Cormier out of UFC 206

November 25, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that Daniel Cormier is out of UFC 206 with an injury.  His title fight with Anthony Johnson is off although the initial plans appear to keep Johnson on the card.

This is the second time this year that Cormier has pulled out of a fight due to an injury.  Cormier is coming off of a win at UFC 200 against Anderson Silva.

UFC 206 loses its main event and will have to find another.  At this point, there is a featherweight matchup between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis and a welterweight bout between Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown as the top fights on the PPV.

Payout Perspective:

Losing Cormier hurts the PPV as well as puts Johnson in a bad position.  He is likely being asked to stay on the card to help the business-side of the event but will have

NYSAC suspends three after UFC 205

November 25, 2016

The New York State Athletic Commission has suspended 3 UFC fighters after UFC 205.  Kevin Gastelum and Thiago Alves were suspended for missing weight and Yoel Romero was suspended for his post-fight celebration in leaving the octagon.

Gastelum was suspended six months for missing weight for his bout against Donald Cerrone.  The fight was called off due to his inability to make weight.  Gastelum is currently appealing.

Alves was suspended 90 days for missing weight in his fight against Jim Miller.  However, that fight went forward as Miller actually gained weight to ensure that the fight would go forward as the rules dictated that an MMA fight cannot go forward if there is a 5-pound difference between the fighters.  Alves missed by 6.6 pounds.  Miller defeated Alves by unanimous decision.

Romero leapt over the cage after defeating Chris Weidman in celebration.  He was suspended 60 days.

All suspensions are retroactive to November 12th.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that the New York State Athletic Commission will be much more stringent with the rules.  There are safety issues with a fighter leaving the cage which is the likely reason Romero was suspended.  His suspension would not inhibit him from fighting again since his suspension will be over by January 12th.  Suspending a fighter for missing weight has its own safety issues but the fighter signed on to the designated weight class and it’s a breach for missing.  Gastelum and Alves are repeat offenders with missing weight although the suspensions had nothing to do with their prior dealings.

USADA responds to Machida’s statement on suspension

November 23, 2016

USADA has provided MMA Fighting a response to Lyoto Machida’s comments about his 18 month suspension for using a banned substance.

Upon receiving news of his 18-month suspension, Machida left a message for his fans on his Facebok page.

In an interview with MMA Fighting, USADA spokesperson Ryan Madden asserted the organization’s message to UFC athlete’s and defended the comments made by Machida which included the rationale for USADA’s 18-month suspension which Machida believed to be harsh despite his acknowledgement of taking a banned substance.

From the information, it appeared as though Machida had appealed USADA’s initial decision.  Madden noted that Machida was set to arbitrate his matter in June but decided to settle on the eve of his arbitration.  He also points out that Machida never disputed the violation.

Payout Perspective:

Clearly, this is media relations for both Machida and USADA.  Machida is disappointed with the 18-month suspension and thought he would have received less of a penalty since he was up front with his taking of the prohibited substance and his cooperation in the matter.  The reduced sentences for the likes of Tim Means and Yoel Romero come to mind.  Both received 6-month suspensions. Those cases hold different facts but the key driver for Machida was that he was straightforward about his use.  But, therein lies the problem which USADA focused on and determined to be a factor in assessing the 18-month suspension.  USADA maintains that it provides educational information on taking substances.  Machida claims he was not properly educated.  It’s a disconnect between fighter and organization.  Whether a fighter knows about each substance on everything he takes from a GNC or health store will be scrutinized more after this ruling.

UFC Fight Night 100 draws 769,000 viewers

November 22, 2016

UFC Fight Night 100 drew 769,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Saturday night drew 532,000 viewers.

The main card, which saw Ryan Bader defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, drew 374,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The prelims drew 261,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

Peak viewership for the event was 881,000 from 11:00-11:15pmET.  The main card aired from 9:00-12:19am ET.

The ESPN College Football game between Clemson and Wake Forest won the time slot from the UFC as it drew over 2 million viewers between 7-10:20pm ET.

Payout Perspective:

The event was up 3% from the corresponding Saturday last year (UFC Fight Night 78) as that event drew 750,000 viewers.  Notably, the prelims for UFC Fight Night 78 did much better with 732,000 viewers. The event is down from UFC Fight Night 98 earlier this month.

However, it did better than Bellator 165 although the two events at the same time were close (BMMA 597,000).  The last time the two organizations had televised events on at the same time UFC Fight Night 50 (which featured Ryan Bader versus OSP) edged out Bellator.  The UFC event drew 911,000 viewers while the Bellator card drew 667,000.

Bellator MMA 165 draws 597,000 viewers on Spike TV

November 22, 2016

Bellator 165 drew 597,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night.  The main event featured Michael Chandler versus Benson Henderson for Chandler’s lightweight title.

Chandler won via decision.  The event went up against UFC Fight Night 100 which aired at about the same time on FS1.  The Bellator event aired from 9p-12:08am ET on Spike TV.  Per Sports TV Ratings, it drew 307,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.


