Show Money 28 talks UFC PPV buys, Endeavor buyout rumors and ONE

May 22, 2019

Its once again that time when we talk with John Nash and Paul Gift about the business of combat sports.

UFC Holdings follows market trend of reducing ‘debt cushion’

May 17, 2019

The Wall Street Journal reported late last month that the UFC was paying off its junior loan utilizing a senior one in order to reduce its overall debt load.  The move comes on the heels of an exclusive PPV deal with ESPN and the lack of concern that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.  The reduction of ‘debt cushion’ is a market trend by some companies to the chagrin of senior debt holders.

UFC Holdings, the official name of the entity for the UFC, sold $435 million of an add-on to an existing $1.44 billion loan that was due in 2023 and now has been extended to 2026.  The addition to the loan was sold at $99.75 on the dollar which included a discount to where the existing debt traded.  The company also paid existing loan holders a modest fee to allow the transaction.

The new debt will be used to pay off a more junior loan which eliminates a ‘debt cushion’ for senior lenders as junior debt (i.e., bonds and loans) are typically the first pieces of debt to absorb losses in bankruptcy.  Essentially, if the company were to go bankrupt the junior loans would be the most vulnerable in not being paid back as the most senior creditors would have the first chance at the assets which may leave junior debt out of luck in repayment. In this case, the junior loan had a higher interest rate than the senior loan.  The floating interest rate on the junior loan has been the London interbank offered rate plus 7.5%, or 4.25 percentage points higher than the rate on the senior loan.  Thus, the move aids in eliminating interest on the junior debt.

The transaction seems to be a growing trend in debt financing as more companies are reducing ‘debt cushion.’  This occurs in instances of speculative grade loans and instances where the junior loan has a higher interest rate than the senior loan.  To the chagrin of senior debt holders, paying down a junior loan is not favored as one might recognize that paying down a junior debt means that in the worst-case scenario for a senior debt holder, if a bankruptcy were to occur, assets previously used to pay off the junior debt will not be there to pay off the senior debt.

Via WSJ:

Last year, buyers of first-lien loans were paid 0.83 percentage point above the benchmark London interbank offered rate for every multiple the loans exceeded a measure of borrowers’ cash flow, according to LCD. That was the smallest amount since 2007, when lenders were paid just 0.69 percentage point.

Also, according to WSJ, 27% of first-lien loans, mostly held by senior type of debt held by investors were not backed by companies that didn’t have junior outstanding debt.

If you were wondering, this is analogous to using a credit card to pay off one with a higher interest rate.  Using a loan to pay off another might not seem like the most financially secure way to address debt load issues for a company and concerns senior debtholders that hold priority over the junior debtholders.  But a number of factors (as outlined above) likely made this move prudent.  First, Disney’s 7-year agreement to pay a “fixed license fee” to air its PPV fights exclusively in North America was seen as to “dramatically reduce the volatility” of UFC’s business.  Secondly, the market to purchase debt is on an uptick.

Here’s another reason that reducing debt cushion is a thing.  According to Moody’s, the company’s debt to EBITDA would fall to 5.5 times from 7.8 times which is said to potentially put lenders in a stronger position even without a debt cushion.  UFC Holdings’ existing loans in 2016 were said to have an EBITDA of $170 million by one measure and $300 million by another which was based on speculative future TV revenue.  Regardless, it borrowed another $100 million in 2017.

Of course, we may now know a little more about the TV revenue since its deal with ESPN.  Moreover, the deal likely assuages lenders about the debt.  Essentially, the speculative nature of the deal became less speculative.

The move pays off the interest rate of the junior debt but senior debt holders are weary as there is potential for not being made whole at the end.  But, it lowers its overall multiple which would allow it to be more lucid in investing and future debt restructuring.

These legends will not fade away

May 14, 2019

The two legends of MMA are nearing the end of their run and it seems as though that they are wearing out the tread on their status as legends in the sport.  Sure, history tends to be kind the farther from the present we get and when we look back 20 years from now on the careers of Anderson Silva and BJ Penn we will remember their prime, not this version of themselves.

