UFC 243 Payout Perspective

October 7, 2019

Welcome to another episode of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 243 from Melbourne, Australia where the company drew another attendance record and saw Israel Adesanya claim the UFC middleweight title.

Adesanya is King of the Middleweights

The matchup that sold this event, Robert Whittaker versus Israel Adesanya was determined a pick’em by gambling experts.  But, “The Last Stylebender” used his reach and movement to win exchanges with Whittaker and eventually dropped the former champ with a right which sent him to the canvas to be finished.  Coming off of an 18 month absence from the Octagon, Whittaker looked solid but was outmatched by Adesanya’s ability to move in and out.

Adesanya likely gets Paula Costa who was sitting front row at the event.  Costa is a big middleweight and will be a test for Adesanya who will have to rely on his kickboxing skills to avoid the power of the Brazilian.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

The event at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne drew 57,125 with a gate of $5,470,000.  The capacity broke the previous record in Melbourne at UFC 193 in November 2015.  The attendance and gate are impressive considering this event was based on one fight.  Yet, the main event between Whittaker and Adesanya was a dual between two fighters from Australia and New Zealand.  It also featured several fighters from Australia and nearby New Zealand.

The bonuses saw Adesanya, Yorgan de Castro, Brad Riddell and Jamie Mullarkey earned the honors.  Adesanya and de Castro won per their stoppages.  Riddell and Mullarkey had a brutal fight which earned Fight of the Night Honors and saw Riddell earn the victory.

Reebok Compliance Payouts

Adesanya and Whittaker received $40,000 payouts as they were both considered champions here.

Sponsorships

TAB, a sports betting outfit, was touted as the presenting sponsor for UFC 243.  Its logo was visible in the Octagon as well as on the official Reebok wear.

UFC sponsors in the Octagon for UFC 243 included TAB, Nemiroff, Air Asia, Monster Energy and Circle K, Devour and P3.  Also, Bisley workwear, which has been in the UFC octagon in the past, was on the mat.  Also notable, Etoro, a social trading and multi-asset brokerage company that includes the trade of cryptocurrencies was in the Octagon.  Finally, Doom Eternal is an upcoming video game that will be released this November.

Toyo Tires sponsored the post-fight interviews and P3 sponsored the post-fight bonuses

They included cartoon-type posters for Whittaker-Adesanya since it was Marvel Stadium.

MetroPCS had the tale of the tape.  Nemiroff presented the co-main event of Hooker-Iaquinta.

Motel 6 sponsored the UFC Embedded episodes.

Bixler, another UFC sponsor, gave out rings to participants.  Adesanya was seen trying on his ring on a UFC Embedded.

Odds and ends

Obviously, the Adesanya dance routine prior to the fight was something not seen in UFC Championship walkouts in the past.

In a unique move, Dhiego Lima is seeking to overturn the scorecards in his split decision victory Saturday.  In all reality, Lima dominated the entire fight and even the announcers were laughing as to how a judge could have missed that the fight was Lima’s.

New Zealander Dan Hooker did some local media to promote UFC 243.

For some reason, Paul Pierce was on an episode of Embedded and met with Israel Adesanya.

Al Iaquinta wore an American Ethanol t-shirt while training for his fight against Dan Hooker.  Perhaps still a sponsor or maybe just an old shirt from the former sponsor in the UFC.

In perhaps some synergy, Robert Whittaker wore a Doom shirt during episode 1 of Embedded.  The video game was a sponsor for UFC 243.  Whittaker professed his love of gaming as we saw him playing the game.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 243 on Saturday night.  Notably, GGG’s fight Saturday night drew over 100,000 google searches.

Conclusion

With 1 million google searches, UFC 243 drew a good share of interest for Saturday.  While the overall card may not have enticed the usual casual fan, a great deal of interest was on the middleweight battle between Adesanya and Whittaker.  I would think that the show grabs 275,000 PPV buys.

Report: Spence-Porter PPV tracking over 300K buys

October 1, 2019

The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger reports that Saturday night’s PBC event featuring Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter is “tracking over 300,000 buys” with the likelihood of it landing somewhere “under 350K.”

It was the second PPV featuring Spence as he defeated Porter in a very exciting fight meaning from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  Previously, Spence drew 360,000 last March in a fight with Mikey Garcia

It was announced after the fight that Spence would be returning to PPV in January against Danny Garcia.  The news of the buys for this fight is promising for Fox PPV and PBC considering they would like to build around Spence.

