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.

White threatens lawsuit if Pacquiao reached out to McGregor

December 11, 2017

Dana White shot down any rumors of a Manny Pacquiao-Conor McGregor fight by stating that if the Filipino boxer had any contact with McGregor, it would like end in a lawsuit.

During the UFC Fresno post-fight press conference, White was asked about the potential fight.  “That would be weird because he’s [McGregor] under contract with us,” said White of McGregor.  “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him, so I’m assuming that’s not true.”  White went on to state that McGregor’s next fight will be in the UFC.

Of course, those “representing” Pacquiao likely means Bob Arum, his promoter.  White and Arum do not like each other and unlike the Mayweather-McGregor negotiations, one would expect a more contentious business dealing with the two sides.

Payout Perspective:

It could be that Pacquiao’s representatives did not directly include Arum and was just something floated out there to see public/media reaction.  White threatening of a lawsuit would relate to alleged tampering and/or interference with a business relationship and/or existing contract.  If Pacquiao wants to fight McGregor, he’d have to contact White and the UFC since that is what appears to be the arrangement with the current UFC lightweight champion.  We will see if this is the beginning of something (i.e. Pac-Mac) or nothing at all.

PBC on FS1 draws 236,000 viewers on Friday night

December 11, 2017

On Friday night, PBC on FS1 drew 236,000 viewers.  The event featured Jean Pascal as he faced Ahmed Elbiali.

The event was the pre-cursor to the big boxing event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux.

Former light heavyweight champion, Pascal stopped the previously unbeaten Elbiali.  After the fight, Pascal announced his retirement.

Payout Perspective:

Fair ratings for the event which featured a former champ in the main event.  Yet, this was an event mainly for the boxing fan and the 236,000 reflects this.

Loma-Rigo 2nd highest rated boxing telecast on cable this year

December 10, 2017

Last night’s Vasiliy Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight was the second highest-rated boxing telecast on cable in 2017 according to Nielsen overnight ratings via ESPN.  The fight which was won by Lomachenko, was second only to the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight this past July.

Although no viewership ratings are yet available, Nielsen indicates that it drew a 1.3 metered market rating.  Pacquiao-Horn drew 2.4 rating.  Third and fourth on the list of highest-rated shows were the two undercards on Saturday night.  Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Mendoza and Michael Conlan-Luis Molina drew 1.1 metered market ratings on ESPN.

Payout Perspective:

The Heisman Trophy Presentation which preceded the big night of boxing likely helped the event.  The lead-in is one of the reasons why Top Rank decided to move to ESPN.  Lomachenko-Rigondeaux was a marquee matchup from the time it was announced and it received major hype from boxing community and many casuals were interested.  Without knowing the UFC or Bellator numbers, its clear this event was the main viewership for combat sporting events on Saturday night.

Arbitration could determine boxer Trout’s Ali Act claim

December 8, 2017

Although not given enough publicity, the lawsuit filed by Austin Trout against the World Boxing Organization which was moved to U.S. federal court in Puerto Rico continues with the WBO attempting to move the case to arbitration while Trout seeking to maintain it in federal court.

Notably, Trout claims damages for violations of the Muhammad Ali Act, Breach of Contract and Fraud.  The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2015 in New Mexico state court.  It was then removed to New Mexico federal court in February 2016 and then moved for dismissal for improper venue as it argued that the case should be in Puerto Rico where the WBO operates and pursuant to the “Contract Venue Provision” in the contract Trout had with the organization.  Although the Court denied this motion for dismissal, the WBO filed a Motion to Transfer venue to Puerto Rico in August 2016.  In July 2017, the federal court in New Mexico transferred the case to Puerto Rico.

After requesting that the lawsuit be moved to Puerto Rico, the WBO moved to compel arbitration of the matter citing the contract Trout signed with the promotion.  Trout’s attorney argued that the Ali Act claim is based on federal legislation and could not be decided by an arbitration.  It would not be a claim encompassing what was contemplated when resolving a dispute with arbitration.

Trout’s attorneys argue that the WBO never indicated that in its pleadings prior to the Motion to Compel Arbitration that it contemplated moving the case to arbitration.  Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution outside of the court system.  It is decided by one or more arbitrators that renders an arbitration award that is usually binding and cannot be appealed.

The WBO cites Section 35(e) which states that Arbitrations pursuant to the laws of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Arbitration Act is the sole remedy for grievances.  This would be a binding Arbitration which means there would be no means for appeal.

