Initial reports for Pacquiao-Bradley II: 800K-825K PPV buys

April 20, 2014

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the initial reports for Pacquiao-Bradley II received between 800,000 to 825,000 PPV buys.

Although the PPV numbers have not been finalized, the estimates are below the Pacquiao boon period between his coming out fight against Oscar de la Hoya in December 2008 and his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in November 2011.  In the seven fight span over the three years his PPVs averaged over 1 million PPV buys.  Last November’s return against Brandon Rios received a pedestrian 475,000 PPV buys.

Industry experts believed the rematch with Bradley would do 700,000 PPV buys while Bob Arum thought the fight would exceed 1 million PPV buys.  If the 800K-825K PPV buys holds up, it lands in the middle of the estimates.  Iole cites Pacquiao’s inability to put away an opponent in recent memory as reason for the less than terrific numbers.  He also cites a sub-par 24/7 HBO series which curiously did not focus much on Pacquiao.

Payout Perspective:

The 800-825K PPV buys is on Pacquiao.  You may recall last year’s Bradley-Marquez fight was considered a success having drawn 375,000 PPV buys.  One might conclude Bradley was not the major draw here even though he was the one that defeated Pacquiao in their first fight.

800-825K PPV buys still garners this fight somewhere in the neighborhood of $56M-$58M in PPV revenue alone.  But the fissures in the Pacquiao domination on the boxing world are starting to show.  The gate for this fight was lower than most Pacquiao fights and there was less sponsorship activation around the fight.  Noticably, Telecommunications Company Smart Communications, Sony (Playstation 4) and Tecate were the only major sponsors for the fight.  Pacquiao will continue to box, but we are beginning to see the down side of one of the greatest draws in boxing.

WWE: Record 1 million U.S. households watch Wrestlemania

April 15, 2014

After the successful debut of Wrestlemania 30 on WWE’s Digital Network last week, WWE announced today taht the event did a record 1 million U.S. household reach along with PPV buys for the event.

WWE-WrestleMania-30

STAMFORD, Conn., April 15, 2014 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WrestleMania 30 reached a record 1 million households in the U.S. alone on WWE Network and pay-per-view combined, the first time WrestleMania has eclipsed this mark domestically. With more than 667,000 WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 domestic pay-per-view buying homes for WrestleMania 30, WWE is confident that it will reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014.

WWE Network launched on February 24 in the U.S. and successfully streamed six hours of live coverage of WrestleMania 30 on Sunday, April 6. Additionally, more than 7.1 million hours of video content was viewed on WWE Network during WrestleMania Week from Tuesday, April 1 through Tuesday, April 8.

WWE Network will be rolled out in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics in late 2014/early 2015.

 

Payout Perspective:

If you add up the WWE Network subscribers (667,000) plus the number of Wrestlemania PPV buys (400,000), the total reach for the event results in 1.067M domestic households that purchased the event. The PPV price for a Wrestlemania event is $59.95.  It’s no coincidence that the 6-month WWE Network subscription price is $9.99 with a 6 month commitment, which is $59.94, or roughly the exact same price as the Wrestlemania PPV.  By doing so, the WWE can announce that they domestically sold 1.067M PPV buys for the event, which is an impressive number.  Once you add up international PPV buys, and in the future, international WWE Network subscribers, the number could substantially grow.

All the work that the WWE is doing in terms of their digital network co-inciding with the PPV model is interesting to watch.  Dish and a few other cable/dish PPV carriers have not been too thrilled about the WWE’s decision to start their own digital network and offer their PPV’s as well.  At this point in time, it was a big win for the WWE to keep the cable and satellite companies still offering the event as a PPV.  The UFC and boxing promoters will be watching this venture closely as they observe whether WWE’s new business model is sustainable.  A big part of that if WWE’s hope that they can increase their WWE Network subscription base from 667,000 to 1 million by the end of the year.

