Belfort asks for pay after Hall pulls out of UFC St. Louis

January 15, 2018

MMA Fighting reports that Vitor Belfort has asked the UFC to pay him for being ready to fight at UFC St. Louis but it appears that Dana White is claiming that due to the fact that he turned down replacement fights, he will not be compensated.

Belfort’s opponent, Uriah Hall, was unable to weigh-in on Saturday before Sunday’s event and the fight was cancelled.  White blamed Hall for not being able to fight as he claims that he was not taking training seriously.

On social media, Belfort asked for his pay as he trained for the bout and made weight.

Antes de qualquer coisa só gostaria de dizer OBRIGADO! Obrigado a todos! Todos que me acompanham, torcem por mim e minha família! Mas hj especialmente quero fazer um agradecimento especial ao colunista @chicobarney pela matéria q publicou no Site uol.com.br Lendo o q escreveu me fez lembrar de cada momento descrito no texto. As críticas, meus sentimentos, sonhos, ideias etc… Em um momento como hj, em q o agora não me faz muito sentido… Difícil entender depois de tanta dedicação e sacrifício. De ter me preparado psicologicamente para me aposentar de um esporte q basicamente ajudei a criar… e simplesmente isso não ter acontecido…Tenho sentimentos conflitantes a respeito do q aconteceu… Mas como disse, lendo a matéria também me lembrei de q muito do que fiz, muitas das ideias e muito do q disse anos atrás, não faziam pleno sentido para mim. Eu simplesmente acreditava q daria certo… Q o Vale Tudo na época se tornaria um esporte. Que nós lutadores, não éramos bárbaros se digladiando e sim atletas. Que tínhamos potencial de sermos “uma empresa” de representarmos marcas e valores. Nada disso fazia muito sentido na época, mas dentro do meu coração, sempre fez … Minha luta de despedida não ocorreu como havia planejado, mas no meu coração sei q de alguma forma lá na frente, TUDO isso fará sentido. Mais uma vez, como sempre fiz e muitas vezes fui ridicularizado por isso. Entrego a minha vida nas mãos do meu Pai q está no Céu. Pq Dele sempre veio a minha paz… Bjo no coração de todos vcs. Agora uma mensagem para o @ufc . Estou à espera do meu pgto @ufc afinal de contas, fiz o que tinha que ser feito ( treinei , estive presente na semana da luta, bati meu peso….) Onde está o respeito!?

A post shared by Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (@vitorbelfort) on

White rebutted the notion of paying Belfort by claiming that he had turned down a replacement fight and another for next week in Boston.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that there must be an actual policy for payment which should be in a fighter’s contract that the fighter is guaranteed at least his purse (and maybe win bonus) if he or she is able to make weight and their opponent cannot fight.  Offering a replacement is a solution but a flawed one for the simple fact that Belfort has trained specifically for one fight and is now presented with another.  Moreover, a loss would impact their ranking and earning potential.  Not to mention loss of win bonus.  From the UFC perspective, it’s the best that they can do.  But, it would seem fair that since the fighter did everything possible to fulfill the terms of the contract, there should be some sort of mechanism where they are compensation in the event the other party fails to fulfill their terms of the bout agreement.  It would seem finding a replacement would put the fighter in a “take it or not get paid” position.  I’ve been told that this scenario does not just happen in MMA but also in boxing which is unfortunate.  The solution, of course, is to push for a better deal in the bout agreement.  This is easier said than done because the bargaining leverage is skewed toward the promoter.

2017: The year in boxing

January 6, 2018

2017 was a great year for boxing which saw some great fights and the spectacle that was Mayweather-McGregor.

The year started off with the talk about Mayweather-McGregor as the UFC’s lightweight champion stirred the pot by going on a rant on Instagram where he wrote “F*** the UFC.”  Dana White warned that if Conor went on without the UFC it would be an “epic fall.”

January also saw Al Haymon get a court victory with a dismissal of Golden Boy’s Antitrust lawsuit.  In a ruling which did not include oral argument, the Judge determined that Golden Boy did not come fort with genuine issues of fact to support its claims.  Most importantly, and a word of caution for the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, the Judge reiterated that the antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.

