September 7, 2016
MMA Fighting reports that UFC 202 is currently estimated at doing 1.65 million PPV buys. The number puts it ahead of UFC 196 in PPV buys.
Prior to this year, the top PPV event for the UFC was UFC 100 which posted 1.6M buys on July 11, 2009. In the main event Brock Lesnar faced Shane Carwin. GSP was also a co-main event on the card.
UFC 202 featured Conor McGregor versus Nate Diaz II. McGregor won a majority decision.
Not only did the PPV buys generated from the satellite and cable distributors reflect strong viewership but the direct buys on UFC Fight Pass were strong as well. The buys from the UFC site are not factored into the buys.
The news is better than the estimated 1.2-1.5M PPV buys as previously reported.
Although the buzz might not have been as strong overall, the buys show that people knew about the event. The buys confirm that Conor is valuable commodity for the UFC and likely worth his reported $3M per fight. He’s drawn over 1.2M PPV buys in his last 3 PPV events.
September 3, 2016
The event drew 11,763 for a live gate of $913,428 U.S. dollars. The UFC announced that the event was a sell-out with 30 percent of ticket sales coming from outside Germany. It was the first time the UFC has visited Hamburg.
Josh Barnett doubled up on the bonuses as he scored with a Performance Bonus and Fight of the Night along with Andrei Arlovski. Ryan Bader received the other Performance Bonus. All received $50,000 each.
August 29, 2016
MMA Fighting reports the salaries from Friday’s Bellator 160. Benson Henderson was the top paid fighter making $75,000 as disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.
Via MMA Fighting:
Benson Henderson ($75,000 + no win bonus = $75,000) def. Patricio Freire ($50,000)
Derek Anderson ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Saad Award ($18,000)
Georgi Karakhanyan ($17,000 + $17,000 = $34,000) def. Bubba Jenkins ($14,000)
A.J. McKee ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Cody Walker ($8,000)
David Duran ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Kyle Estrada ($1,500)
Steve Ramirez ($1,750 + $1,750 = $3,500) def. Ron Henderson ($2,000)
Joey Davis ($5,000 + no win bonus = $5,000) def. Keith Cutrone ($1,500)
Gabriel Green ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Alex Trinidad ($1,500)
Andy Murad ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Johnny Cisneros ($2,000)
Jake Roberts ($5,000 + $5,000 = $10,000) def. Stephen Martinez ($2,500)
Chinzo Machida ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Mario Navarro Jr. ($2,500)
Jacob Rosales ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Mike Segura ($1,500)
Henderson’s last reported UFC payout was in January 2015 when he made $48,000 in a loss to Donald Cerrone. He did make more as the lightweight champion. At UFC 164, when he lost his belt to Anthony Pettis, he made $110,000. The $75,000 with no win bonus is a likely step up from his UFC pay at the time he left in November 2015.
August 23, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective for UFC 202. This time we take a look at Diaz-McGregor II at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
McGregor gains revenge on Diaz
It was a majority decision for Conor McGregor as 2 judges scored the bout for McGregor while the third judge determined it a draw. It was a solid back and forth fight with McGregor coming out with a solid game plan but despite a crimson mask, Diaz came back and was able to score a 10-8 round (according to 1 judge). McGregor seemed to tire after round 2 as he attempted to run from exchanges. However, he was able to muster enough to narrowly escape a second loss to Diaz.
Here’s the scorecard for McGregor-Diaz 2. pic.twitter.com/zJTErk9NzZ
— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) August 21, 2016
The question of when the third fight shall happen will likely depend on when McGregor will be available as an injured leg may keep him out until 2017. Could we see Diaz-McGregor III in Vegas in July 2017?
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz represented 82 percent of the reported salary payouts which we detail below. A definite money fight.
Anrhony Johnson drops Glover
It took one uppercut for Anthony Johnson to end the night for Glover Teixeira. Johnson should get Daniel Cormier next. Johnson is on a roll and it looks like Cormier will need to rely on his wrestling to stop Rumble’s power. This could be one of the main events for the UFC’s debut in New York this November.
Attendance and gate
Although there were reports that the event had trouble selling tickets, it still was a big gate for the UFC. It drew 15,539 for a live gate of $7,692,010 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. A typical McGregor draw.
UFC 196: 14,697 for $8.1M
UFC 194: 16,516 for $10.1M
UFC 189: 16,019 for $7.2M
Ticket prices were slashed for the event per ESPN. There were still tickets available the day of the event.
