13 for 13: No. 1 Ronda Rousey leads women’s MMA to the UFC

January 1, 2014

This time last year there was no women in the UFC and Dana White famously swore off women from entering the Octagon.

Yet, with the acquisition of Strikeforce, the rumblings were there and at UFC 157 in February 2013, women’s MMA in the UFC became a reality as Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche via armbar in the first round.  The UFC went all in on the belief that viewers would be interested in women fighting.

UFC 157 grabbed a lot of mainstream exposure and social media buzzed:

 

 

 

Rousey was sponsored by the UFC and Xyience in her first appearance.  She starred in web commercials for Insureon.  UFC 157 received the most PPV buys in HD in 2013.  However, UFC 168 will likely eclipse it.  The Rousey-effect?

Rousey signed with the William Morris agency and she was an immediate media darling.  There was talk that she had a role in The Hunger Games sequel.  That did not happen but she landed roles in The Expendables sequel and then the Fast and Furious franchise.

Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate put on the second memorable women’s fight in the UFC this year with Zingano getting the victory and wining the right to be the TUF coach opposite Rousey and face her after the show.  Of course, we know with Zingano’s injury, Tate conveniently replaced Rousey.

It was thought that TUF 18: Tate v. Rousey would spur interest in the franchise due to the rivalry between Tate and Rousey.  However, ratings were down despite the hype.  Also, Rousey’s portrayal on the show made her less of a favorite than when she first stepped into the Octagon at UFC 157

As we know, UFC 168 looks to be a major success due in part to the Tate-Rousey co-main event.  The crowd was behind Tate and booed Rousey.  Despite the crowd reaction, Rousey showed that she has the look and talent of a UFC main-eventer.  Rousey took home 2 bonuses which amounted to $250K.  For her part in the fight, Miesha Tate took home $103K.  Big paydays in the UFC where most fighters are lucky to make over $50K per fight.

Up next for Rousey is Sara McMann in February, a quick turnaround for a fighter that has had her schedule busy all of 2013.

No. 2  UFC moves to Fox Sports 1

No. 3.  Bellator MMA Moves to Spike TV

No. 4. GSP and Silva Gone From UFC

No. 5. Eddie Alvarez-Bellator Settle Lawsuit

No. 6. UFC to Launch Digital Network

No. 7. UFC PPV Buys Actually Improving

No. 8. Zuffa Still Shut Out of New York

No. 9. UFC Continues Globalization of Brand

No. 10. Bellator Nixes PPV

No. 11. WSOF Sustains in First Full Year

No. 12. The State of Sponsorships

No. 13.  UFC Signs 11 Invicta FC Fighters for Strawweight Division

13 for 13: No. 2 UFC moves to Fox Sports 1

December 31, 2013

The UFC-Fox relationship entered into a new venture as Fox unveiled two new sports networks: Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2).  The UFC was pegged to play a big role in providing the networks, especially FS1 with its content.

So far, the network has not lived up to its lofty expectations, but the UFC is a central piece to the FS1 programming grid.

The network almost stalled from the beginning as distributors balked at the carriage fees for FS1.  DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable held out from carrying the new sports networks.  The three distributors combined for about 46 million households.  Fox had promised its investors that FS1 would reach 90 million households.  Without the three holdouts, it would have only half of its promised households.

The pre-FS1 carriage fee was 31 cents a month per subscriber whereas FS1 wanting 80 cents per month in 2014 which could go as high as $1.50 per subscriber based on fee increases during the life of the deal.  In the end Fox conceded the fee increase (for now) with the distributors in order for its intended launch of August 17th.

The first day of the new FS1 network received outstanding ratings marked by UFC Fight Night 26 from Boston which grabbed 1.78 million viewers.   It was a surprise considering the leveled expectations that it may take some time for people to get acclimated with the new network.  Well, that happened.  Since the first night of ratings, FS1 ratings have not been going as expected.

The UFC programming has not seen the numbers of UFC FN 26 (although this past Saturday’s Prelims did very well).  The Ultimate Fighter: Tate vs. Rousey which featured men and women fighters was supposed to draw viewers back to the fledgling franchise.  While there were spikes for the women fights, overall, the ratings were lukewarm (averaging 648K viewers for the season) and showed a 22 percent drop when moving to FS1.  In fact, it was reported that Fox execs would look at the MMA reality show differently.  Rather than look at the live viewership ratings, it would look at the “overall consumption” of the show which would include DVR and reruns to access the success of the show.  Certainly, the time slot of 7pm on the west coast (without a same night rerun) hurt same day viewership although there was an increase in DVR numbers.

