WWE-Tapout announce joint venture

March 25, 2015

The WWE and Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG) announced a joint venture with Tapout as the brand formerly tied with MMA and the UFC will now be the official fitness and training partner of the WWE.

The partnership is reported as a 50/50 joint venture per the Sports Business Journal.  According to the WWE release, it will integrate Tapout across WWE’s global platforms including TV programming, the WWE Network, pay-per-view broadcasts, live events, digital and social media.

As one might expect, the WWE will create advertising and marketing with its Superstars and Divas outfitted in Tapout gear.  It will also be prevalent through the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida and all “performers, trainers and staff” will don the Tapout workout gear.

The Tapout brand is described as “a newly repositioned fitness lifestyle brand” in the press release.  More from the press release regarding Tapout:

The next generation of Tapout™ preserves the original brand essence and drives a hard-body, fitness-centric message positioned around motivation, discipline and determination. An all new line of men’s and women’s performance apparel and accessories will launch at retail in Spring 2016. New Tapout™ branding and packaging will roll out in key categories throughout 2015 starting with beverages, supplements and fitness centers.

Payout Perspective:

There were many rumors about the partnership and the official announcement coincides with Wrestlemania week.  Although not the same as the UFC-Reebok deal, it accomplishes the same premise of partnering with brands in an effort to increase audience and revenue.  With the fitness industry apparently expanding, the WWE and Tapout will seek to make a dent into the market as well.

UFC 164: Payout Perspective

September 2, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we go to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and take a look at UFC 164 where the lightweight title changed hands.

Stain remains for Bendo as Showtime subs Henderson

In a sudden, decisive and anti-climactic way, Benson Henderson’s title reign ended Saturday as Anthony Pettis made Bendo submit to an armbar in the first round.  Henderson, a newly minted jiu jitsu black belt appeared to use a technique known as the “can opener” while in Pettis’ guard (a move used by GSP as well) to improve position and open guard. The problem is that the technique is susceptible to an armbar.

Pettis wins the lightweight title and might have a shot at Jose Aldo in his next fight dependent on the status of his knee.  A bad spot for Henderson here.  With the decisive loss, Henderson will have to wait for Pettis to lose the title and/or win a couple fights in a row in decisive fashion.  For a guy that defended the belt three times and having to had defend it a fourth time in Pettis’ hometown, and then told he wouldn’t get a rematch, it has to be deflating.

UFC_164_Bendo_vs_Pettis

War Master KOs Mir

Both guys have reasons to hate them.  In this battle, Barnett was able to land a knee which took Mir down.  While the stoppage may have been premature, Mir did not look like someone that could have made a comeback.  It will be interesting to see where the UFC puts Barnett next.  He could be a contender, but he did just fight a past his prime Mir. As some have suggested, a Mir-Overeem matchup seems just right for so many reasons.

Mendes takes care of The Carpenter

Chad Mendes solidified his position as next in line for the Featherweight title as he knocked out Clay Guida.  Prior to the stoppage, Guida had never been stopped in his career.

Its his fourth straight stoppage since being stopped himself by Jose Aldo in January 2012.  Depending on whether Aldo fights Pettis, Mendes should get the next shot at Aldo.  If not, Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson seem ready for him.

Rothwell stops The Truth

Ben Rothwell decided to do a “Clay Guida” like impression in the final round of his fight with Brandon Vera and overwhelmed Vera causing him to cover himself waiting for the ref to stop the fight.  Rothwell used his post-Octagon interview time to thank the fans and then call out Travis Browne.  For the second straight fight, Vera was in a position where he waited for the ref stoppage (Shogun Rua stopped Vera last August in similar fashion).

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

As we reported earlier, attendance was 9,178 for a gate of $907,116.  It was decisively better for a previous visit to the Bradley Center for a UFC on Versus 5 card.

Bonuses of $50K each were given to Anthony Pettis (Sub), Chad Mendes (KO) and Hyung Gim Lin and Pascal Krauss (FOTN).  Arguably, Lin could have been a double recipient for KO.  Magnus Cedenblad could have had the Sub of the Night as well for his quick work on the prelim card.

