McGregor negotiating with apparel sponsors for Mayweather boxing match

June 19, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that Conor McGregor will not be tied to Reebok for his August 26th boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.  McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar told Ariel Helwan on The MMA Hour.

According to Attar, he is a free agent with respect to athletic apparel.  McGregor was one of a handful of UFC athletes to have personal Reebok sponsorship deals.  However, Attar stated that they have been negotiating with brands, including Reebok.

A recent Forbes survey indicated McGregor made $7 million in sponsorships for 2016.  One would expect that to increase due to this superfight with Floyd Mayweather.

Payout Perspective:

Even if McGregor had a deal with Reebok, I would argue that this would be limited to mixed martial arts fights and not boxing.  But, letting the deal lapse shows that McGregor had a broader plan and didn’t want to be tied to a Reebok payout.  With the boxing match, he can truly seek higher bidders for this one of a kind “one off” fight.

UFC launches NY-specific clothing collection for UFC 205

November 1, 2016

The UFC announced that it is launching its first-ever event-specific product line for the promotion’s debut in New York on November 12th.  The New York collection from Reebok features city-themed T-shirts, hoodies, hats and shorts for men and women.

The price points range from $16-$50.

All UFC 205 fighters will wear a unique kit designed for the event and receive an exclusive leather jacket produced by Schott N.Y.C.

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Payout Perspective:

In the past, the UFC would produce t-shirts related to the city where an event took place.  I recall Seattle, California and Texas UFC shirts.  But, this will be the first time that Reebok will produce the outfits for the big N.Y. debut.  The special merchandise is not surprising as the promotion will look to capitalize with as many revenue streams as it can from the New York debut.  A report expects it to draw $14-$15M in “live event revenue” from the event.  The special merchandise will likely be scooped up quickly.

UFC 204: Payout Perspective

October 10, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 204 from Manchester, England which pitted Michael Bisping defending his UFC middleweight title against Dan Henderson.

Bisping outlasts Hendo

The rematch was 7 years in the making and despite the time in between fights, everyone knew the backstory from UFC 100.  Hendo hit an “H Bomb” that knocked out Bisping and then landed on the Brit with another shot while he was on the ground.  This was the story that sold the fight otherwise the matchmaking never made sense aside from Bisping wanting to avenge a loss.

The fight itself was great.  Hendo almost recreated his KO of Bisping in round 1 and picked his spots which stung Bisping and bloodied his eyes.  However, Bisping’s excellent cardio kept him in the fight and staying on top of the 46-year-old appeared to be the critical factor in the decision.

A matchup with Jacare Souza seems like the most logical matchup for Bisping but we’ll see what happens next.

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Mousasi stops Belfort

Vitor Belfort’s days as a top-level fighter are over as Gegard Mousasi had little difficulty with the former champion.  Belfort looked much different in terms of body composition than previous fights and for a black belt did not handle being mounted too well.

Mousasi called out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview in what you can call a “resume builder” for the middleweight.

Attendance and Gate

The event took place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England and drew 16,000 for a live gate of $1.96 million.  The attendance was impressive considering the event took place in the middle of the night to accommodate American PPV.

The attendance and gate come in second to UFC 105 held at the same arena.  That event which featured Randy Couture-Brandon Vera drew 16,693 for a $2 million gate.

Bonuses

$50,000 bonuses went to Hendo-Bisping for Fight of the Night and Iuri Alcantara and Jimi Manuwa for Performances of the Night.  Mike Perry and Danny Roberts and Stefan Struve could have won bonuses too.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC did its usual promotional events for the fight.  As seen on the Embedded series, Dan Henderson visited the Manchester City Football Club.  Bisping is a fan of Manchester United, the rival club.

Sponsorships

Monster Energy Drink, UFC Fight Pass and Bud Light were thenotable mainstay sponsors for the night.  In addition, video game Gears of War 4 and “What Now?” the upcoming Kevin Hart comedy also had signage in the Octagon.  Also,  Twinzz.com, a European hat maker was also in the Octagon.  IconicFaceOff.com which features a Conor McGregor commercial on its web site was also on the mat.   Also, UFC 205 signage including it’s “Can’t Wait” tag was in the Octagon.

Odds and ends

UFC 204 had 500,000 plus searches on Friday in the US.  I couldn’t find the number of US searches for Saturday for UFC 204 which might be an oversight or the fact that there were other searches more popular than the event.  However, in the UK UFC 204 registered 200,000 plus searches on Saturday

The post-fight show usually on FS1 was switched to FS2 due to college football.