Fox also issued “make goods” for advertisers paying for time on FS1 due to ratings shortfalls.  Some advertisers received ad times carved out during the World Series on Fox.  There was also discussion that “early pre-game” inventory for the Super Bowl would be offered.

UFC Fight Nights on FS1 and FS2

UFC Fight Night 26:  1.78 million viewers

UFC Fight Night 27:  824,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 28:  539,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 29:  638,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 30: 122,000 viewers (FS2)

UFC Fight Night 31:  641,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 32:  722,000 viewers

TUF 18 Finale: 1,129,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 33: 755,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 33 Prelims: 132,000 (FS2)

Despite the ratings disappointment, analysts and advertisers are still giving the networks a chance.  There is still room for improvement and the belief that the networks, especially FS1, will keep growing an audience.

Via Sports Media Journal

Via Sports Media Journal

13 for 13: No. 3 Bellator MMA moves to Spike TV

December 31, 2013

Bellator made its debut on Spike TV in 2013.  The move brought much anticipation on how the MMA organization would do on a stable network available to a broader viewing audience and focused on its key demos.

Bellator MMA Live’s first season drew an average of 861,000 viewers.  The switch from MTV2 to SpikeTV was a success considering it produced +388% more viewers from Season 7 (on MTV2) to Season 8 (on Spike TV).  It also received help with its Thursday placement right after TNA Impact Wrestling which consistently received an average of over 1 million viewers.

After what was deemed a success on Thursdays, Bellator moved to Fridays for its ninth season.   As a result, the season average ended at 671,000 viewers although it was helped by Bellator 106: Alvarez v. Chandler which drew 1.1 million viewers.

Bellator’s first reality show, FightMaster, received an average viewership of 615,000.  While the concept seemed novel, the ratings and interest fizzled.  It was not helped by the fact the final for the show was delayed which meant people forgot that there was an actual final for the show.

The company signed Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz and utilized them on both its MMA programming and on TNA to mixed reviews.

In the end, the average viewership for Bellator MMA’s live events including its Summer Series in 2013 was 797,000 viewers (including DVR usage) according to Nielsen sources.

Was 2013 a success for the company on Spike TV?  How will Bellator do in 2014?  Will it try another MMA-related reality show?

Bellatormainlogo

13 for 13: No. 4 GSP and Silva gone from UFC

December 31, 2013

When this list was first compiled, No. 4 was “GSP gone from UFC. “ With Saturday’s fight, we added Silva as Anderson Silva’s absence from the UFC will take a toll on the company as well.

Georges St. Pierre’s announcement that he would take an indefinite leave from the UFC and relinquish the title left a void in the welterweight division.  Certainly, there was foreshadowing for his departure considering his post-UFC 167 comments and the rumors that he had personal issues he needed to take care of at home.  GSP initially denied the rumors and there was no follow up on whether there was any truth to them.  With GSP’s departure, Johny Hendricks will face Robbie Lawler for the vacated title in March.

Silva’s departure was not his own decision as he broke his leg in the second round of his fight with Chris Weidman.  Although Silva asked doctors about when he could return training and that the recovery could be “three to six months”, there is no timetable for the potential psychological toll it could take on someone.  Also, even as great a shape Silva is in at 38.  He is still 38.  Father Time is undefeated.  Ask Kobe Bryant.

GSP’s main event victory against Nick Diaz at UFC 158 registered the highest PPV buy rate (so far) in 2013 with 950K buys.  He has been described as the Michael Jordan of MMA and Dana White proclaimed that he was more popular in Canada than Wayne Gretzky (not true).  The point is that GSP is a known commodity for UFC PPV.  Notwithstanding the showing at UFC 167 (which drew 630K PPV buys, low for GSP), GSP draws fans.  Whenever the UFC put on a PPV with GSP, it knew the event would do well.

The same could be said for Silva.  Although his antics keep him from being hands down a fan favorite, his fights have everyone watching.  Similar to GSP and Canada, Silva is revered in Brazil and that has helped grab UFC fans in the region.  There is always a strong backing of Brazilian fans when Silva fights in Vegas.  Its not known if another Brazilian fighter could bring as much fandom (and business to the UFC) as Silva.

