December 7, 2013
The attendance drew 11,393 for a live gate of $1.785 million as announced at the post-fight press conference. UFC Fight Night 33 occurred at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Australia.
The bonuses were $50,000 each and were no-brainers. Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva earned the $50,000 Fight of the Night Bonus and Shogun Rua won the KO of the night bonus. While the prelim fight between Takeya Mizugaki and Nam Phan fight were early contenders for FOTN and was rerun on the main card just before the main event, Hunt-Silva blew away the crowd, viewers and people on twitter with their fight.
If nothing else, the last fight of the night was well worth wading through the 5 plus hours of fights. The attendance figure shows that there are many fight fans down under. Of course, many supported Mark Hunt and other local fighters on the card.
November 22, 2013
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today released the final live event numbers for UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks, which took place in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event drew a total attendance of 14,856 while tallying up a gate of $5,759,350. Here are all the numbers:
Tickets Sold: 13,621
Tickets Unsold: 57
Tickets Comped: 1,235
UFC 167′s gate was the third largest in the UFC’s history, only behind UFC 129: GSP vs Shields, which was the debut show for Toronto, which did a gate of $12,075,000, and UFC 148: Silva vs Sonnen II which did a gate of $6,901,655. At this time, UFC 168, which takes place next month, is on track to edge out UFC 167′s gate based on current sales and should overtake it’s sport as third best next month.
November 19, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we take a look at the big 20th Anniversary Show of UFC 167 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bruised and battered but GSP wins split decision
If you disagree with the decision review the 1st round because it appears that is the round where two judges scored it for GSP and 1 for Hendricks. The rest of the rounds the judges agreed. It was a close call, but ties go to the Champion. Of course that’s not how it’s scored but many probably came to that conclusion on Saturday night.
Who do we blame? The Nevada State Athletic Commission for the judges? The judges themselves? Hendricks’ corner for not telling him to keep pressing? Or do we chalk this one up to a bad decision? Then again, was it a bad decision?
While the judging may have been suspect, based upon how the 10-9 scoring system, it was a plausible outcome.
Two items from the actual match between GSP-Hendricks. There was the theory of a phantom tap by Hendricks during the match spotted by many. But GSP did not stop and did not argue a tap. Looking back at Bendo-Pettis, even if a tap is not detected by the referee, the fighters would likely have stopped themselves. You may recall that Bendo lost his title this past August when he verbally submitted to Pettis although the ref did not stop the fight immediately. It seems like guys like Hendricks and GSP would have the sportsmanship to admit if a tap had occurred.
Also, it appeared as though Hendricks had yelled out that GSP was either holding the fence or his shorts on the ground as a way to keep position during a scramble on the ground in the 5th round. Yet, there was nothing done in that instance. Perhaps this was some desperation by GSP in trying to keep position on Hendricks.
And now for the post-fight story. Give Joe Rogan credit for not giving the stock platitudes in the post-fight interview and actually pressing GSP. Even though he didn’t get the answer, Rogan saw GSP wanted to say something and followed up with questions.
One of the reasons Dana White was so hot at the post-fight press conference was that he was not given (official) notice that GSP was leaving. Thus, he was mad at the commission and its judges. If Hendricks won, White would not have been steamed. He would have had a new marketable champion and could give GSP the time off to do what he needed. According to reports, White was able to speak with GSP after the post-fight press conference (GSP was not at the press conference at the beginning). One might deduce their discussion was an attempt to get to the bottom of the cryptic statements GSP made in the Octagon and persuade him to not take a leave of absence. TMZ has reported the alleged personal issues of GSP (which is in part being denied according to a report picked up by Bloody Elbow). We shall see what becomes of this situation and how GSP will address what now is becoming a public story.
Evans pounds out Sonnen
It was quick work by Evans who destroyed Sonnen with a flurry of punches on the ground in the first round. There was a little hope that that this would be a good match considering Sonnen’s last outing against Shogun Rua. Then after Evans took Sonnen down there was little hope that it would last past round 1. Evans looked rejuvenated from a poor outing against Little Nog in February and a so-so performance in June. Does it mean he’s somewhere in the Light Heavyweight title picture? We’ll have to wait. As for Sonnen, he gets a TUF Brazil coaching spot and Wanderlei Silva.
