UFC 238 Payout Perspective

June 12, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 238 taking place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Cejudo dispatches Moraes and becomes double champ

Henry Cejudo recovered from a shaky first round to defeat Marlon Moraes with at TKO in the third round of the main event at UFC 238 to win the vacant UFC Bantamweight title. With the win, Cejudo holds the UFC Flyweight title and the Bantamweight title.

The fight showed Cejudo’s growth and maturity of an MMA fighter. The first round saw Moraes getting worked by Moraes with leg kicks. Cejudo seemed a little tentative in the first round but pressed Moraes in rounds 2 and 3 to get the victory.

Shevchenko leg kick KOs Eye

Valentina Shevchenko showed why she is the Flyweight champion. She almost submitted Jessica Eye with a Kimura in the first round, but used a perfectly timed leg kick to the head to knock Eye out. It was a very scary couple minutes as Eye lay on the mat unconscious.

The broadcast showed how Shevchenko set Eye up for the KO with leg kicks to the body drawing Eye’s guard low. Then, instead of a kick to the body Shevchenko went to the head as Eye braced for a body blow. A perfect setup.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

The event at the United Center drew 16,038 for a gate of over $2 million.  The bonuses went to Cejudo, Shevchenko, Ferguson and Cerrone.

Prefight Hype

UFC 238’s return to Chicago saw Henry Cejudo throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game. He also showed up at a media luncheon with “bodyguards.” At the face offs during media week, Cejudo wore a costume to face off against Moraes. Shaun Al-Shatti explained it here:

Cejudo’s act may be just that to get him some publicity.  But, if he continues to improve and dominate opponents, he may be bringing a throne to his next fight face-off.

UFC Embedded was sponsored by Toyo Tires.

Sponsorships

Octagon sponsors included Toyo Tires, Motel 6, P3, Nemiroff, Modelo, Poker Stars, Devour, PariMatch, Monster, Hudson Shipping and Monster Energy in the middle.

Modelo had the fighter checkpoint.

Interestingly enough, no real signs of the UFC’s newest sponsor, Aurora Cannabis.

Despite his loss, Donald Cerrone is one of the few UFC fighters with his own Monster Energy sponsorship with

Ratings

The UFC Prelims on ESPN did its best since March scoring 964,000 viewers.  It served as a lead-in for Top Rank Boxing.  The UFC main card went up against the return of GGG on DAZN.

Odds and Ends

The Tony Ferguson-Donald Cerrone fight was everything you could have wanted until Cowboy blew his nose.  Ferguson looked sharp and if the fight have lasted longer, probably would have won a decision over Cerrone.  He should face the winner of Khabib-Dustin.

Tai Tuivasa was likely the star of the Embeddeds based on his outgoing personality.  However, he’s now lost two in a row as he lost a unanimous decision to Blagoy Ivanov.

There were some great performances on the undercards including Eddie Wineland, Calvin Kattar and Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling had a good week:

It was interesting to see Moraes get upset at a heckler at media day face offs.  It seemed over the top although you may believe that he was thrown off by it considering this was supposed to be media at the event.

Jessica Eye did not have a good start to fight week as she had problems with here airline.

The broadcast crew is using more technology in explaining a lot of the strategy and moves going on in the Octagon.  A prime example saw Daniel Cormier go step-by-step explaining how Shevchenko was able to get a clear headkick over Eye.

Is this good or bad?

UFC 238 google searches drew over 500,000 for Saturday and another 500,000 on Sunday.  Tony Ferguson had 100,000 himself on Saturday night

Conclusion

UFC 238 was a very entertaining show.  It went up against Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and the return of GGG on DAZN.   But the prelim ratings were up which may equate to a better PPV buy rate.  Reports indicate that the buys since going to ESPN+ have been lower than when on satellite and cable providers.

UFC 235 (pre-ESPN+ only PPVs):  520K-650K

UFC 236:  >100K buys

UFC 237:  ~70K buys

With that being reported, its hard to think that UFC 238 did better than UFC 236 although one might be generous and state that the buys were likely around 100,000.

