March 21, 2017
Former major league baseball player Alex Rodriguez has purchased a UFC GYM in Kendall, Florida and has acquired the development rights for the creation of more UFC-branded gyms in Miami-Dade County.
Rodriguez, the former Seattle Mariner/Texas Ranger and New York Yankees shortstop/third base man, takes over the only UFC gym in Miami-Dade County. Technically, the UFC GYMs will be owned by A-ROD Corp. which has Rodriguez as CEO. There are six UFC GYM locations in Florida and more than 100 fitness centers in the US and Canada according to a report in the Miami Herald.
The UFC Gyms are franchises and anyone with the financial strength and business acumen to open a franchise can apply to open one. According to the UFC Gym Franchise page, the franchises will look at areas “where there are 100,000 people within a five-mile radius and with a median household income of $50,000-$75,000.
Rodriguez owns gyms in Mexico which are on the high-end and cater to professionals. The UFC GYM offers affordable memberships starting at $49 per month.
Don’t look for ARod to be leading a cardio kickboxing class at the UFC Gym. The acquisition is an investment opportunity for Arod and he carved out the region for UFC GYMs. The fitness industry has shown an increase with it reaching an all-time high in 2015. Perhaps ARod will follow in the footsteps of Peyton Manning, who owns over 30 Papa John’s Pizza places in the Denver area and accumulate businesses a source of passive income.
February 22, 2017
MMA Junkie reports that Ronda Rousey will be back on television guest starring on the NBC crime-drama series “Blindspot.”
Rousey will play a female prison inmate. The backstory of her role here:
Rousey will be playing DEVON PENBERTHY: a female prison inmate who grew up in a working-class family from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and is serving time for transporting weapons across state lines. She is a tough, athletic woman who knows how to fight and handle a weapon.
Maybe we are seeing Rousey’s next career taking shape. Despite losing this past December, her Hollywood agency is still seeking opportunities for her outside of the Octagon. It will be interesting to see whether or not her last two fights and her shunning the spotlight will negatively impact her persona as she moves away from fighting.
February 10, 2017
UFC 208 will be the third time that the company has held a show in the state of New York since it legalized professional MMA last fall. Are fans interested in this PPV?
In the main event, Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie for the new UFC women’s featherweight title.
Also, Anderson Silva returns to action taking on Derek Brunson.
UFC 208 will be the second time a UFC card was headlined by women without Ronda Rousey as one of the main eventers. The other, UFC 200, featured Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate. Of course, that was by necessity with Jon Jones being pulled from that event.
One must surmise the UFC had hoped for another title fight (possibly Diaz-Conor III) to headline this card with Holm as a strong semi-main. With McGregor taking a prolonged paternity leave and Nate Diaz trying out boxing since he claims the UFC put him on ice, fans get the matchup for a new title.
Perhaps this slot was to be for Cris “Cyborg” Justino. But, she was flagged by USADA.
So, it comes down to Holly Holm. While Germaine de Randamie might be a promising fighter, she has only 2 fights since 2015.
Holm is on a 2-fight losing streak which included losing the title to Miesha Tate in March and then dropping a decision to Valentina Shevchenko in late July.
However, the latter fight, which aired on Fox, scored the highest rating for a summer show since the company has been on Fox.
Her main event loss to Shevchenko peaked at over 4.6 million viewers with the broadcast averaging near 3 million viewers. Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in November 2015 to tear down the former undefeated champ’s mystique and essentially end her career.
But, is her appeal enough to draw on PPV?
Anderson Silva’s drawing power is now past its prime and marketing efforts are behind the Holm-de Randamie fight.
There are signs that this event will not draw. There is no sponsor for the Embedded series, which have been lackluster to say the most. UFC 208 is not trending online and the peak viewership of the weigh-ins on YouTube was comparable to that of UFC 206. The event featuring Jose Aldo and Max Holloway drew 150,000 buys and was the lowest rate for 2016.
It appears that UFC 208 will be on par with UFC 206 as its truly a card for the hardcore UFC fans.
January 8, 2017
Jumping on the possibility of receiving mainstream possibility from an off-hand remark made by Meryl Streep during her acceptance speech at The Golden Globes Sunday night, Scott Coker sent out an invitation for her to attend Bellator’s event on January 21st.
Streep, making a statement with her speech on immigration, made a flippant remark that if the new administration were to curb foreigners from American we would be left with the “NFL and mixed martial arts.” She added that football and MMA were not the arts.
Coker sent out a statement via twitter soon after her comments made it to social media:
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) January 9, 2017
Kudos for Streep for naming the sport and not the “UFC” when referring to the sport. For those that took her comments as a biting criticism of MMA, you are too sensitive. As for Coker’s comments, it’s a chance at mainstream PR and an added talking point for Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz to promote. It’s unlikely Streep will attend the event in Inglewood on January 21 but it was a chance to get the name and event in the news.
December 11, 2016
Conor McGregor is featured in the latest Beats headphones commercial. The UFC lightweight champion is featured along with other athletes including LeBron James and Serena Williams with the companies new Be Heard campaign.
Footage of McGregor is used in the commercial as he is interspersed in the athlete montage.
Although the UFC’s headphone sponsor is Monster Headphones, McGregor appears in the Beats commercial. McGregor’s appeal and notoriety is shown by the fact he is included in this ad which was shown this past Sunday during NFL football games.
