PBC on Fox draws 880,000 viewers

April 29, 2018

PBC on Fox drew 880,000 viewers on Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.

PBC on Fox aired from 8:30-10pm and drew 0.2 in the A18-49 demo and a 1 share.  It featured Josesitio Lopez beating Miguel Cruz in the feature event.

The ratings are the second-lowest of a PBC on Fox event as it drew 866,000 viewers in July 2017.  This past October’s event drew 1.3 million viewers.  It mustered 1.06 million viewers opposite the Winter Olympics this past February.

The event went up against the NHL Playoffs featuring the Las Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks.  The game drew 1.84 million viewers.  It also went up against a rerun of American Idol which drew 2.31 million viewers and Ransom on CBS which won the 8pm hour with 2.56 million viewers overall.

Payout Perspective:

It was a combat sports-heavy night on Saturday with 3 televised boxing events and Bellator.  Not to mention a Game 7 in basketball and the aforementioned NHL Playoffs.  So, it wasn’t surprising that PBC on Fox did not draw well last night as it seemed buried among all of the sports on television.

Man who claimed he was hurt by a Conor McGregor thrown bottle at UFC 202 presser gets case moved to Federal Court

April 27, 2018

The man that has sued Conor McGregor for personal injuries he claims he sustained while working security at the UFC 202 press conference which saw McGregor engage in a bottle throwing war with Nate Diaz and his entourage.

The man, William Pegg, claimed medical bills of $3,065.96 in a demand letter dated December 13, 2016.  In addition to the medical bills, Mr. Pegg wanted an additional $225,000.00.  McGregor’s reps at Paradigm Sports denied liability and threatened to bring an action against Pegg’s attorneys for filing a frivolous lawsuit if it decided to file a lawsuit.

Plaintiff’s Demand Letter to Conor McGregor by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Pegg, of course, filed a lawsuit on March 28, 2017 claiming negligence and battery for throwing “unopened beverage cans” during the press conference.  He claimed that the cans hit him in the back. Pegg sued McGregor and McGregor Sports & Entertainment, LLC.  He originally sought damages of $15,000 in addition to punitive and medical bills.

On March 20, 2018, Pegg Amended his Complaint to add a cause of action for unjust enrichment citing that McGregor profited from the press conference incident and as a result Pegg should receive restitution.

First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


On April 10, 2018, Plaintiff’s filed an Offer of Judgment with the state court for $90,000.  The Offer of Judgment allows for the Defendant the opportunity to essentially take the offer within 10 days of the filing.  If not, and Plaintiff receives a more favorable judgment than $90,000, the Plaintiff may recoup legal fees and costs.  The purpose of the Offer of Judgment is to facilitate settlement.

However, with the Offer of Judgment, McGregor decided to remove the case to federal court.  With an amount in excess of $75,000 and diversity of jurisdiction (Pegg a Nevada citizen, McGregor’s company located in California), Federal Court may retain jurisdiction.  A removal to Federal Court is automatic and must be remanded by the non-moving party for the state court to retain jurisdiction.

Plaintiff, seeking the state court to retain jurisdiction, has filed an emergency motion to remand the case back to state court.  Plaintiff’s attorney claims that McGregor has been uncooperative in the litigation process despite an impending trial date in November 2018.  They also argue that McGregor’s removal to federal court was not timely.

Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


Payout Perspective:

There are advantages for a defendant to move a case to federal court.  First, there are stricter guidelines and rules that are enforced by the judge who are appointed for life.  Second, due to the glut of cases, obtaining a trial date for the case will likely take years.  Based on the information filed, it appears that there is a trial date in state court for this November.  Finally, state court tend to be lax with its rules and admitting evidence which goes to the first advantage in that federal court is much stricter.  The motion to remand will be a tough hurdle for the plaintiff since they’ve already admitted, via its Offer of Judgment, that the value of the claim is in excess of $75,000.  Add to that that McGregor’s company is in California and the plaintiff resides in Nevada and the rules dictate that Federal court retains jurisdiction.  If the case stays in Federal court, its unlikely that the plaintiff will have a trial date this fall as he did in state Court.  Moreover, the opportunity to settle the case swiftly decreases.  Despite the fact that McGregor’s reps have shown their teeth in threatening counterclaims and the like, that’s just saber-rattling which is common in litigation.

