September 29, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we review UFC 178 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Demetrious Johnson took on Chris Cariaso in the main event.
Johnson outclasses Cariaso
Despite the lack of fan support (i.e., PPV buys), Demetrious Johnson can legitimately stake a claim to being the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC. It was clear in the first minute that Johnson was the better fighter and ended Cariaso in the second round with a submission.
Johnson is getting prime placement on UFC shows and it’s the second PPV he’s headlined this year. One should also stress the fact that Johnson has not been hurt during his title reign and is not an outside-the-Octagon problem. So, why don’t people buy his PPVs?
Cowboy welcomes Eddie to UFC
The skeet shooting and wakeboarding training regimen pre-fight aside, Donald Cerrone is an extremely good fighter. In what was one of the more entertaining fights on the card, Cerrone defeated Eddie Alvarez. It was the long-awaited debut for the former Bellator champ and the first round he showed why the UFC wanted to acquire his services. Yet, Cerrone moves on looking for another fight before 2014 closes.
McGregor makes quick work of Poirier
You would have thought that this was the main event based on the crowd reactions. The hype, trash talk and vitriol between the two (especially during any face off promoting the fight) was classic in what to do to have people interested in purchasing your fights. The Conor McGregor experience continues and likely his most impressive fight on the biggest platform so far. McGregor easily handled Dustin Poirier in the first round. It’s clear that McGregor is ready for a title shot after Saturday night.
Attendance and Gate
The attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 10,544 for a gate of $2.2 million. Out of 9 PPVs this year, it ranked 7th in attendance.
The bonuses of $50K each were awarded to Yoel Romero-Tim Kennedy for Fight of the Night and Dominick Cruz and Conor McGregor for Performances of the Night.
Promotion of the Fight
The Embedded episodes continue to be popular as the UFC has found a formula to promote the fights digitally. For the most part, viewers got to see Cowboy Cerrone wakeboarding and skeet shooting prior to his fight with Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor get a haircut, Demetrious Johnson getting a shave and Dustin Poirier at the Whole Foods at Vegas. The one thing really missing from the embedded episode was a profile on Chris Cariaso. The Countdown show did have a profile on Cariaso but it seemed incomplete. Even if it was a foregone conclusion that he would likely lose (which happened), it would have been nice for them to have elevated his profile for this fight. It seems to get better reviews than the UFC Prime Time episodes because they are short and can be viewed whenever people want to see them.
Conor McGregor did a good amount of pre-fight press.
Mighty Mouse appeared on the local Fox affiliate in Seattle last week hyping UFC 178.
Salaries have been disclosed via MMA Junkie:
Demetrious Johnson: $183,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Cariaso: $24,000
Donald Cerrone: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Alvarez: $100,000
Conor McGregor: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Poirier: $34,000
Yoel Romero: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Kennedy: $70,000
Cat Zingano: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Nunes: $15,000
Dominick Cruz: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $32,000
Jorge Masvidal: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. James Krause: $15,000
Stephen Thompson: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cote: $33,000
Brian Ebersole: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. John Howard: $21,000
Kevin Lee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Tuck: $10,000
Manny Gamburyan: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Gibson: $10,000
Some interesting figures including Demetrious Johnson being paid like a champ (base of $129K). The last official report of his purse was at UFC on Fox 9 where he made a base of $125K (notice a bigger bonus for that Fox event). You might assume that June’s UFC 174 he made a base of $127K although those salaries were never officially reported. Eddie Alvarez was paid $100K (show) for his first UFC fight. You might recall when he was originally offered a UFC contract which precipitated the Bellator lawsuit, he was offered $70K for his first match in the UFC. Conor McGregor is already up to $75K base. Cat Zingano only made $9K/$9K which is only a $2K bump from her last fight in April 2013 against Miesha Tate.
The octagon sponsors included MusclePharm, MetroPCS, Alienware, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Fram, UltimatePoker.net, Assassin’s Creed’s latest game, Matefit.me and Bud Light in the center.
Missing from the octagon was long-time sponsor, Xyience, which was purchased by another company that quickly pulled the sponsorship with the UFC.
Yoel Romero was sponsored by likeaboss.com. I’m not sure what they do.
Cain Velasquez appeared in a promo for Harley Davidson Motorcycle’s “Hometown Throwdown.”
Mighty Mouse had his traditional sponsor of Xbox 360. The only sponsor for Johnson, his fight banner told folks to pre-order an Xbox One. I thought those were already available? If you were wondering, on his recent Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer did not know how much Johnson is receiving from Microsoft.
Cariaso was sponsored by Mountek. Really.
