on her to lose… likely have a case but that never happened.

  30. d on November 19th, 2015 5:00 AM

    Pete Rose……….

  31. BrainSmasher on November 19th, 2015 7:21 AM

    Spartacus, Couture was a if cherry picker much of his career. He held out and would come back when he saw a match up he liked. That’s why he come back to fight Sylvia for the HW title. He had trained with him before and knew he had his number. I was lucky to be there for that fight. Most memorable ufc I have been too.

    Age is kind of tricky. The fighters will tell you it’s not a gradual thing and there isn’t a set age it happens. It just hits you one day and there is a big decline. Couture was going to reach that point before Chuck. That was the start of the weak Chin Couture had due to age the rest of his career. Chuck isn’t a very athletic guy. He is not fast. Yet Couture still couldn’t close the distance in any of the rematches. He showed since of decline. He wasn’t getting any younger.

  32. BrainSmasher on November 19th, 2015 7:29 AM

    The reason I feel Rousey will likely lose the rematch is she has no head movement at all even after focusing 100% on boxing. Clinch style grapplers always have trouble with strikers unless they have good striking defense. You have to walk through those punches to close the distance. She can’t make anyone miss. Having a flat footed Judo style she isn’t exactly fast in her feet which is why Holm was able to dance around her and clown her as she sprint in straight lines. Even without strikes Rousey was finding it hard to stay with the footwork and get inside. This gives Holm more time to plant her feet and load up her power on Rousey running forward. Holm can’t load up on the other girls she fought because they have striking and can make her miss if she wasn’t quick. So she picked at them.

    If I knew Holm had power I would have picked her. Because I knew the style was bad for Rousey. But with no power at some point the figt woukd hit the ground in 25 minutes. With power Rousey was going to get discouraged fast which is what happened.

    She needs to use wrestling shots and pull guard in the rematch to get it to the ground. Secure the guard to keep Holm from standing out of it. Then go to work on sweeps and subs. And stop fighting so agressive against a counter striker!

  33. Random Dude on November 19th, 2015 1:41 PM

    Ju-jitsu, judo, and wrestling have weight divisions and gendered divisions for a reason. Strength, size, and athletic differences matter in grappling.

    Ask a physics professor or graduate student to give you a formula. At the end of the day it is basic physics as to why strength is important to grappling.

  34. Spartacus on November 19th, 2015 9:28 PM

    Again reading is not your strength. I never said those didn’t matter, my point was that technique is the most important part of the equation. That is why you see guys like Marcelo Garcia do so well in the absolute weight division.

    You are the one who is saying that the most dominant woman’s grappler in mma doesn’t have the athleticism to submit a girl who fights in the same weight class as her which is absurd. That’s why the second the fight hit the ground both times, Holm did everything she could to get to her feet immediately. Go ask Greg Jackson if he agrees with you. He would laugh in your face. I don’t think you’ve ever grappled before in your life.

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