Pacquiao-Broner replay draws minimal audience Saturday on Showtime

January 30, 2019

The Manny Pacquiao Adrien Broner replay on Showtime Saturday night drew 367,000 viewers according to Nelsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The replay which saw Pacquiao defeat Broner via unanimous decision went up against PBC on Fox and Bellator 214 on Saturday.  In addition, the NHL All-Star Game and NBA on ABC featuring the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics were on the same night.

In comparison, the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury replay drew 488,000 viewers on Showtime in December.

In addition, MMA Payout has obtained the official payouts from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

The official tickets sold were 11,410 for a gate of $6,003,322.00.  There were 248 comps according to the commission.

Payout Perspective:

Despite his age and absence from boxing in North America, it was a good gate and a healthy amount of paying fans in attendance.  Regardless of what we think of Adrien Broner, he has made himself into a name in boxing and he helped with sales.  The replay rating is a little disappointing but with a live event on at the same night it might have overshadowed those that didn’t pay for the PPV.

Jon Jones cleared to fight at UFC 235 in March

January 30, 2019

On Tuesday, the Nevada Athletic Commission granted Jon Jones a one-fight license to compete on March 2nd against Anthony Smith at UFC 235.

Jones, who appeared in person at the meeting, will be required to be drug tested a minimum of twice a month until he fights in March.  He will then need to continue testing throughout all of 2019 if he seeks to fight in the state again.

Unlike the California State Athletic Commission, who was willing to pay for the costs of the additional testing for Jones, Nevada is making Jones pay for the testing.

Jones was represented by Maine drug doping attorney Paul Greene.  In prior doping hearings, Jones had been represented by Howard Jacobs.  The hearing included testimony from USADA which led to the commission opining if more should be done with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The commission made it known that this was not a “get out of jail free” card.  Yet, there was still no resolution of the pathology of the drug.  Green indicated that the substance remains in Jones’ system and while further testing may reveal turinabol but additional banned contents in Jones’ tests may result in the end of his MMA career.

Payout Perspective:

This is perhaps an anticlimactic end to the Jones’ controversy.  One has to wonder at some point why Turinabol remains in his system and why it remains in his system.  Jones has cut down his supplements from 14 to 4.  The remaining 4 are certified according to Green.  The one-fight license seems to just punt away the issue until another date.  The enhanced drug testing does not seem to determine the real issue since they are just getting the result, but not the origin of the turinabol seems to be the answer they need.  We will see how the commission deals with this in the future.

Bader-Fedor fight drew 1.2M viewers on Paramount Saturday night

January 30, 2019

Bellator 214 scored an overall rating of 697,000 viewers on Saturday night.  The Fedor-Ryan Bader showdown drew 1.2 million viewers on the telecast.

Bellator 214 took place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  It featured the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix with the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Champion winning the Heavyweight Championship.

Also on the card, Jaker Hager (aka Jack Swagger) defeated J.W. Kiser in the first round via submission.  The bout drew 809,000 viewers.  Aaron Pico’s surprising KO loss to Henry Corrales drew 808,000 viewers.

It was a busy night for sports on Saturday with PBC on Fox, Showtime’s replay of Pacquiao-Broner and the NBA on ABC and the NHL All-Star Game.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are the best for Bellator since last January when Chael Sonnen faced Rampage Jackson at the beginning of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.  It should be noted that the top 3 fights lasted less than a round.  The Fedor-Bader matchup which drew over 1 million viewers was just 35 seconds.  Yet, the ratings show that there is an audience that is either looking for a UFC alternative or has been trained to look for MMA on Saturdays.  The good news is that Bader proved himself a star and Hager’s performance showed that he is a legit threat in the heavyweight division although we have yet to see his chin.  Perhaps the only bad news is the loss of Aaron Pico, a fighter the promotion had hoped it could promote as a superstar.  It still can but his fight style might need a quick rehab.

NAC doles out punishments from UFC 229 fallout

January 29, 2019

The Nevada Athletic Commission handed out punishments from October’s UFC 229 melee with Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmogomedov.  The NAC handed out its punishments at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Conor McGregor, who was represented by former UFC and WSOF exec Michael Mersch, received a $50,000 fine and a six-month suspension as a result of his part in the post-main event fight that broke out after his bout with Khabib.  Chairman Anthony Marnell III stated that McGregor was defending himself during the melee but indicated that his engagement with Khabib’s corner did not make him an innocent victim.  Executive Director Bob Bennett also stated that the pre-fight comments and trash talk from McGregor likely incited the issues.

