New champ Zhang leads $50K bonus winners for UFC Shenzhen

August 31, 2019

UFC on ESPN +15 took place in Shenzhen, China on Saturday with Weili Zhang stopping Jessica Andrade in the first round to win the women’s strawweight title.

The event took place at Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China.  The event bonuses went to Weili Zhang, Li Jingliang, Heili Alateng and Danaa Batgerel.  Zhang and Jingliang won Performance Bonuses while Alateng and Batgerel won Fight of the Night.

Zhang needed less than a minute in the first round to win the strawweight title from Andrade.  Conversely, Jingliang earned a KO in the third round with less than 10 seconds left in the fight.  Alateng and Batgerel fought on the prelims of the card.

The bonuses were announced post fight.

Payout Perspective:

With Zhang’s victory over Andrade, it should mean that Rose Namajunas is back in the title picture.  Andrade was no match for Zhang tonight and the Chinese crowd went crazy after her victory.  As the first Chinese champion, Zuffa now has found its connection to the Chinese market.

Payouts, net gate information from Top Rank Boxing event August 17th

August 30, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payout sheet from the August 17th event at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  The $501,500 total reported purse has Jessie Magdaleno and Emmanuel Navarrete as the top earners making $125K a piece.

Per a CSAC records request, MMA Payout was provided with the payouts as follows:

Elvis Rodriguez  $6,000 def.

Jesus Gonzales  $3,000

Brian Mendoza $10,000 def.

Rosemberg Gomez  $5,000

Dmitry Yun  $5,000 def.

Javier Martinez $3,500

Javier Molina $20,000  def.

Manuel Mendez  $8,500

Chris Van Heerden  $20,000 def.

Aslanbek Kozaev  $10,000

Janibek Alimkhanuly $12,500 def.

Stuart McLellan $5,000

Arnold Barboza, Jr.  $50,000 def

Ricky Sismundo  $8,000

Jessie Magdaleno  $125,000 def.

Rafael Rivera $10,000

Emmanuel Navarrete $125,000 def.

Francisco De Vaca  $75,000

The Commission records show that the Top Rank event drew 5,529 fans in which 1,469 were sold for total receipts of $87,090.00.  There were $1,173.48 worth of comp tickets paid for by Top Rank. After adjustments, the net house for the event drew $79,800.85.  Also, Top Rank paid fees to the state of $40,892.63.

Payout Perspective:

If you do the quick math, the roster payout was slightly over half a million dollars and Top Rank netted slightly less than $39,000 from the gate.  This was geared to telecast but one can see the great expenditures the promotion is taking in these events with the anticipation that the bigger events will compensate for these where it looks like they are losing money.

PBC Fight Night on FS1 does its best rating since January

August 29, 2019

PBC Fight Night on FS1 this past Saturday drew 345,00 viewers according to Nielsen.  It was FS1’s best performance since January.

The telecast saw Brandon Figueroa KO Javier Nicolas Chacon in the fourth round in a Junior Bantamweight title fight.

According to Fox Sports, it was up 48% from Saturday’s average of FS1 PBC cards.  It peaked with 421,000 viewers in the 12:00am ET-12:15am ET quarter hour.

The event averaged 85,000 viewers on Fox Deportes.  According to Fox Sports, 432,00 viewers watch on FS1, Fox Deportes and Fox streaming services.

January’s PBC on FS1 event featured rising star Caleb Plant and drew 761,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A decent rating for PBC on FS1 considering the card and the fact College Football’s return was the star of the night with the Miami vs. Florida game.  There was also the Bellator card on The Paramount Network although that didn’t do much of a dent in the ratings.

Bellator posts lowest Paramount Network ratings in 2019 this past weekend

August 29, 2019

Bellator 225 which took place on Saturday night drew just 285,000 viewers on Paramount according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event, which also aired on DAZN, featured heavyweights Matt Mitrone and Sergei Kharitonov.  The former Strikeforce fighter won via TKO via the former TUF competitor in the second round.  The event drew an overall share of just 0.09.

Per Jed I. Goodman, here are the Paramount Network ratings for the 2019 events:

Bellator 224 325k

Bellator 223 386k

Bellator 222 DAZN

Bellator 221 DAZN

Bellator 220 DAZN

Bellator 219 307k

Bellator 218 255k

Bellator 217 349k

Bellator 216 DAZN

Bellator 215 365k

Bellator 214 697k

Bellator did go up against PBC on FS1 which drew 345,000 viewers.  But the boxing telecast started after the MMA telecast.

Payout Perspective:

With a Bellator average on The Paramount Network at 325,000 viewers, one has to hope more viewers are on DAZN watching the events.  Granted, it was the start of College Football and the end of NFL Preseason which has many sports fans interested in the sport than MMA.  With this card having little interest, the ratings were likely expected.

