December 13, 2014
UFC on Fox 13 drew 15,300 for a gate of $1.5 million. The Talking Stick Resort Arena holds approximately 18,500 for basketball, 16,200 for ice hockey and 15,500 for arena football.
UFC on Fox cards for 2014
UFC on Fox 12 San Jose, CA: 11,482, $735,317
UFC on Fox 11 Orlando, FL: 17,000, $1.65M
UFC on Fox 10 Chicago, IL: 10,895, $863,665
The bonuses for Saturday night were announced post-fight with JDS-Miocic receiving Fight of the Night honors. Matt Mitrione and Ian Entswhistle earned Performances of the Night. Each won $50,000 each.
This UFC on Fox card drew the second highest attendance and gate of the Fox cards for this year. It was the first time that the UFC made it to Phoenix. This was the same for Orlando earlier this year which may be the reason for the good numbers for both cities.
December 9, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 181 which took place at the Mandaly Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
CM Punk signs with UFC
Usually we start off with the main events, and there were two very good ones, but the big news coming out of the PPV was the announcement that Phil Brooks (the artist formerly known as CM Punk – the WWE owns the trademark and we’re not sure if terms of his settlement included continued use of the name) has signed with the UFC. Brooks is 36 and has no formal experience in MMA unless you count his training in BJJ and Kempo. Recently, Brooks talked about a variety of health issues he had while in the WWE as well as the indication he has had a lot of concussions (12 or 13 per the Cabana podcast). The concussions do not even count the ones that were not medically recorded. We will definitely talk about this more but as it relates to business, this is a calculated risk for the UFC. It should bolster a UFC for the sheer curiosity from former WWE fans.
Lawler edges Hendricks for UFC title
Robbie Lawler started and finished the second fight with Johny Hendricks in a flurry. And it might have been the last flurry in the end that solidified the win for Lawler. Maybe Hendricks fell into the same trap of confidence as he did when it appeared that he had defeated GSP. Hendricks had turtled up in at least two rounds allowing Lawler to seemingly pound away at him. Even if the blows did not hurt, the appearance made it seem that Lawler had the advantage. In the end, Matt Hughes had the opportunity to put on the belt for the new champion.
Although a third fight would make sense, Rory MacDonald was in attendance and should be the next in line to challenge for the belt.
Showtime crisp in title defense
Anthony Pettis is good. That’s an understatement. Despite a shaky first round against Gilbert Melendez, Pettis took advantage of a shot from Gil and quickly secured a guillotine. He’s now subbed Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez with ease. It’s clear that Pettis is the tops of this division. Pettis is athletic and quick and if he avoids significant injuries (wrote this before news of his hand), he can be a force in the UFC.
Up next for Pettis should be Khabib Nurmogomedov who showed up at the press conference to ensure Showtime knew who he was.
Attendance and gate
MMA Junkie reports the attendance and gate at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The attendance announced post-event was 9,617 for a gate of $2.488 million. The last event at the Mandalay Bay was UFC 170 in February 2014 for Ronda Rousey-Sara McMann. That event drew 10, 217 for a gate of $1,555,870.
Promotion for the Fight
UFC Embedded was the main driver once again and offered some good background on Hendricks-Lawler and Pettis- Gil. It also covered the Pettis Wheaties box cover announcement and the Reebok uniform announcement. Hendricks’ sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, received some exposure as Johny was seen shopping for a rifle at the outdoor sporting goods store.
The UFC released Hendricks-Lawler I online which one must consider was one of the best fights of the year.
UFC 181 sported a comic book theme with the fight poster. A nice change from the usual face offs.
UFC 181 was slated for movie theaters once again.
In the Octagon were Wargaming.net, Alienware, Matefit.me, Fram, Musclepharm, Metro PCS, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve (a Robbie Lawler associated sponsor), Toyo Tires and Bud Light in the center.
Johny Hendricks had a new sponsor for the fight, Zak Products, an official NASCAR sponsor.
— Johny Hendricks (@JohnyHendricks) December 3, 2014
Hendricks and Pettis, already sponsored by Reebok, wore the brand into the Octagon. Perhaps the Pettis walkout shirt is a glimpse of what to expect from the brand in July.
Dynamic Fastener made its presence known in the Octagon. Hopefully, viewers will figure out what it does before it goes away in July.
Harley Davidson had a promotion where the winner of the Travis Browne-Brendan Schaub fight won a Harley. For those that didn’t watch, Browne won the motorcycle.
Odds and ends
Raquel Pennington-Ashlee Evans Smith ending was a cliffhanger of sorts since FS1 cut to commercial as Pennington had the choke on Smith and it was not clear what had happened. I recall the same thing happening with Dan Henderson-Shogun Rua.
Great wins for Todd Duffee and Josh Samman, the latter with a great headkick KO of Eddie Gordon. Gordon wore a legalize MMA shirt into the Octagon as he fights out of Matt Serra’s gym in New York.
There was some foreshadowing about 181 by Dana White on the Jim Rome Show.
Another interesting question in light of the Reebok deal.
— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) December 6, 2014
Urijah Faber took what is becoming a normal spot as the final bout on the UFC Prelims. It’s interesting that he’s becoming a mainstay in this position but according to Dave Meltzer he chooses to be on FS1 rather than PPV because more people watch. It makes sense considering he is a name, can draw viewers to the FS1 prelims and is a good bridge to the PPV telecast.
Interesting that they dropped the lights for Pettis-Gil but not for Hendricks-Lawler.
The production for the promos for UFC 182 and UFC 183 were great and showed more of a entertainment edge to them.
A good read on referee Mark Smith, who is a retired Air Force pilot. Only coincidence that Air Force Reserves was a sponsor on the Octagon mat.
UFC 181 was one of the best cards of the year. From the Prelims to the main event, it came through with action fights, KOs, submissions and a surprise announcement. Does that mean it will cash in with PPV buys? Google searches were high on the search terms UFC and CM Punk in the U.S. as both were trending 3rd and 6th respectively with over 100K searches each. While this does not necessarily equate to buys (e.g. Manny Pacquiao registered over 500K searches yet scored a reported 300K PPV buys), we should see UFC 181 doing well and above this year’s PPV average. Look for somewhere between the 400-500K range.
November 23, 2014
VanZant and Curran earned Fight of the Night while Edgar and Oliynyk earned Performance of the Night bonuses. Edgar won for his late 5th round rear naked choke/neck crank of Cub Swanson and Oliynyk won for his sudden KO of Jared Rosholt.
The event drew 10,131 for a live gate of $670,022 according to the UFC after the event. The event took place at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The capacity for the venue ranges from 16,540 for basketball to 17,900 for concerts.
It was a competitive night of fights with Edgar subbing Cub Swanson in the main event. It was interesting that the VanZant-Curran fight was not pegged for television as it aired on Fight Pass. The attendance was better than its last visit to Austin when it drew 7,724 for a gate of $595,900 in September 2010. Notably, Austin native Yves Edwards was on that 2010 card. He was on the card Saturday night too in perhaps his last fight.
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.