MMA Payout will keep you posted.

What was the court thinking in Povetkin-Wilder?

April 26, 2018

The ruling in the Alexander Povetkin-Deontay Wilder case last week was a surprise for many that have been following the case.

Opinion and Order by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


The lawsuit was based upon a drug test which Povetkin failed in lead-up to a fight with Wilder in Russia.  Wilder did not travel to Russia after learning of the failed drug test.  Wilder first sued Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing as a result of Povetkin’s failed test.  Povetkin filed counterclaims against Wilder for failing to go to Russia 7 days prior to the bout date to which Povetkin claims was a breach of the Bout Agreement.  He also filed defamation claims against Wilder for bad-mouthing the heavyweight after drug test results revealed he took Meldonium.

The Court opinion deciding the Summary Judgment motions relied on the Bout Agreement which was subject to the World Boxing Council’s Rules and Regulations.  It cited language in the Agreement which stated that “any dispute or controversy” would be bound by the Rules and Regulations of the WBC.

Another layer of this dispute revolves around purse money placed in escrow for the fight.  Wilder had written the escrow company to hold the money until a court decided the outcome.  Povetkin and World of Boxing objected to this and sued claiming a violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  In addition, they claimed that Wilder had violated the terms of the Bout Agreement and should be subject to a liquidated damages clause of $2.5 million.  Wilder was due $4.5 million to fight Povetkin while Povetkin was due $1.9 million.  In addition, there was a $715,000 bonus for the winner.

In February 2017, a jury just took 32 minutes to determine that Povetkin took the banned substance Meldonium post-January 1, 2016, however that did not mean much in the outcome of this Summary Judgment motion.

One of the overarching issues in the lawsuit as to who is to blame for the failed fight in Russian in May 2016.  You might infer from the news of a failed drug test from Povetkin that it was the Russian.  However, Povetkin claimed that Wilder’s failure to appear in Russia forced the hand of the regulating body, the WBC, to call off the fight.

The WBC Bout Agreement takes precedent here as the Court examines the contract in applying basic contract principles.  But in its application, there seem to be things that don’t make sense.

“We begin by noting that the Bout Agreement contains no language mandating that each fighter refrain from ingesting banned substances.”

The inference one might yield from this sentence of the Court opinion is that tis ok to used banned substances.  Based on this, the Court held that Povetkin did not breach the Bout Agreement because it cannot conclude when/if he ingested the banned substance Meldonium. Obviously, this is opposite the jury finding.

The good news for Wilder is that there was no finding of a breach of the Bout Agreement when Wilder did not go to Russia for the fight with Povetkin.  The Court notes, “[t]here is simply no evidence that the WBC’s postponement decision was a “normal or foreseeable consequence” of Wilder’s actions, or that Wilder’s acts otherwise caused the WBC’s decision.”  Povetkin and World of Boxing sought $2.5 million in liquidated damages that was part of the Escrow Agreement.  “While the WOB Parties argue that it was Wilder’s failure to appear in Moscow, rather than Povetkin’s positive test result, that caused the WBC to postpone the Bout…no reasonable jury could indulge in the speculation that would be required to conclude that this was so,” stated the Court opinion.  It went on to state, “[B]ecause a reasonable jury could not find that any breach by the Wilder Parties proximately caused the WOB Parties’ damages, the Wilder Parties’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the WOB Parties’ claim for breach of the Bout Agreement is granted.”

As for the escrow funds, World of Boxing is entitled to its release held in escrow but no interest because no judgment was entered against Wilder.