The $50,000 bonuses went to Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Anthony Johnson and Donald Cerrone. Diaz-McGregor earned FOTN while Johnson and Cerrone drew POTN. There were a lot of stoppages to choose from and there could have been several fighters that could have drawn the bonuses.
Conor McGregor made history by making the most of any reported payout for an MMA fighter when the NSAC disclosed he would receive $3 million for the fight. Diaz came in second in payouts with $2 million. The two drew over 80% of the reported overall payouts.
The full list is here.
Promotion of the Fight
The Pre-Fight Press Conference was a spectacle with bottle throwing and middle fingers everywhere. With McGregor showing up late, it seemed to make Diaz mad as he got up and left and that’s when the presser went off the rails.
Things just got real between Diaz and McGregor at the UFC 202 press conference. pic.twitter.com/cxD8yYBl4W
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 17, 2016
Also of note, Nate Diaz appeared on Conan and Jimmy Kimmel.
Conor McGregor did not do as many appearances but did another CNBC interview.
He also did an ESPN interview post-water bottle throwing and the censors were too slow to catch up with some profanity.
There was also a GQ profile on McGregor.
The promotion of the fight included twitter emojis for Diaz and McGregor when you used their hashtags. Other fighters and famous folks did videos on twitter holding up the hashtag of they believed would win the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) August 16, 2016
The UFC 196 replay featuring Diaz-McGregor I was shown on FS1 Thursday night before the fight and drew over 200,000 viewers despite Olympics and NFL Preseason on the same night. The first fight was available for free online too.
The UFC weigh-ins drew 173,000 viewers on Friday night and was followed by a replay of the “Bad Blood” special on Diaz-Conor which drew 162,000 viewers.
The regular UFC sponsors were in the octagon including MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Bud Light, 7-Eleven, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy Drink had the center of the octagon. The movie “Hands of Stone,” which is about the Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard fight. Bud Light had the fighter prep point.
The octagon also included the twitter hashtags for Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.
Conor McGregor, who has an individual sponsorship with Reebok, did posts and a video for Reebok promoting himself and UFC 202.
Donald Cerrone had a Monster Energy Drink logo and Bud Light sponsorship on his shorts. He also held the Monster can post-fight after his stoppage of Rick Story.
Odds and Ends
No “Face the Pain” music intro to the PPV. Perhaps a call by the new owners.
Conor McGregor claimed that he spent $300,000 on his training camp in preparation for Nate Diaz. That’s 10% of his reported payout for his fight with Diaz.
Cerrone said that it was his last fight on his contract but his reps stated otherwise. Regardless, he seemed set on re-signing with the UFC instead of testing free agency.
Despite the payout for Nate, Nick remains suspended due to the fact he has yet to pay his fine from the settlement with the commission. As a result, he was banned from the arena and precluded from cornering Nate.
We’ll probably talk about Nate and his post-fight vaping later this week.
The Dominick Cruz-Alpha Male feud continues as Cody Carbrandt stopped Takeya Mizugaki in the first round. Cruz stopped Mizugaki in the first round in his return from injury. Post-fight Carbrandt turned his attention to Cruz who was in the FS1 booth.
Was that Eva Marie or Rando Markos with the red hair?
New thing for fighters. They get to see tweets in the locker rooms:
— Shanda (@UFC_Shanda) August 20, 2016
Mike Perry may be the most-hated UFC fighter already. Not only did he fake a handshake with his opponent at the televised weigh-ins. There is audio of his corner possibly using racial slurs. This, in addition to having a long fingernail going into the Octagon and then, without a clipper in site, he attempted to chew it off.
Gordon Ramsey, Skip Bayless, Dwight Howard and Kanye West were all in attendance at UFC 202.
It was Neil Magny’s last fight on his contract but his upset loss to Lorenz Larking probably does not help his cause when negotiating with the UFC.
No post-fight press conference as fighters had individual scrums. A sign of the times for the new ownership?
The Pro Fighter’s Association held a press conference in Vegas during fight week to establish its potential roll in a fighter’s union for the UFC. It will be a long, hard road for this to happen but we shall see.
