UFC 183 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 1, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s UFC 183.  Thales Leites was the big winner of the night taking away two bonuses.

UFC 183 drew 13,114 fans for a gate of $4.5 million which makes it the 9th best gate ever in the state of Nevada.  It surpasses Rampage Jackson-Chuck Liddell ($4.3) from May 2007 and right behind Brock Lesnar-Randy Couture ($4.7M) from 2008.

The bonuses handed out for UFC 183 included Thales Leites, Tim Boetsch and Thiago Alves.  Leites and Boetsch put on the Fight of the Night and Leites also scored a Performance of the Night.  Alves stopped Jordan Mein to earn the other Performance of the Night.  The bonuses were the standard $50K with Leites earning $100K for his two.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the fact that there were still tickets available via Ticketmaster as of Thursday, the attendance and gate were very strong with it cracking the top 10 in top MMA gates in Nevada.  Its the first card since UFC 168 that has made it into the top 10.  Even though there was less runup than UFC 182, the return of Anderson Silva facing Nick Diaz seemed to have been a big enough draw to garner a strong gate.

UFC on Fox 14 draws record gate

January 24, 2015

MMA Junkie reports UFC on Fox 14 reportedly drew a record 30,000 in attendance for a gate of $3.1 milion.  It was the biggest European attendance and gate in the company’s history.

Perhaps most remarkable about the attendance was that the event occurred during the middle of the night in Sweden.  UFC General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa David Allen announced the attendance and gate post-event.  The UFC on Fox broadcast indicated that 26,000 were in attendance at the Tele2Arena in Stockholm but Allen stated that there was a strong walkup for tickets.

There were no reports of comps.

Payout Perspective:

When the stadium show was announced, we had our skepticism about whether the show could draw 30,000 people.  This is partly due to the fact that attendance over the past 3 UFC events in Sweden had decreased.  Moreover, the event would be held in the middle of the night to accommodate the North American audience.  But with the country backing Alexander Gustafsson, the UFC fans came out to support him.  It was an entertaining card and a good indicator that the UFC could hold stadium shows in select countries.

UFC Fight Night 59 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 19, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses from UFC Fight Night 59.  Conor McGregor led the list of fighters earning $50,000 each.  In addition, the attendance was announced at 13,828 for a gate of $1.34 million.

Lorenz Larkin, Matt Van Buren and Sean O’Connell received the other bonuses.  Larkin earned a bonus for his TKO of John Howard.  Van Buren and O’Connell put on the fight of the night.

Dana White announced the attendance and gate figures post-event.  As reported by MMA Junkie, the event Sunday night at the TD Garden was third in the three UFC events held at the venue.

UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun v. Sonnen 12,539 in attendance for a gate of $1.53 million (August 2013)

UFC 118 Edgar v. Penn 2 – 14,168 in attendance for $2.8 million (August 2010)

UFC Fight Night 59: McGregor v. Siver – 13,828, $1.34 million (January 2015)

The venue holds between approximately 18,600 and 19,000 for events.

Payout Perspective:

It should be no surprise that McGregor earned a bonus.  It’s McGregor’s third straight Performance of the Night bonus.  He’s also received a bonus in 4 of his 5 UFC fights.  The attendance and gate were not as big as Fight Night 26, an event where McGregor was the co-main.  There was no word as to how many comps were given so we do not know how many were given out.  There were more in attendance Sunday than at Fight Night 26 despite a lower gate.  The Patriots game may have caused some casual fans to skip the event.  But, the attendance figure is good considering the UFC’s competition.

UFC 182: Payout Perspective

January 5, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the much anticipated fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.

HQ_UFC_182

Jones dominates Cormier

In one of the most anticipated fights in some time, Jon Jones dominated Daniel Cormier.  It was clear that as the fight progressed, Cormier looked like he lost confidence and Jones had broke his will.  Say what you want about the crotch chop at the end, Jones is the best there is right now and he knows it.

This guy may be next for Jones:

Then again, there are rumblings that Jones may face Cormier’s training partner and friend Cain Velasquez. Although Cain is a heavyweight, Jones looked huge compared to Cormier.

Cerrone decisions Jury

One might have thought that this fight would have been a great lead-in to the main event.  Cerrone is a guaranteed “bonus” of the night, right?  Well, not so much tonight.  Except for a bunch of meaningless kicks by Cerrone to Jury, this was a forgettable fight.  Cerrone was disappointed despite winning.

