Fourth telecast of PFL draws 101,000 viewers on NBCSN

July 20, 2018

The Professional Fighters League drew 101,000 viewers on Thursday night on NBC Sports Network according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event was the lowest-rated event thus far in the PFL season.  The event featured Lance Palmer as he defeated Jumabieke Tuerxun via submission.  Also, Andre Harrison defeated Nazareno Malegarie via unanimous decision.

PFL 1: 116,000 viewers

PFL 2: 150,000 viewers

PFL 3: 146,000 viewers

PFL has aired its prelims on Facebook Watch and then the main card airs on NBC Sports Network.

Payout Perspective:

While its early the PFL ratings are not that great.  The points concept that PFL is implementing is interesting and one would hope for the company that it starts to catch on as the summer goes on and heads into playoffs this fall.

UFC welterweight notified of potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation

July 20, 2018

The UFC has announced that USADA has informed Muslim Salikhov of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation from an out-of-competition sample collected on June 7, 2018 in Russia.

Salikhov was 1-1 in the UFC with his last fight at UFC on Fox 29, a win over fellow welterweight Ricky Rainey.  The 34-year-old Dagestani product has an overall record of 14-2.

Payout Perspective:

It’s still too early to know if this is a case of being caught or if the welterweight will claim that he took a contaminated product or something else.  One would think that Salikhov would be a part of the UFC show in Russia this September but that will now have to wait.

Did UFC satisfy its part of deal for Brian Ortega at UFC 226?

July 20, 2018

UPDATED 7/20/18, 10:19pm PT:  According to MMA Junkie report, a financial deal was struck between the UFC and Ortega).  Brian Ortega was not compensated despite being ready for his fight with Max Holloway at UFC 226 underscores anl issue with bout agreements which allows the UFC to provide an opponent in order satisfy its terms of the contract without additional remedy for the athlete.

Ortega spoke about a meeting he had with White in which the challenger was told he would not be compensated for his time promoting his fight with Max Holloway. The lightweight champion had to pull out of the fight just days before his showdown due to concussion-like symptoms.  According to his interview with Brendan Schaub, Ortega was given the option of fighting Jeremy Stephens or Frankie Edgar on short notice for an interim belt.  Ortega had just beat Edgar and he did not want to fight Stephens as his sole goal was to fight for the belt.

Ortega noted that White claimed that the UFC had done its part in offering a substitute and since he did not want the Stephens fight, their duty to fulfill the contract was done.  White, who Ortega claimed was upset during the meeting to discuss fight options, was upset.  The UFC did not offer to cover expenses for his training camp due to Ortega not taking the substitute fight.

In his meeting with White Ortega noted that he had taken fights on short notice including offering to fight Khabib Nurmogomedov when his fight fell through with Holloway this past April.  He also stated that he had spent extra time doing media for UFC 226 in English and Spanish.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that the Bout Agreement allows for the UFC to come up with a fight alternative in the event that the original fight does not go through.  After the UFC has provided a fight, it is up to the athlete to take the fight or decline.  But, if the athlete declines, it’s the UFC’s position that they have fulfilled the terms of the Bout Agreement.  Ortega was adamant that he wanted to fight Holloway for the belt, or the belt itself.  He did not want the interim belt since it was not the same.  From the UFC’s perspective, one might infer that this (fighting for the title) is not written into the contract.  Rather, it’s an alternative to the original fight (or perhaps adding the moniker of being for the ‘interim’ title).  There’s some ambiguity in contract law as to the duty of a party to “cover” in the case of an “anticipatory breach.”  Basically, if it’s clear that the bout could not happen because one of the participants could not fight, the promoter has a right to provide the athlete a substitute.  If the participating athlete declines the substitute, the promoter has fulfilled its obligation of the contract.  In this case, it seems that is the UFC’s position since it gave Ortega an option of Stephens or Edgar.  Of course, the counter to the right to “cover” is whether the substitute is on par with the original Bout Agreement.  Ortega and his camp agreed that any fight outside of Holloway would not be the same and declined the alternatives.  But, it would seem that there would be no real legal remedy for Ortega since the UFC offered him an attempt to remain on the card.  It’s a real sticky situation for Ortega because he has not trained for Stephens or Edgar and a loss would derail his real goal of facing Holloway for the title.  While the UFC may argue that you will eventually fight these challengers, one might assume Ortega would have a whole fight camp to prepare.

