December 30, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at the last UFC event of 2013 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weidman retains belt after Silva breaks leg
Corey Hill. That is what went through my mind as Anderson Silva’s shin was shattered on a Chris Weidman leg check. Many may recall the lanky TUF competitor breaking his leg on an eerily similar
Leg checks are gruesome as it is and Silva’s kick that broke his leg looked like it was right on Weidman’s knee.
It appeared that Weidman may have knocked out Silva in the first but Silva was able to survive round 1 and even bloodied Weidman. Although Weidman likely won round 1, the fight was still up in the air before the kick despite folks concluding that Weidman would have won the fight. Weidman did look much improved from July and solidified his standing as the division’s champ. It appears that Vitor Belfort may be next. The question is will it be in Vegas or Brazil?
As for Silva, it’s likely the end to his career. At 38, Silva has had a successful run and should be financially set for the rest of his life. We may see him in the UFC in some sort of emeritus role but never again in the Octagon fighting.
Rousey armbars Tate to retain title
Ronda Rousey submitted Miesha Tate although the challenger put up a fight and was the crowd favorite throughout. Rousey refused a Tate handshake at the end which solidified her as the heel.
Tate was a heavy underdog and it seemed that surviving the first round was a victory in itself. Despite not getting armbarred in the first or second round, Rousey was still dominating the match. Her Judo was exceptional and one has to wonder why attempt to take Rousey to the ground when Tate scored with shots on her feet.
Rousey has a quick turnaround as she fights Sarah McMann on February 22nd.
Some have speculated that the Rousey-McMann fight was made to coincide with the Winter Olympics. Both were medalists in the Olympics. The only problem with this theory was that Rousey and McMann competed in the Summer Olympics.
Browne KOs the Warmaster
Travis Browne used his elbows to KO Josh Barnett in what was a mini-upset. Browne propels himself to a fight with Fabricio Werdum with the fighter likely getting Cain Velasquez.
Attendance and Gate
As announced at the post-fight press conference, it was the second-highest gate for an MMA event in MGM history with 15,650 for a gate of $6.2 million.
Rousey, Tate and Browne were the recipients of the fight night bonuses. Instead of the standard $50K each, the UFC upped the bonus to $75K.
FOTN – Rousey-Tate
Sub – Rousey
KO – Browne
As we previously pointed out, Jim Miller should have received the Submission of the Night with his slick setup and eventual arm bar of BJJ Black Belt Fabricio Comoes.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed the pay of the top 3 fights on the card (via MMA Junkie). The rest of the card should be made public later this week.
Chris Weidman received a big pay increase in pay in his first title defense. He received $200K to show and another $200K for the win for a total of $400K.
Silva received $600K and would have made another $200K if he won.
Rousey made $50K/$50K but with another $150K in bonuses she tallied $250K for the night. Tate made $28K and another $75K for $103K.
Josh Barnett made $170K and Travis Browne made $56K ($28K/$28K) plus his $75K win bonus for a total of $131K.
Raise in PPV Price
One of the surprises that came before the fight was the $5 bump in price for the last PPV of the year. UFC 168 was the first at $59.99 (HD) and $49.99 (SD). White indicated that this would be the only time it would raise its price. However, there is some confusion as to whether the $59.99 will remain in 2014 as the current prices on the UFC web page list UFC 169 an 170 at $59.99 although there are reports the listed price is a mistake.
There were many promotional commercials leading up to 168 that still promoted the PPV as $54.95 although you were likely made known of the price change when you went to order.
The rise in the price could mean more people went to bars to watch the PPV and maybe more fight parties.
Promotion of the Fight
The UFC went all out for UFC 168 with branding all over the MGM Grand including the key cards, slot machines and gaming felt. I can attest the UFC has done the gaming felt back in the Tito Ortiz days (circa 2006). Still, the constant reminders of the fight likely helped out.
ESPN got in on the action as it let Dana White take over its twitter and Instagram accounts on Saturday to hype the fight. The obvious conflict is that White’s company is featured on ESPN’s newest competitor, Fox Sports 1. The fact White is allowed to promote on ESPN and that ESPN wants White to promote the UFC infers that MMA is legitimately making strides as a sport that is newsworthy (well, except that ESPN got rid of the over the air version of MMA Live).
UFC used FS1 to promote the fight and showed Weidman-Silva I and also aired “Fighting Words” which was an interesting look at the first fight that included audio of the corners that caught what each said to their fighters. It also included interviews by both fighters and audio from Jon Jones and Urijah Faber at the fight. While UFC Primetime has been shut down, this show did a great job in recapping events leading up to the rematch.
