Silva-Bisping set for UFC Fight Pass event Feb. 2016

December 25, 2015

Anderson Silva will return to the UFC in February as he will take on Michael Bisping in a long-awaited middleweight matchup.  The big news is that it will take place on UFC Fight Pass.

Silva-Bisping will headline an event from London.  It will be over a year since Silva fought at UFC 183 and will be the first time that The Spider has not been on pay-per-view since July 2008 when he fought on a UFC Fight Night.  Notably, he fought at Light Heavyweight in a demolition of James Irvin.

Bisping comes off a split decision win over Thales Leites in July.  Bisping will have the hometown edge as the event will take place in London, England.


Payout Perspective:

The announcement foreshadows what may be a big step in programming for UFC Fight Pass.  At UFC 194, it announced a very good fight between Joe Duffy and Dustin Poirier headlining the Fight Pass Prelims for next week’s UFC 195.  Certainly, moving a Fight Night featuring Silva-Bisping reflects the progression of the UFC’s over the top network.  As it adds content, the company seemingly will push to use it more of a revenue driver.  Could this be the beginnings of it following the WWE model of moving its PPVs to its own network?  Probably not, but you never know.

15 for 15: No. 10 Bellator’s successful tentpole events

December 23, 2015

Following up on a successful tentpole event in November 2014, Bellator held a three more tent pole events on SpikeTV.  Overall, the events and ratings have been a success.

Shamrock-Kimbo, St. Louis, MO, June 2015 – The long-awaited fight that was supposed to take place in EliteXC, but due to a Ken Shamrock injury, Seth Petruzelli stepped in and we all know the rest.  From an outsider’s point of view, one would think that this fight between two men well over 40 would not be of interest.  However, the ratings told otherwise as Shamrock-Kimbo drew the biggest ratings for any Bellator MMA event including the Ortiz-Bonnar show from November 2014.  It averaged 1.58 million viewers and the main event drew 2.1 million viewers.  In comparison, Ortiz-Bonnar drew 1.24 million viewers overall with the main event grabbing 1.8 million viewers.

Dynamite I, San Jose, CA, September 2015 – In collaboration with Glory Kickboxing, Bellator MMA held an event with both a kickboxing ring and an MMA cage side-by-side which had many long-time combat sports fans thinking of Japanese events from the past.  The event drew 800,000 viewers which was very good although some believed that the mix of kickboxing diminished the overall product.

Bellator 145: Straus-Pitbull, St. Louis, MO November 2015 -Although this event did not have as much fanfare of any of the other tent pole events, it drew 814,000 viewers as it exceeded the ratings of Dynamite I and was the third highest show this season.

The tentpole events have worked in generating a higher number of viewers for its special events.  Moreover, the Ken-Kimbo showdown drew a big number and it still shows that Kimbo Slice is still a draw.  Bellator will look to him again as they’ve pitted him against Dada 5000 for its February 2016 tentpole event.

Updated UFC on Fox 17 ratings up to annual norm

December 23, 2015

MMA Fighting reports the final overnight ratings from Saturday’s UFC on Fox 17.  The ratings almost mirror those from UFC on Fox the last 2 Decembers.

The “fast” overnight rating for Saturday’s event featuring Rafael dos Anjos defending his title against Donald Cerrone drew 2.28 million viewers.  The final overnight rating increased to 2,781,000 viewers.  Notably, December 2014’s UFC on Fox event featuring Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic drew 2.8 million viewers on Fox.  Similarly, two years ago, Demetrious Johson-Joseph Benavidez did the same.

UFC on Fox 17 Ratings updated

The 3 hour prelims on FS1 drew 693,000 viewers which improved over the past two December prelim shows.  This year’s prelims featured Myles Jury-Charles Oliveira with Do Bronx receiving the victory despite not making weight.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect the stability of December’s Fox shows.  At this point, the UFC can look to see how it can improve the number for this annual show.  This was a very good card considering the UFC held three fight cards a week prior to this event.  Will Fox hope that UFC does better next December?  Likely, but the good news is that it knows what it will receive in ratings which should help/hurt when dealing with advertisers, etc.

HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” featuring Ortiz-Jennings draws 616,000

December 23, 2015

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the ratings for HBO Boxing this past Saturday night which featured heavyweights Luis Ortiz and Bryant Jennings.

