UFC 211: Payout Perspective

May 15, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 211 from Dallas, Texas where two titles were successfully defended.

Stipe stops JDS

Stipe Miocic withstood a couple stiff leg kicks to stop Junior Dos Santos in the first round of their Heavyweight title fight.  Miocic dropped JDS after clipping him with a punch.  He followed up with punches over a crumpled former champion.  For JDS, the long layoff did not help and one has to wonder if he still has anything left in fighting.  He looked timid at times in avoiding Miocic despite scoring early with leg kicks.  But, putting his back to the fence was his downfall.

One has to wonder if there is a healthy Heavyweight on the roster that could challenge him at this point.  You can argue that Stipe could wait and face Cain Velasquez or take on Derrick Lewis if he gets past Mark Hunt in June.

Joanna Champion remains on top

She had a huge welt on her forehead but Joanna Jedrzejczyk survived a first round onslaught by Jessica Andrade.  From then on, Joanna outclassed Andrade and secured her spot as the Queen of the Division.  Andrade was game but as Daniel Cormier pointed out she gave away her attacks with a “tell” in that she ducked her head each time she was coming in which gave Joanna a split section to move out of the way.

Joanna was emotional at the end of the fight as she takes being a champion as seriously as anyone with a belt around their waste.

Next for Joanna is a showdown with Rose Namajunas. She was in Dallas doing UFC press and its clear that this was done to promote this fight.

Attendance and Gate

It was the second-most attended event in Dallas.  Only UFC 171, which featured hometown favorite Johny Hendricks against Robbie Lawler, outdrew this card.  Below are the top 3 UFC cards in Dallas.

UFC 171: attendance 19,324, gate $2,600,000

UFC 211: attendance 17,834, gate $2,662,645

UFC 103: attendance 17,428, gate $2,400,000

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Jason Knight and Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter.  Stipe and Knight earned Performance Bonuses while Sherman and Coulter earned Fight of the Night for their back and forth fight which Sherman eventually won via stoppage.  All earned $50,000 bonuses.

Promotion of Fight

The UFC once again direct messaged people that follow it on Twitter to encourage them to order UFC 211.

Stipe Miocic threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers baseball game.  He also appeared with Junior Dos Santos before a Mavericks game earlier this year.

The UFC Countdown show took a look at Miocic and how he’s revered in Cleveland including attending a Cavaliers basketball game.

MetroPCS also had a sponsorship activation which included Stipe Miocic doing an interview with Megan Olivio on behalf of the company.

Sponsorships

The usual UFC sponsors were in the Octagon including Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Monster/7-11, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy in the middle.  Also, the new Alien movie, Audience Network’s Kingdom and upcoming video game Injustice 2 and the UFC’s own new version of its EA video game were in the Octagon.

With the Audience Network unveiling the third season of its MMA original series, “Kingdom,” we once again had the show work with the UFC.  This included showing the actors in the crowd during the PPV and there was also a Pre-Fight Party in Dallas.

In a pre-recorded video, Rose Namajunas introduced the trailer for the new Alien movie during the PPV.

Eddie Alvarez was overheard saying “Goddamn Reebok” prior to the official weigh-ins as it appeared that he had to have non-Reebok sponsors patched over.

Odds and Ends

Dustin Poirier is auctioning off his gear from his fight with Eddie Alvarez to aid a Second Harvest Food Bank in his local Lafayette.  He is making a new tradition which is an admirable way to give back.

Speaking of Poirier, it was a disappointing end to his fight with Eddie Alvarez as the issue of rules relating to a downed opponent was confusing once again.

Due to NASCAR on FS1, the UFC Prelims were pushed to FX which is in more homes so there’s a chance we could see a better number than usual.

500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 211 which made it the top searched subject in the US Saturday.

Jason Knight is your next big thing.  “Mississippi Mean” will be one to watch in the Featherweight division.

The UFC Summer Kickoff on Friday will likely have several fighters fined as a result of getting physical at the news conference including Amanda Nunes, Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee.  Do the kickoff events do anything for anyone except make everyone cringe?

