WSOF 28 draws 161,000 viewers

February 23, 2016

World Series of Fighting 28 on the NBC Sports Network Saturday night drew an average viewership of 161,000 viewers per Nielsen.  The event Saturday night is down 24 percent from WSOF 27.

The event featured Marlon Moraes defend his Bantamweight Championship against Joseph Barajas.  Moraes won handily.

2016 WSOF Events

WSOF 27 – 211,000

WSOF 28 – 161,000

Payout Perspective:

Where the event was held made more news than the actual fights.  The ratings are off from last month which may be due to the amount of college basketball on cable as well as going up against Bellator and UFC the same weekend.

UFC Fight Night 83 draws 983K, Prelims 829K

February 23, 2016

UFC Fight Night 83 drew an average viewership of 983,000 on FS1 Sunday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims drew 829,000 on FS1 on Sunday.

The main card airing from 9pm-11:38pm ET featured Cowboy versus Cowboy with Cerrone defeating Oliviera.  The prelims which preceded the main card aired from 7-9pm ET.

Only the NBA on ESPN featuring Kobe Bryant’s last visit to Chicago did better on sports cable drawing 1.6M viewers on ESPN from 8-10:30pm ET.

The average for Fight Night main cards this year is 1.52M through 3 Fight Night cards.  Of course, UFC Fight Night 82 was converted from a PPV.

Payout Perspective:

There was little competition for UFC on Sunday night and the UFC programming on FS1 had 2 of the top 5 sports cable programs on Sunday night.  The UFC Fight Night events are drawing very good ratings thus far in 2016.  Of course, Sunday night’s fights did not draw as the first two as there were lower tier fighters with the exception of Cerrone.

RDA out of UFC 196

February 23, 2016

Rafael Dos Anjos has been forced out of his fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 196 on March 5th due to a broken foot according to several reports.  No immediate announcement has been made as to a replacement for the lightweight champion or if the McGregor will be pulled altogether from the PPV.

New surfaced about RDA’s injury Tuesday morning including a report from Globo and confirmation received by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.  Among the hopefuls that may step in for RDA are Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis.  Cerrone, of course, just fought on Sunday in a quick first round sub of Alex Oliveira.

If there is no replacement for RDA and McGregor is taken off the card, one would assume that the main event would be Holly Holm making her first title defense against Miesha Tate.

Payout Perspective:

While Holm-Tate would be a great fight and good backup for PPV, it would not garner the anticipated buy rate that a McGregor fight would bring.  Moreover, the news likely dampens the anticipation that this would bring in a sellout as well as big PPV numbers.  This is not to mention that those thinking of traveling from Ireland to see McGregor might cancel their plans and hold off in anticipation that McGregor will fight in Vegas in July at UFC 200.

Bellator 149 draw 1.9M, Kimbo-Dada draw 2.5M viewers

February 22, 2016

Bellator 149 delivered huge ratings on Friday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event was the highest-rated cable sports show on Friday drawing an average of 1.964,000 viewers on Spike TV.  In fact, the pre- and post-fight programming featuring Kimbo Slice and Benson Henderson respectively posted huge ratings as well.

Bellator 149 was headlined by Ken Shamrock versus Royce Gracie which drew 2.4 million viewers from 11:54pm ET-11:57pm).  But everyone was talking about the Kimbo-Dada5K fight which averaged 2.5 million viewers from 11:16pm-11:30pm.

In addition, the hour and a half show preceding Bellator 149 on Spike, “Kimbo Slice: The Truth,” drew 867,000 viewers.  “Unrivaled: Benson Henderson,” which aired immediately after Bellator drew 818,000 viewers.  Both Bellator programs are among the highest-rated for shoulder programming for the organization.

The 1.964M viewers is the highest-rated Bellator event on Spike TV.  It bests June 2015’s Bellator tentpole event by 20%.

In addition per Spike press release:

-The Kimbo-Dada fight drew a 2.3 rating with men 18-34.

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

-It was the most watched MMA telecast on Spike in nearly 5 years 3/26/11.

Payout Perspective:

Kimbo Slice is ratings.

We should have more of a breakdown on the event in the coming days.  Despite the “freakshow” quality of the event, Bellator got its ratings.  3 of the top 6 cable sports programs on Friday night were Bellator on Spike TV.  But, the ratings reflect the fact that promotion and known names are what drives the Bellator model.  Kimbo, Shamrock and Gracie were the top draws when in reality they should not be fighting.  But, the promotion for this fight (including the pieces involving Dada) made you excited to see these fights regardless of the reality of the outcome.  The ratings tell Spike execs that the formula works and we’ll see more of it.

