UFC 238 Payout Perspective

June 12, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 238 taking place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Cejudo dispatches Moraes and becomes double champ

Henry Cejudo recovered from a shaky first round to defeat Marlon Moraes with at TKO in the third round of the main event at UFC 238 to win the vacant UFC Bantamweight title. With the win, Cejudo holds the UFC Flyweight title and the Bantamweight title.

The fight showed Cejudo’s growth and maturity of an MMA fighter. The first round saw Moraes getting worked by Moraes with leg kicks. Cejudo seemed a little tentative in the first round but pressed Moraes in rounds 2 and 3 to get the victory.

Shevchenko leg kick KOs Eye

Valentina Shevchenko showed why she is the Flyweight champion. She almost submitted Jessica Eye with a Kimura in the first round, but used a perfectly timed leg kick to the head to knock Eye out. It was a very scary couple minutes as Eye lay on the mat unconscious.

The broadcast showed how Shevchenko set Eye up for the KO with leg kicks to the body drawing Eye’s guard low. Then, instead of a kick to the body Shevchenko went to the head as Eye braced for a body blow. A perfect setup.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

The event at the United Center drew 16,038 for a gate of over $2 million.  The bonuses went to Cejudo, Shevchenko, Ferguson and Cerrone.

Prefight Hype

UFC 238’s return to Chicago saw Henry Cejudo throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game. He also showed up at a media luncheon with “bodyguards.” At the face offs during media week, Cejudo wore a costume to face off against Moraes. Shaun Al-Shatti explained it here:

Cejudo’s act may be just that to get him some publicity.  But, if he continues to improve and dominate opponents, he may be bringing a throne to his next fight face-off.

UFC Embedded was sponsored by Toyo Tires.

Sponsorships

Octagon sponsors included Toyo Tires, Motel 6, P3, Nemiroff, Modelo, Poker Stars, Devour, PariMatch, Monster, Hudson Shipping and Monster Energy in the middle.

Modelo had the fighter checkpoint.

Interestingly enough, no real signs of the UFC’s newest sponsor, Aurora Cannabis.

Despite his loss, Donald Cerrone is one of the few UFC fighters with his own Monster Energy sponsorship with

Ratings

The UFC Prelims on ESPN did its best since March scoring 964,000 viewers.  It served as a lead-in for Top Rank Boxing.  The UFC main card went up against the return of GGG on DAZN.

Odds and Ends

The Tony Ferguson-Donald Cerrone fight was everything you could have wanted until Cowboy blew his nose.  Ferguson looked sharp and if the fight have lasted longer, probably would have won a decision over Cerrone.  He should face the winner of Khabib-Dustin.

Tai Tuivasa was likely the star of the Embeddeds based on his outgoing personality.  However, he’s now lost two in a row as he lost a unanimous decision to Blagoy Ivanov.

There were some great performances on the undercards including Eddie Wineland, Calvin Kattar and Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling had a good week:

It was interesting to see Moraes get upset at a heckler at media day face offs.  It seemed over the top although you may believe that he was thrown off by it considering this was supposed to be media at the event.

Jessica Eye did not have a good start to fight week as she had problems with here airline.

The broadcast crew is using more technology in explaining a lot of the strategy and moves going on in the Octagon.  A prime example saw Daniel Cormier go step-by-step explaining how Shevchenko was able to get a clear headkick over Eye.

Is this good or bad?

UFC 238 google searches drew over 500,000 for Saturday and another 500,000 on Sunday.  Tony Ferguson had 100,000 himself on Saturday night

Conclusion

UFC 238 was a very entertaining show.  It went up against Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and the return of GGG on DAZN.   But the prelim ratings were up which may equate to a better PPV buy rate.  Reports indicate that the buys since going to ESPN+ have been lower than when on satellite and cable providers.

UFC 235 (pre-ESPN+ only PPVs):  520K-650K

UFC 236:  >100K buys

UFC 237:  ~70K buys

With that being reported, its hard to think that UFC 238 did better than UFC 236 although one might be generous and state that the buys were likely around 100,000.

UFC 238 attendance, gate and bonuses

June 9, 2019

UFC 238 drew 16,038 fans for a gate of $2,034,387.49.  The attendance and gate were announced post-event.  The event took place at the United Center in Chicago in what is becoming the annual event taking place in the city.

UFC 225 last June drew 18,177 for a gate of $2.55 million.    The event featured Robert Whittaker taking on Yoel Romero for the middleweight title.