Boxing beefing up on PPVs in 2014

April 13, 2014

Most MMA fans realize the strain that pay per views have on the wallet.  Boxing is starting to load up on them too as more of the bigger Golden Boy and Top Rank fights are heading to PPV instead of its respective premium networks.

Boxing PPVs are no longer limited to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.  It was announced today that Canelo Alvarez will fight Erislandy Lara on July 12th on Showtime PPV.  This will be the second PPV of the year for Alvarez as Golden Boy will hope to get at least 3 PPV fights from the Mexican star.

In addition to Alvarez-Lara, the big event upcoming for Showtime/Golden Boy is May 3rd’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.

Last night, HBO/Top Rank featured its biggest fight in some time with Manny Pacquiao avenging his June 2012 loss to Timothy Bradley.  Its next big PPV fight will be Sergio Martinez taking on Miguel Cotto on June 7th.  The broadcast also hinted that Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. will face Gennady Golovkin later this year in what should be a PPV affair.  Although not on PPV, Juan Manuel Marquez facing Mike Alvarado is PPV quality but will be on HBO (opposite the Bellator PPV) May 17th.

Payout Perspective:

Are boxing fans willing to spend $70-$75 on these fights?  If you count Saturday’s PPV, and you spend money on all of the boxing PPVs currently announced by the big fight promotions, you would be out $285 (assuming Mayweather’s PPV is $75) and it will only be July.  Certainly there are intriguing matchups.  However, one of the criticisms that came up during the Pacquiao PPV was the lack of worthwhile undercard fights.  Last night we saw 4 undercard fights go the distance which pushed the main event start after midnight for those on the east coast.  Golden Boy has done a better job of putting on interesting undercard matchups.  The UFC does provide better undercard fights as compared to boxing PPVs.  But with the addition of more boxing PPVs, are fans of both MMA and boxing willing to spend the extra money on boxing PPVs.

We assume boxing fans out there have HBO or Showtime or both to take advantage of its fight content as well as its fights.  Certainly boxing fans still get their money’s worth when it comes to fights on the premium networks (e.g., Maidana-Broner on Showtime last December and JMM-Alvarado coming up on HBO).  There have not been any announcements for the second half of the year but we can expect at least 4 or 5 more PPVs announced (Mayweather in September, Pacquiao sometime late 2014, JCC-GGG, Canelo late 2014 and perhaps a Broner fight).  Can boxing fans keep spending their money on these PPVs?

Pacquiao seeks return to PPV prominence Saturday

April 9, 2014

This Saturday Manny Pacquiao returns to fight Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas in a rematch of their June 2012 bout which ended in controversy.  Yahoo! Sports reports on Pacquiao solidifying himself among the top boxing PPV draws of all-time.

According to an article by Steve Kim on Sports on Earth, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes that Saturday’s rematch can do over 1 million PPV buys.   However, people in the know (who we believe are impartial) think that 700,000 PPV buys is much more realistic.

The all-time revenue and PPV draws in boxing as compiled by Yahoo! Sports:

  1. Floyd Mayweather      Revenue:  $756,515,000 – PPV Buys:  12,643,000
  2. Oscar de la Hoya         Revenue:  $696,796,000 – PPV Buys:  14,081,000
  3. Manny Pacquiao         Revenue:  $661,061,000 -  PPV Buys – 12,193,000
  4. Evander Holyfield      Revenue:  $548,221,000 – PPV Buys – 12,583,000
  5. Mike Tyson                   Revenue:  $545,000,000 – PPV Buys – 12,400,000

“Manny Pacquiao broke the mold and blazed a very unique trail for the following reasons,” said Mark Taffet, the senior vice president of PPV at HBO Sports to Yahoo! Sports. “He’s not a heavyweight. He wasn’t an Olympian. He’s not from the very vibrant Latino or African-American demographic segments. He’s not American. He’s the only top non-American in that top five.

