UFC on ESPN 2 attendance, gate and bonuses

March 31, 2019

UFC on ESPN 2 took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday night with Justin Gaethje bringing the fans another stellar performance as he KO’s Edson Barboza in the main event of the evening.

Gaethje along with Barboza drew Fight of the Night on Saturday.  Jack Hermansson and Paul Craig drew Performance of the Night Bonuses.  All received the standard $50,000 per year.  Hermansson defeated David Branch via first round submission.  Craig pulled off a last minute submission via triangle choke over Kenned Nzechukwu to go to 3-3 in the UFC.

Gaethje knocked out Barboza in the very first round after some solid exchanges between the two.  The former WSOF champ has now won “Fight of the Night” honors in four of his first five UFC fights.

The event at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia drew 11,123 fans for a live gate of $1,102,542.16.

The numbers were announced post-event by the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

The event drew solid attendance and gate for this visit to Philly.  Gaethje is soon becoming a “must watch” UFC competitor as highlighted by the number of Fight of the Night honors he receives.  While his fight style may not be long for his career, he is an exciting fighter that pleases the crowd.

Report: Endeavor to file IPO by the end of the year

March 29, 2019

The Wall Street Journal reports that Endeavor, the owner of the UFC, is planning for an IPO by the end of the year.

According to the report, the IPO will be used to broaden Endeavor’s businesses beyond film and television.

Endeavor purchased the UFC in 2016 for $4 billion.  It also acquired sports marketing agency 160over90 for approximately $200 million.  It also owns the Professional Bull Riders and the Miss Universe organization.

The proposed IPO may allow private-equity firms Silver Lake and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group to obtain their initial investment.

According to the Financial Times, Endeavor was valued at $6.3 billion in August 2017 including its debt when it raised money following a $1 billion investment from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Payout Perspective:

Moody’s reported that Endeavor had “suffered from weaker than expected results due to lower levels of profitability from multi-year international media sports rights contracts that will lead to elevated leverage levels going forward.”  The debt load increased to 8.4x multiples as of the third quarter in 2018 which represented a rise causing a concern over default potential.  It would seem that an IPO would allow for cash flow to allow for more investment while allowing for it to address the concern over debt. It would also mean greater transparency as the company would have to make quarterly reports and deal with conference calls and all that goes with public filing.

Jones to headline July’s UFC 239

March 27, 2019

ESPN.com reports the headliner for UFC’s International Week card will be Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Thiago Santos.  In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will defend her bantamweight title against Holly Holm.

Jon Jones returns to headline an International Fight Week after having to be pulled three years ago at UFC 200.  His opponent, Santos is the third-ranked Light Heavyweight in the UFC behind Daniel Cormier and Alexsander Gustafsson.  Jones had played with his fans on social media that he would be fighting heavyweight Stipe Miocic soon.  But that was not the case.

Coming off her first round KO of Cris Cyborg, Nunes will defend her bantamweight title against Holly Holm.

The card will headline International Fight Week on July 6th.

Payout Perspective:

Conor McGregor was thought to have been returning on this card, but with a hasty retirement and the public revelation that he is under investigation of sexual assault in Ireland, its unlikely we see the former double champ in the Octagon in the near future.  Jones has proven his PPV-worth with his last two features drawing well above the UFC PPV average.  Nunes, who headlined UFC 200 due to a set of circumstances which included Jones taken off the card, defends her bantamweight title in an interesting matchup with Holm.  We will see what the other supporting fights will be on this card but you might expect more big names to be a part as the UFC always try to emit a huge spotlight on the company with its annual Vegas event in July.

Ratings for Top Rank, PBC and NCAA Wrestling this weekend

March 26, 2019

This weekend’s boxing event took a step back from the last couple of weeks as events for Top Rank on ESPN and PBC on FS1 were flat likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday night, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 469,000 viewers and 150,000 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen via ShowBuzz.  The event featured Kubrat Pulev as he defeated Bogdan Dinu via KO in the 7th round.  There were two fights on the telecast which aired Saturday night.

Sunday afternoon, PBC on FS1 took place with a fight between Lamont Petersen and Sergey Lipinets.  The Kazakhstani Russian stopped Petersen who then announced his retirement from boxing.  The event drew 374,000 viewers and only 74,000 in the A18-49 demo.

On another note, College Wrestling on ESPN drew 312,000/128,000 A18-49 Thursday (7:00pm), 407,000/147,000 A18-49 Friday night (8:00pm start), 625,000/245,000 A18-49 Saturday night (7:00pm EST start) for the NCAA Mat Madness showdown.

Payout Perspective:

This weekend sports programs were likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament which started for both the men’s and women’s brackets.  The opening rounds usually garner a lot of viewership which likely meant that most other sports took backseats to them.  The PBC on FS1 event is somewhat low for a name like Petersen, but with a late afternoon/early evening start it competed with NCAA games.

Conor McGregor announces retirement again

March 26, 2019

Conor McGregor wrote on twitter Monday night that he is retiring from “Mixed Martial Art.” Whether or not the retirement will stick will be a good question.