5 million google searches on Saturday for UFC 202 might infer that the PPV buy rate will soar over 1M buys. Certainly, the lack of tickets sales may be a concern but realize that the UFC moved into T-Mobile Arena versus most of their other big events taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. T-Mobile holds more people so maybe the UFC overestimated the attendance. While the event seemed to lack the buzz of a typical McGregor fight, it will still produce PPV buy rates. I would expect this event to hit 1M buys.
August 22, 2016
MMA Junkie reports the full roster of disclosed payouts from Saturday’s UFC 202. The main event accounted for 82% of the reported payouts from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
As previously reported, Conor McGregor earned $3 million (no bonus) and Nate Diaz earned $2 million (no bonus). While there was no bonus associated with their purse, the two won a $50,000 bonus for their epic fight.
The rest of the card is as follows:
Conor McGregor: $3 million (no win bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $2 million
Anthony Johnson: $270,000 (includes $135,000 win bonus)
def. Glover Teixeira: $65,000
Donald Cerrone: $170,000 (includes $85,000 win bonus)
def. Rick Story: $41,000
Mike Perry: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Hyun Gyu Lim: $18,000
Tim Means: $62,000 (includes $31,000 win bonus)
def. Sabah Homasi: $12,000
Cody Garbrandt: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $39,000
Raquel Pennington: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Elizabeth Phillips: $12,000
Artem Lobov: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Avila: $10,000
Cortney Casey: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Randa Markos: $14,000
Lorenz Larkin: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Neil Magny: $47,000
Colby Covington: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. Max Griffin: $10,000
Marvin Vettori: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Alberto Uda: $10,000
The biggest disclosed payday for an MMA fighter goes to McGregor. Of course, this does not include any discretionary bonuses or PPV points he may receive from the PPV. It’s estimated that 202 likely hit 1M PPV buys (unconfirmed) so it was a good return for McGregor. Anthony Johnson earned third highest on the card including his Performance of the Night Bonus and Donald Cerrone (at the end of his fight contract) earned $220,000 including his Performance of the Night Bonus.
August 20, 2016
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has disclosed that main event participants will receive $5 million for their fight tonight at UFC 202. Conor McGregor will receive a UFC record $3 million and Nate Diaz will earn $2 million.
The $3 million will be the highest-reported amount given to a UFC fighter in the company’s history. Yes, we know about the undisclosed payouts fighters receive but this is the highest amount disclosed to the commission.
Anthony Johnson is reported to make $135,000 to show and another $135,000 as a win bonus. Glover Teixeira will make $65,000 and another $65,000 if he wins. Donald Cerrone is set to make $85,000 and $85,000 win bonus.
As for the rest of the card, this:
Five of the 22 fighters get the minimum $10k/$10k win bonus — all purse info came from Nevada athletic commission.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) August 20, 2016
McGregor made a reported $1M at UFC 196 and the $3M payout (no win bonus) out-earns Brock Lesnar. The WWE pro-wrestler made $2.5M at UFC 200. Diaz earns a raise of at least $1.5M from his win this past March. Despite his loss, the UFC still believes that McGregor is a top-of-the-card draw.
August 3, 2016
MMA Fighting reports the salaries from WSOF 32 this past Saturday in Everett, Washington. WSOF headliner Marlon Moraes topped the salaries with $180,000.
The salaries were disclosed by the Washington State Department of Licensing.
Via MMA Fighting:
Marlon Moraes ($90,000 + $90,000 = $180,000) def. Josh Hill ($10,000)
Lance Palmer ($28,000 + $28,000 = $56,000) def. Alexandre Almeida ($12,000)
Caros Fodor* ($18,000 + $15,000 = $33,000) def. Phoenix Jones* ($12,000)
Louis Taylor ($6,000 + $6,000 = $12,000) def. Phil Hawes ($5,000)
Hakeem Dawodu ($6,000 + $6,000 = $12,000) def. Marat Magomedov ($3,000)
Rex Harris ($3,000 + $3,000 = $6,000) def. Nicolai Salchow ($3,000)
Andrews Nakahara ($4,000 + $4,000 = $8,000) def. Travis Doerge ($1,500)
Matt Kovacs ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Bill Widler ($1,500)
Brett Malone ($750 + $750 = $1,500) def. Patrick Benson ($750)
Matt Coble ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Colt Hausauer ($700)
Tycen Lynn ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Justin Hugo ($1,000)
Joe Elzea ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Marcos Lopez ($1,000)
*Fodor received 20-percent of Jones’ purses due to Jones missing weight
The payouts reflect the issue with pay among fighters. Moraes, who the WSOF will want to keep to help attract fans is at the top of the company pay scale making $90K/$90K. Two fighters (Benson and Hausauer) made $750 and $700 respectively. It was Benson’s second pro fight. It was Hausauer’s eighth pro fight although the first with a major organization. I am not sure what to make of these payouts. Either WSOF does not have the capital to pay all of its fighters or we should not consider WSOF a major MMA organization.
