Plaintiffs in Antitrust Lawsuit seek $21K in fees in Motion to Compel Matt Hume’s deposition

July 25, 2017

Plaintiffs attorneys in the Zuffa Antitrust Lawsuit have filed a Motion to Compel the Deposition of Matt Hume in the federal court in Washington state.  As a result of the filing, Plaintiffs are seeking sanctions against Hume and his attorney in the amount of $21,000 for having to draft and file the motion.  In addition, they request Hume sit for his deposition and produce documents as requested in Plaintiffs’ subpoena.

Hume, who coaches UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, also is Vice President for Operations and Competition for Group One Holdings Pte. Ltd., (dba One Championship), the Asian MMA Promotion based out of Singapore.  Hume lives in Washington State where he trains Might Mouse.

In the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, the Court granted the parties the right to seek the deposition and documents from OneFC.  Plaintiffs issued a deposition notice and subpoena for documents related to One Championship’s financial data relating to its promotion of live MMA events.

Hume’s lawyer has opposed the subpoena and request for documents citing the subpoena is not valid and the documents request information from a foreign corporation.  Hume argues that he “is not authorized to comment on behalf of One Championship” or that he “lacks personal knowledge.”

Hume’s attorneys have filed a Motion to Quash the Subpoena in federal court in Washington state.

The Plaintiffs are interested in taking Hume’s deposition as he produced a declaration in which he stated “One Championship is not a minor league or feeder league for the UFC” and “competes with Zuffa to sign professional MMA fighters.”  According to Plaintiffs’ motion, “[t]he purpose of these averments, made on One Championship’s behalf, is to controvert elements of Plaintiffs’ claims and to support Zuffa’s defenses.”

Despite extensive meet and confers, the parties are at an impasse.  Hume’s lawyers had offered Hume to be deposed on limited issues and not requiring Hume to produce any documents but Plaintiffs have denied.

Plaintiffs attorneys in the Zuffa Antitrust Lawsuit have filed a Motion to Compel the Deposition of Matt Hume in the federal court in Washington state. As a result of the filing, Plaintiffs are seeking sanctions against Hume and his attorney in the amount of $21,000 for having to draft and file the motion. In addition, they request Hume sit for his deposition and produce documents as requested in Plaintiffs’ subpoena.

Hume, who coaches UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, also is Vice President for Operations and Competition for Group One Holdings Pte. Ltd., (dba One Championship), the Asian MMA Promotion based out of Singapore. Hume lives in Washington State where he trains Might Mouse.

In the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, the Court granted the parties the right to seek the deposition and documents from OneFC. Plaintiffs issued a deposition notice and subpoena for documents related to One Championship’s financial data relating to its promotion of live MMA events.

Hume’s lawyer has opposed the subpoena and request for documents citing the subpoena is not valid and the documents request information from a foreign corporation. Hume argues that he “is not authorized to comment on behalf of One Championship” or that he “lacks personal knowledge.”

The Plaintiffs are interested in taking Hume’s deposition as he produced a declaration in which he stated “One Championship is not a minor league or feeder league for the UFC” and “competes with Zuffa to sign professional MMA fighters.” According to Plaintiffs’ motion, “[t]he purpose of these averments, made on One Championship’s behalf, is to controvert elements of Plaintiffs’ claims and to support Zuffa’s defenses.”

Despite extensive meet and confers, the parties are at an impasse. Hume’s lawyers had offered Hume to be deposed on limited issues and not requiring Hume to produce any documents but Plaintiffs have denied.

Motion to Compel Depo of Matt Hume by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The motion is filed in federal court in Washington state (as this is where Hume lives) and the ordered issued from federal court in Nevada. While it is custom to abide by another jurisdiction’s subpoena, Hume and his attorneys believe that they have a legitimate reason to oppose the subpoena and document requests. It also presents the issue of what Hume may or may not have access to as an officer of OneFC. Certainly, the request for documents is of a corporation outside the jurisdiction but Plaintiffs assert that they have a viable right to the documents and that Hume must produce them. The hearing is set for this Friday (July 28th) so barring a last-minute agreement by the parties we will see what the Washington court rules.

The $21,000 in legal fees reflects the fact of how expensive this litigation is and the fact that Hume’s attorneys believe that they have a legitimate argument to object to the subpoena.

