Gaethje leads bonus winners from UFC Fight Night Vancouver

September 14, 2019

UFC Fight Night 158 took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday night.  In the main event, Justin Gaethje stopped Donald Cerrone in the very first round.  Gaethje led the list of bonus winners.

Tristan Connelly and Michael Pereira won fight of the night although Connelly received both bonuses after Pereira missed weight.  Misha Cirkunov earned a Performance Bonus for his Peruvian Necktie Submission over Jimmy Crute.

Payout Perspective:

An unfortunate time to miss weight for Pereira as not only he was docked money off of his purse but he did not receive his bonus money.  Gaethje looked impressive with his stoppage of Cerrone.

Bellator 226 payouts

September 13, 2019

MMA Payout obtained the payouts from this past Saturday’s Bellator event in San Jose.  Ryan Bader, Cheick Kongo and Emmanuel Sanchez topped payroll for the night.

Per the California State Athletic Commission:

Christopher Gonzalez  $10,000  (no win bonus)

Luis Vargas  $1,200

 

Hyder Amil  $2,000/$2,000 win ($4,000)

Ignacio Ortiz  $1,500

 

Renato Valente Alves $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Abraham Vaessau  $3,000

 

Batsumberi Dagsvadorj  $1,500/$1,500 win ($3,000)

James Terry  $3,000

 

Cass Bell  $5,000/$5,000 win ($10,000)

Isaiah Rocha  $1,200

 

Jessica Borga  $4,000/$4,000 win ($8,000)

Amber Leibrock  $12,000

 

Adam Piccolitti  $22,000/$22,000 win ($44,000)

Jake Smith  $13,000

 

John Teixeira  $17,000/$17,000 win ($34,000)

Ashleigh Grimshaw  $10,000

 

Cornelius Savage  $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Evan Gubera  $1,200

 

Daniel Gonzales $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Jonathan Adams  $1,200

 

Peter Ishiguo  $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Elias Anderson  $1,200

 

Alan Benson  $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Favian Gutierrez  $1,200

 

Tyson Miller  $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Albert Gonzales $1,200

 

Ivan Batinich  $1,200/$1,200 win ($2,400)

Daniel Compton  $1,200

Daniel Carey  $8,500/$8,500 win ($17,000)

Gaston Balanos  $10,000

 

Emmanuel Sanchez  $55,000/$55,000 win ($110,000)

Tywan Claxton  $60,000

 

Pedro Carvhalo  $20,000/$20,000 win ($40,000)

Sam Sicilia  $30,000

 

Adam Borics  $25,000/$25,000 win ($50,000)

Patrick Curran  $60,000

 

Derek Campos  $60,000 (no win bonus)

Daniel Straus  $55,000

 

Ryan Bader  $100,000

Cheick Kongo  $100,000

Payout Perspective:

Sanchez is the surprise earner for Saturday but he did draw a $55K/$55K contract for the $110,000 he made over Tywan Claxton.  Most of the prelim fighters were on the $1,200/$1,200 tier with few exceptions.

Report: Zuffa obtains new loan, 2nd Quarter earnings over $700M

September 11, 2019

Reuters reports that Zuffa will be adding a $465M loan to its existing $1.875 billion loan as the company has benefited from its media rights deal with ESPN.  Per Moody’s, revenues as of the second quarter of 2019 have the company clearing over $700 million.

The boon for the UFC comes from its expanded media rights deal with  ESPN which began in May 2018 and expanded in March 2019 with the digital platform being the exclusive provider of UFC PPVs.

The add-on loan will be tacked on to the Zuffa’s existing $1.875 billion term loan B that is set to mature in 2026.  The additional money will provide the company with additional cash flow.  Moody’s reports that “$80 million of cash from the balance sheet are expected to be used to fully redeem the preferred equity outstanding and pay transaction related expenses.”  It also shows investors that the company is moving in the right direction.  With UFC 242 this past Saturday, there are continued talks of the company holding more events in the region which is fertile ground for the promotion.

According to the report, the UFC will have roughly 70% of contractually-fixed pro forma revenue from its media rights deal this year which is up from an earlier forecasted 40%.

Goldman Sachs will be underwriting the latest loan and will be offering the same terms as the original debt.  Per the report, “325bp over Libor, with a 1% Libor floor, and a discount of 99.5-99.75 cents.”