Dominick Cruz was sponsored by the Phoenix International Raceway which stuck with him despite Cruz being on the shelf for a long time. It paid off as PIR had a prominent logo on Cruz as he was demolishing Takeya Mizugaki. He also wore the shirt in his post-fight interview.
Odds and ends
-Didn’t mention this earlier, but Cat Zingano-Amanda Nunes fight was the way to start a PPV. Zingano has been through a lot and it appears that she will be the next for Ronda Rousey.
-MMA Fighting has backstage footage of Tim Kennedy confronting Yoel Romero about the extra time he took to get up from his stool in between rounds.
-Interesting that the UFC are rolling out different types of Bruce Lee t-shirts. Hopefully some of the money that I suppose the estate is receiving from licensing his likeness is going toward this.
-Dominick Cruz won me over in just the 61 seconds of work. First, his Jay Z/Cypress Hill remix entrance, Then, the plain black CRUZ sweatshirt. Easily the best thing anyone has worn to the octagon in the history of this sport. Finally, his “Alpha-Fails” drop is probably one of the best post-fight lines in a while.
-UFC on Fox YouTube channel has the whole 61 second Cruz return fight.
-Some argument as to whether Cruz fight should have been on PPV. You can see it as perhaps a concession to boost FS1 ratings. In hindsight, all of the fights on the PPV were great and hard to see replacing one.
-The good news is that the clay pigeons that Cerrone shot during that Embedded episode were not real as they were made at the same place that Floyd Mayweather got his fake weed from All Access.
-Not surprising, but according to Google Trends, Dublin and Ireland were the most interested city and country for search term “UFC 178”.
This was to be Jones-Gus II. But after that was scrapped, it was Jones-Cormier. After the Jones-Cormier media day brawl in August, one could have made the argument that UFC 178 would be the second-biggest PPV event of the year after UFC 175. But with Jones getting injured, the need to adjust the lineup probably hurt the buy rate. Overall, this card was very solid with every PPV fight being an entertaining one. However, selling the Johnson-Cariaso was tough and you might infer that most of the pre-fight hype was for McGregor-Poirier. Although McGregor could be a breakout PPV star, he is not one yet.
While Google Trends saw an uptick in searches for UFC 178 from Ireland, it’s worth to note that the US was the 4th interested country for the event. In the end, a buy rate of 300,000-325,000 seems reasonable.
September 3, 2014
MMA Fighting reports the salaries from August’s UFC Fight Night 49. Rafael dos Anjos topped the list as disclosed by the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission.
The second dollar amount for the winners is their win purse. Via MMA Fighting:
Rafael dos Anjos ($38,000 + $38,000 = $76,000) def. Benson Henderson ($48,000)
Jordan Mein ($20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000) def. Mike Pyle ($51,000)
Thales Leites ($20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000) def. Francis Carmont ($30,000)
Max Holloway ($20,000 + $20,000 = $40,000) def. Clay Collard ($8,000)
James Vick ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Walmir Lazaro ($8,000)
Chas Skelly ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Tom Niinimaki ($10,000)
Neil Magny ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Alex Garcia ($12,000)
Beneil Dariush ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Tony Martin ($8,000)
Matt Hobar ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Aaron Philips ($8,000)
Ben Saunders ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Chris Heatherly ($8,000)
Wilson Reis ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Joby Sanchez ($8,000)
Dos Anjos received a $6K salary raise from his fight in June. Former champ Benson Henderson received a modest $3K bump in his show purse as well from UFC Fight Night 42. It pales in comparison to his previous show and win purse as champ. Mike Pyle made the second most on the card which is somewhat surprising.
September 2, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries for UFC 177 as disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission. T.J. Dillashaw was the top earner for the night with $150,000 ($50K to show, $50 to win and $50K performance bonus).
Via MMA Junkie:
T.J. Dillashaw: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Soto: $20,000
Tony Ferguson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Danny Castillo: $36,000
Bethe Correia: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Shayna Baszler: $8,000
Carlos Diego Ferreira: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ramsey Nijem: $18,000
Yancy Medeiros: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Damon Jackson: $8,000
Derek Brunson: $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $28,000
Anthony Hamilton: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Ruan Potts: $10,000
Chris Wade: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Cain Carrizosa: $8,000
Dillashaw’s base salary of $50,000 is a dramatic step up ($18K base plus $18K win = $36K) from UFC 173 when he took the title from Barao. Dana White stated that Barao would not be paid for pulling out late. At UFC 173, Barao had a base of $74,000. Not only did Barao lose his title fight, he lost out on a nice payday. It’s interesting to note that no other fighter had a show purse more than $22,000 (Brunson).
