Werdum pulls out of UFC 196

January 25, 2016

Less than 24 hours after Dana White announced that Stipe Miocic would replace Cain Velasquez as the main event for UFC 196, Fabricio Werdum announced he is pulling out as well.

MMA Junkie received confirmation from Werdum that he is withdrawing.

The move makes Johny Hendricks versus Stephen Thompson the de facto main event of the traditional Super Bowl Weekend card.

The late scratch should be a disappointment for Miocic who looked to be on a roll going into this title shot.

Payout Perspective:

It’s unlikely that the UFC will cancel the card regardless of what you think.  However, a Hendricks-Thompson headline is not an attractive fight.  None of the undercard has any attractive fights as well.  With a UFC event this Saturday on cable TV, it will make it hard to sell the casual fan to buy the following week’s PPV.

New York AG responds to UFC request for PI ruling

January 25, 2016

Monday is the deadline set by the UFC in its hopes to obtain a ruling on its Preliminary Injunction to hold UFC 198 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  It had requested that Judge Kimba Wood rule on the issue lest they need to move the event for marketing and event planning reasons.  New York offered its response to the alleged deadline in a letter to Judge Kimba Wood.

The Office of the Attorney General for the State of New York responded to the letter from the UFC to the court in which the company requested a ruling on the preliminary injunction.  In a January 20, 2016 letter, the New York AG issued its response to the UFC request.  New York argues that moving the April 23, 2016 event reveals that the UFC could have scheduled the event at a later date.  This, according to New York’s contention, means that the UFC “can mitigate if not eliminate the alleged “irreparable” harm it says it will suffer from not holding events in New York.”  Thus, New York argues to the court that the UFC letter “adds nothing to, and indeed detracts” from the UFC’s preliminary injunction request.

New York PI – Letter From NY Respondijng to Zuffa Letter

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps a moot point for the hoped UFC 198 at MSG as the UFC intends to seek another venue if there is no ruling by today (Monday, January 25th).  But, the New York letter offers some legal strategy.  By requesting a ruling from the court and issuing a tacit ultimatum, the UFC indicated that it would move its April event if a ruling had not been issued by today.  Since there appears to be no ruling, it is moving the event to another venue outside of New York.  Capitalizing on this move, New York argues that since the UFC is moving the event, there is no “irreparable harm,” an argument needed to prove a preliminary injunction is warranted.  New York will likely bring this letter up again in later arguments for a PI by the UFC citing that there is no immediate harm to the company as there are comparable alternatives to holding an event in New York.  We shall see if there will be an official statement from the UFC this week about the venue for UFC 198.

PBC on Fox draws 2.24M viewers

January 24, 2016

Premier Boxing Champions drew 2.24 million viewers on Fox Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  It also received a 0.7 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 3 share.

Although PBC finished last in terms of overall average viewers for its 8-10pm ET time slot, it was first in Adult 18-49 rating and share for at least the first half hour (8-8:30pm).  It was soon replaced by the NBA game featuring Chicago and Cleveland.  Notably, a rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS drew 4.85 million viewers (8-9pm) and the NBA Saturday Primetime game between Chicago and Cleveland drew 3.69 million viewers with a 1.4 rating for adults 18-49 and a 5 share.  Also of note, U.S. Figure Skating on NBC drew 3.69 million viewers from 8-11pm.

PBC on Fox featured Danny Garcia versus Robert Guerrero in an entertaining 12 round fight which Garcia won.

Payout Perspective:

In comparison, UFC on Fox 17 this past December drew 2.28M viewers.  This appears the average for a live combat sporting events for this time slot.  Obviously, the NBA game during prime time featuring LeBron James was stiff competition for a boxing event with boxers you would only know if you followed the sport.

Miocic fills in for injured Cain at UFC 196

January 24, 2016

Dana White announced a change to the main event of UFC 196 with Stipe Miocic getting the title shot against Fabricio Werdum.  It was announced that Cain Velasquez is out with a back injury and once again had to pull out of a scheduled fight.

Miocic gets a quick turnaround as he KO’d Andrei Arlovski earlier this month at UFC 195.

Interesting enough, White sent the above tweet out during the last drive for the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.  As most know, White is a big Patriots fan.  The tweet announcing the change occurred right before the 4th and 10 completion for 40 yards from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski.

Payout Perspective:

This fight should be a better battle but will it sell better than Werdum-Cain?  The jury is still out on whether Cain can pull in a demo (notably, the Mexican fan base).  The underlying issue, of course, is that Cain is beset by injury making his appearance in the octagon infrequent.  At 33, Cain may be young for the Heavyweight division, but his body is not.

Despite ban, Shlemenko to fight in Russia

January 23, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that former Bellator middleweight Alexander Shlemenko is slated to fight in Russia despite a three-ban by the California State Athletic Commission for alleged steroid use.