This past Saturday B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva lost at UFC 237.  For both, the defeats reflect the downside of their careers and brings up the question of whether each should retire.

Penn lost to Clay Guida in a bout which saw the always active ‘Carpenter’ outwork a slow and plodding former champion.  The loss had Penn fall to 1-11-1 since 2010 and a current 7 fight losing streak. The losing streak has shown that his best is far behind him.  Even his grappling game, a superior strength, was shown to have eroded as Ryan Hall rolled up a knee bar on the former BJJ World Champ and tapped him with ease at UFC 232.  If not for being BJ Penn, he would have been let go by the UFC.

For Silva, once the ‘must see’ fighter for the promotion, he once again fell to an up-and-coming fighter, Jared Cannonier.  If not for an improbable win against Derek Brunson at UFC 208, Silva probably would not have scored a win since his last fight on a Brazil PPV in December 2012.

Yet, Silva posted a message via social media that he will continue to fight.  A portion of his message to fans read:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Fala meu povo. ATE O LIMITE… A dor é sua amiga … Ela mostra que vc não esta morto ainda. Dizem por aí que grandes símbolos tornam-se grandes alvos, talvez… mas a coisa mais importante é não se vitimizar se caiu levante, se quebrou conserte, nada de desistir ou achar que não consegue porque perdeu uma batalha. O ditado e um só, eu vou até o fim e quanto mais me pressionarem mas eu vou querer ir até o fim, não existe nada selvagem que sinta pena de si mesmo, um leão velho rodeado de hienas famintas loucas para devora-lo e ele mesmo assim luta até a morte sem nunca ter sentido pena de si mesmo, e não será diferente comigo!!!! Foça e Honra!!!

A post shared by Anderson “The Spider” Silva (@spiderandersonsilva) on

An old lion surrounded by hungry hienas (sic), crazy to devour him and he still fights to the death without ever feeling sorry for himself.

This passage seems the most prescient of the message and the ‘fighting to the death’ most alarming. But Silva has not looked bad in the ring as compared to Penn.  Yet, Silva’s loss to Cannonier which may have seen another leg injury in the Octagon, is a sign of his body betraying his mind.

Penn’s relation to reality may be more delusional. Protected from the media during fight week from needing to answer questions regarding his alleged domestic violence and threatening a farmer with a machete, Penn claimed that he was going to make another run at a UFC title.  Far from the ‘Prodigy’ that was a two-division champion and an elite-tier MMA star during the start of the Fertitta-run, Penn’s continued stay in the UFC seems to be more of a favor from the promotion that utilized his stardom and now his paychecks may be more of his pension plan.

It’s clear that both these fighters still believe that they will fight on.  They have been so good at this sport for so long and dedicated so much time and effort to their craft, that it’s not hard to believe that they wouldn’t know what to do without it.

Penn and Silva, like Georges St-Pierre who retired earlier this year are dedicated martial arts.  Unlike other ‘fighters’ in this sport, these three men dedicated a large portion of their lives to martial arts.  And, it wouldn’t be surprising if all three were to keep practicing even after active competition.  But, when should active competition end for Penn and Silva?

Even if they were to announce their retirements, it would be little assurance that they wouldn’t return.  Look at Tito Ortiz.  Even after a brief ‘renaissance run’ in the UFC with a submission of eventually double champ Ryan Bader, he went on to Bellator for a stint and then reappeared in November to put down another elder statesmen of MMA Chuck Liddell.  He now will be in Combates Americas threatening to fight again.

Certainly, if the UFC were to persuade Penn and Silva to stop fighting for the promotion, its easy to believe that Scott Coker or Combates Americas would scoop them up to aid in building their brand.

There are those that have decided on retiring from MMA early to focus on other goals in their lives.  Rose Namajunas said as much after losing via an ugly slam that looked as though she had broken her neck for sure.  Threats to health like that are sure to make one realize the fragility of health and Namajunas seems holistic in her view of life that she will not have an issue when retiring.  With that being said, it’s my own opinion that Namajunas will be back in the Octagon.  Although she is willing to leave on her own terms, she will want at least one more attempt at regaining her title.