Brian Stann served as the color commentator in place of Joe Rogan and was fantastic.

The trailer for UFC 205 were shown during the telecast.

Appealing to their apparel sponsor, one of the Embedded showed a picture of a young Michael Bisping wearing a Reebok sweatshirt.  Also, an episode showed Hendo picking out a cup for the fight.

The PPV ended early due to the early stoppages in the first 4 main card fights and the telecast filled it with the Brad Pickett-Iuri Alcintara fight.

Conclusion

Since this fight did not occur in the U.S., it seems that there was less buzz for it.  Then again, if you did not like the main event, there was not much for the casual viewer.  While the Bisping-Hendo fight brought some history and curiosity I don’t think Bisping is a PPV draw unless he’s fighting a name brand opponent.  Hendo is great but he is not a PPV draw.  UFC 199 featuring Rockhold-Bisping drew 320,000 buys.  But, with this happening during college football season, the PPV will likely do 275,000 PPV buys.

Marquardt leads UFC Fight Night 96 Payouts

October 5, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the salaries from UFC Fight Night 96.  The official payouts were disclosed by the Oregon State Athletic Commission.

Via MMA Junkie:

John Lineker: $72,000 (Lineker forfeited 20 percent of his original $40,000 show money to Dodson for missing weight)
def. John Dodson: $38,000 (includes 8,000 from Lineker’s show money)

Alex Oliveira: $43,200 (includes $24,000 win bonus. Oliveira forfeited 20 percent of his original $24,000 show money to Brooks for missing weight)
def. Will Brooks: $57,800 (includes $4,800 from Oliveira’s show money)

Zak Ottow: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Burkman: $54,000

Brandon Moreno: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Louis Smolka: $32,000

Luis Henrique da Silva: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Joachim Christensen: $10,000

Andre Fili: $39,200 (includes $18,000 win bonus and $3,200 from Dias’ show money)
def. Hacran Dias: $12,800 (Dias forfeited 20 percent of his original $16,000 show money to Fili for missing weight)

Shamil Abdurakhimov: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Walt Harris: $12,000

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Keita Nakamura: $19,000

Nate Marquardt: $112,000 (includes $56,000 win bonus)
def. Tamdan McCrory: $15,000

Ion Cutelaba: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jonathan Wilson: $12,000

Curtis Blaydes: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Cody East: $10,000

Ketlen Vieira: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Kelly Faszholz: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

If not for missing weight, Lineker would have made $40K/$40K while his opponent, Dodson made $30K to show and likely another $30K win bonus.  Interesting to note that Will Brooks is already making $53,000 to show.  He made $50K/$50K in his UFC debut this past July at the TUF 23 Finale.  For being a veteran, Nate Marquardt made the most with $112,000 not to mention his Reebok payout of $20,000.

UFC 201: Payout Perspective

July 31, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 201 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  The main event featured Robbie Lawler taking on Tyrone Woodley for the welterweight title.

The wait was worth it: Woodley new WW champ

Tyron Woodley waited almost a year and a half for his shot at the welterweight title.  What was almost a nothing fight for the first minute exploded quickly as Woodley laid the hammer down on Lawler.  It has to be one of the bigger upsets in some time.  Then again, it’s yet another title change in the UFC.

So does Nick Diaz actually get the first shot at him?  It’s the “money fight” and could happen sometime this fall.  But, doesn’t Lawler deserve a rematch?  While he got caught, I doubt this could happen in another fight.  Lawler should still be near the top of the rankings for this division.

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Karolina edges out Rose for chance at Joanna

Karolina Kowalkiewicz defeated Rose Namajunas in the fight of the night.  We now get an interesting all-Polish for the women’s strawweight title.  Hopefully, the UFC can build this fight for women’s MMA as well as its international expansion.  Certainly, this fight with Joanna Champion should take place sometime this fall in Poland.

Attendance and gate

It’s not surprising that this event drew less than the prior two PPV events in Atlanta.  The previous two: UFC 88 and UFC 145, had highly anticipated fights in Evans-Liddell and Evans-Jones.  The UFC did draw a 1 million gate.  Specifically, 10,240 for a gate of $1.07M.

