UFC 197: Payout Perspective

April 29, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  Better later than never, we write about UFC 197 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with the return of Jon Jones.

Jones takes care of OSP

Jon Jones returned to the UFC octagon to handily defeat Ovince St. Preux via unanimous decision.  OSP was a late replacement for Daniel Cormier and did his best, but it was clear that he was in there against a far superior opponent.  OSP’s cardio was not ready for a 5 round fight and he wasn’t able to do much against Jones.  It seems unfair to criticize OSP since he stepped up on late notice.  But, he was given a chance and was unable to capitalize.

For Jones, it was a good fight to get back into fighting.  It was his first fight since January 2015.  Next is a showdown with Daniel Cormier as the main event for UFC 200.

UFC 197

Mighty Mouse is still good

Say what you will about Demetrious Johnson, there were two fighters on the card that you may argue are the best for pound in the world.  Only one looked like it.  Johnson dispatched of former Olympian Henry Cejudo in round one of the defense of his Flyweight title.

There is no one left in the Flyweight division for Johnson.  Perhaps a rematch against Dominick Cruz would be the most compelling fight to help Johnson draw an audience he deserves.

Attendance and Gate

The event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew 11,352 fans for a gate of $2.3 million as announced at the post-fight press conference.

Bonuses

Also announced the presser, the $50,000 bonuses went to Demetrious Johnson, Yair Rodriguez, Danny Roberts and Dominique Steele.

Ratings

UFC 197 Weigh-Ins on FS1: 184,000

UFC Pre-Fight Show on FS1: 218,000 viewers

UFC 197 Prelims on FS1: 835,000 viewers

UFC Post-Fight Show on FS1: 279,000 viewers

UFC 197 Payouts

Jon Jones led the roster making $500,000 (with no win bonus) followed by Demetrioius Johnson ($195,000).

The rest of the payouts are here.  The payouts do not include the Reebok sponsor pay.

Promotion of the Fight

Jon Jones almost did not make this fight as he was cited once again for a traffic infraction.  This time, it caused him to violate parole and spend a couple days in prison.  Ironically, Daniel Cormier pulled out of the fight soon after Jones’ legal troubles.  Instead of a Jones-Anthony Johnson showdown, the pick was Ovince St. Preux.

Henry Cejudo made pro-UFC comments about Conor McGregor.  He then clarified the comments which seemed a little more confusing.  The fact that he was the guy that said he would not fight in Nevada so long as Nick Diaz was suspended makes his comments this week uneven.  Granted, he’s entitled to his opinion and just because he’s supported Diaz does not mean he has to support Conor.

The Embedded episodes focused on the return of Jon Jones, OSP, Mighty Mouse and Cejudo.  It also included the Pettis brothers training at the same time as Jones in preparation for the fight.

Sponsorships

Reebok, Harley Davidson, EA UFC 2, Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Monster Energy Drink, Bud Light, mobile app game Mobile Strike were in octagon sponsors with Monster taking the center.

Jon Jones had a Monster sponsorship patch in addition to his Reebok gear.  He also held a Monster can after the fight in an old school way of promoting the drink.

Some notables: Jon Jones wore his sponsor, nutrition products company, GAT during an open UFC workout and it was captured on Embedded.

Luke Rockhold was seen in the crowd at UFC 197 sporting an Adidas hat.  Prior to the Reebok deal, Rockhold had a deal with Adidas.  Of course, since the two companies are linked, there was likely no problem with Rockhold wearing the hat.

Odds and Ends

Was it odd or great promotion that Daniel Cormier served as the color commentator for the Jones-OSP fight?

Was it me, or did it seem like OSP did not believe he was going to win this fight?

Demetrious Johnson is on Twitch.  One would think that he could connect his video game interest with MMA fans for more popularity.

Former UFC lightweight champion, and the only UFC fighter to grace the cover a Wheaties box, Anthony Pettis has lost his last 3 fights.

