November 18, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we are taking a look at Bellator 131 from the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California.
Ortiz defeats Bonnar in “spectacle”
This fight was sold outside of the cage but inside the cage there was not a lot to say about it. In the end, Ortiz defeated Bonnar via split decision and perhaps the most entertaining part about these two is the clowning of Bonnar and the middle fingers of Ortiz after the fight.
The famous (or infamous) lead-up to this “grudge match” was the in-cage promo a couple months back where Bonnar confronted Ortiz with that guy in the mask that was revealed to be someone 95% of the casual viewing MMA audience had never seen. Thus, the reveal meant nothing. Still, the two promoted the fight to the point where the actual fight (luckily) became secondary.
A quick look at twitter reveals that Ortiz is looking to King Mo next. Let the trash talk/tweets begin. As for Bonnar, perhaps he turns on the masked man for his next fight.
Brooks defeats Chandler for lightweight title
In what was the most competitive and real fight of the night, Will Brooks defeated Michael Chandler to win the vacant lightweight world title. Brooks did it with a solid punch to Chandler’s temple which essentially knocked out Chandler on his feet as Chandler made gestures as if he did not know where he was eventually turning his back from Brooks and causing the stoppage. Brooks and Chandler are two fighters that Bellator needs. While Ortiz and Bonnar are spectacle, Brooks and Chandler are sport.
Attendance and Gate
No official announcement has been made on the attendance and gate at the Valley View Casino. However, there are unconfirmed reports of the attendance being 8,100 with a gate of over $400,000. The Valley View Casino has a max capacity of approximately 18,000 but some of that was taken out due to the enormous set, stage and ramp. Regardless, it has to be one of the biggest crowds and gates for the organization.
As reported, Sunday night, the salaries disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission had Ortiz ($300K) and Bonnar ($100K) as the biggest earners for the night although Ortiz was fined $2,500 for his antics post-fight. The salaries show that Ortiz can still demand top dollar for his services while Bonnar’s pay is a step up from his time in the UFC.
Promotion of Fight
The Viacom-owned company utilized its resources in order to hype this “tentpole” event. It used its sponsor Dave & Busters for a couple events to promote the fight including a meet and greet which featured ex-UFC stars. It even announced that Wanderlei Silva would be in attendance at the pre-fight party on Friday even though the company had to retract that after contractual issues with the UFC prevented Silva’s appearance.
SpikeTV ran three shoulder programs to promote Bellator 131 and most centered on Ortiz-Bonnar. Spike ran a one hour Countdown show which focused a significant portion on Ortiz-Bonnar and then Brooks-Chandler and Manhoef-Schilling. The Countdown dedicated the first half hour or so on Ortiz-Bonnar and showed the Justin McCully incident again and again. But, it lacked specifically spelling out the “wrong” that Ortiz did to McCully. If it did, I just did not get it. It then had a special dedicated to Ortiz and then another one specifically for Tito and Bonnar to have a “sit down face-to-face.”
In the cage, Bellator’s sponsors included Dave & Busters, pre-pay cell phone company Cricket Wireless, Monster Energy, Gold Bond Ultimate, Everlast, Attack Poker and Miller Light had the center of the cage. The mat also had something for the new Spike App.
Odds and Ends
-Bellator’s video packages, new stage, big screen and walkouts were all great things that added to the “big event” feel.
-Mo started swimming after his win. I don’t recall this a trademark celebration.
-ESPN’s Matthew Berry is the signature spokesman for Dave & Buster’s? Fantasy sports is that popular.
-In promoting Melvin Manhoef during the Countdown show, Bellator showed footage from Japan of Manhoef knocking out Mark Hunt. Good timing since Hunt was the main eventer at UFC 180. Irony because Manhoef was laid out by Joe Schilling on Saturday.
-There was a Goldberg (Bill not Mike) citing at the event. Really. George Lopez citing too. Really.
-Joe Warren doing play-by-play during the Mike Richman-Nam Phan fight was a nice touch.
