April 30, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 159 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey where Jon Jones defended his Light Heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen.
Jones takes care of Sonnen, now must heal toe
It was the outcome that most had expected. Despite Sonnen’s promos, Jones did what was needed to stop Sonnen with a few seconds left in Round 1. It was a good thing, because if he didn’t, it would have been interesting what may have happened for Round 2. Jones could not have gone out there with his toe pointed in an opposite direction.
Now, the question is how long will Jones be out and who will be next for him. Anderson Silva? Lyoto Machida? Alexander Gustafsson? We will see.
For the “Gangster,” I hope to see him in a suit as an analyst.
Nelson KOs Kongo
Jones does what he does and Nelson does what he does – knock people out. While Nelson asked for a title shot, it’s likely he gets at least one more fight before there’s serious consideration.
Bisping beats Belcher after eye poke
Michael Bisping showed once again why he should receive a title shot. The TUF alum beat up Alan Belcher but the fight was stopped after a nasty eye poke which was the second gruesome thing on the PPV next to Jones’ toe.
Bisping must now wait in line once again for a shot.
Attendance and Gate
As reported earlier, attendance at UFC 159 placed second in terms of UFC events at the venue with Hardy vs. GSP being first. UFC 159 reported attendance of 15,227 fans for a $2.7 million gate.
This event’s bonuses were $65,000 each as opposed to the UFC standard of $50,000. As reported earlier the bonuses were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Healy vs. Miller
KO of the Night: Nelson
Submission of the Night: Healy
-The Octagon included the usual sponsors: TapouT, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Xyience, UFC Gym, Harley Davidson, Dodge, MusclePharm, Alienware, UltimatePoker.net and Bud Light. It also included local sponsor Modell’s Sporting Goods.
-UFC Gym sponsored the prep point. UFC Fit was also prevalent last week at UFC on Fox 7. The move into fitness is a reason that Reebok may be a potential sponsor. Could this be one of the reasons why Dana White met with Reebok officials? Also interesting that a potential Reebok deal may happen and just a few months ago Rampage Jackson could not wear Reebok logos in the Octagon for his last fight.
-Representatives from Doritos were also present as it may have a potential interest in sponsorship.
-Ronda Rousey was featured in a MetroPCS commercial shown during the Prelims. It was also revealed that she signed a one year deal with Xyience
-Jones was sponsored by Nike and had his signature shoes released the week before the event. The shoes sold out quickly although there were limited quantities. Jones actually threw out his shoes to the weigh-in crowd on Friday. He also wore Monster headphones, another UFC official sponsor, at the weigh-ins, to the ring and even when he sat on the stool being interviewed post-fight.
-Sonnen wore a TapouT blue ring robe with a Modell’s patch on the arm. It was reminiscent of boxers or pro wrestlers and appropriate for Sonnen.
-An ironic sponsor for Sonnen was VA Mortgage Lending. As you may recall, Sonnen plead guilty to money laundering in a mortgage fraud case during his realtor days in Oregon. While Sonnen’s actions were not related to VA Mortgage Lending, its still strange that you would want to have it as a sponsor because it reminds people of what happened in the past.
-Phil Davis had a couple throwback sponsors: Affliction and Lugz
When you talk about hype, Chael Sonnen comes to mind. The Ultimate Fighter was to serve as the 12 week promo piece for this fight but it was actually Sonnen’s banter the week or so after the TUF Finale that served as the real promotion for UFC 159.
I really enjoyed the UFC Countdown show this time around especially the Alan Belcher-Michael Bisping back and forth. Perhaps, Bisping can pick up the “King of MMA Smacktalk” when Chael Sonnen retires.
This card produced a couple interesting articles on the issue of race. Tim Marchman wrote an article on Deadspin and Tomas Rios wrote one for The Pacific Standard which explores the issue and whether Chael Sonnen uses race to gain fans. We explore the public relations aspects of Sonnen here. When challenged on the subject of race on ESPN’s Dan LeBatard show, Sonnen deflected the direct issue and seemed genuinely uncomfortable about talking about it. This was something unusual for Sonnen who was on in each appearance he did for the promotion of UFC 159.