To the chagrin of many MMA hardcores, Ronda Rousey returned to UFC TV to talk about life after the UFC.  Her last Octagon appearance – a brutal bashing by Amanda Nunes that left her upright but unconscious – confirmed to Rousey that she was done with the sport.  A second career in the WWE should be deemed successful even if she is moving on from that part of her life as well.

This past weekend’s fights should have confirmed to the MMA fan that BJ Penn and Anderson Silva have nothing more to gain, and more importantly, nothing more to show for the UFC and MMA audience.

But for each, strength of mindset, perservence and likely stubbornness means that they are not listening to any of it and as Silva claimed will ‘fight to the death’ and not fell sorry for themselves.

This, even though, we might feel sorry for them.

You can also find this on Medium.

NAC discloses attendance and gate for Canelo-Jacobs

May 13, 2019

The Nevada Athletic Commission has released the attendance and gate for the May 4th fight between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The event was the sixth largest boxing event at the T-Mobile Arena with the top 5 involving Canelo.  The other event, Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor had the largest gate with $55,414,865.79, drawing 13,094.

The other events included:

Canelo-GGG I, 9/16/17 – 17,318 for a gate of $27,059,850

Canelo-GGG II, 9/15/18 – 13,732 for a gate of $24,473,500

Mayweather-Canelo, 9/14/13 – 16,146 for a gate of $20,003,150

Canelo-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr, 5/16/17 – 17,143 for a gate of $10,631,850

Canelo-Daniel Jacobs, 5/04/19 – 15,730 for a gate of $8,685,750

Also, of note, there were 1,388 comps for the event.

Payout Perspective:

While it might be the lowest gate of the Canelo events listed above, Canelo-Jacobs did draw more than the second GGG fight. Admittedly, the other fights on this list had more heat and drawing power.  Not that Daniel Jacobs was not a worthy opponent for Canelo, but the others on this list already had a name many casual fans were aware of prior to the fight.  JCC, Jr. rode his family lineage for his popularity and therefore the big attendance and gate for that fight.

Payout Perspective: Canelo-Jacobs

May 6, 2019

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs fight taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alvarez handles Jacobs for unanimous decision

Canelo Alvarez put on a great performance against Daniel Jacobs in the matchup between the two 160-pound boxers on Saturday night.  It was the best Alvarez had looked as he used impeccable head movement, speed and power to outpoint Jacobs.  While Jacobs was able to get in some good rounds, Alvarez’s chin held up when he was not slipping and sliding past shots.

Sponsorships

For this DAZN event, Tecate remained a prominent sponsor for this fight.   Per Forbes.com, it had a pool table, green screen photo booth, full-size boxing ring and Tecate Bold Punch, a punching bag machine.

While Tecate previously offered rebates off of PPV purchases of big fights it sponsored, it still gave out $20 mail-in rebates for purchasing Tecate at participating stores.

There were no other sponsors on the mat for Saturday night.  Jacobs’ promoter, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Boxing were also on the mat.

Roger Dubois, the high-end, swiss watch manufacturer was on the front of Canelo’s trunks. Hennessy, another Canelo sponsor, was featured prominently during the lead-up to the fight.    He was an Under Armour-sponsored athlete but he revealed during an episode of Sneaker Shopping that he was a free agent.

DAZN stream and production

The weigh-ins came under criticism due to issues with the stream which broke up in spots. Also, the length of time for the weigh-ins (over 2 hours), seemed to border on self-indulgent rather than promotional.

With DAZN’s new payment structure, there was skepticism as to whether the technology would hold up when an influx of people ordered the service for $19.99 per month the day of the fight.

The answer.  Similar to ESPN+’s first foray into same-day digital purchases, there were issues.

In addition, many were not pleased with the announce booth.  Specifically, there were many fans tweeting about how much they favored Canelo.

Payouts

The Nevada Athletic Commission disclosed a portion of the payouts for the event which included Canelo receiving $35 million. Daniel Jacobs made $2.5 million although his DAZN contract indicated he’d make a guarantee of over $10 million.  He was docked $1 million for being over the contracted day of fight weigh-in.  The rest of the fight card payouts are here.

