October 7, 2013
According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware , Bankrupt video game maker THQ is suing Zuffa and Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) stating that EA had informed Zuffa of THQ’s shaky finances as EA and Zuffa worked together to so that EA could acquire the license to UFC video games. The Complaint was filed last Friday.
The issue goes back to 2006 when EA expressed interest in acquiring the UFC video game franchise from Zuffa. However, court documents stated that, “EA made what Zuffa considered to be an insultingly low offer for the UFC video game rights and was rejected.”
In 2009, THQ developed “UFC 2009 Undisputed” and it was a success selling over 3.5 million units. Despite the success two years prior, THQ’s finances declined in 2011 and the company determined that it would be unable to support its projects including the next games in the UFC franchise.
In 2011, THQ and EA discussed a potential sale of THQ as a whole to EA. According to court documents, “THQ provided EA internal financial information including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC Franchise, and projected marketing expenditures on the next UFC Franchise game.” Despite initial interests, EA broke off negotiations with THQ in December
2013 2011 citing disinterest.
Two weeks later, Zuffa criticized THQ about its expenditures and threatened to terminate its relationship with THQ based on its insolvency. There had been no prior evidence of dissatisfaction with THQ.
THQ entered into a $10 million settlement with Zuffa in exchange for the termination of its license and all intellectual property rights to the UFC game brand in 2012. However, THQ now claims that this was a fraudulent transfer as it believes that EA had contacted Zuffa and conveyed the internal financial information it was provided by THQ during the potential sale of THQ. THQ claims that it was “hamstrung” in negotiations with Zuffa due to its knowledge of THQ’s finances and the actual value of the UFC video game franchise was $20 million.
UPDATE 10/08/13: Some more info from the Complaint
EA Sports MMA was released in June 2009. You may recall that it featured the Strikeforce plus Randy Couture. This included Fedor, Nick Diaz, Jacare Souza and others. It also featured Bas Rutten as a trainer in the game. A hidden game feature was discovered where a player could create their own MMA fighter and could enable a player to create UFC fighters with the same tattoos, shorts, hairstyles, etc. Zuffa discovered this issue in late November 2010 and notified EA of its objection to the use of UFC licensed fighters. In March 2011, EA agreed to patch the game feature so that you could no longer recreate UFC fighters in the EA Sports MMA game.
Paragraph 19 indicates that after a “December 12, 2013 high-level meeting” negotiations between THQ and EA broke off. Obviously, the Complaint likely meant December 12, 2011 as Zuffa sent the demand letter to THQ on December 30, 2011.
The basic claim here is that THQ is claiming that when it had entered into negotiations to sell itself to EA due to financial troubles, it revealed confidential financials to EA as EA was doing its due diligence before the potential acquisition. Once acquisition talks failed THQ claims EA took what it had known about THQ finances and sent it to Zuffa. As many recall, EA had developed EA Sports MMA which did not do well because it did not have recognizable UFC names in its game. Thus, THQ argues there was reason why EA wanted Zuffa to terminate its relationship with THQ.
EA is set to unveil a new UFC game, “EA Sports UFC” this spring.
The Bankruptcy laws are a little complex and THQ is asking the Bankruptcy trustee to undo the authorized settlement to Zuffa as it was not market value. It also argues that EA tortuously interfered with its UFC contract by divulging confidential information to Zuffa.
MMA Payout will keep you up to date with this situation as it progresses.
October 5, 2013
Earlier this week, Judge Kimba Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a 44 page opinion dismissing 6 of the 7 claims brought by Zuffa in its lawsuit against the state regarding its legislation banning professional MMA. Zuffa’s claim that the MMA regulation is unconstitutionally vague is the only claim that survived the Motion to Dismiss.
The Motion to Dismiss was filed in October of 2012 and heard in February of this year. Notably the Motion to Dismiss is based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(6) which allows a court to grant a party the right to dismiss claims if there is “a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In order to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the claims “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
In this case, the Court found only Zuffa’s claim that the NY ban is unconstitutionally vague survived.
We note that the Court dismissed Zuffa’s First Amendment claim as the Court sided with New York. The Court held that the central question in determining First Amendment protection was whether the activity is primarily communicative and expressive. The Court held that MMA “lacks such essential communicative elements.” In a Footnote to the Opinion, the Court stated, “The fighters’ pre-fight and post-fight antics do not change the Court’s conclusion that the core conduct at issue – live MMA combat between professionals – does not qualify for First Amendment protection.” The Court concluded that it is MMA, not the surrounding fanfare that must convey the particularized message.
