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.
April 23, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from this past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 11 from Orlando, Florida. The disclosed payroll released by the Florida State Boxing Commission was $974,000.
Via MMA Junkie:
Fabricio Werdum: $175,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Travis Browne: $50,000
Miesha Tate: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Liz Carmouche: $17,000
Donald Cerrone: $114,000 (includes $57,000 win bonus)
def. Edson Barboza: $29,000
Yoel Romero: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Brad Tavares: $19,000
Khabib Nurmagomedov: $64,000 (includes $32,000 win bonus)
def. Rafael dos Anjos: $21,000
Thiago Alves: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Seth Baczynski: $20,000
Jorge Masvidal: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Pat Healy: $25,000
Alex White: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Estevan Payan: $10,000
Caio Magalhaes: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Luke Zachrich: $8,000
Jordan Mein: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Hernani Perpetuo: $8,000
Dustin Ortiz: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ray Borg : $8,000
Mirsad Bektic: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Chas Skelly: $8,000
Derrick Lewis: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Jack May: $8,000
Werdum’s last official reported salary was in February 2012 at UFC 143 when he earned a win over Roy Nelson and was paid $100,000 with no win bonus. Since then Werdum has received a $25,000 raise and a $50,000 win bonus. His opponent, Travis Browne received a nice raise as well. At UFC 168, he earned $28K/$28K for his win against Josh Barnett. Browne received $50,000 to show and presumably may have received another $50,000 for the win. No raise for Miesha Tate as she earned the same pay rate $28K/$28K for UFC 168.
April 16, 2014
Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at Pacquiao-Bradley II taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao ousts Bradley
It was even until the middle rounds when Timothy Bradley began to fade and Manny Pacquiao poured it on. Bradley showboated a little and tried to feign he was not hurt by Pacquiao’s punches. Either he was going to be a genius or he was trying to lose. Even when Bradley invited Pacquiao into skirmishes and attempted to emulate the same strategy as Juan Manuel Marquez with his KO in December 2012, Pacquiao seemed to win them and/or evade the big shot.
Pacquiao now faces the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado on May 17th. Most fans would probably like to see Pacquiao-JMM 5 because of the built-in storylines. Their last battle drew 1.15 million PPV buys and would likely equal or eclipse that number.
Even though Pacquiao should face the JMM-Alvarado winner, the LA Times is reporting that the Pacquiao camp is lobbying for a shot at Mayweather. Will this happen? Don’t hold your breath. However, the bargaining leverage is all with Mayweather. Its Pacquiao with the reported money problems and he has been the one to concede the stricter drug testing and is willing to listen to a less than 50% split of a fight. So, does that put pressure on Mayweather, or is this paragraph wasted time? We have two different promotions and if you are Mayweather, only public perception would lead you to a fight with Pacquiao. Does Mayweather really care about the public?
Top Rank reported a sell out for the MGM Grand Garden Arena with 15,601 in attendance. The weigh-ins a day earlier were at capacity as well with approximately 4,500 witnessing Pacquiao and Bradley weigh in and flex for those in attendance.
On Tuesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced 14,099 tickets were sold for a total gate of $7.9 million. H/t: Steve Kim
— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) April 15, 2014
The gate was approximately $7,865,100 which is the lowest in years for Pacquiao. The gate falls 24th on the list of top boxing gates for Nevada. Pacquiao-Hatton in 2009 received an $8.8 million gate (15,368 in attendance) comes right before Pacquiao-Bradley II.
It was reported that Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley would earn $6 million each. However, Bob Arum indicated that Pacquiao would make no less than $20 million. Both would receive PPV upside as well.
The undercard payouts are as follows via Bad Left Hook:
Ray Beltran ($85,000) vs Arash Usmanee ($80,000)
Khabib Allakhverdiev ($250,000) vs Jessie Vargas ($90,000)
and Bryan Vasquez ($55,000) vs Jose Felix Jr ($40,000)
Promotion of the Fight
As is custom with a big fight, Pacquiao made an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Bradley made an appearance on the NBA on TNT in which he was interviewed during a Laker game.
Top Rank Boxing also utilized its web site to hype the fight as well as livestream the weigh-ins.
The customary repeats of Bradley and Pacquiao’s greatest fights including their first encounter were shown on HBO and on the Audience network.