Payout Perspective:

Pacquiao’s success as a bona fide PPV star is an underdog story to sports execs but his ascension and subsequent global appeal can be traced back to his loyal-to a fault Filipino following and the greater Asian community as a whole that culturally sees Pacquiao as one of their own.  While he may never surpass Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in terms of revenue and PPV buys, he is the much less polarizing figure of the two.

Let’s take a look at some of the UFC’s top stars.  In comparing the top revenue/PPV buy producers in the UFC, Jon Jones leads the list of active UFC fighters with 7,375,000 PPV buys in 11 PPVs.  Cain Velasquez has 4,540,000 in 9 fights on UFC PPVs.  Anderson Silva has 8,670,000 in 16 UFC PPVs.  Georges St. Pierre is at the top of the list with 11,655 PPV buys in 21 UFC PPVs.  These numbers are based on their overall UFC PPV appearances.

UPDATED:  I’ve now included Brock Lesnar below.  Based on his average per PPV buy, the UFC probably misses him.

Jones (670,000 avg) does have a higher average per UFC PPV than GSP (550,000 avg), but GSP does have more overall buys.  We note both Jones and GSP were on two of the bigger shows in UFC history as they were on the UFC 94 (920K PPV buys) and UFC 100 (1,600,000 PPV buys) cards although GSP was either the main event (BJ Penn) or in the co-main (Thiago Alves) on those shows while Jones was on the undercards.

Top UFC PPV draws

Georges St. Pierre – 11,655,000 PPV buys in 21 UFC PPVs

Anderson Silva – 8,670,000 buys in 16 UFC PPVs

Jon Jones – 7,375,000 PPV buys in 11 UFC PPVs

Brock Lesnar – 6,580,000 PPV buys in 7 UFC PPVs (940,00 PPV avg)

Cain Velasquez – 4,540,000 PPV buys in 9 UFC PPVs

The Wrestling Post – 03.23.14

March 23, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This week we look Total Divas ratings, WWE stock and Dish Network plays hardball with the WWE.

Total Divas Ratings for Season 2

The first episode of the second season of Total Divas on E! debuted last Sunday with an average viewership of 1.07 million viewers.  The ratings are below the season 1 average of 1.34 million.

Payout Take:  The one hour premiere likely did not do as well due to the lack of the lead-in of “Keeping Up with The Kardashians.”  Still, to think that this show is doing over 1 million viewers on the biggest night of television (Sunday night) for the week are remarkable.

Would the WWE Sell?

Things are bullish with the WWE stock nowadays as the launch of the WWE Network and the potential for a huge payoff with a new rights deal expected later this spring.  But, would the WWE sell to the highest bidder?  This is the question posed by Bloomberg in a blog post earlier this week.

The short answer to the hypothetical question is no.  WWE stock is parsed into two distinct groups, Class A and Class B.  The Class A shares are held by regular stockholders while the McMahon Family owns Class B stock.  With Class B stock comes 10 votes per share which means essentially Vince McMahon controls the voting power of the company.

But rumors of AMC Networks merging with the sports entertainment company have been brought up although it appears that these rumors are only “fantasy matchmaking.”  While neither AMC or WWE have commented on the rumors, this does not mean much but for bloggers to speculate and generate page views.

Payout Take:  Perhaps a conspiracy theory but rumors that the WWE would sell could be the WWE themselves generating rumors to drum up “newsworthy” items as it postures in rights fees negotiations.  It would be hard to believe that the WWE put itself in this position in order to sell.  Moreover, the perception of Vince McMahon is similar to that of Dana White as the leader of their respective organizations.  Neither one would want to lose control of their companies.  The company was built by McMahon and no matter how much money is offered, it’s unlikely that he will sell or merge.

Something wrong with WWE Earnings?

Seeking Alpha penned an article questioning whether WWE’s earnings quality come from sustainable sources.  The web site cites Thomas Reuters research in coming up with its concerns for the stock.