Odds and Ends
- Darren Rovell sent a tweet Saturday night which stirred the pot for defenders of the UFC. Rovell indicated that the UFC may have lost its “edge” based on the fact he knew someone that purchased a ticket for $50 with a face value of $553. UFC PR’s Dave Sholler tweeted defending the UFC and its attendance indicating that it mattered and then Dana White sent a tweet professing that its numbers are improving and would prove it by sending it to the ESPN Sports Biz guy. We will see if Rovell gets that information. We’ll have more on this interesting story later.
- The card was deemed “cursed” by Joe Rogan for the various stoppages due to injury. This started with two stoppages due to injury during the Prelims and continued with Alan Belcher’s eye poke and then Jon Jones’ toe. And of course, we get a full on brawl in the stands caught on camera during Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” No word on the deep voiceover between rounds during Bisping-Belcher but it seemed fitting for what happened during the night.
- Sarah McMann v. Sheila Gaff was aired on the prelims twice on FX as a result of filler. But, the fight was the first women’s fight not hyped for the fact it was a women’s fight in the UFC. McMann disposed of Gaff quickly.
- Leonard Garcia-Cody McKenzie was the only fight not aired. McKenzie indicated he was going to take some time off for personal reasons. Garcia may be on his way out of the UFC.
The card was not as interesting on paper as last week’s UFC on Fox 7 and it played out that way in reality. Sonnen did his usual work to hype the fight but many believed that it was a mismatch from the start. The unusual issues during the card confirmed its demise as probably one of the strangest in some time. Although Nelson’s KO and Healy’s submission were highlights, the rest of the night proved so-so. A buy rate of 500K would be a success here and many probably bought it because they were fans of Sonnen and/or Jones as the supporting card lacked intriguing matchups.
April 25, 2013
Variety reports that Wrestlemania 29 set a record in earnings with $72 million. This year’s event bested last year’s Wrestlemania in Miami which earned $67 million.
The $72 million figure includes ticket sales and PPV buys. The event was up $5 to $70 (in HD). Early PPV estimates have it at 1 million with the possibility of it hitting 1.2 million PPV buys. Attendance at MetLife Stadium set an attendance record of 80,676 fans.
Payout Take: Obviously, the increase in the PPV price may have helped bolster the earnings figure. Also, tickets for the event were likely more than the usual WWE event. Still, the $72 million figure is a good number for the event and should help jump start the fiscal year. We shall see with the earnings report coming out next Thursday.
March 21, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that early PPV numbers show that UFC 158 should exceed 800,000 buys. The caustic mix of GSP and Nick Diaz proved to be the ingredients for people to buy the PPV.
Although it was expected that this event would be the biggest in terms of PPV buy rate since Silva-Sonnen II, the addition of the unpredictable Nick Diaz benefited the hype for the fight. The viewership for the press conference, weigh-ins and post-fight show reflects the above average interest viewers had for this card. The hype for this card was done without the usual Primetime series which usually precedes a GSP fight.
Via MMA Fighting:
The success of the show is even more impressive since it was achieved without a three-week Primetime series as Penn, Hardy, and Shields had to build up their title challenges. The Ultimate Fighter season with Koscheck and GSP had weekly tension between the coaches.
The centerpiece of the hype was Diaz. From his “wolf tickets” remark at the press conference to his post-fight tax evasion “admission” people tuned in to see what he was going to do or say.
The early indications of the PPV numbers suggest that GSP is still the king of PPV despite not finishing a fight in ages. Secondly, Nick Diaz will not retire. Despite what he said about leaving the sport, he still is a top draw. Also, if it is correct that he owes backtaxes, he will need the money. Overall, the event was a success and once again confirmed the popularity of GSP.
March 20, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 158 from the Belle Centre in Montreal where GSP defended his welterweight title against Nick Diaz.