Bonuses

Bonuses of $50K each went to Rose-Karolina, Woodley and Jake Ellenberger.  Rose-Karolina earned the Fight of the Night while Woodley and Ellenberger scored the Performances of the Night for their respective stoppages.

Sponsorships

The usual UFC sponsors were in the octagon including Bud Light, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass, MetroPCS, and Monster had the middle of the octagon.  QT, a software company, shared the post with Monster’s logo.

Also in the octagon was signage for UFC 202 August 20th for Diaz-McGregor.

EA UFC2 had the prep point.

Tyron Woodley wore Monster head phones to the ring.  This is something you rarely see any more.

Notably, MusclePharm was all over the UFC Embeddeds.  Matt Brown even drove a car with the MP logo on the side.

Odds and Ends

On Friday, UFC 201 drew 500,000 google searches which is corrected from our original report that it drew just 50,000 searches.  Still, it did not feel like strong momentum going into this.

Another thing going against this card was that the UFC Prelims were moved to FS2.

Recall this was to be a double title night with Demetrious Johnson defending his title against Wilson Reis.  Johnson was injured, so Reis was bumped off the main card.  He did record a submission victory over Hector Sandoval.

Why do fighters still strip down at the televised weigh-ins if their official weigh-ins were earlier that morning?  No need to be in your underwear in front of the crowd.  You can just wear your fight shorts.

It was interesting that Pat Barry, Rose Namajunas’ boyfriend and coach was not a part of the UFC Embeddeds.  Rose talked about this prior to the fight.

Speaking of the UFC Embeddeds, this is the first time that I thought most of them were bland.  However, the one thing that I enjoyed (aside from the Woodley kids) was that we were introduced to Karolina Kowalkiewicz.  The other thing we may have learned from the video series is that Coy Wire and Robbie Lawler look alike.

Ian McCall received his win bonus and show money after Justin Scoggins could not make weight.  McCall remained an alternate on the card which may explain him receiving the win bonus.  It’s the first time I’ve heard of a fighter receiving a win bonus when they did not fight.

Did Reebok get Erik Perez an official Lucha Libre mask?

Jake Ellenberger was going to be cut but was given one more chance.  He won with a liverkick that stopped Matt Brown.  It’s not his last fight after all.

Conclusion

This PPV felt like the “forgotten PPV” as it is sandwiched between UFC 200 and UFC 202 (featuring the rematch between Diaz-McGregor).  Both of these PPVs will draw over 1 million buys while 201 will fall far short of that.  While Robbie Lawler is an exciting fighter and produced some great battles.  Does it equate to his PPV average of 333,000 buys?  Perhaps.  But with the UFC seemingly promoting UFC 202 prior to UFC 201 even happening (e.g., Nate Diaz on Conan as well as the promos starting earlier), the PPV likely drew 285,000-300,000 PPV buys.

MacDonald testing free agency?

July 15, 2016

Will Rory MacDonald be the next MMA free agent to leave the UFC for Bellator?  MacDonald appears to be open to the possibility.

MMA Junkie’s Chamatkar Sandhu tweeted that Bellator President Scott Coker has opened up talks with Rory MacDonald in hopes of eventually signing the welterweight.

The last fight of MacDonald’s UFC contract was at UFC Fight Night 89 in June against Stephen Thompson.  MacDonald lost via unanimous decision.

The soon to be 27-year-old MacDonald (his birthday is next week) is on a 2 fight losing streak having dropped the Thompson fight and losing to Robbie Lawler in a classic fight last July at UFC 189.

MacDonald has been outspoken about maximizing his time as an MMA fighter.  He has criticized the Reebok deal for eliminating an avenue of revenue for fighters.  Prior to the UFC-Reebok deal, MacDonald was a marketable fighter with multiple sponsors.  He did have an individual sponsor deal with Reebok despite his criticism.

Payout Perspective:

MacDonald’s timing for free agency comes on the heels of a 2 fight losing streak.  Unless the new owners of the UFC are interested in retaining him, he will likely move to Bellator.  The Canadian should be able to maximize his marketability with the organization and recapture some of those sponsors that he had to give up with the Reebok deal.  For Bellator, it’s a good deal since they would get a fighter still in his 20s that could immediately challenge in the welterweight division.

Rousey featured in new Reebok #PerfectNever ad

July 12, 2016

Reebok launched a new digital ad featuring Ronda Rousey entitled, #PerfectNever.

Dana White indicated that Rousey should be the next in line to challenge new women’s bantamweight Amanda Nunes if she so chooses.