Attendance and Gate

MMA junkie reports the attendance at the MGM Grand at 11,575 for a gate of $3.7 million.  There was no news on comps although the UFC were giving away tickets for the event. The gate failed to crack the top 5 of UFC events at the MGM Grand.  Notably, UFC 168, which occurred at about the same time last year, drew 15,650 for a gate of over $6.2 million.

Despite the low attendance, Dana White was bullish about the PPV buys as he indicated that the 750K PPV buys he predicted pre-event were trending to exceed his expectations at the post-fight press conference.  Although this cannot be confirmed, there were multiple reports that movie theaters and sports bars were full or near capacity.  This will not help contribute to the PPV buys but shows the amount of interest.

Bonuses

Bonuses for UFC 182 went to Paul Felder, Shawn Jordan, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.  Arguably, Felder was the most impressive fighter of the night (next to Jones of course) with his spinning back fist KO of Danny Castillo.

For you gamblers, Felder was the biggest underdog to win at +190 according to the MGM Grand.

Cody Garbrandt was shut out of receiving a bonus despite a strong UFC debut against Marcus Brimage.  Garbrandt was a +130 underdog.

Pre-Fight Promotion

While it was not as expected, the media day brawl back in August was the best thing to promote this fight.  Perhaps it would have picked up more steam if the fight actually happened in September than now.  Still, the promos for this fight were outstanding.  It centered on Jones and Cormier’s brawl and the subsequent ESPN dust-up caught on camera.

The UFC Embedded episodes included Jones attending a high school wrestling practice and Cerrone’s action sports (snowmobiling, car racing and flying).  It also included a backstage altercation between Jones and Cormier.

Tyson Griffin also captured the animosity on his Instagram as the two camps passed each other here and here.

The UFC special Bad Blood featured the Jones-Cormier feud.  Although this episode which aired on FS1 and replayed FX drew praise and hype from MMA folks, in my opinion, it amounted to a regular HBO 24/7 episode.  There was also a countdown show and an “All Angles” show featuring Cerrone.  Essentially, the episode was a “getting to know” Donald Cerrone show.

In addition to the television commercials, there were extensive radio buys which do not usually occur for a standard UFC PPV.

UFC 182 was shown in movie theatres across the country. From surveying social media, it appears that many people actually went to see the event at theatres. 

Also, bars across the country seemed to be packed for this event.

Sponsorships

The octagon had UFC sponsors, MusclePharm, Fram, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Cimemax’s Banshee, Toyo Tires and Bud Light in the center.  There was also signage for UFC 183 featuring an image of Anderson Silva sitting in a “spider” position.  Banshee also had the fighter prep point. There was also a commercial on the Cinemax show during the event.   

Cerrone was sponsored by Budweiser and attempted to giveaway beer on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve until the UFC stopped the promotion.  Prior to the fight, it was announced that he had signed a sponsorship with Fram.  

Cormier had “Break Bones” t-shirts for the event which were made by his sponsor, CageFighter.

Jones sported his new Reebok sponsorship.  Jones’ trunks appear to be what his official uniform may be. He also has his own share of shirts from UFC.com.

Odds and Ends

  • To the dismay of some people, the UFC increased prices of its PPVs to $59.99 HD for the first three events of 2015.
  • The PPV was short on time which is odd since there have been at least two times in recent memory where a UFC PPV has exceeded 3 hours. UFC 181 had five hours squared away instead of the normal four hour block on PPV.  One would think if people were going to pay $5 more, the UFC would pay for an overrun to get some in-ring interviews of the co-main and main eventers.  Regardless, look for big ratings for the FS1 post-fight wrapup.
  • CM Punk was on the FS1 pre-fight show and did a Q&A before the weigh-ins. The company is getting the most out of Punk already and putting him out there for 182 made sense.  How much will they use him before he actually fights?
  • The commission threatened the fight purses of Jones and Cormier if there was any dustup at the weigh-ins. Thus, the awkward weigh-in staredown.
  • Steven Seagal was in attendance and “aided” Daniel Cormier prior to the fight as shown in an “Embedded” episode. Doesn’t look like it helped.
  • UFC Heavyweight newcomer Jared Cannonier utilized crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise money for his training camp. He exceeded his goal of $5,000 by raising $6,100.  Unfortunately, he was KO’d by Shawn Jordan.
  • Speaking of training camps, Cerrone indicated he paid $20,000 to bring in fighters to spar with him. He is set to make slightly over $100,000 for the fight.
  • The UFC announced big additions to its Fight Library with the acquisition of libraries from several promotions.
  • We already know, but Conor McGregor is getting a huge promotional push by the company.
  • Is the UFC using the “boxing strategy” as many suggest that they highlight one fight to sell for its PPV? This can be done if there is a heated feud, but probably hard to sell as frequent as its PPVs are due to lack of build.