Although Golden Boy suffered the loss in court, it inked a deal with ESPN with 42 fights airing on ESPN starting in March 2017.  As the prevailing party, they requested legal costs in the amount nearing $35,0000.  Golden Boy appealed the dismissal but it appears that the sides resolved the case as the appeal was dismissed by agreement of the parties.

The Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin/World of Boxing lawsuit went to trial in February and it did not take long for a jury to decide that Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  However, the case continues with the parties litigating the other claims as well as the issue who receives the millions of dollars that has been placed in escrow.

Wilder was also sued by rival Dominic Breazeale for a hotel melee.  The case was thrown out as the episode happened in Alabama but Breazeale sued in California.

Showtime Boxing had the highest rating of 2017 with Adrian Broner taking on Adrian Granados drawing 779,000 viewers.  The fight also aired on Twitter as the service continued to expand its offering of streamingClaressa Shields became the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television. In March.

The GGG-Daniel Jacobs PPV drew between 130-150K PPV buys.  GGG’s next PPV appearance against Canelo would draw much higher as the draw drew 1.2 million buys.  The fight also had a higher price tag than usual:  $79.99 HD.  A rematch for May 2018 seems imminent.

March saw the second highest-rating for network viewership as Keith Thurman faced Danny Garcia in the battle of unbeatens on CBS.  The fight drew 5.1 million viewers while the overall telecast drew 2.7 million viewers.

After going through a lot of money, the viability of the PBC obtaining a media rights deal was brought into question.  Its deal with Spike TV ended but the organization found a home on FS1.

In 2017, it seemed as those everyone applied for a boxing license:  Conor, Nate Diaz, Cyborg…

Anthony Joshua faced Vladimir Klitschko in one of the biggest fights of the year.  The event aired live on Showtime and tape delay on HBO.

May’s Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. PPV drew 1.3 million buys and its replay on HBO drew 769,000 viewers.

In May, we took a look at where was Boxing’s next PPV star.  Aside from Canelo Alvarez, there are several contenders to be the next star on PPV including Anthony Joshua.

In June, The Money Fight was announced.

Also in June, Top Rank announced that it had a deal with ESPN to air fights with the first one being Manny Pacquiao fighting Jeff Horn in Australia on July 1st.  The debut earned big numbers as Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Horn.

The Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev II PPV in June drew between 130-135K PPV buys.

July saw a 4-city tour to promote the Mayweather-McGregor bouts.  It was an ambitious tour that fans clamored to be a part.  It was announced that the PPV price would be $99.95 HD.

The Money Fight drew huge numbers and was a big financial success.  We wrote about it here.  The event had streaming issues on both UFC Fight Pass and Showtime platforms.  As you might expect, there were lawsuits which are still matriculating through the court system.

Despite the big event, HBO ran an event featuring Miguel Cotto and it did well considering as it drew 730,000 viewers.

Capitalizing on the publicity of The Money Fight, announced an ESPN deal which will include airing its fight library on an OTT service that will launch in 2018.

Austin Trout sued the WBO which included claims under the Ali Act.  The case was moved to federal court in Puerto Rico where the WBO is seeking to dismiss the case and move it to arbitration.  The case will be an interesting look as to whether the court will allow a claim under the Ali Act will go to arbitration.

In September, Magomed Abdusalamov settled with the state of New York for $22 million for injuries sustained in a fight in 2013.  Abdusalamov was left with a brain injury and paralysis due to improper conduct and lack of training by the New York State Athletic Commission.

A huge ESPN fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux drew 1.73 million viewers.  The overall telecast drew 1.487 million viewers.

In December, Showtime announced Mayweather-McGregor drew 4.3 million domestic PPV buys.  This is off from the 6.7 million Dana White had stated.  After hearing of the announcement, White took issue with Showtime’s numbers.

