April 19, 2012
Interesting news came out last week when it was announced that Jon Jones would be wearing UFC branded gear for his fight this Saturday night. The UFC tells the USA Today that there will be more fighters wearing UFC gear in the octagon.
Jones’s former sponsor, Form Athletics, went under, leaving Jones available to any sponsor. While there was speculation that Nike may be a sponsor (and still may in the future), Jones will sport UFC-branded gear which is already for sale on the UFC.com web site.
Lorenzo Fertitta spoke to USA Today (via MMA Junkie):
To give you a little bit of background, I was going through the process of renegotiating with Jon and his management team on his fight contract. One of the things they brought up was that Jon was at a point where he didn’t necessarily want to sign contracts with some of these smaller, what I’ll call, T-shirt companies that you historically see in UFC, whether it be Tapout or MMA Elite or any of these other guys.
His aspirations (were) that he wanted to be signed by a Nike or an Adidas or an Under Armour, somebody like that. The reality is, those opportunities don’t present themselves to Jon right now, and that’s why I suggested, “Hey look, we’ve got this performance line of gear. Let us send it to you. You can test it. You can try it out. If you like it, then you can wear it in your next couple of fights.”
Fertitta added that the deal with Jones is non-exclusive so he’d be able to sign with another company if the opportunity presented itself.
This is an interesting development for the UFC as no fighter this high profile has worn UFC profile gear. In recent memory, Gilbert Yvel (in his last UFC fight before being let go) and Tiequan Zhang wore UFC apparel in their fights. The article indicates Urijah Faber, Clay Guida and Phil Davis among others that have worn UFC gear but not necessarily during fights.
From another perspective, what becomes of the UFC sponsorship fee? It would seem that the UFC sponsored clothing deals would negate any gains from the fees. Is the UFC inching out sponsors to own the clothing business? Or, will a Nike or Under Armour partner with the UFC to become an official sponsor? Thus, we may see something like the NFL or NBA with an official clothing sponsor. Or, does this seem like a move to the WWE merchandise model–will we see no other fighter sponsors aside from the UFC? It could mean that all sponsorship opportunities would be filtered through the UFC.
As for the Jones deal, was it smart for him to take the deal with the UFC rather than with another apparel company/sponsor? It’s likely that Jones may have left money on the table to perhaps appease the UFC. While his aspirations are Nike or Adidas, it wasn’t in the cards this time around. But, he may have made more money with a “one-off” deal with other sponsors.
As an aside, the media gets another “uneducated” shout out as the UFC tries to clarify for us that despite only one of the two fighters is represented by the UFC in the main event, it does not show favoritism to the UFC sponsored fighter. This is in response to those claiming that the UFC is favoring Jones in the fight due to this new deal.
December 15, 2011
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This week we look at the UFC’s return to Toronto as the UFC made a stop at the Air Canada Center as Jon Jones defended his title against Lyoto Machida.
Jones chokes out Machida
Despite losing the first round, Jon Jones showed resolve to come back and defeat “The Dragon”. Jones used his size to complete a standing guillotine which rendered Machida limp. Up next for Jones will be the winner of Rashad Evans/Phil Davis in January. At this point, Jones looks like he is gaining confidence and looks real comfortable in the Octagon, something to worry about for those in his division.
Mir snaps Big Nog’s shoulder
Frank Mir broke Tim Sylvia’s arm for his black belt and may have earned another stripe for his kimura on Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. Big Nog had Mir in trouble but Mir was able to gather himself to reverse Noguiera, grabbed his arm and locked in the kimura. The gruesome replay were shown over and over again with the crowd “ooing” each time the arm seemingly snapped.
Zombie surprises Hominick
It took only seconds for the Chang Sung Jung to defeat Canadian favorite Mark Hominick. A disappointing return for Hominick.
Attendance, Gate and Bonuses
As reported earlier in the week 18,303 fans attended for a gate of $3.9 million Canadian ($3.77 million U.S.).According to F4Wonline.com (subscription required), about 15,000 paid although it was not a sell-out. F4WOnline opined that the disappointing turnout may be due to the UFC coming back too fast.
