UFC 199: Payout Perspective

June 5, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 199 taking place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  The show featured two title defenses.

Bisping shocks the world

Michael Bisping waited a long time for his shot at the middleweight title and he did not disappoint.  Perhaps exposing a suspect chin, Bisping KO’d the champion Luke Rockhold in the first round.  Rockhold appeared to be overconfident in the lead up to this fight and admitted as much post-fight.  Bisping is a polarizing figure but you have to respect his journey to the title.  We could see a rematch of the two or maybe Jacare Souza, who congratulated The Count on the way out of the Octagon would be a good choice.

UFC 199

Dominator overwhelms Faber

It was a very entertaining promotion for the fight, but in the end, Dominick Cruz showed that he was much better than Urijah Faber.  The oft-injured bantamweight champion secured a unanimous decision.  Joe Rogan seemed to focus on whether or not Faber would retire after this fight.

Would people be willing to pay $60 for a “superfight” with Demetrious Johnson?

Bonuses

Bonuses went out to Bisping and Dan Henderson (coincidentally opponents at UFC 100) for their performances.  Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim earned Fight of the Night.  All received $50,000.

Attendance and Gate

The UFC announced post-fight that The Forum was a sellout with 15,587 for a live gate of $2,168,675.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon included Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Bud Light, MetroPCS, and the TNT upcoming drama, Animal Kingdom.  Food 4 Less, a Compton, California-based “no frills” grocery was a sponsor in the Octagon as it shared a post with Monster.  As with most UFC events, Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.

Dominick Cruz sported a Monster patch on his Reebok black kit.  He also did an old school thank you to them post-match including holding a Monster can.

UFC Embedded appears to be the place to have your non-official UFC sponsors to be visible.  Luke Rockhold wore Adidas and Monster Milk during the vlogs.

Odds and Ends

Three big pieces of news not related to 199.  First, Brock Lesnar is back.  Despite how he left the company, he returns and the move should draw eyebrows as the WWE is allowing Lesnar to fight a month before the company’s second-biggest show of the year – Summerslam.

Second, Fedor Emelienenko will be on Fight Pass on an EFN card on June 17th.   Thus, the UFC will finally get Brock Lesnar-Fedor…just not together.

Finally, the rematch no one except Conor McGregor wants as Nate Diaz will face McGregor at UFC 202 in Vegas August 20th.  Interesting that the UFC is traveling less domestically.

There were 4 fights on UFC Fight Pass Prelims.  3 of the 4 fights were very good.

UFC Fight Pass introduced a promotion where fans can send in 1 minute videos to tell Dana White why they are the biggest UFC fan.  The winner will get to come to International Fight Week, meet Dana White and attend UFC Fight Night: Alvarez-RDA.

UFC allowed flags in lieu of sponsor banners in the Octagon.

Octagon ladies sport the Monster patch on their uniforms, do they get paid for doing so?

Watching Embedded, apparently the champions (Cruz and Rockhold) were given rental properties to stay in during fight week while the others stayed in a hotel.

The weigh-ins were different since newly instituted weigh-in rules with the California State Athletic Commission allowed fighters to weigh-in between a 10am-2pm window the day before the fight.  Thus, the televised weigh-ins we usually see did not include the official weigh-ins.

Did the finish of Hendo/Lombard look similar to Hendo/Bisping at UFC 100 with Hendo unloading on an already unconscious opponent?

Ariel Helwani and three others were escorted from the building during UFC 199.  Helwani tweeted that he had been banned by the UFC for life.  It was Helwani that broke the Brock Lesnar news on MMA Fighting.

The show concluded with a tribute to Muhammad Ali who passed away on Friday.

Conclusion

This was a very good show but it will likely be overshadowed by the news that Brock Lesnar is returning next month.  Google trends had 500,000 searches for UFC 199 on Saturday.  Notably, Brock Lesnar drew 100,000 searches on Saturday.  How many PPV buys will this card receive?  Without a proven PPV draw at the top of the card, yet a solid lineup for the PPV, the buy rate should be 350,000 to 400,000 PPV buys.

UFC 197: Payout Perspective

April 29, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  Better later than never, we write about UFC 197 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with the return of Jon Jones.

Jones takes care of OSP

Jon Jones returned to the UFC octagon to handily defeat Ovince St. Preux via unanimous decision.  OSP was a late replacement for Daniel Cormier and did his best, but it was clear that he was in there against a far superior opponent.  OSP’s cardio was not ready for a 5 round fight and he wasn’t able to do much against Jones.  It seems unfair to criticize OSP since he stepped up on late notice.  But, he was given a chance and was unable to capitalize.

