UFC 192: Payout Perspective

October 5, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 192 taking place from Houston’s Toyota Center where Daniel Cormier took on Alexander Gustafsson in DC’s first title defense of his Light Heavyweight title.

DC wins split decision against Gus

Clearly, it was the most entertaining fight of the night.  Alexander Gustafsson lost his second shot at the 205 title.  If there’s a consolation, and really there is not, it’s that Gustafsson puts on great fights.  His fight with Jon Jones was a classic and this was almost as good.  Unfortunately for Gus, he did not win enough of the skirmishes against DC.  His running away style probably did not help either.

Cormier may have hurt his foot during the first round which makes his performance that much more remarkable.  Notably, he’s only suspended until November 18th.  It appear that he is set for a rematch with Jon Jones.  On the other hand, Gus is out until April 1 and we won’t see the Swede until sometime into 2016.


Bader defeats Evans

Ryan Bader is moving his way up the light heavyweight rankings.  Believe it or not, he might be next in line for a title shot and/or the next opponent for Jon Jones if something happens to DC.  Bader outlasted former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.  Evans tired as the fight progressed and was not the same fighter that he was before his 2 year layoff.

Attendance and Gate

Of the four events held at the Toyota Center, UFC 192 was the lowest output of the four drawing 14,622 for a gate of $1,859,000.

Via MMA Junkie:

  1. UFC 166: 17,238 ($2,500,000 live gate) –main event Cain-JDS
  2. UFC 136: 16,164 ($2,230,000 live gate) –main event Edgar-Maynard III
  3. UFC 69: 15,269 ($2,817,200 live gate) – main event  GSP-Serra
  4. UFC 192: 14,622 ($1,859,000 live gate) – main event DC-Gus


The $50,000 bonuses went to DC-Gus for Fight of the Night, Albert Tuemnov and Adriano Martins for their performances on the prelims.  Sage Northcutt and Rose Namajunas likely drew undisclosed bonuses as well.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC Embeddeds spurred the promotion of the fight as usual and this time we saw Halo 5 as the presenting sponsor for the videos.

Tyrone Woodley had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.  We saw this during the Embedded episode.  We also saw the fighter make their various media rounds.

It would have been interesting to see what transpired when it was determined that Johny Hendricks could not fight and the reaction by Tyrone Woodley once he knew.   Woodley was told by the media so there should have been footage.  Despite losing his fight, Woodley still weighed in to show UFC execs he’s a professional.  For his efforts, White offered him the next title shot…and then wavered later that night.


The aforementioned Microsoft was in the Octagon and the UFC prep point as it promoted the release of Halo 5, the latest edition to the video game series for the Xbox video game platform.  In addition, Draft Kings, Corn Nuts, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires Metro PCS, Corn Nuts, Bud Light, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy Drink had the center.  The addition of Fight Pass seems to be a push by the UFC as it relates to the new content it added recently.

Despite the loss of the in-ring octagon opportunities, Bad Boy is still sponsoring Alexander Gustaffson.  A new signature collection of shirts were released by the company prior to UFC 192.  Gus also helped with the promotion of Halo via twitter.

Odds and ends

The biggest star of UFC 192?  Sage Northcutt.  Looking at the google searches, he was pretty popular.  He even had a brief cameo on UFC Embedded which probably was due to the elimination of Hendricks-Woodley.  He was second to Jon Jones in terms of fighter google searches at the start of the event (see below).

Screenshot 2015-10-03 17.41.34

One of the bigger disappointments of UFC 192 was the scratch of Johny Hendricks from the event.  His fight with Tyrone Woodley was taken off the card.

No original “Face the Pain” opening to start the PPV?  Is nothing sacred?  In all seriousness, the best part of the opening montage was seeing the Rashad Evans KO of Chuck Liddell from UFC 88 in the opening montage.  It was a great, an unexpected KO and also gave some visibility to his homage to Bill Gates post-fight.  Gates was once arrested (for an undisclosed reason) in New Mexico and the shirt is the mug shot.  Perhaps the greatest shirt we will never see again thanks to the Reebok-era.