The Saturday morning edition of Good Morning America did a spot on Ronda Rousey which is a pretty big even if it was the weekend crew of GMA.
The UFC held a press conference prior to the fights to announce the UFC’s new digital network, the UFC Fight Pass. More on this later but the sweetener for UFC fans is that it is giving users 2 months free before it charges your credit card $9.99 per month.
Sears was the newest “big” sponsor to the Octagon. Maybe a “one off” but I’m sure the UFC hopes that it can bring it in as an official sponsor. Tapout, MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Cinemax’s “Banshee”, Peter Berg’s movie, “Lone Survivor”, WarGaming.net, MetroPCS and Bud Light with the center.
UltimatePoker.com had the prep point outside the cage and AXS TV had the official weigh-ins.
Harley Davidson ran a promotion for its Project Rushmore motorcycles in which the winner of Weidman-Silva would win a motorcycle.
MetroPCS also had a unique activation for this event where twitter users could obtain a “personalized” digital photograph of Ronda Rousey.
Interesting sponsor of the night: Autoshopper.com. It was on a number of fighters including Miesha Tate.
1Law.com, a law firm out of Utah picked the right fighter to sponsor as it was on the front of the shorts of Travis Browne as he KO’d Josh Barnett. It has sponsored Browne in the past.
Monster (an official UFC sponsor) headphones are going to be around more and more heads in the Octagon so get used to them having them on and not listening to anything.
Nike was noticeably absent from Anderson Silva. When asked by Ariel Helwani in a pre-fight interview, Silva told him to ask Dana. White deflected comment but it was clear that Nike did not pay or would not pay the sponsor fee for Silva this time around. To be clear, Nike still sponsors Silva, it’s just that he was not on Silva’s shorts, shirt or banner.
Rousey was sponsored by the UFC in what looked like signature gear. She was also sponsored by Xyience.
Tate had a number of sponsors including Autoshopper.com, Venum, Affliction and Training Mask.
Silva did have less sponsors this go round. He had Wizard, Burger King, computer maker Lenovo and soccer club Corinthians Paulista.
Weidman had an assortment of sponsors including Bad Boy Club, Oak Grove Technologies, American Ethanol, Monster and investment firm InCapital.
Post-UFC 168 Headlines
The new faces of the UFC. Saturday we saw the two new faces of the UFC in Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman. With GSP and Anderson Silva gone within weeks of each other, Weidman should be marketed as the top UFC guy. Even though Jon Jones has a fair argument here, his last couple of fights have not equated to PPV success. Weidman took down the GOAT twice and we will see how long he can defend the belt in this division.
Despite being the “heel” against Miesha Tate, Rousey has the “it” factor that draws people to watch her. She is brash, dominant and that look of determination walking to the ring would have anyone hiding their arms around her. The question is whether the fame and time obligations may catch up to her. With her next fight so close to this one and coming off of shooting two movies, we will see if it catches up with her.
Odds and Ends
-The UFC offered closed circuit of the fight at the MGM for $60 per person. I do not believe the UFC put this PPV in movie theatres.
-There were over 5 million Google searches for Anderson Silva on Saturday night. Most searchers likely wanted to see an image of his broken leg.
-It was the first time I recall the main event fighters coming out from different sides of the curtain at the weigh-ins.
-Over 14.6K people were on YouTube at the start of the very first fight which bodes well for viewership for the rest of the card.
-Rumors of Brock Lesnar in Vegas during UFC 168 is reminiscent of the two guards that sat in the courtroom that unnerved Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men.” In other words, the UFC could have just flown Lesnar out to Vegas and create a story that wasn’t there.
-Rousey and Tate are complete opposites and this was most telling in their walkout songs. Katy Perry (Tate) vs. Joan Jett (Rousey).
-Due to the short fights, there was a lot of downtime and “commercials” and the live fights ended at 9:30pm PT.
-Buried by the main event stories was the second straight impressive win by Michael Johnson on the Prelims.
-Uriah Hall saved his job, while Chris Leben likely heads to retirement.
-Marc Jacobs is selling a Ronda Rousey t-shirt.
-Anyone else notice that the broadcast team kept pumping up the odds including right before the Tate-Rousey fight. That might not be new, but what was new was that it directed people interested in odds to the UFC web site.