It’s notable that less showings of HBO’s 24/7 series occurred over the multiple networks owned by Time Warner. You may recall in past fights that the series could be seen on TNT, TBS and even CNN. This time around, there was little cross-pollination.
HBO added a special on-location, live pre-fight show the Thursday before the fight in addition to its usual 24/7 shows.
One thing that drew the ire of Bob Arum was the fact that the MGM Grand had signs for Floyd Mayweather’s May 3rd fight. The signs were more prominent than those of Pacquiao-Bradley II which was pointed out by Arum whenever he could. Indirectly, this likely upset sponsor Tecate, since Mayweather fights are sponsored by Corona. There’s obvious brand confusion ther. Mayweather has fought at the MGM 9 straight times and it appeared that the loyalty took precedence over the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch. It may also be due to the fact that Mayweather’s promotion has a contractual agreement to hype the fight at the MGM a certain time before the fight which may be the reason.
The sponsors for this event include Tecate, Smart Communications, the leading wireless services provider for the Philippines
Tecate had its usual PPV rebate offer for those purchasing its beer at selected retailers.
The newest and most visible sponsor was Sony with its PlayStation 4 platform receiving high visibility during the fight including trailers of the PS4 gaming experience. An example of this activation had PS4 running trailers in between fighter weigh-ins during the live stream on Top Rank’s web site.
Bradley wore a variety of hats to promote certain sponsors. During his NBA on TNT interview, he wore a SaxonyInvest.com hat. During the 24/7 series, he wore a Pocial hat which is a social networking web site that connects people through polls. I am not sure if this is a great way to brand yourself but certainly Bradley is getting paid for these advertisements.
Bradley is still sponsored by Nike and had custom “Desert Storm” gear for the fight. He also was sponsored by Lexani – a high end car wheel manufacturer. The shirt was on display at the weigh-ins.
Juan Diaz sported a Body Armor hat in the corner of Bradley during the fight.
Pacquiao’s cornermen must have received Mitshubishis as the Cerritos, California and South Coast Dealerships were plainly visible as patches on Buboy and others in Pacquiao’s corner.
Odds and Ends
An interesting takeaway from the 24/7 series is that Timothy’s wife, Monica Bradley, has taken over as his manager. According to the show, she brokered Bradley’s new deal with Top Rank including the financial terms for this fight. Bradley earned $6 million for his second fight with Pacquiao which is $1 million more than he earned in the first fight. It’s a big question as to whether or not it’s a good idea to have your spouse represent you. Negotiations can get heated and while it’s easier to grasp what your client wants, there may be an issue as to if you can separate yourself from the personal relationship.
Some may have noticed that Freddie Roach wore an Under Armour shirt at weigh-ins. It seemed a bit odd considering that Pacquiao is sponsored by Nike and has worn Pacquiao Nike gear in the past.
The LA Times had an interesting article on the enforcement of PPV fees on bars that intend to show fights. The charge is dependent on the size of the bar and the more seats in a bar, the more the bar has to pay. As an example, a 50 seat bar is charged $1,600 for showing the PPV, a 51-100 seat bar is charged $2,200. For those bars that may attempt to evade the fees, promoters employ enforcement that sues bars showing the PPV without paying. Zuffa employs similar enforcement to protect itself from piracy.
With this fight, it’s likely that Pacquiao solidifies his spot as PPV royalty as he moves closer to the second spot of all-time top PPV performers. Oscar de la Hoya currently owns second while Floyd Mayweather tops the list.
And yes, there was Pacquiao’s mother.
This fight had more storylines yet seemed to lack the hype or buzz of previous Pacquiao fights. Nevertheless, this is one of those fights that people will find and would be willing to pay the $70 to watch. Industry experts estimated the buy rate at 700,000 while Arum suggests a more optimistic buy rate of somewhere over 1 million. Their last fight was 890,000. Notwithstanding Pacquiao-Rios this past November, Manny is still a valued commodity in the boxing PPV landscape while Bradley is still an entertaining fighter on the rise. We may just throw out that fight in Macau as an anomaly. Perhaps I may be just bullish on Pacquiao and refuse to see the writing on the wall, but I believe that this fight will do better than their first fight and hit 1 million PPV buys.
April 9, 2014
MMA Fighting reports that Nick Diaz will not fight in the UFC unless he receives a title shot and/or a substantial pay raise. This comes just a day after his brother Nate spoke out about his own pay.
