UFC Featherweight accepts 2 year ban

December 17, 2018

The UFC announced that Indian Featherweight Bharat Vijay Kandare has accepted a two-year sanction from USADA after testing positive for a banned substance.

The 31-year-old featherweight competitor tested positive for exogenous boldenone and its metabolites, as well as a metabolite of tamoxifen, following an out-of-competition test conducted on July 23, 2018.

Via USADA release:

USADA announced today that Bharat Vijay Kandare, of Maharashtra, India, has accepted a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for prohibited substances.

Kandare, 31, tested positive for exogenous boldenone and its metabolites, as well as a metabolite of tamoxifen, following an out-of-competition test conducted on July 23, 2018. Boldenone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and tamoxifen is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators. Both substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

“The goal of the UFC Anti-Doping Program is to deter the use of performance-enhancing drugs and this necessarily means we will identify and hold accountable those who use performance-enhancing substances to gain an advantage in the Octagon,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “As the Program continues to grow and innovate, we will do our best to continue to protect clean athletes so that athletes can win in the Octagon without cheating and endangering their health and safety and that of their competitors.”

Kandares’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 2, 2018, the date on which he was provisionally suspended from competition.

Kandare had just one fight in the UFC in November 2017 at UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai, China.  He lost to Yadong Song.

We will see if we ever see Kandare ever again in the UFC.  At 31, he just had one fight in November 2017 and will not be able to come back to the UFC until November 2020.

 

Bellator ends year with 212 show drawing just 285K viewers on Paramount

December 17, 2018

Bellator MMA Live 212 drew 285,000 on Friday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was the first of two shows taking place in Honolulu with the first event airing on Paramount.

The second event aired on DAZN exclusively.  Friday’s event also aired on DAZN.

On Friday night Michael Chandler regained the Bellator lightweight title from Brent Primus.  We also saw Javy Ayala tap out Frank Mir to strikes.

 

Bellator
Rating
192 770,000
193 470,000
194 476,000
195 465,000
196 420,000
197 242,000
198 598,000
199 605,000
200 421,000
201 466,000
202 405,000
203 471,000
204 319,000
205 346,000
206 DAZN
207 416,000
208 521,000
209 381,000
210 270,000
211 207,000
212 285,000

Payout Perspective:

It’s been a down year for Bellator ratings one would think that the DAZN partnership might alleviate some concern about visibility of the promotion.  The average viewership for 2018 is 428,000 viewers with the last 4 events not clearing the 400,000 viewers threshold.  In comparison, 2017 averaged 614,000 viewers with no event below 394,000 viewers.  This year there were 7 fights under 394,000 viewers.

 

 

 

 

UFC on Fox 31 draws 2.15M viewers on Fox

December 16, 2018

UFC on Fox 31 drew 2.15 million viewers on Fox Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  It was the promotion’s swan song with the network.

The event featured Kevin Lee-Al Iaquinta in the featured bout of the telecast.  The show drew 0.7 in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share.

Although the show beat out the others network shows in its time slot, it came in third to two reruns on NBC (Dateline) and CBS (NCIS: Los Angeles) in overall viewers.

 

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000 2,046,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000 2,107,000
UFC on Fox 27 1,590,000 1,770,000
UFC on Fox 28 1,820,000 2,037,000
UFC on Fox 29 1,780,000 2,020,000
UFC on Fox 30 1,460,000 1,678,000
UFC on Fox 31 2,150,000

 

Payout Perspective:

Maybe there were some nostalgic fans for the last event on Fox as it was the highest-rated showing for a UFC on Fox since December 2016.  The event did well on the network and broke a string of UFC on Fox shows that could not crack 2 million viewers.  Next up for UFC is new partner ESPN as Fox welcomes PBC full-time as its anchor combat sports tenant on the network.

 

UFC on Fox 31 attendance, gate and bonuses

December 15, 2018

Al Iaquinta led the list of bonus-winning fighters on the very last UFC on Fox card this Saturday from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The event was the very last on the network as it will move to ESPN in January.

Iaquinta soundly defeated Kevin Lee and won via unanimous decision to earn a $50,000 bonus.  Also earning bonuses were Charles Oliveira, Jared Gordon and Joaquim Silva.  Do Bronx submitted Jim Miller in the very first round.  Silva and Gordon earned Fight of the Night which Silva won.

The event drew 9,010 fans for a live gate of $616,000.  The event took place at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. UFC officials announced the information post-fight.

Payout Perspective:

Not a lot of fans turned out for the last televised network event on Fox.  In fact, the gate is on par with most Fight Night events this year.  Iaquinta showed that he should be given another challenge at 155 before the hopeful return title bout against Khabib.

Court denies Zuffa Motion for Summary Judgment in Antitrust lawsuit

December 14, 2018

BE/Forbes’ Paul Gift reports that the Court has denied Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment.  It apparently was anti-climactic.  Like most law is.  But, the Court apparently did not take long to deny the request to dismiss the lawsuit.

MMA Payout will have more on the ruling once a minute order and/or official order is issued by the Court.  It does seem that there could be a possibility to resubmit a motion based on more determination of the information.