GSP dominates Diaz
In a much anticipated match, Georges St. Pierre controlled Nick Diaz for 5 rounds and earned the unanimous decision. Diaz and GSP shared pleasantries after the fight in which Diaz once again stole the show with the post-fight Octagon interview by inferring that it seemed like GSP knew his game plan and that he was retiring.
It was nice to see Diaz raise GSP’s hand when the final horn sounded and for GSP to put over Diaz. Of course, this was sullied with Nick Diaz as he later stated he wanted a rematch and that he was not impressed with GSP’s punching power.
Hendrix stakes claim to No. 1 Contender slot
Johny Hendrix used a mix of wrestling takedowns and his trademark left hand to turn back Carlos Condit to earn the next shot against GSP. The fight displayed the high level of competition that the UFC wishes it had in every main event. Hendrix proved that he should be the next in line to challenge GSP.
Despite losing 2 in a row, Condit is still in the upper echelon of the welterweight division.
Ellenberger stops Marquardt
In another welterweight matchup, Jake Ellenberger showed his power as his stopped Nate Marquardt. Ellenberger’s impressive victory likely catapults him to one or two fights away from a title shot.
Attendance, gate and bonuses
We listed the attendance and gate here. UFC 158 ranked fourth among UFC events at the Bell Centre. Of course, the preceding events were not too bad despite what people think of how poor the undercard may be. I think people go to see the people at the top of the card. Just my opinion.
Only two bonuses were given out since there were no submission of the night. Each received $50,000.
Condit-Hendricks – Fight of the Night
Jake Ellenberger – KO of the Night
Promotion of the Fight
Two Words: Nick Diaz. Two More: Wolf Tickets
We talked about the Media Relations of Nick Diaz previously but his appearance at the teleconference and press conference for UFC 158 was stuff of media magic in a twisted sort of way. Diaz’s unfiltered stream of unconscious talk went from the informed (a sermon on changes in MMA), to the ridiculous (accusing GSP of steroid use) to the unknown (wolf tickets). Diaz did not disappoint with his post-fight comments.
I sort of felt like Joe Rogan needed to help Diaz out with the post-fight Octagon interview as he could tell that Diaz did not want to be interviewed. Still, its Rogan’s job to get the most out of the interview and get out. It seemed to trail in an uncomfortable sort of way.
A UFC Primetime was thought to happen for 158 but Diaz no-showed the scheduled interviews for the shows. This had to anger White as he spent a lot of money on producing a show that never occurred.
Still, the usual mundane teleconference and press conferences became musts to see what Diaz would do or say. For GSP, it looked and sounded like this was all wearing him down. You could also see it as Diaz rattling him but at times GSP had the look as though he didn’t know what was going on. Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks had to wonder why they were asked to come to the conferences when they barely said anything.
Despite the lack of the Primetime show, the UFC Countdown show did its usual job of hyping the fighters.
Meanwhile, the UFC Prelims did very well on FX.
Boston Pizza, Alienware and The History Channel’s new show “Counting Cars” were new addition in the Octagon along with regular sponsors, Harley Davidson, Ultimate Poker, Toyo Tires, Dodge Dart, TapouT, Xyience, Musclepharm and Bud Light.
The broadcast had a preview of the “Counting Cars” show. Anyone else think it was actually about counting cars.
GSP was sponsored by Affliction and Hayabusa. He wore an Affliction shirt and a Hayabusa Gi going into the Octagon. For those like myself that were wondering, Affliction is a lifestyle brand whereas Hayabusa is considered an MMA training brand. It appears that neither brand paid for exclusive rights to GSP. Interesting that GSP’s cornerman, Firas Zahabi has his own deal with Headrush.
Recently we spoke with Elie Deshe of VFD Marketing who is the marketing firm for Nick Diaz. He indicated that despite what people may think of Diaz, he doesn’t have a problem with getting sponsors. As you could tell from Saturday, he had a ton of sponsors on his shorts (more than usual I think), despite just wearing a Stockton pullover to both the weigh-ins and fight.
Sponsor Instaloans was prevalent on many fighters. Some had the logo placed on the hips which I thought was interesting placement.