December 7, 2016
Ronda Rousey will be a part of a new marketing campaign with Procter & Gamble’s Pantene brand. The campaign is a play on Pantene’s “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful” campaign in the 1980s.
In the television ad, Rousey states, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Strong.”
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) December 7, 2016
Rousey will appear across TV, digital and print advertising as well as PR and social media platforms.
The launch of the campaign comes just weeks before Rousey returns to the octagon on December 30th. It’s another major mainstream marketing campaign for Rousey. This spot seems to be perfect for Rousey since the take on the campaign is a turn on the old perceptions of women and a look at the more active emerging role of women.
October 11, 2016
MMA Fighting reports that former Dallas Cowboy and Carolina Panther Defensive End Greg Hardy is transitioning into mixed martial arts.
The 28-year-old Hardy does not have a background in martial arts but has been training for several months in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Hardy missed most of the 2014 NFL season due to a domestic violence incident with an ex-girlfriend. Deadspin produced a horrifying account of the allegations for which Hardy was never prosecuted.
According to MMA Fighting, he was arrested for possession of cocaine last month.
NFL insider and MMA aficionado, Jay Glazer, tweeted his disappointment in Greg Hardy entering MMA based on his domestic violence background.
It’s likely that Hardy would fight at Heavyweight and the article indicates that his team says that several promotions have expressed interest in signing Hardy. This should be of no surprise. Despite the background issues, Hardy would draw interest, or maybe its curiosity, as to how he would fare as an MMA fighter. Realistically, there are few good Heavyweights out there and a former NFL player with the credentials of Hardy could gain fast interest.
October 4, 2016
In a recent radio interview, Dana White stated that Ronda Rousey is the biggest star in UFC history. The proclamation would seemingly go against the numbers (PPV, attendance, gate) which would show Conor McGregor as the biggest star.
White was emphatic with his praise of Rousey stating that she was, “by far the biggest star ever.”
McGregor’s last 3 PPVs have scored over 1 million buys and he has produced record attendance and gates in those events. McGregor will likely eclipse more records when he headlines UFC 205 in New York this November. He’s also made the most (reported) for a UFC event as he made $3 million this past August for his fight with Nate Diaz.
While Rousey has done well on PPV, she has not done the numbers that McGregor has produced.
White could be talking about how Rousey’s popularity has brought the UFC to the mainstream and opened up the young woman’s demo to the sport.
(H/t: Yahoo! Sports)
While McGregor has produced monetary records for the UFC, he’s been a little more difficult for the company than Rousey. McGregor deciding not to do media for UFC 200 and his subsequent removal from the card probably did not sit well with the UFC. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that he’s produced big numbers on big shows for the company. But, as for a shift in thinking about the sport, Rousey probably is the more transcendent star. She’s changed how people think about woman’s MMA and despite what people think of her personality, she’s been a mainstream success.
September 30, 2016
The Wall Street Journal reports that celebrities will hold an ownership interest in the UFC. 23 celebrities including Ben Affleck, Adam Levine and Serena and Venus Williams are investing in the company.
Per the WSJ, it’s the “most significant business move” since the sale of the UFC this past July. Terms of the celebrity investments weren’t disclosed. WME-IMG purchased the UFC for a reported $4 billion. According to the article, Ari Emmanuel sought out the celebrities he knew to be fans of the sport and who would be willing to market the sport and influence their fans that it is more than a niche sport.
The news comes at the beginning of the hype for the company’s debut in New York November 5th.
Updated, per Darren Rovell, here is a list of those celebrities that invested in the UFC. Each paid $250K.
In buying the UFC, WME-IMG let celebrities buy small shares with a minimum investment of $250,000. Here’s the list pic.twitter.com/3whha8eOPe
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 30, 2016
The news should not be of a surprise to anyone considering the entity that purchased the UFC this past summer. Certainly the investment is a part of each celebrity’s financial portfolio so I would opine that this is not 50 Cent investing in Vitamin Water. Yet, we are seeing the leverage that the new owners have in promoting and extending the reach of the UFC brand.
September 3, 2016
A new study per the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s annual State of the Industry Report places mixed martial arts as a rising fitness activity among the U.S. population.
According to the study, more than 72% of Americans (6 and older) were active in at least one sport or activity in 2015. The nationwide online survey taken in 2015 by 32,658 Americans gages athletic participation habits.
Over a three-year participation range, “MMA for competition” was third in growth activity among U.S participants. Per the study it had grown 72.3% with 749,000 participating in 2012 and then 1,290,000 participating I 2015. According to the survey “MMA for fitness” was 13th on the list with 1,789,000 in 2012 and 2,498,000 in 2015.
“Boxing for competition” came in 7th on the list.
The number 1 sport/fitness activity in 2015: Stand up paddling followed by adventure racing and then MMA for competition. Fourth was Triathlon (nontraditional/offroad) followed by Rugby.
The key here is the activity habits of Americans as opposed to their favorite sport. Thus, these are the fitness activities of the people taking the survey. Although no definition in the article “MMA for competition” means and actual training in the sport of MMA (striking, grapping) as opposed to “MMA for fitness” (I tend to think this is a non-contact kickboxing class). Why the popularity in MMA? Perhaps the fitness benefits of the activity. Participating in MMA is a calorie burner which mainly younger people are interested in trying.