Winners and Losers through 2 days of the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Expert Hearings

August 28, 2019

After the first two days of the evidentiary hearings in Las Vegas, MMA Payout has assessed some of the winners and losers of one of the more anticipated hearings that may shape the industry of mixed martial arts.

Here were my observations through the second day.  I would also recommend Paul Gift and John Nash’s articles on this as well.  Also, the Show Money exclusives.

Winners:  Judge Richard Boulware

It’s clear that Judge Boulware is in control of how he wants to run the week and what he wants to hear.  Judge Boulware’s credentials are impeccable.  He went to Harvard College then to Columbia Law and clerked for Judge Denise L. Cote in the Southern District of New York.  For those not knowing, the Southern District of New York is a very well-known sect where some of the most salacious, sexy and well-known cases are filed.  Judge Cote dealt with the federal securities and ERISA class-action lawsuits brought by former employees or investors in WorldCom and Arthur Anderson and investment banks back in the mid-2000s.  Although not confirmed independently, this would have been about the same time that Judge Boulware would have been clerking.

Rather than joining a law firm after his clerkship, he dedicated his legal practice to Federal Criminal defense.  While his background might be criminal law, Judge Boulware indicated that he had some familiarity with regression theory which would be displayed in the first two days of the testimony as it was clear he was following Dr. Singer’s model better than Zuffa.  While his understanding should not be seen as an admission that Dr. Singer’s model is valid, he seemed well-versed with the mechanics of it.

With a criminal defense background, he is well-versed in cross-examination and how to illicit testimony.  This came into play early on in the first two days.

It’s notable that he is a very even keel Judge and doesn’t lose his patience even when he is talked over or challenged.  The one warning given to the parties about talking over him was a very stern, yet polite warning.  He is very engaged in the testimony to the point that he had to be reminded of taking a lunch break on the first day.

Winners:  Hal Singer

Although challenged on cross-examination, Dr. Singer came across as a calm expert defending his report while attempting to aid the Court in why he did what he did and the outcome.  Clearly, it’s his purpose to be an advocate for his position and was unwilling to concede certain items suggested by Zuffa’s attorneys on the cross-examination.  At times, he did appear too willing to provide Judge Boulware with explanations, but overall his testimony provided the Plaintiffs with a good shot at clearing the hurdle of Class Certification.

Winners:  Kyle Kingsbury, Jon Fitch and Cung Le

Kingsbury, Fitch and Le attended the hearings.  Kingsbury and Fitch sat through the first day while Le joined them on Tuesday.  With the high-level economic theory added to the legal aspects of the hearing, even lawyers (ahem) would have got bored by this testimony.

Winners:  Kingsbury’s Vans

The former UFC fighter wore a sweet pair of vans with his suit on Tuesday.  Not to be outdone with his superfanny pack on Monday.  But I am a sneaker guy.

Not really a Loser, but it wasn’t winning either:  Zuffa

The cross-examination of Dr. Singer did not flow well and you might infer that Zuffa was not getting its points across that it had hoped.  More so, Judge Boulware seem unimpacted by the questions asked by Zuffa to Dr. Singer.

Obviously, Zuffa could turn this around with Dr. Topel’s testimony, its other experts and maybe Judge Boulware may just not buy Dr. Singer’s model in the end. But, from the first two days it was not going the way Zuffa would have liked.

Loser:  Joe Silva testimony

The news that Silva would not be testifying on Thursday as originally scheduled put a damper on the week as it would have pitted him in Court with the likelihood of Kingsbury, Le and Fitch gazing at him during questioning.

Losers: Zuffa, Top Rank and Bellator

Judge Boulware stated at the outset that since this would be a dispositive motion  (Class Cert will decide whether the case will continue or end) the expert reports would be unredacted for all to see.  Zuffa’s counsel Stacy Grigsby was tasked by her client to argue that the information contained vital business information which she contended must remain under seal, unavailable to the public and mainly for the competitors.  Judge Boulware asked for an example, which Grisby obliged but was put down swiftly by the judge.

Similarly, Bellator appeared to argue about its financial information was confidential.  But it was a losing argument although Judge Boulware gave an assurance that the granular financial information should not be probed based on the context of the hearings and what testimony he wanted.  He would not grant a seal on the financials because of the overarching explanation that since he would render an opinion, he would not grant an order sealing any information in the expert reports.  So, although Bellator lost, the Judge didn’t want them to feel like they were really exposed.

