UFC 207: Payout Perspective
January 3, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 207 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rousey finished in 48 seconds
It was the long-awaited return of Ronda Rousey. She looked in top shape but the question was whether she could return to her form pre-UFC 193. The former bantamweight champion that brought women’s MMA to prominence could not. Amanda Nunes broke Rousey’s spirit within seconds of the fight starting.
Rousey’s lone takedown attempt was stuffed and she actually started turning away from punches as if she’s never fought before. It was pretty sad to watch a former champ go down this easy. She was out on her feet and didn’t even realize the fight was over.
For Nunes, it was easy work. As she did at UFC 200, she broke a fighter’s spirit and likely retired another top opponent. Nunes also showed some great promo skills post-fight as she told the media to forget about Rousey.
It will be interesting to see who will be next for Nunes.
I don’t think we can say poor Ronda Rousey. Even though her MMA career should be over, her payday ($3 million) ties her for the highest-ever with Conor McGregor. Rousey is more psychologically damaged than physical and if she doesn’t have her heart in fighting, she shouldn’t do it.
The cover of the UFC 207 program. pic.twitter.com/pltQQxzgoJ
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 31, 2016
Garbrandt showboats to championship
While one championship fight had little promotion, the Dominick Cruz-Cody Garbrandt title match-up had great lead-up. The two verbally sparred throughout the promotion of the fight and Garbrandt attempted to go after Cruz during media rounds. There was even a pull-apart at the ceremonial weigh-ins.
Garbrandt showed no fear and solved Cruz’s awkward, but successful style. It could be that Garbrandt was just quicker or Cruz lost a step but it made it a unanimous decision for the challenger.
This exchange will likely be gif’d to death. In all honesty, I’ve watched it about 50 times.
— UFC (@ufc) December 31, 2016
In a touching moment, Garbrandt put the belt around a kid he befriended that battled back from leukemia. The kid, who walked hand in hand with Garbrandt to the ring, chanbed his life according to the new champ. In the same post-fight interview, he called T.J. Dillashaw a m****f*****. So, he’s still rough around the edges.
Garbrandt could grant Cruz a rematch or go after T.J. Dillashaw.
Attendance and Gate
Ticket demand was still high for Rousey as UFC 207 drew the largest attendance for an MMA event in the state of Nevada with 18,533. T-Mobile Arena sold standing room only seats for the event which likely helped the attendance figure. The gate was $4.75 million.
While the secondary market was not as robust as prior Rousey events, this was the first one in sometime in Vegas.
The fighters taking home the belts earned bonuses: Amanda Nunes and Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt and Cruz won the Fight of the Night. Nunes and Alex Garcia earned a Performance bonus as well. All received $50,000 checks.
Ronda Rousey drew $3 million which ties her with Conor McGregor for the highest-reported salary in the UFC. Amanda Nunes earned $200,000 ($100k win/$100 show) for her defeat of Rousey.
The full list is here.
Ronda Rousey did little pre-fight promotion except for appearances on Conan, Ellen and an ESPN piece with Ramona Shelburne. Dana White stated that this was due to a one-time agreement with Rousey.
There were radio ad buys for UFC 207 to bolster the end of the year event. The ad included the Cain-Werdum fight which did not happen.
Although Rousey did not speak, the faceoff in her return during the UFC 205 event in New York was intense. Also, the ceremonial weigh-in on Friday with Nunes wearing the lionhead was great as well.
Over 103,000 people watched the ceremonial weigh-ins on YouTube and over 59,500 watched it on Facebook Live during the Rousey-Nunes faceoff.
Rousey appeared in 3 of the 6 Embedded episodes although she did not talk that much.
The UFC weigh-ins drew 222,000 viewers on FS1 and 94,000 in the A18-49 category per Sports TV Ratings.
The UFC 207 Prelims drew 1.511 million viewers on Friday night making it the fourth-highest rated PPV prelim of 2016.
The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 572,000 viewers and the post-event drew 404,000 viewers.
Overall, very strong numbers despite the fact it was a Friday night.
MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, the WGN series ‘Outsiders’, Geico, Twinzz.com, IconicFaceOff.com, Geico, Budweiser, the movie XXX and Monster Energy had the center. XXX is the latest in the Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) series.
Rousey was sponsored by Monster Energy drink as she had the logo on her shorts. The same for Dominick Cruz.
Pantene also had the Rousey commercial during the PPV. The company activated a new campaign around Rousey in lead-up to this event.
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) December 7, 2016
Toyo Tires sponsored the Embedded series.
Odds and ends
Yahoo Beauty found a way to mention Ronda Rousey by doing a story on why women MMA fighters braid their hair.
Johny Hendricks looked better against Neil Magny, but missed weight again. The issue seems to be in his head as he challenged media to cut weight.
Cain Velasquez was taken off the UFC 207 card and his fight with Fabricio Werdum after discussing his injuries in an interview. The NAC took Cain off the card without his knowledge according to the former heavyweight champion. He responded via a lengthy Facebook post.
Embedded was a good time for Dominick Cruz to show-off his branded t-shirts.
A big faux pas occurred when cable and satellite distributors advertised that UFC 207 was happening Saturday. As we know, it was Friday. Based on the Friday night ratings, people knew the correct time.
Nunes had the “Island of Dr. Moreau” look with the lion head at the ceremonial weigh-ins.
If you noticed a man in a wheelchair at the weigh-in, he had cashed in his UFC Reward Points for the opportunity to be on stage at the weigh-ins. A pretty nice payoff considering he saw an almost fight right in front of him and Rousey-Nunes.
The bad news about Rousey’s fame was that she was covered in most of the mainstream news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.
“Ronda Rousey Fight” drew over 5 million google searches on Friday which should indicate a huge PPV gate. But, a portion of those probably were searching for the fight after learning the news that Rousey was KO’d in less than a minute. Interesting enough, there were no copyright warnings as there were for UFC 193.
All the indicators (google searches, ratings, etc.) reflect a huge PPV buy rate. While we may want to discount some of those google searches, there were still a healthy amount of people that knew the fight was going to be Friday and that Ronda Rousey was returning to the Octagon. For those that though there was “lack of buzz,” they underestimate the Rousey demo and are stuck in their old ways of thinking of what “MMA fans” want to see. It would not be surprising to see this PPV hit 1 million buys.