Johny Hendricks participated in some good will by auctioning off some of his gear for the Wounded Warrior project. He also sent out a pic (h/t: FighterxFashion) of his fight shorts which shows a bevy of sponsors including Bass Pro Shops, Wild Wing, Instaloan, Alienware, Sannation, TRX, MGR Construction Services all on his Ecko Shorts.
Its interesting that MGR Construction Services is involved in MMA sponsorship. It even has a tab on the front page of its web site.
Chris Camozzi made some news by writing a blog post in which he called for UFC fighters to turn down lowball offers from sponsors in order to get what they deserved. We’ll write about his later but its an interesting take on the state of sponsorships. It was interesting that he had two black pieces of tape over each shoulder on his walkout shirt. Perhaps a problem with that sponsor.
Tax woes for Diaz. What is becoming a story after 158 is not what happened in the Octagon but once again Diaz’s comments. He indicated that he hasn’t paid taxes and may go to jail. The comments took everyone off guard. Cesar Gracie indicated on The MMA Hour that Nick has paid taxes and that while his brother Nate has an accountant, Nick has not followed suit. His comments created a mainstream buzz and many brought up the name Wesley Snipes. Hopefully, Nick will seek some accounting help and straighten everything out with the IRS. Certainly, announcing not paying taxes may make one susceptible to an audit.
What’s next for GSP? Although I initially thought he would fight Anderson Silva this November at Madison Square Garden, it looks like that Johny Hendricks may get the shot.
Ronda Rousey on the next TUF. Yes, we could not stay away from mentioning that Ronda Rousey will coach men and women on the next season of TUF. An obvious move to grab mainstream fans and take advantage of their asset (Rousey). We’ll see if this will garner ratings as the UFC has tried everything else. In order to pull some ratings for its Prelims show, the UFC waited until the end of the show to make the announcement.
Odds and Ends
- The Mike Ricci-Collin Fletcher fight might have been on PPV as a favor to GSP and the Tri-Star Gym. I do not know why else it would be on the main card and not Patrick Cote. Speaking of Fletcher, he’s someone that could give you nightmares by just his appearance.
- Interesting to hear that there was an argument in the back before the main event that Diaz’s camp claimed there was an issue with GSP’s gloves. Where was Naazim Richardson when you needed him?
- Nick also inferred that there may have been a “mole” in his camp that told GSP his gameplan. Unlikely. Regardless, it wasn’t the reason he lost.
- Did the UFC change the promo poster after Diaz complained of his pic on it?
- Best moment of the post-UFC 158 interviews was the Fuel post-fight where GSP was seen caught off guard and eating pizza while being interviewed.
- Nick Diaz camp posted a video on YouTube of him hitting a speed bag for 23 minutes. Two questions: why did they post it and why did I watch the whole thing.
- Dana White and Vince McMahon could have had a match at Wrestlemania according to White. We’ll have more on this in The Wrestling Post later this week.
- Did anyone else feel like Diaz was going to slug GSP after the fight because he was being too nice? The scene post-fight reminded me of pro wrestling where everyone is a friend and then someone turns.
According to initial reports, the PPV buys were strong. Dave Meltzer had filed a Certification in the Bellator-Eddie Alvarez case where he believed that buys for UFC 158 would range between 750K to 850K PPV buys. Despite what you think of his style and that he hasn’t finished a fight in years, GSP is still the king of the UFC PPV since Brock Lesnar left. As many reports indicate, it will likely hover around Silva-Sonnen II range due to the added heat brought by Nick Diaz. We could see it hitting 900K PPV buys.
March 15, 2013
MMA Payout takes a look back at the prior PPV history of UFC 158’s main event fighters. The quick conclusion is that the success of the PPV boils down to GSP.