Conclusion

After the event, Dana White indicated that PPV buys were above the 750,000 he predicted pre-event.  There were 500,000 Google searches as of Friday which would indicate a big PPV buy rate.  However, the cautionary tale of relying on Google searches is that Pacquiao-Algieri fight in November drew 500,000 searches yet only drew a reported 300,000-400,000 PPV buys.  But, the promotion of the Jones-Cormier feud alone seemed to create the kind of buzz that got fans that pick and choose purchasing PPV events to buy this one.  Any buy rate number hitting 600,000 (or above) will be a great start for 2015 for the UFC.

UFC 182 draws an estimated 11,575 for $3.7M Gate

January 4, 2015

UFC President Dana White announced that UFC 182 drew an estimated attendance of 11,575 for a gate of $3.7M during Saturday night’s post-event press conference.  UFC 182: Jones vs Cormier took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The official numbers for the event will be announced by the Nevada Athletic Commission during the upcoming week.

Top MGM Grand UFC Events:

  1. UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II: $6,901,655 gate; 15,104 attendance
  2. UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva II: $6,238,792 gate; 15,650 attendance
  3. UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks: $5,759,350 gate; 14,856 attendance
  4. UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II: $5,397,300 gate; 13,761 attendance
  5. UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman: $4,826,450 gate; 14,272 attendance

 

Payout Perspective:

MMAPayout reported yesterday that UFC 182 was not a sell-out and ticket sales were slower than usual for what can be categorized as one of UFC’s biggest events in years. The estimated announced numbers are proof of just that.  When the official numbers are reported later on in the week, we will also see a healthy number of complimentary tickets, most likely in the 30%+ range.  In the write-up, we speculate the different reasons as to why the live event ticket sales were not on par with some of the UFC’s other big events that were held in the same venue, but from the UFC’s perspective, they will concentrate on pointing out the great numbers they received from bars, theaters, social trends, and estimated PPV numbers.

There is no doubt that this is the first card since UFC 168 which casuals cared about, the only question is whether it can produce the estimated 1M PPV buys UFC 168 was able to produce on December of 2013.

UFC 182 not sold out heading into event

January 3, 2015

Taking place today is what many consider to be UFC’s biggest event in almost a year. UFC 168: Silva vs Weidman took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in December of 2013, the same venue where UFC 182 is being held. Surprisingly enough, this event was not a sell out and there were plenty of seats available as of last night via Ticket Master.

UFC_182_NotSoldOut

Top 5 MGM Grand Gates:

  1. UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II: $6,901,655 gate; 15,104 attendance
  2. UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva II: $6,238,792 gate; 15,650 attendance
  3. UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks: $5,759,350 gate; 14,856 attendance
  4. UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II: $5,397,300 gate; 13,761 attendance
  5. UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman: $4,826,450 gate; 14,272 attendance

 

Payout Perspective:

It may be a bit surprising to some that today’s event was not a sellout after the impressive promotional push the UFC has given the this event over the past several months.  Some of the factors here include bad timing with the holidays, NFL Playoffs, and CFB Bowl Games. Another big factor is the highly priced tickets just after the holiday season and the fact that there is another big UFC event, UFC 183: Silva vs Diaz, that will take place in the exact same venue just a few weeks away on January 31st.

Due to the factors mentioned, UFC 182 will find it difficult to break into the top 3 MGM Grand gates and attendance.  In fact, the UFC was doing their best to give away tickets just before the event on Twitter , which is a good indicator that there will be quite a few complimentary tickets for this event.  Either way, the UFC should do a gate between $3-4M if their promotional push proves to be successful.  On the PPV side, Dana White predicted that they are looking at the event doing around 750K PPV buys.

UFC on Fox 13 attendance, gate and bonuses

December 13, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fox 13 which took place at The Talking Stick Resort Arena (fka US Airways Center) in Phoenix, Arizona.

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.

UFC on Fox 13

Payout Perspective:

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.

 

UFC 181: Payout Perspective

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

UFC 181 was slated for movie theaters once again.

Sponsorships

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.

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.

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.

Conclusion

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.

UFC Fight Night 57 attendance, gate and bonuses

November 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the UFC Fight Night 57 attendance, gate and bonuses.  Frankie Edgar, Oleksiy Oliynyk, Paige VanZant and Kailin Curran all earned $50,000 bonuses for their work on Saturday.

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Bellator 131 – Payout Perspective

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.

131

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.

Salaries

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.”

Sponsorships

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.

Conclusion

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.

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