UFC Countdown

The Countdown show featured The Showtime Kick…of course.  Aside from hearing about the history of the fight that shut down the WEC, the feature on Josh Barnett and Frank Mir was excellent.  It reminded people that both these guys held the UFC title at one point.

Sponsorships

The Octagon sponsors included TapouT, UltimatePoker.net, Dodge, MetroPCS, MusclePharm, the latest video game from Assassin’s Creed, Harley Davidson and Bud Light in the center.  The Discovery Channel’s Ahmish Mafia also sponsored the PPV which I do not quite understand.

UFC 164 was sponsored/presented by Harley Davidson which presented its Hometown Throwdown promotion for the 110th Anniversary of the company.  It had a special “110” logo on the Octagon mat to commemorate the occasion. Also, Harley Davidsons graced the stage during the weigh-ins and Arianny and Brittany wore the branded colors of Harley Davidson. There were also Harley Davidson events which included UFC fighters doing autograph signings as part of the brand activation.

Pettis’ sponsors included Hayabusa, Headrush, Corn Nuts and Toyo Tires.  Henderson was sponsored by Dethrone which also came out with Dethrone “toothpicks”. Phoenix International Speedway, Musclepharm and Training Mask were the ex-champs other sponsors.  FighterxFashion has Henderson’s fight shorts here which depicts the fact he now has a jiu jitsu black belt.

Hayabusa had a cadre of fighters wearing its shorts including Pettis.

Frank Mir was sponsored by the UFC and also wore out the UFC sponsored Monster Headphones to the ring.  He also had big logos for Midway, which appears to be some sort of exercise equipment.

Best walkout shirt of the night was Josh Barnett’s which was drawn by Kiyoshi Nakazawa.

Post-UFC 164 Headlines

Who is next for Pettis?  It was made clear that Benson Henderson would not get a rematch.  It appears that Pettis may want to go after Jose Aldo which begs the questions of whether the UFC wants a “superfight” between two of its division champions which it could market and sell for the possibility of a high PPV number.  Or, does the UFC make Pettis defend against TJ Grant.  While he’s earned the shot, Grant is not really known and would not elevate Pettis in terms of PPV star.  While Pettis is not a PPV draw yet, he has the entertaining style, good looks and great backstory to be a guy people would want to follow (one might recall his “World of Jenks” episode) He is a marketable fighter and one would think the UFC needs to capitalize on this.

Truth departure likely delayed.  The UFC has been kind to Brandon Vera.  He was cut but that was rescinded when it was discovered that Thiago Silva tested positive for a banned substance.  The announcement that the UFC wants to head to the Philippines in 2014 means that Vera is likely to stay in the UFC to help promote the visit as well as fight.  Aside from this, there is no reason why Vera should stay.

Odds and Ends

-Since its debut on FS1, it appears that the UFC is putting up Vegas Odds in the introductory fighter graphic.  An interesting move.  Does this encourage people to gamble?

-Pettis’ chain he wore post-fight was a nice touch.

-Somewhere Brian Stann was likely smiling.  Vera had called out Brian Stann for questioning Phil Davis’ win over Lyoto Machida.

-Sure Barnett has had a checkered past, but how can you not like a guy that almost suplexed Joe Rogan in his post-Octagon interview.

-Doesn’t Tim Elliott look like the WWE’s Daniel Bryan?

-Dethrone trotted out Benson Henderson toothpicks (via FighterxFashion) so you too can learn this disgusting habit.

ben-henderson-toothpicks

Conclusion

It was an entertaining card which had a very intriguing rematch in the main event.  But was that enough?  The start of college football season and the three day weekend may contribute to a lower PPV buy rate.  In addition, the lack of a true PPV star will limit the amount of buys.  One might expect around 300,000 buys for this event.

UFC 159: Payout Perspective

April 30, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 159 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey where Jon Jones defended his Light Heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen.