UFC 87 625,000 (vs. Jon Fitch)
UFC 94 920,000 (vs. BJ Penn II)
UFC 100 1.6M (vs. Thiago Alves)
UFC 111 770,000 (vs. Dan Hardy)
UFC 124 785,000 (vs. Josh Koscheck)
UFC 129 800,000 (vs. Jake Shields)
UFC 154 700,000 (vs. Carlos Condit)
The bell cow when it comes to UFC PPVs. With Brock Lesnar in the WWE, Georges St. Pierre is the King of UFC PPVs. I decided to start the list from his first title defense after winning the belt from Matt Serra at UFC 83. Notably, UFC 87 also marked the first UFC win for Brock Lesnar. GSP and Lesnar also appeared on the same card at UFC 100.
GSP’s average PPV buy rate since he’s had the welterweight title: ~886K. Of course, this includes UFC 100 and 129 but that should tell you that when the UFC has a major event, Georges St. Pierre will be on the card.
UFC 143 400,000 (Carlos Condit)
UFC 137 280,000 (vs. BJ Penn)
Only two entries for Diaz since he entered the UFC from Strikeforce. You recall UFC 137 was the event he was supposed to fight GSP and then was taken off the card only to be put back on after an injury to GSP caused a major reshuffle. Diaz is a polarizing figure and if he ever decides to “play the game” he has an appealing style that the casual fan could appreciate.
UFC 133 310,000 (vs. Mike Pierce)
UFC 141 535,000 (vs. Jon Fitch)
UFC 154 700,000 (vs. Martin Kampman)
UFC 132 320,000 (vs. Kim Dong-Hyun)
UFC 143 400,000 (vs. Diaz)
UFC 154 700,000 (vs. GSP)
Not much to say about Hendricks-Condit at this point. Both were on UFC 154 and Hendricks was on a Brock Lesnar card (141) hence the good buy rate. The winner of this match-up may have to wait until 2014 to get a shot at GSP assuming he wins and goes on to fight Anderson Silva later this year.
GSP should have this PPV around 700K buys. A ticked off GSP (or rattled depending on how you view it) against Nick Diaz could have it pushing higher. Diaz speaking at the teleconference and presser could only help the hype for people to buy this event.
February 26, 2013
MMA Fighting reports initial indications that Saturday’s UFC 157 PPV buy rate are very strong. The PPV featuring women for the first time in the UFC is said to have done 40% better than UFC 156 Super Bowl Weekend.
Now all we have to do is to figure out that number. The LA Times Lance Pugmire tweeted that UFC 157 was 40% better than UFC 156.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) February 26, 2013
Based on the information, UFC 156 did about 330K PPV buys which means that UFC 157 is a little north of 450K PPV buys. Bear in mind that the PPV buys for 157 is unofficial but the UFC should be happy with the initial number.
It’s interesting that Pugmire’s tweet came out without providing an actual estimated number. There is speculation that the buys could be up much more than 450K but we will just have to wait to see. If the 450K number holds true (or goes up), the UFC is probably happy as well as breathing a sigh of relief. With the amount of promotion it undertook to get coverage for the event, it looks like the media and public relations worked. In my opinion, Rousey, more than women’s MMA, pushed the PPV sales. We will see how this will affect how the UFC will market a women’s match in the future.
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.
February 11, 2013
MMA Fighting and the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer has filed a certification of UFC PPV numbers in a recent filing in the Eddie Alvarez-Bellator lawsuit. Meltzer, filing on behalf of Alvarez, attests to UFC PPV buy rates and makes an estimate on buy rates featuring GSP and Jon Jones.
Notably, in the January 24, 2013 certification, he testified that cards headlined by GSP average 770K PPV buys excluding UFC 100. Jon Jones’ average between 500-525K buys. His Certification also includes a breakdown of UFC PPV buys over the last 3 years. The premise is that Alvarez would have appeared on a card which headlined GSP or Jones.
In the Certification, he indicates that he is “one of the best, if not the best, source of pay per view buy rates in mixed martial arts.” Meltzer states that he has reviewed the Declaration of Ray Longboard as it relates to Mr. Longboard’s opinion that Alvarez would not have received 200K PPV buys if he were to appear on a UFC PPV. Mr. Longboard’s Declaration was filed in conjunction with Bellator’s opposition brief to Alvarez’s request for a preliminary injunction.