More of a Loser:  Top Rank

The belief that your company’s private information may be compromised seemed like a big enough deal to object as a non-party but to not show up in Vegas when it’s less than an hour plane ride away tells the Court it really doesn’t matter.  Appearing telephonically for a hearing of this magnitude is a bad look.  It tells the Court that this issue is not of great importance.  Nevertheless, Top Rank took issue with ONE footnote in Andrew Zimbalist’s economic expert report.  Top Rank was not heard until after Grigsby’s and Bellator’s arguments to the Court were made.  At that point, it was clear that Judge Boulware would not seal anything.

Yet, Top Rank continued with its argument to which Judge Boulware was quick to respond with a resounding denial of the request.

Loser: Slide presentations

The Court did not see Plaintiffs or Defendants full presentations although they were brought up out of order.  While we gleaned a lot of the financial information throughout the day, it would have been nice to see the presentations as they were to be shown.

Loser:  Paper

Despite Judge Boulware having a paperless Courtroom, there were tons of boxes and trial binders brought by both sides.  One of the funnier moments at the beginning occurred when Plaintiffs’ counsel Eric Cramer attempted to provide Judge Boulware with a hard copy but the judge did not want to do anything with it.

The show will go on without me in Vegas, but keep following John Nash and Paul Gift on ongoing updates throughout the week.

UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Evidentiary Hearings Day 2 finishes up with Dr. Singer testimony

August 27, 2019

The UFC Antitrust Lawsuit evidentiary hearings went into its second day in Las Vegas at the Federal Courthouse with the finish of Dr. Singer’s testimony.

The beginning of the day finished up the cross examination of plaintiffs’ expert Hal Singer by Zuffa’s attorney William Isaacson.  Court started a little earlier than normal to accommodate the rather ambitious schedule for the parties.  Zuffa questioning of Dr. Singer lasted for about two and a half hours with the primary emphasis of drilling down on Singer’s modeling regression theory and the variables.

It is the regression analysis performed by Dr. Singer with the data obtained from discovery with which he concludes that Zuffa obtained market power through anticompetitive means.  The report indicates the estimated damages suffered by the anticipated plaintiffs’ class as a result.

While Zuffa was teeing up key arguments with Dr. Singer to be explained later, Judge Boulware was not willing to go down a path which might impeach or exclude the witness.  It was clear this was not the exercise this week was for from Judge Boulware’s point of view.  Rather, his main goal was to have Zuffa examine, critique and take issue with the modeling performed by Dr. Singer.  This included key issues with Dr. Singer’s foreclosure share, control and uncontrolled variables and how he implemented his model.  This played out several times throughout the morning when Isaacson attempted to show Dr. Singer several slides not in his report for the primary purpose of an ‘a ha’ moment where he would be later be shown to be wrong about his analysis.

From an outsider’s perspective, it was clear that the method implemented by Judge Boulware during the hearing interrupted the flow of the examination outlined and prepared by Isaacson.  At times during Monday’s cross-examination and into Tuesday’s morning hearing, Isaacson appeared to stumble over the econometrics of the theory.  Judge Boulware and Dr. Singer seemed to be on the same page more times than Isaacson and Judge Boulware.  Key in cross-examination is to have control over the witness.  This is very difficult even for the most seasoned of lawyers.  The control is through short, succinct and close-ended questions.  Yet, this was not wanted by Judge Boulware. On more than one occasion, Judge Boulware suggested much more open-ended questions.  These being the kind in which the witness is able to explain.  This runs contrary to the method and purpose of cross-examination by a party which is to box-in and pin down the witness to a certain way in which they are no longer about to wiggle out of certain inconsistencies or findings.  Instead, it appeared as Isaacson was not adopting as fast as the Court would have liked.  Certainly, there could have been a way to asked an open-ended question and then shave down the response from there.  The issue being that well-prepared attorneys have a method and roadmap to follow.  Diversion from the roadmap might mean not being able to find their way through the thicket of information that they need to cover to complete the examination.

Judge Boulware made it clear to both parties that this would be the one and only time to ask the economic experts of their modeling which determines whether or not there was an anticompetitive means by which Zuffa obtained market power.  He stressed that he would not qualify any briefing that was not highlighted prior to this hearing.  This came up when Isaacson brought up a data slide which included a data point that saw Bellator receiving revenue of $4.5 million for its Bellator 120 PPV.  The question was whether Dr. Singer included this data in his revenue variable when coming up with his analysis showing that wage share did not grow proportionately with event revenue.  It appeared as though Dr. Singer did not include it in his data.  The bigger question which was a source of contention was that Dr. Singer claimed to have not seen this slide of information before and neither did plaintiffs’ attorneys.  Counsel for Zuffa indicated they did not know which filing this was found.  This brought up plaintiffs’ counsel to indicate a feeling that they were not prepared for this showing.  Judge Boulware seemed to agree with it and made the comment that both parties must ensure that the other side is fully aware of the information that will be used and offered

The cross-examination of Dr. Singer ended abruptly as Dr. Topel’s testimony began.  Judge Boulware made it clear that there would be no ‘re-direct’ by Plaintiffs – something which counsel had hope to do to clarify some of the testimony from cross-examination.