Rashad Evans


Perhaps the best promo videos for a UFC PPV was played after the DC-Gus fight for November’s UFC 193 with Ronda Rousey taking on Holly Holm.  What set the PPV promo apart was that it told a story and clearly was focused on the power of women in that they can do anything.

The Houston Rockets Dwight Howard made an appearance at the event.  UFC fighters visited a Rockets practice as seen on Embedded.  James Harden and Patrick Beverley of the Rockets as well as Howard spoke with DC, Evans and Woodley.

Per The Wrestling Observer podcast, Ali Bagautinov was not tested prior to UFC 192 despite the fact he previously tested for EPO at UFC 174.

The UFC 192 Countdown Show on FS1 drew 96,000 viewers via Sports TV Ratings.  It aired opposite Monday Night Football.  Usually, the ratings are low due to the fact that the Countdowns are typically online so there’s less of a need to find on TV for fight fans.

Joe B is marrying Megan Olivo?  Congrats.

Updated:  Prefight show on FS1 569K; Postfight on FS1 254K


Two boxing events on HBO and Showtime, college football and even Brock Lesnar on the WWE Network competed with the UFC Saturday night.  For a while on Saturday morning, the Japanese Rugby Team drew more searches than the UFC.  Later in the day Saturday, the searches picked up.  But, there was nothing that stood out to give the casual fan a reason to purchase this PPV.  The loss of Hendricks-Woodley probably detracted some serious MMA fans from purchasing the event but in the end, this event was likely not going to surpass 350,000 buys.  The 350,000 buy mark might be optimistic as a 275-300K range is probably more realistic.

UFC 192 attendance, gate and bonuses

October 4, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC 192 on Saturday night from Houston, Texas.

The numbers were announced at the post-fight news conference.  The UFC drew 14,622 fans for a live gate of $1.859 million at Houston’s Toyota Center.  It was the fourth event at the venue for the UFC and the lowest output of the four.

Via MMA Junkie:

  1. UFC 166: 17,238 ($2,500,000 live gate) – main event Cain-JDS
  2. UFC 136: 16,164 ($2,230,000 live gate) – main event Edgar-Maynard III
  3. UFC 69: 15,269 ($2,817,200 live gate) – main event  GSP-Serra
  4. UFC 192: 14,622 ($1,859,000 live gate) – main event DC-Gus

In addition, the bonuses were announced at the news conference with Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Albert Tumenov and Adriano Martins receiving the $50,000 bonuses.

Payout Perspective:

No-brainers when it came to the bonuses although Sage Northcutt and Rose Namajunas could have staked claim to bonuses as well.  One might expect them getting one of those “locker room” bonuses we hear about.  The gate was the lowest of the four events at the Toyota Center despite the relative close proximity Cormier was to his hometown.

UFC Fight Night 75 attendance and bonuses

September 27, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 75 taking place Saturday night from Japan.  Notably, the attendance was the lowest for a UFC show in Japan since March 2013.

Per MMA Junkie, there was no official attendance announced for UFC 144 in February 2012 although it was an estimated crowd of 21,000 and confirmation that at least 15,000 seats were sold for the event at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

March 2013 – UFC on Fuel TV 8: 14,682

September 2014 – UFC Fight Night 52: 12,395

September 2015 – UFC Fight Night 75: 10,137

Uriah Hall led the bonuses of the night with his upset victory, via the help of his spin kick, on Gegard Mousasi.  Josh Barnett, Diego Brandao and Keita Nakamura also received $50K.

Payout Perspective:

Before we bad mouth the attendance figures, we note that this show was being held Sunday morning in Japan.  Last year, the show was later in the day in Japan (late Friday night in the U.S.) to accommodate the fans.  We may be seeing fans starting to decide, based on the card, whether or not they want to see the fight live.  Japan is a prime area for the UFC in its strategy to build an Asian market for the organization and while the attendance figures are down, subtle tweaks could facilitate growth.  One need only look to see what Bellator is doing to understand the Japanese influence in MMA and understand that it’s a prime market.