First, Nick Diaz was offered a fight with Hector Lombard according to Dana White at a UFC press conference on Wednesday. Diaz told MMA Fighting that he would not consider a non-title fight “for less than $500,000.” In the alternative, he would want a chance at Johny Hendricks for the title. One would assume that a Hendricks fight would mean a big payday as well. Nick Diaz’s last reported payout was at UFC 143 where he made $200,000 in a loss to Carlos Condit. No salary was officially released for his UFC 158 fight with Georges St. Pierre although we might conclude he made a similar amount.
On Tuesday, Nate Diaz spoke out about his current salary with the UFC. He stated that he was making $60,000 and $60,000 ($60 to show up and fight and another $60K if he won). It’s interesting to note that Nate Diaz’s last fight at TUF Finale 18 on November 13, 2013 he made $15,000 (show) and $15,000(win) (for a total of just $30,000). Previously, Nate Diaz had been making $50,000 just to show. White had nothing to say Wednesday about the younger Diaz that would suggest he would give him a raise.
The Diaz brothers at their best? Or worst? Voicing displeasure about pay in the media is not new to sports. One might think that the Gilbert Melendez contract has both Diaz Brothers wanting the same or similar deal. Based on his last appearance at UFC 158, the UFC might want Nick more than Nate based on Nick being able to sell (whether knowingly or not) a fight. As White pointed out, Nate had opportunities but some key losses (Bendo, Josh Thomson) have prevented him from making more money.
If the Diaz brothers signed contracts, its hard to argue that they deserve more money. If they were free agents, it would be standard that a fighter would want to negotiate for more money. Or, if the fighter was on a big win streak could there be some leverage. Although he won 3 in a row in 2011, he has lost 2 out of the last 3 since including a title fight against Benson Henderson. Nick Diaz has lost his last two fights since beating BJ Penn at UFC 137. Its hard to advocate for raises on losing streaks.
Should the UFC appease the Diaz brothers?
April 8, 2014
The MMA Report reports the salaries from Friday night’s Bellator event taking place at the Reno Events Center in Nevada. Former UFC Heavyweight Cheick Kongo topped the payroll despite losing a unanimous decision.
The salaries disclosed were provided by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Vitaly Minakov: $35,000 (includes $17,500 win bonus)
Cheick Kongo: $50,000
Herman Terrado: $3,000
Justin Baesman: $3,000
Kelly Anundson: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
Volkan Oezdemir: $4,000
Mikkel Parlo: $14,000 ( includes $7,000 win bonus)
Johnny Cisneros: $2,000
Rudy Morales: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Jimmy Jones: $3,000
Rick Reeves $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus)
James Terry: $3,000
Freddie Aquitania: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Josh Appelt: $6,000
Sinjen Smith: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Jason Powell: $1,000
Benito Lopez: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
Oscar Ramirez: $1,000
Kongo’s salary is a pay decrease from his days in the UFC when he averaged $70,000 to show. We do not have information on Kongo’s first two Bellator fights. It’s clear that the Bellator payroll is much smaller than that of the UFC as a lot of the undercard and lesser known fighters are making less than $5,000 for the fight.
February 22, 2014
The attendance at the Mandalay Bay was reported at 10,217 for a live gate of $1,558,870. In his media scrum on Thursday, Dana White indicated that the event would do a $2 million gate (around 19:15 mark). The numbers were announced at the post-fight press conference and official numbers will be released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission next week.
As for the bonuses, which were $50,000 each:
Fight of the Night: Rory MacDonald-Demian Maia
Performances of the Night: Ronda Rousey, Stephen Thompson
No complaints here although Erik Koch could have earned a PON bonus.
In addition, the Nevada State Athletic Commission released the salaries for the event which reveals Daniel Cormier and Ronda Rousey topped the roster which had a total payroll of $843,000.