The sole claim standing after the Court’s ruling was its cause of action that the professional MMA ban in New York was unconstitutionally vague. The Court held that this claim could go forward. One of the interesting reasons was due to oral arguments of this motion in which New York’s attorney indicated that the law in question could feasibly see an exempt organization (as defined in the law) regulate pro MMA events in the state. It also did not agree with New York’s argument that the legislative history trumped the statutory language. In light of the varying interpretations of the statutory language, the Court found that Zuffa has adequately alleged its claim for vagueness.
The UFC sent out a press release stating that it was pleased with the Court ruling. It’s an interesting spin on the Court dismissing most of your case. While Zuffa left open the possibility of appealing the Court ruling related to its First Amendment claim, it would wait and see what happens to the vagueness claim.
At this point, the parties begin the discovery phase (written questions, request for production of documents, depositions) with the intent that this case move to trial. With no trial date set, this process could drag on. Furthermore, there’s nothing which would preclude New York in attempting to move for summary judgment after discovery which would again attempt to dismiss Zuffa’s claim before trial. We could also see the Court stepping in to force the parties to mediation.
Even if this case is tried and the Court strikes down the law and Zuffa wins, it still would mean that it would have to go to Albany to get professional MMA regulated within the state. Without a new law in place, New York would go unregulated. In its press release, the UFC had called for a “new law on MMA” in New York. Thus, all roads still go through Albany.
We will see what happens from here. As always, MMA Payout will keep you posted.
September 22, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at the thrilling main event title defense of Jon Jones against Alexsander Gustafsson from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Jones wins unanimous decision over game Gus
Jon Jones’ face told the story as he was battered but was able to do enough to defeat Alexander Gustafsson. Despite being able to stifle most of Jones’ takedowns throughout the fight, in the end, Gus just ran out of gas in the 5th.
Jones connected on a spinning back elbow in the 4th which seemed to turn the match around. The judge’s scorecards reflected a 3-2 split with Jones on top although one judge had 4-1 in favor of Jones. However, most media scorecards had Jones winning with several outlets scoring it 4-1 for Jones.
For Jones, a Glover Texeira fight was set to be next however with such an exciting fight by Gustaffson, we may see a rematch before Texeira’s shot. Much banter is going back and forth about putting the fight on Super Bowl weekend in New Jersey.
Barao solidifies spot at 135
Despite a slow start, Renan Barao used a spin kick to derail Eddie Wineland in defense of the interim Bantamweight title. Barao has his eyes set on a date with Dominick Cruz to unify the titles. Cruz will have his work cut out for him. First, when will he be back? Not only will he be coming back from a 2 year absence, he will be going up against one of the hottest fighters in the UFC.
Attendance and gate
In its third time to the Air Canada Center, attendance was down but the gate revenue remained steady from its last visit. UFC 165 did 15,504 with a gate of $1.9 million. At UFC 152, it did more attendance (16,800) but same gate of $1.9 million.
Going into the event, there were concerns of dwindling gate revenue in the Toronto market but it appears that Saturday’s gate was on par with its last visit. However, the attendance was definitely smaller.
Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Jones-Gus
KO of the Night: Barao
Sub of the Night: Mitch Gagnon
Brendan Schaub could have received a sub of the night vote for his D’arce choke of Matt Mitrione. I guess coffee will not be on him in Venice as he had exclaimed during the post-fight octagon interview. Also, Stephen Thompson could have received a KO of the night for his work.
Promotion of the Fight
One of the more peculiar promos leading into a fight was the fact that the UFC highlighted the reach of Gus versus Jones. While we’ve seen the UFC highlight size (e.g., Lesnar v. Overeem at UFC 141), I cannot think of a time when reach has been a selling point. Obviously, the underlying point is that perhaps Gus could do something against Jones whereas others have not.
Jon Jones threw out the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game. This would have drew more press and fans if the Blue Jays had held up its end of the bargain by contending for a pennant as was predicted at the beginning of this season. The Jays did play the Yankees and of course Jones is seen talking with Alex Rodriguez.
The Octagon sponsors included Assassin’s Creed IV (the presenting sponsor), Alienware, Tapout, AXS TV, UFC Gym, MusclePharm, , Ultimate Poker, Dodge, Xyience and Bud Light in the center.
Xyience had the fighter prep point for tonight. SafeAuto Insurance sponsored the Tale of the Tape. And, Harley Davidson ran commercials during the PPV for UFC 166 which promoted Project Rushmore.
The big news was the addition of Gatorade as a sponsor for Jon Jones. This, and Nike were, Jones’ only sponsors. ESPN’s Darren Rovell cast doubt on Gatorade’s sponsorship of Jones but later recanted citing that the sponsorship was a “one off” and unusual for the brand.
Jones was featured in more Nike Pro Training Ads (h/t FighterxFashion) and had a brief cameo in the latest Nike commercial. He also had more shirts added to his Nike Collection including a “Not Quite Human” t-shirt he wore during the walkout. Again, Jones threw out his Nike shoes to the crowd at the weigh-ins.