Silva’s first fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 162 did 550K and we likely will see a higher figure for UFC 168.

So the question is:  Who can the UFC groom to be a PPV draw?

The heavyweights this year (JDS, Cain) did not produce good PPV numbers.  In fact, 2013 was a down year for heavyweight PPV main events as the two shows a year which traditionally feature the heavyweights were off from 2012.

2013 Heavyweight Cards

UFC 160 Cain-Bigfoot = 380K

UFC 166 Cain-JDS III = 330K

2012 Heavyweight Cards

UFC 146 JDS-Mir = 560K

UFC 155 JDS-Cain = 590K

Jon Jones is inconsistent as reflected by 310K PPV buys at UFC 165 and 530K PPV buys at UFC 159 (against Sonnen).

It’s likely that we see the UFC market around Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman.  Rousey’s quick turnaround may reflect the wish for the UFC to get in three or four Rousey fights in 2014.  We will see if the UFC will do the same for Weidman.

So how will the UFC fill the void?  And, will either GSP or Silva make a return in 2014?

13 for 13: No. 5 Eddie Alvarez-Bellator settle lawsuit

December 29, 2013

The Eddie Alvarez-Bellator legal saga came to an end this year with Alvarez settling with Bellator and making a triumphant appearance at Bellator 106.  The legal case which Alvarez vowed would go to trial settled in time for Alvarez to face Michael Chandler on November 2nd.

As we know the story, Alvarez completed his fight contract with Bellator although the company had “matching rights” which would allow it to keep Alvarez so long as it matched any competing offers.  Alvarez and Bellator had agreed that Bellator would get a chance to match the offer made by the UFC.  In fact, court documents show that it had cut and paste the UFC contract almost verbatim.  Still, Alvarez’s camp argued that the Bellator “match” did not match the UFC contract.  Bellator sued Alvarez, Alvarez sued Bellator and Alvarez attempted to file a Preliminary Injunction to allow Alvarez the opportunity to bolt for the UFC.  The court denied the PI.  The court also denied a motion by Bellator to dismiss Alvarez’s lawsuit against it.

Alvarez proclaimed that he would go to trial to settle this dispute.  Other fighters supported Alvarez and Alvarez talked about how Bellator mismanaged some of its fighters.  For this, Bellator head, Bjorn Rebney had to go into damage control to explain some of the issues Alvarez had highlighted.

The case would not have gone to trial until late 2014 at the earliest.

Alvarez went on a PR march claiming the Bellator had attempted to alter a document regarding the matching terms of his contract.  In fact, Alvarez produced the document (and the attempted “blacking out” of his address which you could still see) but it did not lend much to his theory.

Fortunately, Alvarez agreed to terms with Bellator which, in the end, likely saved Bellator 106.  Alvarez did not speak about the terms of his return to Bellator and his return was marked by this odd interview with Alvarez by Glenn Robinson’s daughter.

The lawsuit likely served as a guide for contractual dealings with Ben Askren.  The Welterweight champ was let go by Bellator even though the organization had matching rights in its contract with Askren.  Despite the fact Bellator let its champ go, it was less of a public relations issue than if it became mired in another lawsuit.

The court documents revealed the UFC contract and its PPV buy structure.  While these terms may have been released in the past, it was still interesting to look at the UFC’s structure in how fighters are paid based on PPV buys.  It also showed some of the added benefits Bellator was willing to give Alvarez if he stayed which included guests spots on Spike TV programming.  But, the key issue was the PPV upside that Alvarez would receive if he joined the UFC.  Earlier this year, Bellator had not put on a PPV although there were vague notions that it would put on a show.  As we know, it eventually announced a PPV to be headlined by Rampage Jackson versus Tito Ortiz.  We all know how that turned out.

There was also Dave Meltzer’s Declaration in support of Eddie Alvarez’s Preliminary Injunction.  Meltzer indicated PPV buy rates in his declaration to support Alvarez’s initial argument that Bellator did not match the UFC’s contract.  If the case would have proceeded and came closer to trial, Meltzer would have been deposed and/or testified at trial.  Attorneys would be able to inquire about how he substantiated PPV buy rates including such information as where he gets his information and if there is a formula for his PPV analysis.  Certainly, Meltzer could have claimed that he does not need to reveal his sources based upon his journalistic ethics.  Yet, it would have created an interesting scenario.  But, once again, the settlement saved this issue.

