UFC 223: Payout Perspective

April 13, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 223 which took place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Iaquinta fills in to take on Khabib

The main event was to be Tony-Khabib and then Max Holloway and Khabib, but eventually Al Iaquinta, who was to face Paul Felder, filled in to the main event spot.  As one might expect, Khabib’s wrestling was too much for Iaquinta despite some moments that may have had him in trouble.  Khabib called out Georges St Pierre for November’s big 25th Anniversary show this fall.  Whether or not we will ever see Tony-Khabib remains a mystery and then there’s the potential for a huge fight against Conor McGregor once his legal issues are sorted out.

Namajunas defeats Jedrzejczyk in rematch

Rose Namajunas proved that her first win against Jedrzejcyk was not a fluke as she won most of the exchanges with the former champ to retain her title.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

The event at the Barclay’s Center drew 17,026 for a gate of $3,007,108.12 according to the UFC announcement post-event.

$50,000 bonuses went to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chris Gruetzemacher, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak. The Canadian with the fanny pack had an impressive submissive victory over Evan Dunham.  Gruetzemacher defeated Joe Lauzon via corner stoppage after 2 dominating rounds and Zabit and Bochniak stole the show with a back and forth affair.  Zabit still did more to win the fight but Bochniak put up a game effort.

UFC Prelims and other ratings

The UFC Prelims drew 892,000 viewers.  It was up 23% from the UFC 210 Prelims last April per Nielsen.  The Prelims had an average minute audience of 7,131.  The Prelims peaked on FS1 with 1,057,000 viewers in the last quarter of the telecast.

In addition, the UFC Prefight show drew 373,000 viewers and the Postfight show garnered 138,000 viewers.  On Friday, the weigh-ins on FS2 drew 47,000 and the replay later that night on FS1 drew 128,000 viewers.

The Conor McGregor Show

After Khabib Nurmogomedov’s camp ran into Artem Lobov in the hotel during Fight Week, Conor McGregor and his crew came to UFC Media Day at the Barclay’s Center to get revenge.  As most know, it ended with McGregor trying to get onto Khabib’s bus and throwing a dolly through a window.  The fifth episode of Embedded had a first-hand account of the attack.  As a result, Michael Chiesa was cut on his forehead and Ray Borg had shards in his eye.  As a result, Chiesa’s fight with Anthony Pettis was called off and Ray Borg’s fight with Brandon Moreno was cancelled.  In addition, Artem Lobov was taken off the card for discipline purposes.  As a result, his opponent Alex Caceres was taken off the card as well.

Sponsorships

Motel 6 was once again in the Octagon as one might suggest that the company may be closer to being an official sponsor of the UFC.  In addition, HSS, AMC’s Into the Badlands, Gruntstyle.com, BodyArmor, MetroPCS, Modelo, Harley Davidson, 7-11, EA UFC 3, Toyo Tires and Monster had the center of the Octagon.

The UFC Prep Point was sponsored by EA’s UFC 3 with the tag line, “Become the GOAT”

The Embedded episodes were presented by AMC’s “Into the Badlands.”

Odds and Ends

Jimmy Smith, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik did a very good job on the broadcast.  Smith’s addition to the broadcast team has been seamless.

UFC 223 drew 200,000 searches on Sunday after the event.  Wrestlemania 2018 drew over 1 million searches.

Kyle Bochniak was introduced as being a pit fighter.  It was the first time I heard someone having a discipline as a pit fighter.

Conclusion

According to The Wrestling Observer’s early estimates, the UFC 223 buy rate is higher than the UFC 222’s 210K-260K estimate but lower than UFC 220’s 350K viewers.  This has to be seen as a good since the main event was uncertain even a day before the event.  If the event ends up around 300K viewers, you might infer that many viewers already were purchasing the PPV regardless of the main event and you might argue that the women’s bantamweight co-main event drew many to purchase the card.

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