UFC 196: Payout Perspective

March 7, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 196 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  In the main event, Conor McGregor took on Nate Diaz.

Diaz chokes out McGregor

Despite being a late replacement, Nate Diaz used his length and superior jiu jitsu skills to end the mystique of Conor McGregor with a second round tap out of the featherweight champion.  The fight was back and forth in the first round with McGregor making the best of the exchanges.  However, Diaz’s boxing skills took over in round 2 as he touched up McGregor who seemed to gas out.  This became apparent once McGregor attempted to take Diaz down.  Once it was to the ground, Diaz secured a rear-naked choke and McGregor tapped quickly.

It was very interesting how some in the media spun the loss to applaud McGregor into doing something most would never try.  ESPN’s Chael Sonnen stated that McGregor’s star was brighter after the loss.  It’s clear that the UFC does not want to lose the luster of a fighter that earned them two straight attendance and gate records in 2015 and has helped resurrect its PPV business.  McGregor still can be a dominant fighter in the lower weight classes.  But, any dreams of winning titles in 3 or 4 divisions is over.

For Diaz, his career should take off.  He should receive a “money fight” next with either a top welterweight or maybe even a title shot at 155.

Tate chokes out Holm for title

According to the scorecards going into Round 5, Holly Holm led Miesha Tate 38-37 after winning 3 rounds but losing Round 2, 10-8 on all of the scorecards.  Tate knew that she had to win Round 5 and try to submit Holm.  She secured a takedown and was able to get Holm’s back and sink in the rear-naked choke.  Holm attempted to fight it off but eventually went unconscious to the choke.

The loss showed Holm’s inability to defend a rear-naked choke.  The deficiency in her jiu jitsu should be worked on before Holm returns to the octagon.  Based on how great this fight was, I do not think anyone would be mad if we saw this fight at UFC 200.

For Tate, you have to be happy for her.  She was contemplating retirement and was likely never going to get a shot at the bantamweight title so long as Ronda Rousey was the champion.  Due to Holm’s upset in November, it opened the door and Tate walked right through it.  Of course, Ronda Rousey is likely waiting for her this fall if she survives her first title defense.

Attendance and Gate

UFC 196 drew 14,697 for a gate of $8.1 million according to the post-fight press conference.  Another impressive outing in Vegas with McGregor as the headliner.  It was the least attended of the three but was a higher rate than UFC 189’s $7.2 million.

Bonuses

The bonuses went to McGregor, Diaz (x2) and Tate.  Each earned an additional $50,000 per bonus which means Diaz drew $100,000 for Fight of the Night and Performance Bonus of the Night.

Unfortunately, the performances of Teruto Ishihara and Vitor Miranda did not get them extra money.

Salaries

Conor McGregor became the first UFC fighter to make a reported $1 million.  Despite the fact that he stated in a CNBC interview he would make over 10 times that amount, it is mere speculation.  In addition, Holly Holm and Nate Diaz both earned $500,000.  Diaz made an additional $100,000 for his double bonus.  Miesha Tate was the only one of the four to make less than $100,000 without a bonus ($46K/$46K).  Of course, with Tate’s Performance bonus she made $150,000.

Diego Sanchez was the only other fighter to make more than $100,000 at UFC 196.  The rest of the payouts can be found here.

Promotion of the Fight

For a show that had its main event fall out within two weeks before, the UFC did an excellent job in putting together a compelling fight.  The press conference between McGregor and Diaz at the UFC Gym in Torrance was great as over 20K tuned into YouTube to watch it live.  Now, over 2.9M have viewed the pre-fight presser.  I’m sure not as many saw his brother and GSP in the infamous “wolf tickets” presser but it was as entertaining, if not more entertaining.

The Embedded episodes, sponsored by the new UFC video game, featured McGregor and also caught up with Diaz.  It also followed Holm and Tate.

On the Jim Rome Show, Dana White promoted the fight and stated he did not like the Holm-Tate fight for the specific result that occurred.  Holm-Rousey II was the fight the UFC wanted.  If that happens, there will not be as much build for it since both will have a loss.

Conor McGregor appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  Obviously, the jinx was in effect.  Fanatics (a company McGregor has a sponsorship deal with) and UFC.com.

CNBC did an interview with McGregor and Diaz in which Diaz walked off.  Frankly I would have too.  It attempted to be cute and informative but ended up just being condescending and stupid.