The retirement announcement is his second after having announced a similar retirement in 2016.  As we know, he returned to the Octagon.

Notably, Ronda Rousey, another former UFC star, chimed in with congratulations.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto obtained a text statement from Dana White who seems to endorse his announcement:

Notably, McGregor was on Jimmy Fallon on Monday night and talked about a return to fighting this July.  McGregor scoffed at a proposed co-main event fight during International Fight Week.  It was explained that a proposed Heavyweight title fight (perhaps between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier or Brock Lesnar and Cormier) would be the main attraction.

Payout Perspective:

Conor is not retired and I highly doubt many think he will stay out of the limelight of the fight game.  The announcement seems to be yet another negotiating tool for the former champ to get an advantageous deal for his next fight.  He realizes he’s a big draw, the UFC and its business partners know this too.  Even if it means sitting out July, one might expect McGregor back in the game by the f

Mark Hunt files Notice of Appeal in his lawsuit against UFC, White and Lesnar

March 25, 2019

Mark Hunt has filed a Notice of Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a potential reversal of the District Court’s decision to decision 9 out of 10 of his claims in his lawsuit filed against the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar.

Plaintiffs are seeking the overturn of the Court’s decision handed out on February 22nd in which U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey dismissed 9 out of 10 claims brought by the UFC Heavyweight.  Among the claims, he brought allegations under the Civil RICO Act arguing that the UFC had conspired to allow fighters that use banned substances to compete in the UFC.  It also claimed that Brock Lesnar was guilty of battery as Hunt did not assume the risk of fighting an opponent on a banned substance.

The Court dismissed the claims citing no conspiracy and that Hunt had conceded to the involvement in the fight with Lesnar despite the failed drug test by the WWE performer.  The Court indicated that there was nothing out of the norm of ordinary activity in an MMA bout.

Payout Perspective:

While I believed that this fight in the courts would end in a win for the UFC, the Plaintiffs have appealed the decision which will cause a longer process for resolution.  Yet, if you are to look at this case from a legal precedent perspective, there seems to be an argument to be made with Hunt’s assumption of the risk in this case.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC on ESPN + 6 Promotional Guideline Payouts

March 25, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 6 took place in Nashville, Tennessee this past Saturday.  The UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay totaled $152,500.

Main-eventer Anthony Pettis earned $20,000 for his 22nd fight with Zuffa (including WEC).  Pettis was the only fighter on the card with over 20 fights which would qualify him for the $20,000 payment level.  Stephen Thompson’s 14 fights in the UFC gave him $10,000.  John Makdessi was the only other fighter on the card that drew over $10,000 with $15,000 for the fighter after his 16th fight with the company.

The payouts are as follows (h/t compilation via MMA Junkie):

Anthony Pettis: $20,000
def. Stephen Thompson: $10,000

Curtis Blaydes: $5,000
def. Justin Willis: $4,000

John Makdessi: $15,000
def. Jesus Pinedo: $3,500

Jussier Formiga: $10,000
def. Deiveson Figueiredo: $4,000

Luis Pena: $3,500
def. Steven Peterson: $3,500

Maycee Barber: $3,500
def. J.J. Aldrich: $4,000

Bryce Mitchell: $3,500
def. Bobby Moffett: $3,500

Marlon Vera: $10,000
def. Frankie Saenz: $5,000

Jennifer Maia: $3,500
def. Alexis Davis: $10,000

Randa Markos: $10,000
def. Angela Hill: $5,000

Chris Gutierrez: $3,500
def. Ryan MacDonald: $3,500

Eric Shelton: $5,000
def. Jordan Espinosa: $3,500

UFC on ESPN + 6 attendance, gate and bonuses

March 23, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 6 took place Saturday from Nashville, Tennessee.  The event drew $939,095.99 per the UFC post-fight.

Bonuses were handed out to Anthony Pettis, Randa Markos, Bryce Mitchell and Bobby Moffett.  Pettis earned a Performance Bonus for his devastating superman punch that knocked out Stephen Thompson in the second round of the main event.  Markos scored a first round submission of Angela Hill.  Mitchell and Moffett drew Fight of the Night with Mitchell edging out Moffett.

The event took place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Payout Perspective:

It was Showtime’s first fight at welterweight and he KO’d the previously non-KO’d Wonderboy.  One has to expect Pettis to be a mainstay in the stacked division and make a run here in the future.  Maycee Barber could have been another candidate for a bonus after her stoppage of J.J. Aldrich.

PBC viewership numbers over last two events

March 23, 2019

To clean up the past couple of weeks, MMA Payout has obtained the ratings from the past two weeks from PBC events.

This past weekend’s PBC Prelims on FS1 averaged a combined 479,579 from FS1, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports streaming services.  The FS1 telecast averaged 421,000.  According to Fox, it was FS1’s 2nd most-watched boxing telecast.  It was 66% better than the previous PBC Prelim card on the network on 3/9/19 (PBC on Fox) which drew 259,000.  The peak for the PBC Prelims on FS1 this past Saturday was 453,000 viewers during between 8:30-8:45pm.