Cody East, the fighter found by Dana White, was stopped by Walt Harris in round 1 on the Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Even without Conor McGregor appearing at this event, it seemed like the biggest news was his “retirement” and then the UFC taking him off of 200.

Conclusion

There were only 50,000 google searches for UFC 197 nationwide the Friday before the event.  This does not bode well if we are to assume the searches relate to interest and the interest relates to PPV buys.  Jon Jones is not a standalone PPV star like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey.  OSP is not someone anyone knew.  Moreover, Mighty Mouse is not a PPV draw.  This event likely ends up with 350,000 PPV buys as many had predicted.

UFC 197 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 23, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 197.  The event featured the return of Jon Jones as he took on Ovince St. Pierre.

The MGM Grand Garden Arena drew 11,352 fans for a gate of $2.3 million.

Bonuses were awarded to Demetrious Johnson, Yair Rodriguez, Dannyl Roberts and Dominique Steele.  Each earned $50K.  Roberts and Steele earned the FOTN.

The event numbers were announced by the UFC at the post-fight press conference.

Payout Perspective:

Of the already 4 UFC events this year at the MGM, the event did better than February’s UFC event which was converted to a Fight Night.  It also did better than Lawler-Condit in January.  However, not surprising, it came second to March’s UFC 196 which featured Diaz-McGregor.  Notably, Jon Jones’ last event at the MGM was UFC 182 which drew 11,575 for $3.7M.  Slightly more in attendance but its clear the tickets were more expensive for Jones-Cormier.

UFC on Fox 19 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 17, 2016

UFC on Fox 19 drew 11,273 with a live gate of $1.057 million.  In addition, Glover Teixeira led the group of bonus winners earning $50,000.

The numbers were announced at the post-fight press conference.

The event took place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.  Saturday night’s event ranked third among UFC cards in the state.

  1. UFC on Fox 17: 14,459 ($1.710,000 gate)
  2. UFC on Fox 11: 14,410 ($1,651.776)
  3. UFC on Fox 19: 11,273 ($1,057,000)
  4. UFC on FX 3: 6,635 ($329,110)
  5. UFC Fight Night 70 – 5,604 (no gate announced)

The Amalie Arena capacity ranges from 18,500 to 21,500.

The bonus went to Glover Teixeira, Michael Chiesa, Elizeu Zalieski dos Santos and Omari Akhmadov earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Teixeira and Chiesa earned the Performance Bonuses while dos Santos and Akhmedov earned Fight of the Night which aired as a Fight Pass exclusive.

Payout Perspecitve:

Overall a good event which could have fallen off due to the loss of Tony Ferguson due to injury and Lyoto Machida due to failing a drug test.  In addition, IIslam Makhachev’s fight with Drew Dober was nixed due to Makhachev failing a drug test. Still it was an entertaining night of fights with the Fight of the Night being a very entertaining battle.  The Performance Bonuses could have gone to Jon Dodson and Michael Dodson as well.

UFC Fight Night 86 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 10, 2016

Derrick Lewis topped the list of fighters earning $50,000 bonuses at UFC Fight Night 86.  It was the company’s first event in Croatia and the event drew over 13,000 fans.

The event taking place in Zagreb, Croatia drew 13,177 for a live gate of $549,000 U.S. dollars per the announcement in the post-fight press conference.  The event took place at Arena Zagrieb.  The arena maximum capacity ranges from 15,200-18,800 depending on the configuration of the sporting event or concert.

In addition to Lewis, Mairbek Taisumov, Jared Cannonier and Alejandro Perez earned $50,000 Performance of the Night Fight bonuses.  There were no Fight of the Night bonuses.

The bonuses, attendance and gate were announced at the post-fight press conference.

Below is a list of this year’s international Fight Nights.

2/22/2016 UFC Fight Night 84 London, England 16,734 $2,000,000
2/27/2016 UFC Fight Night 85 Brisbane, Australia 9,552 $1,000,000
4/10/2016 UFC Fight Night 86 Zagreib, Croatia 13,177 $549,000

Payout Perspective:

It was a good turnout for a Sunday in Croatia.  The event drew the second-highest attendance despite a low U.S. dollar gate.  No word on the comps for the event but the amount of fans that came to the event likely means a return to the country.