Via MMA Junkie:
Champ Ronda Rousey: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
def. Sara McMann: $16,000
Daniel Cormier: $160,000 (includes $80,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cummins: $8,000
Rory MacDonald: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Demian Maia: $64,000
Mike Pyle: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. T.J. Waldburger: $18,000
Stephen Thompson: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Robert Whittaker: $15,000
Alexis Davis: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Jessica Eye: $8,000
Raphael Assuncao: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Pedro Munhoz: $8,000
Aljamain Sterling: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Gibson: $8,000
Zach Makovsky: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Sampo: $10,000
Erik Koch: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Rafaello Oliveira: $14,000
Ernest Chavez: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Yosdenis Cedeno: $8,000
As we reported earlier today, the demand for tickets for low thus despite the proclamation by White on Thursday that it would do $2.1 million was more hope than fact. The last time a UFC PPV held an event at the Mandalay Bay, it was for UFC 156: Aldo-Edgar, which received 10,275 for a gate of $2.34 million. So, while the attendance was about the same, it appears that Saturday utilized more comps than UFC 156. We will learn more when the official numbers are released by the NSAC. Rousey ends up tied with Daniel Cormier for highest reported earner of the night as she also received a $50K bonus in addition to her show/win purse. Patrick Cummins received $8K for filling in late.
MMA Payout will have more on UFC 170 in its Payout Perspective. Stay tuned.
February 22, 2014
UFC President Dana White discussed several topics during the UFC 170 pre-fight presser scrum, notably an update on the current status of Gilbert Melendez and recent fighter complains about fighter pay and sponsorships.
“It’s not my f— problem,” White told Iole and the media. “Getting sponsorship is a problem. It’s tough. It’s hard to do. That question is ridiculous. If a guy fights on Fight Pass, first of all, he’s getting paid to fight. That’s what he’s getting paid for. That’s what he does. How sponsorship works out for a guy is not my problem. That is not my problem. He’s a fighter, he gets paid to fight, period, end of story. Whatever extra money he makes outside of the UFC with sponsors and all that s—, that’s his f— deal.”
Dana White came under a lot of heat during the scrum, specifically on the topics of fighter pay and sponsorships. During the scrum, White’s insistence that fighters sponsorship money was not his problem troubled a number of fighters and media members. MMAFighting’s Luke Thomas solid piece in response to White’s tirade titled “Actually, fighter sponsorships are the UFC’s problem” hit the nail on the head. The UFC is now saying that this is not their problem now, but they have previously trumpeted fighter sponsorship as a rebuttal for fighters not getting paid enough. They have also created an environment for fighters which makes it very difficult for sponsors to jump on board after paying a sponsor fee and determining how many viewers their brand will actually reach.
At a time when UFC has broken into a certain level of mainstream in the US after monumental TV deals with FOX, Globo, and other major sponsors, fighters are finding it now harder than ever to find sponsors. As the article points out, there are many contributing factors that led to the current situation, but nearly all were self-inflicted by the UFC. Specifically, the creation of the sponsor tax and the banning of multiple lower-end sponsors have really hurt a large percentage of lower end fighters. In addition to the restrictions placed on the fighter-sponsor relationship, the UFC has continued to place it’s product on media platforms that have continued to drop in viewership and exposure throughout the years, such as the move from Spike TV, to FX & Fuel TV, to now FS1, FS2, and Fight Pass.
One of the biggest concerns right now for fighters is being placed on a Fight Pass card, which typically takes place out of the country with a limited stream viewership. MMAJunkie’s Steve Morocco got a glimpse of what a fighter has to consider now when taking a fight as he spoke to UFC fighter Zach Makovsky.
“They were like, ‘You can turn it down and we can get you on later, but that could be on a card on Fight Pass in Brazil, against a Brazilian,’” Makovsky said. Such a booking would have brought a hit to his pocket book in the form of flying his coaches to the fight and selling sponsors on the still-developing digital network. “I think this was the best scenario,” Makovsky said. “I always wanted to fight in Vegas.”
There is no denying that the UFC is looking towards the future with the sponsorship tax fee, the rumored uniform, and the the Fight Pass digital network. It does not appear that they were quite ready yet to make this transition as they are cutting the bottom half assuming that they will reap from the top, which does not appear to be the case yet. It may also not be the case 5 years from now and may take longer than they have anticipated, but they must workout some type of agreement with the fighters before the benefits of becoming an MMA fighter start to appear less and less beneficial for the lower end fighters.
January 23, 2014
The MMA Report reports the salaries for the World Series of Fighting 8 as disclosed by the Florida Boxing Commission. Anthony Johnson topped the overall payroll for this past Saturday’s event.