Jones takes care of Sonnen, now must heal toe

It was the outcome that most had expected.  Despite Sonnen’s promos, Jones did what was needed to stop Sonnen with a few seconds left in Round 1.  It was a good thing, because if he didn’t, it would have been interesting what may have happened for Round 2.  Jones could not have gone out there with his toe pointed in an opposite direction.  

Now, the question is how long will Jones be out and who will be next for him.  Anderson Silva? Lyoto Machida? Alexander Gustafsson?  We will see.

For the “Gangster,” I hope to see him in a suit as an analyst.  

ufc-159-poster

Nelson KOs Kongo

Jones does what he does and Nelson does what he does – knock people out.  While Nelson asked for a title shot, it’s likely he gets at least one more fight before there’s serious consideration.

Bisping beats Belcher after eye poke

Michael Bisping showed once again why he should receive a title shot.  The TUF alum beat up Alan Belcher but the fight was stopped after a nasty eye poke which was the second gruesome thing on the PPV next to Jones’ toe.  

Bisping must now wait in line once again for a shot.

Attendance and Gate

As reported earlier, attendance at UFC 159 placed second in terms of UFC events at the venue with Hardy vs. GSP being first.   UFC 159 reported attendance of 15,227 fans for a $2.7 million gate.

Bonuses

This event’s bonuses were $65,000 each as opposed to the UFC standard of $50,000.  As reported earlier the bonuses were as follows:

Fight of the Night:  Healy vs. Miller

KO of the Night:  Nelson

Submission of the Night: Healy

Sponsorships

-The Octagon included the usual sponsors:  TapouT, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Xyience, UFC Gym, Harley Davidson, Dodge, MusclePharm, Alienware, UltimatePoker.net and Bud Light.  It also included local sponsor Modell’s Sporting Goods.

-UFC Gym sponsored the prep point.  UFC Fit was also prevalent last week at UFC on Fox 7.  The move into fitness is a reason that Reebok may be a potential sponsor.  Could this be one of the reasons why Dana White met with Reebok officials? Also interesting that a potential Reebok deal may happen and just a few months ago Rampage Jackson could not wear Reebok logos in the Octagon for his last fight.

-Representatives from Doritos were also present as it may have a potential interest in sponsorship.

-Ronda Rousey was featured in a MetroPCS commercial shown during the Prelims.  It was also revealed that she signed a one year deal with Xyience

-Jones was sponsored by Nike and had his signature shoes released the week before the event.  The shoes sold out quickly although there were limited quantities.  Jones actually threw out his shoes to the weigh-in crowd on Friday.  He also wore Monster headphones, another UFC official sponsor, at the weigh-ins, to the ring and even when he sat on the stool being interviewed post-fight.  

-Sonnen wore a TapouT blue ring robe with a Modell’s patch on the arm.  It was reminiscent of boxers or pro wrestlers and appropriate for Sonnen.  

-An ironic sponsor for Sonnen was VA Mortgage Lending.  As you may recall, Sonnen plead guilty to money laundering in a mortgage fraud case during his realtor days in Oregon. While Sonnen’s actions were not related to VA Mortgage Lending, its still strange that you would want to have it as a sponsor because it reminds people of what happened in the past.   

-Phil Davis had a couple throwback sponsors:  Affliction and Lugz

Pre-Fight Hype

When you talk about hype, Chael Sonnen comes to mind.  The Ultimate Fighter was to serve as the 12 week promo piece for this fight but it was actually Sonnen’s banter the week or so after the TUF Finale that served as the real promotion for UFC 159.  

I really enjoyed the UFC Countdown show this time around especially the Alan Belcher-Michael Bisping back and forth.  Perhaps, Bisping can pick up the “King of MMA Smacktalk” when Chael Sonnen retires.

