Top Rank Boxing draws 471,000 on Saturday night

August 21, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 471,000 viewers Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Emmanuel Navarette as he defeated Francisco De Vaca via TKO in the feature bout of the telecast.

The event drew 162,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.32 share overall.

The UFC Prelims was the de facto lead-in once again for the event prior to the UFC 241 PPV.  The prelims drew 817,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

There was a substantial drop off in viewers from the UFC viewership to the Top Rank telecast.  This may be attributed to viewers tuning into the PPV instead of the telecast.  Its notable that this past weekend in 2018, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 686,000 viewers for a heavyweight fight between Bryant Jennings and Alexander Dimitrenko.

Dan Hardy getting ready for a comeback?

August 21, 2019

A lot has happened in the sport of MMA since 2012.  It was Dan Hardy’s last time in the Octagon.  Now, the current UFC commentator says he’s getting ready for a return to the Octagon.

Hardy announced on the Joe Rogan Podcast (via MMA Junkie) that he is entering the USADA testing protocol.  According to the rules, once he’s been in the random-testing pool for four months he’ll be able to fight in the UFC once again.

You may recall that Hardy was sidelined due to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.  The past several years Hardy has served as a commentator for the promotion mainly doing European events.

At 37, one has to conclude that Hardy misses the competition of MMA and believes that his health will not be a factor upon return.

Payout Perspective:

Hardy does a great job as a commentator but you have to believe that he thinks it was a ‘now or never’ situation on a return to the Octagon.  Nate Diaz’s return from a three-year hiatus may have motivated Hardy but his health situation is something to give pause upon return. With the UFC putting on weekly events all over the world, Hardy may be a name that might see a rebirth of a career if physicians allow it to happen.

UFC 241: Payout Perspective

August 19, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at a very successful UFC 241 from The Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Stipe KOs Cormier to regain Heavyweight title

Stipe Miocic regained the UFC Heavyweight title with a KO of Daniel Cormier late in the 4th round.  DC had looked like the better fighter through most of the 4 rounds but Miocic’s strategy of body shots took its toll on Cormier leading to the KO.  Cormier had been leading on all cards at the time of the stoppage.

Despite the loss, Cormier has had a tremendous career and showed all class in what could be his last fight in the Octagon.  Personally, I think he still has a couple more fights in him before he retires.  It would seem as though a rematch would be the most logical thing to do although Miocic could wait to see the winner of the Walt Harris-Alistair Overeem fight or another fight with Francis Ngannou.

Diaz returns to defeat Pettis

The biggest question going into UFC 241 was determining how Nate Diaz would look like with 3 years off.  The answer was sensational.  Diaz looked fresh and used his dirty boxing tactics to stifle Anthony Pettis.  Showtime did break his foot during the fight but Diaz was clearly the dominant fighter tonight.

Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal for his next fight in what many believe would be a great fight to see.

Attendance and gate

For the first time, an MMA event in California drew over $3 million as UFC 241 drew $3,237,032 with 17,304 in attendance according to the UFC post-event.  It bested the previous record, UFC 214 by nearly $1 million.  Earlier in the week, SeatGeek noted the secondary market was up for this event.

Bonuses

The $50,000 bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Khama Worthy, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.  Miocic and Worthy earned Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages and Costa-Romero was a sight to behold with both fighters unloading big shots. Costa won by decision in the end.

Payouts

The California State Athletic Commission disclosed the payouts from the event.  Stipe Miocic topped the payouts with $750,000

Stipe Miocic: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Daniel Cormier: $500,000

Nate Diaz $250,000 (no win bonus)
def. Anthony Pettis: $155,000

Paulo Costa $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
def. Yoel Romero: $150,000

Sodiq Yusuff $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Gabriel Benitez: $40,000

Derek Brunson $190,000 (includes $95,000 win bonus)
def. Ian Heinisch: $25,000

Khama Worthy $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devonte Smith: $23,000

Cory Sandhagen $154,000 (includes $77,000 win bonus)
def. Raphael Assuncao: $79,000