Alexsander Gustaffson thanked his sponsors in his post-octagon interview including Bad Boy. The clothing brand also showed training video of Gus before his fight.
A sponsor that has been around but has yet to be recognized here: Chegg. An online student textbook store. The logo is clear and easy to see and comes at a time when some students are heading back to school. Just needed to know what it was.
Post-UFC 165 headlines
Who does Jones fight next? Glover Texeira was next in line and was even interviewed on the PPV after the fight. But, how can the UFC not capitalize on the 165 momentum. Jones has been steamrolling over fighters in the division without much damage except for a broken big toe. At UFC 165, his face was busted and his takedowns were stuffed all night long. Doesn’t Gus deserve a rematch? Then again, Texeira could be a tougher opponent for Jones and with a game plan to attack the champ, Texeira might be the guy to finally topple Jones.
When will Cruz be ready? Dominick Cruz has been out of action for the past 2 years. If he cannot face Renan Barao in the first quarter of 2014, Barao should have the interim tag removed from the title. Cruz has been a great commentator for the UFC, but if he cannot go, he should retire and allow the UFC to crown Barao the champion. A Barao-Cruz fight would be interesting but how much has Cruz lost in the two years away?
Odds and ends
- Not spoken by many, the actual PPV went approximately 3:40. It hasn’t gone over 3 hours since its return to Japan at UFC 144.
- Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors were at UFC 165. Gay was shown during the PPV broadcast. Ross tweeted he was there supporting Jon Jones.
- Something that the Prelims is doing is having the live camera in the corner of the fighters in between rounds while showing commercials in multi-split screen. Its an interesting way to keep the cameras going while getting the ads in.
- We found out that the thing Khabib wears on his head is a traditional Russian headdress.
- The event saw two fighters go unconscious from submissions.
- Maybe Schaub redeemed himself with his BJJ skills from his grappling match this summer at Metamoris.
On Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer podcast, he predicted that the buy rate may be around 380,000 PPV buys. A part of the explanation has to do with the fact that fans see that October, November and December have great PPV cards and 165 was a little less. Moreover, many fight fans just spent $75 on Mayweather-Canelo. Another $55 would put a hefty dent in PPVs for the month. Thus, a consumer’s choice not to purchase this PPV. Realistically, aside from Jones, there were no other big names to promote. The UFC did not highlight the Bantamweight title matchup and Gustafsson going into the fight. A PPV number around 300-350K is likely here.
September 16, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we look at “The One,” the fight between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Mayweather dominates in Majority Decision
The look on Mayweather’s face when a Majority Decision was announced was not worth the $75 PPV price tag but it was still pretty good. Notably, CJ Ross judged the Pacquiao-Bradley fight which makes one wonder if there are no other qualified judges out there.
The 36 year old did what he does in muting a game Canelo Alvarez. While the judges may have thought it close, there was never a time that Mayweather looked to be in trouble.
Mayweather has indicated that he would like to fight Cinco de Mayo weekend 2014 with Danny Garcia and/or the winner of Amir Khan/Devon Alexander fight. A Khan fight may be the most entertaining based on the styles. A Danny Garcia fight might be the best for promoting the fight with Angel Garcia and Floyd Sr. as sideshow entertainment.
Alvarez had a decent showing yet it would be hard to find a round you can say he won. People liked his utter disregard for Mayweather’s pleasantries which manifested itself with Canelo refusing to hold the belt with Mayweather post-weigh-in, during the fight a shoulder bump after a Mayweather liver shot and a low blow after having his head pushed down.
Garcia defeats Matthysse in slugfest
Angel Garcia is the father and mouthpiece for Danny Garcia and vowed he’d cut his own head off if his son would lose. Although Matthysse was the challenger, he was the favorite coming into the fight. But, Garcia was able to dominate Matthysse despite getting his mouthpiece knocked out (and replayed in slow motion) in the 11th round. Garcia eventually dropped Matthysse in the same round.
Garcia is an understated champion and hopefully with all the viewers for this event, he’ll grab some fans.
Attendance, gate, etc.
The MGM Grand was a sellout of 16,746 for a record gate of $20,003,150. The gate was an all-time record.
Moreover, the weigh-ins was at capacity with 12,200 people coming to watch the fighters get on the scale.
Closed circuit viewing of the event in Vegas were a sellout with tickets going for $100 and being sold for $150 on the secondary market. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Richard Schaefer indicated that it was a sellout with 26,355 tickets sold.
In addition, more bars across the nation showed the fight and the fight was available in more movie theatres (500) this time around.
Promotion of Fight
An unprecedented 11 city press tour which brought out thousands of fans. So big was the fight that the Garcia-Matthysse fight was to have its own mini-press tour.