The claims for defamation filed by Povetkin remain although they may be dismissed pending further movement in this case.

The Court opinion seems to fly in the face of the original jury finding that Povetkin took Meldonium post-January 2016.  The opinion seems to lean entirely on the WBC Agreement for its determination on its procedure in determining the status of Povetkin based upon his drug tests.  The Court quotes WBC Rules and Regulations when it notes, “the WBC may in its discretion consider all factors in making a determination regarding responsibility, relative fault, and penalties, if any.”

The WBC did not issue a ruling on Povetkin’s positive drug test until August 17, 2016.  It noted that it called the bout off and reserved any further ruling.  It then determined that it was not “possible to ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  After two additional rulings by the WBC which opposed the August 17, 2016 ruling, it overturned the decision and stuck with its August ruling.  It based this on a study showing Meldonium having the ability to stay in one’s system for more than five months.  It also noted Povetkin had negative drug tests six other times.

The WBC seemed to be dragging its feet in this case as it put off the ruling on Povetkin despite the litigation moving ahead.  There’s also the issue of Povetkin’s positive test for ostarine which happened after the lawsuit began.  Yet, the WBC did not penalize him for this and even stressed negative drug tests notwithstanding the two positive tests for Meldonium and ostarine.

This ruling seems ripe for an appeal.  The jury verdict seems to fly in the face of the Court’s ruling last week which seemed to defer to the WBC’s handling of the Povetkin matter.  Wilder’s side may just put this case behind them unless Povetkin is allowed to pursue its defamation claim.

TUF 27 Episode 2 draws 185,000 viewers

April 26, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter season 27 episode 2 averaged just 185,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night.

In the fight of the episode, Brad Katona defeated Kyler Phillips by majority decision.

According to ShowBuzz Daily, it drew 0.06 in the A18-49 demo.  Last week, the debut of TUF 27 drew 200,000 viewers.

Aside from the fight, there were the usual shenanigans that a TUF episode produces.  Pranks between the coaches and a confrontation.  The prank involved pics of Stipe Miocic face in Team Cormier’s locker room.  The confrontation involved Thai Clark and Daniel Cormier exchanging words during a practice.  Cooler heads prevailed and, in the end, the two sparred and had a good laugh.

Payout Perspective:

Its looking really bad for this season of TUF.  We are seeing some really low ratings.  Granted, Wednesday included 3 NBA Playoff Games as well as a Game 7 in the NHL.  But, with the ratings lower than ever before, there’s little hope that this season will even eclipse 400,000 viewers an episode.

USADA open to explaining UFC anti-doping cases

April 26, 2018

USADA has indicated that it may be open to “reasoned decisions” when it comes to resolution of cases with a UFC fighter.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart told MMA Junkie that the agency would be open to providing the underlying facts of a case and provide context for how and why an agency makes the decision.  This would address questions about the reasons behind a resolution of a matter as well as acceptance of a suspension.  Currently, the standard procedure under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy is for USADA to provide a short press release confirming basic facts, a summary of the evidence (e.g., a failed urine test) and the sanction imposed.

The potential to provide more information would provide transparency behind the program and alleviate concern from fighters about USADA.  Of course, the new process would mean more time and resources spent to author these reports.  Also, the UFC has not chimed in on this either.

Payout Perspective:

If “reasoned decisions” would make fighters more willing to work with USADA and feel less threatened about the process, it should happen.  Of course, the time and resources spent to do this would mean additional costs borne upon Zuffa.  This would likely cut into the operational expenses of the company and one might infer you’d see this recouped in other ways.  But, the USADA policy is not going away and anyway to alleviate any concerns with fighters should be looked into.

Does Leslie Smith have standing to sue the UFC?

April 25, 2018

Leslie Smith is threatening legal action against the UFC after the end of her contract with the company.  But does she have legal standing to sue?