Drakkar Klose $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Christos Giagos: $28,000

Casey Kenney $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Manny Bermudez: $20,000

Hannah Cifers $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Jodie Esquibel: $10,000

Kyung Ho Kang $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Brandon Davis: $21,000

Sabina Mazo $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Shana Dobson: $12,000

Sponsorships

UFC sponsors in the Octagon included Toyo Tires, Roar Sports (“Aurora Canabis”), Motel 6, Devour, PariMatch, PokerStars, The Rock’s latest movie, “Hobbs and Shaw,” Nemiroff, Modelo, P3, Devour, Monster and Circle K shared an Octagon post and Monster Energy had the center.

Poker Stars also had the outside the Octagon standing area for the coaches.  Body Armor was all over the place last night including the drinks and stools for the event.

Devour had the fighter prep point.  It was also on most of the Reebok fighter kits including shorts and walkout shirt. Notably, it was not on Cormier’s fight kit as he had the Monster, “M” on his gear.

Trifecta Nutrition presented the 7 Embedded Episodes.

Daniel Cormier signed a deal with cbdMD as it was announced during fight week.

Odds and Ends

Nate Diaz ascended to superstar status at UFC 241.  If he was not already a star after defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 196, he reminded people after a 3-year absence why he believes he’s the best in the fight game.  Notwithstanding, you can argue that the UFC made some concessions due to Diaz’s new leverage.  As Embedded showed, he didn’t have to wait around at weigh-ins, he stayed in Corona del Mar near the Wedge (pretty posh neighborhood near Newport Beach) and he lit up a blunt (later clarified as a CBD cigarette from his business) at open workouts.  Yet, the UFC and ESPN went along with it.

The UFC is better with Nate Diaz than it is without him and Dana White admitted that he is a “needle mover.”

As part of the media strategy to reintroduce Diaz to the masses, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning writer, John Branch, wrote a piece about him which highlighted the fighter’s anti-hero attributes.

During UFC 241, there was a lot of hype for next month’s UFC 242 taking place in Abu Dhabi. As a part, it relived the Conor-Khabib matchup from last October.

Nate Diaz had a bunch of unintentional funny comments during his post-fight presser.  Including this one:


There were many notable fighters in the crowd including boxer Terrence Crawford and various UFC fighters but no one drew the most heat than Colby Covington and his MAGA gimmick.

The best part of the Embedded was the “push-up pump” Romero did before getting his photos taken.

The Costa-Romero fight earned Fight of the Night.  During the first round, Romero used the “hey look over there” gimmick to buy time and nail Costa with a punch.  The winner talked about it after.

In spite of his loss, Daniel Cormier showed class in the face of adversity.  Embedded showed his busy schedule in promoting the fight which included throwing out the first pitch at the Angels game, a spot on Access Hollywood and other media.  It also showed the various businesses that he has which will take care of him after his fight career.

Conclusion

UFC 241 drew over 2 million google searches on Saturday which likely equates to a very good buy rate.  The return of Nate Diaz likely spurred the influx of interest coupled with the Heavyweight fight between Cormier and Miocic.  Something in the range of 400-450K PPV buys from ESPN+ would be a good estimate.

UFC 241 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 17, 2019

UFC 241 took place on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.  The event drew the largest MMA gate in the state of California.

It was announced that UFC 241 drew 17,304 for a gate of $3,237.032 at the Honda Center.  It was the first time that an MMA event drew over $3 million in the state.  The previous high was Cormier-Jones 2 at UFC 214 at the Honda Center.  There were 16,610 in attendance for a gate of $2.4 million.

The bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Khama Worthy, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.  Miocic and Worthy drew the Performance Bonuses and Costa and Romero earned Fight of the Night for their wild battle. All earned $50,000 each.

Payout Perspective:

A good night for the UFC highlighted by a title change at Heavyweight and Nate Diaz returning to the Octagon.  SoCal is a hotbed for MMA so its not surprising that it was a sellout but the gate had to have exceeded expectations.  Moreover, according to SeatGeek, the ticket demand on the secondary market was strong.