Michael Johnson said he ate shit.  This makes no sense.  But considering Lyoto Machida drank his own pee, it’s no wonder this is a niche sport.

Conclusion

Look for this PPV to do slightly better than this year’s PPV buys but not near the 450,000 buys the Stipe Miocic-headlined UFC 203 did when CM Punk was on the show.  Despite how good the card was including two title defenses, there is a lack of interest in fthese ights from the casual fan.  While the google trends search was encouraging, I would think 350,000-375,000 PPV buys would be how much we see this event do.

Zuffa responds to Plaintiffs’ letter to the Court

May 10, 2017

Zuffa has responded to Plaintiffs’ letter to the Court requesting a status conference on outstanding discovery issues.  In its letter to the Court, they clarify issues asserted for the Plaintiffs and indicate that they are willing to extend the fact discovery deadline until June 15, 2017 but no new fact discovery requests.

The fact discovery deadline was May 1, 2017.  This would have been the last date in which Plaintiffs would have been able to obtain documents from Zuffa as well as non-parties (e.g. Bellator).  Notably, a Motion to Compel documents from Zinkin Entertainment is set for June 23, 2017, well past the deadline.

The Zuffa letter states that it has turned over 6,800 texts from two cellular phones used by Dana White.  Plaintiffs claimed that White had four phone numbers and likely four phones.

Zuffa asserts that it is willing to extend the fact discovery deadline but not 60 days, nor open it up to new discovery.  They contend, citing the letter Plaintiffs sent to Bjorn Rebney, that Plaintiffs have performed extensive discovery.

Zuffa's Response to Ps Statement by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The status conference is set for May 18, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

Using your own words against you hurts and this is what Zuffa attempts to do with the letter Plaintiffs sent to Bjorn Rebney in order for him to “cease and desist” from going forward with MMAAA.  The letter writing fight should be settled on May 18th and likely both sides will not be happy.  But, Zuffa’s letter advises the Court that Plaintiffs had ample time to obtain discovery while still seeming reasonable in proposing an extended date for discovery.

Second securities lawsuit filed against Alliance MMA

May 9, 2017

A second securities lawsuit has been filed against Alliance MMA for claims that it misled investors.  The new lawsuit filed May 3rd is in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and seeks class action status.

The lawsuit arises out of an amendment made by the company which trades on the NASDAQ.  In an 8-K filing made by the company last month, it stated that financial statements previously made for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 included in the Company’s Form 10-Q, three months ending June 30, 2016 and six months ending June 30, 2016 could no longer be relied upon because of an error in recognizing as compensation transfers of common stock by an affiliate of the Company to “individuals who were at the time of transfer, or subsequently became, officers, directors or consultants of the Company.”

The Complaint filed by plaintiff David Shulman states that Alliance MMA completed its IPO that consisted public sale of 2,222,308 shares of the Company’s common stock at $4.50 per share.  According to a Declaration from the Plaintiff filed with the Complaint, he purchased 100 shares of Alliance MMA on October 16, 2016 for $3.99 per share.

As of this writing on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the stock is trading around $1.53 per share.

A Second Alliance MMA Lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Certification of Plaintiff in Second Alliance MMA Lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit is similar to the one filed in New Jersey last month.  One might expect a similar response from Alliance MMA in that it has retained a law firm to defend itself against these allegations.  With an issue like this, it is expected that Plaintiff attorneys smell blood in the water and search for investors that may have been harmed from the misstatements made by the Company.  MMA Payout will continue to follow the situation.

Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust lawsuit seek status conference to decide outstanding issues

May 7, 2017

Attorneys representing the Plaintiffs in the UFC antitrust lawsuit have requested a status conference with the federal magistrate to discuss outstanding issues that may impact the prosecution of its class action lawsuit.  The letter with the Court was filed on Friday, May 5th.

The Plaintiffs list several issues as to request a hearing with the Federal Magistrate, the judge that decides discovery issues.