Meltzer states that the UFC has averaged between 450K to 475K PPV buys over the last 3 years. Only twice did the UFC draw 200K or below in those 3 years according to Meltzer.
Meltzer stated that if Alvarez appeared on a PPV with GSP, the buy rate would exceed 680K PPV buys. He stated that a Jones PPV with Alvarez participating would exceed 450K PPV buys.
Meltzer indicates that the “buy rates are an approximations which are calculated from various other indicators, but are generally accepted as accurate throughout the mixed martial arts industry.”
Interesting. In addition to the Certification, Meltzer includes a list of PPV buys (which he lists as “UFC PPV Estimates”) over the past three years. MMA Payout has updated our Bluebook and you can view them here. This is a very interesting turn of events as the Certification opens up the issue of how PPV buys are estimated. Although the Certification does not go into detail about how buy rates are approximated, this method will come out during a deposition and/or other phase of discovery. The question will be whether Mr. Meltzer will divulge his methods and/or sources. This brings up journalistic ethics versus the law. Would a Court require Meltzer to divulge a source and/or would Meltzer risk being in contempt? At this point, Bellator would argue that the methods of Meltzer are undefined and that his opinion of the PPV estimates lack foundation and call for speculation.
The discovery phase of the Alvarez case just got a little more interesting. We will see the extent as to how much Bellator will try to pull back the curtain on PPV buys.
February 4, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 156 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Aldo sends Edgar to third straight loss
Thud. The leg kicks of Jose Aldo last night were reminiscent of those he delivered to Urijah Faber at WEC 48 which (IMO) was his coming out party. To Frankie Edgar’s credit, he was able to deal with most of those with an effective counter. Aldo’s cardio issues were evident in rounds 4 and 5. But, he had done enough to stop Edgar.
For Aldo, the first couple rounds showed his dominance that he had in the WEC. He was quicker, had the counter and snuck in the devastating kicks to Edgar’s legs. Will Dana White take the request of Anthony Pettis and give Showtime a shot to fight Jose Aldo. What about Ricardo Lamas? The guy who beat the guy (Erik Koch) that was supposed to fight Aldo for the title shot. What about the Featherweight rankings?
For Edgar, its his third loss in a row. The dip to Featherweight now looks like a waste unless he’s willing to take a couple fights before getting another shot at Aldo. For Edgar’s benefit, a couple fights to get back some confidence would help. Losing three straight decisions has to be hard on him.
Bigfoot Silva KOs Overeem
And that’s why haters are going to hate. Alistair Overeem wore a shirt to the weigh-ins saying, “Haters Going to Hate.” The end result was a reason why people hate. A classic case of underestimating your opponent. Overeem had the first two rounds with ease although a couple shots at the end of the second round gave Bigfoot some momentum. And then, Bigfoot laid hands on Overeem and that was all she wrote with Silva talking smack over a prone Overeem.
Overeem’s loss messes up the UFC’s hope for a Cain-Overeem fight. For Silva, a Velasquez fight will not happen although JDS might be a good matchup to see which heavyweight gets back into the title picture.
Attendance and gate
MMA Junkie reports that the attendance for UFC as released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission was 10,275 for a gate of $2.437 million.
The Bonuses drew some eyebrows as it was only $50K per bonus as opposed to $60-65K which had been the standard in 2012.
The bonuses were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Aldo-Edgar
KO of the Night: Bigfoot Silva
Submission of the Night: Bobby Green
Interested that they did not give sub of the night to Dustin Kimura with a Rear Naked Choke for the sheer fun of announcing Kimura won with a Rear Naked Choke.
Promotion of the Fight
The UFC decided to promote Frankie Edgar’s move down to Featherweight as the main sell point for the PPV and touting Edgar-Aldo as a “Superfight.” Certainly, the battle of a past and present champion has some juice but the UFC also had a Heavyweight battle between the returning Alistair Overeem and Bigfoot Silva. It also had Rashad Evans, a proven PPV draw go up against a veteran in Little Nog. We also know that Frankie Edgar is not a PPV draw. And, at this point, neither is Aldo.