MMA Junkie reported the bonuses for UFC 140 with each receiving $75,000.
KO of the night: The Korean Zombie
Submission of the night: Frank Mir
Fight of the Night: Jones-Machida
The Octagon included Xyience, Toyo Tires, Dodge, TapouT, Musclepharm, the UFC’s Ultmate DVD Collection, StubHub, Batteflield 3 had the side pads (including graphics) and was on the mat, Bud Light was present on the ring pads and center.
Bony Acai, Harley Davidson and StubHub were presenting sponsors for UFC 140. The U.S. Marines had its usual “mini-fighter” matchup for Jones-Machida.
UFC.com Store owned the fighter prep point.
Harley Davidson is taking part in the UFC Hometown Throwdown promotion which had been previously promoted at other events as well as 140. Similar to the WEC version, it asks fans to pick a city in which they would want the UFC to hold an event. The promotion asks for fans to provide an email address in order to take part. The UFC will email the fans when the final cities are chosen.
Mark Hominick wore the CFL’s Hamilton TiCats gear once again.
Jon Jones wore his Form Athletics jacket in the back and during the walkout.
Brian Ebersole is now sponsored by TapouT as one witnessed via the logo shaved into his chest. He also was sponsored by BuyMMACards.com, which replaced MiddleEasy.com on his shorts.
Logistics company and fight sponsor Blue Grace made subtle changes to its logo including a visible web address for people to see.
Notably, EBX, which is a Brazilian investment company, sponsored the Nogueira brothers. We might expect more Brazilian and South American companies jumping into sponsorship with the upcoming card this January and with TUF: Brazil.
No Suffer on Mir this time as he sported a simple Jaco Hybrid Training Black t-shirt in his walkout.
The Korean Zombie did not wear his popular shirt but a white shirt with his Korean sponsors.
UFCstore.com had the Fighter prep point
More info on walkout wear here.
Jon Jones and Frank Mir broke out Xenergy drinks immediately after their win before their post-fight interview.
Not a lot of notable new sponsors here. The Octagon seemed UFC heavy. Perhaps this is due to the anticipated holiday shopping season. The UFC had indicated that new sponsors would not occur until the first quarter of next year.
Post-UFC 140 Headline
The only real headline coming out of this event is what’s next for Jon Jones. While some wish for a Jones-Anderson Silva matchup, its more likely that Jones face Rashad Evans provided he gets past Phil Davis and stays healthy enough to make it to the showdown.
Odds and Ends
– Tito Ortiz is now calling himself “The People’s Champ.” I thought the Rock was “The People’s Champ?” Copyright issues? Of course, I thought that Marshawn Lynch would have copyrighted “Beast Mode” too.
– UFC Countdown show aired on the Fox Regional Sports Networks as early as Sunday before the fight (according to the Direct TV guide) but either I was not paying attention or there was a lack of notice, but I missed the Countdown show when it was on my RSN. It appeared on the Audience Network later in the week and was online so I was able to catch it. Not sure if anyone else had a problem finding it on their RSN.
Early estimations on the buy rate for UFC 140 by the Wrestling Observer have it at 440,000 buys in the US and 480,000 buys worldwide. This is a positive considering the UFC’s string of sub-400 PPV buys. It also shows that Jones is beginning to grow as a PPV draw. Jones vs. Rampage did 475,000 buys and it has improved if you take the worldwide buy rate.
May 30, 2011
Form Athletics has teamed up with Toyo Tires and MMA Warehouse in promoting Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in preparation for his UFC debut this Saturday against Clay Guida. “Go Time with Showtime” offers weekly prizes to fans that offer well-wishes to Pettis via twitter.
Via FORM Athletics press release:
The promotion, aptly called Go Time with Showtime, offers fans the chance to win weekly prizes and a grand prize package simply by sending a special good luck Tweet to Pettis (@showtimepettis), FORM Athletics (@formathletics) and Toyo Tires (@toyotires).
