Bellator 155 draws 653,000 viewers

May 23, 2016

Bellator 155 drew 653,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV according to Sports TV Ratings.  The ratings represent a slight decrease from Bellator 154.

Among the 653,000 viewers, it drew 301,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category.  Bellator 154 drew 356,000 in the adult 18-49 category.

In the main event of the show, Rafael Carvalho defeated Melvin Manhoef by split decision.

Bellator through 155

Payout Perspective:

Not counting Bellator 149, the ratings average on Spike TV is 661,000.  Through 7 events in 2015 (not counting the Bellator 138 tentpole event), the average was 668,000.  One would think that the organization would have hoped for an incremental increase from year to year but perhaps Bellator is looking more to stability of its live viewership and hoping for big ratings with its quarterly events.

UFC contacts legislator seeking to amend Ali Act

May 22, 2016

Last week, ESPN ran an article on the proposed amendment to the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act which would cover mixed martial artists.  Oklahoma congressman Markwayne Mullin has indicated that he would spearhead the effort to amend the law to extend to all combat sports including MMA.

While Bellator has indicated it would support such an amendment, the UFC is not in favor of one (although no specifics have yet to be discussed).  The ESPN story reports that the UFC has met with Congressman Mullin on at least on two occasions.  One would surmise the meetings would be to lobby the congressman not to amend the current Ali Act.  It should be noted that the UFC has not seen the proposal that the congressman seeks to amend.

For his part, the congressman has been vague with what he would do to the Ali Act aside from making it applicable to combat sports.  He’s stated that promoter disclosure of revenues to fighters would be one of the reasons why the bill should be amended.  Of course, the Ali Act, as it stands, has posed its own problems with this disclosure as the current law is not specific as to when the promoter must disclose financial information which makes it difficult for a fighter to negotiate.  A recent example of this problem is boxer Chris Algieri.

One of the concerns from the UFC is the rankings component of the Ali Act which would assess ranking fighters.  Section 11 of the Ali Act gives the Association of Boxing Commissions the right to develop guidelines for rating pro boxers.  Of course, the UFC has its own rankings.  It is not clear on how, or what governing body would have the right to develop guidelines for mixed martial arts. This part of the law would take control from the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

If you wondered how fighters have fared when suing under the Ali Act, you can check this out.  For the UFC, amending the Ali Act would mean having to abide by outside regulators and subject them to the possibility of litigation under the Act.  But, as we’ve seen, litigating under the Ali Act is not as easy as it might seem.  Mullin has yet to reveal his proposed amendments to the Ali Act.  This is likely done on purpose so as not to tip off opposition.  One would hope the amendments would be advantageous to fighters so that if they are an aggrieved party, they can seek assistance under the law.

McGregor in midst of $100M deal with UFC?

May 22, 2016

Conor McGregor told ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, in the network’s trademark “Sunday Conversation” that he is in the midst of a $100 million deal with the UFC.  In the interview, he opened up about the “retirement” tweet, the UFC and Floyd Mayweather.

Whether or not you believe this to be true, the deal is likely the biggest fight contract for a UFC fighter in the company’s history.

Assuming what McGregor is saying is true, the deal is likely for 8 fights which would amount to approximately $12.5 million per fight not including any PPV upside or other performance-type bonuses.

The interview includes talking about the “proposed” fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and the Irish MMA fighter.  The latest in that saga is Mayweather offering $50M to McGregor.  In his ESPN interview, McGregor proclaimed that Mayweather needs him, not the other way around.

Payout Perspective:

I would suppose that McGregor and the UFC would be working on a new contract (or revising the old one) which would mean more fights and more money.  I also think that the contract would be much more in-depth and detailed than your standard boilerplate contract with the UFC.  Namely, it would detail the terms of his promotional schedule.

The subtle thing here is that McGregor is giving ESPN’s Kenny Mayne this exclusive interview and not Fox or FS1 doing this.  Obviously, it would be more advantageous for ratings if FS1 were to do this interview rather than ESPN.  But, as we’ve seen, when big news occurs for the UFC, ESPN is the first to report.

Diego Brandao suspended 9 months by USADA

May 20, 2016

USADA announced on Thursday that former UFC featherweight Diego Brandao has accepted a nine-month suspension for a positive test for marijuana metabolites.  The positive test occurred in an in-competition test at UFC 195.

The suspension will date back to January 2, 2016, but he could mitigate his 9-month suspension by one month if he completes an anti-doping educational program.  Thus, with completing the program he’d be back by September.

Of course, Brandao may face additional punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission since the positive drug test occurred in the state.

Payout Perspective:

Bad times for Brandao, as he was released by the UFC after an incident in which he allegedly assaulted workers and pulled a gun in a strip club in New Mexico.  If there is any good news, it’s that the usual suspension for marijuana is one year.  Brandao only will receive 8 if he completes the educational program.  Of course, he will have to face the NAC and could possibly be fined/suspended by the commission as well.  Thus, it presents a sort of “double jeopardy” for Brandao as not only is he being punished by USADA, he’s going to face punishment from the commission.

TUF 23 Episode 5: 361,000 viewers

May 19, 2016

The 5th episode of TUF 23 Wednesday night drew 361,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  It’s a modest increase from last Wednesday.

The ratings reflect a modest increase from last week (336,000).  It also is a little higher than last spring’s TUF 21 (340,000).

Per Sports TV Ratings, it drew 200,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

In the fight of the night, Lanchana Green defeated Helen Harper by unanimous decision.