And, in the end, Meltzer was right about the “matching” thing.

The fact that Bellator cancelled its PPV after Ortiz’s injury shows that it did not believe Alvarez could headline a PPV (or it did not have enough time to market Alvarez as its top star).  Regardless of the reasons for turning the PPV into a card on Spike TV, the cancellation of the PPV may have confirmed what Alvarez may have known throughout:  that Bellator was not the same as the UFC.

13 for 13: No. 6 UFC to launch digital network

December 27, 2013

Although not yet officially announced, the UFC will launch the “UFC Fight Pass” which will air January 4th starting with UFC Fight Night 34 from Singapore.  It’s the UFC’s first attempt at a subscriber-based network and serves two unique purposes.

The first is that it is an attempt to localize the UFC fights by enlisting local fighters to have on cards and starting the events at a convenient time for the region rather than catering to North American viewership. This should help with promotion and attendance of events.

The second is to monetize the events and delve into the use of a subscriber-based network.  At the reported price of $9.99 per month, it may not entice some casual viewers but may grab the attention of some dedicated UFC fans.

What may sway many UFC followers is what else the UFC will put on the network.  It is believed that the UFC library will be available to subscribers.  Also, there is the possibility a lot of the shoulder programming for UFC events will land on the Fight Pass.  This may include interviews, press conferences, weigh-ins and post-fight press-conferences.   It will also include The Ultimate Fighter series from other countries.

It’s an interesting launch that beats the WWE’s launch of its much-talked about network.  It does appear that the UFC Fight Pass will not provide 24/7 programming while the WWE may have more to offer including original content.

Will the UFC move strictly to a subscriber-based network in the future and completely leave PPV as it is rumored with the WWE’s network?  Hard to fathom.  While it would be enticing, it would lose a lot of the promotional strength it currently receives from distributors for its PPVs.  But, the digital option is a look into the future of where it can move some of its content.

The first live event on The Fight Pass (via Wikipedia)

The first live event on The Fight Pass (via Wikipedia)

13 for 13: No. 7 UFC PPV Buys Actually Improving?

December 25, 2013

If I were to tell you that the UFC is having a strong year with its pay per view business you would think that someone sponsored this post.  However, the UFC is set to improve over its 2011-2012 PPV averages.

Through 12 PPVs it is averaging approximately 423K PPV buys for 2013.  Even if UFC 168 hits 1 million PPV buys, a benchmark it has not hit since 2010, it would average 467K PPV buys for 2013.  While this sounds bad for the UFC, it’s likely that the company will eclipse its 2012 PPV average of 448K PPV buys (over 13 events) and 2011 PPV buy average of 413K (over 14 events).

Expectations for these events may have overshot the actual PPV buy rates.  UFC 167’s buy rate of 625K has to be a disappointment considering GSP is a reliable PPV star for the company, there was much buildup for the event and the rumors that 167 would be GSP’s last.  Yet, the 625K PPV buys is one of GSP’s lowest since being a headliner.  The GSP-Diaz 950K PPV buys earlier this year has to be attributed to Nick Diaz and “wolf tickets”.  It also shows that UFC events sell much better when there is some animosity between the main event competitors.

Jon Jones has seemingly not produced as expected as a main eventer.  A heated rivalry between Jones and Chael Sonnen did not occur on TUF and while their fight at UFC 159 drew 550K, Jones’ follow up fight against Alexander Gustafsson only drew 325K PPV buys.

Anderson Silva, another fighter that has contributed to UFC PPV success drew 550K in his only fight of the year so far at UFC 162 against Chris Weidman.  The UFC should expect a better PPV average for this Saturday in their rematch.  But with a loss, this could be the downturn for the Spider on PPV.

Ronda Rousey should be another fighter to be on the lookout for in 2014.  She headlined (along with Liz Carmouche) UFC 157 over Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson.  In the end, UFC 157 drew a respectable 450K PPV buys and a lot of mainstream attention.  Will Rousey be a fighter that will attract the PPV crowd?

UFC PPV Buys 2013

Event

PPV Buy Rate

Main Event

UFC 168

????