Johnson made a reported $75,000 ($40,000 show/$35,000 win) for his KO victory over Mike Kyle ($10,000). The second highest paid fighters for the night was Justin Gaethje who made $30,000 ($15,000 show/$15,000 win) as he defeated Rich Patishnock ($6,000) and Jessica Aguliar ($15K/$15K) as she defeated Alida Gray ($5,000).
The rest of the card pay is as follows:
Cody Bollinger: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
Tyson Nam: $6,000
Luis Palomino: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
Jorge Patino: $8,000
Tyler Stinson: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
Valdir Araujo: $10,000
Derrick Mehman: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
Scott Barrett: $5,000
Alexis Vila: $7,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus)
Sidemar Honorio: $2,000
Freddy Assuncao: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
Brenson Hansen: $6,000
Anderson Melo: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
Jose Caceres: $2,000
Decent pay for Johnson as the ex-UFC welterweight is getting paid like one of the top fighters in the organization. The mid-card fighters made adequate pay with the lower tier fighters make minimal.
January 16, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from UFC Fight Night 35. Luke Rockhold topped the salary earners according to the disclosed paydays by the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission.
Via MMA Junkie:
Luke Rockhold: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
def. Constantinos Philippou: $23,000
Brad Tavares: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $26,000
T.J. Dillashaw: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Easton: $14,000
Yoel Romero: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Derek Brunson: $19,000
John Moraga: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Ortiz: $10,000
Cole Miller: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Sam Sicilia: $10,000
Ramsey Nijem: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Edwards: $10,000
Elias Silverio: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg: $12,000
Trevor Smith: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Houston: $8,000
Louis Smolka: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Alptekin Ozkilic: $10,000
Vinc Pichel: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Garett Whiteley: $8,000
Beneil Dariush: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Charlie Brenneman: $10,000
The disclosed payroll for the event was $530,000.
The two top earners were Rockhold and Miller. Rockhold earned a total of $130,000 and Cole Miller earned $106,000 including their fight bonuses. Notably, last year Miller talked about the inability to find sponsors. If you watched on Wednesday, he called out Donald Cerrone and offered to pay for Mike Dolce to get him to cut down to his weight class. Now with the story that Cerrone is in need of money, I’m forced to believe that this might actually happen. Miller-Cerrone and Miller paying for Dolce for Cerrone. This brings me to the question of whether the UFC should have classes on how to manage money. Aside from the two top earners, does anything else on the salary list peak your interest?
December 30, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at the last UFC event of 2013 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weidman retains belt after Silva breaks leg
Corey Hill. That is what went through my mind as Anderson Silva’s shin was shattered on a Chris Weidman leg check. Many may recall the lanky TUF competitor breaking his leg on an eerily similar
Leg checks are gruesome as it is and Silva’s kick that broke his leg looked like it was right on Weidman’s knee.
It appeared that Weidman may have knocked out Silva in the first but Silva was able to survive round 1 and even bloodied Weidman. Although Weidman likely won round 1, the fight was still up in the air before the kick despite folks concluding that Weidman would have won the fight. Weidman did look much improved from July and solidified his standing as the division’s champ. It appears that Vitor Belfort may be next. The question is will it be in Vegas or Brazil?
As for Silva, it’s likely the end to his career. At 38, Silva has had a successful run and should be financially set for the rest of his life. We may see him in the UFC in some sort of emeritus role but never again in the Octagon fighting.
Rousey armbars Tate to retain title
Ronda Rousey submitted Miesha Tate although the challenger put up a fight and was the crowd favorite throughout. Rousey refused a Tate handshake at the end which solidified her as the heel.
Tate was a heavy underdog and it seemed that surviving the first round was a victory in itself. Despite not getting armbarred in the first or second round, Rousey was still dominating the match. Her Judo was exceptional and one has to wonder why attempt to take Rousey to the ground when Tate scored with shots on her feet.
Rousey has a quick turnaround as she fights Sarah McMann on February 22nd.
Some have speculated that the Rousey-McMann fight was made to coincide with the Winter Olympics. Both were medalists in the Olympics. The only problem with this theory was that Rousey and McMann competed in the Summer Olympics.
Browne KOs the Warmaster
Travis Browne used his elbows to KO Josh Barnett in what was a mini-upset. Browne propels himself to a fight with Fabricio Werdum with the fighter likely getting Cain Velasquez.
Attendance and Gate
As announced at the post-fight press conference, it was the second-highest gate for an MMA event in MGM history with 15,650 for a gate of $6.2 million.