Khabib Nurmagomedov received a nine-month suspension and a $500,000 fine for his part in the post-fight antics at UFC 229.  Khabib had climbed the cage after defeating McGregor to go after Dillon Danis in the crowd.  The commission indicated that the suspension could be reduced by up to 3 months if he is to do an anti-bullying PSA that must be approved by the commission.

Both Khabib and Connor suspensions are retroactive to October 6, 2018 and would be able to return by April 6, 2019 (assuming Khabib does the PSA).

Khabib’s cornermen, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were suspended a year by the commission and given $25,000 fines.  Each became physically involved in the post-fight.  Assuming their suspensions are also retroactive, they would not be able to return until October 2019.

Payout Perspective:

The sentences allow for Conor and Khabib to return to fight this spring which is optimal for the UFC.  If you are to interpret Khabib’s social media, he does not like the fact that he was given a stiffer sentence than McGregor.  Yet, one might anticipate a return fight between the two set for July’s International Fight Week.

McGregor and Khabib broker settlements with NAC prior to Tuesday hearing

January 29, 2019

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmogomedov have brokered settlements with the Nevada Athletic Commission prior to Tuesday’s hearing.

McGregor and Nurmogomedov were on the agenda for the monthly commission hearing to discuss punishment for October’s post-fight fight at UFC 229.  The melee saw the commission withhold Nurmogomedov’s purse in light of his actions.  It later reviewed video which also assessed liability to McGregor for his part in the post-fight altercation.

According to the report by Adam Hill, settlements were also reached with Khabib’s teammates Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zuabaira Tukhugov.  Both were involved in the UFC 229 fracas.

The settlements have you to be disclosed although Bennett confirmed the settlement agreements.  The report indicates that the commission will agree to the settlement.

Payout Perspective:

Swift and without further discussion is likely what the UFC wanted to do with the settlement negotiations for the fighters.  One would think an ample fine and a suspension that will allow for each fighter to return by July’s International Fight Week is likely the forecast.

UFC releases economic data of UFC 229 a day before Conor-Khabib NAC hearings

January 28, 2019

A day before the commission’s disciplinary hearings involving Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmogomedov, the UFC released an economic impact statement on how the fight drove the economy in Las Vegas.

According to the release, UFC 229 delivered $86.4 million in total economic output according to a study conducted by the research firm Applied Analysis.  According to the release, it’s the largest economic impact for a single UFC event measured globally.

Via UFC press release:

Key Highlights of the UFC® 229: KHABIB vs. MCGREGOR economic impact study:

  • $86.4 million total economic output
  • $17.2 million total salaries and wages paid
  • 414 jobs supported in Southern Nevada
  • $3.7 million total taxes paid by visitors
  • 40% of UFC 229 visitors traveled from international locations
  • 50% of attendees were between the ages of 21 to 34
  • 50% of attendees reported an annual household income of $100,000 or more
  • One in five attendees stayed in Las Vegas for at least five days
  • Nearly two in five attendees reported spending more than $2,000 on non-gaming activities

Payout Perspective:

Was the study commissioned by the UFC?  Obviously, if it was, there are reasons to be skeptical.  These economic highlights are impressive and one might think the UFC could produce something like this for its International Fight Week in July as well.  But the reason for this information might be due to the disciplinary hearings occurring Tuesday for Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmogomedov.  Although it was an economic boon for the city, it was a black mark for MMA as Khabib jumped the cage and Conor took a swing at one of Khabib’s teammates.

Report indicates “more than 525,000” new ESPN+ subscribers as a result of UFC debut

January 28, 2019

The Sports Business Journal reports that ESPN gained  more than 525,000 new subscribers as a result of the UFC debut on the network.

With its debut at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn earlier this month, the company scored big (even with a delay) with the UFC.  The prelims drew nearly 2 million viewers with big numbers in other demos including the important A18-49 column.