Weidman-Silva II

UFC167

625,000

GSP-Hendricks

UFC 166

330,000

Velasquez-JDS III

UFC 165

325,000

Jones-Gus

UFC 164

270,000

Henderson-Pettis

UFC 163

170,000

Aldo-Zombie

UFC 162

550,000

Silva-Weidman I

UFC 161

150,000

Evans-Hendo

UFC 160

380,000

Cain-Bigfoot II

UFC 159

550,000

Jones-Sonnen

UFC 158

950,000

GSP-Diaz

UFC 157

450,000

Rousey-Carmouche

UFC 156

330,000

Aldo-Edgar

 

Some interesting notes from the PPV buys this year.  Jose Aldo headlined two PPVs.  Although Benson Henderson does well with Fox ratings, it does not translate to PPV buys.  His rematch with Anthony Pettis only drew 270K PPV buys.  UFC 161 had to revamp its main event due to an injury to Renan Barao but it definitely was a PPV event that UFC fans chose to skip.  The UFC heavyweights did not produce buy rates this year as reflected by UFC 160 and 166.  This is surprising considering that Cain Velasquez going into UFC 160 had averaged 733K PPV buys (over 3 PPV fights) since defeating Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.

All PPV buy rates from MMA Payout’s Blue Book and thanks to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer.

13 for 13: No. 8 Zuffa still shut out in New York

December 24, 2013

Another year, another full-court press by Zuffa to hold an event in New York….another disappointment.  The Southern District of New York ruled on New York’s Motion to Dismiss and found in favor of the state and dismissed all of Zuffa’s claims except for its claim that the existing statute banning professional MMA in the state is unconstitutionally vague.

The dismissal severed a huge chunk of Zuffa’s case against the state which was originally filed in November 2011.  While Zuffa attempted to spin the news, the fact that it now has only one claim in its lawsuit has to be damaging for its possibility of success.  To give a snapshot of the glacial pace of this litigation, New York filed its Motion to Dismiss Zuffa’s lawsuit in October 2012 and a hearing on the Motion was not heard until February 2013.  And then, the ruling did not come out until September 30, 2013.

Notably, the Court dismissed Zuffa’s claim under the First Amendment citing that the central question in determining First Amendment protection was whether the activity was primarly communicative and expressive. The Court claimed that the fighters lacked the “essential communicative elements” for a claim under the First Amendment.

At this point, the parties have provided the Court with a “Scheduling Order” detailing deadlines for written discovery and depositions.  New York has identified the named Plaintiffs as potential people to depose which includes Frankie Edgar and Jon Jones.  It is intended that they will need to be deposed by March 7, 2014 according to a Court filing.

Where will the Court case go?  After discovery, it’s likely that we see New York attempt to make a case to bring a summary judgment motion to dismiss Zuffa’s remaining claim.  If Zuffa survives another motion to dismiss its case, we will likely see a trial sometime in 2014.  Even if it is found that the MMA ban is unconstitutional, it’s likely the state of New York would have to draft legislation allowing professional MMA in the state and how it would be regulated.

The ongoing legal saga is just another chapter of Zuffa attempting to legalize MMA in New York.  Despite its usual confidence at the beginning of the legislative session in Albany, there was no vote for MMA once again.  The UFC had claimed to have secured Madison Square Garden in November for its 20th Anniversary show but the date came and went.  Whether or not the Culinary Union of Las Vegas played a part, or whether a sexual discrimination claim played a part, Zuffa is spinning its wheels.  In July, it was revealed that it had contributed $35,000 to New York Legislators since the start of the year. Notably, it spent $330K on federal lobbying efforts this year. This is down from $620K on lobbying efforts in 2012.

While most MMA fans believe that the UFC will be in New York one day, the company continues to strike out when trying to make inroads into the state.  We will see what can be done this spring in Albany and what movement happens with the court case

13 for 13: No. 9 UFC continues globalization of brand

December 22, 2013

The UFC continued its expansion outside of the U.S. with 13 events abroad.  Of the 13 events, 6 were held in Brazil while the UFC returned to Japan for the second year in a row and had two shows in the United Kingdom.

Most of the live events were part of the Fuel TV/FX/FS1/FS2 group for fans to watch for free.  There were two three PPV events in Canada this year.  The dismal PPV ratings (150K PPV buys) for UFC 161 were aided by a nice live attendance and big gate of $3.1 million.