The buy rate is an absolute win and you may infer that the Fox shoulder programming helped with promoting the event including the cross-promotion of it on with the NFL.

 

UFC 241 PPV Prelims draw 817,000 viewers

August 21, 2019

The UFC 241 PPV Prelims drew 817,000 viewers on Saturday night on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was the 5th most-watched telecast on cable and did better than two NFL Preseason game in the A18-49 demo.

The UFC PPV Prelims drew a 0.33 share in the A18-49 demo which ranked better than two NFL Preseason games on the NFL Network Saturday.

The Prelims featured Khama Worthy as he defeated Devonte Smith in the first round.  The event peaked at 949,000 viewers during the fight.

Payout Perspective:

While the event did better than the NFL Preseason in the A18-49 demo, it also ranked sixth among the 8 PPV Prelims that have aired on ESPN this year.  This is disappointing considering that UFC 241 looked to be the biggest event thus far this year.  Yet, despite the big feel of the main card, the prelims were an afterthought this time around.  The low ratings seem to break away from the normal belief that a high PPV Prelim rating means a good PPV buy rate.

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.

Spence-Garcia draws a reported 300,000 buys

March 20, 2019

The Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia PPV drew a reported 300,000 PPV buys in initial reports and could rise to as much as 400,000 buys per Mike Coppinger.

The PPV event was the first Fox boxing PPV which took place at Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium.  The PBC event was heavily promoted throughout Fox’s various platforms.

Spence defeated Garcia in a yawner of a main event.  After the fight, Spence challenged Manny Pacquiao to a fight.  Pacquiao, who was in attendance, seemed nonplussed by the challenge.

Payout Perspective:

The reported buy rate goes to the power of the marketing behind this event.  The card was stacked with mismatches including the main event.  Yet, the buy rate exceeded the amount of the hardcore boxing fan.  This would infer, in my opinion, that the promotion on Fox helped facilitate the amount of casual boxing fans to purchase the PPV.  The fact that the prelims only scored slightly over 400K PPV buys tells one that many had already decided on buying the fight.  For the PPV debuts of Spence and Garcia, this has to be a pleasing result.

ESPN+ becomes exclusive provider of UFC PPVs

March 18, 2019

ESPN+ will be the new home for UFC PPV according to an announcement made Monday.  Starting with UFC 236 in April, ESPN+ will become the exclusive distributor in the United States of all PPV events.

The deal will run in the United States through 2025.  The move comes as the UFC attempted to seek lower rates from its satellite and cable distributors.  It negotiated one offs with DirecTV for its past two PPV events this year.  Now, all PPVs will be seen on ESPN+ with the exception of Prelims airing on ESPN and Early Prelim fights which will be seen on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN +.

Along with the news, it announced that the UFC will continue to sell its PPV events to commercial establishments.

Via UFC press release:

In addition to giving MMA fans a one-stop home for all UFC PPV events, ESPN+ pricing and packaging will deliver new value to fans as well:

  • New ESPN+ subscribers will get one-year of ESPN+ and a UFC PPV event for $79.99;
  • Existing ESPN+ subscribers will be able to purchase UFC PPV events for $59.99 per event.

Payout Perspective:

This is a major shift of PPV business for the UFC.  The move is premised upon the company’s popularity in the short time it’s been on ESPN and inability for it to get distributors to budge from the 50/50 revenue split on PPVs.  Since beginning with ESPN+ in January, the UFC has seen an ascension of ratings and visibility due to ESPN’s built-in audience of sports fans.  This move is a gamble that both hopes is paid off with higher buy rates for UFC events.  It also centralizes the company’s revenue to ESPN+ PPVs.  The move also lengthens the UFC’s relationship with ESPN and reflects the approval the network has for bringing it subscribers.

1 million buys for Spence-Garcia? Not out of question according to Schaefer

March 15, 2019

1 million PPV buys?

Richard Schaefer claims that it’s possible for this Saturday’s Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia fight at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.  In a piece by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, he indicated that the fight has sold over 35,000 tickets as of Thursday.

Spence-Garcia will be the first PPV for both fighters.  It has received the promotional push on all of Fox Sports’ platforms on behalf of PBC.  The estimated buy rate for the event is 300,000 but Schaefer seemed to think that the number was out of line with his belief of how the fight was trending.

FS1 has given the PPV event this Saturday a push with PBC shoulder programming.  Last week’s PBC on Fox gave casual fans another reminder.