The event had a big event feel and it seemed like a step up for the company. While it does have a “pro wrestling” feel, the presentation draws you in to watch. The question will be can it promote non-UFC fighters in the upper levels of its cards. Ortiz and Bonnar are past their prime inside the cage. Certainly, they can sell fights but the question will be whether others can pick up where they will leave off. In the end, Bellator 131 was a strong showing and if it’s a sign of things to come in how Bellator will present its quarterly big shows, Bellator, under Coker, will be a strong number 2 promotion.
November 17, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 180 from the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City.
Werdum wins interim Heavyweight title
It was to be Cain Velasquez fighting in Mexico City against Fabricio Werdum. However, an injury to Cain allowed Mark Hunt the chance to step in and seize the title. Hunt looked good until a well-timed knee spelled the beginning of the end for Hunt.
Werdum wins the title and will eventually get to face Cain Velasquez to unify the titles.
Gastelum ascends while Ellenberger descends
Kelvin Gastelum defeated Jake Ellenberger with a rear naked choke in the first round. The win should propel the former TUF winner into the top 10 of the welterweight division while it showed the Ellenberger maybe a broken fighter. Gastelum secured a rear-naked choke with ease as it appeared that Ellenberger did not defend his neck despite his back being taken. The win should mean a step up in fights for Gastelum while Ellenberger is teetering on the cusp of being cut.
Initial reports in August had UFC 180 a sell out in just 8 hours after the announcement of Velasquez-Werdum and the launch of TUF in Mexico (which drew 7 million viewers on Televisia according to Yahoo! Sports). The announcement made post-fight had the attendance at 21,000 although no official gate was given.
The bonuses of $50K were given to Werdum, Gastelum, Henry Biones and Guido Cannetti. Briones and Canetti put on the Fight of the Night. White indicated that Ricardo Lamas would also be given a bonus although that was unofficial.
Promotion of Fight
Once again one of the main drivers of the promotion was the UFC Embedded series which followed the fighters on the main card. It caught the best moment of the pre-fight hype with Werdum-Hunt singing together.
The UFC also did a photo op with the NBA as the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves played a game in Mexico City earlier in the week.
The Octagon sponsors were without UltimatePoker.com, the Stations Casinos online poker site which was closed down last week. Notably, one of the Octagon sponsors for UFC 180 was Costa Rican online gaming company, BetCris. The sponsors included the UFC Network, UFCStore.com, UFC Fit, MateFit.me, MusclePharm, Toyo Tires, video game FarCry 4, the aforementioned BetCris and Bud Lite in the center of the Octagon.
Gastelum wore the UFC Network logo as did Werdum during pre-fight activities and but wore Bad Boy to the Octagon.
Hunt wore his own clothing brand Juggernaut on his shorts. It’s interesting that Hunt does not have more sponsors. You may recall he had zero as a fill-in when he fought Junior dos Santos at UFC 160. Werdum most prominent sponsor was clothing brand Torque.
Doritos was a prominent sponsor for this event as it banked heavily on the Werdum-Velasquez matchup including producing in-store placement of 2.5 million bags with the fighter likenesses on them. It was described as a “360 degree activation” around UFC 180. With Cain falling out, the campaign likely fell short of its goal.
Post-UFC 180 Headline
Werdum-Velasquez should be next although White indicated that if Cain were to have another injury that forces him from action, he could be stripped of the title.
Odds and Ends
- The WWE collaborated with the UFC during the UFC Prelims on FS1. To be exact, a 2K Sports commercial for the WWE video game, WWE2K15, infused images of the video game and UFC action.
- The main event ended at 8:50 pm on the west coast. Only about an hour and a half of fights before the UFC showed the prelims to fill the time.
- Bellator used the footage of Melvin Manhoef knocking out Mark Hunt from 2008 during its pre-fight hype package to put over Manhoef.
- Jessica Eye almost took Leslie Smith’s ear off but Smith still wanted to fight.
- Google Trends revealed that the top countries searching for UFC 180 were Mexico, Canada, Brazil and the United States in that order.
- The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) ran a story on the Fertittas and Dana White and their ties to Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School in last week’s Sports Business Journal. It was placed “below the fold.” Prominent placement for a rather evergreen story during UFC 180 week.