This card produced a couple interesting articles on the issue of race.  Tim Marchman wrote an article on Deadspin and Tomas Rios wrote one for The Pacific Standard which explores the issue and whether Chael Sonnen uses race to gain fans.  We explore the public relations aspects of Sonnen here.  When challenged on the subject of race on ESPN’s Dan LeBatard show, Sonnen deflected the direct issue and seemed genuinely uncomfortable about talking about it.  This was something unusual for Sonnen who was on in each appearance he did for the promotion of UFC 159.  

Odds and Ends

– Darren Rovell sent a tweet Saturday night which stirred the pot for defenders of the UFC. Rovell indicated that the UFC may have lost its “edge” based on the fact he knew someone that purchased a ticket for $50 with a face value of $553.  UFC PR’s Dave Sholler tweeted defending the UFC and its attendance indicating that it mattered and then Dana White sent a tweet professing that its numbers are improving and would prove it by sending it to the ESPN Sports Biz guy.  We will see if Rovell gets that information.  We’ll have more on this interesting story later.

– The card was deemed “cursed” by Joe Rogan for the various stoppages due to injury.  This started with two stoppages due to injury during the Prelims and continued with Alan Belcher’s eye poke and then Jon Jones’ toe.  And of course, we get a full on brawl in the stands caught on camera during Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”  No word on the deep voiceover between rounds during Bisping-Belcher but it seemed fitting for what happened during the night.

– Sarah McMann v. Sheila Gaff was aired on the prelims twice on FX as a result of filler.  But, the fight was the first women’s fight not hyped for the fact it was a women’s fight in the UFC.  McMann disposed of Gaff quickly.  

– Leonard Garcia-Cody McKenzie was the only fight not aired.  McKenzie indicated he was going to take some time off for personal reasons.  Garcia may be on his way out of the UFC.

Conclusion

The card was not as interesting on paper as last week’s UFC on Fox 7 and it played out that way in reality.  Sonnen did his usual work to hype the fight but many believed that it was a mismatch from the start.  The unusual issues during the card confirmed its demise as probably one of the strangest in some time.  Although Nelson’s KO and Healy’s submission were highlights, the rest of the night proved so-so.  A buy rate of 500K would be a success here and many probably bought it because they were fans of Sonnen and/or Jones as the supporting card lacked intriguing matchups.

Miller signs multi-fight deal with TapouT

April 13, 2012

UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller has signed a multi-fight deal with TapouT and will sport the brand in the main event of his fight May 5th on UFC on Fox 3 according to his representatives.  In addition, TapouT will donate a percentage of limited edition t-shirts to the Daniel James Miller Foundation – a charity set up by Miller to support his nephew.

Via press release:

TapouT’s 2012 ‘#MYFIGHTMATTERS’ campaign has been trending recently with supporters Tweeting why their unique struggles are important. In the case of Jim Miller, this notion hits particularly close to home. “My 2 year old nephew, Daniel, suffers from recessive polycystic kidney disease (PKD). I fight everyday to raise money and be there for Daniel so that he has the care and support that he needs. That’s why my fight matters.”

For his May battle against Nate Diaz, TapouT is creating a limited edition ‘MY FIGHT MATTERS’ shirt and will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Daniel James Miller Foundation. The shirt will be sold exclusively on TapouT.com.

In the video clip below, Miller discusses the foundation set up for his nephew:

Payout Perspective:

You may recall Miller recently signed a deal with Bass Pro Shops.  The TapouT sponsorship is another good deal for both fighter and sponsor.  Not only is it another sponsorship for Miller, it also is tailored to bring awareness to a cause close to Miller.  For TapouT, it is able to tie in its current #MyFightMatters campaign while assisting a charitable cause.

Hitman-TapouT lawsuit heating up

March 19, 2012

A lawsuit involving the former owner of Hitman Fight Gear and TapouT/Authentic Brands Group is heating up. MMA Payout has obtained the lawsuit which was filed in Orange County Superior Court in California.