Lawler jumps back into title picture after upset
Not a good night for the Tri-Star Gym. Not only is GSP out indefinitely, its “next in line” was upset by resurgent Robbie Lawler. MacDonald is still very young and will be back but for Lawler it was a definite step forward. Lawler is 3-0 since coming over from Strikeforce. As Lawler proposed at the post-fight press conference, maybe a Hendricks-Lawler fight could be in the future.
Attendance and Gate
As reported, the gate was the best since UFC 148 at the MGM. 14,856 were in attendance for a $5.7 million gate. Although not factored in the actual number, the secondary market had its biggest demand since 2009 with an average of $580 per ticket. But, it does show the demand for this event.
Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were GSP-Hendricks, Donald Cerrone for his sub of Evan Dunham and Tyron Woodley for his highlight reel KO of Josh Koscheck.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the UFC 167 salaries and as expected Georges St. Pierre topped the payroll earning $400,000 with no win bonus although GSP earned a FOTN bonus making his total earnings $450,000. Johny Hendricks earned $50,000 for his split decision loss but did pick up another $50,000 to top out at $100,000.
While the viewership for the UFC Primetime series has been down since moving to FS1, they were well-done this time around as it introduced you to Johny Hendricks. I think the introduction of the challenger in these programs is important and Hendricks came off as a likeable guy. I also like the spotlight they did on Firas Zahabi as you don’t get to hear too much about the story behind some of the trainers.
The sponsors in the Octagon included Assassin’s Creed IV “Black Flag”, MusclePharm, UltimatePoker.net, Harley Davidson, Dodge, Toyo Tires, the movie Grudge Match, Alienware, MusclePharm and Bud Light in the center. Corn Nuts and MetroPCS had its usual placements within the PPV broadcast.
Reebok signed Johny Hendricks to wear its logo into the Octagon for UFC 167. Hendricks wore Reebok crossfit shorts and had a walkout shirt via Reebok. Also, Hendricks sported its shoes and promoted them via social media. A lot was made that Reebok paid the sponsor fee for Hendricks but did not for Rampage when it was announced Reebok would be sponsoring Hendricks. We will see if Reebok continues to sponsor Hendricks and/or other fighters.
Hendricks did have UFC official sponsors Corn Nuts and Alienware as his sponsors in addition to Bass Pro Shops and “Rags to Rick,” a Comedy reality show.
GSP wore his Hayabusa gi (no controversy this time) to the Octagon and his corner wore Affliction.
It was the first time that I’ve seen PS4 advertised during a UFC broadcast. This may not sit well with Mighty Mouse’s primary sponsor, Microsoft’s Xbox.
Robbie Lawler was sponsored by the Air Force Reserve. It’s an interesting sponsor considering that some pushed to curtail U.S. military sport sponsorships earlier this year.
Interesting sponsor of the night: Rick Story was sponsored by PaleoRanch.com.
What’s going to happen without GSP? An interim title will likely happen if GSP is out for a prolonged period of time. In addition to Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Matt Brown and maybe Nick Diaz will be names to look for in the welterweight division. The loss of GSP is a hit for the UFC which now may have 3 of its champions out for extended periods of time (GSP would join Dominick Cruz who plans to be back after a long absence from injury and the recently injured Anthony Pettis). This doesn’t even include what may be happening with Jon Jones. We shall see what the UFC plans to do with the welterweight division in GSP’s absence.
It was the 20th Anniversary show and with it came the UFC retrospective show last week on FS1. It was well done and gave some detail of the early years for those of us that picked it up in the Zuffa days. The weekend also included some notable fighters over the years in attendance. The UFC also bought a special advertising section in the Sports Business Journal which told the UFC’s story and gave it some added publicity.
Odds and Ends
-Erik Perez rocked the Lucha Libre mask once again.
-Was this the first time that they dropped the lights during a main event for Bruce Buffer to announce the fighters?