The ad includes a Rousey blog post on Reebok’s site and a new promotion for tickets to UFC 205 in New York City.  Possibly the event could mark the return of Rousey in the promotion’s debut in New York.

Payout Perspective:

The promotion obviously addresses the end of Rousey’s undefeated record and her subsequent return to the Octagon.  It’s a slick ad that also serves as a launch for Reebok’s second year as the official clothier of the UFC.  The clothing brand launched new kits at UFC 200 this past Saturday.

Sage Northcutt secures Reebok deal

June 29, 2016

Sage Northcutt has signed an individual sponsorship deal with Reebok.  The UFC lightweight made the announcement via his twitter.

Northcutt, who was found on Dana White’s UFC Fight Pass reality show, came to the organization with a lot of hype.  His youthfulness, good-looks and overall optimism made him a target from the grizzled MMA fandom that loathe all of these traits in a fighter.

Controversy also arose regarding Northcutt’s starting pay.  It was revealed that he made $40,000 to show and $40,000 to win at UFC Fight Night 80 in December.  It was just his second fight with the company.

Northcutt is coming off of a loss to Bryan Barberena at UFC on Fox 18 in January.

He fights next week at UFC 200.

Payout Perspective:

Despite coming off of a loss, Reebok is banking on Northcutt’s marketability and appeal.  Northcutt is young and has some time to grow into a contender in the UFC.  The deal makes sense considering it occurs the week before the biggest week of the year for the company.  Also, add the fact that Reebok is set to reveal updates to its fight kits for International Fight Week.

Cerrone comments on his UFC pay

June 19, 2016

In Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 89 post-fight press conference, Donald Cerrone sent a not-so-subtle jab about his pay.

In response to a question which listed his accolades, Cerrone stated, “According to my pay, I don’t mean sh*t to the UFC. But we’ll see. Maybe I’ll talk to [UFC president] Dana [White] after this and see if we can figure that out.” (via MMA Fighting).  Cerrone did make the statement with a smirk and laughed about it.  Of course, that does not mean he was kidding.

Cerrone stopped Patrick Cote in the third round of his fight last night which earned him a $50,000 bonus.

In February, Cerrone made $79K/$79K in addition to his $50K bonus, Reeebok payout and any other undisclosed bonuses.

Cerrone donned the Monster logo on his Reebok shorts and cowboy hat which likely means additional compensation added into his purse, win money, bonus and Reebok payout.

Prior to the Reebok deal, Cerrone commented that he would be losing out on $60,000 in outside sponsors.  He was fined late last year for violating the Reebok outfitting policy.  Cerrone has picked up a Monster deal.

Payout Perspective:

Cerrone is a UFC favorite for his willingness to take a fight at a moment’s notice.  Obviously, attaining fight bonuses means that his fighting style is appealing as well.  Should he be paid more?  Sure.  But how much more would the UFC be willing to pay is another question. If he’s in the middle of a contract, it would be hard to renegotiate at this point, but he could receive preferential paid opportunities outside of the Octagon.  As we noted, he has been outspoken about losing money from the Reebok deal and then was flagged for violating the terms of the policy.  Of course, maybe we are just overblowing the comments from a fighter that is always willing to find a payday.

McGregor makes Forbes’ annual “World’s Highest-Paid Athletes”

June 12, 2016

Forbes released its annual report on the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes from June 2015 to June 2016.  Conor McGregor is the first UFC fighter to make the top 100 list.

McGregor landed at number 85 on the list earning a total of $22 million.  His salary is reported at $q8 million while he made another $4 million in endorsements.

Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list with total pay of $88 million.  There was $56 million in salary and $32 million in endorsements.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. lost his top spot from the past couple years as with just one fight during the timeframe he earned $44 million for one night’s work this past September against Andre Berto.  Still, he was number 16 on the list.  Manny Pacquiao was number 63 as he earned $24 million for his May fight against Timothy Bradley, Jr.  Canelo Alvarez was 92nd with $21.5 million.  Canelo had 2 fights within the one year from June to June.

Payout Perspective:

McGregor had 3 fights from June 2015-June 2016 (Mendes, Aldo and Diaz).  This would average $6 million per fight.  The endorsement deals are interesting considering the UFC Outfitting Policy does not allow outside sponsors during fight week or event night.  McGregor has an individual Reebok deal and has worn a Monster patch during his fights.

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