UFC 219: Payout Perspective

January 2, 2018

Welcome to another addition of Payout Perspective.  This time around we are taking a look at UFC 219 taking place in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.

Cyborg defeats game Holm

It took all 5 rounds but Cristane “Cyborg” Justino defeated Holly Holm via unanimous decision.  Holm made Cyborg work for the win but she was still too much for the former women’s Bantamweight champ.

It’s not clear what’s next for Cyborg as she has no equal in a division the UFC made for her.  Amanda Nunes seems like a stretch for Cyborg and Meeghan Anderson is an uncertainty.  Holm will likely go back down to 135 where she can still put on some interesting fights.

Khabib overwhelms Barboza

Khabib Nurmogomedov utterly destroyed Edson Barboza securing 10-8 rounds from all of the judges.  His grappling and ground and pound were devastating and the look on Barboza’s face while on the ground told a story of a fighter’s will be taken away from him.

Assuming that Khabib’s weight cutting issues are in the past, we should see him fight Tony Ferguson and/or Conor McGregor next.  The best scenario for the UFC is for Khabib to fight Ferguson in the spring with the winner going on to face Conor in July at International Fight Week.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

The event drew 13,561 fans for a gate of $1.76 million at the T-Mobile Arena.  In comparison, UFC 213 drew 12,834 for $2.4 million and UFC 216 drew 10,638 for a gate of $677,999.50.  UFC 213 and 216 were the other two events held at the T-Mobile Arena.

Last December’s UFC 207 featuring the return of Ronda Rousey drew 18,533 for a gate of $4.75 million.

Bonuses for UFC 219 went to Cyborg, Holm, Khabib and Tim Elliott.  Cyborg and Holm earned Fight of the Night while Khabib and Elliott earned Performances of the Night.


Purses for the main card fights were disclosed by the Nevada Athletic Commission.  The women’s Featherweight champion earned $500,000 while the challenger drew $300,000.

Other salaries disclosed:

Khabib Nurmogomedov $80,000/$80,000

Edson Barboza $75,000/$75,000 (if Barboza won)

Carlos Condit’s $115,000/$115,000

Neil Magny $70,000/$70,000.

Cynthia Calvillo $41,000/$41,000

Carla Esparza $36,000/$36,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC Embeddeds seemed sporadic this time around as the first one surfaced on Tuesday due to

Christmas being on Monday.  But, there were two Embedded episodes uploaded on Saturday for a total of five episodes.  Either did not have time due to the holiday or not enough content.

The original Netflix Film “Bright” used UFC 219 to promote its movie.  The UFC promoted the event in multiple social media posts.  It appears the UFC was paid by Netflix for the promotion.


In the Octagon, it was the first time we saw Motel 6.  This might be potential for another official sponsor.  In addition, Air Asia, Gruntstyle.com, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Monster Energy, AM/PM, Harley Davidson, Hospital for Special Surgery and Netflix’s original movie, “Bright” were in the Octagon.

EA’s UFC 3 had the fighter prep point.

The Will Smith Netflix movie used UFC 219 as a way to activate and reach out to the UFC demo.  Netflix worked with the UFC in developing a social media campaign which centered around one of the movie’s main characters pretending to become an MMA fighter and facing Heavyweight Travis Browne.  The movie, despite widespread poor reviews, received over 11 million views in just 3 days of availability on Netflix.

It was the last time we will see Budweiser in the Octagon as its sponsorship contract ended and Modelo Especial will now be the official beer maker for the UFC.  The move allows the company to seek hard alcohol sponsors as Anheuser Busch InBev prevented the UFC from taking on hard liquor sponsors.

Metro PCS also had Periscope ancillary coverage featuring Demetrious Johnson.

Toyo Tires sponsored the UFC Embedded episodes.

It looks like you will see Cyborg on 7-11 Big Gulps in the near future.


Odds and ends

Cyborg used UFC 219 to promote a drive to collect toys for local children in Las Vegas.  A good gesture especially during the holidays.

Tito Ortiz made a cameo on the Embedded episodes and the UFC Hall of Famer cornered her during the fight.

Speaking of corners Ben Askren made an appearance in the UFC octagon.

There was the photographer controversy which made me wonder why a gym needs a “photographer” with media credentials. The UFC has now revoked is credentials for good.

More disappointing performance:  Carlos Condit or Cynthia Calvillo.  Condit was expected to come back with avengence after a long layoff.  Calvillo is an up and coming fighter that hope to climb the ratings ladder.  Both lost although I would suggest Condit had the worst outing as he looked nothing like he used to while Calvillo lost a controversial split decision.

There were over 1 million searches for “UFC 219” on Saturday night which ranked second in searches in the United States to “New Year’s Eve 2017”

The UFC weigh-ins on Friday drew 138,000 viewers and 0.04 in the A18-49 on FS1.


Despite being the end of year event, UFC 219 starved from a lack of buzz.  But the over 1 million searches for UFC 219 may mean that there were more casual fans looking for the event than originally estimated.  Cyborg-Holm does not feel like a huge PPV event although I will estimate this event draws between 250K-300K buys.

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