PPV History (or lack thereof) of UFC 164 main eventers

August 31, 2013

As we get a UFC PPV just a couple days after a free TV event and a couple days before another one, we take a look at the PPV history of UFC 164 main eventers.

UFC_164_Bendo_vs_Pettis

Benson Henderson

Henderson’s last two fights have been on Fox cards and his last two PPV appearances were against Frankie Edgar.  So, it’s hard to gage how much of a draw he is to PPV.  While the network cards brought good ratings, the PPV appearances against Edgar were sub-par. Henderson was on the big UFC 129 card but not the real attraction for that show.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE Rating
UFC on Fox 7 Gilbert Melendez (w) April 20, 2013 3.7M
UFC on Fox 5 Nate Diaz (w) December 8, 2012 4.39M
UFC 150 Frankie Edgar (w) August 11, 2012 190,000
UFC 144 Frankie Edgar (w) February 26, 2012 375,000

Anthony Pettis

“Showtime” has not been in a main event position since his upset loss to Clay Guida at TUF Finale 13.  Pettis received KO of the Night for his performance against Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 in Japan.  Ironically, the same night Henderson won the title.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE Rating
UFC on Fox 6 Donald Cerrone (w)(KO) January 26, 2013 4.4M
UFC 144 Joe Lauzon (w)(TKO) February 26, 2012 375,000
UFC 136 Jeremy Stephens (w) (split decision) October 8, 2011 225,000
TUF Finale 13 Clay Guida (L) June 4, 2011 1.8M

Payout Perspective:

If you were wondering, the final rating for their famous WEC title match drew an average of 615,000 viewers on Versus.  The fight took place on December 16, 2010 and we still see the highlight everywhere.

As for the rest of the card, Frank Mir-Josh Barnett should be an intriguing fight.  I didn’t go over their respective card histories since Mir is not the same fighter or draw he was at UFC 100 (1.6M PPV buys) or even UFC 140 (485K PPV buys) when he subbed Big Nog.  It’s the Warmaster’s return to the UFC and a step up in opponents.

Is this a card that the casual PPV fan will be interested in, or does the fact its sandwiched between two free cards on FS1 hurt its chances?

UFC 161 and 163 PPV estimates low

August 22, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that early estimates of UFC 163 featuring the Korean Zombie fighting Jose Aldo are between 170K to 190K buys.  UFC 161 has been estimated at 135K to 155K PPV buys.

According to Dave Meltzer, both of the estimates are from individuals within the cable and MMA industry.  They indicated the estimated PPV buy range for KZ-Aldo had bested Hendo-Evans on PPV “by about 35,000 buys.”

The last time UFC PPVs dipped below 200K PPV buys was last June and August when UFC 147 (W. Silva-Franklin II) received 140K and UFC 150 (Bendo-Edgar II) received 190K PPV buys. It will be interesting to see what Henderson will draw next week when he defends his title against Showtime Pettis.

Payout Perspective:

The fact that UFC 163 was a card full of mainly Brazilian fighters made this less of an attraction despite Aldo’s title defense.  Also, UFC 161 was a definite low point in the PPV history of both Henderson and Evans.  Besides the main events, there were not many compelling matchups on either card unless you were a hardcore UFC fan.   The consensus is that with the UFC-Fox agreement and that there are more fights on free television, fans are more willing to skip PPVs.  It will be interesting to see how the UFC addresses this issue in the future especially with the new FS1 and 2.

Will the UFC decide to curtail the number of PPVs in order to stack cards for bigger PPV draws?  Or, will it be content to eat poor ratings for 1 or 2 PPV events each year?

UFC 162: Payout Perspective

July 7, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at the unusual end to the title reign of Anderson Silva at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Silva kisses title reign goodbye

– “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” – Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II

It was relief, not disappointment that seemed to be the emotion from Anderson Silva after his loss to Chris Weidman.  It was an unfortunate end to a great reign for The Spider.  He elevated the UFC by his complete dominance over a division.  Unlike GSP post-Serra, Silva put on some memorable highlight reel finishes.  But with his impressive wins came an heir of invincibility and arrogance.  This was highlighted by an irritating grandstanding performance at UFC 112 where he denigrated the talents of Demian Maia.  Despite threats of cutting Silva after his antics in Abu Dhabi, Dana White did nothing.  The Spider was just that good. He added an occasional showboat move here and there since 112 to add a degree of difficulty to his fights.  Last July he gave away the first round in his highly anticipated rematch with Chael Sonnen but proceeded to end him in the second.