August 11, 2014
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released salaries from Saturday night’s WSOF 12 which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Elvis Mutapcic topped the salary roster that totaled $95,500.
Luis Palomino: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
Lewis Gonzalez: $7,000
Ronny Markes: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
Cully Butterfield: $3,000
Elvis Mutapcic: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
Kelvin Tiller: $5,000
Brandon Hempleman: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Alexis Vila: $6,000
Matt Sayles: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Bryson Hansen: $2,000
Lucas Montoya: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Jimmy Spicuzza: $2,000
Danny Davis Jr. $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Jorge Lopez: $1,500
Adam Acquaviva: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Cody Maltais: $1,000
Bryson Gutches: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Soslan Abanokov: $1,000
H/t: MMA Junkie
Luis Palomino received $18,000 for his KO of Lewis Gonzalez. Ronny Markes was the only other fighter to make 5 figures on Saturday. On another note, how many people knew that WSOF had a card on NBC Sports on Saturday night? On a night where it went unopposed to other MMA (although there was Metamoris and boxing), there was little buzz about the event.
July 26, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the official salaries released by the California State Athletic Commission for Saturday’s UFC on Fox 12. Robbie Lawler and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira are guaranteed 6 figure paydays for their fights.
Via MMA Junkie:
Matt Brown: $46,000 to show, $46,000 to win
Robbie Lawler: $105,000 to show, $105,000 to win
Anthony Johnson: $53,000 to show, $53,000 to win
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: $114,000 to show, $74,000 to win
Dennis Bermudez: $24,000 to show, $24,000 to win
Clay Guida: $50,000 to show, $50,000 to win
Bobby Green: $21,000 to show, $21,000 to win
Josh Thomson: $85,000 to show, $13,000 to win
Daron Cruickshank: $12,000 to show, $12,000 to win
Jorge Masvidal: $42,000 to show, $42,000 to win
Patrick Cummins: $10,000 to show, $10,000 to win
Kyle Kingsbury: $15,000 to show, $15,000 to win
Tim Means: $10,000 to show, $10,000 to win
Hernani Perpetuo: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Mike De La Torre: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Brian Ortega: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Akbarh Arreola: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Tiago Trator: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Gilbert Burns: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Andreas Stahl: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Juliana Carneiro Lima: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Joanna Jedrzejczyk: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Noad Lahat: $8,000 to show, $8,000 to win
Steven Siler: $15,000 to show, $15,000 to win
As always, the disclosed payouts do not include undisclosed locker room bonuses and/or post-fight bonuses.
Interesting that Anthony Johnson could earn more than Matt Brown. Brown moves up another $5K in scale from his last fight in May ($41K to $45K). The same with Lawler ($100K base to $105K). On the other end, Patrick Cummins is getting a raise of $2K after winning his first fight in the UFC.
July 7, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries for Sunday night’s TUF 19 Finale which was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The TUF 19 coaches were the top earners for the night.
Via MMA Junkie:
Frankie Edgar: $260,000 (includes $130,000 bonus)
def. B.J. Penn: $150,000
Corey Anderson: $16,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)
def. Matt Van Buren: $8,000
Eddie Gordon: $16,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)
def. Dhiego Lima: $8,000
Derrick Lewis: $20,000 (includes $10,000 bonus)
def. Guto Inocente: $8,000
Dustin Ortiz: $28,000 (includes $14,000 bonus)
def. Justin Scoggins: $12,000
Kevin Lee: $16,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)
def. Jesse Ronson: $8,000
Leandro Issa: $15,000 (includes $7,500 bonus)
def. Jumabieke Tuerxun: $8,000
Adriano Martins: $30,000 (includes $15,000 bonus)
def. Juan Manuel Puig: $8,000
Patrick Walsh: $16,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)
def. Daniel Spohn: $8,000
Sarah Moras: $18,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)*
def. Alexis Dufresne: $6,000* Dufresne was fined for not making weight and that portion went to Moras
Robert Drysdale: $16,000 (includes $8,000 bonus)
def. Keith Berish: $8,000
There’s nothing unexpected here as the TUF cast members and the other fighters on the card earned the minimum $8K and $8k to win (except Dufresne who did not make weight and was fined). $150K was the same amount BJ Penn made in his last fight against Rory MacDonald in December 2012. Edgar received a $10K bump from the $120K show money he made at UFC 162.