UFC 238 attendance, gate and bonuses

June 9, 2019

UFC 238 drew 16,038 fans for a gate of $2,034,387.49.  The attendance and gate were announced post-event.  The event took place at the United Center in Chicago in what is becoming the annual event taking place in the city.

UFC 225 last June drew 18,177 for a gate of $2.55 million.    The event featured Robert Whittaker taking on Yoel Romero for the middleweight title.

Saturday night’s event had two title fights as well as Donald Cerrone taking on Tony Ferguson.

The bonus winners for Saturday night were Henry Cejudo, Valentina Shevchenko, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone.  Ferguson and Cerrone earned FOTN while Cejudo and Shevchenko won Performance bonuses for their respective stoppages.

Payout Perspective:

A good night of fights and Henry Cejudo showed that despite the antics, he is one of the elite fighters in the sport.  Shevchenko showed that she may have the 125 title for a while with the vicious KO of Jessica Eye.

UFC on ESPN +11 draws 14,319 for gate of $2M, Smith leads bonus winners

June 2, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 11 took place on Saturday in Stockholm Sweden with the hopes of watching Alexander Gustafsson get back in the win column versus Anthony Smith.  However, the fans saw Gustafsson retire in the ring in a surprise of events.

The Performance Bonuses went to Smith, Aleksandar Rakic, Makwan Amirkhani and Leonard Santos.  Each of the fighters earned the $50,000 bonus after their respective finishes.  Coming off of a PPV loss to Jon Jones, Smith came back to submit Alexsander Gustafsson in the fourth round of their main event.  Rakic, also announced his presence into the UFC light heavyweight title picture with a picture perfect KO kick to Jimi Manuwa.  Amirkhani submitted Chris Fishgold in the second round of their bout.  Finally, Santos KO’d Stevie Ray in the lightweight matchup.

The event took place at the Ericcson Glob in Stockholm Sweden.  The event drew 14,319 for a gate of $2 million.  The information was provided post-event.

Payout Perspective:

An unexpected ending to this event as Gustafsson looks to have retired in front of his hometown fans.  The event was well-attended as the Swedish fans came out to support Gustaffson.

UFC Rochester attendance, gate and bonuses

May 19, 2019

UFC Rochester took place Saturday night with Aspen Ladd and Sijara Eubanks stealing the show for Fight of the Night.  Michel Pereira and Grant Dawson received performance bonuses for their work in the Octagon as well.

Ladd won via unanimous decision over Eubanks with a unanimous decision as the feature bout of the prelim event.  Pereira debut in the UFC was a memorable won as he won via flying knee over Danny Roberts in the first round.  Dawson submitted Mike Trizano via rear naked choke in the second round.

UFC on ESPN +10 took place at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial on Saturday night.  The event drew 8,132 fans for a gate of $644,000.

UFC 237 attendance and bonuses

May 13, 2019

UFC 237 took place Saturday night in Brazil with Jessica Andrade coming away as the big winner as the new women’s bantamweight champion as well as earning two bonuses.

Andrade’s slam on Rose Namajunas earned her a Performance Bonus.  She also drew another $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night.  Receiving the other bonus of the night was Warlly Alves as he KO’d Sergio Moraes.

The event drew 15,193 fans at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As with most Brazilian UFC events, no gate was announced.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the main event and Alves, I’d have to say that the Early Prelims were equally entertaining with impressive wins by Raoni Barcelos and Viviane Araujo as well as a FOTN candidate between flyweights Luana Carolina and Priscilla Cachoeira.  The last UFC PPV from Rio was the Amanda Nunes-Raquel Pennington event from May 2018 which drew 10,696.

UFC on ESPN + 9 attendance, gate and bonuses

May 5, 2019

UFC on ESPN +9 took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Saturday night. Once again, Donald Cerrone drew another bonus for his performance in defeating Al Iaquinta in the main event.

Cerrone and Iaquinta drew Fight of the Night honors while Walt Harris and Macy Chiasson earned Performance Bonuses for their stoppages on Saturday.