- Chael Sonnen began his duties with ESPN as an analyst.
It was a good night of fights but the lack of brand-name power was one of the detracting factors about this event. When the Werdum-Velasquez fight was initially announced and the two were TUF coaches, there was much hope that UFC 180 would be one of the bigger PPVs of this year. Entering a new market and the quick sell out appeared to be good signs for the PPV. But, Velasquez’s injury was a significant blow to any hopes that this PPV would do well. Without a good undercard, the UFC was placing its hopes on Cain’s drawing power. Based on Google Trends, we are looking at a buy rate comparable to UFC 174 or 177 which drew between115-125K PPV buys.
November 16, 2014
Dana White announced attendance at 21,000 at the post-fight press conference. No official gate was announced although White indicated that it was the “highest gross in arena history.”
The $50,000 bonus winners announced at the post-fight press conference were Fabricio Werdum, Kelvin Gastelum, Henry Briones and Guido Cannetti. Werdum and Gastelum earned the performances of the night and Briones and Cannetti earned fight of the night. In addition, White stated that Ricardo Lamas would also receive a bonus for his submission victory over Dennis Bermudez.
The top two fights on the card produced the bonus winners last night. Werdum’s knee spelled the beginning of the end for Mark Hunt and Gastelum secured a rear-naked choke over the seemingly broken Jake Ellenberger. The Briones-Cannetti fight was also an entertaining fight and Briones won with an uppercut that downed Cannetti which eventually led to a RNC.
November 9, 2014
Attendance at the Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves in Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil drew 5,761 fans to the venue. The venue has a capacity of 8,000.
OSP, Leandro Silva, Thomas Almeida and Tim Gorman each won $50,000 bonuses for the night. Almeida and Gorman won Fight of the Night.
As has become custom, the gate for these Fight Night events in Brazil is rarely announced. Aside from the OSP bonus, the rest of the fighters receiving an additional $50K were on the prelim card.
November 8, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 55 taking place at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. Main eventer Luke Rockhold topped the list of bonuses of $50,000 each.
UFC exec Tom Wright announced the attendance and gate post-fight. The event drew 9,904 for a gate of $1.05 million.
The bonuses which were announced post-fight included Rockhold, Lois Smolka, Robert Whittaker and Clint Hester. Hester and Whittaker won Fight of the Night and Rockhold and Smolka earned performance bonuses.
Allphones Arena (aka Sydney Super Dome) has a capacity of 21,000 thus the event drew less than half of the capacity. Of course, we do not know the configurations of the UFC event (i.e., there may have been less seats than the 21K available). It was the first time that all the fights, 11 total, ended in KO or submission.
October 26, 2014
The attendance and bonuses were announced at the post-fight press conference.
The bonuses were $50,000 each and were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Chad Mendes-Jose Aldo
Performances of the Night: Fabio Maldonaldo and Gilbert Burns
It was the biggest attendance for an event in Brazil this year. Of course, it was the only PPV held in the country this year. The bonuses included a KO (Maldonado) and a submission (Burns).
October 5, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 54 from Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada drew 10,782 fans for a gate of $926,000. In addition, Rory MacDonald led the list of bonus recipients.
UFC Fight Night 54 was the second UFC event on Saturday and took place at Halifax Metro Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada. No comp information was released.
In addition to MacDonald winning a performance bonus for his KO of Tarec Saffiedine, bonuses of $50,000 each were given to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chad Kelades and Patrick Holohan. Kelades and Holohan earned the Fight of the Night.
Most of us who were out and set our DVRs to FS1 will be looking for the re-runs for this. Kelades and Holohan was on FS2, but the bulk of the rest of the card was on FX due to the extra, extra inning game played between the Giants and Nationals. FS1 did switch back at the start of the Bryan Caraway-Raphael Assuncao.
October 4, 2014
UFC Fight Night 53 taking place at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden drew 10,026 and a live gate of $1.1 million. In addition, bonuses were handed out to Max Holloway, Mike Wilkinson, Dennis Siver and Charles Rosa.
As is the norm, no comps were reported for this event which featured Rick Story and Gunnar Nelson in the main event.