But, if the cards are inconvenient timewise, fans might not be motivated to buy tickets.  We shall see if the UFC decides to localize the event for a Fight Pass audience and allowing the fans more of a convenience.

UFC 191: Payout Perspective

September 8, 2015

Welcome to another addition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 191 held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where John Dodson had his second crack at Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.

Mighty Mouse dominates Dodson

Demetrious Johnson showed his skills in taking a 5 round unanimous decision from John Dodson.  Dodson squeaked out (maybe) one round according to judges but tired while Johnson showed his great cardio.  It was another dominant showing but once again was not enough to satisfy the crowd.  According to some in attendance, people were leaving before the fight.  Perhaps that’s the reason Johnson lashed out at the fans that booed in a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani.

The biggest fight in Johnson’s division may be Henry Cejudo assuming he gets past Jussier Formiga.  If not that, I would suggest Johnson moving up to 135 to try and get some competition as its clear he’s lapping the 125 pound division. Arlovski edges Mir Maybe this was the reason why people were leaving early.  Andre Arlovski defeated Frank Mir in the co-main event of the evening.  Mir came in heavy, I mean real heavy, for this fight and it showed as he was almost standing still during the fight.  At one point, Mir got position on the ground on Arlovski and just laid on him until it was broken up.  Not the heavyweight fight that the matchmakers had hoped to see.  Certainly, the forecast was for a quick KO like both had in their prior fights.  Even winning, Arlovski looked down about his performance.  On a six-fight winning streak, Arlovski puts himself in line for the Heavyweight title although he may have to wait until next summer for that considering Fabricio Werdum wants to wait until March to fight.  So, Arlovski will likely get another fight.  Maybe a returning Fedor Emelianenko? Attendance and gate It was not surprising that 191 did not do as well as other PPV events this year in Vegas.  It drew 10,783 fans for a gate of $1.367M.  It was the lowest gate for a UFC PPV since August 2004 at UFC 49.

The last time the MGM Grand drew a comparable attendance and gate was last September for UFC 178 which featured Johnson defending against Chris Cariaso. Bonuses The $50,000 bonuses went to Raquel Pennington, Anthony Johnson, John Lineker and Francisco Rivera.  Pennington, Lineker and Rivera were on the UFC 191 Prelims.  Johnson won a bonus for his KO of Jimi Manuwa.  Lineker and Rivera won FOTN for their slugfest which Fox Sports tweeted out for people to see.

Promotion of the Fight

Notably, the UFC Countdown show on FS1 Sunday drew just 83,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  Of course this rating must be taken into consideration with the fact that many people are now watching UFC Countdown online at their leisure.

The Embedded Episodes once again followed the main fighters on the card including following John Dodson to the hospital to go see his wife deliver their daughter.  It also followed Paige Van Zant during fight week and one can tell that the UFC has plans for her future.

The LA Times also ran a feature on Van Zant.  Perhaps the most salient quotes for the article was that Dana White stated that “[s]he has great personality.  People and sponsors love her.”  Also, Van Zant seemed to infer that some of the other fighters in her weight class may be taking PEDs as she noted that some “have very masculine physiques, and I [PVZ] don’t know if you can get those naturally.”

The “Go Big” press conference was a news event of itself with Conor McGregor once again taking center stage.


Perhaps the most noticeable thing about sponsors for UFC 191 was the absence of Xbox as a sponsor for Demetrious Johnson.  The Microsoft-owned video game platform had been a long-time sponsor for Johnson.  In fact, it was the only fighter it sponsored.  With the Reebok-deal, Johnson had to give up the sponsorship although he could still do promotional work for the company outside of the Octagon.  However, an MMA Fighting article stated that his deal with Xbox was in limbo.