First, the research indicates that the operating profit margins have been decreasing steadily over the last three years.  Secondly, the company has poor free cash flows in its last five quarters.  This is likely due to the investment into establishing the WWE Network.  Of course, the investor concern is that the network will impact the PPV revenues.  Notably, the report cites “other programming like the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter.” Finally, there was a concern of bad debt. The question here is that the WWE’s allowance set aside for accounts receivables that it does not expect to collect from clients had fallen over the last three quarters.

Payout Take:  The article is an interesting look at concerns over the stock.  However, there are questions regarding its questions.  A lot of money it has spent in the recent quarters has gone to the development of the WWE Network.  There are other expenditures as well including the opening of a new state of the art training facility in Florida for NXT (development territory).  There is also the issue of its WWE Studios which has seeped money over the quarters after failed attempts to make stars out its own WWE characters and its attempts to revamp that unit.

Dish Network gets chesty with WWE

Dish Network announced this past Thursday that it would not carry Wrestlemania XXX according to Cageside Seats.  The move by Dish appears to be in reaction to the launch of the WWE Network.

In its official statement, Dish indicated the move was due to the WWE “not willing to adjust PPV costs to satellite/cable companies, which is unfair to their customers.”

Payout Take:  With the network launch, distributors such as Dish and DirecTV were likely upset that the WWE is putting its PPVs on its subscriber-based network.  This directly affects revenue the distributors usually shared with the WWE.  Thus, the distributors are losing out on the $60-$70 it anticipated fans would pay to watch the PPV.  While there was a likelihood that those not subscribing to the network, yet still fans of the WWE would order the PPV, the number is likely to shrink exponentially due to the popularity of the new network.  We will see if DirecTV follows in not carrying Wrestlemania XXX.

UFC 169 and UFC 170 PPV Updates

March 19, 2014

Dave Meltzer, from MMAFighting.com, reported the latest estimated PPV numbers from the first two events in 2014, UFC 169: Barao vs Faber II and the much talked about UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann.

Final_UFC_170_event_poster

According to Meltzer, UFC 169 drew an estimated 230K pay-per-view buys while UFC 170, which was mostly sold on Rousey’s name, did an estimated 340,000 buys. Meltzer then went ahead and discussed the new UFC draw PPV categories:

It appears, at least for now, that there are a few categories of UFC on pay-per-view.

There is the somewhat rare sub-200,000 buy show, which are fights that, for whatever reason, a lot of the regular buyers are willing to skip. The 200,000 to 275,000 range are usually title fights with champions who have yet to establish themselves as major draws, fights significant to fans of the sport but the general public doesn’t really care about. The 275,000 to 375,000 range looks to be the major champions, Jones, Rousey and Cain Velasquez, when put in with opponents without major name value, although Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos was in that range.

When the public feels there is a big fight or a can’t miss show, like UFC 168, the sky is still the limit. But even [Canelo] Alvarez, coming off the biggest grossing pay-per-view event of all-time, only hit 350,000 buys on March 8 when matched up with someone who was not considered a pay-per-view level star.

The changes from a few years back, where any UFC event was seemingly guaranteed to hit 300,000 buys, is a natural evolution coming from the proliferation of free content on television.

Ultimately, the economic future is going to be driven by television rights worldwide, and new technological advances. It will be less reliant on pay-per-view, the revenue stream that allowed UFC to have its huge growth from 2005 to 2010.

The MMAPayout Blue Book has now been updated with these latest numbers.

 

Payout Perspective:

The week leading to the fight, MMAPayout analyzed trends and historical data to predict what Ronda Rousey’s impact would be on the event. We pegged the event doing 300K-400K buys in the “acceptable” range. Above 400K would have been a huge hit while anything below 300K would have been a disappointment. So it fell exactly in the range in which we predicted.