Odds and ends

Notably, Canelo Alvarez made an appearance on Complex.com’s Sneaker Shopping. He listed himself as a shoe ‘free agent.’  During the episode he purchased several pairs of Nikes and one pair of Adidas.

“Canelo vs. Jacobs channel” drew over 1 million google searches Saturday night which likely is due to people trying to find DAZN.  “Canelo” drew over 1 million google searches on Friday.

Maverick Carter and LeBron James’ production company did the ‘behind the scenes’ episodes for the fight, dubbed ’40 Days’ it premiered on DAZN as a primer for the fight.

Top Rank on ESPN ran an event from Stockton, California at the same time as the DAZN event.

Conclusion

We probably never know the amount of views the DAZN event since those numbers are private.  The event was also on shown in theaters so there may be some barometer as to the level of interest this fight had with boxing fans.  One has to think there were many casual fans clamoring to sign up for DAZN.  The question will be whether its a ‘one and done’ situation or will they stick around for more boxing.  It’s hard to say with such a mediocre review of the production and broadcasting.  Yet, having Canelo Alvarez in your stable with a potential trilogy fight upcoming versus GGG should grab more subscriptions.

Harris threatens lawsuit against supplement maker/distributor after serving USADA suspension

May 2, 2019

UFC Heavyweight Walt Harris states that he will take legal action against the maker and distributor of a supplement that caused him to be suspended per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

A win over Andrei Arlovski was overturned due to the failed USADA test.  It was discovered that a supplement he ingested was tainted with the anabolic agent LGD-4033.

Harris, speaking to reporters this week ahead of his upcoming fight against Sergey Spivak, he indicated that he was upset about his reputation being damaged.  Issues of jurisdiction remain a question prior to filing of Harris’ lawsuit according to his representatives.

In recent memory, Lyman Good and Tim Means have filed lawsuits against supplement makers and distributors based on their USADA suspensions.  Both cases are still pending New York and New Mexico respectively.

USADA had reduced its mandatory two-year sentence for a first offense to four months due to mitigating circumstances as Harris worked with USADA and was able to pinpoint the supplement which caused the issue. It was Harris’ first offense.

Payout Perspective:

While Harris may have viable claims, the question will be whether he will want to endure the time and cost it will take for him to go through a lawsuit.  Also, is he willing to disclose information about his earnings to recover damages and restore his name?  Harris received just a 4-month suspension and had his win reversed to a no-contest. Damages may be minimal as opposed to the legal costs involved.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Jon Fitch reflects upon his start in MMA in book featuring personal journals

April 24, 2019

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Jon Fitch about his upcoming fight this Saturday with Rory MacDonald in addition to a book he released late last year about his time starting out in MMA.

The book, Falling Upwards/Death by Ego, Fitch draws upon journals he has kept throughout the years which included his start in MMA.

After learning about the sport of MMA while an amateur wrestler at Purdue, Fitch drove across country to AKA in San Jose to train to be a mixed martial artist.  The book reveals personal journals about his training, life and scraping together a living while working towards a goal of being in MMA.  “Self-therapy,” is what Fitch attributes to publishing the book.  “I wanted to tap back in and get back into that mindset of that hungry, young athlete.  It brought me back into a different place.”

Fitch admits that he was apprehensive about publishing his private journals for the public to see.  The book does not edit out his journal entries although Fitch provides some editorial context to what he was thinking at the time.  “Why should you be embarrassed of your life?” Fitch stated about publishing the journals.  “More importantly, there are people that have gone through similar situations [in their life]. If they can see somebody else there, they might be able to get through the tough spot.”

In retrospect, Fitch notes that his career in MMA including a lot of luck.  As many know, Fitch went to Purdue University where he was a part of the wrestling team. Tom Erickson, Purdue’s head coach, was a former Pride fighter.  Mark Coleman and Gary Goodrich trained with the team at times and would tell stories about their trips, travels and money they were making.  “It was real life bloodsport stuff,” Fitch described, “It was a much more interesting life.”