Notably, Xbox promoted its upcoming version of Halo on the PPV as it sponsored the Fighter prep point, octagon signage and Tale of the Tape.

Aside from Xbox, the Octagon had the usual sponsors including Toyo Tires, MusclePharm, MetroPCS, Bud Light, Harley Davidson, Draft Kings and Monster Energy Drink had the center of the Octagon

Odds and Ends

Google trends had 200,000 searches for “UFC 191” which is pretty good.  But does that equate to PPV buys?  Notably, worldwide the search term “Demetrious Johnson” fared better this time around than it did for his last fight in April.  Same for the search term “Mighty Mouse and UFC.”

An anti-domestic violence group called MMA Watchdog staged a rally on Saturday afternoon outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in opposition to UFC fighter Anthony Johnson.  According to the group, there was a small turnout of 30 people.

The UFC expressed disappointment with Johnson’s actions after a gym confrontation with a woman.  Yet, he was not taken off of UFC 191.  Johnson agreed to counseling and a donation to a women’s charity to make good on the incident.

Joe Rogan’s dual interview of Ross Pearson and Paul Felder was really weird.

Dana White introduced a promo for FX’s “The Bastard Executioner.”  Usually these types of promos are introduced by a fighter.  Unless FX wanted White to do the introduction, one would think putting your fighters out there to do this type of work helps prepare them for future sponsorship work.


All of the indicators suggest that UFC 191 will be the lowest output for PPVs this year.  Even with 3 more PPVs left in 2015, we can predict that those cards will outdo this one based on the level of fights on each.  Are we to blame the UFC for putting Johnson in the main event based on his prior PPV history?  Or, is it Johnson, through no fault of his own that lacks the appeal of other fighters?  Johnson is trying his best, but fans are not buying his shows.  Without another fight on the card that would be of interest, UFC 191 is destined to garner around 150,000 buys if lucky.

UFC 191 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 5, 2015

The Wrestling Observer tweeted out the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 191.

UFC 191 at the MGM Grand Arena drew 10,783 fans for a gate of $1.367 million.  Performance of the night went to Anthony Johnson and Raquel Pennington.  Of course, the Fight of the Night went to Francisco Rivera and John Lineker.

Payout Perspective:

A rather tame night on PPV as there was nothing too exciting about tonight’s PPV.  The announced attendance and gate was rather low and expected based on the lack of ticket demand for Saturday’s event.  The Rivera-Lineker ending was tweeted out by Fox Sports.  It aired on the Prelims on FS1.  With college football opening this weekend, it’s hard to think that this PPV gets a lot of interest.

UFC 191 ticket demand non-existent

September 4, 2015

Ticket demand for UFC 191 at the MGM Grand Garden area are non-existent as there are a lot of tickets left on the primary market and listing prices have dropped over the past few weeks.

Notably, according to SeatGeek, the median listing price on the secondary market was $330.  However that has dropped 33 percent to $220.  It appears that you can get a seat on the floor for less than $500.

Seats are still available at Ticketmaster with the ‘get-in’ price at $75 up to $635 for a smattering of seats near the ring.  But, if you want to get a floor seat, you may want to check out the secondary market first.

The prices are in stark contrast to the average secondary market price for UFC 189 of $803.62.  Prior to this UFC 187 on Memorial Day weekend drew an average ticket price of $362 on the secondary market.  The ‘get-in’ price was $144 per SeatGeek.

According to Darren Rovell, the median price paid for seats on StubHub for UFC 189 was $500.  On the day of UFC 189, the ‘get-in’ price was $665.

Payout Perspective:

It’s undeniable that UFC 191 does not have the flashy card credibility as UFC 189 (Conor-Mendes) or even UFC 187 (Cormier-Johnson).  This Saturday’s event likely stops the string of lower weight-class momentum.  For whatever reason, fans are not attracted by Demetrious Johnson despite being one of the more dominant fighters in the UFC.  We shall see if the UFC can scoop fans coming in for the long Labor Day weekend to buy tickets for this card.