The article reports on ESPN’s strategy of pushing its digital brand by handing out black “ESPN +” t-shirts for fans to wear during the UFC event at the Barclay’s center. It was part of a fan festival to bring in the company’s new partner.  It also had a special suite for press to show off its capabilities.

According to a press release from ESPN disclosed a day after the event the UFC Prelim card on the network drew 1.4 metered market rating which was the highest-rated UFC Fight Night Prelims on cable since 2013.  It also received over 568,000 subscribers of the ESPN + service where the early prelims and main card were aired.

Payout Perspective:

The latest disclosure in the SBJ article released on Monday indicates that there were approximately 43,000 subscribers that signed up for a trial version and then cancelled.  Yet the retention rates are superb considering the debut on ESPN did not have huge names.  It does seem ironic that the Flyweight division was featured yet, could be on the precipice of extinction.  A thing to monitor is how and if ESPN will continue to disclose these subscriber numbers (similar to how WWE has done it) and the retention rates.  Based on the debut, it looks like this could be the start of a promising partnership.


The Interview: Josh Rosenblatt

January 28, 2019

I had the chance to talk to Josh Rosenblatt about his recently released book, “Why We Fight,One Man’s Search for Meaning Inside the Ring.


PBC on Fox draws 1.72M viewers Saturday night opposite NBA and NHL

January 27, 2019

PBC on Fox Saturday night drew a fast-overnight rating of 1.72 million viewers according to Television By Numbers.   PBC had stiff competition for sports fans on the networks Saturday night.

ABC aired the NBA Countdown show in the first 30 minutes of the PBC event and then aired the Golden State Warriors playing the Boston Celtics.  The Countdown show drew 2.19 million viewers and the game which started at 8:3pm EST drew 3.33 million viewers with a 1.0 rating the A18-49 demo and a 5 share of the overall viewership.  NBC showed the NHL All-Star Game from 8-11pm EST.  The event drew 2.15 million viewers with 0.7 in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share of the audience.

PBC’s second telecast without the UFC as a companion combat sports driver for the network drew a 0.4  in the A18-49 demo and a 2 share overall.

The telecast featured the return of Keith Thurman as he defeated Josesito Lopez via majority decision. A great deal of the fight occurred after the 10pm EST time slot so one might expect the viewership to grow.

Payout Perspective:

 The event improved upon December’s PBC event which drew 1.69 million viewers.  One can see this as a good showing considering the amount of sports opposite PBC on Saturday night.  The Warrior-Celtics game was an entertaining throughout and the NHL audience produced a vast amount of hockey fans to NBC.  This time last year, UFC on Fox 27 drew 1,770,000 which was the lowest UFC on Fox rating up until that date.

Pacquiao’s return to U.S. draws 400K PPV buys according to reports

January 25, 2019

The return of Manny Pacquiao stateside has produced a Showtime PPV event drawing approximately 400,000 PPV buys according to multiple outlets.

Pacquiao was dominant in a unanimous decision victory over Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  Although this buy rate was provided to ESPN and Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, it does not appear that Showtime will make a formal announcement.  It previously stated that it would no longer make formal announcement of PPV buys unless they were to approach or break records.

For the return of Pacqiao to fight in the United States, it has to be considered a success. His last fight in the United States, a win over Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas sold near 300,000 PPV buys.

According to Nevada Athletic Commission records, Pacquiao earned $10 million for the fight.  Broner  made 2.5 million.

It is interesting to note that the NAC payment verification and breakdown sheet included $3 million to the IRS for Pacquiao and an advance of $1.75 million.  Broner was advanced over $200,000 for the fight.

Payout Perspective:

What exactly brought back Pacquiao to boxing PPV success when his last fight was on the yet-to-be noticed at the time ESPN+?  A part of it has to do with Broner.  While its clear that he’s not the best fighter, Broner brings a notoriety about him that makes people want to watch.  This was Broner’s first PPV but he has been a rating draw on Showtime.  There’s also the factor of Pacquiao coming back to fight in the US.  Why that matters when most fans are going to watch on television is beyond my analytical and/or logical thinking.  Then, there’s the PBC element.  Manny signing with PBC has seemed to helped find some direction to his career.  There’s no doubt he’s fighting Mayweather next and he should be back to being a PPV star again.

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