Smith’s last fight on her contract was to be against Aspen Ladd this past Saturday in Atlantic City.  However, Ladd missed weight and Smith, well within her rights, refused to fight.  The UFC provided Smith with her show and win purse.  The UFC also determined that they would not re-sign Smith.

The UFC does not always give fighters their show money and win bonus in scenarios where a fighter misses weight.  Vitor Belfort’s fight this past January is an example.  Belfort requested pay after being ready to fight Uriah Hall in St. Louis but Hall dropped out during fight week.

But, the UFC’s move to pay Smith and then decide to let her go seems suspect.  Smith has been outspoken about fighters united to come together for better work conditions.  She has touted Project Spearhead, a movement to encourage fighters to determine whether they should be considered employees and been vocal on social media about better rights for athletes.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Smith indicated that she is considering legal action against the UFC and has even opened up a GoFundMe to help with legal fees.

Payout Perspective:

I’m interested with this strategy by Smith because it gives the UFC time to devise a strategy to deal with this situation.  But, the first question that must be answered is whether she would have standing to sue the UFC.  While it would be great to get the NLRB acting here, the first hurdle for Smith is whether or not she has standing to sue the UFC.    Also, what are her claims?  The UFC paid her out and decided not to re-sign an independent contractor.  While her grievances may indicate issues with the UFC and how it handles its independent contractors, the issue as to whether or not UFC fighters are employees would be hard to prove for Smith.   Clearly, the UFC’s decision (which seems poor since they could have just paid her and decide at a later date to not re-sign her) to let her go may be due to her outspoken views on fighter rights but the legal connection would be hard to prove.

Smith could sue seeking a declaratory judgment which would not grant her money damages but a court ruling clarifying UFC athlete’s status.  But, then again, the question is whether she has standing to sue.  Since she is now a former UFC fighter, she would be requesting a court to seek the status of a group of contractors she no longer belongs to and that would not work.  There is also the possibility that she sues under theory of a constructive dismissal in which due to work conditions, she was terminated although she was not actually fired.   But, based on the facts of the situation (she was paid and not re-signed), that is hard to prove.

These are only a couple theories out there, but with a GoFundMe, a lawsuit is in the near future.

Broner-Vargas on Showtime draws 782,000 viewers

April 24, 2018

The Adrien Broner-Jessie Vargas fight on Showtime Saturday night drew 782,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The fight peaked with 891,000 viewers.

Broner’s last fight on Showtime against Mikey Garcia in August 2017 drew 881,000 viewers.  Earlier last year, his fight against Adrian Granados drew 779,000 viewers.

The other two fights on the telecast ended in knockouts.  First, Gervonta Davis stopped Jesus Cuellar in the third round.  The fight drew 460,000 viewers and peaked with 527,000.

Next, Jermall Charlo dispensed of Hugo Centeno, Jr. via KO in just the second round.  The fight drew 545,000 viewers and peaked with 572,000.

Payout Perspective:

I actually thought Broner would draw bigger than the 782,000 viewers.  Despite his problems outside of the boxing ring, Adrien Broner is one of Showtime’s top draws in the ring.  Outside of Deontay Wilder, Broner is Showtime’s most reliable fighter when it comes to ratings.  Although he came out sluggish, Broner turned it on in the later rounds to garner a draw and likely rematch with Vargas.  The event went up against UFC Saturday night although its unlikely that either telecast drew from another.

UFC Fight Night 128 draws 956,000 viewers, prelims 284,000

April 24, 2018

UFC Fight Night Atlantic City drew 956,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1 according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 561,000 viewers.

The main card featured Kevin Lee’s win over Edson Barboza after doctor stoppage.  The event drew 537,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo for a 0.55 rating.  The prelims featured fight saw Ryan LaFlare get a unanimous decision victory over Alex Garcia.  The prelims drew 284,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.35 rating.

Notably, the card went up against Boxing on Showtime featuring Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas.  However, that fight did not seem to draw a lot of fans away for the UFC event.