The Fs1 Prefight Show which aired prior to the PPV drew 404,000 viewers.  PBC Fight Camp on Fox drew 402,000 viewers.

The PPV fight between Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia drew an estimated 360,000 buys according to Kevin Iole’s report on March 21st.

March 9th’s PBC on Fox drew 1.628 million viewers on Saturday night.  The event peaked with 2.197 million viewers.  The main event saw Shawn Porter retain his welterweight title via split decision over Yordenis Ugas.  The telecast bested last month’s event which drew 1.377 million viewers.

Per Fox, the average viewership for each fight is as follows:

  • Efe Ajagba vs Amir Mansour-               1.282 million viewers
  • Abel Ramos vs Francisco Santana-     1.415 million viewers
  • Shawn Porter vs Yordenis Ugas-         2.142 million viewers

The Prelims last week drew 252,000 viewers.

Loss of supplement bottle at center of Motion to Dismiss Lyman Good’s case

March 22, 2019

The drug maker and distributor in Lyman Good’s lawsuit for a tainted supplement brought a motion to dismiss his claims for spoliation of evidence last month.  The UFC fighter took a supplement which caused him to fail a USADA drug test and miss out on a bout.  The motion to dismiss claims that Good and/or his lawyer did not retain the alleged supplement which caused the failed test.

Good’s lawyer and fight manager David Fish indicated that it was lost in the mail after it was sent to a laboratory for testing.  However, the drug maker and distributor contend that this is a false narrative.

Defendants Gaspari Nutrition, Inc., Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.   have brought this motion for spoliation of evidence.  The motion is based on the discovery rules which allows for the dismissal of a lawsuit if a party does not preserve evidence.  According to Good, the remedy is an extreme one as the fighter’s attorney argued that the “missing Anavite bottle” is not the key piece of evidence and is not the ultimate question for the trier of fact.

The elements for destruction of evidence are:

  1. That the party having control over the evidence had an obligation to preserve it at the time it was destroyed;
  2. That the records were destroyed “with a culpable state of mind”;
  3. That the destroyed evidence was “relevant” to the party’s claim or defense such that a reasonable trier of fact could find that it would support that claim or defense.

“Culpable state of mind” essentially means that there was knowledge and intent to destroy the evidence.  Even if there was mere negligence on the part of the party, it would still qualify.

In its opposition to the moving papers, Good argues that there is nothing to justify dismissal of his lawsuit due to the allegations of “spoliation” of evidence.  He further argues that the “missing Anavite bottle” is not essential to the heart of the lawsuit. Calling it a “red herring” Good argues that the identity of the manufacturer of the product and the existence of a product defect are issues of fact capable to prove via circumstantial evidence.  This would mean that Good could prove the defect even if the actual bottle of alleged tainted product was not present.

In its moving papers, defendants point to Good’s initial argument that it had sent a bottle of Anavite to be analyzed by LGC Science, Inc. (“LGC”). Per defendants, LGC could not identify the anabolic steroid despite representations by Good in his first lawsuit that it did.  It was not until LGC corrected Good did he change his lawsuit to reflect this.  The episode infers a pattern by Good of not stating the truth.  If a court were to accept such an argument, it may side with defendants in dismissing the case.

Defendants also point to the fact that Good did not list the use of Anavite on his USADA “Declaration of Use” form.  Even when he clarified his form to include another supplement, Anavite was not listed.  Defendants create the suspicion based on these “lapses of memory” that Good was selectively recalling information for his benefit.

The misplacement of the bottle of Anavite by Good is called into question as when it was requested of Good, he indicated that he gave the bottle to his attorney and manager David Fish.  Fish indicated that he had it and sent it to counsel for testing but it was never received.

Defendants proclaim this to be a case of spoliation of evidence where Good has destroyed the Anavite bottle on purpose to ensure that it would not be tested.

Defendant Vitamin Shoppe argued that Good could not establish the manufacture of the product ingested could not be identified by “circumstantial evidence” as argued.

While the defendants had claimed that Good’s attorney should recuse himself due to the loss of the evidence, they backed off from this threat claiming that it would cause an undue hardship on Good.  Still, the dismissal of the case would be another extreme measure if they can convince a court that the loss of the bottle is central to the lawsuit.

Certainly, the lack of product may have been evidence which defendants could have tested and mitigated their liability.  If it was found not to have the banned substance, they would be not liable.  If it had the banned substance, they can assess the origins of it determine its origins.

Since the Motion to Dismiss was filed, Good has filed a motion to preclude the defendant’s experts which would exclude their testimony at the time of trial.  This is in anticipation of the Court denying the motion and the case moving to trial.

This would seem to be a safe assumption.  The Motion to Dismiss is a home run in this instance.  While the rules for destruction of evidence has dismissal of the case as a repercussion.  This does not seem to be what has happened here.  Although defendants make the argument that even gross negligence should be considered as a means of spoliation with intent, the Court will likely side with Good here.

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