Cerrone tops UFC FN 83 Reebok payouts

February 22, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the pay from the UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting policy.  With his 30th fight for the company, Donald Cerrone led the Fight Night roster with $20,000, the most of any fighter Sunday night.

Via MMA Junkie:

Donald Cerrone: $20,000
def. Alex Oliveira: $2,500

Derek Brunson: $10,000
def. Roan Carneiro: $5,000

Dennis Bermudez: $10,000
def. Tatsuya Kawajiri: $5,000

Cody Garbrandt: $2,500
def. Augusto Mendes: $2,500

Chris Camozzi: $10,000
def. Joe Riggs: $10,000

James Krause: $5,000
def. Shane Campbell: $2,500

Sean Strickland: $2,500
def. Alex Garcia: $2,500

Oluwale Bamgbose: $2,500
def. Daniel Sarafian: $5,000

Anthony Smith: $5,000
def. Leonardo Augusto Leleco: $2,500

Nathan Coy: $2,500
def. Jonavin Webb: $2,500

Ashlee Evans-Smith: $2,500
def. Marion Reneau: $2,500

Lauren Murphy: $2,500
def. Kelly Faszholz: $2,500

Shamil Abdurakhimov: $2,500
def. Anthony Hamilton: $2,500

The total payout for UFC Fight Night 83 was $125,000.  This was the lowest payout for 2016.  Thus far, the Athlete Outfitting Program has paid out $810,000.  In 2015, it paid out $3,180,000 for an overall total of $3,990,000.

Payout Perspective:

Based on a look at the Fight Night roster, most of the fighters have 5 fights or less for the company.  This makes some sense since Fight Night events are geared more to the younger, less-experienced fighters on the UFC roster.  Cerrone, of course, is a savvy veteran with a ton of fights under his belt.  Unfortunately for him, with the exception of a title challenge or winning a title, he has topped out for Reebok payouts.

UFC Fight Night 83 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 21, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses  for UFC Fight Night 83 held Sunday night from Pittsburgh.

Per the post-fight press conference, UFC Fight Night 83 from the Consul Energy Center drew 7,330 in attendance for a gate of $572,547.  The Consul Energy Center houses as many as 19,000 for basketball. The last time the UFC was in Pittsburgh was June 26, 2011 for a UFC on Versus 4 event which drew 7,792 for a gate of $562,000.

The fight night bonuses went to Donald Cerrone, Chris Camozzi, Lauren Murphy and Kelly Faszholz.  Cerrone and Camozzi earned the Performance bonuses for their first round stoppages.  Murphy and Faszholz won Fight of the Night for their Fight Pass prelim bout.

Payout Perspective:

Tonight was the first night that a Fight of the Night honor was given to a women’s bantamweight fighter not named Ronda Rousey.  The event was your general Fight Night in a non-international, non-Vegas city.  Thus, the attendance and gate were comparatively low to bigger UFC events.  One would think that the UFC would improve on its attendance in Pittsburgh since it has been a while for a live event to return yet it was about the same as 5 years ago.

Silva will likely fight outside NV in spite of ban

February 21, 2016

Jack Encarnacao of The Boston Herald writes that Wanderlei Silva may seek to fight in another jurisdiction outside of Nevada prior to the end of the three year ban issued by the commission this past week.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission issued a 3-year ban for evading a drug test leading up to UFC 175.  The penalty comes after much delay from a May 2015 court ruling from the initial NAC ruling which gave Silva a lifetime ban and a $70,000 fine.

Silva’s attorney, Ross Goodman, indicated to The Boston Herald that his client could fight in another jurisdiction.  “I would think if you go to Texas or any place else, and the commission there looked at it and saw that there was suspension of a license he doesn’t hold, I’m not so sure a commission would defer to Nevada,” Goodman told the Herald.  He also though there would not be a problem with Silva fighting outside of the United States.

Payout Perspective:

Goodman’s comments are based on his continued belief that his fighter should not have been disciplined by the NAC when Silva was not licensed by the state of Nevada when they attempted to drug test him.  Silva had appealed the May 2015 court ruling to the Nevada State Supreme Court based, in part, on this contention.  The appeal was dismissed due to the fact that a final disposition of the NAC penalty had not been determined.  Now, with the ruling this past week, Goodman may seek to re-file the appeal.  Regardless, it does seem like that Silva can still find work despite the NAC suspension.