One of the bigger stories to watch going into 2018 is the announcement by Dana White that he will be promoting boxing.  Zuffa Boxing, a t-shirt worn by White during The Money Fight press tour, was a hint that White was up to something.  White made it official late in the year.  He indicated that he was meeting with Floyd Mayweather.  Despite stating that he will never work with Showtime again, he said he would be willing work with other promoters with the exception of Bob Arum.

Trout case may have impact on future of Ali Act litigation

January 5, 2018

Maybe the most important case as it relates to the expansion of the Ali Act may involve boxer Austin Trout and his current lawsuit against the World Boxing Organization in Federal Court in Puerto Rico.

Last month, the WBO is moving to dismiss the case and invoke the arbitration clause which was a part of his promotional contract with the company.  Trout had filed the lawsuit which includes claims for violation of the Ali Act in boxing.  The WBO argues that Trout agreed to the contract and should be held to its arbitration clause and that he forfeited his right to a jury trial.  Trout states that the Ali Act is federal law and that it is not governed by the WBO Promotional contract.  His attorneys also claim that that the arbitration would be unreasonable or unjust.  The other overarching argument is that the WBO has waived its right to compel arbitration by litigating the case.

The case, originally filed in state court in New Mexico where Trout resides, has been around for 2 years but due to jurisdictional fights, nothing substantive has happened in the case.  Due to the hurricane that hit the island, there was an additional delay.

You can find the background of the lawsuit in our September 2017 post which includes copies of the Complaint and Amended Complaint.

Payout Perspective:

There’s no timeline as to when the Court might render a ruling on the WBO’s Motion to Dismiss.  But, the overarching issue for fans of the Ali Act Expansion is whether an organization can contract out of the lawsuit.  This means that even if there is a federal law which grants a plaintiff a right to sue, the fact that there is an arbitration clause in the contract may render the claim moot as to a trial and it may (or may not) go forward in arbitration.  There are several layers to consider here as to whether the Ali Act is something that was contemplated as part of a contractual dispute that would go to arbitration.  If it is a part of the contract and the arbitration clause is valid, it would make it easier for organizations to litigate claims.  On the other hand, I have been an advocate for arbitration and/or mediation to resolve Ali Act violations due to the fact that litigation is long and expensive.  You could also bifurcate the claims as to taking the Ali Act to trial while arbitrating any other claims.  The other issue is who would be the trier of fact (i.e., jury, judge or arbitrator).  Also, who would be the arbitrator (a panel or just one individual).  Thinking ahead, if an expansion to the Ali Act takes place, it would be interesting to see if the UFC amends its fighter contracts to institute clauses to limit them to binding arbitration similar to the UFC Anti-Doping Program.  MMA Payout will keep you apprised of this lawsuit.

White rails on Showtime, vows to never work with network again

January 4, 2018

Dana White believes that he can do boxing better.  In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, White believes he has ideas that could make boxing better.

“You need to get a real TV deal,” said Dana White to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole in a shot made against Bob Arum’s Top Rank deal with ESPN.  White’s foray into boxing is not to take over the landscape of promotion but the belief that he can do it better than those who are presently promoting the sport.

White spoke with Iole at length on a variety of subjects including his boxing promoting aspirations.

One of the more notable quotes he had was stating his displeasure with working with Showtime during the Mayweather-McGregor fight.  This is not the first time White has had problems with Showtime as he butted heads with the network when Zuffa took over Strikeforce.  In the Iole interview, White disputes Showtime’s press release touting that The Money Fight drew 4.3 million domestic buys.  White contends the fight did 6.7 million buys and that it would have done more if there were not technical glitches.  It may have seemed that White took a shot at Showtime’s streaming service but that may have been just an inference based on tone as there were other online options.  There have been lawsuits filed as a result of the tech failure.

Payout Perspective:

It comes as no surprise that White does not like Showtime and maybe the feeling is mutual.  One of the reasons why The Money Fight was such a surprise to me when it was made so quickly was White’s disdain for the network.  As for the issue of boxing promotion, the issue of fighter pay and whether White can secure a TV deal as he suggested in the interview are two big questions when White begins to promote boxing.  White is not going in this blind as he stated he has meetings with those in the boxing business and previously stated that he had a meeting with Mayweather.  He also is friendly with Al Haymon which may mean the two work together down the line.