But Saturday was something Silva’s legacy did not need.  A foolish end to what should be a respected title reign.  One has to wonder if Silva, who always appears to be in control in the Octagon, chose his own demise.  His immediate response to questions of a rematch was that he didn’t want one.  While we have to believe he will change his mind, maybe the pressures of being considered the GOAT have weighed him down.  Then again, would the GOAT ever do such a stupid thing in the Octagon and actually be a “goat”.

It’s perplexing to understand Silva.  He’s a martial artist but shouldn’t a martial artist not disrespect his opponent let alone underestimate him?  Moreover, his antics disrespected the event and platform he was given.  Yes, the idea was to intimidate Weidman on Saturday.  And to a certain extent, I understand the “no sell” of punches and smiling at Weidman.  It was part of Silva’s game plan – have Weidman melt under the pressure.  But, unlike others, Weidman stayed the course and did not fall into too much of a trap (although he did attempt to no sell punches too).

Weidman’s game plan was not tricky when it came to what to do if Silva clowned him:  Punch him in the face.  Or in his chest as his corner told him.  Not too hard to understand.

The UFC immediate plans go out the window here.  Superfights against Jones or GSP are out of the question.  An immediate rematch appears to be the only choice for Silva.  The Super Bowl card in New Jersey in 2014 appears to be the most practicable time for a rematch.  It will be coupled with Fox’s plan for a weekend of events to accompany its rights to the big game.

Looking at it with the glass half full, the UFC gets an American champion from New York with a great backstory.  Weidman’s story of having no home after Hurricane Sandy will be eaten up by mainstream media outlets.  He can also be the poster boy for another run at legalizing MMA in New York.  The UFC will have to build up the Weidman brand in order for him to get at or near the Anderson Silva level.  Yet, it can build from the ground up with Weidman although this will take multiple PPVs to get him a following.

UFC-162-poster

Edgar gets needed win against Oliveira

In one of the Fight of the Nights, Frankie Edgar had one of the best performances of the night against a game Charles Oliveira.  Both fighters constantly moved through the match and despite losing, Oliveira showed that he’s a threat in the Featherweight division.

Frankie looked sharp and I would suggest a meeting with Cub Swanson to see who gets to face the Featherweight champion.

Munoz transformation complete

“I ate because I was sad, sad because I ate.”  Mark Munoz paraphrased from the character Fat Bastard of the Austin Powers movie series in an interview earlier in the week to underscore his battle with depression which caused him to balloon up in weight.  Munoz lost over 60 pounds and looked phenomenal at the weigh-ins.  Moreover, he dominated a tough Tim Boetsch.

Maybe added motivation for Munoz was the fact that Chris Weidman, the guy who destroyed him about a year earlier, was in the main event.

Attendance and gate

MMA Junkie reports that the attendance for the event was 12,399 for a gate of $4.862 million.  These numbers were announced at the post-UFC162 press conference. The numbers are unofficial but White had indicated similar numbers earlier in the week.  UFC 160 had attendance of 12,380 for a gate of $2.9 million

Bonuses

Bonuses awarded were given $50,000 each.  With no submission of the night, the UFC decided to award two Fight of the Nights.  Thus, it paid out an extra $50,000.

FOTN:  Edgar v. Oliveira, Swanson v. Dennis Siver

KO of the Night:  Chris Weidman

Weidman was the obvious choice, but I would have liked to see Gabriel Gonzaga here too.

Promotion of the Fight

It was interesting that the UFC decided to utilize other fighters to establish the credibility of Chris Weidman by using other fighters to speak about how good he is.  The fact that so many fighters picked Weidman (and the UFC sent out a press release stating this) told you that he may be something special.  But, the UFC marketing was probably needed considering Weidman had been out for a year and although the Munoz KO was impressive, Munoz was heavy and battling injuries.

Speaking of Munoz, it was interesting how much press Munoz received with his “Husky Boy” pictures.  He spoke out about his depression and how he overcame it.  Certainly a good story and it almost trumped Chris Weidman during fight week.

Weidman appeared on the Jim Rome Show but there seemed to be little, if any, other national media for Weidman or Silva for that matter.