Bonuses of $50,000 were given to Mike Wilkinson, Max Holloway and Dennis Siver and Charles Rosa for Fight of the Night.
H/t: MMA Junkie
It was the third visit to Sweden for the UFC and it was the lowest attendance and gate out of the three. One would have to think that the reason for the lower attendance was the card.
UFC on Fuel TV 2 – 15,428, $2.23M
UFC on Fuel TV 9 – 14,506, $2.71M
UFC Fight Night 53 – 10,026, $1.1M
September 29, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we review UFC 178 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Demetrious Johnson took on Chris Cariaso in the main event.
Johnson outclasses Cariaso
Despite the lack of fan support (i.e., PPV buys), Demetrious Johnson can legitimately stake a claim to being the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC. It was clear in the first minute that Johnson was the better fighter and ended Cariaso in the second round with a submission.
Johnson is getting prime placement on UFC shows and it’s the second PPV he’s headlined this year. One should also stress the fact that Johnson has not been hurt during his title reign and is not an outside-the-Octagon problem. So, why don’t people buy his PPVs?
Cowboy welcomes Eddie to UFC
The skeet shooting and wakeboarding training regimen pre-fight aside, Donald Cerrone is an extremely good fighter. In what was one of the more entertaining fights on the card, Cerrone defeated Eddie Alvarez. It was the long-awaited debut for the former Bellator champ and the first round he showed why the UFC wanted to acquire his services. Yet, Cerrone moves on looking for another fight before 2014 closes.
McGregor makes quick work of Poirier
You would have thought that this was the main event based on the crowd reactions. The hype, trash talk and vitriol between the two (especially during any face off promoting the fight) was classic in what to do to have people interested in purchasing your fights. The Conor McGregor experience continues and likely his most impressive fight on the biggest platform so far. McGregor easily handled Dustin Poirier in the first round. It’s clear that McGregor is ready for a title shot after Saturday night.
Attendance and Gate
The attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 10,544 for a gate of $2.2 million. Out of 9 PPVs this year, it ranked 7th in attendance.
The bonuses of $50K each were awarded to Yoel Romero-Tim Kennedy for Fight of the Night and Dominick Cruz and Conor McGregor for Performances of the Night.
Promotion of the Fight
The Embedded episodes continue to be popular as the UFC has found a formula to promote the fights digitally. For the most part, viewers got to see Cowboy Cerrone wakeboarding and skeet shooting prior to his fight with Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor get a haircut, Demetrious Johnson getting a shave and Dustin Poirier at the Whole Foods at Vegas. The one thing really missing from the embedded episode was a profile on Chris Cariaso. The Countdown show did have a profile on Cariaso but it seemed incomplete. Even if it was a foregone conclusion that he would likely lose (which happened), it would have been nice for them to have elevated his profile for this fight. It seems to get better reviews than the UFC Prime Time episodes because they are short and can be viewed whenever people want to see them.
Conor McGregor did a good amount of pre-fight press.
Mighty Mouse appeared on the local Fox affiliate in Seattle last week hyping UFC 178.
Salaries have been disclosed via MMA Junkie:
Demetrious Johnson: $183,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Cariaso: $24,000
Donald Cerrone: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Alvarez: $100,000
Conor McGregor: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Poirier: $34,000
Yoel Romero: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Kennedy: $70,000
Cat Zingano: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Nunes: $15,000
Dominick Cruz: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $32,000
Jorge Masvidal: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. James Krause: $15,000
Stephen Thompson: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cote: $33,000
Brian Ebersole: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. John Howard: $21,000
Kevin Lee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Tuck: $10,000
Manny Gamburyan: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Gibson: $10,000
Some interesting figures including Demetrious Johnson being paid like a champ (base of $129K). The last official report of his purse was at UFC on Fox 9 where he made a base of $125K (notice a bigger bonus for that Fox event). You might assume that June’s UFC 174 he made a base of $127K although those salaries were never officially reported. Eddie Alvarez was paid $100K (show) for his first UFC fight. You might recall when he was originally offered a UFC contract which precipitated the Bellator lawsuit, he was offered $70K for his first match in the UFC. Conor McGregor is already up to $75K base. Cat Zingano only made $9K/$9K which is only a $2K bump from her last fight in April 2013 against Miesha Tate.