The event drew 10,960 fans for $807,000 U.S. Dollars according to the UFC post-event. The event took place from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Payout Perspective:

The event attendance rivals that of the UFC’s last visit to Ottawa in June 2016. The Canadian fans showed up once again for this Fight Night-level card. This event showed that Cerrone is ready for a top-notch main event and could be in line for Conor McGregor next.

UFC on ESPN +8 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 28, 2019

UFC on ESPN +8 took place at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday night.  Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira entertained winning the Fight of the Night.

The two welterweights entertained inside and outside of the Octagon as the two danced their way down the aisle prior to the fight.  Perry won the decision in a highly entertaining fight.  Also receiving $50,000 bonuses were Glover Teixeira and Jim Miller for their Performances on Saturday night.

The event in Fort Lauderdale drew 12,754 fans for a gate of $1,209,654.09.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC last visited Fort Lauderdale in 2012 for UFC on FX 3 with Demetrious Johnson taking on Ian McCall.  The number in attendance this time around doubled from their initial event 7 years ago.  The main event saw Jack Hermansson defeating Jacare Souza in a middleweight contender matchup.

UFC St. Petersburg attendance and bonuses

April 21, 2019

UFC St. Petersburg took place on Saturday airing on the digital platform while Prelims could be seen on ESPN2 Saturday morning.

Islam Makhachev and Arman Tsarukyan drew the Fight of the Night bonus for their co-main event.  Makhachev won via unanimous decision although it may have been closer than the scores revealed.

Magomed Mustafaev earned a Performance Bonus with his first round KO of Rafael Fiziev.  Sergei Pavlovich also won a $50,000 performance bonus with his KO of Marcelo Golm.

UFC on ESPN+7 took place on Saturday at Yubileyniy Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The Prelims aired on ESPN2 while the main card was seen on the company’s digital platform.

According to the company post-event, the event drew a sell-out of 7,326 fans.  The event, which was likely scaled for the smaller audience, was the second event in Russia with last September’s event at Olimpiyskiy Stadium drawing 22,603.  The gate information was not released.

The main event saw Alistair Overeem KO Aleksei Oleinik in a heavyweight matchup.

Two FOTN winners for UFC 236

April 13, 2019

UFC 236’s two amazing featuring fights earned an unprecedented dual Fight Night bonuses.

The event from Atlanta drew 14,297 for a gate of $1,908,721.  Instead of Performance and Fight Night Bonuses, the UFC decided to award two FOTN bonuses.  Holloway/Poirier drew FOTN for the crowning of the Louisiana native.  In what had to be the best fight in years, Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum.  All four earned $50,000 bonuses.

Payout Perspective:

The main event and the co-main events were the two best championship fights this year.  The fight ensures two larger fights in the future.  First, Adesanya will face Robert Whittaker in a fight that should take place in Australia or New Zealand.  Next, Dustin Poirier takes on Khabib Nurmogomedov for the lightweight title later this year.

UFC on ESPN 2 attendance, gate and bonuses

March 31, 2019

UFC on ESPN 2 took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday night with Justin Gaethje bringing the fans another stellar performance as he KO’s Edson Barboza in the main event of the evening.

Gaethje along with Barboza drew Fight of the Night on Saturday.  Jack Hermansson and Paul Craig drew Performance of the Night Bonuses.  All received the standard $50,000 per year.  Hermansson defeated David Branch via first round submission.  Craig pulled off a last minute submission via triangle choke over Kenned Nzechukwu to go to 3-3 in the UFC.

Gaethje knocked out Barboza in the very first round after some solid exchanges between the two.  The former WSOF champ has now won “Fight of the Night” honors in four of his first five UFC fights.

The event at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia drew 11,123 fans for a live gate of $1,102,542.16.

The numbers were announced post-event by the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

The event drew solid attendance and gate for this visit to Philly.  Gaethje is soon becoming a “must watch” UFC competitor as highlighted by the number of Fight of the Night honors he receives.  While his fight style may not be long for his career, he is an exciting fighter that pleases the crowd.

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