Notwithstanding what we know now, (that Overeem may be overrated and that while Evans brings a big event feel walking to the Octagon,he showed little in it on Saturday), it gave the lighter weight class the top bill. Strategically, the UFC could be giving its lighter weight classes the opportunity to show what it could do. With Aldo out, the Featherweight title has not been defended since last January. Marketing the PPV around Edgar-Aldo will be a test to see where the fan base is with respect the lighter weight classes.
The octagon featured UltimatePoker.com, Xyience, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, the movie Dead Man Down, MusclePharm, Tapout and Bud Light in the center. Dodge also sponsored stats during the PPV as well.
Dead Man Down had the corners of the Octagon. One had to wonder if there was hope that a fighter would be knocked out in one of those corners. In fact, Overeem went down up against the Dead Man Down signage. How appropriate.
Based on his wearing his headphones after the fight, Jose Aldo is sponsored by a headphone maker although I could not make out the brand.
Rashad Evans had top level sponsors as always. Notable sponsors included Jaco, Corn Nuts and Bony Acai. The last two are official UFC sponsors.
Little Nog signed a deal with Venum prior to UFC 156. He also was sponsored by Bony Acai.
It appears that the UFC was sponsoring Frankie Edgar last night. He had the UFC brand on his shorts and in a prominent spot on his fight banner. He was also sponsored by FeartheFighter, Alienware, MicroTech, Wild Wing, Virtustream and Gaspari Nutrition.
Buy My Autographs.com was the most intriguing fight sponsor of the night. The website, established in 2012, offers signed MMA memorabilia.
F3 Nutrition was a sponsor with big name fighters (Overeem and Rashad) wearing its logo that did not do so well with their outcomes.
Post-UFC 156 Headlines
Aldo versus ? – We will see if Aldo will take on Anthony Pettis for the Featherweight crown. Pettis just introduced himself to the nation on Fox last month and will have to wait for a lightweight shot after Bendo-Gil fight on Apri 20th. What better way to stay busy than a title fight? It would be an interesting scenario for the UFC to consider.
Cain’s next challenger – The UFC had hoped that Overeem would have beat Silva to get it to Cain versus Overeem in a big matchup that it could set for this summer. Now, we will see what is in store for the Heavyweight Champion.
Odds and ends
It was a good night for Brazilian fighters. A lot of Brazilian sponsors on many fighters tonight as well.
Fitch/Maia was a fight that went unnoticed by the media hype for this card but was intriguing from a tactical standpoint. It was not a fight for people liking standup but for those grappling folks, it was outstanding control by Maia over Fitch. Maia could be close to a welterweight title shot soon.
Evans and Little Nog had the best walk in music of the night but the worst fight of the night. In the words of Joe Rogan, “That was not an entertaining fight.” To complement that fight, at the end they showed Wilmer Valderrama and JWow. It was as if the UFC wanted to make sure you knew that fight sucked.
Silva was very thoughtful in his post-fight interview when he said knocking out Overeem was the biggest in his career since it was the UFC. Obviously, he was thinking his Fedor knockout as bigger but since it was in Strikeforce and he is now in the UFC, why insult your employer.
Would you check a kick from Jose Aldo?
As I alluded to earlier, this PPV will test to see whether the lighter weight classes can carry a PPV. It will also test again whether Frankie Edgar can be a PPV attraction. Last week’s Dodson-Johnson main event on Fox scored 5.2 million viewers. Did the commercials featuring a closeup of Edgar’s face do enough to draw people to buy the PPV? Aldo has been out for a while and is still relatively unknown. But there may have been enough buzz for it to get to 500,000 PPV buys.
February 1, 2013
As we head into the annual Super Bowl weekend PPV, MMA Payout takes a look at the previous PPV history of the main and co-main eventers.
We start with the challenger to the Featherweight title, Frankie Edgar. For purposes of this discussion, we look at his PPV appearance since winning the Lightweight title in Abu Dhabi from B.J. Penn.