But 1 million PPV buys is a lofty goal. The GGG-Canelo Alvarez fights were the last two boxing events to draw over 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

Schaefer stressed the fans that are coming to event to back Garcia.  This would account for the massive amount of tickets being sold according to Schaefer.  But the true test of this event will be how it will do on PPV.  With the UFC running a show in the afternoon, Saturday night belongs to this event.  PBC has done as much as it could to promote this event via Fox in order to introduce the casual fan to Spence and Garcia. The question will be is whether that translates into a $75 purchase.  If the event draws 300,000 buys I would suggest it a success considering that the heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder hit 325,000.  Of course, Schaefer is a promoter so 1 million is an aspirational projection not a concrete number.

Disgruntled May-Pac fans get oral argument in appeals court

March 12, 2019

On March 7th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the appeal of the lawsuit brought by plaintiffs that purchased the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.  The case was dismissed but appealed by the plaintiffs.

The underlying facts of the lawsuit brought by multiple individuals and consolidated into one case claim that they were victims of fraud when they purchased tickets and/or PPV for the fight without the knowledge that Pacquiao had an injured shoulder.  The details of the dismissal of the lawsuit were covered by MPO this past September.

Three parties representing the plaintiffs, the defendants including HBO and Showtime and separate counsel for defendant Floyd Mayweather and his company argued their briefs before the Night Circuit.

The appeal came down to two differing theories.  Plaintiffs viewpoint that the case is a consumer protection action where fans were duped into thinking that they were purchasing tickets and/or a $100 PPV to watch a healthy Paquiao and Mayweather.  But it was not revealed that Pacquiao was fighting with a significant injury.  As a result, consumers were taken advantage of by the promoters and those with business interests tied to the event.  Plaintiffs, in part, infer that the defendants were not going to cancel or postpone the event regardless of Pacquiao’s condition.

Defendants maintain the District Court ruling and uphold the ruling that the case is premised upon a revocable license.  The fans paid for what they received and despite the fact that they did not get the fight they wanted, they received the fight that they paid for.

The appellate court seemed to probe the question of whether Charpentier could be distinguished from this case based on the business-side of sports.  Charpentier was premised upon the fact that in the mid-1990s the Los Angeles Rams franchise was leaving for St. Louis, and despite its knowledge that it would, stated that it was staying.  While in Pacquiao, he indicated that he felt fine going into the fight, Mayweather asserted he knew everything within his opponent’s camp yet did not speak about a shoulder injury pre or post-fight.  HBO and Showtime did not claim to know about a pre-existing injury and promoted the fight as the Fight of the Century  It believed it to be so big that it set the ticket prices and PPV price point at astronomical prices.

Hart Robinovitch, arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, stressed that facts were intentionally concealed from consumers set against the backdrop upon quotes from commentators inferring that the fight less that what was expected.  He portrayed the plaintiffs as the little guy that paid big prices for the event.

The Court asked about where the line might be drawn on a failure to disclose theory, here the omission of Pacquiao’s injury, where it is common that athletes play with injuries at all times.  Plaintiffs argued that the failure to disclose Pacquiao’s injury was material to this case.  Notably, Pacquiao did not publicly disclose the injury until 30 minutes into the PPV based on his request to the commission for a pain reliever for his shoulder. The Court grilled Robinivitch on the claim that Pacquiao omitted any claim of injury prior to the fight.  But, premised upon the omission, there must be a duty to disclose.  The Court also asked about “puffery” claims made by athletes (i.e., “I feel great,”) and whether something like this would give rise to a claim.

Plaintiffs argue that the license approach is premised on a contract claim, which differs from what it is arguing here.

They claim that the district court erred when it did not interpret Plaintiffs claim that Pacquiao concealed his injury for the sole business reason of making money.  Plaintiffs argue that there is a material fact, which cannot be dismissed on a Motion to Dismiss stage.

During oral arguments, Plaintiffs stressed the Charpentier case which was central to its case.  The case was brought by Los Angeles Rams season ticket holders that claimed the franchise publicly denied moving while concealing material facts that its intention was to move.   The court in that case stated, “Defendant knew these statements were false, but defendant made them purely to maintain and manipulate the sales of tickets.”  In that lawsuit, the court dismissed the contract-based claims but maintained the plaintiffs’ fraud claim.  The distinction is important when set upon the footprint of the Pacquiao case because plaintiffs argue that the material misrepresentation of Pacquiao’s injury in addition to the affirmations that he was fine is sufficient for this case to go forward.