Payout Perspective:

The event did fairly well against UFC on the same night.  The UFC event from Brazil drew 769,000.  According to sources, the Bellator event should pick up some DVR viewers when those numbers are announced.  It was the second straight event in which a Bellator event has increase over the prior event.

President-elect meets with UFC owner

November 21, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump met with his former Hollywood agent, and current UFC owner Ari Emanuel on Sunday.

Emanuel met the President-elect at his New Jersey golf course.  Trump touted Emmanuel as “the king of Hollywood.”  The substance of the meeting was not revealed.

Despite being a longtime Democratic fund-raiser, Trump called Emanuel a “great friend.”  Dana White spoke on behalf of Trump at the Republican National Convention and was seen at an GOP party on election night.

Perhaps the meeting included some talk about Emmanuel’s new venture as head of the UFC.  He is one of the new faces of the organization since WME-IMG took over from the Fertitta brothers in July.

One of the relevant issues that the President-elect may deal with is the attempt to amend the existing Muhammad Ali Act to include combat sports.  The UFC has lobbied vehemently against it.  It has enlisted Farragut PR to monitor the Ali Act on behalf of the UFC.

The bill was introduced in late May by Oklahoma Republican Markwayne Mullin.  In late September, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protection as set forth by the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Payout Perspective:

With the new administration set to come in this January, the likelihood that the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act passes is low.  Certainly, having President-elect Trump as an ally will help Emmanuel and the UFC.  Moreover, one would think that a Republican dominated House and Senate would persuade Representative Mullin to shelve the bill or amend it to make it more friendly for promoters.

Borris will not name athletes/agents on advisory boards

November 21, 2016

The Sports Business Journal reports that Jeff Borris will not reveal the athletes and agents that have agreed to join advisory boards for a proposed committee that his Professional Fighters Association intends to form.

Borris stated that he does not believe that nothing will be gained from releasing the names of the people.  Initially, Borris said he would introduce two advisory boards: one made up of MMA agents and the other with UFC fighters.  He said he would like to have 4 agents and 9 fighters on the boards.

The Sports Business Journal writeup includes a quote from MMAFA’s Robert Maysey which applauds the effort but does not know if a union will be successful.   The article does point out that if Borris is successful, the antitrust lawsuit filed in Nevada (Maysey is one of the plaintiff lawyers) would be moot as a unionized sports entity would have antitrust labor exemption.

Payout Perspective:

Concealing the names of those on the advisory boards at this time makes sense as Borris likely weighed public relations versus possible retaliation for those named.  At a point when Borris has the number of UFC fighters willing to sign up for the possibility of an NLRB election, we’ll probably see the names of the fighters and agents.  But, at this time, there could be some (subtle) backlash from the UFC if the names are revealed.  Also, fighters and agents might be weary as they will need to work with the UFC before an election.

GSP visits Bellator MMA’s Scott Coker

November 20, 2016

Georges St. Pierre met with Bellator MMA’s Scott Coker on Saturday night during Bellator 165 from San Jose, California.  GSP is currently at a contract impasse with the UFC.

St. Pierre’s lawyer targeted next year as a possibility for the former UFC middleweight champion to return to action with the company as they have conceded that negotiations for a return to UFC 206 next month have failed.  However, GSP’s presence at the Bellator event fanned the flames that he could jump to Viacom-owned Bellator.

GSP’s legal team has indicated that he has other options outside of the UFC although they did not specify what those could be.

Payout Perspective:

It won’t be that easy for GSP to jump to Bellator unless there is some sort of settlement between the UFC and GSP.  Still, it’s likely that the UFC will make a push to renegotiate with GSP in 2017 to keep GSP and ensure he does not leave for a competitor.

UFC Fight Night 100 attendance and bonuses

November 20, 2016

UFC Fight Night 100 took place at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  It was the second event held by the UFC on Saturday.  Notably, it was the second straight event where there was no Fight of the Night bonus.

The UFC announced that the event drew 9,028 fans.  No gate was announced as seems to be the standard for events in Brazil.

The bonuses went to Thomas Almeida, Pedro Munhoz, Cezar Ferreira and Gadzhimurad Antigulov.  Each $50,000 bonus was for Performance of the Night.  There was no Fight of the Night bonus.

UFC Fight Night 99 attendance, gate and bonuses

November 20, 2016

UFC Fight Night 99 took place from Belfast, Ireland on Saturday.  It was the first of two UFC events on a busy day for combat sports.

The UFC announced the event drew 7,222 and a live gate of $850,000.  The event took place at SSE Arena Belfast in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Previously, the UFC held an event in Belfast in 2007 at SSE Arena Belfast.  The event drew 8,000 fans for a live gate of approximately $1.2 million.

The bonuses for the night went to Jack Marshman, Kevin Lee, Abdul Razak Alhassan and Justin Ledet.  Each earned Performance of the Night.  There were no Fight of the Night Bonuses.

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