Last June, Shlemenko was suspended 3 years and fined $10,000 by the California State Atheltic Commission.  It was the harshest penalty against an MMA fighter since it began regulating the sport.

Shlemenko filed a lawsuit in California seeking judicial review of the commission ruling.  The case is stil ongoing, but Shlemenko believed that he could no longer wait on a determination and took the fight in Russia for the M-1 Global promotion.  According to a report from Bloody Elbow, Shlemenko stated that Bellator gave him written permission to fight for M-1.

The CSAC indicated that it would not take further administrative action against Shlemenko since it had no jurisdiction.  It is not known whether the CSAC would use Shlemenko’s decision to fight elsewhere in the court case.

Payout Perspective:

At the age of 31, you can understand why Shlemenko is seeking somewhere to continue his career.  Despite being banned by the CSAC, one had to know that this would be a possibility with a 3 year ban.  The inevitable return of Shlemenko reflects the fact that a state commission’s reach when banning fighters can only be so far.  Even if Shlemenko were to lose his court case, it’s clear that a fighter can find other promotions to continue fighting if the promotion is willing.

Showtime Boxing feat. Wilder last Saturday draws 500K

January 23, 2016

Showtime Boxing’s Saturday night event featuring Deontay Wilder defending his heavyweight title against Artur Szpilka drew just 500,000 viewers and peaked at 623,000 according to Nielsen.  The event was up against NFL Football last Saturday night.

Notably, Wilder fought almost one year earlier against Bermane Stiverne on Showtime and drew 1.24 million viewers.  The peak that night was 1.34 million.  The event was based on the actual run time of the fight and not the overall event on Showtime.

Similarly, last Saturday, the viewership for Wilder’s fight against Szpilka saw only 500,000 subscribers tune in during one of Showtime’s “free preview” weekends.  Thus, despite the opportunity for more viewers to tune in that do not normally subscribe, it only drew 500,000.  However, the event went up against the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers on NBC.

According to Sports TV Ratings, the Wilder fight, from 11:08-11:50pm on the east coast drew 500,000 viewers.  The co-main event from 10:19-10:33 featuring Charles Martin’s TKO of Vyacheslav Glazkov drew 437,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It’s hard to say that this fight speaks to Wilder’s drawing power as a Heavyweight champion considering it went up against the NFL.  Still, the ratings reflect a decrease since he took the title last January.  In June, he drew 678,000 in defeating Eric Molina on Showtime.  In September, his successful defense against Joann Duhaupas on NBC drew 2.179 million viewers in prime time.

The Wrestling Post – Ross replaces Ranallo as New Japan announcer

January 21, 2016

AXS TV announced that former WWE announcer Jim Ross will join AXS TV’s “New Japan Pro Wrestling” as its play-by-play commentator.  Ross will join former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett to call the action starting Friday, March 4th.

Via the AXS TV press release:

A WWE Hall of Famer, Ross was known as the voice of WWE for nearly two decades, bringing his incomparable broadcasting talent to hundreds of TV and pay-per-view broadcasts for the organization. No stranger to New Japan Pro Wrestling, Oklahoma native Ross also called the first-ever, live English-language broadcast of NJPW with Wrestle Kingdom 9 in 2015.

“I’m excited to join the AXS TV team in presenting the amazing athletes of the New Japan Pro Wrestling brand,” said Ross. “I’m a major fan of NJPW and look forward to joining Josh Barnett to form the best broadcast team in the genre. Business just picked up!”

Ross replaces Mauro Ranallo who departed the broadcast team to join the WWE and its Smackdown broadcast team as it moved to the USA Network from SyFy.

Payout Take:  You may recall that Ross was dismissed by the WWE after an incident during a sponsored panel talk at Summerslam in 2013.  Ross was the fall guy for an obvious inebriated Ric Flair during a panel discussion for WWE 2k14.  The WWE announced that Ross was retiring but its clear that that was not the real reason.  Since then, Ross has started his own podcast, called an MMA event with Chael Sonnen as well as Wrestle Kingdom 9 in 2015.  Ross should be a very good addition to the popular show which airs on Friday nights.

With revocation of California license, Rousey’s trainer will appeal

January 21, 2016

Edmond Tarverdyan will appeal the revocation of his California State Athletic Commission license at next month’s commission meeting on February 2nd.  The trainer for Ronda Rousey cornered Travis Browne’s fight last Saturday in Massachusetts but will need to appear before the CSAC to obtain his license from California.

Sherdog’s Greg Savage spoke with CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster who indicated that Tarverdyan’s license was revoked for violation of rule 210(b) which relates to falsifying his application to be a ring second.

Section 210(b) states:

“Falsification in whole or in part of a material fact or presentation on any application for a license shall result in a license being denied, and if previously granted, revoked unless otherwise ordered by the commission.”