The event averaged 616,000 subscribers and peaked at 735,000 per Nielsen.  Ortiz KO’d Jennings for the win.  The opening bout on the telecast featured Nicholas Walters taking on Jason Sosa.  The event average 373,000 peaking at 473,000.  Despite what many believed a win by Walters, the fight was ruled  a draw.

Per ESPN, HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” series this year averaged 730,000 HBO subscribers which is slightly lower than the 766,000 viewers it drew last year.  But, as pointed out by ESPN, HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” was up 10 percent as it averaged 1.3 million viewers per card.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings for BAD are down but overall you might argue that Boxing viewership is up on HBO with its flagship series scoring an average of 1.3 million viewers with some very good matchups this year.  If there is anything that you might attribute to this year’s BAD decline it might be PBC on a variety of networks which has numbed many to boxing cards on television.

15 for 15: No. 11 WSOF opens NY office despite legal, financial issues

December 22, 2015

The World Series of Fighting announced the unveiling of a new logo and the opening of a New York office in light of the potential legalization of MMA in the state.  The news comes at a time when a lawsuit allegedly unloads damaging information about the company and its members.

A lawsuit was filed in October by an alleged assignee of rights to the World Series of Fighting:

The machinations of the lawsuit introduces the reader to a web of assignment of rights which related to keeping the World Series of Fighting afloat and expanding it internationally.  It involves a power struggle within the organization and a purported cover-up relating to WSOF’s matchmaker pulling dual time as promoter/manager and a violation of commission rules.  The lawsuit is being brought by WSOF Asia, an entity which claims to have the rights to the WSOF trademark outside the United States as well as the distribution rights for the organization outside of America. WSOF Asia, Limited, a Hong Kong Limited Liability Corporation (“LLC”).

Not only did the lawsuit reveal potential internal and financial issues within the company, it also identified WSOF executive Ali Abdelaziz as having a dual role as manager of WSOF fighters as well as matchmaker.  Due to the scrutiny of Abdelaziz’s role, he stepped down from his post at WSOF in December.

The lawsuit is just at the beginning at could be damaging to the organization from a PR perspective.

As for the organization’s prospects in New York, like every other MMA organization, we will have to wait and see.

New WSOF Logo

Palmer tops WSOF 26 salaries

December 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the salaries for WSOF 26 which took place on Friday night in Vegas.  Former featherweight champ Lance Palmer and Ozzy Dugulubgov earned the most on the fighter roster for the promotion.

The total payouts as disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission was $165,200.

Via MMA Junkie:

Alexandre Almeida: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Lance Palmer: $28,000

Ozzy Dugulubgov: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Nic Herron-Webb: $3,000

Sheymon Moraes: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Robbie Peralta: $7,000

Josh Hill: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Bekbulat Magomedov: $8,000

Jake Heun: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Clinton Williams: $4,000

Abubakar Nurmagomedov: $5,000 (includes $2,500 win bonus)
def. Danny Davis Jr.: $3,000

Jonathan Nunez: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. David Jordan: $1,200

Hakeem Dawodu: $6,000
drew with Marat Magomedov: $3,000

Gil Guardado: $1,800 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Giga Chikadze: $1,200*

Guardado was fined $200 for missing weight.  The fine was given to Chikadze.


Payout Perspective:

Palmer earned the highest show money for the event while Dugulubgov earned $14K/$14K to get to $28K.  Most of the card earned less than $10K for the event

PBC on Spike TV for December draws 538,000 viewers

December 22, 2015

PBC on Spike TV Friday night drew 538,000 viewers peaking at 790,000 according to Nielsen sources.

The average viewership for PBC events on SpikeTV since it began in March 2015 is 582,000 viewers.  The event on Friday was highlighted by a main event featuring Rances Barthelemy as he took on Denis Shafikov.  Barthelemy won by unanimous decision.

PBC on Spike
869,000 3/13/2015
569,000 4/24/2015
772,000 5/22/2015
446,000 6/12/2015
679,000 8/14/2015
583,000 9/11/2015
315,000 10/16/2015
466,000 11/13/2015
538,000 12/18/2015

Payout Perspective:

As we near year’s end we will look at PBC and whether it was a successful first year or not.  Spike’s Friday Night Lights Out promotion was seemingly non-existent after a couple months.  The ratings are up from the past two PBC events on Spike TV but is it due to the actual fights or lack of programming on other networks?

15 for 15: No. 12 – MMA Bill fails again in New York

December 21, 2015

In what many thought would be the year, a bill which would legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York did not make it to a vote in the state Assembly in Albany.