Pro boxer wins fight, earns nothing per commission records

August 16, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payouts from Showtime Boxing’s Next Generation event held July 12th.  The payout sheets were released by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

The event aired on Showtime with the main event being Jermaine Franklin and Jerry Forrest in a battle of heavyweights.

Franklin made $25,000 to show and another $25,000 for his victory over Forrest.  Despite his losing effort, Forrest earned $50,000 for the matchup.

The rest of the payouts for the card are as follows:

Constantine Bejenaru  $6,000 defeated

Jose Corral  $3,600

 

Giovanni Cabrera-Mioletti  $7,975 (originally payout was deducted $25 for license) defeated

Luis Porozo $6,947.50  (30% deduction from $10K payout for taxes)

 

Eric Hunter  $0 (Original payout of $100 deducted for missing weight)

German Meraz  $5,518 (Original $5,300 payout was deducted for medicals)

Payout Perspective:

The most notably lack of a payout goes to Eric Hunter.  He won his fight against German Meraz but was penalized for not making weight.  Hunter, a boxer with a 22-4 professional record, was only scheduled to make $100 for this fight.  This is brutal for the Philly-based fighter who flew all the way tot he west coast for a $100 purse.  One has to assume that he is being compensated elsewhere although the department of license does not have the payout reported.

Ticket demand high as UFC reports $3M gate ahead of UFC 241

August 16, 2019

UFC 241 this Saturday in Anaheim looks to be a big one as ticket demand for the event is on the rise.  ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto reported that this event will be the first to surpass a $3M gate in the state of California.

The secondary market is hot as well.  According to SeatGeek, as of Wednesday the get-in price for the event is $181 with the average price per ticket on the secondary market at $300.  And don’t look for the ticket prices falling that far either.

Payout Perspective:

This is not surprising for the SoCal market as it’s a very popular place for MMA.  The card is very good considering you get a heavyweight title fight featuring Cormier-Miocic, the return of Nate Diaz to fight Anthony Pettis and then Yoel Romero and undefeated Paulo Costa.  The ticket demand is high compared to last month’s Edmonton event.

Daniel Cormier signs deal with cbdMD

August 16, 2019

The Charlotte, North Carolina based-CBD company, cbdMD, Inc. has signed UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier to a sponsorship deal.  The deal comes the same week as he prepares to defend his title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.

No terms of the deal were released.  cbdMD is a consumer cannabidiol brand whose products include a vast array of products from the newest fad in sports sponsorship.

cbdMD is making a push into sports sponsorship and Cormier is the latest added to the roster which includes golfer Bubba Watson, America Rallycross driver Steve Arpin and the BIG3 Basketball League led by rapper Ice Cube.  It also included Chael Sonnen until his recent retirement in June.

The UFC has its own cannabis-based sponsor, Aurora Cannabis.  So, this deal with DC means that he’d be doing promotion outside of UFC Fight Week.

Payout Perspective:

The deal shows the aggressive nature of the CBD industry at this point.  While most athletes will not go as far as Nate Diaz, who smoked a joint during open workouts, CBD is becoming more accepted by more athletes as a way to recover from physical stress.  Cormier’s sponsor deal reflects his notoriety and ability to help the brand even if he cannot directly promote it during UFC events.

Cat Zingano let go by the UFC

August 14, 2019

Cat Zingano has been let go by the UFC according to a report from MMA Junkie.  The popular bantamweight had a tough-luck stint with the promotion as she never really found success that was projected for the 37-year old.

Her time in the UFC saw highs and lows.  Zingano defeated Miesha Tate in February 2013 to become a coach for TUF 18 against Ronda Rousey.  However, Zingano suffered a knee injury which meant she was out and replaced by Tate.  This also put on hold a shot at Rousey’s title.

After a year and a half away from fighting, she returned to defeated Amanda Nunes in September 2014.