With a stipend for grad school after graduating from Purdue, Fitch started to train MMA in Indiana with not a lot of support.  He recalls training with the Purdue Judo Club because they were the only club around at the time that resembled MMA. He met up with former UFC veteran Brian Ebersole and became obsessed with martial arts.  He then saw a DVD with Frank Shamrock fighting Tito Ortiz that changed his life.  “I want to train where that guy [Shamrock] is.”

“I gave myself 3 years or run out of money,” Fitch said of his plan to move to San Jose and be an MMA fighter.  The 41-year-old Fitch recalls a time when he drove to an ATM late at night from working at bars to deposit dollars into his bank account to ensure he didn’t incur any late fees.

Out west, he found a home and would not return to the Midwest to become an educator. “I was having so much fun, I wouldn’t have gone back.”  The book focuses on his meager beginnings at AKA, his almost-famous moment of being on TUF and the ups and downs of trying to find fights.

In his book, he detailed his MMA and BJJ workouts.  He also was consistent in using crossfit as a way to supplement his MMA training. At 41, Fitch has made changes to his preparation and keeping in shape.  “I lift more consistently,” he stated. “I have found a better way to lift and treat it more like hygiene.”

Fitch has been one of the leaders in supporting the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association.  He wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner at about the same time that the second hearing on the Ali Act expansion was happening before Congress.  Fitch has been an advocate about fighters’ rights for some time now but when asked whether he’d embrace Leslie Smith and Project Spearhead if she were to bring the messaging to Bellator, he demurred.

While both MMAFA and Project Spearhead may want the same thing in the end, it’s clear that the sides disagree immensely on how the means to the end.

“I just don’t think she understands the market,” Fitch said.  “We were not seeing eye to eye.”  He described a “group chat” in which the interested parties were discussing the matter of fighters’ rights and Fitch indicated that they asked her to leave the chat so that they could discuss their position in private.

Fitch takes on Rory MacDonald Saturday in San Jose for Bellator 220 on DAZN.

Expert report dissects Lyman Good earnings as court case nears

April 18, 2019

The earnings of an MMA fighter can be hard and the Lyman Good case is exemplifying that the life in the cage may not be lucrative.

Good is currently suing the nutritional supplement company Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceutical.  He claims caused him to fail a USADA drug test leaving him suspended and out of a payday.  The attorneys for the defendants retained an economic expert to assess the possible damages sustained by Good.

Through the discovery process, Dr. Henry Fuentes obtained Good’s tax return for 2011 and stated in a declaration that he was not provided any other complete returns for the fighter.  Dr. Fuentes studied Good’s returns and other information from the case in rendering the opinion that Good did not suffer economic damages based on his lawsuit.

Paul Gift’s Forbes article on Good’s breakdown of earnings also paints the picture of the meager earnings of Good.  Despite some successful years as a fighter, he’s also had some lean ones which is reflected in his tax returns and earnings (or lack thereof).

The breakdown of expenses has the most going to his agent (who is also his attorney in this lawsuit).  He also spends a lot on transportation.  The life of a full-time fighter is a hard one as they rely on paydays from fights as their main source of income.  According to the 2011 tax return, made money through fights and teaching martial arts classes. He did not have any other form of employment since 2009.  In 2011, Good had more unemployment compensation than anything and of the income, he had to spend most of it for training.

It should be noted that Good lists his Reebok royalties of $1,000.  The defense also concluded that Good made $77,236 in 2009,  That year, Good won the Bellator Welterweight World Championship. In 2017, Good made $65,471.  That year he only fought once but scored a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus on the UFC on Fox 25 card for his bout against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.

Good’s attorney (who is also his manager) has filed a motion to preclude the expert report from the yet to be set trial.  If the court agrees, the expert report would not be considered as evidence in trial.

Payout Perspective:

The information is a glaring look at the unstable earnings of a fighter.  Unlike top-tier fighters, the report indicates that Good does not have steady income from sponsors or any other investments which might generate income.  This is one of the reasons why Stipe Miocic keeps his job as a fireman although its clear he could fight full-time.  Yet, for most fighters, they live from fight to fight to make a living.  MMA Payout will keep you posted on the trial.