There was more hope this year for a law in the state with the removal of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges in January as he allegedly received “more than $6 million in outside income from two law firms since late 2002” as a result of kickbacks per the Complaint filed against him.  Many, including UFC head Dana White, accused Silver of blocking a vote in the Assembly.  Silver stepped down from his post in the Assembly in late January and was replaced with Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie.  In the past, Zuffa had contributed to Heastie’s campaign so there was a feeling that this year would be different.

MMA Payout spoke with Jim Genia prior to the Assembly calendar ending.

Even with a concerted effort to attempt to push the bill through once again which included revamping the bill to appease legislators, it fell short of a vote.  This, despite extra days extending the Assembly calendar.

This year’s UFC lobbying included Ronda Rousey meeting with the Governor Cuomo and Zuffa establishing an online petition for New Yorkers in which residents of New York that signed up would receive a free one-month subscription of Fight Pass.  It didn’t work.

If a preliminary injunction is not granted by a federal court in New York, UFC 198 set for Madison Square Garden in April 2016 will not occur.  With an appeal of the UFC’s original lawsuit still pending oral argument before the Second Circuit, the best way for the UFC to appear in New York (legally) would be via legislation.  While there are already pro-MMA rallies in the state, is there anything that the UFC could do differently this year that could see a law actually get to a vote in the state Assembly?

WSOF 26 draws 162,000 viewers

December 21, 2015

The World Series of Fighting drew an average viewership of 162,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network on Friday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The event improved by 16% from last month’s show.

WSOF 26 featured Alexandre Almeida defeating Lance Palmer and taking the WSOF featherweight title from Palmer.  The event took place at The Chelsea at The Cosmpolitan of Las Vegas.  It was the third MMA event at the venue this month.

WSOF Ratings 2015 through 26

WSOF Ratings 2015
WSOF 17 222,000
WSOF 18 209,000
WSOF 19 216,000
WSOF 20 128,000
WSOF 21 203,000
WSOF 22 254,000
WSOF 23 184,000
WSOF 24 167,000
WSOF 25 148,000
WSOF 26 162,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings bring a close to WSOF events for the year in which it averaged 189,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network.  The ratings are down from last year as WSOF events average approximately 232,000 viewers (not including the network event in July 2014).

‘Reem, JDS top UFC on Fox 17 salaries

December 21, 2015

MMA Fighting reports the salaries from Saturday’s UFC on Fox 17.  Alistair Overeem led the fighter payouts followed closely by his opponent and lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos.

The salaries were disclosed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to MMA Fighting on Monday.

Via MMA Fighting:

Rafael dos Anjos ($300,000 + no win bonus = $300,000) def. Donald Cerrone ($79,000)
Alistair Overeem ($342,857 + $200,000 = $542,857) def. Junior dos Santos ($400,000)
Nate Diaz ($20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000) def. Michael Johnson ($30,000)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz ($13,000 + $13,000 = $26,000) def. Randa Markos ($12,000)

Charles Oliveira ($29,600* + $37,000 = $66,600) def. Myles Jury ($30,000)
Nate Marquardt ($49,000 + $49,000 = $98,000) def. C.B. Dollaway ($40,000)
Valentina Shevchenko ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Sarah Kaufman ($22,000)
Tamdan McCrory ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Josh Samman ($10,000)
Nik Lentz ($35,000 + $35,000 = $70,000) def. Danny Castillo ($39,000)
Cole Miller ($33,000) vs. Jim Alers ($10,000) ruled a no contest

Kamaru Usman ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Leon Edwards ($15,000)
Vicente Luque ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Hayder Hassan ($10,000)
Francis Ngannou ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Luiz Henrique ($10,000)

Payout Perspective:

Despite defeating Myles Jury, Oliveira was docked 20% of his show purse for missing weight.  It was Overeem’s last fight on his UFC contract and we shall see if the UFC will be willing to renew a contract with Overeem.  One might think that the UFC would not want to pay Overeem that much for show and win bonus.  Of course, the Heavyweight division appears to be lacking quality fighters outside of the top 3 in the division.  Speaking of which, JDS’ $400K is steep for a fighter that might be past his prime.  RDA received $300K flat without a win bonus which is interesting for a champ.  We’ll see if this payout increases.

Its also interesting to note that one year ago, Nate Diaz made just $16K at last year’s December Fox show.  He now makes $20K/$20k.  For comparison’s sake, he made $50K in a losing effort in December 2012 at UFC on Fox 5 when he fought Benson Henderson.

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