The four episode All Access Showtime show was available online so even if you did not have Showtime, you could check it out. Nothing dramatic in these episodes, but a good primer for the fight. It was interesting that CBS did not show any of these episodes on the network.
One of the more underrated promotional tools for the fight is CBS Sports Network, Showtime and the 101 Network airing previous Canelo and Mayweather fights. The best thing about it. You get to see free PPV-quality fights.
ESPN The Magazine had a “Fight Issue” dedicated to the event and the LA Times also had a special section for “The One.”
Despite all of the platforms to watch the fight, PPV remains the central part of the business. Although it was a $75 price tag (in HD), expectations are that PPV will exceed 2 million buys.
If the bout does hit its ambitious PPV goals, credit the all-out marketing blitz that mixes target markets with mass markets, and high tech with old school media and promotions. In addition to the natural Hispanic market, promoters say they’re going heavily after the youth and female markets, the better to take advantage of Alvarez’s youth and good looks.
On Wednesday or Thursday of fight week, various athletes and stars tweeted out the fact that they had ordered “The One.” After comparing the tweets, it was obvious that it was part of a social marketing campaign for people to buy the PPV early.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 13, 2013
The sponsors in the ring included AT&T, Nature Nutrition, Valvoline, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Mexico (we assume the tourism board), Fred Loya Insurance and Corona in the center. Mexico sponsored the scale at the weigh-ins.
This event included record promotional spending of which CBS supported Showtime with $15-$20 million of promotional spots.
Valvoline offered a $35 rebate for the PPV if you purchased 5 quarts of motor oil. O’Reilly Auto parts was the presenting sponsor at movie theatres showing the fight. Corona had promotional displays at 15,000 stores in 32 states.
Danny Garcia’s shorts was a sponsor’s nightmare. It was hard to see the sponsors on his trunks unless you absolutely focused on them. I could make out Western Union as one of his sponsors. Also, Garcia had a Jumpman logo on the front of his trunks but wore Adidas ring shoes.
As if he needed more money, Floyd Mayweather pitched his line of “Money Wear” including shirts starting at $35 and his “TBE” hat going for $70.
Odds and Ends
-The weigh-ins included walk-ins for Matthysse, Garcia, Alvarez and Mayweather. No one took advantage of the walk-in more than Angel Garcia.
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) September 13, 2013
-Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber walked to ringside with Mayweather which made him the obvious choice as villain for the main event. Wayne rapped his way down to the ring without a shirt. He also watched the entire fight without a shirt either.
-Maybe one of the harder shots Danny Garcia took was when his father hit him in the ear between rounds to wake him up.
-”USA, USA” chants were booed down by the pro-Canelo crowd. A probable first in the states.
“The One” will go in the books as one of the biggest revenue generating fights in history. This summary did not even cover the fact that Mayweather will receive a guaranteed $41 million without even factoring in the other revenue streams. Canelo should receive at least $12 million not counting what he may earn from other revenue streams.
While we note how much will be made from this event, Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy and Showtime did outlay a lot of money with the hope of scoring big…which it looks like it did.
The marketing and promotion for this fight was all over and despite a $75 price tag, we may see a PPV revenue record broken. Will it exceed the number of buys of De La Hoya-Floyd (2.5 million)? Its not clear, but it should be close.
September 14, 2013
Want to raise passion among combat sport fans? Advise the world the death of a sport.
This happened with ESPN Pardon The Interruption recently as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the Stadler and Waldorf of the network talking heads decried that boxing was dead. Certainly, a part of this proclamation was to ignite a fire. It certainly drew the ire of ESPN’s own boxing writer Dan Rafael. On Friday, the two pondered whether a Mayweather win or a Canelo win would be good for the sport.
The two questioned that if Canelo won it would provide an immediate rematch with Mayweather which would regain boxing’s momentum as more people would get to know Canelo (and get behind the 23 year old) for an inevitable Cinco de Mayo redux. A Mayweather win would mean that the 36 year old would continue the Money train and handpick another fighter for the third of six fights on his Showtime contract. Its a sign of dominance of a sport that is rarely seen.
Personally, I like Kornheiser and Wilbon despite not agreeing with everything they might opine. Certainly, they aren’t fans of MMA, but I respect their opinions with the exception of Wilbon’s rudderless following of NBA protocol during its season.
But the PTI guys suggest that the sport is dead because its their belief that “The One” is just that – the one. There are no longer multiple big fights in a year. There is just a singular event that gets the fight fans revved up for a night. Moreover, there aren’t too many household names in boxing. Perhaps the introduction of a new name like Canelo will get more fans to take notice.