UFC Fight Night 74 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 23, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 74 from Saskatoon, Canada.  The numbers were announced at the post-event press conference.

The bonuses were awarded to Patrick Cote, Josh Burkman, Felipe Arentes and Frankie Perez.  Each earned $50,000 each.  Arantes and Peres drew the Performance of the Night while Cote and Burkman won Fight of the Night.

The event drew 7,202 and a live gate of $717,000.  The SaskTel Centre houses 15,100 for hockey and 14,370 for a center stage concert.

Despite having more in attendance (7,539), the night in Saskatoon did better in gate than Nashville ($454,551) at UFC Fight Night 73.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps the most shocking event of the night was the sudden retirement of bonus winner Perez.  If you are going to retire, you might as well end on top.  The gate fared well for the UFC’s first event in Saskatoon.  It will be interesting to see ratings for the event as it went up against WWE’s Summerslam and NFL Preseason football on Fox.

UFC Fight Night 73 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 9, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 73 from Nashville, Tennessee.

Glover Teixeira, Ovince Saint Preux, Marlon Vera and Amanda Nunes drew the $50,000 fight-night bonuses.  Teixeira and OSP drew the Fight of the Night while Vera and Nunes earned the Performances of the Night.

UFC Fight Night 73 drew 7,539 fans for a gate of $454,551.  It was the 3rd event at the Bridgestone Arena drew the second most for events in the arena.  As usual, no information on the comps were given.

UFC Fight Night 18 – 10,267 (gate $626,077)

UFC Fight Night 73 – 7,539 (gate $454,551)

UFC on FX 1 – 7,728 (gate $334,860)

Payout Perspective:

Saturday night’s event from Nashville did better (re attendance and gate) than last month’s mid-week fight event from San Diego and June’s event from Miami.  Both of those cards had better fights on those cards yet Nashville did better with drawing fans.

UFC 190: Payout Perspective

August 3, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 190 taking place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

Rousey ends Corriea in 34 seconds

Ronda Rousey showed her dominance once again by knocking out Bethe Corriea in just 34 seconds.  It was not the most technical of fights, but Rousey showed power in her hands by flattening Corriea.  While many are calling for Cyborg, it looks to be the trilogy with Miesha Tate this December.

Shogun-Little ‘Nog

It was billed as a rematch of one of the best fights in Pride that occurred 10 years ago.  The 10 years took a lot out of each as the first round had a lot of action and slowed considerably over the next two rounds.  Many fans thought that a failed guillotine attempt would have won the fight for Little ‘Nog but Rua pulled out the unanimous decision once again.  Both will continue to fight but I am not sure if that is the best idea for each.


Although announced as a sellout, UFC 190 at the HSBC Arena drew 14,723.  As seems to be a constant with Brazilian cards, a gate was not announced.

Prior PPV events at HSBC Arena

UFC 142 – 10,605 (Aldo v. Mendes)

UFC 153 – 16,844 (A. Silva v. Bonnar)

UFC 163 – 13,873 (Aldo v. Korean Zombie)


Demian Maia, Shogun Rua, Antonio Rogierio Nogueria and Ronda Rousey.   Maia and Rouse yearend Performances of the Night while Rua and Little Nog earned Fight of the Night.  Each earned $50,000

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC Countdown show offered a little more than usual as Ronda Rousey talked about her father after Bethe Corriea’s comments regarding Ronda committing suicide when she beat her.

Rousey also gave an insightful interview during an Embedded feature.

There had to be some concern about the promotion of this fight since it would be in Brazil.  Rousey still did Jim Rome and some other U.S. outlets but not as many as if she were here in the states.  Yet, it appears to have done well.


The Octagon sponsors included Budweiser, Fram, Sports Authority, Reebok, the movie, “Straight Outta Compton,” Tai-Chi Panda, Brazilian outlet Combate and TNT Energy Drink (like most Brazilian events) had the center of the Octgaon.