The hype for this fight was the biggest this year and the women co-main event had a lot to do with it. It may be one of the highest HD PPV buys ever. There was a lot of mainstream buzz for the fight which not always transfers into PPV purchases. But I think the buzz helped. Despite the protests about the price increase, it will likely not affect the final PPV buys. An estimation of around 750K PPV buys should be attainable if not surpassed after all is said and done.
December 27, 2013
To say that tomorrow’s UFC 168 is an important event for Zuffa this year would be quite the understatement. In fact, the focus placed on UFC 168 has been so strong that some have argued that it has actually undermined the UFC events in between, which caused them to under perform. We will take a look at some of the numbers and the promotion being put together the week leading up to the event.
The UFC announced on July 13th, 2013 that the highly anticipated rematch between new Middleweight champion Chris Weidman and MMA legend Anderson Silva would take place on UFC 168, making Rousey vs Tate 2 and incredibly strong co-main event for the casual fans and mainstream. Since that announcement was made, about 5 months before the event was to take place, the UFC made it no secret it would be heavily promoting the event, which include an entire season of TUF dedicated to pitting both coaches on the PPV along with countless of media appearances and press conferences. To summarize, the UFC has been promoting UFC 168 for five months straight hoping to cash in big at the end of the year.
In that span, the UFC has hosted four PPV events, from UFC 164 to UFC 167, and all have arguably underperformed. Pettis vs Henderson, the highly anticipated rematch from WEC, which produced the Showtime Kick, drew less than 300,000 buys. Jon Jones was the first noticeable casualty, drawing his lowest PPV buy rate since becoming champ. Velasquez/JDS III drew 330,000 viewers while Velasquez/JDS II drew 590,000 the previous year. GSP’s 630,000 PPV buys are the lowest since UFC 87 in 2008 against Jon Fitch z9 not to mention that it was the UFC’s anniversary event). All events underperformed, but will the gamble to place most of the attention on UFC 168 for almost half a year pay off? They are certainly betting on it.
The UFC has gone all in the week heading into UFC 168 with countless ad spots on FOX Sport properties and key big FOX spots during NFL programming. The UFC even scored an appearance in Good Morning America this morning. To put it bluntly, a lot of money was spent on promoting UFC 168 and considering that UFC predicted the event would be as big as UFC 100 (1.6M buys), they really had no choice. Then again, the UFC also bumped up the PPV price by $5 just for this event, hoping to reach UFC 100 levels of revenue even they most likely won’t be able to match the buyrate. This week, Dana White estimated the gate for UFC 168 to be around $6.3M already, which would place it among the top gates in the company’s history. It also appears that ESPN is all in for this event, which has historically meant good things for the UFC.
Now, is the event a shoe in to become a huge PPV success? Well, not necessarily. End of the year between Christmas and New Years has always been a tough sell due to the festivities, new toys, NBA, and CFB Bowl games. UFC 141 hosted a huge main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem, two of the biggest and physically gifted athletes in MMA. Lesnar had been a shoe in for 1M PPV buys for years with the UFC, and adding an opponent like Overeem seemed like a PPV buyrate slam-dunk. Only, it didn’t turn out that way. The event ended up doing around 535,000 buys, which is nearly half what most expected, though there were a few key differences between that event and UFC 168. One major factor was holding UFC 141 on December 31st (Friday night) where UFC 168 is being held on the more traditional Saturday night time slot. Lesnar had also lost his belt for that bout for his bout against Overeem after being dominated by Cain Velasquez along with many health concerns. However you slice it, UFC 168 will be a hugely successful event, though the question of whether it can crack the 1M PPV buyrate which Lesnar and only a couple of other main events have been able to accomplish in the past 5 years is still up in the air.
Lets take a look at some of the promotion:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 27, 2013
— MMAWeekly.com (@MMAWeeklycom) December 27, 2013
— MMAWeekly.com (@MMAWeeklycom) December 27, 2013
— MMAWeekly.com (@MMAWeeklycom) December 27, 2013
New Post – Dana White to take over SportsCenter’s Twitter and Instagram on Saturday http://t.co/VvjgZNgJ5g
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 27, 2013
— Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) December 27, 2013
June 24, 2013
The Sports Business Journal reports that Corona is affixing faces of familiar fighters on lines of bottles starting in mid-August. The boxers are Miguel Cotto, Bernard Hopkins, Peter Quillin, Erik Morales, Abner Mares and Danny Garcia.