But, Kornheiser and Wilbon may be wrong. According to a survey in May, boxing is still popular among 30-44 year olds as well as the Spanish/Hispanic demographic. This is due to the fact that the older generation grew up with boxing on free television. As for the Spanish/Hispanic demographic, boxing stars of that ethnicity are more prevalent. Juan Manuel Marquez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. are prime examples. One need only think of Chavez, Jr and the Argentine Sergio Martinez fight from last year to recognize the nationalistic pride for country within the sport.
This year, the undercard of “The One” will feature Danny Garcia versus another Argentine Lucas Matthysse in a matchup that may have fight fans in their seats a little earlier than normal.
But if you are thinking about reasons why the sport is dying you may look to issues such a pay. While many boxers are compensated better than many MMA fighters, the problem of pay is an issue not just limited to MMA. Thus, fixes within the sport must be addressed.
The issue of corruption has always been a theme simmering under the surface of the sport. The Muhammad Ali Act was put into place to protect fighters. However, few fighters have taken advantage of the protections of the act and no fighters have prevailed in a lawsuit under the Act. The expense of litigation is one of the main factors that fighters do not utilize the Act. A recent law article in the Sports Lawyers Journal proposed that the Act be modified to allow the fighters to arbitrate their issues with promoters which would be less expensive and potentially promote more fighters to speak up if they feel wronged.
Then, there are the issues of performance enhancing drugs, the alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies and the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud which will refuse to put together fights. There’s a lot to clean up. But, no sport is perfect. Of course, no one is suggesting other sports are dead.
Boxing is not dead. But, will most of us be able to see it should be the question. Last year, it returned to network television on both NBC and CBS and did well ratings-wise. NBC Sports Network’s quarterly showings of boxing events have had decent showings as well. On the other hand, FS1’s Golden Boy offerings have not done well in the ratings although it may be too soon to tell. The recent signing of boxers by Showtime has developed a rivalry with HBO. The issue for consumers is whether its worth spending money on the premium channels to watch the fights the networks provide. If you are not fans of “Homeland” or “Boardwalk Empire”, would you really want to spend an extra $30 on your cable bill just to see boxing?
Saturday’s PPV event will remind the sporting world that boxing is a spectacle and if more people were exposed to its fighters, it might regain the recognition it once had.
September 13, 2013
MMA Junkie reports on the inauspicious retirement of Matthew Riddle. Fed up with the state of MMA, Riddle voiced his displeasure with Bellator and the UFC.
According to Riddle he has made an average of $50,000 a year with the UFC. He was released from the UFC due to failing multiple drug tests. An injury forced him out of his first Bellator fight and he received word from Bellator that he would not receive a fight the rest of this year. Fed up with MMA promotions and with a family to support, Riddle decided to retire and find a job.
Via MMA Junkie:
“When Bellator bought out my contract they said, ‘We’re family, we take care of our own,’” Riddle said. “But then I crack a rib two weeks out from a fight and ask for an extension, like Joe Warren got, and I get told no. Then I ask if I can fight before the end of the year and I get told no on that. I’ve got three kids, man. When they bought me out of the Legacy contract, that was back in May. They kept me on the bench from May until September. I got hurt for September and now they say they can’t get me a fight until January or February. The bottom line is, I’ve got a wife and three kids. I’ve got bills I have to pay.”
With the UFC being talked about, it was inevitable that Dana White would respond. White stated that Riddle made $162,000 a year from 2011 to 2013. He indicated that the reason he is not in the UFC anymore was because of failing drug tests. Riddle tested positive for marijuana in two of his last three fights.
Riddle’s last 5 UFC Fights
UFC on Fuel TV: Barao v. McDonald – no official salary released February 2013
UFC 154 – no official salary released November 17, 2012
UFC 149 – no official salary released $65,000 Sub of the Night bonus July 2012
UFC 143 $30,000 ($15K/$15k) – February 2012
UFC Fight Night – no official salary released $55,000 FOTN bonus – September 2011
Riddle went 4-1 in his last 5 UFC fights. However, UFC 149 and UFC on Fuel TV: Barao v. McDonald were wins that were overturned due to failed drug tests.
Riddle’s case is not out of the ordinary. Many fighters have found the issues of waiting for a fight frustrating and with the latest news from Bellator seems to have been the last straw. Of course in the article, Riddle did leave the possibility of returning to fighting in the future open. Still, from Riddle’s perspective, the physical toll it has taken on him and the uncertainty of income may have been the determinative factors for a career change. Riddle definitely contributed to his demise with failing drug tests which caused the UFC to cut him. As White pointed out, most employers will drug test in the workplace.