August 1, 2016
MMA Junkie reports the payouts from this past Saturday’s UFC 201. The headliners drew the top pay for the card.
The payouts were disclosed by the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission.
Tyron Woodley: $340,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus)
def. Robbie Lawler: $500,000
Karolina Kowalkiewicz: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Rose Namajunas: $46,000
Jake Ellenberger: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Brown: $73,000
Erik Perez: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Rivera: $23,000
Ryan Benoit: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Fredy Serrano: $12,000
Nikita Krylov: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Ed Herman: $51,000
Jorge Masvidal: $114,000 (includes $57,000 win bonus)
def. Ross Pearson: $54,000
Anthony Hamilton: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Damian Grabowski: $18,000
Wilson Reis: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Hector Sandoval: $12,000
Michael Graves: $12,000
vs. Bojan Velickovic: $14,000 (fight was declared a majority draw)
Damien Brown: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Cesar Arzamendia: $10,000
As always, the payouts do not include the Reebok Outfitting Policy Payouts, fight night bonuses as well as other undisclosed bonuses.
The payouts do not include Ian McCall and his show and win bonus despite not fighting. Notably, Jake Ellenberger made $75K/$75K plus an extra $50K for his stoppage of Matt Brown. A nice $200K for a guy that was going to be out of a job in the UFC.
July 18, 2016
On Friday, Brock Lesnar was flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) of a potential violation of the UFC anti-doping policy due to an out of competition test from June 28, 2016. Although testing results of Lesnar’s “B” sample are yet to be revealed, the fallout from Lesnar’s appearance hurts the UFC and possibly the WWE.
On June 5, 2016, it was announced that Lesnar would fight at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016. The signing was unprecedented because he was under contract with the WWE. Yet, the WWE granted Lesnar the chance to fight in the Octagon once again. Despite the fact that the WWE has its own drug testing policy (known as the Wellness Policy – Lesnar has never been flagged for a violation), Lesnar was tested by USADA eight times in just the month lead-up to his fight against Mark Hunt. He took 5 tests in the first two weeks after it was announced he was returning. Multiple tests came up clean.
Despite the tests, the UFC policy handled by USADA dictated that a returning athlete to the UFC most give the company four months written notice so that USADA can put the athlete in the pool of those it may selectively test. But, the UFC anti-doping policy allows an exemption for a returning athlete that may be subject to drug testing. Per 5.7.1 of the UFC anti-doping policy:
An Athlete who gives notice of retirement to UFC, or has otherwise ceased to have a contractual relationship with UFC, may not resume competing in UFC Bouts until he/she has given UFC written notice of his/her intent to resume competing and has made him/herself available for Testing for a period of four months before returning to competition. UFC may grant an exemption to the four-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.
The key sentence here is the last sentence: “UFC may grant an exemption to the four-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.”
Since the UFC Anti-Doping Policy did not begin until July 1, 2015 and Lesnar’s last fight in the UFC prior to UFC 200 was December 2011, he was considered a new athlete. There has not been an official statement as to whether the UFC granted the 4-month exemption due to an “exceptional circumstance” or if it was “manifestly unfair to an Athlete.” Of course, either waiver could be easily explained.
But, one has to think that Lesnar and the UFC had contemplated his return as he had been training prior to the June announcement of his return to the Octagon. One might suggest that Lesnar could have notified the UFC of his return in the requisite 4 months to allow for the proper testing to occur.
However, it would seem that the parties wanted the Lesnar announcement to be a surprise. Recall, that Ariel Helwani and others from MMA Fighting were thrown out of a UFC event and Helwani was banned for life due to his report of Lesnar’s return prior to the UFC’s opportunity to make it themselves. Helwani along with his colleagues were reinstated a couple days later.
Notwithstanding the notice issue, let’s take a look at what Lesnar could face as a result of testing positive for a banned substance. First, Lesnar’s “B” sample, a second sample taken to determine the validity of the finding in the first sample, must confirm the initial finding of a banned substance. If this happens, Lesnar will face discipline from Nevada and the UFC per the anti-doping policy.
