UFC 213: Payout Perspective

July 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 213 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Whittaker wins interim middleweight title

Robert Whittaker won a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero to win the interim middleweight title. Originally, a co-main feature, it took over as the last fight of the show when Amanda Nunes was reportedly hospitalized and could not fight Saturday night.

Romero tired and Whittaker was able to take advantage. One of Whittaker’s cornermen almost suffocated him with the black Reebok champion shirt during his post-fight interview. Also, Michael Bisping entered the Octagon to do a WWE-style promo on Whittaker. The two may fight after Bisping-GSP in November at MSG (likely to happen) so their fight might not happen until International Fight Week 2018.

With the UFC announcing that it is returning to Australia in November could Whittaker return to defend his title at that point?

Nunes withdraws leaving void for main event

If you watched the Embedded episodes for this event, you saw Amanda Nunes in a self-sauna in her hotel room.  Everything seemed fine as she was on weight on Friday morning.  But news Saturday morning of an illness and the immediate thought was about weight-cutting issues.  However, it was chronic sinusitis that led to the main event being cancelled.  Valentina Shevchenko will have to wait until Nunes gets better but it put off the main event of International Fight Week which apparently didn’t sit well with Dana White.  As promoter, having a fighter bail on a main event due to an issue which seems minimal compared to other injuries, is infuriating considering this is the second year in a row that a last-minute change occurred.  But, for Nunes, her career and livelihood was on the line.  She is an independent contractor and if she were to have lost due to an illness, there’s no guarantee she receives a rematch.  Sure, she lost out on her fight purse but this is the long versus short term view.

While White says he will not trust Nunes again with a main event spot, he’s said the same about Jon Jones who is headlining later this month. If Nunes comes back and defeats Shevchenko like she did Tate and Rousey I assume all will be forgiven.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romer drew Fight of the Night while Rob Font and Chad Laprise scored Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages. Each earned $50K bonuses.

Despite the last minute scratch and lack of big fights on this card, UFC 213 drew the second-highest attendance and gate for 2017 with $2.4 million for 12,834. Only UFC 211 in Dallas this past May drew higher numbers with 17,834 for a gate of $2,662,645.

UPDATED:  Salaries

Alistair Overeem topped the salaries for the event with $800,000.  You can see more of the salaries here.

Promotion of the Fight

There were some sponsor activations for UFC 213 but it seemed that this event lacked buzz of the past July International Fight Weeks. The Embedded appeared to start later than usual in a fight week and there were only 5 episodes as opposed to the 6 that are usually put out there. This could be due to the Nunes news. Despite this, the episodes were sponsored by Budweiser.

There were some other sponsorship activation which we detail below.

Sponsorships

A couple new sponsors in the Octagon this month including Performance Inspired Nutrition and Gruntstyle.com.  Grunt Style is a Patriotic-Inspired Apparel company although the signage in the Octagon was rather bland.  The UFC sent out a press release the last week of June announcing that Performance-Inspired Nutrition would be the “Official Sports Supplement” of the UFC.  The partnership means that they will provide the supplements at the UFC Performance Institute in Vegas.

Performance-Inspired also sponsored the Performance of the Night Bonuses

Also, an ad for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for Fight Pass.

Also, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Monster Energy, 7-Eleven, Toyo Tires and the movie, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” were all in the Octagon with Monster Energy having the middle.

MetroPCS also did some live streaming with Forrest Griffin and Demetrious Johnson analyzing the UFC 213 card. There was also a contest for a chance to win UFC or Samsung gear.

UFC is offering a mobile video game capitalizing on the esports/mobile game space.

Toyo Tires aired a new commercial featuring UFC fighters which included Anthony Pettis and Paige VanZant. Toyo Tires also sponsored post-event backstage interviews including this one with Dana White.

Odds and ends

Michael Johnson-Justin Gaethje was the fight of the weekend. His fight style is not long for this sport but he should get a top 10 lightweight next.

UFC 213 Countdown drew 116,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday Night per Nielsen.

MetroPCS had new commercials with Sage Northcutt and Demetrious Johnson. Maybe the UFC is making good with Johnson.

Here’s the portable sauna that Nunes used in episode 5 of the Embedded series. It only goes for $179.

If all UFC contracted athletes can use the Performance Institute, why don’t they especially if they need treatment or would like to do non-specific training.

The get-in price of UFC 213 as of Saturday afternoon of the event was $80 with a lot of tickets left on Tickemaster. The going price on SeatGeek was an $86 get-in price.

At the TUF 25 Finale weigh-ins, it looked like Tom Gallicchio had sponsors on his shorts.

The UFC 214 official promo is great.

UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2

The official promo for #UFC214: Daniel Cormier vs Jon "Bones" Jones 2.Enjoy.

Posted by UFC on Sunday, July 9, 2017

It was announced during the broadcast that Nevada has yet to agree to the Unified Rules of MMA.

Reebok should go with a v-neck shirt to put over fighters after their bouts for the simple fact it’s hard to put them over your head.  Robert Whittaker was almost choked out by his own corner man by putting on his black Reebok champ shirt.

The internet always wins:

UFC 213 google searches drew over 200,000 on Saturday night. Google searches for “UFC” drew over 200,000 which likely may be attributed to the cancelled fight and Dana White’s subsequent comments. I don’t think we can extrapolate that all of these searches were related to people buying the PPV.

Conclusion

It’s hard to think that the removal of Amanda Nunes could impact PPV buy rates. But, a show that could have done 300,000 PPV buys is likely doing something around 250,000 if lucky. Whittaker-Romero are not main-eventers and the lack of an actual (not interim) title on the card likely hurt. With over 200,000 google searches on Saturday night, I would suggest this PPV draws between 200-250,000 PPV buys.

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