Ex 18 re Fees for Matt Hume Motion to Compel Deposition by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

UFC on Fox 25 draws 1.64 million viewers

July 23, 2017

UFC on Fox 25 drew 1.64 million viewers (according to TV By Numbers) making it the lowest overnight ratings for the company since it began airing fights on Fox.  Despite the news, it tied with NBC’s Dateline for biggest rating for Adults in the 18-49 age range.

UFC Fight Night featured Chris Weidman taking on Kelvin Gastelum in the main event from Long Island, New York.  Notably, their fight was not calculated in the overnight ratings because it started in the overrun.

In terms of overall viewership, UFC on Fox was last in its time slot among the other network shows.  It did draw a 0.6 share among Adults 18-49 and a 3 share making it the best in its 2 hour time slot.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000

 

Payout Perspective:

 This year’s July card did not match last year’s 2.44 million from UFC on Fox 20.  We will see if the added ratings from the overrun will boost the show to over 2 million viewers.  This makes 2 weeks in a row where Fox has aired a live combat sporting event and it has not produced ratings.

UFC on Fox 25 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 22, 2017

UFC on Fox 25 drew 11,198 fans for a gate of 1 million per the UFC post-event.  In addition, Alex Oliveira, Junior Albini, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Lyman Good earned the $50K bonuses for the event on Long Island.

You may recall that last July’s UFC on Fox 20 from Chicago did well with a main event of Holly Holm-Valentina Shevchenko.  The event drew 10,287 for a gate of $1 million.  The event drew 2.975 million viewers which was the biggest ratings for a summer UFC on Fox event in its history.

This year, the event took place at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  It was the company’s first event on Long Island and 4th in New York.

(h/t:  MMA Junkie)

2017 UFC on Fox

UFC on Fox 24: 12,171, $1,081,193

UFC on Fox 23: 13,213, $1,020,434

Payout Perspective:

Based on the configuration of the arena for the event, it looks like this was not a sellout but a solid event nonetheless.  The event is less than the other events this year but on par with each.  We shall see how ratings do for this event tomorrow.

As UFC exclusive negotiating window opens, will WME-IMG renew with Fox?

July 22, 2017

As the three-month exclusive negotiating window with Fox began July 1, The Hollywood Reporter reports on the UFC seeking a huge rights fee deal as its current agreement with Fox is nearing its end.  The article notes that WME-IMG will seek to “dramatically increase” the fees to justify its $4 billion purchase made last year.

The article touches on the point that the UFC is an attractive sports property due to its reach to a youthful, male demographic but also reflects caution with some potential sponsors.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

Reaching that millennial male demographic is one reason UFC has begun to overcome its stigma among media buyers long wary of MMA’s bare knuckle (and sometimes bloody) violence, though not completely. Budweiser and Harley Davidson are UFC sponsors, but the franchise still does not have an automotive sponsor. Ford, which advertises across the Fox Sports portfolio, won’t place ads in UFC programming.

Last year was a good year for the UFC on FS1 based on television ratings as UFC Fight Night averaged near 1 million viewers and the prelims, boosted by 3 PPVs over 1 million buys, also drew over 1.1 million viewers prior to the events.

The article notes that the PPV business, which has dragged this year, will be a sticking point in negotiations.  Since the biggest fights and fighters will be on PPV, a TV deal will not air the likes of Conor McGregor on its network.  Yet, the UFC’s business model is predicated on PPV as its biggest revenue driver despite the fact that it has built out its over the top platform, UFC Fight Pass and FS1 airs a bulk of UFC content.

The UFC’s last two PPVs failed to eclipse 170,000 PPV buys (UFC 212 and UFC 213).  While UFC 211 was a bigger event, there has not been a PPV which has been close to over 300,000 PPV buys.  Next Saturday’s UFC 214 in Anaheim might be the exception with the return of Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier.  The first meeting at UFC 182 rekindled the UFC PPV due to a strong marketing push and that event drew 800,000 solely pushing that fight.