FORM Athletics and Toyo Tires followers who pledge their twitter support for Pettis will be entered for the chance to win weekly prize packages featuring limited edition Toyo Tires x FORM Athletics x Pettis t-shirts, hats and workout towels. One grand prize winner will be chosen on June 2nd and kitted out with a Go Time with Showtime pack including: Pettis signed FORM Athletics walkout fight shorts x Pettis t-shirt and a set of Toyo Proxes 4 tires. Tweets must include @showtimepettis, @formathletics, @toyotires and #GoTime.
For more information, check here. No purchase is necessary.
In addition, MMA Warehouse is offering fans who spend $50 or more on Form Athletics gear through its web site will receive a limited edition Form Athletics/Toyo Tires t-shirt as a gift while supplies last.
This is a unique way to promote Pettis’ debut as well as his sponsors. Its also a way to bolster the twitter presence of each while pumping up Pettis for his debut. Its a good way to take advantage of social media. For fans, the level of effort to enter is minimal considering all you need to do is have a twitter account and send a message.
March 22, 2011
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we look at UFC 128 held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The show was topped by Jon Jones stopping Mauricio Rua to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title.
Jones fights crime, beats Rua
To top off being a favorite , fighting close to his hometown and having his own Spike TV special prior to challenging for the Light Heavyweight crown, Jon Jones helped stop a burglar just hours before the fight. Although he looked nervous and Rua looked calm, Jones destroyed Rua to win the belt. Rua looked slow and out of shape, but perhaps that was a testament to the speed and skill of Jones.
For Jones, a matchup with Rashad Evans is next although it may happen late 2011 as it is reported that Jones may have broken a bone in his hand. Thus, Evans will not have fought in the UFC since May 2010.
Faber kisses Rosie, survives to win in UFC debut
Urijah Faber defeated Eddie Wineland and will face Dominick Cruz next. Wineland did well for himself as he stuffed several takedown attempts at the outset, but Faber eventually solved Wineland. After the fight, Faber gave a rather mechanic call out to Cruz. Perhaps the venom will step up if they become opposing TUF coaches. Whenever the fight happens, it should be a great fight.
I think that the UFC should have Faber-Cruz coach TUF as this can help gain more exposure to the lighter divisions. Plus, it should elevate Faber’s presence to the mainstream. I think Faber (and Jose Aldo) are the two fighters that can give the lighter weight divisions a boost in giving them respect and more visibility on UFC cards.
Not able boos for “The California Kid” coming out to 2Pac/Dre. I guess the East Coast-West Coast rap battle is still alive. And yes, that was Rosie O’Donnell that he kissed walking to the ring. I liked Rosie better when she was a VH1 DJ.
MMA Junkie reports the bonuses for 128.
Brendan Schaub and Erik Koch earned $75K apiece for their KOs and Edson Barboza and Anthony Njokuani earned $75K each for their Fight of the Night on Spike TV. There were no fights ending in submissions so that can explain the double KO bonus.
Attendance and Gate
MMA Junkie reports that 12,619 fans attended UFC 128 for a gate of $2.14 million. The numbers were not as good as GSP-Hardy and did not draw as many fans as Bisping-Evans. In fact, UFC 128 had a slightly better gate than UFC 78. It is likely that Jones will draw much better in the future.
Via MMA Junkie:
- UFC 111 (St-Pierre vs. Hardy): $4,000,000 gate (17,000 attendance)*
- UFC 128 (Jones vs. Rua): $2,140,000 (12,619)*
- UFC 78 (Bisping vs. Evans): $2,100,000 (14,071)*
- UFC 53 (Arlovski vs. Eilers): $1,100,000 (12,000)*
UPDATED 3/22/11 – MMAPayout confirmed today with SpikeTV the ratings for the UFC Prelims. UFC 128 Prelims earned a .85 household rating, a .92 in Men 18-49, a 1.03 in Men 18-34, and an average audience of 1.3 million viewers. According to MMA Junkie, the ratings show a strong increase from the UFC 127 Prelims on ION.
The lead-up shows for UFC 128 included the usual Countdown show and a special for Jon Jones, “In the Moment.” The Jones pre-event show did better than the Countdown show. It did very well considering it went up against NCAA Tournament games. It will be interesting to see how he GSP-Shields Primetime series will do in comparison.
