McGregor signs 6-fight deal with the UFC

September 20, 2018

Conor McGregor has signed a 6-fight deal with the UFC according to a report from ESPN.  Although financial terms were not disclosed, Dana White indicated that the new contract could make McGregor the highest-paid athlete in the UFC.

The deal includes a sponsor agreement with McGregor’s new venture, Proper Whiskey.  McGregor sold his new product during Thursday’s press conference which was closed to the public.

McGregor was likely the highest-paid fighter even before the new contract.  His last reported purse at UFC 202 in August 2016 against Nate Diaz drew him $3 million although he likely made much more due to his PPV buy rate.  Last August against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., McGregor made $30 million without considering the buy rate upside.

Payout Perspective:

Although it is not disclosed, its clear that McGregor is the marquee athlete in the UFC and the promotion is happy to have him back.  McGregor is far from retiring as one can see from Thursday’s press conference is that he likes the attention and the confrontation.  He was the fourth highest-paid athlete according to Forbes from his boxing match.  He made $85 million in winnings and another 14 million in endorsements.  One might expect McGregor to eclipse this mark if he does 2-3 fights in one year.

Joe Silva explains UFC matchmaking in deposition excerpts

September 20, 2018

After a little bit away, MMA Payout takes a look at some of the depositions taken place in light of the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit.  The depositions were attached to the motion papers in support of Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Joe Silva, former matchmaker for the UFC, was deposed regarding his role with the company.  The deposition took place in June 2017.

Exhibit 52 – Depo of Joe Silva by on Scribd

Silva was asked about the acquisition of Pride and whether after the acquisition did Zuffa have the vast majority of the world’s top fighters.  Silva stated, “I would say we had the most, but not all.”  He added, “As you see that even after the acquisition, we continued to bring in other fighters from other places in the world.  If we’d already acquired all the best fighters, then no more acquisitions would be necessary.”

Silva was asked about when a fighter may be ready for the UFC and the talented 155 division.

There is a back and forth regarding an email from Stipe Miocic’s ex-manager Greg Kalikas.  The email indicates Silva telling Kalikas: “Too many 170s under contract right now.  Keep Stipe winning and we’ll get him in.”


Silva explained, “…it was very important for us to not have too many people on the roster.  We wanted to be able to manage it.  We wanted to be able to fulfill all our contractual obligations, so you have to limit the amount of people that you sign at any one time.  So at this time, 170 was particularly full….To maintain a fight for a fighter who didn’t get injured, I will now go to other people on the roster, and go, hey, I’ve got a dropout, fight’s only two weeks away from now, can you do it.  And if they go, no, I can’t make weight in two weeks, I haven’t been training, I’ve got an injury, I go to everybody who is on the roster.  If nobody can do it, I still want to get a fight that other guys, so now that’s an opening…”

Silva testified about a “policy” he had in which he would not release a fighter if they had lost 2 in a row and then lost a third but the last match was taken on late notice.  He also stated that he “never put pressure on anybody to fight late notice…”

He also stated that he left contracts up to the legal department although he knew that they were revised through the years.

He was aware of the fact that there is a provision in Zuffa contracts that extend the terms of the contract if fighters turn down fights.

There is some criticism about former UFC fighter Melvin Guillard.  It was based on an email to Dana White which states, “In the press conference the day before he said he is an A level fighter fighting in a B level show.  Never was the smartest guy.”  Originally, plaintiffs’ attorney thought he was talking about Justin Gaethje.  But, it appears that there is some mistaken interpretation as Silva explains that Guillard was talking about World Series of Fighting.

There is a text where he makes fun of Bellator’s main event of Tito Ortiz versus Rampage Jackson.  He explains about a comment regarding Jackson criticizing Silva for putting him up against fighters with wrestling backgrounds.

He also points to the hypocrisy of Bellator which was tournament based but turned to Ortiz- Jackson to headline their show.

There is also an email show to Silva in which Monte Cox emails Silva about the potential to have one of his fighters on a UFC Winnipeg show.  Silva responds that he could not because “I have to cut a hundred guys.”  Obviously, Silva was exaggerating but he explained about the roster and at the time – March 2013 – he had “too many fighters under contract.”

Payout Perspective:

The deposition testimony reveals a little bit behind the thought making process of Silva as he made the bulk of the matches for the company until he left shortly after the sale of the UFC.  He came off as a reasonable individual and there was not much in testimony that presented red flags.  Plaintiffs’ counsel did discuss some controversial emails which Silva easily explained away.

USADA arbitrator reduces Jon Jones suspension, will be back in UFC by October

September 19, 2018

USADA has handed Jon Jones a 15-month suspension for his failed drug test at UFC 214 in July 2017.  The arbitration decision means that Jones will be eligible to fight in the UFC this October.

Jones was represented at his hearing by experienced doping attorney Paul Greene.  He was also represented by Peter S. Christensen of Las Vegas.  Notably, Howard Jacobs was Jones’ attorney at his first arbitration hearing and at the California State Athletic Commission hearing regarding his second failed USADA test earlier this year.  The arbitrator was Richard McLaren.

