Commission grants “one-time” exception to allow 8oz gloves for Mayweather-McGregor

August 16, 2017

At its monthly commission meeting, Nevada has approved 8-ounce gloves for Mayweather-McGregor for Saturday, August 26th.  The vote among commission members was unanimous.

The change departs from its longstanding rule of 10-ounce gloves for fights at 154 pounds and above.  There were three stipulations that went along with this waiver of the rule.  First, the gloves will be inspected by NSAC Chairman Anthony Marnell and executive director Bob Bennett, the gloves must be submitted to the NSAC after the fight and those gloves being used for a study on glove size conducted by the NSAC.

It was noted in the commission discussion that this would be a “one-time exception.”

MMA Junkie has the video below:

Payout Perspective:

The debate on the glove issue deals with the potential for bigger fighters to cause more damage with smaller gloves. With the passage, it would seem that McGregor would have an advantage. It could mean that a knockout could happen more so than with 10 ounce gloves. For the cynic, it also draws more appeal with the potential that McGregor could score a huge upset. Honestly, I did not think there would be a problem with passage. Unfortunately, fighter safety sometimes takes a backseat to entertainment value and money. This is going to be a huge money fight and the fighters and promoters are seeking as many people to open their wallets for it, regardless of the potential safety issues.

Frank Mir signs with Bellator

August 15, 2017

Frank Mir has announced that he has signed a deal to fight for Bellator MMA.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion announced his plans via his podcast.

Mir was issued a two-year suspension by USADA after testing positive for a banned substance.  Mir claims the positive test may have been a result of eating kangaroo meat while in Australia.  He fought Mark Hunt in March 2016 in Australia.

Mir announced his release from the UFC contract on July 9th.

He stated that he signed with Bellator because he did not want an exclusive deal.  He stated that his options came down to the Viacom-owned company and ACB, Absolute Championship Berkut.  He stated that he has a broadcast deal with ACB.

He noted on the podcast that he will be paid more in Bellator than he did in the UFC.  He has a 4 fight deal with Bellator.  He stated that his contract includes a “Right of First Refusal” with Bellator with a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that he would be able to solicit offers and fight with other promotions.

Mir’s last reported payout from a UFC fight was his second-to-last fight at UFC 191 where he made $200,000 in a loss to Andrei Arlovski.

Mir noted that he was unhappy with the Reebok deal and would be able to solicit sponsors again.

Payout Perspective:

Mir is 38 years old and has not looked good in his last couple of fights with the UFC.  But, he still is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion that the company can promote.  Mir’s explanation of not wanting tot be pinned down to an exclusive deal with a promotion probably reflects his concern of not being able to maximize his limited time left in MMA.  The good news, is that he will likely make a fluid transition into broadcasting.  In my opinion, he is one of the better analysts of MMA based on his days in the WEC.  It will be interesting to see how Bellator deals with Mir’s two-year USADA suspension.  Based on his suspension, he would not be able to fight until April 8, 2018.  Will the company allow him to fight prior to this or will they utilize him in more of a promotional role until then?

Alliance MMA posts positive 2nd Quarter financial results

August 15, 2017

Alliance MMA reported its second quarter revenue and things about to be looking up.  The publicly traded company reported 48% growth in revenue on Monday.

According to a company release announcing its results it posted a 48% increase in revenue over the previous quarter, “based in part on the increment contribution of our most recent acquisitions,” per Paul Danner, Alliance MMA’s CEO.  Danner noted that the revenue showed positive momentum toward achieving “a cash-flow positive position in the not too distant future.”

Alliance MMA has 11 regional promotions in its stable and is building toward a goal of having regional promotions in the top 20 domestic media markets.  It also aims to have at least 125 professional MMA events per year.

According to CFO John Price, the collective contribution of its infrastructure of its electronic ticket platform CageTix.com, fighter management firm SuckerPunch Entertainment and regional MMA events resulted in a 43% operating margin and a 14% increase over the first quarter of the year.  Price also noted that it had a “capital raise of approximately $1,500,000” to support its ongoing acquisition program.