The fighters will be included in 18-packs in 32 states distributed primarily to Hispanic accounts. The promotion starting in August will run through October. Three commemorative bottles will be included in the 18 packs.
According to the SBJ (subscription required), this will be the first time that Corona will build a retail promotion around boxing. In a way, Corona’s promotion concedes the fact that Tecate has been successful with its in-store retail promotions (i.e., $25 rebate coupon for certain Pacquiao fights if fans bought Tecate can products).
Corona distributor Crown Imports signed on as a Golden Boy Promotions sponsor and its the company’s first major in-store promotion. Golden Boy sees the opportunity to activate in 50 states which gives it a bigger reach than Tecate’s previous in-store promotions which were narrowly targeted.
While the promotion seeks to target the Hispanic market with a direct emphasis on Mexican Independence Day in September, the bottles feature two Mexicans (Morales, Mares), two Puerto Ricans (Cotto, Carcia) and two African Americans (BHop, Quillin).
The promotion not only features the fighters but taps into the cultural pride. Notably, it hopes to capitalize on a fight featuring Miguel Cotto in mid-September. What about that other fight happening on September 14th between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather? While it would have made the most sense, there were obstacles from having the two featured on bottles. First, at 22 years of age, Canelo Alvarez is too young to appear in beer ads per U.S. beer industry rules. Mayweather declined to appear on the bottles.
While a survey reveals Corona is the preferred imported beer among Hispanics in the U.S., we will see if this promotion aids Golden Boy’s upcoming fights. Moreover, will the promotion see a return on the costs expended for it.
June 13, 2013
Ronda Rousey stars as “The Insureon Protector” in a YouTube video promoting Insureon – an online company specializing in insuring small businesses. Rousey kicks, punches and uses her trademark armbar in fending off lazy tech support workers.
This is one of the first commercials featuring Rousey since she won the UFC women’s bantamweight title. According to the Sports Business Daily, the video is the start of a marketing campaign featuring Rousey in a series of videos (presumably as “The Insureon Protector”) as well as an interactive website. We will see if this catches on for Rousey and if this will lead to bigger deals.
March 8, 2013
MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Elie Deshe, a partner at VFD Marketing. Deshe and his organization represent several UFC fighters including Leonard Garcia, Travis Browne, Clay Guida and Nate and Nick Diaz. We covered a couple interesting subjects including the Diaz Brothers, agent regulation and working with sponsors.
VFD Marketing is based out of Miami, Florida. Deshe (the D in VFD) works on the marketing aspects of fighter representation including brand marketing and emerging technologies. Deshe also works with sponsors. SafeAuto Insurance (a company he previously worked for) and MusclePharm are a couple of the sponsorship deals Deshe and his company have brokered for their representatives.
VFD consists of 6 employees and the company actually has 3 arms with a sports agency, a modeling agency and a media agency. VFD manages several fighters and serves as marketing agent for others. One client is Nick Diaz.
The interview came at an opportune time as the Nick Diaz-GSP/UFC 158 telephone conference just ended. VFD Marketing secures sponsorships for the Diaz Brothers. They are working on deals for Nick for March 16th.
Marketing for the Diaz Brothers
“I don’t think people realize that they’re different people. They just get lumped in the same category. Love them or hate them, people have an opinion and so long as they are on people’s minds, it makes them marketable.”
Deshe added that it’s not hard to find companies that will work with them.
“All they do is train. They don’t care about the limelight or attention. They’re there to fight. It’s up to us (VFD) to show sponsors the differences between the two. There has been no scenario where a sponsor has said, ‘I like Nate but not Nick.’”
As for sponsors for next week, Deshe said that they will be working up until Thursday night to secure deals for Nick. Fighter shorts are turned in on Friday and VFD ensures that everything is in the right place. For Deshe, ensuring “everything is in the right place” may mean making sure the sponsor logos are in the right place on the shorts or banner to whether the logo looks good on television. “Sometimes we’ve said to sponsors to try a different logo to maximize how it looks on TV,” explained Deshe.
We asked what he thought of regulating agents that manage fighters. “It’s a very loose term. If the UFC had a vetting process of who is an agent and who is not, we wouldn’t have a problem with it. Some of the agents are friends of the guys growing up. Does that make them qualified? They may be good on their own merit.” Deshe stated that fighters could be hurt, “if someone is in it for the wrong reasons.”