Zingano’s biggest fight in the promotion was a bantamweight showdown against Ronda Rousey.  However, that fight ended in just 14 seconds with Rousey submitting Zingano.

Zingano then dropped two fights and in her last fight with the UFC, she lost to Megan Anderson via TKO due to an eye injury. She attempted to appeal the TKO, but the appeal was denied.

Payout Perspective:

Zingano looks destined to head to Bellator or ONE Championship.  Either organization can promote her as a top bantamweight that defeated the now consensus best woman fighter in the world.  Maybe a change of scenery will be good for Zingano reset and restart her career if she so wishes.

Prograis files lawsuit against World Boxing Super Series

August 12, 2019

Regis Prograis has filed a lawsuit against the World Boxing Super Series seeking out of his contractual obligations due to alleged lack of funding for the event.  The lawsuit was filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Prograis, a native of New Orleans, won the WBA version of the 140-pound championship and advanced to the WBSS final against Josh Taylor to unify the super lightweight title this fall.

Prograis and his promoter Lou DiBella have requested a Declaratory Judgment which would allow him to fight elsewhere without repercussion from WBSS. According to the lawsuit, they claim inducement by WBSS “with the promise of career high paydays, including in excess of a million dollars, and the chance to fight some of the top competitors in Prograis’ weight class.  In reliance, they signed  a Tournament Agreement.  They note that they were not paid bonuses promised to them “within 5 days of the bout and receipt of an invoice.”  Despite submitting invoices, they did not pay on time.   They also saw delays of the fight amid rumors of financial problems and issues with late pay of purses and winners’ bonuses.

Even with confronting WBSS of their concern and setting up an Escrow Agreement to ensure payment, WBSS missed deadlines to deposit money in escrow.  The lawsuit identified the alleged payouts for each round of the WBSS.

Prograis was paid $500K for his quarterfinal fight but did not receive his winners’ bonus.  Another Lou Dibella promoted fighter, Ivan Baranchyk did not receive his winners’ bonus either.

The Escrow arrangement between DBE/Prograis and WBSS was as follows:

The lawsuit effectively stalls any fight that the WBSS may have scheduled with Prograis.

Arguably, Prograis is one of the up and coming fighters to watch in the division.  Looking to capitalize on his success, he’s looking for a guaranteed payday – something the lawsuit contends that the WBSS cannot do for him.  According to the lawsuit the WBSS missed several deadlines of an escrow agreement in which it was to

The scheduled fight for Prograis-Taylor was supposed to occur in early October.  Yet, Comasa, the Swiss-based owner of the WBSS never set the date with DAZN, the official streaming platform for the event.

According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, the WBSS is trying to avoid litigation by attempting to schedule the fight.

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit forces the hand of WBSS as there should be pressure from DAZN in making the fight. But, the issue of missed escrow payments should concern Prograis and DAZN. For Prograis, the cost of litigation outweighs the potential of not being paid for his next fight. While litigation is something that should be avoided at all costs, this seems to have worked in making WBSS make a move on ensuring compensation for Prograis. The fact that a resolution is being talked about so quickly may give rise to the fact that WBSS is hoping to avoid losing this fight and the fighter.

UFC on ESPN +14 attendance and bonuses

August 11, 2019

UFC Fight Night Uraguay took place on Saturday airing on ESPN +.  The event saw another title defense from Valentina Shevchenko as she soundly defeated Liz Carmouche.

The event drew 9,255 fans at the Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uraguay for the promotion’s first event in the country.  The UFC announced the event as a sellout.  No gate was announced.

UFC on ESPN+14 bonus winners included Mike Perry, Vincente Luque, Volkan Oezdemir and Veronica Macedo.  Oezdemir and Macedo drew Performance of the Night honors while Luque-Perry earned Fight of the Night.

Payout Perspective:

A good crowd for the promotion’s first event in this South American country.  The title fight was lackluster but the crowd was given a slugfest in the semi-main event with Perry and Luque.

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