The question as to how much Riddle made is an interesting one. Riddles states he made $50,000 a year while White contends he made $162,000 a year while in the UFC. Who you believe may be based on White’s comment that he pays fighters for three fights a year even if they do not have those fights (1:10 mark). Essentially, if White cannot book the fighter three fights in a year, he will still compensate the fighter. This would be contrary to Riddle’s claim his salary was dependent on fighting. Only one official salary report is available from Riddle’s past five fights in the UFC which were from 2011 to 2013. At UFC 143 in February 2012 he made $15K to show and additional $15K for the win. Riddle did receive a $65,000 Submission of the Night bonus ar UFC 149 (July 2012) and a $55,000 Fight of the Night bonus bonus for UFC Fight Night: Shields v. Ellenberger (September 2011). Riddle was fined at UFC 149 for a failed drug test so its not clear whether he kept the $65K bonus.
But, based on White’s comments, it indicates that Riddle would have made an average of $54,000 per fight. $162,000 divided by 3 fights. This would mean that Riddle received huge unreported locker room bonuses or was paid by other means (i.e. appearances). If Riddle had a base of around $15K in 2012, that would mean he received big bonuses. Then again, if he failed post-fight drug tests, its unlikely he would receive any extra money.
Its also interesting around the 3:00 mark White blasts MMA Junkie for not reporting “both sides of the story.” This appears to be based on the fact that the web site did not state that Riddle was quoted in a podcast interview (around 30:00 mark) where he stated that marijuana probably keeps him from abusing his kids “because they’re always screaming and crying.” Junkie does state that Riddle tested positive in two of his last three UFC fights.
September 12, 2013
How much do UFC fighters receive for having their likenesses in video games? If you’re Carlos Condit its $22,500. This was revealed in a lawsuit filed by Condit’s tattoo artist against the makers of the UFC video game according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The legal wrangling arises out of the THQ bankruptcy and the bankruptcy court’s valuation of a copyright infringement claim by Condit’s tattoo artist, Christopher Escobedo. Condit’s lion tattoo over his rib cage is displayed in the video game, UFC Undisputed. Escobedo inked the tattoo on Condit.
Since THQ is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the lawsuit that was originally filed in Arizona Federal Court came under the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court. Escobedo’s original complaint requested damages in the amount of $4.16 million which was 2% of all post-bankruptcy petition sales.
Escobedo’s rationale for the hefty amount was based on the sales of the game (4.1 million units of the game sold), that Condit was a popular fighter (as he was the interim Welterweight champ at the time) and Condit’s character appeared in the video game with the visible image of the lion tattoo. Escobedo’s lawyer argued that the Court should take into consideration what a hypothetical negotiation would produce between Escobedo and THQ. The Bankruptcy Court did not agree and determined the value to Escobedo was the same amount that Condit was paid for his likeness: $22,500. Even after a motion for reconsideration, the Court was not swayed.
The Court provided this guidance as to its ruling:
“As THQI demonstrated, the value of Escobedo’s claim must be reduced to reflect (a) the exceedingly low value of a license of a single tattoo to a game depicting more than a hundred fighters, hundreds of tattoos and songs, and myriad other creative elements, (b) the likelihood that a tattoo on another person’s body is not copyrightable, (c) the likelihood that Condit has an implied license to license to THQ his own digital image (including an image of the Lion Tattoo), without restriction by a tattoo artist; and (d) the likelihood that, if the Lion Tattoo is copyrightable, Condit would have to at least be considered a joint author of the tattoo with an equal right to license it to others.”
Tattoo copyright issues is starting to become a concern and has drawn notice from the NFL and its player’s union due to potential liability issues. Its an interesting question as to 1) who own’s the copyright on the tattoo? 2) whether the actual artist should be compensated for its depiction? 3) what are the rights of the individual that actually has the tattoo?
But maybe the first question is whether a tattoo deserves copyright protection. While most legal analysts believe that a tattoo can be copyrightable, one has to consider whether the individual sporting the ink has an implied license once they leave the tattoo parlor. One of the proposed ways to address the situation is to have tattoo artists sign waivers for their work and/or compensate the artists in other ways (autographed ball, shorts or maybe tweeting out the work with the artist’s handle). It appears that most times that level of publicity is want the artists wants for business.
The one other takeaway from the Escobedo claim is that Condit received $22,500 for his likeness in the video game which makes one consider the pay of other lesser and more known fighters in the video game. Its another area of compensation in addition to actual fighting.
September 11, 2013
Dana White announced today on UFC Tonight on FS1 that Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn would be the coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. Edgar and Penn will fight in their third fight but this time at Featherweight.
In perhaps bigger news, White indicated that Penn has re-signed with the UFC.
Via UFC press release:
“BJ Penn is moving down to 145 lbs. to coach The Ultimate Fighter against Frankie Edgar,” said UFC President Dana White. “BJ really hates the fact that he lost to Frankie Edgar. It’s something that’s been burning deep inside of him for three years now. So he’s moving down to 145 lbs. to not only avenge those defeats, but to try and become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in three different weight classes.”