PFL and Draft Kings announce partnership

December 14, 2018

The Professional Fighters League is joining forces with Draft Kings to offer a fantasy sports component and eventually gaming according to a press release sent out on Friday.  The announcement comes ahead of its first year of the promotion’s new format which will award $1 million to the winners of each of its weight divisions.

Via press release:

BOSTON (December 14, 2018) – DraftKings and the Professional Fighters League today announced a strategic partnership that will bring MMA fans a new way to immerse themselves in the sport starting with the PFL Championship on New Year’s Eve.

“The winners in this partnership are MMA fans, first with fantasy and eventually gaming,’” said Donn Davis, Co-Founder and Chairman of Professional Fighters League, “PFL is re-imagining MMA, and we look forward to collaborating with DraftKings to offer new engagement for fans while creating new revenue streams for our business.”

The PFL season started with 72 fighters and concludes with the best two fighters in each of the six weight classes competing in six final fights in one epic night. The 2018 PFL World Championship Pick ‘Em fantasy game is easy to play, as sports fans simply predict four outcomes for each of the six fights:  Who will win the fight? What will the method of victory be? In what round will each fight end? At what time within that round will the fight end? The game will feature a live leaderboard for players to track their position in real time, and DraftKings will award $25K in guaranteed prizing.

“Our partnership with the Professional Fighters League is another example of our dedication to innovation and our never ending quest to expand our sports offerings” said Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer at DraftKings. “Like our customers, PFL fans are extremely engaged and passionate, and this collaboration is an excellent example of what DraftKings seeks in partners who can connect with our growing community of players.”

Payout Perspective:

We’ve seen Fantasy Sports in MMA before and Draft Kings dabbed its toe in the market and event announced partnership with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.  But legislation forced it out of several key states which kept it off the radar for a couple years.  However, with the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing states to decide on sports betting, we could see another run at it from companies like Draft Kings.

One last motion before the Class Cert-Summary Judgment hearing in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit

December 13, 2018

In light of Friday’s big hearing in the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit in Federal court in Nevada, the parties have filed a joint motion to stipulate how they will deal with references to trade secret or confidential information.

The joint motion was filed on Thursday and is agreed to by the parties.  It’s unlikely that the Court will disturb the agreement.  The parties believed the agreement was necessary as the Protective Order which dictates how to deal with confidential information does not address hearings.

Parties for the Plaintiffs that have filed an Antitrust lawsuit against Zuffa will argue for Class Action status while Zuffa has a Motion for Summary Judgment which may dismiss the case in full on Friday in Federal District Court in Nevada.

It does appear that Plaintiffs reluctantly joined in on the motion as the overarching issue deals with the mention of documents Zuffa believes are confidential and/or trade secret.  A motion to seal is pending before the court.

Joint Motion by on Scribd

 

Payout Perspective:

Both parties had a chance to provide statements to the Court in this Joint Motion.  The Plaintiffs cited Kevin Iole’s Yahoo story from Wednesday in which Dana White gave him the payouts of Chuck Liddell since 2011.  This would seem to run contrary to the claim that Zuffa salaries should be confidential.

The Court could rule on the Motion to Seal documents that were fought over during the pleading process but it has yet to do so.  Tomorrow will be a big day because not since the Motion to Dismiss will this case hinge upon being dismissed.

RVCA and Bellator collaborate on clothing for Hawaii shows

December 13, 2018

In light of the promotion’s visit to Hawaii, RVCA and Bellator are collaborating on clothing celebrating this weekend’s shows per Bellator release.

The back-to-back events take place on Honolulu at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena on Friday, December 14th and 15th.  The first show on Friday will be a “Salute to the Troops” and feature Brent Primus taking on Michael Chandler for the lightweight title.  Saturday’s show will spotlight Hawaii’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane as she defends her women’s flyweight title against Valerie Letourneau.  It will also feature the debut of Lyoto Machida for Bellator as he takes on Rafael Carvalho.

The RVCA brand has sponsored BJ Penn and Vitor Belfort in MMA.  They have also been associated with jiu jitsu as the Mendes Brothers are sponsored by the company.

This weekend, Kona Oliveira and Dustin Barca will represent the brand.  The clothing will be sold at the events and on RVCA.com and Bellator.com.

Payout Perspective:

Although this release came out last week, it seems like a good reminder considering the amount of combat sports this weekend.  With the UFC out of mind due to the Reebok deal, it would be great to see more RVCA/Bellator collabs if the clothing company decides to dip their toe more into MMA.

UFC 231: Payout Perspective

December 12, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 231 taking place from Toronto, Ontario, Canada where Max Holloway reminded people he is still one of the greatest in the UFC today.

Holloway forces doctor stoppage

Returning to form, Max Holloway successfully defended his Featherweight title by stopping Brian Ortega after the fourth round.  Holloway exuded confidence throughout and made one of the top challengers to his title look slow.  Ortega showed his heart throughout but was beat up to the point that he could not see out of one of his eyes forcing the stoppage between rounds.