Florida to amend law disclosing MMA promoter information

March 21, 2016

A Florida law set to go into effect this July will tighten an already broad exemption to exclude MMA promoter information from a public records requests.

The new law amends the Florida state public records exemption of 548.062 which indicates that all confidential business information required to be filed with the Florida State Boxing Commission after a match or obtained during an audit of the promoter’s books and records… and now expands the exemption to cover all confidential business information provided to the promoter to the Commission…

A portion of the law that will come into effect in July states:

“The disclosure of proprietary confidential business information could injure a promoter in the marketplace by giving the promoter’s competitors insights into the promoter’s financial status and business plan, thereby putting the promoter at a competitive disadvantage. The Legislature also finds that the harm to a promoter in disclosing proprietary confidential business information significantly outweighs any public benefit derived from the disclosure of such information.”

Within 72 hours after a match, the promoter must file a written report with the Commission.  This report includes the number of tickets sold, the amount of gross receipts, and any other facts that the Commission requires.

As with the previous bill one could extrapolate the amount of complimentary tickets given out by a promoter for the event based on a state requirement that a promoter my give comps to “up to five percent of the seats in the house without including the tickets in the gross receipts without paying corresponding taxes on them.”  The promoter may ask the Commission for authorization to issue tickets more than five percent in certain circumstances.

In addition, Florida’s UFC lobbyist Jeff Johnston has worked on the public records exemption which, according to this article, would close the loophole to disclose information prematurely.  Mentioned in the article was the taping of TUF featuring the Blackzilians versus ATT in Florida.  The new law would make sure that results would not be leaked early.

You may recall, that John Nash of Bloody Elbow was able to obtain a variety of documents from the state athletic commission which revealed how much it made on concessions, ticket revenue and rights fee.  As the article points out, the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act requires promoters to disclose to a state athletic commission the amount it is spending and receiving for an event.  The law in Florida pertains to “pugilistic exhibitions” which includes boxing, kickboxing and MMA so the promoter’s disclosure is something to keep an eye on in the future.

Payout Perspective:

This bill amends the previous law which passed in 2014.  The subtle expansion tightens up the law to ensure that all confidential business information provided by the promoter to the Commission is covered by the law to prevent it from falling through the cracks of being subject to disclosure.  Essentially, the law ensures that all information a promoter provides to the Commission is confidential.   Pure semantics but it likely gives the UFC enhanced security that no information falls into the public domain.  With the UFC heading back to Florida in April, the law seems to be one of appeasement to entice the organization to keep coming back to the sunshine state.

UFC Fight Night 85 attendance, gate and bonuses

March 19, 2016

UFC Fight Night 85 drew a total of 9,552 fans from Brisbane, Australia.  In addition, Mark Hunt, Neil Magny, Johnny Case and Jake Matthews earned the fight-night bonuses.

The event, which started in the morning from Australia drew 9,552 fans with a live gate of $1 million.  The only other visit to Brisbane in December 2013 drew 11,393 for a gate of $1.785 million.  Both events took place at the Brisbane Entertainment Center which houses 13,500.

Hunt and Magny earned Performance Bonuses for their stoppages.  Case and Matthews drew Fight of the Night in a fight where Matthews stopped Case.

The numbers were announced at the post-fight press conference.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance was down but could be due to the morning start in Australia.  Hunt, who headlined the December 2013 show, also was in the main event on Saturday.  The bonuses were clear.  Hunt had a walk off against Frank Mir and Magny was impressive in his stoppage of Hector Lombard as well.

UFC Fight Night 84 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 27, 2016

Michael Bisping, Anderson Silva, Scott Ashkam and Teemu Packalen received the $50,000 fight-night bonuses at UFC Fight Night 84 from London.  In addition, the attendance and gate were announced for the event taking place at The O2 Arena in London.