Payout Perspective:

The results are good news for a company that has experienced a dip in its stock and securities lawsuits due to an alleged misrepresentation in reporting.  Notably, one of those lawsuits was voluntarily dismissed according to its 10-Q and the company states that the other lacks merit.  However, it appears that the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are determining who would become the lead plaintiff in a possible class action.  Despite glowing results, the stock on the NASDAQ is up slightly as of this writing Tuesday morning at $1.40.  It has a market cap of slightly over 10 million.

Report indicates former UFC fighter indicted for match-fixing

August 14, 2017

According to a Korean news outlet, former UFC lightweight Tae Hyun Bang has been indicted accused of match-fixing.  Korean prosecutors have filed charges against the MMA fighter stemming from a fight in 2016 in South Korea.

Bang is accused of taking a bribe of almost $88,000 if he lost his fight to Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79 in November 2015.  However, according to a swing in betting lines, UFC officials warned Bang prior to the fight of match-fixing.  Bang won via split decision and according to the report, he changed his mind in fixing the fight.  Bang was the favorite at the time of the fight but a last minute swing in odds made him into a massive underdog.

According to MMA Junkie, Bang received death threats from organized crime figures that had bet on him losing the fight to Kuntz.  Junkie also notes that Bang denied knowledge of match-fixing.

This is not the first time in recent memory that the UFC has been the subject to possible match fixing.  In Sydney, Australia at UFC 193 in November 2015, there were concerns of corruption on the card.  Recall, this was the Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey main event.  There were concerns by gambling authorities of “irregularities.”

Payout Perspective:

There is no timeline on Bang’s legal issues in South Korea.  However, gambling and the UFC are tied together considering the use of betting lines when discussing and previewing fights.  It’s likely fixing fights will not occur on main events where everyone is looking at the betting lines.  Rather, it would happen with smaller, less scrutinized bouts where most are not eyeing the betting.  Key to this is the fact that the fighters are likely not making money and a lucrative bribe would be considered more than a fighter making more than the minimum 10K and 10K.  It will be interesting to see if the UFC attempts to monitor match-fixing more in the future.

Sponsors gear up for Summerslam this Sunday

August 14, 2017

The biggest WWE event of the summer occurs this Sunday as Summerslam will take place on Sunday, August 19th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The  Sports Business Journal reports on the sponsors that are using the event as an activation for its brand.

The event will be co-presented by KFC and Cricket Wireless.  Also, eSports property Rocket League makes its first appearance at Summerslam.  The property had been present on WWE broadcasts and recent PPVs.

In addition, DiGiorno pizza and video game maker 2K will be returning as sponsors for the event.

Dolph Ziggler will be in a commercial for Cricket Wireless which will premiere during the event which will air on national TV thereafter.  It will also host an anti-bullying campaign.  KFC will do more of an integration with the event as it will be woven into skits during Summerslam featuring the KFC Colonel.

Rocket League, which will be the presenting sponsor for the WWE’s NXT Takeover brand the night before will host a tournament featuring WWE performers on the day of Summerslam.

DiGiorno will launch a new product which will be featured across WWE social platforms.

For video game players, 2K will launch WWE2K18 on Friday in Manhattan at event featuring several WWE performers.

The article notes that the WWE has seen a 25% increase in partnership revenue this year.

Payout Perspective:
The allure of partnering with the WWE for this event is its robust social media presence and its crossover appeal.  These brands recognize the demos of the WWE and are willing to work with them (and vice versa) more than just plastering logos on the broadcast.  Notably, KFC’s use of WWE performers in a skit during Summerslam.  The partnerships reflect the WWE’s continued efforts to increase revenues through partnerships.

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending August 11th

August 12, 2017

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending August 11th was highlighted by Saturday night’s UFC and Top Rank Boxing which went head to head.