Saturday night’s event had two title fights as well as Donald Cerrone taking on Tony Ferguson.

The bonus winners for Saturday night were Henry Cejudo, Valentina Shevchenko, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone.  Ferguson and Cerrone earned FOTN while Cejudo and Shevchenko won Performance bonuses for their respective stoppages.

Payout Perspective:

A good night of fights and Henry Cejudo showed that despite the antics, he is one of the elite fighters in the sport.  Shevchenko showed that she may have the 125 title for a while with the vicious KO of Jessica Eye.

UFC on ESPN +11 draws 14,319 for gate of $2M, Smith leads bonus winners

June 2, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 11 took place on Saturday in Stockholm Sweden with the hopes of watching Alexander Gustafsson get back in the win column versus Anthony Smith.  However, the fans saw Gustafsson retire in the ring in a surprise of events.

The Performance Bonuses went to Smith, Aleksandar Rakic, Makwan Amirkhani and Leonard Santos.  Each of the fighters earned the $50,000 bonus after their respective finishes.  Coming off of a PPV loss to Jon Jones, Smith came back to submit Alexsander Gustafsson in the fourth round of their main event.  Rakic, also announced his presence into the UFC light heavyweight title picture with a picture perfect KO kick to Jimi Manuwa.  Amirkhani submitted Chris Fishgold in the second round of their bout.  Finally, Santos KO’d Stevie Ray in the lightweight matchup.

The event took place at the Ericcson Glob in Stockholm Sweden.  The event drew 14,319 for a gate of $2 million.  The information was provided post-event.

Payout Perspective:

An unexpected ending to this event as Gustafsson looks to have retired in front of his hometown fans.  The event was well-attended as the Swedish fans came out to support Gustaffson.

UFC Rochester attendance, gate and bonuses

May 19, 2019

UFC Rochester took place Saturday night with Aspen Ladd and Sijara Eubanks stealing the show for Fight of the Night.  Michel Pereira and Grant Dawson received performance bonuses for their work in the Octagon as well.

Ladd won via unanimous decision over Eubanks with a unanimous decision as the feature bout of the prelim event.  Pereira debut in the UFC was a memorable won as he won via flying knee over Danny Roberts in the first round.  Dawson submitted Mike Trizano via rear naked choke in the second round.

UFC on ESPN +10 took place at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial on Saturday night.  The event drew 8,132 fans for a gate of $644,000.

PBC on Fox attendance, gate and payouts from this past Saturday in Virginia

May 16, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation the attendance, gate and payouts from the PBC on Fox event at the Eaglebank Arena in Fairfax.

The main card which aired on Fox and took place at the Eaglebank Arena in Fairfax drew a gate of $283,941.25 with 6,713 in attendance.  Of the attendance, 2,850 paid while there were 3,863 comps.  Of the tickets sold, 675 were purchased via discount.

Payouts were as follows:

Jarrett Hurd:  $1,250,000

Julian Williams:  $300,000

Mario Barrios:  $100,000

Juan Velasco:  $20,000

Matt Korabov:  $80,000

Immanuel Aleem:  $40,000

Stephon Fulton:  $20,000

Paulus Amwaunda:  $20,000

Drayvontay Rawls:  $6,000

Jonathan Perez:  $6,000

Aaron Anderson: $3,000

Carlos Galindo:  $1,500

Mark Duncan:  $4,000

Kevin Womack:  $1,200

Alexandry Mann:  $5,000

Luis Concepcion:  $5,000

Greg Outlaw:  $4,500

Martin Motomala:  $6,000

Payout Perspective:

The numbers reflect a disparity on the pay roster and also the fact that there were more comps and discounted tickets than sold infers that this event catered around the television broadcast.  This had to be a money loser for PBC but it fulfills its event obligation for Fox which eventually compensates them through this loss.

UFC 237 attendance and bonuses

May 13, 2019

UFC 237 took place Saturday night in Brazil with Jessica Andrade coming away as the big winner as the new women’s bantamweight champion as well as earning two bonuses.

Andrade’s slam on Rose Namajunas earned her a Performance Bonus.  She also drew another $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night.  Receiving the other bonus of the night was Warlly Alves as he KO’d Sergio Moraes.