Widely considered one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, Penn (16-9-2 in MMA) is one of only two men to win UFC world titles in two separate divisions. The former welterweight and lightweight champion has defeated a Who’s Who of MMA, including UFC champions Matt Hughes, Matt Serra and Sean Sherk. His reign over the UFC’s 155lbs. division was ended in 2010’s Upset of the Year, when he was outpointed by Frankie Edgar. “The Prodigy” not only returns to the UFC but also The Ultimate Fighter, after coaching season five back in 2007.
Filming begins this October.
White indicated that Urijah Faber was thought to be a potential candidate to coach opposite Edgar but could not come to a decision on what weight to fight. White stated that Penn wanted to fight Benson Henderson but it seems that there was a better idea.
Penn was dominated by Rory MacDonald in his last fight in December and there was speculation that he would retire. Penn looked awful in his last showing against MacDonald but it appears as though he wants one last run. The matchup does not make sense for Edgar as he’s beaten Penn in their first two matchups. Moreover, the cut down to 145 may be very difficult for Penn.
Penn is a Hall of Famer and having him as a coach on TUF may draw some viewers. He’s still widely popular and Honolulu (although not his actual hometown) is the #1 market for avid fans of the UFC. While we don’t have the ratings of TUF when he coached opposite Jens Pulver we will try to dig those up.
Does the Edgar-Penn TUF entice you to watch the series?
September 4, 2013
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is guaranteed $41.5 million in his upcoming fight with Canelo Alvarez. Mayweather’s take and some other hefty financial terms were revealed regarding the September 14th event entitled, “The One”.
According to Forbes, the Mayweather guaranteed payday is even before any of the PPV cut which is to approximate a total of $140 million if the Golden Boy prediction of 2 million PPV buys is correct. Also, Mayweather will receive a portion of the closed circuit and movie theatre showings. 500 theatres will carry the Mayweather-Canelo fight which is 5 times as many as the previous high. In a teleconference held today, Mayweather rep Leonard Ellerbee stated that almost all tickets for the closed circuit showings in Vegas are sold out. There are approximately 25,000 seats at $100 per ticket.
The gate for Canelo-Mayweather will have the largest gate in combat sports history as it will come in at $19,905,000 according to the Sports Business Daily (subscription required). SBD also indicates that sponsors will be paying rights fees of $2 million. Seven sponsors have signed up including AT&T, Corona and Valvoline.
The guaranteed payday as well as the multiple revenue streams shows Mayweather’s business acumen. While Showtime and Golden Boy have spent a lot of money to promote the fight including a multi-city press tour, huge promotional and marketing campaigns and 360 shoulder programming, it appears that based on the gate and closed circuit sales, a lot of fans are excited about this fight. We will see if the PPV buys will break a record.
On a side note, ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted Dana White about whether a UFC fighter would ever make $41.5 million. Of course, White tweeted back.
Question for my man @danawhite: Could a UFC fighter ever earn the guaranteed $41.5 million that Floyd Mayweather will earn next week?
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) September 5, 2013
@danrafaelespn we have been here for 13 years started making $ in 2007 continue to grow in the US and globally so I would have to say yes.
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 5, 2013
@danrafaelespn I love to see boxing kill it like this. I hope they break the PPV record too. It shows how many people will Buy right fight
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 5, 2013
September 2, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we go to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and take a look at UFC 164 where the lightweight title changed hands.
Stain remains for Bendo as Showtime subs Henderson
In a sudden, decisive and anti-climactic way, Benson Henderson’s title reign ended Saturday as Anthony Pettis made Bendo submit to an armbar in the first round. Henderson, a newly minted jiu jitsu black belt appeared to use a technique known as the “can opener” while in Pettis’ guard (a move used by GSP as well) to improve position and open guard. The problem is that the technique is susceptible to an armbar.
Pettis wins the lightweight title and might have a shot at Jose Aldo in his next fight dependent on the status of his knee. A bad spot for Henderson here. With the decisive loss, Henderson will have to wait for Pettis to lose the title and/or win a couple fights in a row in decisive fashion. For a guy that defended the belt three times and having to had defend it a fourth time in Pettis’ hometown, and then told he wouldn’t get a rematch, it has to be deflating.
War Master KOs Mir
Both guys have reasons to hate them. In this battle, Barnett was able to land a knee which took Mir down. While the stoppage may have been premature, Mir did not look like someone that could have made a comeback. It will be interesting to see where the UFC puts Barnett next. He could be a contender, but he did just fight a past his prime Mir. As some have suggested, a Mir-Overeem matchup seems just right for so many reasons.