MMAPayout Emiritus Kelsey Philpott was on hand and tweeted about the scene outside the arena pre-UFC 128 where the UFC held a Tailgate Party. This was a great way for sponsors to get out in front of its audience. Tapout and Xyience were among the sponsors outside interacting with fans. The newest product out there for the MMA fan: Tapout energy bands.
Sponsors in the Octagon included Harley Davidson, BSN, BoostMobile, Xyience, Affliction, Tapout , Toyo Tires and Bud Light had the center of the Octagon.
The UFCStore.com was actively involved in the PPV as it sponsored the tale of the tape and also ran an ad during the first round of the Jones/Rua fight which I thought was a little annoying.
Jon Jones had Iron Bridge Tools as a fight sponsor on the back of his shorts. According to my count, this is the second time that a challenger has won the UFC title with a tool sponsor on the back of his shorts as Cain Velasquez wore a Milwaukee Tools logo when he beat Brock Lesnar. I don’t think Gray Maynard or Vito Belfort had a tool sponsor on the back of their shorts. Are you listening Jake Shields?
Big night for sponsor Form Athletics as Jon Jones and Urijah Faber won their fights.
Public Relations for 128
The UFC was all over the NY/NJ area promoting UFC 128. Details on some of its appearances are here. Aside from promoting 128, the UFC made an effort to promote the legalization of the sport in New York. Notably, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta appeared on a NY public affairs program to discuss the fight for legalization.
Aside from local media, notable print media stories included Jon Jones in WSJ which asked whether Jones would be the breakthrough star the UFC (and MMA) needs.
Jones appeared on a local morning show in NY where he was asked to display what he does in the Octagon.
I think Middle Easy explains my sentiments.
Via Middle Easy:
Hopefully in 2012, we can collectively agree that any form of media asking a fighter to place them in a rear-naked choke needs to come to an end. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Let’s make a rule that if you ask a fighter to place you in a rear-naked choke, you can’t tap out. The blood running through your neck will have to come to a complete halt and your unconscious body will need to collapse to the floor in order to realize how much of an idiot you were for asking someone to choke you out.
Trending during 128
Twitter was abuzz Saturday night as #ufc128 #Crocop #Schaub #Miller and #Faber were all trending. I’m sure Jones was trending as well although I did not check after the fights.
Odds and Ends
- MMA is great because it’s the only sport where one of its champs seconds a fighter as Frankie Edgar did at the weigh-ins for Ricardo Almeida
- The Miller Brothers fought back to back and went 1 and 1.
- Jon Jones gave a shout out to his after-party during his post-fight interview, a taboo in the UFC. But, Jones quickly amended his announcement to say it was for charity. Perhaps the champ was taking liberties with his newfound position.
- While there are many MMA fans that loathe the comparisons to pro wrestling, “USA, USA” chants broke out during the main event. The last time I heard that I think The Iron Shiek was wrestling Sargent Slaughter.
- If Herb Dean did not stop the Jones-Rua fight, Rua was tapping.
- Faber received his Brown Belt in BJJ after the Wineland match. Not as dramatic as when Randy Couture received his Black Belt for choking out James Toney or when Frank Mir received his after breaking Tim Sylvia’s arm.
February 4, 2011
At the weigh-ins last night, Jon “Bones” Jones sported a hoodie from what appears to be his new line of signature clothing.
If the signature line, is code for expensive, the hooded sweatshirt is in the line. At $87.99, you’d have to be a big fan, or really cold to purchase it. Yet, this is not so far off from the price point of GSP or Rampage Affliction T-Shirts which go for near $60. Despite the high price, the hoodie is a detachment from regular MMA wear and goes along with the Form Athletics promise of his line being “performance and lifestyle apparel both in and out of the ring.” It is understated, clean and stands out from other MMA wear.
As an aside, Jones’ agent, Malki Kawa, sported a “Got Fired?” t-shirt at the weigh-ins as a jab at his termination from Matt Mitrione