For Jones, it was a good fight to get back into fighting.  It was his first fight since January 2015.  Next is a showdown with Daniel Cormier as the main event for UFC 200.

UFC 197

Mighty Mouse is still good

Say what you will about Demetrious Johnson, there were two fighters on the card that you may argue are the best for pound in the world.  Only one looked like it.  Johnson dispatched of former Olympian Henry Cejudo in round one of the defense of his Flyweight title.

There is no one left in the Flyweight division for Johnson.  Perhaps a rematch against Dominick Cruz would be the most compelling fight to help Johnson draw an audience he deserves.

Attendance and Gate

The event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew 11,352 fans for a gate of $2.3 million as announced at the post-fight press conference.

Bonuses

Also announced the presser, the $50,000 bonuses went to Demetrious Johnson, Yair Rodriguez, Danny Roberts and Dominique Steele.

Ratings

UFC 197 Weigh-Ins on FS1: 184,000

UFC Pre-Fight Show on FS1: 218,000 viewers

UFC 197 Prelims on FS1: 835,000 viewers

UFC Post-Fight Show on FS1: 279,000 viewers

UFC 197 Payouts

Jon Jones led the roster making $500,000 (with no win bonus) followed by Demetrioius Johnson ($195,000).

The rest of the payouts are here.  The payouts do not include the Reebok sponsor pay.

Promotion of the Fight

Jon Jones almost did not make this fight as he was cited once again for a traffic infraction.  This time, it caused him to violate parole and spend a couple days in prison.  Ironically, Daniel Cormier pulled out of the fight soon after Jones’ legal troubles.  Instead of a Jones-Anthony Johnson showdown, the pick was Ovince St. Preux.

Henry Cejudo made pro-UFC comments about Conor McGregor.  He then clarified the comments which seemed a little more confusing.  The fact that he was the guy that said he would not fight in Nevada so long as Nick Diaz was suspended makes his comments this week uneven.  Granted, he’s entitled to his opinion and just because he’s supported Diaz does not mean he has to support Conor.

The Embedded episodes focused on the return of Jon Jones, OSP, Mighty Mouse and Cejudo.  It also included the Pettis brothers training at the same time as Jones in preparation for the fight.

Sponsorships

Reebok, Harley Davidson, EA UFC 2, Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Monster Energy Drink, Bud Light, mobile app game Mobile Strike were in octagon sponsors with Monster taking the center.

Jon Jones had a Monster sponsorship patch in addition to his Reebok gear.  He also held a Monster can after the fight in an old school way of promoting the drink.

Some notables: Jon Jones wore his sponsor, nutrition products company, GAT during an open UFC workout and it was captured on Embedded.

Luke Rockhold was seen in the crowd at UFC 197 sporting an Adidas hat.  Prior to the Reebok deal, Rockhold had a deal with Adidas.  Of course, since the two companies are linked, there was likely no problem with Rockhold wearing the hat.

Odds and Ends

Was it odd or great promotion that Daniel Cormier served as the color commentator for the Jones-OSP fight?

Was it me, or did it seem like OSP did not believe he was going to win this fight?

Demetrious Johnson is on Twitch.  One would think that he could connect his video game interest with MMA fans for more popularity.

Former UFC lightweight champion, and the only UFC fighter to grace the cover a Wheaties box, Anthony Pettis has lost his last 3 fights.

Cody East, the fighter found by Dana White, was stopped by Walt Harris in round 1 on the Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Even without Conor McGregor appearing at this event, it seemed like the biggest news was his “retirement” and then the UFC taking him off of 200.

Conclusion

There were only 50,000 google searches for UFC 197 nationwide the Friday before the event.  This does not bode well if we are to assume the searches relate to interest and the interest relates to PPV buys.  Jon Jones is not a standalone PPV star like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey.  OSP is not someone anyone knew.  Moreover, Mighty Mouse is not a PPV draw.  This event likely ends up with 350,000 PPV buys as many had predicted.

Rory MacDonald signs deal with Reebok

July 9, 2015

Rory MacDonald has signed an individual sponsorship deal with Reebok.  The deal will be in effect for his fight this Saturday at UFC 189 against Robbie Lawler.

The Canadian joins a select list of fighters with individual sponsorship deals with the official clothier of the UFC.  This Saturday will be the first night that all UFC fighters will don Reebok fight apparel in the octagon.