Earlier this month, the lawsuit, filed in 2011, was leaked to the MMA blogosphere.  The lawsuit, filed by Daniel Diaz, is a salacious look at the purported inner dealings behind the TapouT brand and its eventual purchase by Authentic Brands Group (ABG)

The Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, filed on March 29, 2011, Daniel Diaz, founder of MMA clothing brand Hitman Fight Gear is suing TapouT, ABG and other related entities as a result of claimed promises and a business deal which did not go Diaz’s way.  Diaz is also suing as a member of Fight Industries, LLC (F1) (known as a derivative lawsuit where a shareholder can bring suit on behalf of the company).

Diaz’s lawsuit alleges 12 causes of action (including 4 on behalf of F1) which includes: Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, Aiding and Abetting Breaches of Fiduciary Duty for Fiduciary Gain, Fraudulent Conveyance, Breach of Employment Contract – Wrongful Termination, Unpaid Wages, Unfair Business Practices for Personal Gain and Fraud in the Inducement.

The Alleged Facts

According to the lawsuit, Diaz and his brother established “Hitman Fight Gear” in 2001. In addition, Diaz did freelance design for other brands including TapouT.  In 2005, Diaz entered into a contract with Russell Lin on behalf of a brand named Roxwell.  Diaz would receive a 10% commission “on anything Roxwell made for TapouT” according to the lawsuit.  Diaz’s lawsuit alleges that his designs under Roxwell for TapouT were a success and his income was “steadily increasing.”

The lawsuit indicates that Marc Kreiner’s role with TapouT affected Diaz’s commissions under the Roxwell contract.  According to Diaz, Kreiner attempted to undercut the Roxwell contract by attempting to lower, by 10% the cost of goods on the TapouT-Roxwell contract.

According to the complaint in 2007, Punkass and Kreiner met with Diaz regarding “Hitman Fight Gear” in an attempt to purchase the company.  A limited liability corporation, F1, would be set up to purchase Hitman on behalf of TapouT.  Diaz agreed to a sale of his company in exchange for 1,125,000 Class B shares of F1 and an employment contract with the company.  In addition, Diaz would give up his contract with Roxwell. Diaz claims that he was led to believe that the Hitman brand would be given the backing to become as big as the TapouT brand.

However, Diaz claims that the F1 company was used for the personal benefit of Kreiner.  One of the allegations claimed in the lawsuit was that Kreiner was “accepting (indeed, demanding) bribes from vendors of both TapouT and F1.”  (page 9 of the lawsuit) The lawsuit alleges a “kickback” scheme which vendors would receive as high as “one dollar per t-shirt which – over the life of the contract – might pay the vendor hundreds of thousands of dollars as a “kickback” to the vendor for providing Kreiner with demanded gifts.” (page 9-10 of the lawsuit).

In addition to this claimed scheme, Diaz alleges the misappropriation of TapouT and F1 funds for Kreiner’s personal use.

Diaz claims that he was not reimbursed for business expenses, which were included in his employment contract, due to the fact that F1 purportedly lacked the money to pay him.

TapouT-ABG transaction

The lawsuit claims that after TapouT and F1 were depleted, the companies were purchased by ABG for the following:

1) the payment of some of the debt Kreiner and Caldwell managed to accumulate through their alleged scheme of skimming cash and other assets out of the company;
2) future cash payments to Kreiner and Caldwell, only, the amounts of which, were to be withheld from Kreiner and Caldwell pending the resolution of remaining creditor claims against those assets

The purported transaction would leave the companies with little or no assets to pay its creditors.

Diaz claims that ABG discovered the conduct claimed by Diaz when ABG conducted its “due diligence” prior to purchasing TapouT and F1.  Diaz claims that ABG used this information against TapouT and F1 (and to Diaz’s detriment due to his interest in F1) as leverage in negotiations by driving down the purchase price.  In addition, Diaz states that ABG attempted to buy his “silence” through an employment contract with the new ABG TapouT entity. When Diaz refused, he believed that ABG went around Diaz.  This led to, as Diaz alleges in the lawsuit, the diminution in value of F1 rendering his shares in the company worthless.