UFC 236: Payout Perspective

April 15, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 236 which took place at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia where fans were witness to two of the best championship fights in recent history.

Poirier earns lightweight title with win over Holloway

Dustin Poirier was too big for Max Holloway and it was clear that his power overwhelmed the 145-pound titleholder.  Poirier hurt Holloway several times in the first round and despite the featherweight champion’s heart, could not fight his way back into the match.

“Paid in full,” was the mantra Poirier proclaimed about his win.  Poirier had made his way back from losses to Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson on his journey to the championship.  He finally got his chance and now has a chance to unify the titles against Khabib Nurmogomedov in what is rumored to be September in Abu Dhabi.

Holloway will be influenced to return to his Featherweight division and the UFC is likely hoping that Alexander Volkanovski can defeat Jose Aldo next month to secure a date between the two for the 145 title.

Adesanya takes middleweight title from Gastelum

In what was a back and forth fight (and likely 2-2 going into the last round) Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim welterweight title and a shot at to unify the middleweight title with a showdown against Robert Whittaker sometime in the future in likely a big stadium on the continent of Australia.

There was a point during the fight that Gastelum had Adesanya hurt on his feet but instead of trying to finish him, Kelvin went for the takedown.  One can only assume that Gastelum was tired himself and could not continue on his feet.

But Adesanya poured it on in the 5th round to earn the victory.  One may argue that the ref could have stopped the fight in the final seconds of the fight.  Clearly, Gastelum was in no shape to continue but had the heart to finish.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

It was the first time that the UFC awarded two Fight of the Nights with the main and co-main events drawing the $50,000 bonuses.  There were no Performance Bonuses due to the dual FOTNs.

The attendance and gate for UFC 236 did not break records for UFC events at the Philips Arena but it definitely drew a lot of people for this event.  The event drew 14,297 for a gate of $1,908,721.

Past Atlanta, GA UFC PPV events:

UFC 88 (9/06/2008) Evans-Liddell: 14,736 for a gate of $2.6M

UFC 145 (04/14/2012) Jones-Evans: 15,545 for a gate of $2.2M

Payouts

Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway made $350,000 each for their respective fights.  All of the salaries are compiled here.

Promotional Guideline Payouts (compiled via MMA Junkie)

Dustin Poirier: $30,000
def. Max Holloway: $40,000

Israel Adesanya: $30,000
def. Kelvin Gastelum: $30,000

Khalil Rountree: $5,000
def. Eryk Anders: $5,000

Dwight Grant: $3,500
def. Alan Jouban: $10,000

Nikita Krylov: $10,000
def. Ovince Saint Preux: $20,000

 Matt Frevola: $3,500
def. Jalin Turner: $3,500

 Alexandre Pantoja: $5,000
def. Wilson Reis: $10,000

 Zelim Imadaev: $3,500
def. Max Griffin: $5,000

 Khalid Taha: $3,500
def. Boston Salmon: $3,500

 Belal Muhammad: $5,000
def. Curtis Millender: $4,000

 Andre Soukhamthath: $5,000
def. Montel Jackson: $3,500

 Poliana Botelho: $4,000
def. Lauren Mueller: $3,500

 Brandon Davis: $4,000
def. Randy Costa: $3,500

Sponsorships

For the first time, the UFC released a photo of the Octagon match which featured its core sponsors as well as the Cinemax series Warrior.  In addition, in the Octagon was Pari-Match, the international sports betting site sponsor of the UFC.  Also, convenience store RaceTrac shared space on the Octagon with Monster Energy.

The sponsors on the mat were as follows:

Monster Energy: Official Energy Drink of UFC

Modelo: Official Beer of UFC

P3: Official Protein Snack of UFC

Devour: Official Frozen Food of UFC

Nemiroff: Official Vodka of UFC

BODYARMOR: Official Sports Drink of UFC

Warrior: The new original series from Cinemax, premiering April 5

Poker Stars: Official Gaming and Poker partner of UFC

UFC 236 takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the State Farm Arena.