MPO Year in Review: No. 1 The Money Fight

January 1, 2018

MMA Payout’s business story of the year is likely everyone else’s big news of the year: The Money Fight which saw Conor McGregor make his debut in the ring against Floyd Mayweather.

What many thought would never happened at the beginning of 2017 actually came together rather quickly as the two squared off the last week of August at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Although the fight did not break the gate record for a boxing event in Nevada or the PPV buy record (both retained by Mayweather-Pacquiao), it drew blockbuster numbers.

The event was not a sellout but drew 13,904 for a gate of $55 million.  The PPV drew 4.3 million domestic buys and set records overseas for PPV.

McGregor received $30 million for his part in the fight while Mayweather drew $100 million.  With all of the PPV upside and other payouts tied to the event McGregor ended up with something near $100 million.

The event included an ambitious 4 city tour which went from Los Angeles, to Toronto, to Brooklyn, to London in successive days.  The events ranged from heated to comical to off-putting.

Still, the buzz for the event drew mainstream interest and was on the top of ESPN shows during fight week.  There was a small controversy concerning glove size but in the end the Commission allowed a last-minute change.  Then, there was the last-minute change to add Zuffa as co-promoter.  Frankly, the Commission would have let this go with any and all additional conditions as it was willing to allow McGregor, an MMA fighter, with no pro boxing record to step into the ring against one of the best fighters in boxing and a 49-0 record.

The event was truly a spectacle and basically a fantasy matchmaker’s dream.  The fight itself was easy to predict with Mayweather winning via stoppage in round 10.  The match was not that competitive as you could sense that Mayweather was never in peril.

But, from a business standpoint, one might surmise that it was the biggest revenue driving event for the UFC this year.  With a down year for PPV, the company capitalized on this fight with its top star.  McGregor sold himself to get the fight and his confrontational style help promote it to the casual viewer.

The event also made every fighter on the UFC roster dreaming to box.  Also, Dana White unveiled the idea that Zuffa would promote boxing in the near future.  As for McGregor, we will see if/when he returns to the Octagon.  Despite floating the idea of another boxing match, it’s hard to think he would do one for anything less than he was paid for Mayweather.  One would think that his deal with the UFC would include a return to the Octagon to fight in exchange for the boxing match with Floyd.  Yet, with all the money, McGregor might wait until he is given the money he wants before setting foot back into the Octagon.

White claims to be meeting with Mayweather today

December 28, 2017

Dana White appeared on FS1’s “Undisputed” Thursday morning and revealed that he was meeting with Floyd Mayweather later in the day.  Although the retired boxer has claimed he is not fighting in the UFC, there could be another motive for the meeting.

While White is dangling the belief that Mayweather could fight in the octagon, don’t believe this to be true.  Mayweather’s legacy is important to him (especially his zero losses) and he wouldn’t fight in the octagon and made to look ridiculous.  What fans forget is that Mayweather is image-conscious when it comes to real fighting and he just would not do it.  But, he would go into business with White if he is serious about getting into boxing as White suggests in the video.

For those wondering, Zuffa filed for the trademark “Zuffa Boxing” in July of this year.  The USPTO examiner has requested it disclaim the word “boxing” in the mark in September 2017.  This is a formality with the trademark process.

Payout Perspective:

The meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Dana White is likely to discuss promoting.  Mayweather has a stable of fighters that train out of his gym and it would make sense that White would solicit Mayweather for boxers as well as promotional advice.  This would not come out with some sort of compensation of course.  We shall see what 2018 brings for Zuffa Boxing as its clear that the idea is becoming a reality.