Late last year, the Sports Business Journal indicated that the company was looking for $450 million per year for 10 years.  Currently, the deal is 7 years for $115 million.  Based on the current state of the company (i.e., ratings, events, star power) it will be interesting if that is still what the new owners are looking for.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 214 might be a big PPV in terms of business and the negotiations for a new media rights deal with Fox.  In the coming months, we should hear rumors and rumblings of how negotiations will go.  As a sports property, the UFC is still attractive and for FS1, without the UFC, there will be a major whole in its programming.  NASCAR ratings have been disappointing this year and without the UFC, the network would have to look to other sports/sports properties to fill its void.  It will be interesting to see if the company re-ups prior to the end of the exclusive negotiating period or tries to see if there are other bidders out there.

OneFC receives investment to expand promotion

July 22, 2017

MMA Promotion OneFC has received an injection of cash from venture capital firm Sequoia India and investment firm Mission Holdings according to a report from the New York Times.  According to the promotion, it has raised over $100 million in total cash in its 6 years in existence.

The investment will aid the company make a further push into Asia including Korea, Japan and eventually India.

Payout Perspective:

The investment will help the promotion enlarge its footprint in Asia.  The influx of money reflects the positive momentum of the company and the belief from the investors that the company is on the uptick.  The article indicates that the UFC is attempting to make inroads into Asia despite the fact that OneFC maintains a steady base of events on the continent.

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending July 21st

July 22, 2017

Welcome to another edition of The Ratings Buffet for the week ending July 21st.

Friday

Spike:  Bellator 181:   514,000 viewers; DVR +3: 573,000;  main event average: 775,000 peak at 912,000

Saturday

PBC on Fox 5:00pm-7:00pm ET: 886,000

HBO Boxing After Dark:
Smith v. Barerra: 683,000
Berchelt v. Miura: 617,000
Corrales v. Castellanos: 629,000

PBC on FS1 7:00pm-9:00pm ET: 277,000

Sunday

FS1: UFC Fight Night 3:00pm-5:51pm ET – 113 main card: 402,000
FS1: Prelims: 1:00pm-3:00pm ET ET284,000
FS1: Post-Fight Show: 5:51pm-7:00pm ET 222,0000

Monday

USA: Monday Night Raw (up from last week) 8pm ET 3.14 million viewers; 0.83 A18-49
USA: Monday Night Raw (up from last week) 9pm ET 3.237 million viewers; 0.91 A18-49
USA: Monday Night Raw (up from last week) 10pm ET 3.083 million viewers; 0.86 A18-49

Tuesday

USA: WWE Smackdown (up from last week) 8:00pm ET 2.548 million viewers; 0.65 A18-49 (down from last week)

Wednesday

El Rey: Lucha Underground (down from last week) 8pm ET 73,000, 0.02 A18-49; 9pm ET Replay 51,000, 0.02 A18-49

FS1: PBC on FS1 9pm – 11pm ET 190,000, 0.05 A18-49

Thursday

POP: Impact Wrestling 8:00pm ET: 322,000, 0.07 A18-49

UFC 213 and Bellator NYC underwhelm in PPV returns

July 20, 2017

MMA Fighting reports the estimated buy rates for UFC 213 and Bellator NYC.  Both shows did not do well with each not getting close to 200,000 PPV buys.

UFC 213 earlier this month drew in the range between 125-150,000 PPV buys.  Due to a late scratch by Amanda Nunes, the main event was Robert Whittaker taking on Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title.  Initially, the hope was that this show would be headlined by Georges St. Pierre-Michael Bisping and Cody Garbrandt defending his bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw.  Both fights were scratched leaving Nunes to defend against Valentina Shevchenko.

Bellator NYC, which took place late last month and featured Chael Sonnen taking on Wanderlei Silva drew in the 90-130,000 PPV buy range.  Bellator’s previous PPV in 2014 drew 100,000 buys.

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, according to sources that I have been in touch with UFC 212 (Aldo-Holloway) did better than UFC 213 but only slightly.  The buy rate for UFC 213 is not surprising after the card fell apart although I would have expected it to hit 200,000 PPV buys.  Based on the number of google searches and the ratings from Bellator 180 which preceded the event, the buy rate was expected.  However, it sounds that Bellator is looking to continue to explore more PPV shows.