Adaptation to the curve balls that occur in open court is one of the mysteries in handling a litigation practice.  Judge Boulware did not prepare the parties for what he wanted in the presentations although the parties indicated prior to the start of the hearings on Monday that they were not surprised or caught off guard by how this would proceed.  Plaintiffs had prepared an in-depth presentation with many slides but Judge Boulware was not interested in all of them which forced the Plaintiffs to jump around during the direct of Dr. Singer.  As explained above, Zuffa had issues with its cross-examination as well.

Show Money Special Edition: UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Expert Hearings

August 26, 2019

It’s a special edition of Show Money with myself, John and Paul recording from a Tony Roma’s in downtown Vegas after attending the first day of the UFC Antitrust Evidentiary Hearings.

Some observations:

– Judge Boulware is very active and is pushing the parties along with the direct.  He wants to get to the models for both the experts to determine whether he should certify the class of litigants.

– Judge Boulware does not want impeachment on cross examination, or any information outside the scope of the expert reports.

-Any quotes from the UFC or about the UFC which may have been seen by the public as damaging were not entertained by the Court.  Judge Boulware was strictly interested in the experts and regression analysis.

-Cross exam for the UFC did not go well as Judge Boulware would not entertain attempts to discredit the work of Singer from depos or other information.

– Jon Fitch and Kliff Kingsbury were in attendance for the whole day and plan to be there the whole week.

UFC Antitrust Expert Hearings today – live updates

August 26, 2019

MMA Payout is in Vegas to cover the first two days of the UFC Antitrust expert hearings with the Show Money cast.  Follow along as we give updates from the courtroom.

MMA Payout:  @MMAPayout

Jason Cruz:  @dilletaunt

John Nash:  @heynotheface

Paul Gift:  @MMAAnalytics

The first day of live testimony will include the economic experts for both sides: Dr. Hal Singer for plaintiffs and Dr. Robert Toepel for Zuffa.  But, before that, Top Rank has been granted permission to appear via phone at 9:30am PT.


ESPN and DAZN neck and neck in top-grossing sports apps

August 22, 2019

According to John Ourand’s eblast newsletter on Wednesday, ESPN and DAZN remain the top-grossing sports apps worldwide.  The key difference between the two apps is that 99% of ESPN’s revenue is from the U.S. while DAZN’s only receives 27% from the U.S.

Ourand cites data from Sensor Tower which notes that ESPN has around $9.4 million in user spending which is 7x growth from last July.  DAZN nearly had $8.8 million representing 7.5x growth.

DAZN came onto the market in the U.S. this past September while ESPN+ emerged in the spring of 2018.  DAZN’s growth centers around its boxing offerings in addition to some Bellator-exclusive coverage as well as Combates Americas.  ESPN’s digital platform includes a vast amount of content including Top Rank, UFC and PFL.

Payout Perspective:

The obvious takeaway here is that DAZN is still establishing itself in the U.S. market.  One might deduce that its key signings of Canelo Alvarez, GGG and Anthony Joshua will help its subscription base.  Alternatively, it signed a deal with MLB with moderate success. One might expect DAZN catching up with ESPN in user spending if it is able to lockdown key fights for the platform.  Notably, it fared well when Canelo Alarez faced Daniel Jacobs this past spring with so many new subscriptions and viewers.  Alternatively, ESPN may be looking into international expansion.  With most of its revenue generated from the U.S. market, it might be a time to look into expansion.

UFC 241 PPV Prelims draw 817,000 viewers

August 21, 2019

The UFC 241 PPV Prelims drew 817,000 viewers on Saturday night on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was the 5th most-watched telecast on cable and did better than two NFL Preseason game in the A18-49 demo.

The UFC PPV Prelims drew a 0.33 share in the A18-49 demo which ranked better than two NFL Preseason games on the NFL Network Saturday.

The Prelims featured Khama Worthy as he defeated Devonte Smith in the first round.  The event peaked at 949,000 viewers during the fight.

Payout Perspective:

While the event did better than the NFL Preseason in the A18-49 demo, it also ranked sixth among the 8 PPV Prelims that have aired on ESPN this year.  This is disappointing considering that UFC 241 looked to be the biggest event thus far this year.  Yet, despite the big feel of the main card, the prelims were an afterthought this time around.  The low ratings seem to break away from the normal belief that a high PPV Prelim rating means a good PPV buy rate.

Next Page »