Dada 5000 recovering after Kimbo fight

February 20, 2016

Dada 5000 was hospitalized after his fight with Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149.  A statement from his representatives stated that the cause was due to the need to cut 40 pounds to make the 265 pound heavyweight limit.

The fight between Dada and Slice was the worst case scenario for Bellator as both fighters proved to be out of shape and tired early in the first round.   Most of the fight saw both men clinging on to each other to keep each other from falling.  John McCarthy broke up the two on multiple occasions for lack ofaction including Slice in the mount.

Dada was taken by stretcher from the cage and sent to the hospital where things were critical but it appears that he is recovering nicely.  According to a statement from the family, Dada had accumulated “extremely high levels of potassium in his blood which led to severe dehydration, fatigue and renal failure.  The high levels of potassium were caused by his weight cut according to the statement.

Payout Perspective:

There are a lot of questions that will likely go unanswered after this event.  The first question is how either fighter was allowed to fight.  Even if we were to look past the fact that it was clear that these two men should not be fighting, there are other problems with last night’s fight.  The weight-cutting is a reason why other commissions are looking at methods to curtail this extreme weight loss.  Even if Dada was in shape for this fight, the need to cut 40 pounds down to the heavyweight limit had to be a contributing factor to what we saw on Friday night.  This does not even mention the fact that he is 38 and Kimbo is 42 years of age.  And, both looked their age and maybe 10 years older.  While Bellator has succeeded with staging these events featuring past their prime fighters, Friday was an example of a worst case scenario when you promote older, past-prime fighters.

Kimbo Slice = Ratings

February 19, 2016

The New York Times reports on Bellator 149 tonight mainly focusing on Kimbo Slice’s return to the television.  Regardless of his ability, the former street fighter has produced ratings and Friday night should not be any different.

The brief NYT article characterizes Bellator as a “smaller mixed martial arts organization” that uses “card attention-grabbing fights that make up in colorfulness what they lack in top-flight talent.”  Although a backhanded compliment, the numbers do not lie.  Scott Coker’s “tent pole” events are always ratings boosts.  Slice has the “it” factor when it comes to viewership.  Last June’s fight against Ken Shamrock drew the highest ratings in Bellator MMA’s history.

Whenever Slice is on television, he draws ratings.  His appearance on TUF in 2009 on Spike TV drew the best ratings for the franchise as the 12 episodes averaged slightly over 3 million viewers.  Of course, the feud brewing between Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson helped keep the viewership base.  Still, Slice was/is a ratings magnate.  It’s worthy to note that the TUF Finale 10 featuring Slice in December 2009 drew 3.7 million viewers and peaked with 5.2 million viewers for his fight with Houston Alexander.

Prior to his stint in the UFC, his Elite XC appearances on CBS drew large ratings with 4.85 million viewers in May 2008 and 4.56 million viewers in October 2008.

Slice versus Dada 5000 will not be a technical matchup but the promotion for the fight has been nothing but spectacular.  If you like grudge matches and want to see old rivals fight, you will tune in to see this.

Payout Perspective:

The Slice-Dada build for this fight has been great.  While the betting lines have brought more scrutiny to this fight, it’s likely that the additional spotlight will bring more viewers tonight.  The fight, which will likely last less than one round, has overshadowed the main event of Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

Coker announces Bellator Kickboxing coming to Spike TV

February 18, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that Bellator is planning to open a kickboxing division come April on Spike TV.  Scott Coker and executive made the announcement on Thursday.

The first event will occur on the network on April 16 in co-promtoion with Oktagon Kickboxing.  The event will take place in Turin, Italy.  A Bellator MMA event will serve as a lead-in to facilitate the buzz for the launch.

The announcement stated that Bellator Kickboxing will feature notable fighters Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross, Keri Taylor-Melendez and Anastasia Yankova.

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting move and maybe we understand the reason why Spike TV and Glory did not renew its television deal.  Then again, we probably thought it was the ratings for the sport of kickboxing.  It appears that Spike TV is not giving up on its combat sports-themed night with Bellator, its new kickboxing division and PBC.  It will be interesting to see how this is promoted and if Coker will try to hold another event with a mix of kickboxing and MMA.

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