Mendes takes care of The Carpenter
Chad Mendes solidified his position as next in line for the Featherweight title as he knocked out Clay Guida. Prior to the stoppage, Guida had never been stopped in his career.
Its his fourth straight stoppage since being stopped himself by Jose Aldo in January 2012. Depending on whether Aldo fights Pettis, Mendes should get the next shot at Aldo. If not, Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson seem ready for him.
Rothwell stops The Truth
Ben Rothwell decided to do a “Clay Guida” like impression in the final round of his fight with Brandon Vera and overwhelmed Vera causing him to cover himself waiting for the ref to stop the fight. Rothwell used his post-Octagon interview time to thank the fans and then call out Travis Browne. For the second straight fight, Vera was in a position where he waited for the ref stoppage (Shogun Rua stopped Vera last August in similar fashion).
Attendance, Gate and Bonuses
As we reported earlier, attendance was 9,178 for a gate of $907,116. It was decisively better for a previous visit to the Bradley Center for a UFC on Versus 5 card.
Bonuses of $50K each were given to Anthony Pettis (Sub), Chad Mendes (KO) and Hyung Gim Lin and Pascal Krauss (FOTN). Arguably, Lin could have been a double recipient for KO. Magnus Cedenblad could have had the Sub of the Night as well for his quick work on the prelim card.
The Countdown show featured The Showtime Kick…of course. Aside from hearing about the history of the fight that shut down the WEC, the feature on Josh Barnett and Frank Mir was excellent. It reminded people that both these guys held the UFC title at one point.
The Octagon sponsors included TapouT, UltimatePoker.net, Dodge, MetroPCS, MusclePharm, the latest video game from Assassin’s Creed, Harley Davidson and Bud Light in the center. The Discovery Channel’s Ahmish Mafia also sponsored the PPV which I do not quite understand.
UFC 164 was sponsored/presented by Harley Davidson which presented its Hometown Throwdown promotion for the 110th Anniversary of the company. It had a special “110” logo on the Octagon mat to commemorate the occasion. Also, Harley Davidsons graced the stage during the weigh-ins and Arianny and Brittany wore the branded colors of Harley Davidson. There were also Harley Davidson events which included UFC fighters doing autograph signings as part of the brand activation.
Pettis’ sponsors included Hayabusa, Headrush, Corn Nuts and Toyo Tires. Henderson was sponsored by Dethrone which also came out with Dethrone “toothpicks”. Phoenix International Speedway, Musclepharm and Training Mask were the ex-champs other sponsors. FighterxFashion has Henderson’s fight shorts here which depicts the fact he now has a jiu jitsu black belt.
Hayabusa had a cadre of fighters wearing its shorts including Pettis.
Frank Mir was sponsored by the UFC and also wore out the UFC sponsored Monster Headphones to the ring. He also had big logos for Midway, which appears to be some sort of exercise equipment.
Post-UFC 164 Headlines
Who is next for Pettis? It was made clear that Benson Henderson would not get a rematch. It appears that Pettis may want to go after Jose Aldo which begs the questions of whether the UFC wants a “superfight” between two of its division champions which it could market and sell for the possibility of a high PPV number. Or, does the UFC make Pettis defend against TJ Grant. While he’s earned the shot, Grant is not really known and would not elevate Pettis in terms of PPV star. While Pettis is not a PPV draw yet, he has the entertaining style, good looks and great backstory to be a guy people would want to follow (one might recall his “World of Jenks” episode) He is a marketable fighter and one would think the UFC needs to capitalize on this.
Truth departure likely delayed. The UFC has been kind to Brandon Vera. He was cut but that was rescinded when it was discovered that Thiago Silva tested positive for a banned substance. The announcement that the UFC wants to head to the Philippines in 2014 means that Vera is likely to stay in the UFC to help promote the visit as well as fight. Aside from this, there is no reason why Vera should stay.
Odds and Ends
-Since its debut on FS1, it appears that the UFC is putting up Vegas Odds in the introductory fighter graphic. An interesting move. Does this encourage people to gamble?
-Pettis’ chain he wore post-fight was a nice touch.
-Somewhere Brian Stann was likely smiling. Vera had called out Brian Stann for questioning Phil Davis’ win over Lyoto Machida.
-Sure Barnett has had a checkered past, but how can you not like a guy that almost suplexed Joe Rogan in his post-Octagon interview.
-Doesn’t Tim Elliott look like the WWE’s Daniel Bryan?
-Dethrone trotted out Benson Henderson toothpicks (via FighterxFashion) so you too can learn this disgusting habit.
It was an entertaining card which had a very intriguing rematch in the main event. But was that enough? The start of college football season and the three day weekend may contribute to a lower PPV buy rate. In addition, the lack of a true PPV star will limit the amount of buys. One might expect around 300,000 buys for this event.