Ratings for HBOs BAD and PBC on FS1 from Saturday

July 20, 2017

HBO’s Boxing After Dark Saturday night drew 683,000 viewers for its main event on the network per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.   The two other fights on the telecast scored in the 600,000

The event is more than its last Boxing After Dark main event this past January which drew 497,000 viewers.  This past Saturday, Joe Smith, Jr. faced Sullivan Berrera.  Despite being dropped in the first round, Berrera came back to dominate the fight and win a 10-round bout.  In addition, Miguel Berchelt defeated Takashi Miura via unanimous decision and Jerzeel Corrales defeated Robinson Castellanos.

The Berchelt fight drew 617,000 viewers while the Corrales fight drew 629,000.  Both scored 0.21 in the A18-49 demo.

There were three boxing telecasts Saturday.  PBC on Fox drew 886,000 viewers on the network,while  PBC on FS1 served as an add-on to the Fox event.  The show on FS1 drew 277,000 viewers and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo for a two-hour telecast which aired immediately after the Fox show.  The Fox show peaked above 1 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

 

PBC on Fox drew less than a million and the FS1 event did as well as it usually does on the network.  The shows on HBO had modest viewership with each of the three fights drawing in the 600s range which is good for the network after losing much of its prized fighters since Bob Arum signed a tv deal with ESPN.

Hunt’s attorneys file opposition to dismissing his First Amended Complaint against UFC, White and Lesnar

July 19, 2017

Attorneys for Mark Hunt have filed their opposition brief to Zuffa, Dana White and Brock Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss his First Amended Complaint.  In the brief, they cite specific instances in which they addressed the court’s concerns regarding their allegations.

The brief specifically claims that it has provided adequate information on damages and a proximate cause to go forward with its Civil RICO claim.

Plaintiffs Opposition to MTD FAC by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Hunt addresses the court’s concerns with respect to the Civil RICO claim alleged by Hunt.  They rely on a case, Mendoza vs. Zirkle Fruit, Co., in which the defendants in that case sought to manipulate the work force by hiring undocumented laborers to depress wages of documented workers.  In this case, Hunt’s lawyers argue that the UFC and White wrongfully manipulated the market to depress wages of clean fighters by hiring doping fighters.

They also cite the Mendoza case to dispel the Defendants’ argument that there could be other plausible proximate causation for Hunt’s alleged damages.  They claim Mendoza did not dismiss the plaintiffs’ civil RICO claims although there were alternative theories to the damages from the plaintiffs.  Thus, as Hunt relies on Mendoza, the Court cannot dismiss Hunt’s civil RICO claim solely because there are alternative or intervening causes for Hunt’s financial losses.

Also in his brief, regarding his Breach of Contract claim, Hunt argues the clause in the New Zealander’s contract which states that Zuffa shall be bound by the rules and regulations of the Athletic Commission was breached.  In the first hearing on dismissing the original complaint, the Court questioned what specific part of the contract Hunt alleged was breach as it was not clear to the Court from the original complaint.

 

Payout Perspective:

We detailed the Court hearing and how the Judge was skeptical about Hunt’s claims.  We shall see if the arguments supplied in this Opposition Brief persuades the Court that the First Amended Complaint has changed.  In this brief, Hunt argues that it should be entitled to a shot at discovery, which is being challenged in a different motion.  It also requests another shot at amending the complaint if the Court determines the allegations are not sufficient.  We shall see how that goes.  .

 

 

UFC Fight Night 113 draws 402,000 viewers on FS1

July 18, 2017

Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 113 drew 402,000 viewers on FS1 for its afternoon of fights per Nielsen.  The prelims which preceded the main card registered 284,000 while the post-fight show on FS1 had 222,000 viewers.

The near 3-hour main card featured Gunnar Nelson against Santiago Ponzinibbio.  The Brazilian scored an upset win.  The event from Glasgow, Scotland drew 0.13 viewers in the A18-49 category.  The prelims and post-fight show scored 0.08 in the A18-49 category.  The prelims lasted 2 hours while the post-fight aired for 69 minutes to make up for the early-ending main card.

Notably, UFC Fight Night 109 from Sweden this past May drew 496,000 viewers.  It was another Sunday afternoon international event.

Payout Perspective:

Even though it was a Sunday morning/afternoon card, the viewership for this event was low.  It could be due to the volume of MMA events happening in a short period of time as UFC had a PPV last week and is having a Fox card this weekend.  The fact that this is an international card slated in between makes it a forgettable event and with 402,000 viewers it seems like many did forget a UFC card aired this past Sunday.

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