Obviously, this hurts Ortega and his trainers and training partners who may be financially affected too since the athlete was not paid, they may not be paid as well.  Unless fighters have the ability to alter Bout Agreements to place clauses which ensures payment regardless of whether fights go forward, this practice will continue.

Bellator 203 and Kicboxing ratings

July 19, 2018

Bellator MMA 203 on Saturday night drew 471,000 viewers on the Paramount Network.  Bellator Kickboxing drew 212,000 immediately after the MMA event from Rome.

Alessio Sakara’s first round TKO victory over Jamie Sloane scored the peak rating for the telecast with 702,000 viewers.  The main event saw Patricio Freire score a split decision victory over Daniel Weichel.

Bellator Kickboxing peaked with 409,000 viewers.  The main event saw Gabriel Varga defeat Kevin Ross via TKO in the first round to become the featherweight world champion.

Bellator 203 took place one night after Bellator’s event in the U.S.  On Friday night, the telecast peaked with 817,000 viewers with the main event featuring Julia Budd.

Payout Perspective:

It was a busy night for combat sports on Saturday and the ratings for Bellator are good considering the Pacquiao fight and UFC Fight Night.  Kickboxing ratings are always lower than MMA despite being its lead-in.  For Bellator, the ratings improve on its event the night before despite a Saturday tape-delayed event.

USADA confirms Anderson Silva took contaminated supplements

July 18, 2018

Anderson Silva will be ready to return to the UFC this fall after USADA confirms that the former UFC champ took contaminated supplements.

Silva’s suspension was limited to one-year after it was determined that the supplement taken was contaminated due to a compounding pharmacy.

Via USADA release:

Silva tested positive for the methyltestosterone metabolites 17α-methyl-5β-androstan-3α,17β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α,17β-diol, as well as hydrochlorothiazide, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on October 26, 2017. Methyltestosterone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents, while hydrochlorothiazide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents. Both of these substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following notification of his positive test, Silva provided USADA with an open container of a compounded dietary supplement product he was using at the time of his positive test. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, testing conducted by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of methyltestosterone and hydrochlorothiazide in the product. Thereafter, in the course of its broader investigation into Brazilian compounding pharmacies, USADA independently sourced numerous supplement products from the same compounding pharmacy that prepared Silva’s contaminated supplement. The analysis of those products by the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed that they were similarly contaminated with prohibited substances, including multiple anabolic agents and diuretics.

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy states that there may be a reduction in a sanction if an athlete’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product.  USADA took into consideration that this was Silva’s second doping violation with the first coming from the Nevada Athletic Consideration in 2015 after his fight with Nick Diaz at UFC 183.

Silva is able to return on November 10, 2018.  He is the fourth UFC fighter to have been flagged for a banned substance and then suspended only for the resolution being the issue with the pharmacy.

Payout Perspective:

This is another case where it seems unfair that the athlete has to be subject to suspension due to third party fault.  Fortunately for Silva, he retained a container of the dietary supplement.  This was also While it is the ultimate responsibility of the athlete to determine what they ingest, compounding pharmacies seem to give pause to this rule.  Junior dos Santos returned to action Saturday after suspension due to ingesting a supplement from a compounding pharmacy.  At 43, Silva’s time in the UFC is limited and serving a suspension due to unforeseen circumstances seems unfair for the athlete.

Bellator MMA 202 on Paramount draws 405,000 viewers

July 18, 2018

Bellator MMA Friday night on Paramount drew 405,000 viewers per Nielsen according to ShowBuzz Daily.

In the main event of the telecast, Julia Budd defeated Talita Nogueira via TKO to retain her Bellator Featherweight title.  Notably, Budd has not lost an MMA fight since a 2011 bout to Ronda Rousey in Strikeforce.

The event drew 0.12 in the A18-49 demo.  Through 12 events in 2018, the promotion is averaging 463,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The event is the third consecutive with viewership under 500,000 viewers.  The ratings are lower this year as 10 out of the 12 telecasts have had ratings under 500,000.  The telecast featured former UFC fighter Michael MacDonald as he defeated Eduardo Dantas in a fight where both were hurt.  Perhaps the DAZN partnership will help get more eyes on the product.

UFC Fight Night 133 draws 754,000 viewers and prelims drew 572,000

July 17, 2018

UFC Fight Night 133 drew 754,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Saturday on FS1 drew 572,000 viewers.