Tai-Chi Panda is a video game.  A commercial and its web site featured Ronda Rousey.  The UFC women’s bantamweight champion also wore a Monster Energy logo on her Reebok kit.  Rousey also had a new MetroPCS commercial which featured her mother and the horsewomen.

“Straight Outta Compton” had the fighter prep point and the trailer was shown prior to the Rousey fight.

Odds and ends

Placing the TUF Brazil Finals on the main card was not the best idea.  A lot of discontent from fans and people tuned out.  People seemed mad that the Ronda fight did not start until past 10pm PT.

The TUF Brazil contestants wore generic UFC shorts except for a panel which included sponsor TNT Energy Drink.  One might assume that this was a deal brokered by TNT and/or TNT paid for the spot on the shorts.

The UFC Fan Voting was shown after each fight as it is another way that the UFC can engage fans during the PPVs.

A lot of tweets from mainstream stars in support of Rousey displayed throughout the night and on Dana White’s twitter feed.

The WWE sent a thank you to Ronda Rousey after she dedicated her fight to Roddy Piper.

Corriea had a good gimmick with stating that she wanted to beat all of the Four Horsewomen including Ronda. But, we all know that Rousey is so much better than her other stablemates. The award for the worst tweet of the night goes to Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza for continuing a trend of leaders of an organization badmouthing another promotion’s event.

The award for best tweet of the night goes to the WWE’s Seth Rollins for responding to a tweet from Dana White who was badmouthing (or perceived to be) another promotion’s product.

The tweet from Rollins is in response to White telling a twitter follower that WWE is fake. Rousey had 6 million google searches over the weekend. YouTube highlights also did well:


UFC 190 will tell us whether Ronda Rousey can carry a PPV.  Rousey has not done as much media as she would have if the fight was in the U.S.  But, it still received a ton of searches over the course of the weekend.  It was the number one trending topic overall in the U.S. during the PPV.  Certainly, the casual fan was searching the internet for the 34 second clip of Rousey winning.  This may be a problem when it comes to future Rousey PPVs as fans might just wait to see the fight on Vine…or ESPN.

Notwithstanding the future ways of purchasing (or not purchasing) a Rousey PPV, Saturday’s event will be telling as to whether UFC 184 was just one good night.  Corriea was not a strong opponent for Rousey despite the trash talk.  The question is whether that even matters.  It didn’t seem to matter for Conor McGregor at UFC 189. 

Dana White indicated that UFC 190 was trending better than UFC 189.  It’s hard to say what numbers he might be looking at although one might think pre-buys for the PPV might be one. Couple that with the perceived correlation that google searches equate to PPV success and UFC 190 might be a PPV hit.  I was originally thinking that this PPV would do 400K-500K PPV buys.  However, it appears that it may well have exceeded this.  Anything above 700K would be outstanding considering there was virtually nothing else supporting Rousey’s fight.

UFC 190 attendance and bonuses

August 1, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC 190.  Ronda Rousey led the bonus winners for her 34 second performance.

Rousey, Demian Maia, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria all earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Maia submitted Neil Magny in the last fight of the UFC Prelims.  Rua and Nogueria earned Fight of the Night for the reprisal of their fight 10 years ago.

Dana White announced the bonuses at the post-fight press conference.

White also announced that the event drew 14,723 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.  As seems to be a constant with Brazilian cards, a gate was not announced.

Previus PPV events at HSBC Arena

UFC 142 – 10,605 (Aldo v. Mendes)

UFC 153 – 16,844 (A. Silva v. Bonnar)

UFC 163 – 13,873 (Aldo v. Korean Zombie)

Payout Perspective:

The gate was the second-highest with only Anderson Silva topping Rousey.  The card was sold on Rousey and many fans came to see her…for 34 seconds.  We shall see if Rousey’s star will equate to another outstanding PPV buy rate.

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