Episode 5

Payout Perspective:

This is another case of waiting for the DVR numbers to see how many people actually tuned in.  The Oklahoma City-Golden State NBA Playoff game (9-11:30pm ET) on TNT aired at the same time as TUF and drew 7.5 million viewers.  Also, the NHL Playoffs featuring Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay on NBC Sports Network drew 1.75 million viewers from 8-11pm ET.

UFC 197 PPV buy estimated between 375K-450K

May 19, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that uFC 197 drew between 375,000 to 450,000 PPV buys.  The event featured Jon Jones taking on Ovince Saint Preux.

The PPV buy rate estimates are very good but reveals what we know about Jon Jones.  While he may be the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC, he is not a top draw.  Clearly, you can say the same about Demetrious Johnson who was also on the card.

UFC PPVs for 2016

UFC 195: 1.032 million

UFC 196: 1.5 million

UFC 197: 375,000 to 450,000

Notwithstanding his showdown with Cormier last January, Jones has put up marginal PPV buys.  UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira drew 350K PPV buys and his UFC 165 against Alexander Gustafsson drew 310K.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a respectable number considering that there were only 50,000 google searches for UFC 197 after the weigh-ins.  Recall that this event was to be Jones-Cormier.  But, with Cormier needing to pull out, the top of the card took an extreme hit.  With Johnson not being a draw, Jones stayed on the card and OSP was the fighter the UFC picked to face him.  Jones has not had a huge PPV buy rate since 182 when he faced Cormier.

Top Rank – Haymon settle antitrust lawsuit

May 19, 2016

The parties in the Top Rank Boxing v. Al Haymon, et al. lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles has been settled.  The parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the case on Wednesday.  Terms of the settlement are confidential per the stipulation filed with the court.

Al Haymon and his various business entities were sued by Top Rank Boxing this past July as the promoter claimed that Haymon’s upstart Premier Boxing Champions violated federal antitrust laws as well the Muhammad Ali Act and California State Business Regulations.

Top Rank amended its lawsuit on 3 separate occasions.  One of the tries resulted with Haymon securing a dismissal.  However, the court allowed Top Rank the opportunity to refile.  Which it did.

Perhaps what precipitated the beginning of the end of this litigation was securing the opportunity to obtain documents (including financial information) from promoter Lou DiBella and his company DiBella Entertainment, Inc.  It was claimed by Top Rank that DiBella was a “sham promoter” essentially working for Haymon.

Joint Stipulation Dismissing Lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206

Another theory which may have caused the two sides to settle would be the downturn of PBC.  Ratings have been sluggish and reports of PBC seeping money seems valid.  Also, investors filed a lawsuit in Kansas over a fund’s strategy to invest in PBC.  Settling this lawsuit may negate the hefty legal bills the company is racking up.

A similar lawsuit filed by Golden Boy against Haymon continues in Los Angeles with discovery ongoing.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see how much further the Golden Boy lawsuit goes.  If they are to obtain documents from other promoters (like DiBella) in discovery, it could leverage into a favorable settlement. It is unknown if PBC would run the risk of continuing with defending this lawsuit if there is the possibility of losing a huge verdict.

TUF 23 Episode 4 DVR viewership: 566,000

May 18, 2016

The DVR ratings for the fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter drew the viewership up to 566,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

The 566,000 fared much better than last spring’s TUF 21 Episode 4 DVR rating which was just 415,000 viewers.

Episode 4 DVR

Payout Perspective:

Although the viewership from the DVR watching was the lowest of the season (it was also the lowest-rated live + same day rating of the season) it saw its highest percentage increase of the season.

Bisping replaces Weidman at UFC 199

May 18, 2016

Michael Bisping steps in for injured Chris Weidman and faces Luke Rockhold for the middleweight title at UFC 199.  The announcement was made on Wednesday by Dana White on ESPN.

Coming off a career-altering win against Anderson Silva earlier this year, Bisping gets a rematch against Rockhold.  The champ submitted Bisping at UFC Fight Night in Sydney, Australia in November 2014.

Weidman had to pull out of his rematch with Rockhold due to a neck injury.

Payout Perspective:

One would have to feel good for Bisping as he finally gets a shot at his long elusive chance to be middleweight champion.  But I’m not quite sure that this will do much with respect to moving the needle with PPV buys.  I do think Bisping is a good talker and will do his best to promote this fight.  As for the announcement, we see once again that the UFC values the broader appeal and audience of ESPN than it does its broadcast partner of FS1.

Davis tops Bellator 154 payouts

May 18, 2016

MMA Junkie reports salaries from this past Saturday’s Bellator 154.  Phil Davis earned the most out of the fighters on the card.

According to Junkie, the payroll, obtained from the California State Athletic Commission

Phil Davis: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Muhammed Lawal: $30,000

Saad Awad: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Evangelista Santos: $17,000

Josh San Diego: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Jeremiah Labiano: $2,500

Adam Piccolotti: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ray Wood: $6,000

Andre Fialho: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Rick Reger: $4,000

Mark Dickman: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
def. Thomas Diagne: $3,000

Jamielene Nievara: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Stephanie Frausto: $1,500

Joshua Hardwick: $5,000 (includes $2,500 win bonus)
def. Jorge Acosta: $2,500

Sam Spengler: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Doyle Childs: $1,000

Josh Paiva: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Steve Gruber: $1,000

Danasabe Mohammed: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Martin Sano: $2,000

Anthony Taylor: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Victor Jones: $1,000

Payout Perspective:

Essentially, Davis and Lawal had the same show money ($30K) with Davis earning the win bonus.  This is low compared to how much Davis earned in the UFC but perhaps he made the money back in sponsorships.  There were 6 fighters that made $2,000 or less on the card.

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