According to a Moody’s report, the additional loan will not affect the existing loan’s B2 rating.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC partnering with Disney-owned ESPN has been the right move for the company as the revenues for the promotion are up.  For ESPN, having the UFC on its digital platform has helped with content and boosted its subscriber base.  The additional loan and its rating reflect the credibility of the company and its ability to obtain favorable debt based on the prospects of its business.

Judge advises parties in UFC Antitrust lawsuit to file additional briefing to determine class certification issue

September 10, 2019

Judge Richard Boulware issued a Minute Order on Tuesday advising both parties that he would like additional briefing due this Thursday night.  The brief appears to be the final arguments prior to his decision on class certification.

According to the order, Judge Boulware is allowing the parties to file one supplemental brief of 15 pages “for the Motion to Certify Class and the parties’ submission should include all citations to the record or expert reports expressly requested by the Court.”  The order went on to state that the parties had until Thursday night at 10pm to file the briefs.  Additionally, for plaintiffs, they
“must explicitly identify in their brief all theories of liability upon which they seek to proceed regarding class certification, including monopoly and monopsony theories.”

Payout Perspective:

It seems as though we are nearing the end of the presentation of evidence in determining class certification.  The court will hear two more experts this week and based on this piece of news, we may not expect Joe Silva to testify.  He was scheduled to testify during the first week of evidentiary hearings but was unable to attend.  The request for briefing was intimated during the first week of evidentiary hearings and it could be interpreted  We now may see this boiling down to a decision from Judge Boulware on class certification.

UFC 242 Prelims on FX draws just 222,000 viewers

September 10, 2019

The UFC 242 Prelims on FX drew just 222,000 viewers on Saturday morning per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event aired early due to the event being held in Abu Dhabi.

Usually on ESPN, the telecast moved to FX to accommodate College Football on the ESPN networks.  The Prelims did air on ESPN+ in addition to FX.

The feature bout of the Prelims saw Joanne Calderwood defeat Andrea Lee via split decision.  In addition, the telecast saw two stoppages with Ottman Azaitar knocking out Teemu Packalen with a vicious punch that sent Finnish fighter down to the canvas face first.  Also Sarah Moras was able to stop Liana Jojua in round 3.

Payout Perspective:

Even though the UFC did its best to tell its fans, the move to FX from ESPN hurt the ratings for this telecast although one might expect that the PPV sales on ESPN+ were good.  The early start time likely hurt the broadcast as well.

Diaz-Masvidal announced for UFC 244 in New York

September 7, 2019

ESPN reports that Nate Diaz will face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 on November 2nd in New York’s Madison Square Garden.  The fight was the one Diaz called for after his defeat of Anthony Pettis last month.

White indicated that it was the fight “fans wanted to see.”  Masvidal is coming off of his highlight-reel KO of Ben Askren and the subsequent fame he’s received since the fastest KO in UFC history.

The fight will pit two of the hottest stars in the UFC as both fighters’ profiles have risen.

Payout Perspective:

This main event should bring a lot of buzz.  Diaz has become a superstar and his return to the Octagon last month showed his popularity with fans.  Similarly, Masvidal’s KO is still something fans are talking about since this past July.  The fight should prove to be a slugfest of two athletes that like to fight.  Also, with news that Canelo Alvarez will face Sergey Kovalev on the same night, the Diaz-Masvidal fight should compete with the built-in Canelo fans

Khabib leads UFC 242 bonus winners

September 7, 2019

Khabib Nurmagomedov led the bonus winners for UFC 242 from Abu Dhabi on Saturday.  The lightweight champion solidified his status as the promotion’s top fighter at 155 with his 3rd round submission of interim champion Dustin Poirier.

In addition, Ottman Azaitar, Belal Muhammad and Muslim Salikhov earned the other $50,000 bonuses for their performances.  There was no Fight of the Night.

Azaitar earned his bonus with a KO of Teemu Packalen in the first round.  Belal Muhammad defeated Takashi Sato via third round submission.  Finally, Salikhov KO’d Nordine Taleb to earn his bonus.

Payout Perspective:

There was no attendance and gate announced after the event although from the looks of the event, it was a sell-out as most fans went home happy seeing Khabib get his hand raised.

Judge sides with supplement maker in motion in Lyman Good’s lawsuit

September 6, 2019

The Court in the Lyman Good nutritional supplement lawsuit has granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss related to the issue of spoliation of evidence.  While the court will not outright dismiss the case, the order states that the jury may infer from the lack of evidence.  A trial date has yet to be set.