While the question of disclosing an athlete’s injury is a debatable question, Plaintiffs cited the NFL’s policy of injury reports which discloses the nature and reason a player does not practice in the week prior to the game.  It notes this as an example of an affirmative

Daniel Petrocelli represented the defendants except the Mayweather defendants.  He argued that there are reasons why an athlete’s private health information is not disclosed.  First, there is a right to privacy issue regarding health issues.  Second, there should not be an expectation to know an up-to-date status of an athlete’s physical condition.  Finally, its common knowledge that boxers do fight with injuries.

The Court questioned Petrocelli if whether there are cases where there are material misrepresentations or omissions that give rise to a consumer claim.  But, Petrocelli argued that the cases are segmented between off the field business cases versus athletic case.  He argued Charpentier was based on the misrepresentation of the business aspect of sport and differed from Pacquiao’s shoulder.  He claimed that the case was extrinsic to the case and this was where the line can be drawn.  He gave the example of an announcement that a team had signed LeBron James and consumers made purchases based on the representation but in actuality it was another individual, not the famous basketball player.  In that instance, would there be an issue regarding a material misrepresentation.

While the Court did not side with either about the ultimate question of the veracity of the case, it did question Petrocelli if there were material facts about the omission of Pacquiao’s injury with respect to whether or not consumers were defrauded.

Mark Tratos, the attorney for Defendants representing Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum, Todd duBoef, Top Rank, Inc. and HBO argued that the district court correctly dismissed the lawsuit arguing that the license approach applied.  They also claimed that there is no carve-out exception to the license approach where there is a fraudulent inducement to purchase an event.

Notably, the Defendants argued an alternative scenario in which Pacquiao was cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission which would relieve any liability on behalf of the defendants since a third party allowed the fight to occur.  This would place some level of liability on the commission.

During oral arguments, Tratos argued a floodgates of litigation scenario if there is a duty of a fighter to disclose an opponent injury.  The implication here would be that it would be implausible for a fighter to know whether or not there is a pre-fight injury of an opponent.  But there would be hundreds of lawsuits filed if there was an affirmative duty for a fighter to know another’s injury.

Payout Perspective:

One can expect an opinion in this case later this year.  If the court were to side with Plaintiffs, it would go back to the district court and continue as the lawsuit was dismissed just at the pleading stage.  If it sides with the defendants, the case would likely go away.  While most from the outside would see this as an easy case to decide in favor of the defendants, it brings up interesting theories with respect to consumer fraud.

Plaintiffs claim that there are material facts that would overcome a motion to dismiss the case purely on the filed lawsuit.  This is the initial goal of the Plaintiffs. Will this actual happen?  It would be surprising.  The Court seemed to wrestle with the necessity of disclosing an athlete’s injury prior to an event.  While Plaintiffs attempt to carve out the analytical argument that Pacquiao’s omission of disclosing the injury to generate sales as a business reason which would buttress its fraud claim, defendants argue that this is purely athletic strategy.  Defendants note that consumers are only entitled to watch an event and cannot dictate if its exciting or not.  It stresses that Pacquiao fought all 12 rounds and even won certain rounds based on the scorecards.  The cases argued before the court are carved out between a license approach (fans entitled to watch an event and nothing more) and those which follow the Los Angeles Rams case (Charpentier) where the court allowed a fraud claim when the Rams misrepresented that it would not move but did.  It does seem that the case will be decided upon whether there is a belief that there are material facts to determine whether the defendants had a duty to disclose the alleged injury.

The Court will be setting a new precedent when it decides this case as it will guide future lawsuits where sports fans feel duped by sports teams and/or events.

Report: UFC 235 initial estimates between 520K-650K based on last-minute buys

March 8, 2019

The Wrestling Observer reports that UFC 235 initial estimates have Saturday night’s PPV in a range between 520,000 to 650,000 buys.

According to the Observer, the reported buy rate blew away initial projections of 350,000-400,000 (and our 450K projection) due to last minute buys which likely were aided by the UFC Prelims on ESPN.  The prelims charged up to a 1.4 million viewership rising again on the strength of the UFC’s new partnership with ESPN.  Also, its clear that fans have deemed Jones a PPV “must-buy” as his December fight drew 700K PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

Two things can be deduced from this successful buy rate.  ESPN’s reach is helping the UFC grab casuals as the initial projections were based on the dedicated UFC base and the last-minute buys (which is the reason the Prelims are put in that slot) are from consumers that were drawn to the fights by watching them on the network.  Also, Jon Jones, no matter how polarizing, falls into the GSP slot as a fighter that casual fans know and buy a PPV to see.  While Usman-Woodley is secondary here, Jones was the main driver for this card.