Friday

ESPN: Golden Boy Boxing 9:00-11:09pm ET 415,000 viewers, 0.13 A18-49

Saturday

FS1: UFC 214 Pre-Fight Show: 7:26-8:00pm ET 208,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

FS1:  UFC Fight Night Prelims 8:00-10:00pm ET 633,000 viewers, 0.20 A18-49

FS1: UFC Fight Night 10:00-1:08am ET 859,000 viewers, 0.32 A18-49

FS1: UFC Fight Night Post Live 1:08am-2:08am ET 327,000 viewers, 0.11 A18-49

ESPN Top Rank Boxing:  11:45pm ET, 728,000 viewers, 0.32 A18-49

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.314M viewers (up from last week)

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.263M viewers (up from last week)

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 3.144M viewers (up from last week)

Tuesday

USA WWE Smackdown 8:00pm-10:00pm ET 2.584M viewers, 0.80A18-49

Wednesday

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 103,000 viewers, 9pm ET 56,000 viewers

Thursday

 PopTV: Impact Wrestling, 8:00pm-10:00pm 277,000 viewers, 0.07 in A18-49

UFC applies for Co-Promotion for Mayweather-McGregor

August 11, 2017

The UFC has applied to become a co-promoter for the Mayweather-McGregor fight on August 26th in Las Vegas.  Originally, the UFC indicated that it would only be in a supportive role, but now this does not seem to be the case.  The Nevada State Athletic Commission will hear the issue at next week’s monthly meeting.

Mayweather Promotions was the only promoter listed for the fight with Showtime as the broadcast distributor in the United States.

MMA Fighting talked to the state commission’s Executive Director Bob Bennett on the matter.  He indicated that the UFC would not need a separate license to promote boxing in Nevada and that it would need to become an official co-promoter for the event in order to pay McGregor for the fight.

A decision will happen on Wednesday when the commission meets.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps we now know the reason for the “Zuffa Boxing” shirt White wore at the Toronto stop of the Mayweather-McGregor press tour.  Yet, the application at such a late date is odd considering that something like this would have been squared away when they signed the fight.  Further, Bennett’s

Mayweather-McGregor may use 8 ounce gloves

August 10, 2017

The Nevada State Athletic Commission will be looking into changing the glove size for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight at its next meeting on August 16th.  Mayweather has requested that the glove size be changed from the typical 10-ounce gloves for the 147-pound weight division to 8 ounce gloves.

In MMA, the glove weight is four ounces.

In a report on BoxingScene.com, Association of Boxing Commission rules dictate that boxers must wear 8 ounce gloves contested at the 147 pound weight limited and lower.  Above the 147 pound require boxers to wear the 8 ounce gloves.

Mayweather went on social media to make it known that he is making the request for the change.

Don’t believe what you hear in the media. Don’t believe what you hear on blog sites. If it’s not coming directly from me, then it’s not true. I’m telling McGregor, “Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves”. McGregor can fight in any brand he prefers or chooses. I’ll be wearing 8 oz Grant gloves. Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate. Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see. @grantworldwide @mayweatherpromotions

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

According to the report, the parties may have a right to submit a waiver before the commission to use the 8 ounce gloves and explain the reasons why.  The commission will then vote on the waiver.  However, it appears that this has rarely, if ever, has happened.

This is not the first time Mayweather has sparred with his opponent over gloves.  He disputed the use of Everlast gloves by Marcos Maidana in their first fight in 2014.

Payout Perspective:

At first, it seemed like a ploy with Floyd knowing that the contract stated it was 147 pounds.  But now – it still seems like a plea for fans to watch the fight.  The public relations aspect here is that Floyd wants to make it clear that Conor McGregor has a chance of beating him.  The smaller gloves are supposed to be advantageous for the MMA fighter.  With most analysts acknowledging that McGregor has little, if any chance, the parties are thinking of something to make it seem more competitive.  The 8 ounce gloves provide some semblance of leveling a playing field with the opportunity for McGregor to knock Floyd out.  I would assume this happens as the commission will likely allow the sides to proceed so long as each party agrees.

Zuffa to hand over 6 documents previously privileged in Antitrust lawsuit

August 9, 2017

The Court in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit has reviewed 86 documents from the company’s privilege log which identifies documents that it is withholding due to Attorney Client Privilege.  Of the 86, it has ordered it hand over 6 documents from the list.