Sponsors

MetroPCS, 7-11, Monster Energy Drink, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, the movie Hardcore Harry, Bud Light.  Monster had the center of the Octagon.

McGregor wore a Monster Energy Drink patch on his Reebok shorts.

The fight clock and prep point were sponsored by EA UFC 2.

Notably, Harley Davidson renewed its sponsorship agreement with the UFC as they announced it at the beginning of fight week.  One of the unique parts of the new deal was viewing parties at Harley Davidson dealerships across the country.  During the FS1 prelims, it showed a live viewing party at a Harley Davidson dealership in San Diego.  UFC fighter Ricardo Lamas made an appearance at the viewing party.

Odds and ends

The weigh-ins revealed a new camera view on the scale which is a “go-pro” look at the fighter on the scale.  Maybe it is to get the anxious look on a fighter’s face looking to make weight.

Speaking of “go-pro” cameras, the cutmen wore them as they were also sponsored.  The question should be whether the cutmen get a “cut” of the sponsorship money.  Remember Stitch.

5 million google searches for UFC 196 on Saturday night.  On Friday, there were 100,000 searches and Nate Diaz had another 100,000 for Diaz on Thursday.

On a night that Tate wins the title, Ronda Rousey garnered 100,000 google searches.

UFC Fight Pass offered 20% off to fans wanted to purchase the PPV on its digital platform.  This may be a test for the future as the company would receive a greater part of the gross revenue from PPV purchase.  Even with a discount, the UFC probably cleared more than sharing with a PPV distributor.

Fight Pass offer

Tom Lawlor wore a fake McGregor tattoo at weigh-ins.

Since I’m from Seattle, this is great.  I understand most of the rest of the world it probably means Tate is trying to be a heel.

NAnyone else notice McGregor steal a lyric from Jay-Z at the end of the first Embedded, “I’m not a business man…I’m a business…man.”

It did not go unnoticed that Royce Gracie (who just fought in Bellator) made an appearance on Embedded as he met McGregor.

Speaking of the Embedded series, will McGregor command a full rental mansion in Vegas when he returns for UFC 200 or will he have more of a scaled back Penthouse suite?

Not sure EA intended for its cover to have two fighters coming off of losses when the video game debuts.

Conclusion

The UFC gambled with both McGregor and Holm. While this may be a short-term gain for the company, it could be a long-term worry. The substitution of Nate Diaz proved to be the right replacement but the wrong result. With Tate winning the belt, it means a possible Rousey-Tate III. But it also negates a Holm-Rousey II which could have proved to be big business if Holm remained undefeated until Rousey returned. But for UFC 196, the amount of press and buzz for this event makes me think we see another McGregor fight drawing close to 1 million PPV buys. With the loss, can he continue to draw these numbers past. We will see.

31 Responses to “UFC 196: Payout Perspective”

  1. MMAtruth on March 7th, 2016 9:35 AM

    Jason you nailed it, short term gain for possibly disastrous long term loss. Mystic Mac is no longer Mystic, just Mac. There’s a very real possibility that both Mac and Ronda lose 2 in a row now. Hopefully the UFC starts pushing Diaz more. Rockhold has a lot of potential too. Rumble could be a very popular and explosive champion one day too. Miesha has lots of long-term potential too, and I see her beating Ronda in the rematch.

  2. d on March 7th, 2016 9:50 AM

    Uh, it is actually the opposite with Rousey. This would be a long term win vs a short term loss. The Holm-Rousey fight would break every record, but it wouldn’t only be one fight and if Rousey lost that, in the long term, it would really damage her ppv sales. However, now we see Rousey vs Tate III lined up and an easier match up for her. Based on what I saw, I wouldn’t be stunned if Holm never made it back for a title fight which even though Rousey still very well could win that fight, Tate is an easier matchup for her. So this was a very good scenario.

    As for the McGregor loss, this was coming eventually anyway. He is a very good, elite fighter, but not on the level of guys like Jones, GSP, etc. His wrestling is pretty bad. Also, he still is the 145lb champ and at least his next 2 fights will be big ppv’s.

    On a side note, Tom Lawlor is a genius.

  3. d on March 7th, 2016 9:54 AM

    *it would only be one fight*

  4. Jason Cruz on March 7th, 2016 10:11 AM

    @MMAtruth Thanks. I think you are correct with Rockhold. He could be “that” guy. Rumble has some baggage to deal with so he might not get as big a push.