Final Redacted Award Jones … by on Scribd

Unlike other arbitration hearings, the parties entered into a Joint Stipulated Factual Resolution and Arbitration Agreement.

Despite the fact that Jones was facing the potential of a four-year suspension for his second infraction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the arbitrator reduced his suspension by 30 months based on Jones’ cooperation with USADA in attempting to determine the cause for his failed drug test.  McLaren could have reduced it down to 12 months but determined that Jones could have done other things to mitigate his risk.

The arbitrator determined that based on the UFC Anti-Doping Violations rules that it need not determine the source of the finding to determine fault.  Therefore, regardless of how the illicit substance ended up in Jones’ system, it is not necessary to how it was ingested for them to determine fault.  But here, the arbitrator determined that Jones’ liability to be minimal.  Although, the arbitrator does suggest that Jones could have done more to prevent the violation, he does not think the infraction aided him in his performance.  “There was absolutely no intention to use Prohibited Substances on the part of the Athlete [Jones],” wrote the arbitrator.

The arbitrator noted that Jones seemed contrite for his wrongdoing.

There is the possibility that the CSAC still may rule on a suspension for Jones.  It has revoked his license and fined him $205,000.  But, it would seem that any further suspension of time from eligibility

Payout Perspective:

A week ago USADA felt compelled to address rumors that it was being paid off to reinstate Jon Jones.  Perhaps now we know the reasons behind the statement.  The ruling seems to be made in a vacuum when looking at the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and Jones’ prior arbitration hearing.  The decision seemed to neglect his prior indiscretions, his mistakes admitted in the first arbitration and his California State Athletic Commission hearing where he readily admitted that his management team falsified documents on his behalf so that he would not have to do the educational component of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  All that being said, Jones had a viable case but the facts seemed to be against him knowing he had a prohibited substance in his system and this was his second drug test failure which would connote a four-year suspension.

Overall, I don’t think UFC fans mind that Jon Jones is coming back sooner than later to the octagon.  Its just the matter that the policy seemed to bend over backward and then look away from the way it adhered to its policy with other fighters.  Its true that Jones will be suspended 15 months before coming back to the UFC, but this was his second strike and with a history of reckless disregard for the rules this shows flexibility for athletes that can produce the company revenue.

Hawaii gets Bellator MMA event this December

September 18, 2018

Bellator MMA announced its first-ever event to be held in Hawaii this December.  The card will be highlighted by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her flyweight title.  In honor of the occasion, the mayor of Honolulu proclaimed September 17th Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Day.

The Bellator flyweight will defend her title December 15th at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii against Valerie Letourneau.  Also on the card, Rafael Carvalho will face former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.

The event was announced earlier this week and will be a first for the promotion.  As we know, the UFC negotiated with Honolulu officials to have an event in Hawaii but that did not come to fruition.

Bellator will feature Macfarlane and she has made the rounds to promote the event as highlighted via MMA Junkie.

Payout Perspective:

While the expense to hold an event in Hawaii is more than the standard reservation route, the event has a chance to score big with Hawaiians that have been hoping that Max Holloway would return to defend the title.  But, that does not seem like an event happening anytime soon.  The event is a chance to highlight a Bellator women’s champion, a division that is rarely highlighted by the company.  If Macfarlane can defend the title, she can be a major figure for the company when it comes to women’s MMA.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 662,000 viewers

September 17, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Friday night drew 662,000 viewers and a 0.22 rating in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.  The event took place the night before the big GGG-Canelo Alvarez fight.

The main event of the ESPN telecast saw Jose Ramirez defeat Antonio Orozco via unanimous decision in a matchup of super lightweights.  The event took place at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.

This summer’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Ratings:

September 15 – 662,000 viewers

August 18 – 686,000 viewers

July 14 – 518,000 viewers

July 7 – 534,000 viewers

June 30 – 632,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event is slightly less than last month although it was the second-highest TR on ESPN telecast this summer. The telecast served more as a reminder to the casual viewers of the big PPV event Saturday.  It also gave boxing fans a little action before the main event the next day.

McGregor enters Irish Whiskey Business with Proper No. Twelve

September 17, 2018

Conor McGregor is launching Proper No. Twelve, his own Irish whiskey.  The name is a nod to Dublin 12, the place where McGregor grew up.

Last year during the Mayweather-McGregor hype, it appeared that McGregor was entering the whiskey business with Notorious Whiskey.

But, due to a trademark dispute with another Irish brewer, the name was changed which is a nod to his hometown.  Of note, McGregor has registered Mystic Irish Whiskey with the USPTO so we may see another name for his spirits in the U.S.

The whiskey will be produced by his own company, Eire Born Spirits, and will be released in Ireland and the U.S. later this month.

Payout Perspective:

It’s nice to see McGregor diversifying his financial portfolio with this whiskey investment.  The whiskey and spirits industry is big right now and it looks like McGregor is set to capitalize on this.  The launch coincides with the lead-up for his big fight October 6th against Khabib Nurmogomedov.