Section 35(e) as cited by the WBO in its briefing:

All WBO participants acknowledge and agree that the mandatory resort to the WBO appeals regulations is the sole and exclusive remedy for any claim, appeal, grievance or contest that arises from any right or status that is or could be subject to these regulations or which result or could result from or relate to the interpretation of application of these regulations. These WBO Grievance Committee determinations are Arbitrations within the contemplation of the arbitration laws of Puerto Rico, 32 LPRA § 3201 et. seq. and the U.S. Arbitration Act, Title 9 of the United States Code and the Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration of July 30, 1975 and the convention on the recognition and enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards, June 10, 1958. All WBO participants stipulate and agree that the nature of the sport requires a prompt, final, and uniform resolution of all disputes concerning application of these regulations by a tribunal experienced with the application of these Regulations and with a special knowledge and experience in world championship professional boxing.

The WBO argues that Trout’s claims “come within the compass of an arbitration clause.”

On November 30th, Trout filed a sur-reply in opposition to the motion.  A sur-reply is an additional reply to a motion filed after the motion has already been fully briefed.  In general, courts frown up these types of briefs because they are not requested by the court and creates more work that many believe is unnecessary.

Nevertheless, the additional brief cites that the contract venue clause contained in the WBO contract governs the forum in the present case and thus should stay in the court system.

The pertinent contract language according to Trout is Section (d).

Section 35(d) of the WBO Championship Regulations states:

These Regulations are to be interpreted in conformity with the Laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. All WBO participants agree and consent that the exclusive venue for any or all action in which the WBO is made a party, whether it is to enforce, interpret or declare the application of these Regulations or to appeal from any determination of the WBO, including, but not limited to a determination of the Complaints and Grievance Committee, may be maintained only in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or, if applicable, in the U.S. District Court for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The WBO advocates that it’s the arbitration clause and not where the case should be litigated governs this issue:

The clauses here are not mutually exclusive. One clause—Section 35(d)—dictates applicable law and a chosen location for possible lawsuits involving WBO, and the other—Section 35(e)—dictates the selected procedure for disputes regarding WBO regulations.

The organization also claims that it has not waived its right to arbitrate.  It contends that there is no trial date and despite the fact that the lawsuit was filed in 2015, the delay in litigation of the case was due to securing proper venue and jurisdiction.  It also argues that the Ali Act violation claimed by Trout is subject to arbitration.

Of course, the argument by Trout’s side is that Section 35 (e) relates to “disputes regarding WBO regulations.”  The Ali Act, according to Trout, is outside the contemplated WBO regulations.  This would be a strong argument to keep it in federal court.

Payout Perspective:

This will be an interesting lawsuit to monitor due to the Ali Act claim.  Trout’s attorneys claim that the WBO had not brought up the issue of moving to compel when moving the jurisdiction and then venue.  But, this argument is not persuasive of whether or not the claims should be arbitrated per the contract.

If the court grants the motion, we could see an arbitration panel deal with an Ali Act claim (barring a motion to dismiss the claim prior to arbitration) and make a final determination on it which might be something of first impression.  The argument that the claims are from federal legislation (i.e., Ali Act) and not related to the WBO Rules is the strongest argument against arbitration.  MMA Payout will continue to follow.

Pacquiao courts McGregor for possible April boxing match

December 8, 2017

Manny Pacquiao has reached out to Conor McGregor for a potential boxing match in April 2018.  Pacquiao has not fought since July when he was upset by welterweight Jeff Horn.

McGregor is one of several opponents Pacquiao is considering but it is the biggest name and probably the biggest payday.

Pacquiao was scheduled for a rematch with Horn in November of this year but the fight was called off after the Filipino fighter’s duty’s as a politician conflicted with the anticipated fight date.  Horn is scheduled to fight Gary Corcoran on December 13th in Brisbane to defend his WBO World Welterweight title which he won from Pacquiao.

McGregor was stopped in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather this past August.  It was the biggest PPV of all time for combat stops and commanded one of the richest paydays for both Mayweather and McGregor.

Although Pacquiao has reached out, there are no details or formal discussions of an actual fight being set up.

Payout Perspective:

It’s ironic to say that this fight may be a “money grab” for Pacquiao.  The former number 1 boxer in the world is on the downside of his career and may be looking for a couple big paydays before he retires.  For McGregor, he is seeking more money from wherever it may come: boxing or MMA.  A matchup with Pacquiao might give him a fight in Croke Park.  Pacquiao traveled to Australia to fight Horn in front of his home fans and it would make sense that if both parties wanted to fight, McGregor would have more leverage in these negotiations based on the money he was able to draw versus Mayweather.

In all honesty, it’s sad to see Pacquiao hanging on for paydays like this.  But from a business perspective, it would bring the most money for the fighter at this point in his career.

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