UFC 205: Payout Perspective

November 14, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 205 taking place at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

McGregor wins lightweight title from Alvarez

Conor McGregor once again backed up his talk as he stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round to win the UFC lightweight title.  He now holds the featherweight and lightweight titles.

It was rather easy work for McGregor who displayed his power and showed no fear against Alvarez including dropping his hands and putting them behind his back.

McGregor cut a promo which included calling the UFC “cheap” for not providing him two belts immediately and apologizing to no one.

In all likelihood, McGregor’s next fight will be at 155 and he’ll likely have his choice of Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmogomenov.

Woodley, Wonderboy goes to a draw

Sometimes you have to wonder about coaching.  Tyrone Woodley dominated Stephen Thompson in the first round on the ground and you could argue that his dominance deserved a 10-8 1st round.  Yet, he neglected to attempt another takedown throughout the rest of the fight.  Instead, Thompson was able to utilize his length and standup to stifle Woodley standing with the exception of a couple shots in the 4th round that almost stopped the fight.

An immediate rematch seems like the most logical thing although it seems unfair to a patient Demian Maia.

Jedrzejczyk dominates Kowalkiewicz

Joanna successfully defended her strawweight title with a 49-46 unanimous decision over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.  It was a one-sided, 5 round fight with Kowalkiewicz winning a couple skirmishes but Jedrzejcyk earning 4 rounds.

Joanna Violence does not know who’s next but she plans to fight sometime mid-2017.

Attendance and Gate

UFC 205 eclipsed the previous record gate from UFC 129 in Toronto of $12 million. The Madison Square Garden debut drew $17.7 million with 20,427 in attendance according to a UFC official post-fight.

Bonuses

Conor McGregor, Yoel Romero, Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson earned the bonuses.  McGregor and Romero won performances of the night and Woodley and Thompson won for Fight of the Night.

Promotion to the Fight

The UFC went all out for its debut including an ESPN Car Wash and various articles in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  There was local as well as national coverage promoting the event.

The Embedded episodes gave us a glimpse of the fighters getting ready for the fights focusing on the 3 championship fights.  You have to wonder with all of the episodes at hotels the UFC does not have a partnership with a hotel chain.

Sponsorships

Budweiser sponsored the 6-episode Embedded series.  It also had the fighter prep point.  Notably, Twinzz.com and IconicFace.com were in the Octagon as well.  Both made appearances at UFC 204 in England.  Twinzz.com is a hat manufacturer while IconicFaceoff.com appears to be a fantasy sports web site.

Qalo, a wedding ring manufacturer that touts silicone rings for the active person was a sponsor in the Octagon last night.  It worked with Chris Weidman in leadup to UFC 205.

In addition, Monster Energy Drink had the center as well sharing a corner with 7-Eleven.  MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Geico and Budweiser.

The upcoming movie, “Bleed for This,” the story of boxer Vinny Pazienza was featured during the PPV.  The movie was introduced by Michael Bisping.

Tyron Woodley and Conor McGregor sported the Monster logo on their Reebok kits.

Reebok introduced New York-specific UFC 205 merchandise for this event.  It also sold Conor McGregor-specific shirts including a “I Whoop People for Truckoads of Cash” shirt.

Odds and Ends

Probably the best UFC Prelims ever as the fights could be its own PPV.  Look for it to eclipse the record-setting ratings of UFC 200.

Are MMA purists ok with the WWE-style promotion that McGregor has provided for this event?  The fur coat and faking like he was going after Alvarez with a folding chair seems very much spectacle than reality.

Miesha Tate’s retirement seemed out of nowhere.  She was still a top-ranked fighter but maybe she sees other opportunities on the horizon.

There should be a rule that all interpreters should not have man-buns as Yoel Romero’s did.

Kevin Gastelum did not make weight once again which eliminated his fight with Donald Cerrone from the card.

Despite the talk about blue chip sponsors partnering with the UFC, there were no big surprises.   Budweiser the only real change although Bud Light has been a part of the UFC sponsorship.

One of the storylines from the newfound regulations in New York is the requirement that combat sports promoters needing to provide $1M coverage for brain injury for each fighter on the card.  The UFC paid $1,675 per athlete which came out to $40,200 for UFC 205.  Boxing promoters have been outspoken in speaking out against this measure which was a part of the law that would legalize MMA in the sport.

Apparently, Bruce Buffer knew he was reading the wrong decision in the Woodley -Thompson fight.  However, he can only read what is on the judge’s scorecard.  This is why he left the cage to confer with the judges.

No Trump at UFC 205, but there were other luminaries in the crowd including Demi Lovato and Odell Beckham, Jr. (the NY Giants WR also made a cameo in meeting Tyron Woodley on an episode of Embedded.)

Does McGregor really demand an ownership stake in the UFC, or is this just pure hype and bluster?

UFC 205 pulled over 2 million google searches on Saturday night which usually means a healthy PPV buy rate.  Also over 1 million searches on Saturday were Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey.  Rousey searches likely due to the unveiling of the very good promo for her return on Friday, December 30th.

Conclusion

This event should flirt with the PPV record of 1.6 million PPV buys.  Certainly, college football and the fact that many fans purchase the event at UFC.com could detract from the overall number.  However, with 3 title fights on the main card including the company’s biggest PPV star, Conor McGregor, we should see a PPV buy rate around 1.5-1.7 million PPV buys

5 Responses to “UFC 205: Payout Perspective”

  1. jf on November 15th, 2016 8:21 AM

    2.2 million buys.

    “In all likelihood, McGregor’s next fight will be at 155 and he’ll likely have his choice of Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmogomenov.”

    Wrong: the next fight will be Diaz III, the biggest money fight of all three.

  2. Diego on November 15th, 2016 8:25 AM

    If he fights one of the other guys first, he still has the Diaz fight in his back pocket win or lose. If he fights Diaz and loses, it ruins the other fights. The best move is for him to defend against a top contender and then fight Diaz.

    Of course, that leaves Aldo in the lurch.

  3. d on November 15th, 2016 9:18 AM

    This is true but who thinks anyone is beating Khabib? I think McGregor will beat Diaz but the smartest thing for him to do is just go back down to 145lbs where there is nowhere near the level of competition that there is at 155.

  4. Diego on November 15th, 2016 12:09 PM

    d – he has two very good paydays at 155 (more if he wins). At 145 he really only has Aldo – a guy he already starched – because Aldo has cleaned out the division already. If he beats Aldo again, he’s done at 145. Any way he goes he has good fights, but I would milk 155 a little. Let Aldo get an interim title at 145 fighting Pettis/other (which will not be a big fight) and eventually they can fight a unification bout.

  5. d on November 15th, 2016 9:51 PM

    I see what you are saying, but the truth is, the guy is gold. Regardless of who he fights, he’s going over 1m buys from here on out. I just don’t see the level of competition at 145 as it is at 155.

    As for Aldo, after watching Conor destroy Aldo, then what he was able to do to Diaz, and his brutal beating of Alvarez last week, can anyone stand with this guy and trade at 145 or 155? I mean Diaz beat him the first time primarily because McGregor does tend to gas and didn’t pace himself. He was much better in the 2nd fight when he took his time. Diaz is a tough matchup for him, but he can’t stand in front of Conor like he has. He was beaten up badly.

    I just don’t see anyone beating Khabib right now, that guy is one of a kind on the ground. One of the best grapplers in the history of the sport.

    Should be interesting though, McGregor has really surprised a lot of people. I thought he was very overrated initially, but he’s proven me wrong over and over again.

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