UFC Fight Night 136 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 15, 2018

UFC Fight Night 136 drew 22,603 fans for a live gate of $1.84 million in its debut in Russia.  The announced attendance was disclosed by the UFC post-event.

It was the first event ever event in the country and it was the highest-attended Fight Night this year.

According to John Morgan of MMA Junkie, there were 21,273 tickets sold.  The UFC has indicated it is the fight largest crowd in UFC history and the “biggest MMA event in Russia.”

Main eventer Aleksei Oleinik led the Performance Bonuses after he submitted Mark Hunt in the first round.  Jan Blachowicz earned a Performance Bonus with his submission of the returning Nikita Krylov.  Magomed Ankalaev earned a bonus for his KO of Marcin Prachnio.  Finally, Petr Yan earned a Fight of the Night bonus for his win over Jin Soo Son.  Son was not eligible for a bonus since he missed weight.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance at the event ensures a return to Russia.  There were a lot of quality fights on this Fight Pass card.  Notably, one must wonder what the UFC will do with Mark Hunt.  He is one of the top-paid fighters on the roster and is also suing the UFC and Dana White.  It’s hard to cut Hunt without it looking conspicuous in light of the legal issues but it’s clear that his fight skills are diminishing.

Canelo-GGG II purses: Canelo $5M, GGG $4M

September 14, 2018

The Nevada Athletic Commission have disclosed the purses for this Saturday’s long-awaited rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.

Canelo will make a disclosed $5 million to show while GGG is guaranteed $4million.  It is anticipated that both will make much more than the disclosed amounts based on contractual agreements which likely includes a cut of the PPV buys.

Corrected. I had the payouts from last year.  Here are the undercard payouts per Kevin Iole

Notably, Chocolatito Gonzales makes his return and will make $200,000 to face Moises Fuentes.  Jaime Muniga will make $250,000 to defend his WBO Super Welterweight Title.

Payout Perspective:

The reported payouts for the main event are almost the same from their last fight.  The reported guarantees show that negotiations for the rematch helped a little but its not a 50-50 split.  Perhaps GGG made up for it the non-disclosed payouts but we may not know until the PPV buys are all tabulated.

State appeals court overturns $8.5 million judgment against Canelo

September 14, 2018

A state appeal court in Miami has overturned a trial court ruling which found in favor of Canelo Alvarez’s former manager and ordered the boxer pay $8.5 million.  The Florida District Court of Appeals for Miami-Dade County set aside the judgment.

The appellate court decision filed two days prior to Alvarez’s big showdown against Gennady Golovkin in Vegas stated that the jury verdict awarding promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala Jr of All Star Boxing $8.5 million was unjust enrichment, speculative and not supported by substantial competent evidence.  While the judgment was vacated, it did state that Alvarez have to compensate Zabala and ruled that the trial court determine the judgment.

Zabala brought the lawsuit against Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions stating that Canelo signed a 4 year promotional deal and that Golden Boy took the fighter from the promotion.  Golden Boy was dismissed from the lawsuit prior to the trial which took place in June 2016.  A jury awarded the $8.5 million judgment plus 4.75% annual interest.  Alvarez filed an appeal.

H/t: Dan Rafael

Payout Perspective:

Interesting timing of the decision considering Canelo fights on Saturday.  Dependent on the trial court rendering a decision on the judgment, All Star Boxing may appeal the latest decision as the court has taken the decision out of the hands of the jury and installed its own ruling.  There are times when a court believes that he the judgment does not match the evidence, but that would seemingly undercut the rationale behind having a jury as a trier of fact.

UFC-Bas Rutten partner to market Bas Body Action System

September 13, 2018

The UFC announced that it has partnered with Hall of Famer Bas Rutten to launch the UFC Bas Body Action System.  It is the same system that Rutten has marketed in the past.

Via UFC press release:

The agreement, negotiated by IMG, allows Rutten, a former UFC heavyweight champion and three-time King of Pancrase, to produce a UFC branded edition of his patented MMA training device to sell online and at select retailers globally.

Developed by Rutten to maximize and revolutionize martial arts training, the Body Action System has a patented design that incorporates a head pad for strikes, hooks and uppercuts; a torso pad for punches, elbows and knees; and a focus pad to offer greater mass for core training, side-to-side striking, and kicks.

“The UFC | BAS Body Action System combines a complete training device for MMA with the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization,” Rutten said. “This system is the closest thing having a real sparring partner with you inside the Octagon, and it’s a fantastic all-in-one system that delivers a world-class workout!”

Notably, the Bas Body Action System filed for its trademark with the USPTO in March 2018.  An Office Action has been filed for an apparent likelihood of confusion with a registered mark Body Action.

Payout Perspective:

One could see that the system can be used with UFC Gym’s and developed into a class.  The system is similar to the one that Bas has marketed in the past.  The home fitness market is a big industry and this type of training would be much better than actual sparring where injury is imminent.

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