Order on Motion to Dismiss … by Jason Cruz on Scribd

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York heard oral arguments on August 19th on the Motion to Dismiss from defendants Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals.  The Court make a quick ruling by granting in part defendants’ Motion to Dismiss on the same day.  Defendants had requested that the Court dismiss the case due to the spoliation of evidence – a missing bottle of Anavite which Good claims was contaminated and per defendants’ is the key piece of evidence in the lawsuit.  The request to dismiss the case is one of the potential penalties under the rules of civil procedure if a party does not provide evidence to another.  It is the most severe of the penalties. In addition, defendants originally requested the Good’s attorney, David Fish, recuse himself from the case since he could be a potential witness (i.e., Good claimed he gave the bottle to Fish but Fish stated that he no longer had it).  But defendants seemed to back off this claim.

 

Defendants also pointed out that the bottle in question was not listed in Good’s list of supplements he was taking to USADA.

Defendants’ Motion also shows its request to Good and his attorney for the bottle in question. The below correspondence which was attached to the Motion from defendants shows a bottle they received but not the subject Anavite.

There is no real opinion as to what the Court dismissed of the claims that Good set forth or whether this was a general granting that plaintiff and his counsel mishandled the evidence.  The ruling seems to imply that a jury could not side with Good based on the lack of evidence and/or the defendants would have a necessary advantage since they would be allowed to argue that a reasonable jury could not conclude that the product was contaminated because plaintiff does not have the product.

Payout Perspective:

This case shows that not every fighter that sues a supplement maker will receive $27 million dollars like Yoel Romero (or at least receive a judgment for that amount).  There is no trial date set but one would imagine that Good will look to settle or defendants will go for the kill here.  In speculating on the granting of defendants’ motion without a written opinion, one has to believe that the Judge does not believe that a jury will be able to find in favor of Good without the evidence.

Defendants’ Motion to D… by Jason Cruz on Scribd

Motion to Dismiss – Opposition by Jason Cruz on Scribd

Motion to Dismiss – Reply B… by Jason Cruz on Scribd

PBC on Fox peaks with 1.492M viewers during Lara-Alvarez

September 5, 2019

PBC on Fox drew 1.171 million viewers per Nielsen as the telecast Saturday night peaked with 1.492 million fans watching the main event between Erisandy Lara and Ramon Alvarez.

The undercard rating averages were as follos:

Sanchez v. Bisbal:  951,000 viewers

Fundora v. Clark:  1.075M viewers

Lara v. Alvarez:  1.492M viewers

The telecast peaked in the overrun during the end of the Lara fight.

Additionally, Fox Deportes added 61,000 viewers for the telecast and Fox Sports streaming services had an average minute audience of 5,647.

The post-match Saturday night drew 1,342,000 viewers.

PBC Face to Face on Sunday on Fox drew 334,000 viewers while PBC Fight Camp drew 286,000.

Payout Perspective:

The event did not do as well as this past August’s PBC on Fox event with Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola in the feature.   Its worthy to note that the main event did better than July’s PBC on Fox event featuring Caleb Plant (which drew 1,141,000 viewers).  The July telecast on Fox served as a pre-PPV event prior to Pacquiao-Thurman.  The ratings did well up against a big college football matchup between Oregon and Auburn on ABC.

What happens next in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit?

September 4, 2019

Last week the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit reached one of the most important milestones in this litigation journey as the two sides met in Judge Richard Boulware’s courtroom to discuss the expert testimony which may eventually decide whether or not the case goes forward.  So, let’s take a look at what has to happen before the parties proceed.

It was a good week for those interested in the finances of the UFC and we definitely gave you a primer of the testimony from Hal Singer, Robert Topel and Andrew Zimbalist.  For the most part, the Plaintiffs made their case via Dr. Singer’s testimony that his methodology of comparing fighter wage share (as opposed to wage level) was the best way to gage whether the market power obtained via Zuffa was procured via anticompetitive means.  On the other hand, Zuffa found themselves, for the most part, having a difficult time getting onto the same page as Judge Boulware and Dr. Singer had a much better time asserting the premise for his expert report than Dr. Topel.

Judge Boulware indicated at the outset that his decision to certify the class of plaintiffs in this case would be primarily based on the expert testimony he would hear.  Thus, he was not interested in extrinsic evidence, nor any impeachment methods via the deposition testimony of the experts.  The primary emphasis was based on Dr. Singer and Dr. Topel.