The new “floor” for the UFC seems to be around 150K PPV buys for those rare cases that even core MMA fans are willing to pass up a PPV event.  You then have this range of 200K-400K which most fighters not named Anderson Silva and GSP will fall into.  At this point, getting anything over 450K will be a tough talk and will definitely have to be something beyond the average card that fans and casuals will both want to see. We expected that 2014 would be a telling year for the PPV business for the UFC considering most of their big PPV draws are absent. The only question heading into 2014 was if the next tier of UFC stars such as Rousey, Jones, Weidman, and now Hendricks would be able to hold the fort until either the stars comeback or the UFC figures out how to make a big fight fans will gladly pay for.  The biggest fight that they have touted so far in 2014 is Rousey vs Carano or against Cyborg.  That alone tells you drastically the UFC has changed in the past couple of years.

Canelo and Garcia produce for Showtime-Golden Boy

March 19, 2014

Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions should be happy with the past two weeks as its promotion has produced good numbers on PPV and on Showtime.

Canelo Alvarez’s first time headlining a boxing PPV has produced “well over 350,000 buys” according to Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions.  Alvarez stopped Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round of their fight March 8th.  The 350,000 buys is a good number if you consider the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight last October produced 375,000 PPV buys.

This past Saturday night Showtime showed the replay of the Alvarez-Angulo fight as a lead-in to Danny Garcia versus Mauricio Herrera.  The show peaked at 1.1 million viewers and averaged 972,000 viewers of its Showtime subscribers.  The event was a 26% raise in viewership from Garcia’s last appearance on Showtime when he defeated Zab Judah in April 2013.

(H/t:  Bad Left Hook and ESPN)

Payout Perspective:

According to ESPN, the PPV generated at least $20 million.  This would be roughly based on the number of buys (350K) multiplied by $54.95, the HD price point for the fight.  The PPV buys are a good indicator that Alvarez has bounced back from his loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in September and it did nothing to diminish his image as the most popular active boxer in Mexico.  At only 23 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him.

As for the Garcia fight, a part of the rating might be attributed to those wanting to see the Alvarez fight.  But, Garcia, who was also on the Mayweather undercard, is beginning to garner a following which may equate to a bump in viewership since his last time on the network.  The Showtime fight also competed with UFC 171 Saturday night.  So, despite the average viewership being below 1 million, it still did well for a card with Garcia as the feature.

UFC 171: Payout Perspective

March 17, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time well be taking a look at UFC 171 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Hendricks wins vacant title

A scare with not making weight did not matter for Johny Hendricks as he defeated Robbie Lawler in the Fight of the Night.  For Hendricks, it was redemption from a controversial loss to GSP last time out.  Lawler was impressive in defeat but just didn’t have enough to win the title.

Hendricks was the top welterweight of the night as he will now look to a smorgasbord of challengers to the title which may include a couple fighters (Lombard, Woodley) on the card and one (Nick Diaz) that was in attendance.

UFC_171_event_poster

Woodley upsets Condit

Tyron Woodley may have moved to the top of the contender’s list for the welterweight division with his victory over Carlos Condit.  While the knee injury to Condit caused the stoppage, it should not take away from the fact that Woodley was impressive and can argue he is next in line for a title shot at Hendricks.

Attendance and Gate

As we reported on Sunday, the UFC announced its attendance at 19,324 for a live gate of $2.6 million.  The numbers reflect the largest U.S. crowd to see a UFC event.  The numbers bested the UFC’s last event in Dallas which did 17,428 for a $2.4 million gate at UFC 103.

There were no information yet on comps and the Texas Department of Licensing will confirm the numbers later this week.

Bonuses

The bonuses were awarded to Hendricks-Lawler, Ovince St. Preux and Dennis Bermudez.

Fight of the Night – Hendricks-Lawler

Performance of the Night – OSP (Von Flue!) and Bermudez.