 

PBC on FS1 Friday night draws 276,000 viewers

December 18, 2017

PBC on FS1 Friday night drew 276,000 on Friday night according to Nielsen per ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured the return of Jessie Vargas as he defeated Herrera via unanimous decision.  Prior to Friday night, Vargas last fought Manny Pacquiao in November 2016.  Notably, Vargas has a victory over Sadam Ali, the fighter that upset Miguel Cotto in his retirement match.

The PBC post-show on FS1 drew 217,000 viewers.

The telecast drew slightly better than last Friday’s PBC event on FS1 which drew 236,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Friday night could be the night for PBC on FS1.  The NBA on ESPN drew the top ratings in the time slot but boxing could be a nice alternatives for those wanting an alternative to hoops.

Showtime announces Mayweather-McGregor draws 4.3 million domestic PPV buys

December 15, 2017

On Thursday, Showtime announced that the official domestic PPV buys for August’s Mayweather-McGregor fight drew 4.3 million PPV buys which fell short of the record set by Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.

Showtime also announced that it drew over $600 million in total revenue.

The Mayweather-McGregor fight was second biggest gate ever with $55,414,865.79 in ticket sales, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Mayweather-Pacquiao was the biggest with a gate of over $72 million.

Dana White indicated to Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal that the event drew 6.7 million PPV buys globally with it breaking records in Australia, UK, Spain and Canada. The simple math based on White’s comments would be that global PPV drew 2.4 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement confirms what many within the industry already knew – the August novelty fight reined in tons of money. It was only a question as to whether it would break the all-time U.S. record set by Mayweather and Pacquiao. Regardless of breaking a record, the PPV buys were enormous considering McGregor had never had a professional boxing match. Regardless of what you thought of the matchup, the fight elevated McGregor’s draw and could make it hard for the UFC to meet his monetary demands in the future.

HBO Boxing After Dark draws 576,000 opposite ESPN Top Rank event

December 14, 2017

HBO Boxing After Dark event Saturday drew 576,000 for its main event featuring Miguel Roman and Orlando Salido.  The event was opposite the big Lomachenko-Rigondeaux ESPN telecast.

Roman won via TKO in the 9th round over Salido.  The fight peaked at 618,000 viewers.  According to ShowBuzz Daily, Roman’s win over Salido garnered 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.

The main event occurred after the conclusion of the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight on ESPN.  The ESPN matchup drew the second-highest rating for a boxing event on ESPN this year.  The co-main event saw Kenichi Ogawa score an upset victory over Tevin Farmer with 513,000 viewers watching the fight.  The matchup peaked at 587,000 viewers and 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.  The first fight on the telecast was Francisco Vargas defeating Stephen Smith via technical-decision after Smith could not continue due to an injury.  The fight averaged 486,000 viewers with a peak of 540,000.  It drew 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

It seems unfair to compare the ratings for this telecast with the ESPN Top Rank event held the same night which drew 1.73M viewers.  The 576,000 viewers for the main event is not that bad considering it was overshadowed Saturday night and was for the hardcore boxing fan.

Loma-Rigo draw 1.73M viewers on ESPN Saturday night

December 12, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 1,730,000 million viewers.  It is the second-highest rating for Top Rank since partnering the network in July.

The event featured Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux in the main event.  Loma easily earned the victory when the Cuban challenger quit on the stool due to a hand injury.

The highest-rated event was the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight which averaged 2.8 million viewers and peaked at 4.4 million.  Although there was no peak viewership disclosed for Saturday’s event (yet), the Loma-Rigo fight likely had the highest peak viewership since Pacquiao-Horn.

According to Nielsen, via ShowBuzz Daily, it drew 0.59 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.84 with males in the 18-49 demo.  It drew 0.52 in the A18-34 demo.

The telecast was preceded by The Heisman Trophy Presentation which drew 2,175,000 and 0.58 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings for an event featuring two fighters in the 130-pound division.  It’s rare that you find a lot of interest in a fight involving fighters in the smaller weight divisions but Lomachenko and Rigondeux were Olympic gold medalists and Loma is considered one of the best in the world.  The true test will be to see if Top Rank can continue to put on fights that will increase visibility for its boxers.

Next Page »