Frankie Edgar PPV Buy History
UFC 112 – v. Penn – 500K PPV Buys
UFC 118 – v. Penn II – 535K PPV Buys
UFC 125 – v. Maynard II – 260K PPV Buys
UFC 136 – v. Maynard III – 225K PPV Buys
UFC 144 – v. Henderson – 325K PPV Buys
UFC 150 – v. Henderson II – 190K PPV Buys
A look at Edgar’s last 6 opponents shows that he’s had 3 rematches. His fight history also reflects the popularity of BJ Penn as those PPVs hit 500K and 535K PPV buys respectively. What I find disappointing is UFC 136 and UFC 150. Those rematches should have received better buys considering the quality of the first matches. UFC 136 stands out because it had a good supporting undercard (Aldo-Florian and Sonnen-Stann).
Jose Aldo PPV Buy History
UFC 129 – v. Mark Hominick – 800K PPV Buys
UFC 136 – v. Kenny Florian – 225K PPV Buys
UFC 142 – v. Chad Mendes – 235K PPV Buys
Aldo transferred over from the WEC and his first UFC appearance was at UFC 129. The 800K is due in large part to the huge stadium show for the UFC which featured GSP. Thus, its not like Aldo was a PPV feature although he was a part of the co-main event (he also faced Canadian Mark Hominick). The other two shows Aldo appeared on are not strong PPV numbers (which include being on the same card as Edgar at 136). Random fact: Aldo has yet to fight in Vegas for the UFC.
Rashad Evans recent PPV Buy History
UFC 98 – v. Lyoto Machida – 635K PPV Buys
UFC 108 – v. Thiago Silva – 300K PPV Buys
UFC 114 – v. Rampage Jackson – 1.05M PPV Buys
UFC 133 – v. Tito Ortiz – 310K PPV Buys
UFC 145 – v. Jon Jones – 700K PPV Buys
We take a look back at a recent history of Rashad Evans. As you can see from his headlining fights, Evans has been a reliable PPV draw. UFC 108 was injury-plagued as Lesnar-Carwin and Anderson Silva-Vitor Belfort were scheduled to be on the card at one point or another before the event. As for 133, Ortiz was a late injury replacement.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira recent PPV Buy History
UFC 114 – v. Jason Brilz – 1.05M PPV Buys
UFC 119 – v. Ryan Bader – 295K PPV Buys
UFC 140 – v. Tito Ortiz – 480K PPV Buys
Little Nog was on the same card as Evans when he finally got a chance at Rampage Jackson. Notably, that PPV went over 1M PPV buys. After that, his performance was memorable only for the fact that it was against Tito Ortiz on a card where Jon Jones defended his title.
Alistair Overeem UFC PPV Buy History
UFC 141 – v. Brock Lesnar – 535K PPV Buys
Antonio Silva UFC PPV Buy History
UFC 146 – v. Cain Velasquez – 560K PPV Buys
The last two co-main eventers have a limited UFC history. Alistair Overeem scored a win against Brock Lesnar in a squash. Silva was battered by Cain on a card which featured JDS v. Mir.
Numbers via MMA Payout’s Blue Book
The purpose of this exercise was to take a quick look at the PPV draws of the main event fighters. Its interesting that the UFC decided to bill Aldo-Edgar as a “superfight” without giving much billing to Evans-Little Nog or Overeem-Silva. Certainly, the UFC could be making an effort to push the Featherweight divisions. With the success of last week’s UFC on Fox event, it would make sense. Yet, its the names and the heavyweights that seem to make the PPVs. Overeem’s lone appearance on UFC PPV was against Brock Lesnar. That PPV drew 535,000. While not astronomical, its a decent figure that one would think the UFC could push with his return. Although a popular fighter, Frankie Edgar is not a draw on PPV. Jose Aldo is not either.
But, if a card with Edgar-Aldo does well, the UFC will have proved its marketing correct and the prior PPV history numbers a thing of the past. It would be a good pattern for the lighter divisions considering Mighty Mouse-Dodson hit a high of 5.2 million viewers on network television. We’ll watch and see.