Each fighter earned an extra $50K.  In addition, Harley Davidson ran a promotion in which one of the bonus winners could win a Harley Davidson based upon a fan vote on the UFC’s Facebook page.  Hendricks won the fan vote and a new motorcycle.

Sponsors

The usual suspects were in the Octagon including the official UFC sponsors of MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Alienware, Corn Nuts as well as Bud Light taking the center of the Octagon.  Fram Auto Filters was the latest addition to Octagon signage.  In addition, Robbie Lawler’s sponsor, the Air Force Reserve also had signage in the Octagon.

The most notable sponsor for Hendricks was Reebok. Hendricks wore a shirt with the hashtag Reebokzquick.  Hendricks co-starred in a commercial featuring the Reebok fitness line in a recent commercial It was the second time that the clothing brand has sponsored him in the Octagon.  With Hendricks as champ, we can expect that Reebok will extend its sponsorship deal.  Hendricks was also sponsored by two official UFC sponsors: Corn Nuts and Alienware.

reebok-johny-hendricks-ufc-171-shirt

Diego Sanchez had a product tie-in where he wore a Training Mask during his workouts on the UFC Countdown show.

Myles Jury was sponsored by a Panini America and Dee Zee truck accessories on the front of his shorts.  According to its web site, Jury will be making an appearance for his Panini sponsor.

mylesjury_headshot

Tyron Woodley signed on with Affliction Clothing prior to UFC 171 (via FighterxFashion).  He also snagged a deal with Monster Headphones.

You don’t f*ck with #TheChosenOne Tyron Woodley (<href=”https://twitter.com/TWooodley”>@TWooodley)! Let’s get that title shot, eh? #UFC171 #MonsterOctagon pic.twitter.com/c1VZnFJSLV

— Monster Products (@MonsterProducts) March 17, 2014

The UFC had a “Vote for the T” Contest where fans had a chance to design a t-shirt for the UFC to market and sell for $30.

Post-UFC171 Headlines

Who’s next for Johny Hendricks?  A lot of debate swirling that Woodley, Hector Lombard or even Nick Diaz should face Hendricks next.  Diaz, who flew to Dallas courtesy of the UFC, was featured on the company’s Instagram account mocking Hendricks when it appeared he had missed weight and needed to retry.  Despite the showings of the other welterweights on the card, the appeal of Diaz is that he can sell a fight without even trying (i.e. we’re not talking Wolf Tickets).  But, the bottom line is that the show revealed that the welterweight is a very competitive division with many challengers to face Hendricks.

Odds and Ends

Unfortunately, the UFC 171 Prelims were on FS2 due to college basketball tournament action as the prelim fights were probably the best in recent memory.

The Von Flue Choke will be the most demonstrated move in BJJ gyms across the nation this week.

Hendricks marketed “BeardHeads” riffing off of his trademark facial hair. There was a sponsor giveaway associated with the gimmick as well.

I am not clear why Diego Sanchez was eating quail egg and steak tartare before a fight.  It seems very suspect.

The top cities that searched the name Johny Hendricks on Google were Oklahoma City and Montreal.

Google trends revealed that Johny Hendricks was not getting as many searches as when he fought Georges St. Pierre but UFC 171 was getting significant traffic.

If GSP does come back against Hendricks, it could be the Cowboy Stadium show that the UFC wants and a 1 million PPV buy event.

Conclusion

While the attendance and gate numbers are impressive for a show not featuring GSP/Anderson Silva or Cain Velasquez (note we excluded Ronda Rousey based on her last outing), it’s hard to conclude a big buy rate.  There was nothing that stood out in the promotion of this event despite it being for the vacant welterweight title.  Still, the Hendricks win puts him in a position to be groomed to be the next big draw for the UFC.  With the lack of a big name at the top, and the minimal buzz for the event, a buy rate of 300,000 would be solid.