The event drew 15,193 fans at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As with most Brazilian UFC events, no gate was announced.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the main event and Alves, I’d have to say that the Early Prelims were equally entertaining with impressive wins by Raoni Barcelos and Viviane Araujo as well as a FOTN candidate between flyweights Luana Carolina and Priscilla Cachoeira.  The last UFC PPV from Rio was the Amanda Nunes-Raquel Pennington event from May 2018 which drew 10,696.

UFC on ESPN + 9 attendance, gate and bonuses

May 5, 2019

UFC on ESPN +9 took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Saturday night. Once again, Donald Cerrone drew another bonus for his performance in defeating Al Iaquinta in the main event.

Cerrone and Iaquinta drew Fight of the Night honors while Walt Harris and Macy Chiasson earned Performance Bonuses for their stoppages on Saturday.

The event drew 10,960 fans for $807,000 U.S. Dollars according to the UFC post-event. The event took place from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Payout Perspective:

The event attendance rivals that of the UFC’s last visit to Ottawa in June 2016. The Canadian fans showed up once again for this Fight Night-level card. This event showed that Cerrone is ready for a top-notch main event and could be in line for Conor McGregor next.

UFC on ESPN +8 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 28, 2019

UFC on ESPN +8 took place at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday night.  Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira entertained winning the Fight of the Night.

The two welterweights entertained inside and outside of the Octagon as the two danced their way down the aisle prior to the fight.  Perry won the decision in a highly entertaining fight.  Also receiving $50,000 bonuses were Glover Teixeira and Jim Miller for their Performances on Saturday night.

The event in Fort Lauderdale drew 12,754 fans for a gate of $1,209,654.09.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC last visited Fort Lauderdale in 2012 for UFC on FX 3 with Demetrious Johnson taking on Ian McCall.  The number in attendance this time around doubled from their initial event 7 years ago.  The main event saw Jack Hermansson defeating Jacare Souza in a middleweight contender matchup.

UFC St. Petersburg attendance and bonuses

April 21, 2019

UFC St. Petersburg took place on Saturday airing on the digital platform while Prelims could be seen on ESPN2 Saturday morning.

Islam Makhachev and Arman Tsarukyan drew the Fight of the Night bonus for their co-main event.  Makhachev won via unanimous decision although it may have been closer than the scores revealed.

Magomed Mustafaev earned a Performance Bonus with his first round KO of Rafael Fiziev.  Sergei Pavlovich also won a $50,000 performance bonus with his KO of Marcelo Golm.

UFC on ESPN+7 took place on Saturday at Yubileyniy Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The Prelims aired on ESPN2 while the main card was seen on the company’s digital platform.

According to the company post-event, the event drew a sell-out of 7,326 fans.  The event, which was likely scaled for the smaller audience, was the second event in Russia with last September’s event at Olimpiyskiy Stadium drawing 22,603.  The gate information was not released.

The main event saw Alistair Overeem KO Aleksei Oleinik in a heavyweight matchup.

UFC 236: Payout Perspective

April 15, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 236 which took place at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia where fans were witness to two of the best championship fights in recent history.

Poirier earns lightweight title with win over Holloway

Dustin Poirier was too big for Max Holloway and it was clear that his power overwhelmed the 145-pound titleholder.  Poirier hurt Holloway several times in the first round and despite the featherweight champion’s heart, could not fight his way back into the match.

“Paid in full,” was the mantra Poirier proclaimed about his win.  Poirier had made his way back from losses to Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson on his journey to the championship.  He finally got his chance and now has a chance to unify the titles against Khabib Nurmogomedov in what is rumored to be September in Abu Dhabi.

Holloway will be influenced to return to his Featherweight division and the UFC is likely hoping that Alexander Volkanovski can defeat Jose Aldo next month to secure a date between the two for the 145 title.

Adesanya takes middleweight title from Gastelum

In what was a back and forth fight (and likely 2-2 going into the last round) Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim welterweight title and a shot at to unify the middleweight title with a showdown against Robert Whittaker sometime in the future in likely a big stadium on the continent of Australia.

There was a point during the fight that Gastelum had Adesanya hurt on his feet but instead of trying to finish him, Kelvin went for the takedown.  One can only assume that Gastelum was tired himself and could not continue on his feet.

But Adesanya poured it on in the 5th round to earn the victory.  One may argue that the ref could have stopped the fight in the final seconds of the fight.  Clearly, Gastelum was in no shape to continue but had the heart to finish.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

It was the first time that the UFC awarded two Fight of the Nights with the main and co-main events drawing the $50,000 bonuses.  There were no Performance Bonuses due to the dual FOTNs.