Statement to Court by Plaintiffs by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Among the outstanding issues Plaintiffs would like to discuss include:

  • Plaintiffs’ Emergence Motion for Extension of Discovery Deadline and Case Management Schedule;
  • Plaintiffs’ Motion to Challenge Work Product Designation;
  • Non-Party Bellator’s Motion to Quash or Modify Subpoenas;
  • Third Party AXS TV LLC’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoenas of Mark Cuban (Plaintiffs’ response is due on May 8, 2017 according to the letter and similar to the Bellator issue, would like to move them to the District of Nevada.

As of the date of the letter, the Court has not ruled on any of the above motions.  Also, it has yet to hear the Motion for Summary Judgment of Plaintiff Nate Quarry.

Plaintiffs claim that these issues coupled with issues of preservation regarding obtaining text messages from Dana White’s four separate telephone numbers (and likely the same number of phones) as well as other documents not produced for key Zuffa witnesses have blocked the prosecution of the case.

Payout Perspective:

The need for all the information possible prior to a deposition is because Plaintiffs know they get one shot at deposing the witness and if they do not have the documents prior to the deposition they will not be prepared to ask questions related to the documents that may relate to their case.  In addition, Plaintiffs’ dilemma with non-parties is having the possibility of needing to litigate those matters as well.  Zuffa will likely respond to the letter and the Court will need to make a decision on whether to hold a hearing, decide the above issues or go forward with the current court deadlines.

Where is boxing’s next PPV star?

May 6, 2017

As Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. get set to fight on the traditional Cinco de Mayo weekend boxing card, we wonder about boxing’s next big pay-per-view draw.

The two fighters in the main event were thought to be the future of boxing.  You can argue that only one of them has lived up to the billing of being the next big star while the other has been a disappointment thus far in his career.  For those that don’t follow boxing, Canelo is the fighter that is still on a career arc while JCC has the name and pedigree but perhaps not the desire needed to be a top star.

Last week, Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 in Wembley Stadium in a showdown between heavyweights.  While Joshua is massively popular in the UK, it’s still unknown whether that fandom would translate to US audiences.

The overarching question is whether any of these fighters could translate into a PPV star for boxing.

Canelo seems to be the best active fighter to be considered a boxing star on PPV.  He produced 2 million PPV buys when he fought Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 and 900,000 PPV buys against Miguel Cotto in November 2015.

But since the Cotto fight, Canelo has had lackluster PPV performances in a KO win over Amir Khan and Liam Smith.  In the Khan fight, it was estimated it had between 460,000 to 600,000 PPV buys.  It was later recalibrated down to 450,000 – 500,000 buys depending on who you asked.  This is respectable but down considering Khan had some notoriety prior to fighting Alvarez.  The Smith fight in September 2016 drew less than 300,000 PPV buys.  This may be due to the unknown opponent and the prior rumors that Alvarez was going to meet GGG.

In 2016, the biggest fight of the year, Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev, drew just 165,000 PPV buys.  GGG’s fight against Daniel Jacobs this past March did 170,000 PPV buys which was an improvement from GGG last showing on PPV.  Yet, fair or unfair to compare, 170,000 buys is less than a mediocre monthly PPV.  GGG is considered one of boxing’s best and can only muster 170,000 to pay for his fight, while a PPV with CM Punk drew 450,000 PPV buys.

In a November 2015 Sports Business Journal article former HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet identified seven factors that set apart PPV “megastars”:

  1. In-ring style – this goes to being an action fighter with the intent to KO an opponent in every fight
  2. Out-of-ring persona – Likable but also someone that sets themselves apart from the rest.
  3. Natural rivalries – this refers to fighters in the same weight class, or in a division close to their own.
  4. Demographics – this refers to the fighter being able to be identified with a particular group or audience.
  5. Media/technology – the ability to use social media to build followers and then monetize the opportunity.
  6. Intent – the desire to build a fan base as their career grows
  7. “It” factor – An undefined intangible, that Taffet states usually takes the form a storyline that is “unique and memorable.”

The likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Errol Spence, Deontay Wilder and Keith Thurman may be on the next tier of boxing’s stars that have all of the above except the fact that they have yet to translate their in-ring success to monetary gain on PPV.  None of these fighters have headlined a PPV.  This is likely due to the fact that they see GGG and Canelo having trouble to gain traction in garnering PPV buys and are weary of pushing an event that might flop.  Recall Terrence Crawford fought Viktor Postol on PPV and drew 50-60K PPV buys.

While Canelo’s last PPV outing was disappointing, Golden Boy will continue to promote its premier star.  He has all of the seven factors above and if set with the right opponent, the fight could draw big PPV buys.  GGG lacks the natural rivalry that would help him equate his talent and persona.  The long-awaited showdown with GGG is in the offing and could give him a spark.

Anthony Joshua might be the next PPV boxing star.  It is still unclear whether his UK marketability will equate in the U.S., but last week’s event which aired on Showtime and HBO drew great ratings.  More importantly, once people tuned in, they saw a great fight in which he was knocked down but eventually came back to stop Klitschko.  With 13 sponsors already in his portfolio including big brands Jaguar, Under Armour and Beats By Dre, the former Olympic Gold Medalist has the pedigree, the look and the “It” Factor to succeed.

Clearly, Joshua’s marketability can translate to U.S. dollars as it did for Manny Pacquiao.  Notwithstanding the last year or so of his career, Pacquiao’s fighting style and large Filipino following allowed him to be one of the biggest boxing stars of the last 20 years.  He was able to accomplish this despite not being from the United States.  With his Mexican roots, Canelo is doing almost the same.  Joshua may have an advantage over Pacquiao and Canelo as he speaks fluent English.  Not to discount Manny or Canelo, but each has difficulty with carrying on interviews in English.

This year could be a big year for boxing starting with Saturday’s Canelo-Chavez fight.  If Canelo wins, it should ready us for a showdown with GGG in September.  If Chavez scores an upset, we can see a rematch later this year.  In June, we will see the rematch between Ward-Kovalev and see if that spurs more buys this time around.

Despite the wealth of networks that will show boxing, pay-per-view is the gold standard for boxing as it generates the most revenue for all in this sport.  For one reason or another, boxing fans have decided to hold off on buying their fights and instead wait for the next one on television.  In a post Manny-Floyd era, the lack of star power to drive boxing PPVs must be a concern for promoters.  But, there are several boxers that could fill the void.  The question is how to build these stars.

Promoters look to curb Facebook and Periscope piracy for Canelo-Chavez fight

May 4, 2017

The Los Angeles Times reports that promoters are seeking to enforce anti-piracy efforts from this Saturday’s pay-per-view between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Believing that PPV numbers have decreased due to piracy, Golden Boy Promotions and HBO are combating pirates.  HBO has hired an anti-piracy company and are looking at live streaming products such as Facebook and Periscope which are burgeoning tools for piracy.

Notably, the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight was subject to issues involving piracy.  This included people taking out their cell phones and live streaming the event from the fight.  Or, purchasing the pay-per-view or finding a pirated site and then streaming the television PPV from their phone.

Anti-Piracy companies have notified Facebook and Periscope about the issue and promoters are confident that they can curb the efforts to watch the $59.99 PPV for free.  There are also calls for distributors to take more of an active role in stopping pirated PPVs.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps piracy is not a reason for depressed boxing PPV numbers.  There has not been a boxing PPV to reach over 1 million buys since Manny-Floyd.  Most of the boxing PPVs have yielded well below 300,000 buys since Manny-Floyd.  In fact, Canelo-Miguel Cotto was the last big PPV when it drew 900,000 buys in November 2015.  Promoters hope to curb piracy but it is harder with new live streaming tools like Facebook Live and Periscope.

It would not be out of the realm of possibility that down the road promoters, rights fees holders and those with intellectual property interests might look to legal action for contributory infringement and/or vicarious liability.  But, that might be hard to prove yet the threat of action may cause others to be more active.