UFC 234: Payout Perspective

February 11, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 234 in Brisbane, Australia.

Adesanysa defeats idol in main event

With Robert Whittaker needing emergency surgery for a hernia, his middleweight title fight against Kelvin Gastelum was scratched and Anderson Silva-Israel Adesanya was inserted at the top of the card. The fight was to become the number 1 contender according to the UFC.

Adesanya bested his idol via unanimous decision in a fight that he was inserted in to win.  The good news is that Silva looked like Anderson Silva.  Two years removed from his last appearance in the Octagon due to a drug suspension, Silva appeared slower (of course), but had enough to make the fight entertaining for all.

Adesanya now waits to see if he will fight Whittaker or a showdown with Kelvin Gastelum.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

UFC 234 was a sell out with 15,238 in attendance for a gate of $2,470,088 U.S. Dollars.  There was an opportunity for those wishing to receive refunds to obtain them.

The bonuses went to Silva-Adesanya, Montana De La Rosa and Devonte Smith.  FOTN went to Silva-Adesanya while De La Rosa and Smith received Performance Bonuses.  All earned an addition $50K.

Reebok Promotional Guideline Payouts (via MMA Junkie)

Israel Adesanya: $4,000
def. Anderson Silva: $20,000

Lando Vannata: $5,000
def. Marcos Mariano: $3,500

Ricky Simon: $3,500
def. Rani Yahya: $20,000

Montana De La Rosa: $3,500
def. Nadia Kassem: $3,500

Jim Crute: $3,500
def. Sam Alvey: $15,000

Devonte Smith: $3,500
def. Dong Hyun Ma: $5,000

Shane Young: $3,500
def. Austin Arnett: $4,000

Kai Kara-France: $3,500
def. Raulian Paiva: $3,500

Kyung Ho Kang: $5,000
def. Teruto Ishihara: $5,000

Jalin Turner: $3,500
def. Callan Potter: $3,500

Jonathan Martinez: $3,500
def. Wuliji Buren: $3,500

Sponsorships

TAB, the online gambling web site in Australia served as a “presenting” sponsor for the event as its logo was everywhere during UFC 234.  Tab was also on the fighter kits.  Its unlikely that any of the fighters received compensation for wearing the logo based on previous logo placement.

TAB had the fighter checkpoint.  The Octagon featured Air Asia, Hudson Shipping Company, Nemiroff, Hooters, Modelo and Monster Energy in the middle.   Also in the Octagon was Port Local Pirate Life Brewing, the video game Fallout76 (which also sponsored the Embedded episodes) and Bisley, an Australian workwear company.

Odds and Ends

The partnership with ESPN looks to be off to a great start as the second prelims show on ESPN has drawn stellar ratings.  Although no viewer numbers as of Sunday night, the metered market rating has a 1.0 share peaking with 1.7.  Once again, the Duke-Virginia college basketball game was the lead-in.

Dana White brokered one time deal with DirecTV as the UFC deal with the satellite provider ended in 2018.  It was not until Thursday that White came to an agreement otherwise a big section of the UFC fan base would not have access to the PPV via DTV.

Gastelum walking around the arena with Henry Cejudo’s belt brought out a reaction, which may have been all he wanted.  Also, it forces the issue that he should deserve the next shot at the middleweight title.  Whether Gastelum will get the first shot at Whittaker or if Adesanya does will be an interesting question.  Obviously, if Whittaker takes some time to recover, we could see Gastelum and Adesanya vying for another interim title.

Interesting to note that the Middleweight title has not been the same since GSP took it from Michael Bisping two years ago.

Montana De La Rosa’s post-fight interview in the Octagon stated that she wanted to get through her TUF contract so that she would be able to make better money.  She did earn a Performance Bonus so that should help her.

In addition to the UFC, Showtime Boxing had an event.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 234 on Saturday which may be attributed to the main event change.

Conclusion

 This may be the first of many instances where the UFC Prelim show on ESPN will do a big rating but the PPV will not. In the past, the UFC Prelims have served as an indicator on PPV success.  With the UFC on ESPN now, I don’t think it will no longer be the case.  With the elimination of the title fight, I think the PPV may have taken a hit, but not one that would show considerable damage.  The problem is that this PPV was destined to be in the 125,000 PPV range which are the UFC hardcore fans minus a few not wanting to shell out the $65 this time around.

Next Page »