Prior to the end of third-party sponsorships, MacDonald’s fight shorts were adorned with sponsors.  With the end of that era, MacDonald will look to secure individual sponsorship deals and/or keep his prior sponsors through out of Octagon/Fight Week deals.

Payout Perspective:

Notably, welterweight Robbie Lawler has not been offered a Reebok deal yet.  You might recall he had signed with Adidas prior to his fight with Matt Brown last July.  For those that did not know, Adidas actually owns Reebok.  It actually contemplated selling the brand.  Notwithstanding that, where’s Lawler’s deal?

It will be interesting to see how many more individual sponsorship deals we will see from Reebok. The MacDonald signing might be hedging bets he pulls off a victory over Robbie Lawler Saturday.

Silva bristles at donning Reebok

January 30, 2015

In a recent interview, Anderson Silva stated he will not wear Reebok in the UFC despite the impending uniform deal.  More damaging, he is quoted as saying he doesn’t identify with Reebok at all.

The quotes came in a recent interview with Brazilian outlet Terra and were reported by MMA Junkie.

Until Nike decided to opt out of the MMA sponsor business, Silva was a swoosh mainstay.  Silva stated that he identifies with the Nike brand even though he no longer is sponsored by the Beaverton, Oregon company.

Silva stated that his whole family wears Nike and Adidas.  As an aside, Adidas owns Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

The words from SIlva are not encouraging for Reebok when one of the biggest stars in the UFC does not endorse the brand.  Furthermore, although he’s being frank, he is burying the brand and endorsing its competitor, Nike.  Obviously, Silva’s long-time ties with Nike may persuade his views but I’m sure his opinion on the Reebok brand might be shared by other fighters that will be required to don the Reebok gear this July.

Rockhold signs deal with Adidas

September 29, 2014

FighterXFashion reports that Adidas has signed on UFC fighter Luke Rockhold.  Although no terms of the sponsorship have been revealed, its anticipated that Rockhold should be repping the three stripes in preparation for his fight against Michael Bisping on November 8th.

Robbie Lawler is the only other UFC fighter to be sponsored by Adidas.

Payout Perspective:

The news of Rockhold’s deal might be seen as an expansion of Adidas’ Combat Sports Division.  The Three Stripes should translate well overseas as Rockhold’s fight against Bisping takes place

in Sydney, Australia as the main event for UFC Fight Night 55.  We’ll see if the signing means that Adidas is in the race to be the official uniform for the UFC.

Robbie Lawler signs with Adidas Combat

July 24, 2014

Robbie Lawler has signed on with Adidas Combat prior to his fight with Matt Brown Saturday.  The deal comes on the heels of the recent launch of the Adidas-specific web site dedicated to combat sports.

There’s no word on whether Lawler will be able to wear the three stripes into the Octagon on network television Saturday.

Adidas is also the official sponsor of Resurrection Fighting Alliance, the organization headed by Ed Soares. It also sponsors Glory Kickboxers.

Payout Perspective:

Lawler becomes the first Adidas signee in recent memory.  It’s not clear whether it will start to target other fighters in the league.  Still no word on a UFC uniform deal but maybe we can throw Adidas as a possible uniform maker.  For those wondering, Under Armour announced its second quarter earnings and business is good as it exceeded analyst expectations. Although previously the front runner, if a deal were imminent, certainly we would have heard some rumblings in order to stir the pot for the stock even more.  Reebok could be a possibility as it has signed on Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis.  Adidas has worked with RFA for a while and its known as a possible feeder organization for the UFC.

Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Adidas team up

August 13, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that the three stripes, sporting apparel giant, Adidas is entering the sponsorship market of MMA. Through its global licensee Double D, Adidas Combat Sports has entered into a multi-year deal with Ed Soares’ Resurrection Fighting Alliance.

Soares’, also known for managing Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo among others, is positioning his promotion as a feeder league for the UFC. The RFA-UFC connection may be a reality considering RFA will be allowed to use the Octagon for its event this weekend. A good move considering Adidas would like to enter into the area mixed martial arts.

Payout Perspective:

The agreement between RFA and Adidas is a good sign that mainstream sponsors are still eyeing the sport of MMA for sponsorship opportunities. The RFA relationship seems to represent a bigger plan to enter into the MMA market as the article indicates it would like to work with the UFC although it would focus time with “grass-roots efforts.” You may recall that Reebok and Zuffa were in talks about partnering, however, we’ve seen the Reebok logo appearing in Bellator.