Could this possibly a First Amendment issue?  Maybe.  A free plug for myself as next month a law review article I authored about the live streaming of sports will be in the Marquette Sports Law Review.

Zuffa, White and Lesnar seek to stay discovery in Hunt lawsuit pending Motion to Dismiss

April 27, 2017

Zuffa and Dana White have filed a motion to stay discovery in the Mark Hunt case pending the company’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit which will be heard on May 15, 2017 in Nevada.  According to the court filings, Brock Lesnar is likely to join the motion.

Joining the motion essentially places the party in the same place as the entity that filed the motion.  Thus, Zuffa and Lesnar (the law firm of Campbell & Williams represents Zuffa and Howard Jacobs represents Lesnar) would seek to stay the discovery sought by Hunt.

Hunt filed this lawsuit in Nevada federal court in early January claiming that Zuffa and Dana White violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Fraud, False Pretenses, Breach of Contract, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Negligence and Unjust Enrichment.  The premise of the Complaint is that the UFC allowed Lesnar to fight at UFC 200 while providing the WWE wrestler with an exemption from the UFC’s anti-doping policy.  Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance in both an out-of-competition and in-competition drug test.  Lesnar had been tested by USADA on several occasions prior to the positive tests.

The current motion argues that the defendants (Zuffa, White and Lesnar) should not have to expend money to conduct discovery until the Court decides the merits of their Motion to Dismiss.  Essentially, why spend money on starting discovery if the lawsuit will be dismissed.  In a conference between the parties, the defendants asserted a request to stay discovery but the plaintiffs opposed a stipulated stay.  Hence, the motion.

Motion to Stay Discovery by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Similar to the UFC antitrust lawsuit, the company is seeking to stay discovery pending the Court decision.  This makes sense from the defendant’s standpoint.  See if you can save some litigation expense if you can.  From Hunt’s perspective, you need to be as aggressive as you can in starting the process of obtaining discovery.  Thus, you force the Court’s hand to make a decision here.  Hunt wants to obtain discovery because it might obtain information that might aid its claims.  In the alternative, it might obtain information which might need to amend its lawsuit.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Alliance MMA retains law firm to defend itself against investor lawsuit

April 21, 2017

Alliance MMA has announced that it has retained the law firm of King & Spalding to defend the company against a lawsuit filed against it on Monday.  The announcement was made via company press release.

Via Alliance MMA press release:

NEW YORK, NY – April 21, 2017Alliance MMA, Inc. (“Alliance MMA” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: AMMA), a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) company, announced today that a shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the Company and two of its current officers in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, under the caption Shapiro v. Alliance MMA, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-2583 (D.N.J.). The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal securities laws and purports to seek damages on behalf of a class of all shareholders who purchased the Company’s common stock pursuant or traceable to the Company’s initial public offering. The Company believes that the lawsuit is without merit and intends to vigorously defend against it.  “Securities claims like this are often pursued by opportunistic lawyers when there is a drop in stock price,” stated CEO Paul K. Danner, III.  “The law firm of King & Spalding LLP has been engaged to help us fight back, and we plan to file a motion to dismiss this lawsuit.”

 Danner provided a comment to MMA Payout on the lawsuit earlier this week.

Below is a copy of the lawsuit.

Alliance MMA lawsuit by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Rarely do we get the legal strategy of a party but it’s clear that Alliance MMA believes there is no merit in this lawsuit and will seek a dismissal.  The company believes that attorneys are driving the lawsuit.  There are law firms out there that do seek out companies where there is a drop in stock price or issues in financial reporting.  Notably, Alliance MMA traded at a 52 week low earlier this week after the lawsuit was announced.  The lawsuit occurred after an 8-K was issued prior to its annual 10-K report.  MMA Payout will keep you updated.

Alliance MMA CEO responds to lawsuit

April 18, 2017

A lawsuit filed against Alliance MMA by an investor in the company for violations of securities regulations law was filed on Monday.   MMA Payout has obtained a response from the company’s CEO, Paul Danner.