UFC sponsor tax
“We get why it’s in place. But we put sponsors in a position to succeed unlike most. If it was like in the early days, (obtaining sponsorships) it makes a manager’s job easier, but makes it tougher to distinguish who is good.”
Negotiation with sponsors
Deshe stated that negotiating terms of a deal on how much their clients are paid is not the hardest thing. “The bigger part of it is getting the sponsors on board. Its about selling the sport to them. UFC is the best value in sports entertainment from a marketing perspective. Once on board, the budgets will work. It’s good to get money for one fight, but if they (sponsors) don’t see value, they won’t come back.”
Deshe commented that a part of working with companies is to ensure that the sponsorship is supported through social media and blog articles among other things. He also seeks out opportunities outside of the octagon. Four of VFD’s fighters have appeared in Safe Auto commercials. “Being in the ring is great, it can’t be the only thing to do for these guys,” said Deshe.
How much do sponsors pay
“Ranges are all over the map. Deals range in the mid to high 6 figures and we’ve done deals in the low four figures. We’ve done everything. That’s why we spend time working with sponsors. VFD has become a company sponsors want to come to.”
Deshe stated that VFD receives inquiries from companies that want to sponsor fighters and come to them to find out how. “They know we can get them on the right guys, make it look right, get social media support and add value.”
Fighter income between fights
We asked Deshe about how fighters maintain income after a fight is over or before their next fight. Deshe indicated that there are several ways fighters can supplement their income between fights. One way is negotiating deals with sponsors which would allow the fighter to receive a monthly payment from the sponsor. For instance, a deal may consist of sponsoring a fighter over the period of a year and the fighter would be compensated monthly.
There are also the usual opportunities to book appearances, seminars and autograph signings.
Deshe noted the limited time for their fighters to supplement their income. “There’s not a big window to do all of the things in between.” They maybe take a couple months off but are usually back in the gym training.
February 25, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 157 from The Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In the main event, Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in the first ever women’s bout in the UFC.
Rousey submits Carmouche, UFC wins
Saturday night’s title fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche could not have gone better unless it had gone 5 rounds…or even 2. But, Rousey’s trademark armbar with just seconds left in the first round left the crowd and many fans satisfied with the main event.
The fight legitimized women’s MMA. Rousey did what she does (i.e., armbar) and Carmouche showed that she was not a tomato can. In the end, the UFC ended up winning as it showed that the women could put on a show. It took a risk in putting this as the main event and the women came through. Now the only issue is where it goes from here.
Machida wins, the fans do not
This fight complemented the main event because it was not an entertaining fight. If Rousey-Carmouche were not on top of the card it would have been this fight. Fortunate for everyone, the UFC went with the women. With that said, it was a tactical fight that was slow paced. Whether it was Machida’s in and out or Henderson’s constant measuring of the Dragon, the fight lacked any excitement.
Machida will get another shot at Jon Jones but after watching this fight, I’m not sure if that excites anyone.
Faber chokes out Menjivar
The details of jiu jitsu. If you have the fight on DVR, during the finish watch how Urijah Faber uses his non-choking arm to peel back the forehead of Ivan Menjivar which exposed his neck despite Menjivar’s attempts to tuck his chin. With the neck exposed, Faber slid in his arm and coupled with the body triangle Menjivar was forced to tap. The peel back of the arm is what Carmouche was unable to do with Rousey when the two were in a similar position.
An impressive win for Faber as he looked fresh and reminiscent of his time in the WEC. However, the rub is that he’s in a place where he’s better than the mid-card but not good enough to claim a title. We’ll see what the UFC does with Faber.
Attendance and Gate
Announced at the post-fight press conference, the Honda Center was sold out with 15,525 for a gate of $1.4 million. There was no confirmation on paid attendance versus comps.
As we detailed here, it was the highest attended event at The Honda Center which included UFC 121: Velasquez versus Lesnar. It also bested the two Affliction events held at The Honda Center although Affliction: Banned earned more ($2.1M gate per MMA Payout’s Blue Book).
It seems as though Anaheim is the “go to” venue outside of Vegas. This venue worked for this event. The Honda Center is down the road from Rousey’s home in the LA area and up the road from Carmouche’s in San Diego. Most fans could travel easily up or down Interstate 5 to support their fighters. Southern California is a hub for MMA and is more progressive than most areas of the country. Sure, it’s in Orange County but it’s in Anaheim, not Newport Beach.