    Iole on Jim Rome did map out a scenario where Diaz gets an RDA rematch. If he wins the title at 155. McGregor gets Diaz once again.

  5. comment on March 7th, 2016 10:12 AM

    UFC will be just fine. Conor wins a fight or two he back to pulling major numbers. He is still a draw.

  6. d on March 7th, 2016 10:18 AM

    RDA-Diaz would be a good idea, but for some silly reason, White wants to matchup Diaz-Lawler. Pretty sure Wonderboy is going to destroy anyone at 170, so it won’t be long before he owns that title.

  7. BrainSmasher on March 7th, 2016 11:57 AM

    It’s just match ups. Dana has good reason to want Diaz fighting Lawler. RDA is not a draw and the UFC would love to have someone more marketable. Diaz has no chance as beating RDA in a rematch. So you send him in against Lawler giving him a much better chance just like Conor had a chance against Lawler. Speed against a slow sloppy puncher. Give them time to try and get RDA a worse match up he wont win. Then you bring in Diaz to fight the new champ. The UFC expected Conor to knock RDA off.

    And if you get Diaz to move up to Lawler which he should want more than a fight with RDA. That justifies them allowing Conor to go ahead and fight RDA at 155 for the title. Because then his loss against a 170 at 170 won’t matter and Conor was already next anyway.

  8. Diego on March 7th, 2016 1:00 PM

    I don’t think it’s fair to Diaz to make him fight at 170. He just doesn’t have the size for it. I’m sure he’ll take it and I’m sure they’ll pay him well for it, but I don’t think he can campaign at that weight for long.

    I do think he can get a title shot at 155 out of this win, though I don’t see him with the belt around his waist.

  9. BrainSmasher on March 7th, 2016 1:48 PM

    No fair? You don’t think Diaz would rather fight a slow pure striker he can land way more punches than over a guy who raped him in every aspect of the fight? Either one would be for the belt. I do agree he wouldn’t not do as well against the rest of the division at 170. But why not take that chance at the belt and still have the 155 to fall back on after maybe RDA is not champ? Nate going to 170 to fight Lawler is just a way better business decision for Diaz imo.

  10. relativeRene on March 7th, 2016 4:47 PM

    I wish journalist would quit their reality tv build up of events. UFC gambled on this and that. Please, the fighting world has plenty of potential superstars and the UFC is just giving the best fights with the best story line.

    Joe Silva really s*** the bed with having two out of shape light heavyweights fight on the main card. I get it, big guys garner attention and he was hoping for a knockout. Still people like action and experienced fighters tend to perform better on the big stage. Let the best talent, get the spotlight and superstars will be mad.

    Lastly, I wish Dana gave more bonuses to the undercards. 50 G’s can really help a struggling newbie. Headliners are already making the most money. If a relative unknown wins a bonus I always research that guy and know he is a guy to keep an eye on.

  11. d on March 7th, 2016 11:01 PM

    White has already announced Rousey is fighting Tate next for the title.

  12. tops E on March 8th, 2016 1:20 AM

    Hahaha…of course she beat her twice already…dw favorite hahaha….like mcgregor- cerrone was in better shape than diaz…

    What a good weekend,diaz hustled dw for more money,refused to go down 155(sane move),talk shit about ufc drug problem,beat the money making favorite hahaha

  13. Butch on March 8th, 2016 4:44 AM

    If selling out 3-4 shows a month (or atleast 90% capacity) is failing than I don’t know what success is. Fact is, I love boxing more than UFC, but boxing just isn’t doing that business right now. I mean ufc sold out a non-title fight on a WEDNESDAY in Atlantic City. Boxing would never do that, not even in a Ballroom. I own a bar, and get the monthly ppv’s there and it’s doing great business for me. I bought the HBO boxing package last year; I knew it would fail business wise, but I thought with my heart. Didn’t re-up for 2016. I love boxing and have been to over 10 fights, DVR all the HBO fights (won’t watch Haymon showcases) but you boxing fans are making jokes outa us. Stop hating and give credit where credit is do. Oh yea, I’m personal friends with Darrion Caldwell. We were at capacity for his fight on Friday, n near it on Saturday for 196. Boxing would NEVER give me back to back nights where I could showcase it, let alone make money. But watch out for this man. He’ll be the best BW in the world in 6-12 months. Mark my words. Dana better get on that. Fellow mma fans, support this dude, you won’t be at all disappointed I promise you. Straight outa Jersey lol

  14. The Greatest on March 8th, 2016 5:33 AM

    Mayweather-Pacquiao 4.6M ppvs.
    Canelo-Cotto 900k ppvs.