July 7, 2014
The TUF 19 Finale drew 6,500 for a gate of $835,000. The gate doubled that of the TUF 18 Finale which was held at the same venue. As is custom now, no comps were revealed.
Bonuses were $50,000 each and were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Leandro Issa – Jumabieke Tuerxun
Performances of the Night: Adriano Martins and Issa
Issa doubles up for his performance against Tuerxun. Martins scored a KO over Juan Manuel Puig to earn his bonus.
The TUF 19 Finale was aided by the fact that it was International Fight Week and there were ticket discounts for those that bought tickets to the UFC Fan Expo. It also helped that BJ Penn was on the card. The bonuses could have been given to the TUF winners Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson. It’s ironic that the last two fights for TUF 19 were the two most exciting the whole season.
June 23, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the payouts from the World Series of Fighting 10 which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Branch and Jessica Aguilar ended up the top earners on Saturday night.
The $231,000 payroll was disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Via MMA Junkie:
David Branch: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Jesse Taylor: $9,000
Rick Glenn: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Georgi Karakhanyan: $20,000
Jessica Aguilar: $35,000 (includes $17,500 win bonus)
def. Emi Fujino: $6,000
Luiz Firmino: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Tyson Griffin: $8,000
Lance Palmer: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Nick LoBosco: $4,000
Derrick Mehmen: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Dave Huckaba: $8,000
Timur Valiev: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
def. Adam Acquaviva: $1,000
Krasimir Mladenov: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Angel DeAnda: $4,000
Ashlee Evans-Smith: $6,200 (includes $3,000 win bonus)*
def. Marciea Allen: $800 (penalized for not making weight)
Jimmy Spicuzza: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Justin Jaynes: $1,000
A.J. Williams: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Tanner Cowan: $1,000
Modest payouts for WSOF fighters but that is standard at this point for the company. Allen was docked for not making weight and thus made only $800 instead of her scheduled $1,000. Branch was the highest paid on the card thanks to an $18K/$18K payday. Aguilar was second highest as she was at $17.5K/$17.5K. Hard times for Tyson Griffin as he made $25,500 in a loss at UFC 137 (and he gave up 20% of his purse for not making weight) and now made only $8,000 in a losing effort.
May 27, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries for Saturday’s UFC 173. The total disclosed payroll for the event was $1,024,000 per the release by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Via MMA Junkie:
T.J. Dillashaw: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Renan Barao: $74,000
Daniel Cormier: $170,000 (includes $85,000 win bonus)
def. Dan Henderson: $100,000
Robbie Lawler: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Ellenberger: $68,000
Takeya Mizugaki: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Rivera: $15,000
James Krause: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jamie Varner: $17,000
Michael Chiesa: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Trinaldo: $12,000
Tony Ferguson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Katsunori Kikuno: $10,000
Chris Holdsworth: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Chico Camus: $12,000
Mitch Clarke: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Al Iaquinta: $14,000
Vinc Pichel: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Njokuani: $20,000
Sam Sicilia: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Aaron Phillips: $8,000
Jingliang Li: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. David Michaud: $8,000
Robbie Lawler was the top earner of the night based on the reported payouts with $100,000 base and another $100,000 win bonus. TJ Dillashaw earned a total of $136,000 with his two bonuses plus his $18,000 and $18,000 reported salary. Previously, Dillashaw made $14K and $14K. Daniel Cormier was also a big earner with $170,000 ($85K/$85K) for his work on Saturday. Hendo also pulled in $100,000 with his loss.
May 12, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from UFC Fight Night 40 this past Saturday. Main eventer Matt Brown topped the modest salary payroll of $680,000.
Via MMA Junkie:
Matt Brown: $82,000 (includes $41,000 win bonus)
def. Erick Silva: $22,000
Constantinos Philippou: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $28,000
Daron Cruickshank: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Erik Koch: $18,000
Neil Magny: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Means: $10,000
Soa Palelei: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Ruan Potts: $10,000
Chris Cariaso: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. Louis Smolka: $10,000
Ed Herman: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
def. Rafael Natal: $26,000
Kyoji Horiguchi: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Darrell Montague: $8,000
Zak Cummings: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Yan Cabral: $10,000
Johnny Eduardo: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Wineland: $21,000
Nik Lentz: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Manny Gamburyan: $25,000
Justin Salas: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Ben Wall: $8,000
Albert Tumenov: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Lapsley: $8,000
Brown had a great night as he made a reported total of $182,000 including the $100,000 in bonuses. Ed Herman also did well with $80K total Johnny Eduardo received a $50K bonus in addition to his $16K but was suspended 30 days for throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd in what has to be a UFC first.