As reported previously, the bonuses were $50,000 each and were awarded below:
Fight of the Night: Dennis Bermudez v. Matt Grice
Submission of the Night: Kenny Robertson
KO of the Night: Robbie Lawler
Promotion of the Fight
Rousey was on every media outlet imaginable: ESPN, SI, The Jim Rome Show, Time and HBO Sports to name a few. The UFC stated that this event received the most media attention ever and Rousey has received more media than Brock Lesnar. The Rousey media blitz drew support from mainstream notables that gave their support via twitter.
— Stuart Scott (@StuartScott) February 24, 2013
Congratulations Mohr Stories veteran @rondarousey . Amazing fight. Brilliant finish.
— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) February 24, 2013
Who all is watching Rouzey vs Carmouche?!?! Major night for women!!! Lets entertain the world!!! Who you going for? #fb
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) February 24, 2013
The UFC pitched gay media to focus on the Liz Carmouche her story. The UFC did a good job in marketing Carmouche as a pioneer for the gay community without exploiting her sexual orientation. It also stressed the fact that she was a U.S. Marine.
With Danica Patrick competing at the Daytona 500, media were eager to jump on the women’s weekend. Realistically, it’s hard to blame the media focus: it is historical, out of the ordinary and an easy lead that would get readers/page views.
The 3 part UFC Primetimes were especially good this time around. It had more meat to it for the obvious reasons. Both fighters had compelling stories that drew you in. It’s what the Primetimes are supposed to do. It seemed more like the good HBO 24/7s especially the last 5 mins of the first and third episodes. Good narration and great writing made the shows.
The night’s sponsors in the Octagon included Xyience, MetroPCS, UltimatePoker.com, Toyo Tires, Dodge Dart, TapouT, new sponsor Head and Shoulders and Bud Light in the center. Corn Nuts also sponsored the corner cam.
Rousey was sponsored by the UFC as she donned the UFC-Monster headphones and wore UFC sponsored gear although I believe that Lululemon Athletic made the fight gear. Will double check on that. She also had a Xyience patch on her shorts.
In addition to inside the Octagon, Rousey also has deal with Fuji gis.
Carmouche had several sponsors including VA Home Mortgage (which sponsored several fighters on the card), Salesforce and Torque.
Henderson had his Twitter and Facebook handles on his shorts in addition to Clinchgear.
Machida was sponsored by official UFC sponsors Bony Acai and Head and Shoulders in addition to Venum,
Kenny Robertson won submission of the night and also gets the award for best sponsor: Mason Funeral Home. A funeral home sponsoring a UFC fighter? Everyone dies so it is in the UFC demo.
Josh Koscheck and Lyoto Machida are still sponsored by Lugz. I didn’t know that the company was still around. But, these two have had long-term sponsor deals with the company.
Post-UFC 157 Headlines
What’s next for women’s MMA – It was a good debut for the women in the UFC. It was an exciting, competitive match and no blood. There was the concern of Rousey almost losing her top but the UFC avoided that issue. So, what’s next? Rousey will be a draw the next time she fights. But, the bigger issue is what happens when other women fight. The UFC would not be able to get as much buzz for another women’s fight if Rousey is not in it. We’ll see how the UFC uses women’s MMA to complement the male card.
Machida next for Jones – Is anyone excited to see this rematch? Perhaps the UFC hoped for Henderson to win here to get a redo for UFC 151. I’d rather see Alexander Gustafsson get the shot.
Odds and ends
- Kenny Robertson will be teaching class on Monday at his “day” job.
- I was sitting on the tweet that Henderson was going to knock the head off of Machida’s shoulders all night. It didn’t happen.
- I wonder if there was a proposition bet on whether Carmouche would have gotten out of the 1st round. If so, that would have been exciting.
- It’s obvious that the UFC has a working relationship with Invicta as Carmouche’s coach wore the shirt and the logo was seen during the UFC Primetimes. Zuffa wouldn’t let this happen unless there was a business relationship. If women’s MMA starts to take off could we see another Zuffa purchase? More likely I could see the UFC using Invicta like a farm system and call up fighters to fight on a UFC card.
With all of the great media attention the UFC received for Saturday’s event, it will be interesting to see how much of the media attention will convert to PPV buys. It reached out to more media than usual in getting attention for this event. Rousey and Carmouche have been great ambassadors for women’s MMA. But, I think it will boil down to whether the casual viewer can stomach the possibility of seeing a woman busted open and bleeding like Joe Lauzon at UFC 155. Or, can they watch an arm be broken right in front of their eyes. These are questions that seem silly but will really determine whether women’s MMA can succeed with the UFC.