    The biggest UFC ppv last year did 1.1M, allegedly and thats viewed as some sort of an achievement while Canelo-Cotto made more money off that ppv than any UFC ppv ever.
    Canelo-Cottos live gate of $12.5M was larger than any UFC gate ever. Canelo and Cotto each made more money for this 1 fight, than any UFC fighter has ever made for one fight.

    UFC is in turmoil right now.
    Not counting the last 3 or 4 ppvs (im gettin this info from another site, was written right after the Holm fight) out of the last 23 UFC ppvs, 16 have done 375k or less. 9 were under 300k.

    McGregor amd Rousey were the only thing pushing the UFC. People dont care about Jones, and most people forgot he exists.
    Look at those ppvs between Mcgregors and Rouseys.
    They are all in the 300s or less. The last 6 out of 7 have been at 300k or less dipping to 115K.
    Its showing that ppl were getting to the hype, and like always the hype doesn’t last.
    Holm, McGregor, Rousey. All lost.

  15. Fight Fan on March 8th, 2016 6:27 AM

    Ufc needs to scale back their ppvs and events and consolidate, make the the cards worth buying again

  16. d on March 8th, 2016 6:51 AM

    “Ufc needs to scale back their ppvs and events and consolidate, make the the cards worth buying again”

    Hahaha. It seems like most fans feel like they are worth buying, considering they are buying them and everyone is talking about this fight. The same can’t be said about boxing.

  17. d on March 8th, 2016 7:09 AM

    “Mayweather-Pacquiao 4.6M ppvs.
    Canelo-Cotto 900k ppvs.”

    The UFC has likely (after this last show) 3 ppvs that hit over 1m buys in the last 4 months. The last time boxing hit 1m was nearly a year ago, and prior to that was 2 years before that. You cling to that one fight involving their only ppv stars over the previous decade. Those guys are done. What’s left? Canelo? He needed Cotto to hit 900k. Boxing ppv is in the gutter.

    “The biggest UFC ppv last year did 1.1M, allegedly and thats viewed as some sort of an achievement while Canelo-Cotto made more money off that ppv than any UFC ppv ever.Canelo-Cottos live gate of $12.5M was larger than any UFC gate ever. Canelo and Cotto each made more money for this 1 fight, than any UFC fighter has ever made for one fight.”

    That fight did 1.2m buys and Cotto-Canelo made less money than that. You just fabricate things as you go along. The gate is a small portion of the big pot, also that fight was at a casino where there were a ton of comps, whereas GSP-Shields was at the Rogers Center, which means it actually generated more revenue than the boxing card.

    “UFC is in turmoil right now.”

    And by turmoil you mean destroying boxing and taking away their market share, while setting records.

    “Not counting the last 3 or 4 ppvs (im gettin this info from another site, was written right after the Holm fight) out of the last 23 UFC ppvs, 16 have done 375k or less. 9 were under 300k.”

    Hahaha. Not counting 11 ppvs, 16 ppvs have done 375k or less. Hahahaha. That is also factoring in last year, they had nearly all of their headliners get injured.
    How about some real stats: 5 out of their last 8 ppvs have hit 825k buys, and that covers an 8 month span. Boxing has NEVER done that in the history of ppv. Never. Those are numbers that are amazing. This is record breaking material.

  18. d on March 8th, 2016 7:14 AM

    Jones did 800k ppv buys in his last fight. A number that will likely beat every boxing ppv this year other than maybe 1.

    Yeah look at McGregor & Rousey, they lost but still have more huge ppvs to come. Also, pretty amusing that you are pointing out two ufc fighters controlling most of the ppvs. Do you realize that Pac and Mayweather were the ONLY TWO ppv fighters for boxing basically over the past 8 years. Haha. The only difference is the UFC can replace them. You were making these same comments about GSP/Silva, saying once they are done it is over. What happened? It took basically a year, and they now have two BIGGER stars!!

    “They are all in the 300s or less. The last 6 out of 7 have been at 300k or less dipping to 115K.”

    Not true.

    “Its showing that ppl were getting to the hype, and like always the hype doesn’t last.”

    Yet it does and even if it didn’t, unlike boxing, it doesn’t take a decade to develop ppv stars.

    “Holm, McGregor, Rousey. All lost.”