Holloway’s cardio, quickness and ability to make subtle changes to stay out of range is remarkable and its hard to see another current Featherweight taking his title.  Although it is not going to happen, it would be fun to see him get his rematch against Conor McGregor in 2019.   Ortega is still a force in this division but just wasn’t on Holloway’s level.  He’ll be back although I would suggest he take some time to recover.

Shevchenko wins 125-pound women’s title

Valentina Shevchenko just has Joanna Jedrzejczyk number.  Shevchenko dominated the former strawweight champion for a 5 round unanimous decision over Joanna.  The fight was not even close.  It was a masterpiece by Shevchenko.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

Toronto continues to be a city the UFC counts on for big attendance.  It sold out ScotiaBank Arena per UFC officials with over 19,000 fans and a $2.4 million gate.

Fight of the Night:  Ortega and Holloway

Performance Bonuses:  Holloway and Santos

All won $50K in addition to their reported purses.

Ratings

UFC 231 Pre-Fight Show on FS1:  211,000

UFC 231 Prelims: 786,000

UFC 231 Post-Fight Show: 136,000

It was a busy Saturday night of combat sports with HBO’s final boxing offering, Showtime’s replay of the Fury-Wilder fight and the Lomachenko fight on ESPN.  The ratings were up from last month’s PPV Prelims which may be a good sign.

Pre-Fight Hype

Max Holloay and Brian Ortega did a lot of media going into this fight.  There was the Holloway-Drake meetup at a Toronto Raptors game which MMA folks were giddy about.  Holloway also did a GQ video where he explained his tattoos.  The mag has done this in the past and it’s a pretty cool piece.  Also of interest, he was on the Alex Wong (Stevie LeBron) podcast early in the week and said that last spring’s unexpected pull out of April’s fight with Khabib was a surprise to him as UFC officials and Holloway’s team requested he pull out and seek more medical evaluation.

ESPN, the future home of the UFC, did a great long-form piece on Ortega and his background.

Sponsorships

Two interesting sponsors from Saturday night included PokerStars and online betting web site Pari Match had signage in the Octagon.  Look for this trend to continue and/or the UFC secures an “official” online betting site as a sponsor.

In the Octagon was Toyo Tires, Nemiroff Vodka, MetroPCS, Circle K, P3, Monster Energy, Motel 6 and Monster Energy had the center.

Also of note, Hooters was on the mat for UFC 231.

P3 were on the Reebok kits of the fighters.  According to multiple reports, the fighters are not directly receiving payment for wearing the logo.  Instead, P3 is paying the UFC.

UFC sponsor Bixler jewelry also appeared on the Embedded episodes giving Valentina some UFC 231 swag.

Odds and ends

It looked as though Max Holloway had a Reebok-branded bandana that stated his phrase, “It is what it is,” on it at the weigh-ins.

The Jimi Manuwa-Thiago Santos fight on the PPV was a heavy-hitting affair.

Worst “almost crime of the night”: Hakeem Dawodu just winning via split decision.

Dana White threw a tantrum when asked about Greg Hardy being on the same card as a domestic violence survivor.  The new media relations ploy is to act pissed when you don’t want to ask a question.

Also helpful for UFC media relations, it was discovered that a Bloody Elbow writer critical of the UFC is also into bestiality and kiddie porn.  This will lead to a new managerial technique of google searching writers that you don’t like.  If nothing is found, see Dana White’s tactics above.

Conclusion

The two championship fights seem to be the way the UFC hopes to stack its PPV cards where there is not a huge name to build around.  If Holloway can remain healthy, the UFC could probably do a standalone PPV with Holloway defending in Hawaii.  Not only would they sell out the venue, but get some decent PPV buys from it.  But, that would require the UFC to relax their ask from the state of Hawaii.  As for this event, 500K google searches and on a busy night of combat sports probably puts it around 275,000-300,000 PPV buys.  Perhaps above average for these types of non-“big card” fights.

UFC cancels January PPV event in Anaheim

December 12, 2018

The UFC has canceled its January PPV originally scheduled for Anaheim on January 26th due to lack of a main event.  The event was to be held on the same night as Bellator’s card in Los Angeles.

When news hit of the cancellation, Bellator Scott Coker took to twitter:

Bellator 214 will include the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix and Ryan Bader takes on Fedor.  Also, probably the fight of the night features Gegard Mousasi taking on Rafael Lovato, Jr. for the middleweight title.

The UFC 233 card was to feature a fight between Henry Cejudo and T.J. Dillashaw for Cejudo’s 125-pound title.  But that fight was moved up a week to the ESPN debut card in Brooklyn, New York.  A welterweight title defense with Tyron Woodley was contemplated but never materialized.  The card was to have included the debut of Ben Askren as he would have faced Robbie Lawler.

Anaheim will get a UFC event later in the year. This is the third time in UFC history that the company has called off a PPV.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator looks like they will claim this as a win for their promotion as the UFC had to cancel this event.  It’s clear the UFC is more interested in its debut on ESPN the week before than they are its PPV which is a reversal of what you would think its bottom would be.  But, first impressions likely mean a lot here and the UFC believed moving the title fight to the ESPN debut would draw better ratings than its would PPV buys.  With this news, Bellator will hope to capitalize on the one event fight night in SoCal.

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