With that being said, a low to mediocre PPV buy rate would be disappointing considering the amount of public relations and press buzz the UFC received for this bout. Yet, how many new viewers can be added for this event? Would the backstory of Rousey and the novelty of the women’s fight be enough to convert non-UFC followers to pay for the PPV. Last year’s PPV average hovered around 450,000 buys. If UFC 157 hit the average it would be a success.
November 9, 2012
The UFC on Fuel TV 6 will be held early Saturday morning for us in the US as Zuffa makes its first venture into Asia. Interesting enough, Bruce Lee is a dominant figure in the fight promo for the event Saturday.
A quote from Dana White sits atop the promo poster stating that “Bruce Lee is the father of mixed martial arts.” Lee’s image is at the center of the featured main card fighters.
The daughter of Bruce Lee and the president of the Bruce Lee Foundation, Shannon Lee, spoke with The MMA Hour this past week.
Lee told MMAFighting.com:
“In a way the UFC and the rise of MMA have really helped solidify my father’s legacy and position in the world of martial arts,” she said. “That has been really important. There’s always discussion, and I’m sure a lot of people don’t want to have the discussion about Bruce Lee and MMA, and that’s fine but martial arts was really my father’s life.”
When Dana White approached Lee about using her father’s likeness in promoting the company’s card in China, she stated it would be an honor.
The promotional use of Bruce Lee should help with those fans in China (Macau to be specific) that are not familiar with MMA or the UFC. Lee is a revered person in martial arts and the use may help bring a certain portion of martial arts fans to give the UFC a try. Entering the Chinese market, the association of Lee can garner brand trust for the UFC.
As stated in her interview on The MMA Hour, Shannon Lee is working on building a Bruce Lee Action Museum in Seattle. More on that can be found in this article. The area they plan to build would sit in Seattle’s Chinatown District (International District for the more politically correct). Fundraising still goes on for the project.
October 27, 2012
Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz will serve as an honorary pace car driver for the Advocare 500 in Phoenix. This will be the second time this year Cruz will make an appearance at a NASCAR event.
Earlier this year, Cruz served as the honorary driver at the Subway 500 held in Phoenix. Jon Jones made an appearance at the Daytona 500 this year and Anderson Silva served as the honorary pace car driver for the Kobalt 500 last November in Phoenix.
Via UFC Press Release:
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today [October 25th] that Ultimate Fighting Championship® bantamweight champion, and former star of The Ultimate Fighter® Live on FX, Dominick Cruz has been named Honorary Pace Car Driver for the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, November 11.
“We are honored to have Dominick Cruz as our Honorary Pace Car Driver, he has always represented his sport and the state of Arizona with class,” said Sperber. “We know our fans will be excited to see him drive the pace car on race day.”
Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Cruz, 27, has ascended to the top of his profession. Known for his outstanding speed and footwork, Cruz has compiled a 19-1-0 professional record that includes wins over the likes of Demetrious Johnson, Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen, Joseph Benavidez and Brian Bowles.
“I’m excited to be making my return to PIR and the Advocare 500 NASCAR race,” said Cruz. “My first experience in the pace car was one of the coolest and most unique opportunities I have ever had. To feel even a sliver of the adrenaline that these drivers experience was so awesome and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Cruz will participate in pre-race ceremonies and will make appearances onsite at PIR on Sunday, November 11. Additional information on race weekend activities is available on Phoenix International Raceway’s official website at www.phoenixraceway.com
With the UFC-Fox relationship, it makes sense that there is some cross-promotion of the UFC and NASCAR. Cruz has been out with an injury so helping out with marketing the UFC helps keep his name in the minds of UFC fans. He must have done something well since he is coming back to be a pace car driver again.
May 2, 2012
The Sports Business Journal reports on Golden Boy’s haul of blue chip sponsors for this Saturday’s Mayweather-Cotto fight. Corona, not Tecate, will have the center of the ring as the beer sponsor recently signed with Golden Boy.
In addition to the new beer sponsor, “AT&T, DeWalt, O’Reilly Auto Parts, History Channel and the Mexican state of Puebla the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions (Richard Schaefer) estimates the fight will bring in about $2 million in sponsor rights fees and a promotional value of at least $8.5 million,” according to the SBJ.
Among the various promotions, the sponsorship activation includes DeWalt promotions in Home Depots, O’Reilly promotions at its stores as well as $1.5 million in radio ad buys, AT&T advertising its GoPhone and NCM Fathom advertising showing of the fight in theatres.