The Order, dated August 4, 2017, relates to an Emergency Motion to Compel Production of Documents Withheld on Privilege Ground and for Other Relief.  Plaintiffs had requested the motion be decided before depositions scheduled in mid-July and early August.  The Court could not comply with the request but required Zuffa to produce 25% of Dana White’s documents withheld on the basis of privilege for “in camera” review.  This essentially means that the Court reviews the withheld documents to determine whether or not they are privileged.  Due to the voluminous amount of documents, the Court requested a sliver of the documents.  Of 86 total documents reviewed, 6 were deemed not privileged.

Order re In Camera Review by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

In general, documents that are cited as Attorney client privilege are those in which ask an attorney for its legal impression, opinion or asking for legal advice.

The Order below details the documents.  Briefly, they are:

  1. An August 16, 2011 press release which UFC claimed was reviewed by legal counsel. The release was about an agreement reached with Fox.  Likely, the news of the rights agreement with the network.
  2. An October 3, 2006 email chain between Kirk Hendrick (UFC legal counsel) to Lorenzo Fertitta which appears to be about a bonus for Mirko CroCop for signing a contract.
  3. An October 8, 2007 email chain regarding a “Joe Hand Update.” Hand is the PPV distributor for the UFC.  It appears to be negotiations between the two sides related to a new deal.
  4. A May 23, 2003 email which claims to be providing legal advice regarding broadcasting agreements. It is an email from Hendrick to Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White regarding “iN Demand and DirecTV paying for Lindell (sic) vs. Ortiz?”  According to the Order it requests, “input from the recipients about Mr. Hendricks’s proposal for “aggressively” telling Zuffa’s PPV partners to reduce their fees for major fights.  The last paragraph of the email does include legal advice which the Court will require Zuffa to redact prior to disclosing.
  5. A September 29, 2008 email from Hendrick to Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White, Lawrence Epstein and John Mulkey regarding “our final draft” of an agreement with Affliction. It relates to an agreement “Zuffa believes it reached with Affliction.”  It is hard to decipher whether the acquisition was related to the clothing brand or short-lived fight promotion or something else.
  6. An October 10, 2005 email chain which discusses the dollar amount of a media buy Zuffa will purchase from DirecTV. There were portions of the chain that was produced but an email between Bonnie Werth of the UFC and Hendrick were not disclosed.  The Court determined that Werth did not ask for legal advice from Hendrick and privilege does not apply.  Werth discusses Zuffa’s evaluation of DirecTV net revenue from 2003 to 2005 without UFC media buys and provides the media buys Zuffa is willing to purchase.

Payout Perspective:

In certain instances, in the discovery process, when documents which include an attorney on them or in the email chain, it is flagged by attorneys as the potential as having attorney-client privilege.  Did the UFC withhold documents on purpose or were they being aggressive with its protection of possible privileged information?  Maybe both.  Notably, the Court could only review a smattering of documents and thus there might be documents UFC has in its possession that are still withheld that should not be.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night draws 728,000 viewers

August 8, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 728,000 according to Nielsen.  The event featured Vasyl Lomachenko as he handily took care of Miguel Marriaga.

There was an overlap with the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies which may have skewed the ratings.  Still, the main event went up against UFC Fight Night’s main event of Pettis-Moreno.

The ratings are less than Top Rank’s debut last month with Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn.  The event drew 3.1 million viewers and peaked with 4.4 million viewers.  Saturday night’s event was much less than that.

On Friday night ESPN presented Golden Boy drew 415,000 viewers and 0.13 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.

Payout Perspective:

One has to think this is a disappointing rating for Top Rank as the UFC, with a weaker card, outdrew the debut of Lomachenko on cable TV.  It’s hard to explain why UFC Fight Night did better than someone that is considered one of boxing’s best at this time.  Perhaps the run-up for Mayweather-McGregor or combat sports fans are conditioned to watch UFC Saturdays, but boxing did not draw Saturday night.

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