The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 169,000 viewers and the post-fight show drew a robust 297,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the second highest Fight Night main card ratings this year.  The pacing, as always for FS1 events, was very slow although there were some interesting finishes in matches mixed in.  The ratings are good considering the lack of any real known stars on this card aside from Frankie Edgar.

Compounding pharmacies cause of 3 UFC fighters’ failed USADA tests

April 23, 2018

Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima have accepted six-month USADA suspensions after their supplements were traced back to compounding pharmacies that allegedly sold tainted supplements.

Compounding pharmacies prepare their medications onsite according to specifications contained in a written prescription instead of receiving their drug inventories like retail pharmacies and drugstores.

Via USADA release:

Despite their claims, the compounding pharmacies, located in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, sold contaminated supplements to Junior dos Santos Almeida and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who each tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, and Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide and anastrozole. These substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

After testing supplements the athletes provided to USADA, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of multiple prohibited substances in the products. Through an ongoing investigation, USADA independently sourced supplements from the compounding pharmacies, which the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed were also contaminated with hydrochlorothiazide, anastrozole, and several additional prohibited substances. Autoridade Brasileira de Controle de Dopagem (the Brazilian national anti-doping agency) and law enforcement agencies in Brazil assisted USADA’s investigation.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the athletes and international authorities in getting to the bottom of this situation, as it will hopefully prevent these problems from occurring in the future,” said Travis T. Tygart, CEO of USADA. “It’s unacceptable that these compounding pharmacies produced contaminated supplements for the public. And it’s another unfortunate example of why athletes must use extreme caution if using nutritional supplements. All too often, supplement products contain undeclared substances, including prohibited drugs, that can be dangerous to an athlete’s health. We are doing all we can to ensure that these types of suppliers are held accountable for introducing dangerous products like these into the marketplace.”

The contaminated products rule set forth in the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the WADA Code provide the opportunity for a reduction in the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility if it is established that the positive test resulted from the use of a contaminated product.

“The rule recognizes that supplements can be a risk and also guards against unfounded and unfair reductions by requiring a thorough investigation of all claims of ‘contamination.’ The rule also ensures that athletes are not overly penalized when they have been diligent in what they use, and when it is proven the source of the positive is from a contaminated product, like in these cases,” Tygart said.

Following USADA’s investigation, Almeida, De Lima, and Nogueira, who all used compounded supplements at the direction of their respective physicians or nutritionists, each accepted reduced six-month periods of ineligibility that ended upon the resolution of their cases. As such, the athletes are immediately eligible to return to competition.

Given the evidence that compounding pharmacies can pose a threat to the health and safety of Brazilian athletes, as well as the public at large, USADA will continue working with law enforcement and regulatory agencies in Brazil to investigate the operations of the offending pharmacies.

Payout Perspective:

This is another example of the issues with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  While there is an overarching standard that the athletes are responsible for what they ingest, this case shows that this standard may be unfair.  JDS was taken off of a fight against Francis Ngannou at UFC 215 in September 2017, giving 8-10 months of unwanted inactivity to clear his name.  It does appear that there was cooperation from all 3 fighters in order to avoid an arbitration to oppose the ruling.  Yet, the time off, more than a 6 month suspension, cannot be regained.

UFC Fight Night 128 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 21, 2018

UFC officials announced the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 128 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Saturday night

The event drew 9,541 for a gate of $923,720.  The bonuses went to David Branch and Siyar Bahadurzada for their finishes and the Fight of the Night went to Merab Dvalishvili and Ricky Simon.  In what many thought was a controversial finish, Sirmon won via Technical TKO when he had choked out Merab at the bell of the final round.  Merab was ahead of the scorecards at that point.

Payout Perspective:

Some nice fights during the night although the pacing of these FS1 cards go at a snail’s pace with prepackaged video montage after another.  The attendance and gate numbers are par for the course with Fight Night events.

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