UFC 224: Payout Perspective

May 16, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

Nunes defeats Pennington

In reality, we all knew this was a mismatch on paper and it played out.  There was nothing much Pennington had to worry Nunes.  The challenger’s nose was busted open and she did not want to go into the 5th round although her corner talked her into it.  But, Pennington,  did not make it out of the 5th as Nunes stopped her in the last round.  There is a lot of controversy regarding whether Pennington’s corner should have let her go another round although she wanted to quit.  A fighter’s safety is paramount, but there is also the unfortunate stigma of quitting.  Also, this fight almost forecloses Pennington from another title shot even if she were to go on a successful winning streak.

Gastelum takes fight from Jacare

Somewhat of a surprise that Kelvin Gastelum was able to take a split decision victory over Jacare Souza in Brazil.  It was an entertaining bout and Gastelum’s standup is great to watch.  Jacare tired dramatically after the first round and Gastelum took advantage.  He should be the next in line to fight for the middleweight title with Romero and Whittaker fighting next month.

Attendance and Bonuses

The event drew 10,696 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The event was the lowest attended since UFC 142 which saw a Aldo-Mendes main event.  The bonuses went to Gastelum-Jacare for Fight of the Night and Lyoto Machida and Oleksiy Oliynyk with Performance Bonuses.

The event drew 10,696 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It was the second-lowest attended PPV card this year.  As is common with Brazilian cards, no gate was announced.

Promotion of the Fight

There were 7 UFC Embeddeds this time around although none of them were all compelling.

The Embedded Episodes were sponsored by the upcoming science fiction movie, Hotel Artemis which includes former WWE superstar and one-time MMA competitor Dave Bautista.


Since this was Brazil, there were a new set of sponsors for this event.  This included Brazilian beer Cerpa Export, in the center of the octagon.  Grupo Souza Lima, a human resources company in Brazil was also in the octagon.  Gruntstyle.com had a spot on the mats which was a first.  Hotel Artemis was also in the Octagon. Also, the Volkswagen Amarok had a corner in the Octagon as well as the Amarok V6 on the mats.


  • The UFC 224 Prelims on FX drew 574,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily. The telecast drew 0.21 in the A18-49 demo and 0.29 in the M18-49 demo.
  • The Prefight Show on FX drew 281,000 viewers and the Post-Fight Show on FS1 drew 218,000 viewers.  The Prefight show trended lower than the prior 3 PPVs while the Post-Fight show drew higher than the last 3.

Odds and Ends

It was the first time two openly gay fighters fought for a championship in MMA.  While this fact may have gone under the radar, it’s definitely a positive in the sport for a variety of reasons.

Mackenzie Dern missing weight by 7 pounds is a bad look for Dern and her prospects of being what the UFC wants her to be.  Fortunately, there is a 125-pound women’s division that she can move up to which we assume she will after this fight.

Brett Okamoto reported that UFC 224 staff were robbed at gunpoint in Brazil outside their hotel.  It does not appear any significant injuries as we haven’t heard anything else from the incident.

Maybe the best example of marketing occurred on the Lomachenko-Linares undercard with Teofimo Lopez during the L dance from the video game Fortnite.


It was a very good night of fights for the UFC, but it doesn’t look like this would be an event that will draw too many buys.  It was a heavy night of combat sports with Bellator, Top Rank on ESPN and HBO Boxing After Dark. With so many choices, its hard to suggest that this event did anything more than 250,000 buys.

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