    Yup, and Rousey is a bigger star than ever right now. McGregor, Rousey are still the two biggest stars and ppv draws in combat sports. They will both hit 1m+ buys in their next fights.

    MMA making history, boxing becoming history.

  19. d on March 8th, 2016 7:15 AM

    Jones did 800k ppv buys in his last fight. A number that will likely beat every boxing ppv this year other than maybe 1.

    “They are all in the 300s or less. The last 6 out of 7 have been at 300k or less dipping to 115K.”

    Not true.

    “Its showing that ppl were getting to the hype, and like always the hype doesn’t last.”

    Yet it does and even if it didn’t, unlike boxing, it doesn’t take a decade to develop ppv stars.

    “Holm, McGregor, Rousey. All lost.”

    Yup, and Rousey is a bigger star than ever right now. McGregor, Rousey are still the two biggest stars and ppv draws in combat sports. They will both hit 1m+ buys in their next fights.

    MMA making history, boxing becoming history.

  20. fight fan on March 8th, 2016 9:19 AM

    D ufc said that about boxing years and years ago and guess what? not going anywhere. Boxing is huge globally and has been around for decades, unlike UFC which is already burning out.

  21. d on March 8th, 2016 9:58 AM

    Who is UFC? Haha. Did they give a press release?

    Okay, so the one burning out is the one dominating tv and ppv?

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  22. tops E on March 8th, 2016 12:35 PM

    D is working overtime…has not slept…weeping hahahaha…what a good weekend….dw and fertitas face after holm and mcgregor lost…priceless..hahahaha…they haf to deal with people they tried to screw tate and diaz…

  23. Wil on March 8th, 2016 1:45 PM

    I also think Cruz nailed it. It was indeed a big win for both main event underdogs, guys at work were talking about it. But it absolutely kills the momentum that both holm and mcgregor had, especially mcgregor…once that aura of invincibility is gone, it doesnt come back, especially after a 2nd round submission. The die hard UFC fans will certainly tune in, but names like mcgregor, rousey, holm…..they captured the casual interest.

  24. tops E on March 8th, 2016 4:28 PM

    According to dw spent the biggest on marketing mcgregor vs aldo….a lot of money spent for him…then got beat by somebody given 12 days….the spin theyre doing now.mcgregor just taking on anybody and they admire him,and he fought a bigger guy..give it a rest already hahahaha.

  25. d on March 8th, 2016 8:11 PM

    Haha. Topps stealing my lines and commenting to himself when no one responds. Hahaha. Self destructing everytime big numbers come out. Full court press continues… Hahaha.

  26. d on March 8th, 2016 8:13 PM

    Wil, Holm did not have a ton of momentum. She was never going to be Rousey in terms of interest or ppv. This actually worked out better for them. Now Rousey gets to fight a girl for the title that she beat 2x. She will likely get her title back in the fall.

    Also, McGregor isn’t losing the casuals. His next fight will be even bigger and will be his 3rd ppv that hits 1m+ buys.

  27. turd on March 8th, 2016 9:42 PM

    there is only one boxing fight right now that could do maybe 1 million buys

    ggg vs canelo and ummm ok thats about it

    canelo vs cotto 2 would not sell well cause the first fight was a boring shit fest.

  28. The rise and rise of ultimate fighting (and why boxing is now so passé) | Em News on March 9th, 2016 6:50 AM

    […] was widely anticipated that this would be the highest selling pay-per-view bout in UFC history. The pre-fight press conference alone attracted over 2.9m views and despite his defeat, McGregor still made history as the first […]

  29. The rise and rise of ultimate fighting (and why boxing is now so … – EconoTimes | SportQu on March 9th, 2016 12:08 PM

    […] anticipated that this would certainly be the highest selling pay-per-view bout in UFC history. The pre-fight press conference alone attracted over 2.9m views and despite his defeat, McGregor still made history as the initial […]

  30. Maff Farmer on March 14th, 2016 8:38 AM

    For comparisons sake. UFC had one of it’s biggest years on PPV in 2015. With approximately 7.2Mil buys for the year.

  31. The rise of ultimate fighting - and why boxing is now so passé - Mixed Martial Science on December 4th, 2016 9:32 AM

    […] was widely anticipated that this would be the highest selling pay-per-view bout in UFC history. The pre-fight press conference alone attracted over 2.9m views and despite his defeat, McGregor still made history as the first […]

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