Sponsorships

Octagon sponsors included MetroPCS, TapouT, Ultimate Poker, Xyience, Dodge, Alienware, the 20th Century Fox release of The Wolverine and Bud Light in the center and at the prep point.  Dodge had a new logo for the Octagon, its Dodge “Ram” and its signature tag line, “Guts, Glory, Ram” on one of the corner posts.  Bud Light also did something new with its logo.

Tyron Woodley introduced The Wolverine clip which was shown right before the main event.  Interesting the UFC chose Woodley to do this intro.

Anderson Silva was sponsored by Burger King, Wizard, Nike, Axe Body Spray and Vicks.  The Vicks sponsorship is interesting but perhaps he could use it on his chin after being knocked out by Weidman.  The Axe Body Spray may explain the weigh-in “kiss”.  Silva also had new Nike t-shirts as well as ads for Nike Pro Combat.

Chris Weidman was sponsored by Bad Boy Clothing, Muscle Milk, Profile Performance, Air Force Reserve and American Ethanol.

Other notable sponsorships:

Chris Leben was sponsored by Sisu Mouthgards.  Tim Kennedy had RangerUp and RevGear.

It appeared that Frankie Edgar was sponsored by the UFC as his corner wore UFC hats and the UFC was the biggest logo on his fight banner.  In addition, he had Alienware and Affliction.

Among his sponsors, Cub Swanson was sponsored by PowerBuilt Golf.

Mark Munoz was sponsored by Lunarpages.  The same sponsor for Jake Ellenberger, his training partner.  He also donned the Oklahoma State colors.  A nice added touch.  He was also sponsored by Triumph United,  Osiris Shoes and Virus Action Sports Performance clothing.

Post UFC 162 Headlines

Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar, Charles Oliveira, Mark Munoz and Cub Swanson all had impressive nights.  Despite Oliveira’s loss, the UFC found a gem and he’s only 23. Edgar and Swanson add some spice to a Featherweight division that just got harder for Jose Aldo.

Munoz has a great story and its a likely “wait and see” on how his path to a title shot occurs (or does not occur).  He’ll have to string together a couple more wins before he can be in the picture.  And at 35, the window of opportunity may be slight.

Weidman was the star of the night.  Regardless of how it was accomplished, he proved the fighters that sung his praises.  Now, its up to the UFC to make him a star.

On the flip side, the more compelling story may be what happens with Anderson Silva.  The fight will be analyzed and overanalyzed by all of us but whether it was overconfidence, stupidity or boredom with fighting, Silva’s performance was inexcusable.  With a 10 fight contract still in place, it will be interesting to see what Silva does from here on out.  Its likely that there will be a rematch and we’ll see a more focused, serious Anderson Silva, but he’ll be facing a more confident and experienced Chris Weidman.

Odds and Ends

– Silva was paid $600K with a $200K win bonus if he would have defeated Weidman.  Weidman earned $24K and $24K for a total of $48K.

– What would happen to your shin if you tried to check an Edson Barboza leg kick?.

– Fitting that Munoz wore a “Keep Olympic Wrestling” Shirt with his logo and he displayed the best wrestling in the Octagon of his career.

– For Dave Herman last night, BJJ does not exist if you get hit in the face first.

– With the craziness of the Weidman-Silva fight, Tim Kennedy must be happy to go through the night unscathed by scrutiny although Dave Meltzer indicated on The Figure Four podcast this morning that Dana White yelled at him in front of everyone at the fighter meeting.  

– Steven Segal was sitting next to Mike Tyson last night.  It would have been interesting to hear the conversation between the two.  

– One of the better things that happened with Silva losing, the talk of him fighting Roy Jones, Jr. in a boxing match should go away.

– The UFC handed out 11,000 towels to fans attending UFC 162 and let them pick between a U.S. flag towel or Brazil.  A good promo for the event and a way to highlight the main event.

Conclusion

As we indicated in our PPV History, the event was solely based on Anderson Silva.  While Edgar-Oliveira was a great fight, Edgar is not a PPV draw. As Meltzer pointed out, and many logically will conclude, the PPV replay will likely boost PPV sales simply because people who originally passed on the PPV because of the lack of interest will now gladly spend it to see Silva’s knockout and the other exciting fights on the card.  With that being said, its likely that the original live PPV buys will be around 600,000.