The Underground post

Earlier this month TapouT and ABG went into court seeking the return of stolen documents and disqualifying Diaz’s attorneys. The reason for this was due to an internet posting on MMA.tv (also known to most as The Underground) in which an article was posted which detailed the lawsuit.  A link to the article has been taken down. This was about the same time that details of the original lawsuit hit the twittershpere.  The internet post was discovered by an attorney for TapouT/ABG and a request to cease and desist was made to Diaz’s attorneys.

Prior to the posting, the parties agreed to a protective order during the discovery process which essentially means that the documents produced to each side would remain confidential.  Among the documents produced included information related to the purchase of TapouT.  Lawyers for TapouT claim that Diaz published information that were deemed confidential. In addition, TapouT lawyers state that the comments section after the article included information provided by Diaz which only would have been known by those privy to the documents under the protective order.

Some of the information has been released by others via twitter and/or other web sites.  Essentially, the inflammatory information Diaz provides relates to the claimed indebtedness of TapouT prior to its sale to ABG.  Also, some of the comments include information already identified in the Complaint related to the claims of a “kickback” scheme.

Despite the post and comments section, the court decided against immediate punishment for Diaz.  The Minute Order provided by the court stated the order sought by TapouT was denied.  The order did not include an explanation.

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit appears to be heating up and there is a trial date set for this September.  The lawsuit is obviously personal for Diaz and the posting on The Underground reflects this.  The allegations against TapouT and ABG are serious and there may be more coming out of this lawsuit which may reveal a lot about one of the biggest brands in MMA.

NY Times writes about the MMA generation

March 17, 2012

The New York Times Fashion and Style section this week had a feature entitled, “The Fight Club Generation.”  The article details the fascination of MMA with youths to young adults.

The article which reports at a regional MMA card in Atlantic City focuses on youth interest in mixed martial arts. The article refers to the movie “Fight Club” which starred Brad Pitt and Ed Norton as the inspiration for many fans of MMA today. Not sure if this is actually true of most young MMA fans as that movie was filmed in 1999.  The mainstream popularity has only occurred in the past few years.  The article later devolves with comparisons to the XFL and “The Godfather.”

But, it also identifies, that in general, most people 35 years of age and older are not fans of the sport. In fact, the NY Times states that horse racing and figure skating are more popular than MMA in this segment.

Payout Perspective:

Getting past some of the minutiae in the article, one of the interesting takeaways coming from it is looking at how young fans get interested in the sport. TapouT and Cage Hero are  just a couple brands that have marketed MMA toward kids.  Last October, Cage Hero rebranded itself with an eye toward kids.  Having just attended a Jiu Jitsu tournament today and seeing so many kids under 10 in the sport one can see that grappling, and to a greater degree, MMA is a growing sport.   With MMA taking off, it will be interesting to see if the UFC begins to reach out, with more targeted campaigns, to the under 18 demographic.

TapouT to debut new commercial during TUF

March 6, 2012

TapouT is releasing a new commercial which will debut this Friday night during The Ultimate Fighter on FX. The commercial features Chael Sonnen, Gilbert Melendez, Ryan Bader among others.

Payout Perspective:

The commercial supports TapouT’s #MyFightMatters initiative in which the brand offers weekly prizes for those that follow TapouT on twitter and adds the hashtag. Its a good way for brand integration between platforms. The commercial includes its motorsports sponsorship and also includes scenes of baseball. I am not clear of the tie in so if anyone can chime in that would be great.

TapouT-UFC announce new sponsorship deal

February 7, 2012

Longtime sponsor of the UFC, TapouT announced a new multi-year deal with the company and new title as “official lifestyle apparel partner” of the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Via TapouT/UFC press release:

The multi-year deal gives TapouT exposure at UFC® events broadcast on Pay-Per-View, FX and FUEL TV via canvas logos, bumpers and billboards. In addition, TapouT will present the “Submission of the Night” feature on UFC broadcasts, as well as take part in on-site activation at UFC events globally. The agreement also includes an extensive digital media plan, with TapouT gaining visibility across multiple social media platforms and at UFC.com. Furthermore, TapouT obtains the rights to use “Official lifestyle apparel of UFC” on hangtags, point-of-sale and advertising.