-GSP has been with the company for a while, shouldn’t the UFC have a French interpreter so that Georges doesn’t have to interpret for the entire room during press conferences.
-First time I recall FS1 insets on PPVs. Speaking of FS1, the Prelims did the double screen in between rounds with showing the corner at the top right hand of the screen during a commercial.
-Tyron Woodley made a statement with his KO of Josh Koscheck.
-Seemingly, Rory MacDonald had the most sponsors ever seen on shorts. If the UFC allowed for spats, he could have made a killing.
-Arnold Schwarzeneger was in the crowd…and to the benefit of Ali Bagautinov who admitted at the post-fight presser that he is a big fan.
-Boxing fans know Edwin Rodriguez? Despite getting docked $200K for missing weight in his fight with Andre Ward on Saturday he would be the second highest paid fighter on the UFC 167 card. This assumes GSP salary plus PPV upside. Rodriguez made $800K after the $200K deduction.
-Forbes ran a piece on GSP and how he makes $12 million a year. We will have more on that this week.
GSP is the company’s biggest draw. And while we cannot conclude that a higher gate will equate to a higher PPV buy rate, the rumors that GSP could be fighting in his last fight may have prodded folks to pay the money to watch one of the best in the sport in his last match. Additionally, the main event was well-supported on paper by Evans-Sonnen and Lawler-MacDonald. While the UFC had hoped the last four PPVs of 2013 would have done well, it will get 2 of the 4 doing a good number. I would say UFC 167 would do somewhere in the 800K range and GSP once again comes through for the company.
November 17, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 167. The attendance was the second highest reported gate in the UFC’s history at the MGM Grand Arena since UFC 148 and the night’s main event scored the Fight of the Night.
The reported attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 14,856 for a live gate of $5.7 million. As always, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will confirm the numbers in the coming weeks. It comes second to only Silva-Sonnen II at UFC 148 for biggest gate at the MGM Grand.
Also announced at the post-fight presser were the bonuses which were the standard $50,000 each and were as follows as:
Fight of the Night: GSP-Hendricks
Submission of the Night: Donald Cerrone
KO of the Night: Tyron Woodley
As we reported Friday, UFC 167 was a hot ticket as they were going for an average of $580 per ticket on the secondary market. While the reported gate does not consider the secondary market, it was a good indicator of how lucrative it would be. A GSP fight with the rumors (and now maybe reality) that this may be his last time in the Octagon drove the interest for this fight. As for the bonuses, all seemed spot on and we have not heard the last of the controversial decision in the main event as well as GSP’s “leave”.
November 15, 2013
Cagewriter reports that this Saturday’s UFC 167 event in Las Vegas has drawn the most demand for tickets for a UFC event since 2009. Ticket search engine company, Seat Geek, has provided the numbers revealing the average ticket price on the secondary market for UFC 167 is $580 per ticket.
The secondary market refers to the reselling of tickets by ticket brokers, etc. The information provided does not include those that purchased their tickets directly from the box office.
According to Seat Geek representative Connor Gregoire, the lower sections of the MGM Grand Garden are going at an average of $801 per ticket and the average floor seats are going for $1,944 per ticket with seats near the Octagon at $2,800 per seat. The secondary ticket market for this event exceeds last month’s event in Houston where the average ticket was $302 in comparison to $580.
UFC 167’s tickets eclipsed UFC 137 which featured BJ Penn versus Nick Diaz. A ticket for that event at the Mandalay Bay drew an average resale price of $578 per ticket.
Does this live gate equate to PPV success? This is only a small glimpse but here’s a look at the top secondary market ticket selling events and the number of PPV buys.
UFC 156 – 330K buys
UFC 160 – 380K buys
UFC 149 – 230K buys (Calgary)
UFC 148 – 925K buys
UFC 162 – 550K buys
UFC 126 – 725K buys
UFC 137 – 280K buys
Average – 488, 571 buys
Seat Geek has been tracking UFC ticket prices since 2009 so we do not know what event in UFC history garnered a higher demand but this provides a good snapshot. The chart is an interesting look at the gate as it relates to secondary market demand. The inference here is that the ticket prices reflect the demand by fans. This shows the popularity of Georges St. Pierre as we may expect a lot of Canadian fans in attendance. The demand may also be driven on rumors that GSP may be retiring after this fight.