Looking back at the PPV History of UFC 162 main eventers

July 5, 2013

Welcome to another edition of PPV History. This time we take a look at the PPV History of UFC 162’s main eventers.  Realistically, the strength of this event’s numbers rests solely on Anderson Silva.

Anderson Silva

Arguably, Silva is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), goat can have a dual meaning based on Silva’s whimsical attitudes when it comes to media (e.g., being fined $50K for missing media obligation in LA) and fights (UFC 112).  But, Silva has a strong Brazilian following and his skills are second to none.

Father Time always wins (see Kobe Bryant), but he may be starting to look at his watch with Silva.  Undoubtedly, Silva is a top draw (if not running a close second to GSP).

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC 153 Stephan Bonnar (W –TKO) 10/13/12 410,000
UFC 148 Chael Sonnen (W – TKO) 07/07/12 925,000
UFC 134 Yushin Okami (W – TKO) 08/27/11 335,000
UFC 126 Vitor Belfort (W – KO) 02/05/11 725,000
UFC 117 Chael Sonnen (W – Submission) 08/07/10 600,000

Despite the two events less than 500K, which were both fights in Brazil, Silva is a must-see PPV main event.

Chris Weidman

The casual MMA fan does not know too much about Chris Weidman although this UFC Countdown help us get to know him and his personal story.  Yet, he’s been off since last year so its hard to recall how he will do.  He beat Mark Munoz in decisive fashion last year although Munoz states he was not at 100%.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz  v.  Weidman Mark Munoz (W – KO) 07/11/12 211,000 (Versus)
UFC on Fox: Evans v. Davis Demian Maia (W) 01/28/12 4.7 million
UFC 139 Tom Lawlor (W – Technical Submission 11/19/11 290,000
UFC 131 Jesse Bongfeldt (W – Submission) 06/11/11 330,000
UFC Live: Sanchez v. Kampmann Alessio Sakara (W) 03/03/11 681,000/0.67

It will be interesting to see how Weidman does on Saturday.  Aside from the Munoz fight, Weidman has been on the undercard of fights.  If he beats Silva, he’ll shoot straight to the top as one of the faces of the UFC.

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

As for the rest of the card, Frankie Edgar is the only other UFC fighter with a PPV history worth mentioning.  But, maybe we shouldn’t given the fact it’s not that good.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 162’s success will depend on one fighter: Anderson Silva.  While the marketing for Chris Weidman has been good, it’s relied on other fighters’ (i.e., GSP, Evans, Maynard) recommendations of his gym work to bolster his credibility.  If Weidman succeeds, the UFC could have a new star.  But Weidman himself is not the reason for the interest in the fight.  But, its the intrigue of whether an upstart can dethrone the champion that will carry the fans on the fence to buy this PPV.

PPV History – Taking a look at UFC 161 main eventers

June 14, 2013

MMA Payout takes a look at the prior PPV history of UFC 161’s main event fighters.   This time around we take a look at Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson and Roy Nelson and Stipe Miocic

Rashad Evans

There’s a cliff that some fighters fall off of in their career and Evans’ last PPV appearance against Little ‘Nog could have been the perilous steps before falling off.  One might argue that it was Evans that pushed Chuck Liddell to the edge of the cliff with his stunning KO of Liddell at UFC 88.  Henderson could provide the punch to make Evans obsolete.

At UFC 108, Silva was a substitute for Rampage and Ortiz was a substitute at UFC 133 at a time when Ortiz had a resurgence of his career.  Notably, these two shows had low PPV buy rates.  I realize we dip a little deep with Evans’ past history but look at the buys for 92 and 98 where the buys were reported at 635K and 1M.   Impressive compared to the buys we see regularly now.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC 156 Antonio Rogerieo Nogueira (L) February 2, 2013 330,000 PPV buys
UFC 145 Jon Jones (L) April 21, 2012 700,000 PPV buys
UFC on Fox 2 Phil Davis (W) January 28, 2012 4.7M viewer average
UFC 133 Tito Ortiz (W – TKO) August 6, 2011 310,000 PPV buys
UFC 114 Rampage Jackson (W) May 29, 2010 1.05M PPV buys
UFC 108 Thiago Silva (W) January 2, 2010 300,000 PPV buys
UFC 98 Lyoto Machida (L – KO) May 23, 2009 635,000 PPV buys
UFC 92 Forrest Griffin (W – TKO) December 27, 2008 1M PPV buys

 

Which fight is not happening Saturday?