Since the infraction took place in Nevada, Lesnar will have to appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to address the drug test failure. At that time, we should know what drug(s) Lesnar tested positive for in his out-of-competition sample. In 2015, Nevada adopted guidelines for combat sports which included a 36-month suspension and 50-75% of the purse for a first-time offender for someone taking anabolic steroids.
In addition, the UFC anti-doping policy would discipline Lesnar.
Under Section 10 for Sanctions on Individuals, Section 10.1 specifically states:
An Anti-Doping Policy Violation occurring during, or in connection with, a Bout may, upon the decision of UFC, lead to Disqualification of all of the Athlete’s results obtained in that Bout with all Consequences, including, without limitation, forfeiture of title, ranking, purse or other compensation, except as provided in Article 10.1.1.
Read broadly, under the UFC-USADA Anti-Doping Guidelines, Lesnar could have his purse for the bout and “other compensation” taken from him. It would hurt enough that Lesnar would lose out on his $2.5 million reported purse but “other compensation” could mean money he makes from his PPV “upside.”
Not only could that happen, but the section further states that UFC could fine Lesnar up to $500,000 per Section 10.10 of the UFC-USADA Anti-Doping Guidelines. In addition, he could have his win against Mark Hunt overturned to a no decision per discretion of the Nevada State Athletic Commission according to section 467.850. This would not sting as much since Lesnar did not have a win bonus to forfeit. Regardless, he still could have a substantial amount of money taken away.
The monetary fine would be the hardest penalty for Lesnar. The $2.5 million is the largest reported payout for a UFC fighter in its history. But, Lesnar was going to make more from his PPV guarantee. It is being reported that the UFC 200 PPV drew 1.1 to 1.2 million PPV buys. In most markets, the PPV for UFC 200 was $59.99 HD and $49.99 SD. Lesnar was projected to make $3-5 million in addition to his $2.5 million.
Mark Hunt, Lesnar’s opponent has demanded that he receive half of Lesnar’s $2.5 million or else he is requesting his release from his UFC contract. Hunt, who made $700,000 for taking on Lesnar, will be disappointed to learn that under the UFC-USADA guidelines, any money forfeited by an athlete would be under the UFC’s discretion “to be applied to offset the costs of the Program or given to anti-doping research.”
The UFC could also fine Lesnar pursuant to its Code of Conduct which imposes discipline based on misconduct. Under its Code, “misconduct” may include, “Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the UFC.” A violation of its drug program could fall under this.
There is precedent for a fine as Jon Jones was docked $25,000 for failing a drug test in December 2014. Of course, Jones’ drug test failure was for cocaine use. We note that the detection of this drug was done out of competition and should have not been tested for according to the rules.
Lesnar’s only statement related to Friday’s news of his potential violation was a vague “we’ll get to the bottom of this.”
The WWE does not seem to be concerned with the potential violation and has indicated his next appearance will be at its big event Summerslam, August 21st. They have not addressed the potential violation. From its perspective, its an MMA matter, that a WWE matter.
However, the question looms as to whether a Nevada State Athletic Commission suspension would affect his wrestling career. Some state athletic commissions oversee professional wrestling. Most commissions honor suspensions of an athlete in other states. Would a suspension in combat sports carry over to professional wrestling? We will see.
July 16, 2016
With the news that Brock Lesnar may be guilty of a drug test violation, Lesnar’s UFC 200 opponent is asking for half of Lesnar’s purse or be released from his UFC contract.
According to MMA Fighting, Hunt is asking UFC officials that he be given half of Lesnar’s reported $2.5 million purse or else he be released from the company.
Per the disclosed pay released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Hunt made $700,000 for facing Lesnar. It was the highest disclosed amount Hunt has been paid by the company for a UFC fight.
Hunt had inferred that Lesnar may have been taking PEDs in lead-up to the fight. But Lesnar denied it.
On Saturday, Lesnar responded to the USADA notification stating, “we will get to the bottom of this.”
The ultimatum is interesting although I am not sure how much leverage has with this request. Certainly Hunt has a legitimate issue with stepping in against an individual that may have taken PEDs. Yet, if Hunt were to leave, there’s no other fight organization that would have the resources to pay Hunt the way he is compensated in the UFC.