Bisping and Silva won for Fight of the Night while Ashkam and Packalen earned Performance of the Night Bonuses.

In addition, the event drew 16,734 for a gate of $2 million.  The event ranks second out of 5 UFC events at The O2 Arena.  Michael Bisping was in the main event of the top-ranked event at the O2 as he faced Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 120.  The capacity at the venue is 20,000.

The UFC’s James Elliott announced the bonuses, attendance and gate at the event’s post-fight press conference.

Payout Perspective:

This was a big event due to the Anderson Silva-Michael Bisping main event.  Despite being on the downside of his career, Silva is a huge draw and with the home country favorite Bisping as his opponent, this was an easy sell.  The event was a huge boost for the Fight Pass platform.

UFC Fight Night 83 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 21, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses  for UFC Fight Night 83 held Sunday night from Pittsburgh.

Per the post-fight press conference, UFC Fight Night 83 from the Consul Energy Center drew 7,330 in attendance for a gate of $572,547.  The Consul Energy Center houses as many as 19,000 for basketball. The last time the UFC was in Pittsburgh was June 26, 2011 for a UFC on Versus 4 event which drew 7,792 for a gate of $562,000.

The fight night bonuses went to Donald Cerrone, Chris Camozzi, Lauren Murphy and Kelly Faszholz.  Cerrone and Camozzi earned the Performance bonuses for their first round stoppages.  Murphy and Faszholz won Fight of the Night for their Fight Pass prelim bout.

Payout Perspective:

Tonight was the first night that a Fight of the Night honor was given to a women’s bantamweight fighter not named Ronda Rousey.  The event was your general Fight Night in a non-international, non-Vegas city.  Thus, the attendance and gate were comparatively low to bigger UFC events.  One would think that the UFC would improve on its attendance in Pittsburgh since it has been a while for a live event to return yet it was about the same as 5 years ago.

UFC Fight Night 82 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 7, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 82 on Saturday night.  Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson led the night’s bonus winners with his impressive first round stoppage of Johny Hendricks.

In addition to Thompson Diego Rivas, Mike Pyle and Sean Spencer earned the other $50,000 bonuses.  Rivas earned a Performance Bonus with his flying knee which KO’d Noad Lahat.  Pyle and Spencer won for Fight of the Night.  The 40-year-old Pyle earned the victory in the last seconds of the 3rd round with a vicious knee to Spencer.

UFC Fight Night drew 7,442 fans for a gate of $1.435 million according to the UFC.  The event was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  Last month’s UFC Fight Night 81 drew 12,022 for a gate of $1.3 million.  Mike Bohn notes that its the lowest attended UFC event at the MGM since Thompson’s last appearance at the MGM during the Sunday TUF Finale in July.  Of course, those circumstances are slightly different than Saturday’s event.  Still, the attendance was quite low for any UFC event at this venue.

Payout Perspective:

Attendance was down from last month’s UFC 195 which drew 10,300 and a gate of over $2 million.  Comparing to last year’s Super Bowl weekend event, UFC 183 drew 13,114 fans for a gate of $4.5 million.  Clearly, the event attendance was down due to the lack of a title fight or attractive main event.  Hendricks-Thompson was a solid Fight Night card but not a PPV attraction

UFC on Fox 18 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 30, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC on Fox 18

Anthony Johnson, Ben Rothwell, Jimmie Rivera and Iuri Alcantara drew the $50,000 fight-night bonuses.  Johnson and Rothwell won Performance of the Night while Rivera and Alcantara won for Fight of the Night.  The bonuses were announced at the post-UFC on Fox press conference.

In addition, the attendance and gate were announced at the presser with 10,555 in attendance and a gate of $818,000.  The event was 7th out of 7 UFC events at the Prudential Center according the MMA Junkie.

Payout Perspective:

The performance bonuses were well-deserved although you might have thrown in Bryan Barberena who submitted Sage Northcutt.  The comparatively low attendance and gate are not surprising considering the talent on the card.  We  will see how well it did on Fox.

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