Jackson-Lawal set for Bellator PPV

March 11, 2014

Rampage Jackson will be taking on King Mo Lawal in the co-main event of Bellator’s inaugural PPV on May 17th according to a Bellator press release. Bellator also announced that the PPV would be emanating from the Memphis area where Jackson originally grew up.

Via press release:

A native of South Memphis, Rampage returns to The River City for the first time in fifteen years to battle King Mo in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals. Since joining Bellator in 2013, Rampage has delivered two highlight reel knockouts, and will face his toughest test in Bellator to date when he battles King Mo from The Landers Center on Saturday, May 17th live on Pay-Per-View.

“I’ve been wanting to come back to Memphis for the last decade, and I’m finally getting that chance to fight in one of the biggest fights of my career for Bellator,” Jackson said. “After being part of the Bellator family for a while now, I feel like the old Rampage, and that’s not a good thing for Mo. I’m back, I’m a monster, and I’m looking to put on another entertaining fight for all my fans on May 17th.”

“When it comes down to it, this is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time, and I’m going to be able to beat his ass in his hometown, and everyone is going to respect me,” Lawal said. “Rampage is just a stepping stone in my way to get that title shot again and get that belt. It’s all I want, and after I beat Rampage, I’m going for that belt, simple as that.”

“We now have two fights on this card that are absolute fireworks,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Like I said before, we have Alvarez and Chandler headlining a card that will end the best trilogy ever in MMA, and now we’ve added two more superstars to the mix with Rampage and King Mo. May 17th is going to be an absolutely huge night for Bellator, live on Pay-Per-View.”

Bellator PPV

Payout Perspective:

It was only a formality for Rampage/King Mo to be set based on their run-in at Bellator 110. As noted before, these two will be able to do a hefty amount of the promotion for the PPV. In fact, it would not be surprising if these two end up on some sort of cross-promotion on TNA’s Impact Wrestling in the coming weeks as a way to get the word out on the Bellator event. You may recall the UFC planned an event for Rampage in Memphis to fight Rashad Evans but that fell through due to Jackson’s commitment to the movie, “The ‘A’ Team.” His return home should equate to good attendance which should bring out the atmosphere on the PPV.

Vitor Belfort out of UFC 173 title bout after NSAC TRT ban

February 28, 2014

Earlier in the day, the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone treatment therapy (TRT), just a few hours after that announcement was made, UFC teased a big announcement would be aired on FOX Sports Live tonight.

Fox Sports Live reported that Vitor Belfort would not be applying for a Nevada license for UFC 173, which is scheduled to take place on May 24th, due to the NSAC ruling to ban TRT.  His replacement was announced to be Lyoto Machida after his recent win against Gegard Mousasi, which means the new UFC 173 headliner will be Weidman vs Machida.

Belfort claimed that he would now make the efforts to get off of TRT and continue to fight in the UFC without the testosterone therapy since other athletic commissions in the US would most likely follow the NSAC’s ruling.

 

Payout Perspective:

Today’s NSAC ruling on banning TRT will have a ripple effect on MMA for years to come. We got some of that today already, as Belfort’s announcement today to pull out of his fight three months in advance will cement his status as the face of the TRT era in Mixed Martial Arts and in the UFC.  The UFC is already in a tough spot to find headliners this year due to injuries and the impromptu departures of Georges St. Pierre (infinite leave) and Anderson Silva (injury), two of their biggest stars.

The buzz for a Weidman vs Machida main event in Las Vegas will not have the same feel as previous major events during the Summer time. This news puts even more pressure on Ronda Rousey to keep things going in 2014 as a number of UFC champions will continue to be sidelined from injuries suffered last year. As far as PPV numbers go so far in 2014, UFC 169 was estimated by Dave Meltzer to be in the low 200,000′s while UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann figures to do somewhere on the lower to mid end of 300,000 buys.  Factoring in today’s news of Belfort pulling out of UFC 173, it looks like it will be a tough first half of the year for UFC PPV sales.

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