The octagon sponsors included MusclePharm, MetroPCS, Alienware, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Fram, UltimatePoker.net, Assassin’s Creed’s latest game, Matefit.me and Bud Light in the center.
Missing from the octagon was long-time sponsor, Xyience, which was purchased by another company that quickly pulled the sponsorship with the UFC.
Yoel Romero was sponsored by likeaboss.com. I’m not sure what they do.
Cain Velasquez appeared in a promo for Harley Davidson Motorcycle’s “Hometown Throwdown.”
Mighty Mouse had his traditional sponsor of Xbox 360. The only sponsor for Johnson, his fight banner told folks to pre-order an Xbox One. I thought those were already available? If you were wondering, on his recent Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer did not know how much Johnson is receiving from Microsoft.
Cariaso was sponsored by Mountek. Really.
Dominick Cruz was sponsored by the Phoenix International Raceway which stuck with him despite Cruz being on the shelf for a long time. It paid off as PIR had a prominent logo on Cruz as he was demolishing Takeya Mizugaki. He also wore the shirt in his post-fight interview.
Odds and ends
-Didn’t mention this earlier, but Cat Zingano-Amanda Nunes fight was the way to start a PPV. Zingano has been through a lot and it appears that she will be the next for Ronda Rousey.
-MMA Fighting has backstage footage of Tim Kennedy confronting Yoel Romero about the extra time he took to get up from his stool in between rounds.
-Interesting that the UFC are rolling out different types of Bruce Lee t-shirts. Hopefully some of the money that I suppose the estate is receiving from licensing his likeness is going toward this.
-Dominick Cruz won me over in just the 61 seconds of work. First, his Jay Z/Cypress Hill remix entrance, Then, the plain black CRUZ sweatshirt. Easily the best thing anyone has worn to the octagon in the history of this sport. Finally, his “Alpha-Fails” drop is probably one of the best post-fight lines in a while.
-UFC on Fox YouTube channel has the whole 61 second Cruz return fight.
-Some argument as to whether Cruz fight should have been on PPV. You can see it as perhaps a concession to boost FS1 ratings. In hindsight, all of the fights on the PPV were great and hard to see replacing one.
-The good news is that the clay pigeons that Cerrone shot during that Embedded episode were not real as they were made at the same place that Floyd Mayweather got his fake weed from All Access.
-Not surprising, but according to Google Trends, Dublin and Ireland were the most interested city and country for search term “UFC 178”.
This was to be Jones-Gus II. But after that was scrapped, it was Jones-Cormier. After the Jones-Cormier media day brawl in August, one could have made the argument that UFC 178 would be the second-biggest PPV event of the year after UFC 175. But with Jones getting injured, the need to adjust the lineup probably hurt the buy rate. Overall, this card was very solid with every PPV fight being an entertaining one. However, selling the Johnson-Cariaso was tough and you might infer that most of the pre-fight hype was for McGregor-Poirier. Although McGregor could be a breakout PPV star, he is not one yet.
While Google Trends saw an uptick in searches for UFC 178 from Ireland, it’s worth to note that the US was the 4th interested country for the event. In the end, a buy rate of 300,000-325,000 seems reasonable.
September 28, 2014
The attendance, gate and bonuses were announced at the post-fight press conference.
As indicated by MMA Junkie, attendance ranked 7th out of 9 PPV events this year. As we reported on Friday, there were still tickets available as it had not yet sold out.
The bonuses were awarded as follows:
Performance of the Night: Cruz and McGregor
The attendance and gate were as expected. One might wonder if the UFC had booked the MGM because of the anticipated Jon Jones fight (MGM is bigger venue than Mandalay Bay). While it was a very good card, I don’t think Johnson as the headliner would have garnered an MGM sell out.
There was some controversy in the Romero-Kennedy fight with Romero taking extra rest in between rounds. Certainly, that could have worked in his favor. Cruz and McGregor’s performances deserved the bonuses as both were impressive.