The testimony would help Judge Boulware come up with a decision on the class certification issue.  So, from here, where do we go?

When will a decision be made?

Unknown.  Judge Boulware could come up with an opinion this week, next week or next year. Judge Boulware has scheduled other experts in the case to testify mid-September as well as the possibility that Joe Silva (who was scheduled last week but could not testify) return to testify in Court.

Expect Judge Boulware to issue a written opinion on ruling on the Class Certification which will outline and then detail his reasons for granting or denying class certification.

Bear in mind two things.  Federal courts are extremely busy as they have a voluminous amount of cases that they must deal with that include criminal and complex civil issues.  Secondly, judicial opinions take time to draft.  It’s worthy to note that in this case Judge Boulware’s opinion denying Zuffa’s Motion to Dismiss came out in October 2017 when it was heard and denied the previous fall.  We could see a scenario where the Judge makes a decision but the parties must wait for the written order to make the appeal.

Appeal?

Yes.  There will be one.  If class certification is denied, Plaintiffs will appeal the decision most certainly as the case would come to an end if there is no class action.  If class certification is granted, Zuffa may appeal the decision based on the Court’s written opinion.  Through at least the first couple days of the evidentiary hearings it seemed that Zuffa was unable to connect with Judge Boulware in its assertion that Dr. Singer’s model was not accurate while the prevailing use of wage share to assess athlete pay is the dominant way to calculate this dispute.  The evidence through the evidentiary hearings will be the information that Judge Boulware will rely on to determine class certification. If Zuffa believes it was not given an opportunity to set forth its case during the hearing, we might see an appeal.

For those wondering, the appeal would go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco where there is a panel of judges to review the appeal.  In most cases, the appeal is heard by a three judge panel.

So, what are the legal means to certify a class

As I’ve previously posted, last summer Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification which was opposed by Zuffa.

Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure dictate the elements for which a Court may certify a class.  Many lawyers remember this through prepping for the Bar Exam.  The four elements are:

  • Commonality: The question of laws or facts must be common to each of the plaintiffs.  In this case, among the common issues is whether Zuffa implemented an anticompetitive scheme to suppress fighter wages.  Zuffa argues that Dr. Singer’s regression analysis shows that the fighters claims are not common and other evidence shows that the alleged conduct by Zuffa affected the fighters differently.
  • Typicality: The claims of the class representatives (the six name plaintiffs in this lawsuit) are similar to those that they seek to represent (according to plaintiffs, over 1,200 ex and current fighters that have fought under Zuffa contract.)  The most notable argument from Zuffa is that none of the named plaintiffs are currently fighting in the UFC and the claims are not typical of the current fighters contracted by the company.
  • Numerosity: There must be similarly situated plaintiffs that a class action is necessary.
  • Adequacy: The attorneys bringing the class action must be adequate for the complexity and volume of the lawsuit. They must not have a conflict of interest with the proposed class and are competent to purse the interests of the proposed class.

What if Class Certification is Denied and Plaintiffs decide not to appeal

It does not foreclose Zuffa from being sued by individual fighters but the stakes would be higher and more expensive for a fighter and their lawyers.

One might see this going to multidistrict litigation.  The one aspect of this is that fighters may file their lawsuit where they reside although Zuffa would argue that the lawsuit must be filed in Las Vegas where the company is headquartered.  Multidistrict litigation are federal cases where “civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact are pending in different districts.”  The process facilitates the discovery process for federal courts where there are hundreds of plaintiffs in different federal courts. It differs from class-action cases as those involve a single lawsuit whereas multidistrict litigation involves multiple lawsuit filed by different parties.

From the outset, multidistrict litigation or any single lawsuit against Zuffa is much more of a gamble for an individual fighter and their attorney to spend the resources to file a lawsuit against Zuffa.  Based on the enormous volume of documents, number of attorney and experts hired for this lawsuit, one fighter undertaking this would bankrupt themselves before an outcome.

Did the Plaintiffs win last week?

They didn’t lose but its hard to tell if they have actually won.  Remember, even if the Judge grants the motion to certify the class, only one hurdle has been completed.  They still must overcome a potential appeal of the ruling, a motion for summary judgment and then win at trial.  Yet, its clear that Dr. Singer connected with Judge Boulware.  Whether or not that means that Judge Boulware agrees with Dr. Singer and plaintiffs is the bigger question.

We will keep you posted.

 

 

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