Bellator MMA 149: Payout Perspective

February 23, 2016

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective with a look at the latest Bellator tentpole event from Houston, Texas.  The event was a spectacle to say the least about Friday night’s event.

Gracie stops Shamrock in Round 1

The intros for this fight were well done as Bellator invested a lot into the production value of the event.  Unfortunately, the actual fight did not live up to the hype.  I don’t think anyone thought that it would, but the end to this fight was a mess.

Gracie clearly kneed Shamrock in the groin right in front of the referee.  Yet, there was no call from the referee.  What made this even more odd was the lack of immediate acknowledgement from Shamrock.  It was not until Shamrock went to the ground did he feign the shot to the groin.  Shamrock got up angry as if he was in the WWE again.

Prior to the exchange, the fight was slightly better than the co-main event.  Both men are way past their prime and I would hope that the promotion does not ask these guys to step into the cage again.

Kimbo bests Dada 5K

I’ve tempered my comments on how bad this fight was due to the fact that Dada 5000 almost died.  The poor conditioning by both fighters makes you wonder what these guys had to do to pass a test from the state of Texas.  Kimbo once again was slow and was tired halfway through the first round.  Dada was gassed after the initial exchange.  It seemed like someone told these guys some MMA strategy instead of just flailing away – something that most expected.

Kimbo won via attrition more than anything else.  Again, this is a situation where I would not have these guys fight again although Kimbo will likely be back.



The ratings were the best for the promotion on Spike TV and the largest audience for live MMA on the network since UFC Fight Night 24 from Seattle when Little ‘Nog faced Phil Davis.  That event took place in March 2011.

The peak hit 2.7 million viewers with Kimbo-Dada at 11:30pm ET per Nielsen.  Overall, the fight drew 2.5 million viewers.  The Gracie-Shamrock fight drew 2.4 million viewers.  Overall, the event averaged approximately 2 million viewers with its shoulder programming before and after drawing huge ratings as well.

Bellator 149 was the number 1 ranked telecast of the day with men 18-34 in all of television.

It goes without saying that this was the highest-rated Scott Coker “tentpole” event since Kimbo’s last fight this past June.

And yes, Kimbo Slice is Ratings.

Promotion of the Fights

Frankly, the promotion and build for the top two fights were much better than the fights themselves.  The shoulder programming on SpikeTV was well done and told the story.  Specifically, the Kimbo/Dada promotion was the best and gave us the backstory that ordinary, casual fans did not know.  Of course, the unedited press conference featuring Kimbo and Dada rivaled the GSP/Diaz “Wolf Tickets” press conference for reasons to want to see the fight.


There were no immediate numbers from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas although Scott Coker indicated that ticket sales were going well.  Of course, Coker would say this so we will have to see if this information is made public.


AutoZone, Dave & Busters, Blackheart Spiked Rum, Miller Light, video game Street Fighter V, Gold Bond and Monster Energy Drink were in the Bellator cage.  Miller Lite had the center of the ring

Maybe a breath of fresh air for some MMA fans, but the fighters donned sponsorships on their tights, walkout t-shirts and there were actually fight banners.

Kimbo wore a “Peel Your Paint” ( shirt for his sponsor.  He also wore Venum shorts.  Dada5000 repped his own company, “Brawl.”

Odds and ends

Why didn’t they wrap Royce Gracie’s hands?

Best quote of the promotion video prior to the Kimbo-Dada fight: “Explosivity at its finest,” said by Dada.  This was grossly incorrect.

Adrian Broner appeared on the show to promote the upcoming PBC on Spike event featuring the fighter.

Mike Tyson provided commentary during the Campos-Guillard fight.  He was likely inebriated.

Notable things from the shoulder programming featuring Gracie, Dada, Kimbo and Shamrock.  When Dada was driving around his hometown to promote the fight, he had a handicap parking permit hanging from his rear view window.  Gracie had a very nice and likely expensive gun collection.  Does the IRS know about these?

The weigh-ins live stream was not very good.

On the prelims, Juan Torres had the time of his life.  He told John McCarthy, the ref of his fight, that he was a big fan.  In fact, in between rounds he asked if he could take a pic with him after his fight.  Maybe he should have focused more on the fight as Torres lost to Justin Wren.  As for Wren, he continues with one of the best stories in MMA.


The booking of the Kimbo/Dada fight has taken up much of the post-fight news due to the health of Dada.  It also brings up the question as to whether such a fight should have taken place.  The fact is that it was not a surprise that this event drew the biggest ratings in Bellator history and that the Slice-Dada fight is where viewership peaked.  The “freakshow” fight is something that Bellator under Scott Coker is willing to do.  We’ve seen the UFC do this before as well with Randy Couture-James Toney.  And maybe to a certain extent, the return of BJ Penn would have provided a similar, odd allure.  But, with the glaring issues with Slice-Dada we don’t know whether Bellator or the Texas Commission should be to blame.

With the ratings, you would have to expect that we will see more fights comparable to the top two we saw on Friday night.

7 Responses to “Bellator MMA 149: Payout Perspective”

  1. Diego on February 24th, 2016 3:16 AM


  2. Diego on February 24th, 2016 3:17 AM

    I have to say, this card was a terrible idea when it was announced. But I wound up watching anyways. So I guess Coker knows what he’s doing.

  3. Jason Cruz on February 24th, 2016 9:37 AM

    @Diego – Looking at ratings, a lot watched and this is why this stuff will continue.

  4. Jean-Pierre Francillette on February 24th, 2016 1:59 PM

    So many haters, yet the ratings were through the rough. I would suggest that the haters utilize their freedom of choice, and turn the channel. The rest of us will be watching.

  5. Teep on February 24th, 2016 3:26 PM

    An expertly crafted leadup and night of entertainment.

  6. D-money on February 26th, 2016 12:06 PM

    REMATCH for sure. The shot to the groin is NO way to end a legendary rivalry match like Shamrock vs Gracie.

  7. Wil on March 7th, 2016 3:19 PM

    I will say this for Bellator, they really know how to promote and make something out of totally nothing….well done to them. They prove you dont need the best in the business to sell.

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