The attendance and gate for UFC 236 did not break records for UFC events at the Philips Arena but it definitely drew a lot of people for this event.  The event drew 14,297 for a gate of $1,908,721.

Past Atlanta, GA UFC PPV events:

UFC 88 (9/06/2008) Evans-Liddell: 14,736 for a gate of $2.6M

UFC 145 (04/14/2012) Jones-Evans: 15,545 for a gate of $2.2M

Payouts

Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway made $350,000 each for their respective fights.  All of the salaries are compiled here.

Promotional Guideline Payouts (compiled via MMA Junkie)

Dustin Poirier: $30,000
def. Max Holloway: $40,000

Israel Adesanya: $30,000
def. Kelvin Gastelum: $30,000

Khalil Rountree: $5,000
def. Eryk Anders: $5,000

Dwight Grant: $3,500
def. Alan Jouban: $10,000

Nikita Krylov: $10,000
def. Ovince Saint Preux: $20,000

 Matt Frevola: $3,500
def. Jalin Turner: $3,500

 Alexandre Pantoja: $5,000
def. Wilson Reis: $10,000

 Zelim Imadaev: $3,500
def. Max Griffin: $5,000

 Khalid Taha: $3,500
def. Boston Salmon: $3,500

 Belal Muhammad: $5,000
def. Curtis Millender: $4,000

 Andre Soukhamthath: $5,000
def. Montel Jackson: $3,500

 Poliana Botelho: $4,000
def. Lauren Mueller: $3,500

 Brandon Davis: $4,000
def. Randy Costa: $3,500

Sponsorships

For the first time, the UFC released a photo of the Octagon match which featured its core sponsors as well as the Cinemax series Warrior.  In addition, in the Octagon was Pari-Match, the international sports betting site sponsor of the UFC.  Also, convenience store RaceTrac shared space on the Octagon with Monster Energy.

The sponsors on the mat were as follows:

Monster Energy: Official Energy Drink of UFC

Modelo: Official Beer of UFC

P3: Official Protein Snack of UFC

Devour: Official Frozen Food of UFC

Nemiroff: Official Vodka of UFC

BODYARMOR: Official Sports Drink of UFC

Warrior: The new original series from Cinemax, premiering April 5

Poker Stars: Official Gaming and Poker partner of UFC

UFC 236 takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the State Farm Arena.

UFC partner, Heed, offered data on the strikes of UFC competitors via sensors in the gloves of fighters. This was explained during a part of episode 3 of UFC Embedded.

The Embedded events were sponsored by the video game Fallout 76.

Odds and ends

It was the first time that ESPN+ became the sole PPV provider in the U.S.  and it came with headaches for many that decided to make the PPV purchase last minute.  Many were directed to a page that indicated they could not purchase the PPV.  Dana White acknowledged the issues and promised that it would be better by the next PPV.  Another critique of the UFC PPV.  No rewind.  Also, if you missed a portion of the PPV, you could not immediately turn back to the beginning.  Instead you had to wait for the full replay to be uploaded on the web site.  Finally, one last critique is that ESPN + was noncommittal about how long you could view a broadcast after purchase.

ESPN ratings for the Prelims were yet to be released at the time of this post but one might them to be north of 1 million viewers.

Kelvin Gastelum actually took off his fight shorts in his hurried rush to take off his sweats for the Octagon and had to put them back on before entering the Octagon.

With the main and co-main event being so good, there were some outstanding performances that did not receive the official bonuses.  This includes Brandon Davis, Khalid Taha, Nikita Krylov and a revamped Khalil Rountree.

From December, Max Holloway has his own Reebok, “It is what it is, headband.”

Shaq was a notable attendee at UFC 236 as he was shown in the crowd during the PPV.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 236 although the number may be misleading as some of these numbers are likely due to the inability to order the PPV.

The UFC marketed the co-main and main event with a Game of Thrones-inspired theme with the popular HBO series returning.

Rich Franklin was announced as heading to the UFC Hall of Fame this July.

Conclusion

We would normally give a buy estimate for this PPV but it’s highly unlikely that ESPN releases any numbers related to the buy rate of UFC 236.  If one had to give an educated guess, I would suggest that despite the buy problems for many fans, it still draws 425,000 PPV buys which is very good.  Adesanya is a rising star in the company and Poirier will get more notoriety as he should face Khabib this fall.

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