TapouT, which is owned by New York-based ABG Tapout, LLC a division of Authentic Brands Group LLC, has a long history of sponsoring UFC athletes in the Octagon®.

“TapouT has been a big supporter of the sport and its athletes for a long time,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’re excited to have them as our official lifestyle apparel partner as we get ready for some of the biggest years in UFC history.”

“It’s been a dream of ours ever since we watched the first UFC to be an official partner of the best MMA organization in the world,” said TapouT co-founder, Dan “Punkass” Caldwell.

“The UFC is a world class professional sports organization with an aggressive global growth strategy in line with ours,” said James Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group. “This partnership with the UFC further reinforces TapouT’s commitment to supporting the sport, its athletes and beloved fans.”

“TapouT and the UFC have had a long standing relationship over the years, which would explain why many fans already consider us as the lifestyle brand of the UFC,” said James Ling, Authentic Brand Group’s SVP of Marketing and Global Brands in an email to MMAPayout.  “We made it official so there’s no doubt in the minds of retailers and consumers that TapouT is the leading lifestyle brand in the space.”

“TapouT and the UFC’s goals are in alignment as both continue to expand international reach and market penetration,” Ling added, “As the sport continues to grow and gets further ingrained into mainstream culture, we hope to see more fans wanting to represent the sport they love by supporting the brands that support the sport.”

 

UFC 140: Payout Perspective

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

Sponsorships

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.

Buy Rate

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.

Authentic Brands Group sends cease and desist to nonprofit

August 25, 2011

Authentic Brand Group (ABG) recently sent a cease and desist notice to nonprofit Tap Out Cancer for use of the “TapouT” trademark. As a result, the small nonprofit must rename itself.

According to its web site, Tap out Cancer is a nonprofit which raises awareness through the Brazilian Ji Jitsu community. It raises money “[t]hrough merchandise sales, special events, sponsorships and direct donations.” On its web site it noted that it is in not affiliated with TapouT. But, this was not enough to avoid ABG’s request.

When a vendor expressed concern about the nonprofit’s use of the “Tapout” name, the nonprofit sent an email to ABG requesting it receive its “blessing” to use the “Tapout” name. According to the nonprofit, a month and a half passed before it received a cease and desist email.

Tap Out Cancer’s web site reprinted a portion of ABG’s correspondence:

While we applaud your work with charitable causes, we unfortunately cannot grant permission for this use of our federally registered trademark. In addition to owning a stylized mark which you mention you tried to distinguish yourself from, we also own the word mark.

For your information, this use of our trademark in your business name is, in fact, and infringement of our intellectual property rights, including, without limitation our trademarks. It is not our desire to cause you any undue expense in connection with this matter in light of your organization’s goals. As such, we are willing to settle the matter with you at this stage if you can agree to: immediately cease and desist from the use of the trademark TapouT in any and all domain names, corporate names or otherwise, including by transferring the domain name to us.

(via Tap Out Cancer’s web site)

Payout Perspective:

The web site entry by the nonprofit reflects that they understand the reasons for ABG’s letter. While the timeframe took longer than expected, ABG is in its legal right to protect its trademarks. If not, more infringers would follow as the nonprofit points out. This has potential to be a public relations problem although the nonprofit used the “Tapout” name without permission. ABG’s correspondence is delicate and makes sure it is not impersonal in requesting that the nonprofit cease the use of “Tapout.”

Its a good cause, but the nonprofit should have asked ABG, or an attorney, prior to establishing the name of the nonprofit. Fortunately, it appears that there will be no further legal ramifications from this. While Tap Out Cancer indicated that it will lose money from merchandise it intended to sell, its better to take the loss now than to have to lose more money in legal fees to defend a lawsuit.

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