It is unclear what the falsification might be.  Taverdyan is going through a bankruptcy proceeding in which he claims he has not made a salary or paid taxes in several years.

The bankruptcy trustee, who will decide whether or not Tarverdyan’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will go through, has requested that he is given more time to analyze documents and is thus requesting the deadline to determine a discharge continued from February 2, 2016 to May 16, 2016.  The trustee has requested that Tarverdyan’s meeting of the creditors hearing continued to provide further documents and/or for time to review documents related to Tarverdyan’s case.

Payout Perspective:

Hard times for Tarverdyan.  Although his fighter, Travis Browne, won Saturday night, his personal and professional life is going through turmoil.  Without a license to second a fighter in California, it prohibits him from earning money (at least in the state of California).  Whether or not the revocation will be honored by other states is unknown.  He was able to corner Browne on Saturday so there appears to be no issue with at least the state of Massachusetts.  We shall see what Tarverdyan will say at the CSAC hearing on February 2nd.

UFC Fight Night 81 draws 2.288M viewers; Prelims post impressive 1.767M

January 20, 2016

UFC Fight Night 81 drew 2.288 million viewers on Sunday night (10-12:40 am EST) on FS1 via Sports TV Ratings.  It was the highest-rated sports cable TV show airing on Sunday night.  The Prelims, which preceded the main card on Sunday, drew a big 1.767 million viewers on FS1.

UPDATED: Fight Night peak 2.464 million between the 10:45-11pm ET quarter hour during the main event.  It drew 1.410 million viewers in the A18-49 category.  The prelims drew 1.025M in the A18-49 demo according to Fox Sports.  This, and the 1.767 million viewer rating, made the prelims the highest-rated non-PPV prelim event on FS1 in both categories.

UFC Fight Night featured T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz in the main event with Cruz winning the bantamweight championship via split decision.  The main event did not start until midnight on the east coast and although no peak viewership has been announced yet one might assume it occurred during this overrun.

The prelims (airing from 8-10pm EST)  featured Patrick Cote-Ben Saunders in the last fight before the main card.  Cote won via KO in the second round.

Additionally, the UFC Fight Night Prefight show (7-8pm EST) on FS1 drew 312,000 viewers.  Also, the Fox Sports Live on FS1 which followed the overrun of the main card drew 1.391 million viewers making UFC-related programming 3 out of the top 4 shows for sports cable on Sunday (NFL Countdown on ESPN drew 1.87M viewers via Sports TV Ratings).

Payout Perspective:

It was the second year that the UFC and NFL collaborated in promoting a Sunday night Fight Night from Boston.  The UFC event served as a dessert for many sports fans after watching NFL Playoffs during the day.  The main card ratings, which drew a 1.4 rating, is down from last year’s 2.8 million (1.7 rating) UFC Fight Night 59 which featured Conor McGregor.  You might recall that last year’s event occurred during NFL Championship Sunday and that the UFC did an Embedded series to promote McGregor for the event.  Despite being lower than last year, it’s a very good rating for a bantamweight fight.

This time around the prelims did vastly better than last year’s 908,000 viewers.  The 1.767 million viewers were better than all of the UFC PPV Prelims on FS1 last year with the exception of the 1.9M of UFC 194.  MMA Payout will update these ratings with peak viewership numbers later today.

UFC request court ruling on PI by Monday or will move UFC 198 out of New York

January 20, 2016

Attorneys for the UFC have issued a letter to Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of New York requesting a ruling on its Preliminary Injunction request which would grant the company to hold a UFC event at Madison Square Garden in April.

Citing its need to market and plan the event, it is requesting that the Court issue a ruling by January 25.  Previously, the UFC had requested oral argument on the matter to argue its Preliminary Injunction request and the opposition filed by New York.

New York PI – Letter From Zuffa Requesting Ruling by 1.25 by JASONCRUZ206

The UFC stated that if no ruling, even a limited order enjoining the Attorney General from interfering with the scheduled event, is determined by January 25th, it will “lock in and market an event outside New York for its April 23rd event.”  They indicate that they would try again in the fall and amend its Preliminary Injunction motion papers to reflect the new date.

Payout Perspective:

You may recall that New York was granted two extensions to file opposition to the Preliminary Injunction.  Zuffa had requested oral argument but the court had not issued a ruling as to whether it would agree to give Zuffa court time to do so.  Courts may issue rulings based on the court filings and not need the parties to argue the matter.  Parties must request time to argue if they feel compelled to do so.

Courts usually do not like ultimatums issued to them.  Despite the UFC’s need (legitimate or not) to have a ruling soon to determine to plan and market for April, Courts will not succumb to this tactic.  We will see if Judge Wood will have something to the parties by this Monday.

« Previous PageNext Page »