Which fight is not happening Saturday?

Dan Henderson

We leave out several of Henderson’s appearances on Strikeforce and focus on mainly his UFC appearances since his return to the company against Rampage.  His last fight was a disappointing loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.  We recall that the event was headlined by Ronda Rousey and drew well.

UFC 139 featured Henderson and Rua in a 5 round classic.  Wanderlei Silva knocking out Cung Le and Urijah Faber taking out Brian Bowles were also featured on the card.  Henderson also appeared in one of the co-mains at UFC 100 with his memorable KO of Michael Bisping after their coaching stint on TUF.

Henderson’s defeat of Fedor ranked fourth all-time in Strikeforce-Showtime history but still has to be one of the biggest fights the company had on the network.

As many recall, UFC 75’s fight versus Rampage Jackson scored 4.7 million viewers on Spike TV.  Very good numbers considering that UFC on Fox 2 scored the same rating.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC 157 Lyoto Machida (L) February 23, 2013 450,000 PPV buys
UFC 139 Mauricio Rua (W) November 19, 2011 290,000 PPV buys
Strikeforce: Fedor v. Henderson Fedor Emelianenko (W – TKO) July 30, 2011 571,000 viewer average on Showtime
UFC 100 Michael Bisping (W – TKO) July 11, 2009 1.6M PPV buys
UFC 93 Rich Franklin (W) January 17, 2009 350,000 PPV buys
UFC 88 Rousimar Palhares (W) September 6, 2008 480,000 PPV buys
UFC 82 Anderson Silva (L – Submission) March 1, 2008 325,000 PPV buys
UFC 75 Rampage Jackson (L) September 8, 2007 4.7M viewer average on Spike TV

 

Roy Nelson

The only good part about Nelson’s comments about Daniel Cormier this week was that it wasn’t done on twitter.  Aside from that, there wasn’t much positive about calling Cormier “Uncle Tom.” At 36, Nelson is still a solid attraction due in part to his KO power.  Just look at how most of his fights end.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC 159 Cheick Kongo (W – KO) April 27, 2013 550,000 PPV buys
TUF: Carwin v. Nelson Finale Matt Mitrione (W – TKO) December 15, 2012 1.3M viewer avg on FX
UFC on Fuel TV 1 Phil De Fries (W – KO) February 15, 2012 217,000 viewer avg
UFC 146 Dave Herman (W-KO) May 26, 2012 560,000 PPV buys
UFC 143 Fabricio Werdum (L) February 4, 2012 400,000 PPV buys
UFC 137 Cro Cop (W – TKO) October 29, 2011 280,000 PPV buys
UFC 130 Frank Mir (L) May 28, 2011 325,000 PPV buys
UFC 117 JDS (L) August 7, 2010 600,000 PPV buys
UFC Fight Night: Florian v. Gomi Stefan Struve (W – TKO) March 31, 2010 1.6M viewer avg (via MMA Payout Blue Book)
TUF: Heavyweights Finale Brendan Schaub (W-KO) December 5, 2009 3.7M viewer avg (via MMA Payout Blue Book)

 

Stipe Miocic

Miocic is not really a main event fighter and his UFC resume will not scare Nelson especially since his last fight was a TKO loss to Stephan Struve, someone that Nelson knocked out.

EVENT OPPONENT DATE BUY RATE RATING
UFC on Fuel TV 10 Stephan Struve (L – TKO) September 29, 2012   313,000 viewer avg
UFC 146 Shane del Rosario (W – TKO) May 26, 2012 560,000 PPV buys
UFC on Fuel TV 1 Phil De Fries (W – KO) February 15, 2012 217,000 viewer avg
UFC 136 Joey Beltran (W) October 8, 2011 225,000 PPV buys

 

Payout Perspective:

Another summer, another Canadian card that fell victim to the injury bug.  But, Renao Barao v. Eddie Wineland and Shogun v. Little Nog probably would not have moved the dial dramatically.  Evans-Henderson is a very good fight but there’s no support on this card for a casual viewer to buy this PPV.  It will be very interesting to see where the buy rate lands for this card.

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