Can we deduce PPV success with the gate receipts from the secondary market? We premise this on looking at demand from the secondary market. Thus, we must factor in whether or not casinos and others bought up the initial round of tickets to provide to its patrons. Once again, we have a very small sample size but only 2 of the 7 events received over 500K PPV buys. So, its tough to say that based on ticket demand, will we see good PPV buys.
November 10, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 32 taking place at the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Goias in Brazil. Over 10,000 in attendance saw Vitor Belfort KO Dan Henderson in the first round of the main event.
10,565 is the attendance number announced by Dana White at the post-fight press conference.
The bonuses are as follows:
Fight of the Night: Omari Akhmedov-Thiago Perpetuo
Submission of the Night: Adriano Martins
KO of the Night: Vitor Belfort
Each received the standard $50,000.
Brandon Thatch and Jeremy Stephens could have been candidates for the KO of the Night as well. There was no mention of gate although there is the chance that we could get it this week. However, the attendance was substantially more than the last two cards in Brazil.
October 27, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 30. Lyoto Machida heads the list of bonus winners receiving $50,000 each.
The event from Phone4u Arena in Manchester, England had 10,355 fans for a gate of $1.5 million. The arena’s capacity is 21,000 although we do not know the actual arena configuration and capacity yesterday.
Bonuses were the standard $50,000 and were as follows (via MMA Junkie):
Fight of the Night: Luke Barnatt vs. Andrew Craig
KO of the Night: Lyoto Machida
Sub of the Night: Nicholas Musoke
With Michael Bisping having to pull out of his fight with Mark Munoz, it’s likely that ticket sales/local interest suffered. Still, the attendance was the second highest for a UFC Fight Night since the events were moved to Fox Sports 1. Machida made quick work of Munoz and it would be hard to say how he will do in the middleweight division simply because the fight ended without much occurring.
October 20, 2013
UFC drew a reported 17,238 for a gate of $2.5 million.
Bonuses of the night, which could have gone to a variety of individuals, were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Gilbert Melendez-Diego Sanchez
Submission of the Night: Tony Ferguson
KO of the Night: John Dodson
If you submit someone with a D’arce choke, its almost assured you get a bonus. Dodson won for flattening Darrell Montague (face first). Melendez-Sanchez was hands-down the fight of the night although Boetsch-Dolloway, Eye-Kauffman and JDS-Cain could have won this award. Each won $60K.
No word if Dodson will use any of the money to ask Octagon girl Chrissy Blair out. We’re just kidding, but it was a funny move by him at the weigh-ins.
The last time that the UFC hit Houston, it was UFC 136 which had 16,164 for a gate of $2.3 million. While that card had a low PPV buy rate (225K buys), one might expect a better outcome here. It was an exciting night of fights and MMA Payout will have more in its Payout Perspective.
October 9, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 29 which aired on Fox Sports 1 on Wednesday. Notably, Rousimar Palhares was left off the bonus list for his ankle lock submission of Mike Pierce due to his “unsportsmanlike conduct.”
Palhares held onto the submission despite Pierce’s repeated taps and the ref attempting to break the hold. It was not the first time that Palhares has done this as he was suspended 90 days by New Jersey for not releasing a heel hook quickly enough against Tomasz Drwal in 2010. Palhares’ submission was the only one on the card and by his omission it was obvious the UFC was sending a message.
Dong Hyun Kim won $50,000 for his surprising KO of Erick Silva and Raphael Assuncao and TJ Dillashaw won Fight of the Night earning $50,000 each.
UFC Fight Night 29 was a sellout according to the UFC as it drew 6,621 fans (via MMA Junkie). The fights took place at the Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was noted that Fight Nights are conducted in smaller venues. UFC Fight Night 28 drew 5,126 fans.
Palhares may be in some real trouble more than just missing a bonus for a submission. As for the other bonuses, there should be no complaints. It’s interesting that a sellout was announced although no gate was provided. Here is another time when the release of comps would have been interesting.
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.