UFC Events Outside of the U.S.

UFC on FX 7: 01/19/13, San Paulo,  Brazil – Attendance – 9,115

UFC on Fuel TV 7: 02/16/13, London, England – Attendance 10,349 $1.3M gate

UFC 158: 03/16/13, Montreal, Canada – Attendance 20,145 $3.7M gate

UFC on Fuel TV 8: 03/03/13, Saitama, Japan – Attendance 14,682

UFC on Fuel TV 9: 04/06/13, Stockholm, Sweden – Attendance 14,506 – $2.7M gate

UFC on FX 8:  05/18/13, Jaragua do Sul, Brazil – Attendance 7,642

UFC 161: 06/15/13, Winnepeg, Ontario, Canada – Attendance 14,754 – $3.1million , 150K PPV buys

UFC on Fuel TV 10: 06/08/13, Fortaleza, Brazil – Attendance 13 6,286

UFC Fight Night 28: 09/04/13, Belo Horizonte, Brazil– Attendance 5,126

UFC 165 09/21/13 :Air Canada Center Toronto, Canada – Attendance 15,504 – $1.9M 325K PPV Buys

UFC Fight Night 29:  10/09/13 Baruen, Brazil – Attenance 6,621

UFC Fight Night 30:  10/26/13 Manchester, UK – Attendance 10,355 $1.5M gate

UFC Fight Night 32: 11/09/13 Goiania, Brazil – Attendance 10,565

UFC Fight Night 33:12/07/13 Brisbane, Australia – Attendance 11,393 $1.7M gate

The UFC started its TUF Franchise in China in December with Cung Le as the chief coach and also featuring UFC fighter Tiequan Zhang.  The finals for TUF: China will occur in March 2014 from Macau, China.  Prior to March 2014, the UFC will visit Singapore in January and that event will be the first on the UFC Digital Network

Brazil had its second season of TUF culminating with Fabricio Werdum defeating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the Finale which was part of UFC on Fuel TV 10.  It was announced that TUF: Brazil 3 would be coached by Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.

In May, the UFC brokered a television deal with Televisa Networks which will give it exclusive an exclusive distribution agreement to air UFC programming in 20 Spanish speaking countries in Latin America.  It also revealed plans to launch a subscription-based channel that would have access to over 35 live events per year as well as original UFC programming broadcast in Spanish.  Although the mid-year announcement indicated that the subscription network would be available in late 2013, I have yet to hear news of this launch.  If this has happened, let me know.

Televisa Networks

As we’ve remarked over the last couple years, the UFC sees globalization of its product as a way to expand business.  The UFC has announced potential locations for UFC events in 2014 including Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Germany and Turkey (via MMA Junkie). The events overseas will be more focused on the region by including local fighters while having the event at times convenient for the location rather than gearing it toward North American audiences.  With the news of a subscriber-based Digital Network which will air overseas UFC fights, we are seeing the game plan.

 

13 for 13: No. 10 Bellator nixes PPV

December 21, 2013

November 2nd would have been the date of Bellator’s first PPV which would have featured Rampage Jackson facing Tito Ortiz in the main event.  However, due to an injury to Ortiz, he was a late scratch for the event.  As a result, Bellator cancelled its pay per view and placed the event on Spike TV.

In the end, Bellator 106 on Spike TV pulled 1.1 million viewers with Michael Chandler facing the returning Eddie Alvarez in a 5 round bout.  In the end, the event went over 3 hours and 30 minutes which would have been close to the likely PPV time limit.

The cancellation made the months of promotion between Ortiz and Rampage at Bellator events and on TNA Wrestling shows worthless.  It also showed that Bellator did not believe Chandler-Alvarez II would be a main event that viewers would pay $35-$45 nor did it have a supporting undercard to promote that would support a PPV-worthy show.  What the cancellation inferred was that Bellator was hanging its hopes on PPV buys on Rampage and Tito and hoping that names alone would sell the product.  As we can see, it was a risky play.

Certainly the fact that Bellator attempted to get in front of the story with a decisive move to take it off of PPV and move it to Spike TV provided some damage control.  It could have kept the event on PPV and suffered very low PPV buys.

Will Bellator do a PPV in 2014?  It does not really have to based on its current business model, yet Bjorn Rebney left the PPV option open for an event featuring the Chandler-Alvarez trilogy.

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