The main card which featured the return of Junior dos Santos in a unanimous decision victory over Blagoy Ivanov drew 383,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.46 household share. The 2 hour prelims drew 264,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.33 in household share.  The prelims featured a fight between bantamweights Eddie Wineland and Alejandro Perez.  Perez won via unanimous decision.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings on a night where boxing was on ESPN and ESPN + with the latter streaming the return of Manny Pacquiao.  The ratings are the best Fight Night event since UFC Fight Night 129 in May.  Last year’s Fight Night card post-International Fight Week PPV drew 402,000 for an event in Scotland.  The Boise card reported a sell-out and the ratings were very good on a night with a choice of combat sports to watch.

DAZN enters crowded U.S. streaming market at $9.99 per month

July 17, 2018

DAZN is the latest over the top streaming service to launch in the United States and will do it with a huge boxing event featuring heavyweight Anthony Joshua taking on Alexander Povetkin.  DAZN CEO James Rushton announced on Tuesday that the it will begin September 10th at a cost of $9.99 after a one month free trial.

“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” stated Rushton at a press conference in New York City Tuesday to announce the launch of it service in the US.

DAZN’s parent company Perform Group entered into a reported $1 billion deal with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing in May.  A month later, Bellator joined the stable to stream its MMA events on the service.

Joshua, arguably the best heavyweight in boxing aside from Deontay Wilder, will take on Povetkin on September 22nd.  Bellator’s first event will be on September 29th and feature Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald.

DAZN will stream 70 combat sporting events from Matchroom Boxing, World Boxing Super Series and Bellator.  The Viacom-owned MMA promotion will stream 22 fights on DAZN but 15 of those will also be streamed on Paramount.

Payout Perspective:

Get ready to shell out more money for another streaming service if you are a combat sports fan.  ESPN + came on board at $5 per month this past spring.  There is still UFC Fight Pass and the WWE Network if you are into sports entertainment (btw, the stock just surpassed $80).  This is in addition to another multitude of platforms out there looking to provide content for fans.  Then, there are the heavyweights of Amazon Prime, Facebook and Google’s YouTube that are offering a wide-range of streaming content.  Facebook Watch airs PFL as well as an exclusive MLB game every week. DAZN will offer something a little different with a mix of boxing and MMA and we will see the interest level fans will have after the one month trial ends.

UFC Fight Night 133 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 14, 2018

UFC Fight Night 133 took place in Boise, Idaho on Saturday night and drew a sold out crowd at the Centurylink Arena.

The event drew 5,648 in attendance for a gate of $591,575.  It was the first time that the UFC was in Boise and the state of Idaho.

The bonuses went to Chad Mendes, Niko Price, Raoni Barcelos and Kurt Holobaugh.  Barcelos and Holobaugh earned the Fight of the Night while Mendes and Price earned Performance bonuses.

The UFC announced the numbers post-event.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate are pretty standard for Fight Night events considering the UFC tries to do them in smaller arenas in smaller per capita cities.  The Boise event was well-attended considering the small venue.  Notably, Mendes returned from a two-year suspension from USADA and did well in taking out Myles Jury.

Adesanya tops TUF 27 Finale salaries

July 12, 2018

The Nevada Athletic Commission disclosed the salaries from last Friday’s TUF 27 Finale.  With his win, Israel Adesanya earned the most on the card.

Via MMA Fighting:

Israel Adesanya ($56,000 + $56,000 = $112,000) def. Brad Tavares ($56,000)
Mike Trizano ($15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000) def. Joe Giannetti ($15,000)
Brad Katona ($15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000) def. Jay Cucciniello ($15,000)
Alex Caceres ($42,000 + $42,000 = $84,000) def. Martin Bravo ($25,000)
Roxanne Modafferi ($25,000 + $25,000 = $50,000) def. Barb Honchak ($10,000)
Alessio Di Chirico ($18,000 + $18,000 = $36,000) def. Julian Marquez ($12,000)

Montana De La Rosa ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Rachael Ostovich ($12,000)
Luis Pena ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Richie Smullen ($10,000)
John Gunther ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Allan Zuniga ($10,000)
Bryce Mitchell ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Tyler Diamond ($10,000)Steven Peterson ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Matt Bessette ($12,000)
Gerald Meerschaert ($18,000 + $18,000 = $36,000) def. Oskar Piechota ($14,000)

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