“The matter of the stock-based compensation matter has no impact on 2017 financial performance and no negative affect on our ability to execute our business plan going forward. On April 12, after notifying the Securities and Exchange Commission, we filed a Form 8-K that stated the need for revisions to our second and third quarter results to include compensation in the form of shares of our common stock received by certain service providers, as well as individuals who later served as Alliance officers and directors. These revisions did not adversely affect our cash position, our balance sheet, the number of shares of our common stock outstanding, or the previously stated beneficial ownership of the officers and directors of the Company. Moreover, the stock-based compensation charge is a one-time, non-recurring item that will not be reflected in any periods subsequent to December 31, 2016. Operationally, we are off to a remarkable start since we completed the initial public offering of our common stock in October 2016, and there is absolutely no intention of slowing down with plans to expand our operations aggressively in the coming months. We will continue working towards our stated goal of creating and sustaining a continuous regional MMA presence in each of the top 20 domestic media markets, and reaching our ultimate objective of producing more than 125 events per year.”

S&P Global reaffirms UFC Holdings, LLC debt rating, outlook

April 17, 2017

S&P Global Ratings reaffirmed UFC Holding’s first lien “B+” rating after news of seeking $100 million in additional loans.  Due to its high leverage, S&P rated UFC Holdings, LLC as having a negative outlook.

For a definition of S&P’s ratings, look here.  A “B” rating is characterized as, “more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.”

The UFC plans to use the additional loans for “earn-outs” and other payments to the Fertitta brothers and Flash Entertainment, the previous owners of the UFC, if the UFC achieves certain benchmarks with its EBITDA “sometime this year.”  As indicated last year, the company must achieve $275 million EBITDA within 12 months.  In the following 12 months, it must achieve $350 million EBITDA to achieve a monetary benchmark.

S&P noted that through 2018, it expects an adjusted leverage above 9x which is “pro-forma” for the additional $100 million term loan add-on.  But, it adds that the company has a “plausible and robust growth path.”  Thus, S&P affirmed its “B” corporate credit rating on UFC Holdings, LLC and “B+” issue-level rating on the company’s $1.475 billion first-lien term loan due 2023.

In July 2016, UFC Holding’s LLC was given a “B” rating and a negative outlook on a $1.45 billion first lien loan to acquire Zuffa, LLC.  As we wrote back in July, “the financing for the deal to acquire the UFC will consist of the $1.45 billion credit facility which will consist of a $150 million revolver due 2021 and a $1.3 billion term loan B due 2023.”

According to the S&P report, it affirmed its “CCC” rating for the second-lien term loan of $425 million due in 2024.

Also of note, WME-IMG will receive $25 million in an annually management fee.  It also states that an upgrade in rating will not occur prior to a new domestic media rights contract is renegotiated.

The report notes that while the UFC has a strong appeal to the 18-34 demo, “it needs to continue to develop fighters” that appeal to this target demo.

Prior to the acquisition by WME-IMG, in November 2015 Zuffa, LLC had a company corporate rating of BB and its outlook was stable.  This was an upgrade in outlook which was previously negative.

The report from S&P Global Ratings came out on April 4th.

Payout Perspective:

As in July, S&P seems optimistic on UFC Holdings, LLC and its ability to repay the debt (at least for the first-term loan).  The report notes that the WME-IMG and its other investors may provide “temporary” financial support in the event of unexpected financial difficulty.  This may attribute to the rating in comparison to previous ratings for Zuffa, LLC.  Despite the additional loan capacity, UFC Holdings, LLC’s rating did not slide and it still projects a negative outlook for the holding company.  Obviously, with the increase in debt capacity the negative outlook seems warranted.  Then there is the issue, or nonissue, of the company’s EBITDA.  Federal regulators announced concerns with the “add-backs” included in its EBITDA forecast.  The projected EBITDA forecast appears to be linked to the belief that it will increase its media rights deal.  WME-IMG has reduced costs since taking over which was highlighted by the reduction of the UFC work force which should please investors looking to scoop up its debt.  The S&P report seems bullish on its EBITDA noting a “plausible and robust growth path.” B

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