UFC partner, Heed, offered data on the strikes of UFC competitors via sensors in the gloves of fighters. This was explained during a part of episode 3 of UFC Embedded.

The Embedded events were sponsored by the video game Fallout 76.

Odds and ends

It was the first time that ESPN+ became the sole PPV provider in the U.S.  and it came with headaches for many that decided to make the PPV purchase last minute.  Many were directed to a page that indicated they could not purchase the PPV.  Dana White acknowledged the issues and promised that it would be better by the next PPV.  Another critique of the UFC PPV.  No rewind.  Also, if you missed a portion of the PPV, you could not immediately turn back to the beginning.  Instead you had to wait for the full replay to be uploaded on the web site.  Finally, one last critique is that ESPN + was noncommittal about how long you could view a broadcast after purchase.

ESPN ratings for the Prelims were yet to be released at the time of this post but one might them to be north of 1 million viewers.

Kelvin Gastelum actually took off his fight shorts in his hurried rush to take off his sweats for the Octagon and had to put them back on before entering the Octagon.

With the main and co-main event being so good, there were some outstanding performances that did not receive the official bonuses.  This includes Brandon Davis, Khalid Taha, Nikita Krylov and a revamped Khalil Rountree.

From December, Max Holloway has his own Reebok, “It is what it is, headband.”

Shaq was a notable attendee at UFC 236 as he was shown in the crowd during the PPV.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 236 although the number may be misleading as some of these numbers are likely due to the inability to order the PPV.

The UFC marketed the co-main and main event with a Game of Thrones-inspired theme with the popular HBO series returning.

Rich Franklin was announced as heading to the UFC Hall of Fame this July.

Conclusion

We would normally give a buy estimate for this PPV but it’s highly unlikely that ESPN releases any numbers related to the buy rate of UFC 236.  If one had to give an educated guess, I would suggest that despite the buy problems for many fans, it still draws 425,000 PPV buys which is very good.  Adesanya is a rising star in the company and Poirier will get more notoriety as he should face Khabib this fall.

After barrage on Twitter, Conor offers to ‘move forward’

April 3, 2019

Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmogomedov escalated their war on social media yesterday which required the UFC to step in which may have spurred an “moving forward” mea culpa by the former double champion.

The social media sparring began with McGregor posting a batch of pictures depicting a beaten Pauli Malignaggi after he had sparred the former lightweight champ as he prepared for his fight for Floyd Mayweather.  This was likely due to the Malignaggi getting into an altercation with McGregor stablemate Artem Lobov.  The showdown preceded Malignaggi and Lobov facing one another in a bare-knuckle boxing bout.

After his salvo against his former sparring partner, McGregor took aim at Khabib.  In two social media posts, he posted pictures of Khabib and his wife and made a derogatory comment regarding his wife.  The tweet was deleted by McGregor. However, the damage had been done.  Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib’s manager sent out a tweet attacking McGregor.

Khabib then tweeted an alleged photo of McGregor with a woman that was not the mother of his children.  The man’s face is blocked but the man in the photo is grabbing the woman.  Khabib claimed Conor to be a “rapist” and a “hypocrite.”  This may be in referenced to the allegations which have finally made public that McGregor is accused of sexual misconduct in Dublin stemming from a December 2018 incident.

Dana White issued a statement via Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports:

I am aware of the recent social media exchange between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. The ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is unacceptable. As such, we are taking the necessary steps to reach out to both athlete camps and this situation is being addressed by all parties internally.” — UFC president Dana White

On Wednesday afternoon, McGregor sent out a tweet which seems to claw back the low-class attacks on Khabib:

Payout Perspective:

One has to think that public relations from the UFC and Conor McGregor worked together on the last tweet.  It’s clear that White was concerned about the social media escalation going on between the two fight camps based on the melee that occurred this past October.  The lack of professionalism by McGregor and the inappropriate response by Khabib is a part of the fight game but it doesn’t have to be.  While the social media fighting has become a way to trash talk opponents, there is a fine line of decorum and it seems like McGregor crossed it and Khabib followed along.  It’s clear that while White issued a warning, he has to tame the fued and it alive for a future fight.

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