The sponsor fees and promo values are the most ever for Golden Boy as it overshadows its previous top fight ever of Oscar de la Hoya vs. Mayweather. Coincidentally, that fight occurred the first weekend of May as well. In addition, the fight had the biggest PPV buys ever with 2.4 million. This Saturday will likely not beat that record.
The ring layout for this Saturday’s fight.
If the UFC wanted blue chip sponsors, maybe it should look to Golden Boy to find them. We are kidding of course. If your name is not Mayweather or Pacquiao, boxing would not see this amount of sponsorship money and promotional value. While we have debated whether boxing is dead, big name fights in boxing are still in the marketing budget for blue chip sponsors.
Despite the fact that the Mayweather fight is secondary to the hype surrounding the fight, we still see sponsors willing to spend big money to be a part of it. The activation involved is a sign that projections for buys in this fight should be robust. It also shows that no matter how much people hate Mayweather, he is still the top draw in boxing (dare I say the Brock Lesnar of boxing).
With Corona taking the center of the ring, it means no $25 rebates for the PPV as Tecate has done in the past. While Corona spends a lot on media buys but does not do a lot of activation surrounding events as Tecate has for promoting its fights.
February 25, 2012
MMAPayout will be taking a look at the storylines heading into UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson, which will be held at The Saitama Super Arena in Japan on Saturday February 25, 2012.
UFC Sells Out Long Awaited Return to Japan
UFC officials today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that ticket sales are still moving briskly for this weekend’s event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and the fight card is expected to sell-out all of the nearly 20,000 available seats.
Furthermore, UFC officials are so encouraged by the buzz surrounding UFC 143 that plans for a return to Japan are already under consideration, and multiple annual visits – as well as a version of “The Ultimate Fighter” – are also possible. (MMAJunkie)
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Misses Weight
Quentin “Rampage” Jackson missed weight by 6 pounds last night at UFC 144 weigh-ins. Jackson claims that this was due to an unspecified injury and as a result he will forfeit 20% of his show money to his opponent, Ryan Bader. (MMAPayout)
UFC Japan Sponsors Plus “Pay-to-Play” TV Deal with TV Tokyo, – Event Set To Air at 3AM in Japan
“This is why Dentsu backing UFC is so critical. A multi-year deal to promote shows in the country means nothing unless Dentsu, which has plenty of juice, can convince sponsors to back them to get the events on TV. If an outlet like TV Tokyo, which historically has plenty of pay-to-play examples for buying programming time, is taking a pass on the UFC… that spells trouble. WOWOW doesn’t cut it. You need a major broadcast TV network backing you or else you are going nowhere on a big scale in Japan.”
- TV Tokyo will air 90-minute highlight version of UFC Japan show from 3:15 AM to 4:45 AM JST after the show is done.
- Don Quijote & UFC Undisputed 3 are the TV sponsors.
- This was a last-minute deal by Dentsu. (FightOpinion)
MMAFighting Hit’s the Streets of Japan and Tests UFC Brand Strength and State of MMA
UFC 144 will mark the promotion’s first event in Japan in over 11 years, and its return to the “Land of the Rising Sun” has forced the MMA community to once again figure out just how healthy the Japanese MMA scene is. With that in mind, we hit the streets of Tokyo to find out whether the locals were UFC fans and why they think MMA has fallen on hard times in the country. (MMAFighting)
UFC 144 Marketing and Advertising
The UFC has been doing a pretty good job of sucking in those hardcore nostalgic MMA fans who hold Japanese MMA and their tradition in high regard. Although some may have wanted the UFC to be held in a white ring and have a ramp with Lenne Hardt announcing the fighters, Dana White was not shy to remind MMA fans and Media that this isn’t PRIDE and that the Japanese promotion who was top dog only a few years ago is dead.
Having said that, the posters released for UFC 144 have been great, adding some of that Japanese and PRIDE feel to them while maintaining the UFC’s brand. Key to the UFC this time around is to spread brand awareness and create some roots for future expansion into not only Japan, but Korea, Philipines, and China, who they feel have even more potential at the moment as untapped markets. At this time, it’s going to take a good amount of time and effort to elevate the MMA scene in Japan to what it once was.
UFC 144 Poster + UFC 144 Rampage Poster:
Japanese fighter Megumi Fujii Tweeted an anime version of the UFC 144 Japan poster: