UFC passes on re-signing Sage Northcutt

November 27, 2018

The UFC has decided not to re-sign Sage Northcutt to another contract according to Dana White.  The 22-year-old is a free agent after fighting out the terms of his contract with the company.

Northcutt was a much-heralded star coming into the UFC as he was one of the fighters “discovered” on Dana White’s YouTube reality show.  He entered the company with much promise and was pushed as the next great fighter.  His salary started out higher than most fighters coming into the company and he was given central spots on televised cards.  His good looks and down-home attitude made him a marketer’s dream.

But he failed to live up to expectations despite going 6-2 during his UFC stint.  But, his losses to Bryan Barberena and Mickey Gall showed the lack of experience on the ground for the striker.  Even with a purple belt in BJJ, the submission losses exposed clear flaws in his game.

White, on the UFC Unfiltered podcast stated that Northcutt’s contract was up and the UFC let him go.  White noted that Northcutt needed some work to do and that the company may take a look at him in the future.

Northcutt will not be without suitors to sign him.  He has mentioned being interest in signing with ONE Championship.  In fact, this twitter post makes more sense now with the news of Northcutt’s departure.

Payout Perspective:

Northcutt’s last reported purse was for $60,000 and another $60,000 if he won which is above-par for fighter’s similarly situated.  Clearly, the UFC took a gamble on Northcutt with the hope that he would improve quicker than he would.  In my opinion, I don’t fault Northcutt for not living up to the expectations. The good news is that there are options for Northcutt and it’s clear we’ll see him in ONE or Bellator.  He’s also very young so there’s a lot of time for improvement.

Jon Jones to face Glover Texeira Super Bowl Weekend

September 26, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Jon Jones’ next opponent will be  Glover Texeira.  The two will likely meet Super Bowl weekend in February.

The news is somewhat surprising considering the impressive performance put on by Alexander Gustaffson last week.  However, Gustaffson will get a fight in Sweden instead of another shot at the title.

Notably, Dana White told ESPN that Jones requested the Texeira fight.

Payout Perspective:

Does the Jones-Texeira match-up make the most sense for UFC business?  The Super Bowl weekend show will enhance Fox’s lineup during that weekend but what type of coverage will it get in the area?  There is some thought that the UFC should have capitalized on the Jones-Gus fight in an immediate rematch.  Gustaffson made a name for himself despite losing and would thus gain some notoriety in promoting their next fight.  With Texeira, you get another unknown that the UFC will have to build hype from scratch.  For Gus, he gets rewarded (in a way) by getting a fight before his adoring fans.  Likely, he wins that fight he would get another shot at the Light Heavyweight title.

Good scenario?  Should the UFC have gone with Jones-Gus, or should it have kept with Texeira?  And, is planning Jones’ next title defense Super Bowl weekend the smart move especially with the concern that the fight might be overshadowed by the Super Bowl coverage.

White wants Cowboys Stadium for Silva-Weidman II

July 10, 2013

In an interview with the NY Post, Dana White indicated that the he is thinking that the Silva v. Weidman rematch should take place at Cowboys Stadium in Texas.  While the Super Bowl weekend 2014 in New Jersey was thought to be the frontrunner, it appears that White may want a bigger show.

White told the NY Post that he thinks that the rematch could be the biggest fight in UFC history and pegs the 105,000 seat Cowboys Stadium as a possibility.

Fox has big plans for Super Bowl weekend 2014 as it has rights to the event. The UFC will have a show the night before at the Prudential Center and there was speculation that Silva-Weidman II would be the best fit for the fight. However, the concern was that the Super Bowl would overshadow the fight and would not be in the best interest of the UFC especially if White thinks it the biggest fight in UFC history.

Fans Perspective of CW KO via Wikimedia Commons

Fans Perspective of CW KO via Wikimedia Commons

Payout Perspective:
With Anderson Silva likely changing course and deciding to fight Weidman, we could see a big PPV rate of 1 million buys.  However, does the event give rise to a stadium show.  A logistical hurdle of holding the rematch in New Jersey is the travel for Brazilian fans to the show.  If its held in Texas, less flight miles would be logged and the likelihood that more fans from South America would buy up the tickets.  From a UFC perspective, booking the fight outside of Super Bowl weekend would benefit the UFC as many would think the fights at the Prudential Center an afterthought.  The UFC wants to be the star of the weekend rather than play second in the media to the Super Bowl.  We should get to know for certain soon as to a date and place.

Sonnen-Jones set for TUF 17 Coaches, fight April 2013

October 16, 2012

The LA Times reported that Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones will be opposing coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 17 set to air on FX this spring.  The two coaches will face one another on April 27th.

This likely means that Chael Sonnen, coming off of a KO loss to Anderson Silva at middleweight, skips the line of challengers at Light Heavyweight to get a shot at Jon Jones’ title.  Jones had made vague references to a possible showdown with the reigning King of Smack via twitter.  Sonnen goaded Jones after he refused a possible bout at UFC 151.

Payout Perspective:

How appropriate that this announcement comes out the day after TUF’s worst ratings ever were made public.  The booking is good television but bad for UFC morale and does not reflect a long range plan.  The UFC is banking on Jones-Sonnen to boost its TUF ratings and then a fight in the spring could draw a PPV buy rate close to 1 Million.  The booking is a tacit admission that the TUF series, at least in America, is below expectations with ratings.  The move reflects the need to inject something into the TUF franchise.  TUF has done this before with putting Brock Lesnar on as a coach and Kimbo Slice as a contestant as two examples.  While the Lesnar placement did not help, Slice (plus Rashad and Rampage) aided season 10 ratings.

We will see how this plays out for the TUF series and the future of the Light Heavyweight division.

Silva-Bonnar new main event at UFC 153

September 13, 2012

MMA Junkie reports, via USA Today, that Anderson Silva has stepped into the UFC 153 main event and will face Stephan Bonnar.   The fight will take place at 205 pounds and will be a three round main event.

Silva had indicated that he would fight at UFC 151 and now gets the call to replace the Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar main event in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil.  He is given Stephan Bonnar in a fight that seems more like an exhibition than an actual competitive bout.

Also added to the card is Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera facing Dave Herman and Glover Texeira gets a replacement in Fabio Maldonado.

Payout Perspective:

The addition of Anderson Silva should appease the local fans and some PPV buyers but the actual match does not make sense.  The UFC could chalk up the Bonnar addition to a lack of able bodies willing to fight Silva.  Or, Silva choosing to fight Bonnar.   Silva will not have to cut weight (or as much weight since it’s at 205) and the main event will only be three rounds which should make up for any shortening in training camp.  It was originally planned that Silva would not fight until 2013 when a fight with GSP was thought to be next.  However, the booking of Silva for this card makes sense.  Just not the matchup.  It will be interesting to see how the addition of Silva will help the attendance and PPV buys.

Mir faces Cormier in Strikeforce

July 26, 2012

USA Today reports that Frank Mir will be facing Daniel Cormier at a Strikeforce event this fall.  It will be the first time that an existing fighter on the UFC roster will fight on a Strikeforce card.

After their encounter, Mir and Cormier will fight in the UFC Heavyweight division.  As usual, the fight will air on Showtime.

Frank Mir

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting booking decision that should help with the promotion of the Strikeforce event.  One would have to think that Mir was asked to do this as it’s unlikely he would voluntarily want to appear on a Strikeforce card.  Perhaps a make good for getting the shot at JDS.  But, if Mir were to lose, it would put him behind Cormier in the quest to get another shot at JDS

Injury causes new main event at UFC on Fox 4

June 6, 2012

The injury bug continues in the UFC as Brian Stann is out with an injury for UFC on Fox 4.  Replacing Stann and UFC newcomer Hector Lombard is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua versus Brandon Vera.

In addition, Pablo Garza pulled out of his fight with Josh Grispi and Yani Yahya is replacing Garza.

On an unrelated note, Jon Fitch was forced to pull out of his fight at UFC on Fuel TV 4 due to injury.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

If you thought Stann-Lombard was not a main event-type fight for network television what does everyone think about this replacement?  While it is understandable that fighters are tied up with other scheduled fights, I do not think this fight will get ratings. UFC on Fox 3 ratings were down from the first 2 network shows and it looks like 4 may be lower.  Another decrease and network execs may be fidgeting a little.

Vera you may remember was dismissed from the UFC after Thiago Silva played the bongos on his back and made Vera basically quit at UFC 125.  But, Vera was brought back after Thiago Silva tested positive for an illegal substance.  Vera was then scheduled to fight Silva in a rematch in May but had to pull out due to injury.  So, does it make sense to put him in the main event of a big card?

The Rua placement isn’t as bad considering he had an exciting fight against Dan Henderson in November.  Hopefully Vera will step it up against Rua.  But if this goes 5 rounds we may be looking at a lot of holding in place.

Franklin replaces Belfort at UFC 147

May 31, 2012

The UFC announced yesterday that Rich Franklin will replace Vitor Belfort at UFC 147.  He will now headline the Brazilian card against Wanderlei Silva.

The fight will take place at a catchweight of 190 pounds.  It will be Franklin’s first fight in over a year.

Payout Perspective:

Franklin will bring some interest to a non-descript UFC PPV.  As one may recall, this PPV was to be held in a stadium and feature Anderson Silva versus Chael Sonnen with Belfort-Silva as the co-main event.  With the fact that most of North America will not see the complete season of UFC Brazil by June 23rd, UFC 147 may have one of the lowest PPV buy rates to date.  The fact that UFC on FX is being held the night before may impact the viewership for 147 as well.  Still, it’s good to see Franklin back as he has tried hard to get back in the octagon.

Edgar gets rematch versus Henderson

March 11, 2012

Frankie Edgar announced via twitter last week that he will receive his rematch against Ben Henderson. Dana White has tentatively scheduled the fight for this summer.

Via Edgar’s twitter:

Payout Perspective:

Once again Anthony Pettis is put on hold. Its likely the right call and shows that certain fighters have some weight when it comes to making career decisions. It appeared that Edgar was being pushed into the Featherweight division without much say. But, to Edgar (and his camp’s) credit, he was able to convince White he deserved a rematch. For Showtime, the change in course has to be frustrating. He will have to take another fight before his title shot. And, as we know, he lost to Clay Guida.  Also, the Nate Diaz-Jim Miller fight for UFC on Fox 3 will likely be for a top contender spot instead of a title shot at Henderson. The contenders to Henderson’s title reflect the dept of the lightweight division.

Edgar gets title shot if he moves to Featherweight

March 1, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that Dana White will offer Frankie Edgar an immediate shot at the Featherweight title if he drops down to that division. Edgar indicated that he wants a rematch at Benson Henderson for the lightweight title.

Via MMA Junkie:

White, who today promised Edgar an immediate shot at the featherweight title if he’s willing to make the drop, still believes “The Answer” should be at 145 pounds. That said, he’s still not going to make anything a requirement.

Thus far, Edgar has balked at White’s offer. But the UFC boss said the two have remained in close contact since UFC 144, and he hopes the former lightweight champ will eventually share his point of view.

Payout Perspective:

Its interesting that although Edgar and Henderson won Fight of the Night honors, there’s no desire on the part of White to have a rematch between the two. The Edgar move could be seen as more of a way to bolster the Featherweight division where Aldo has basically had his way with the division. The lightweight division is shaping up to be one of the more competitive divisions in the UFC. On the other hand, aside from Hatsu Hioki, there are no legitimate challengers to Jose Aldo’s title. Frankie Edgar dropping down would help the division and gain interest in it overall.

Certainly an Edgar/Aldo fight would be great to watch and the immediate shot at the title is the extra carrot for Edgar. Yet, its a pretty big career decision. I can see the reasons Edgar wants a rematch at lightweight. While having an immediate title shot at Featherweight is enticing, it would be the first time Edgar would have to cut weight in some time. Yes, its only 10 pounds, but he is fighting one of the best in Aldo. This seems to be discounted by many who want Edgar to jump at the shot.

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