Rousey, Tate and Browne were the recipients of the fight night bonuses. Instead of the standard $50K each, the UFC upped the bonus to $75K.
FOTN – Rousey-Tate
Sub – Rousey
KO – Browne
As we previously pointed out, Jim Miller should have received the Submission of the Night with his slick setup and eventual arm bar of BJJ Black Belt Fabricio Comoes.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed the pay of the top 3 fights on the card (via MMA Junkie). The rest of the card should be made public later this week.
Chris Weidman received a big pay increase in pay in his first title defense. He received $200K to show and another $200K for the win for a total of $400K.
Silva received $600K and would have made another $200K if he won.
Rousey made $50K/$50K but with another $150K in bonuses she tallied $250K for the night. Tate made $28K and another $75K for $103K.
Josh Barnett made $170K and Travis Browne made $56K ($28K/$28K) plus his $75K win bonus for a total of $131K.
Raise in PPV Price
One of the surprises that came before the fight was the $5 bump in price for the last PPV of the year. UFC 168 was the first at $59.99 (HD) and $49.99 (SD). White indicated that this would be the only time it would raise its price. However, there is some confusion as to whether the $59.99 will remain in 2014 as the current prices on the UFC web page list UFC 169 an 170 at $59.99 although there are reports the listed price is a mistake.
There were many promotional commercials leading up to 168 that still promoted the PPV as $54.95 although you were likely made known of the price change when you went to order.
The rise in the price could mean more people went to bars to watch the PPV and maybe more fight parties.
Promotion of the Fight
The UFC went all out for UFC 168 with branding all over the MGM Grand including the key cards, slot machines and gaming felt. I can attest the UFC has done the gaming felt back in the Tito Ortiz days (circa 2006). Still, the constant reminders of the fight likely helped out.
ESPN got in on the action as it let Dana White take over its twitter and Instagram accounts on Saturday to hype the fight. The obvious conflict is that White’s company is featured on ESPN’s newest competitor, Fox Sports 1. The fact White is allowed to promote on ESPN and that ESPN wants White to promote the UFC infers that MMA is legitimately making strides as a sport that is newsworthy (well, except that ESPN got rid of the over the air version of MMA Live).
UFC used FS1 to promote the fight and showed Weidman-Silva I and also aired “Fighting Words” which was an interesting look at the first fight that included audio of the corners that caught what each said to their fighters. It also included interviews by both fighters and audio from Jon Jones and Urijah Faber at the fight. While UFC Primetime has been shut down, this show did a great job in recapping events leading up to the rematch.
The Saturday morning edition of Good Morning America did a spot on Ronda Rousey which is a pretty big even if it was the weekend crew of GMA.
The UFC held a press conference prior to the fights to announce the UFC’s new digital network, the UFC Fight Pass. More on this later but the sweetener for UFC fans is that it is giving users 2 months free before it charges your credit card $9.99 per month.
Sears was the newest “big” sponsor to the Octagon. Maybe a “one off” but I’m sure the UFC hopes that it can bring it in as an official sponsor. Tapout, MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Cinemax’s “Banshee”, Peter Berg’s movie, “Lone Survivor”, WarGaming.net, MetroPCS and Bud Light with the center.
UltimatePoker.com had the prep point outside the cage and AXS TV had the official weigh-ins.
Harley Davidson ran a promotion for its Project Rushmore motorcycles in which the winner of Weidman-Silva would win a motorcycle.
MetroPCS also had a unique activation for this event where twitter users could obtain a “personalized” digital photograph of Ronda Rousey.
Interesting sponsor of the night: Autoshopper.com. It was on a number of fighters including Miesha Tate.
1Law.com, a law firm out of Utah picked the right fighter to sponsor as it was on the front of the shorts of Travis Browne as he KO’d Josh Barnett. It has sponsored Browne in the past.
Monster (an official UFC sponsor) headphones are going to be around more and more heads in the Octagon so get used to them having them on and not listening to anything.
Nike was noticeably absent from Anderson Silva. When asked by Ariel Helwani in a pre-fight interview, Silva told him to ask Dana. White deflected comment but it was clear that Nike did not pay or would not pay the sponsor fee for Silva this time around. To be clear, Nike still sponsors Silva, it’s just that he was not on Silva’s shorts, shirt or banner.
Rousey was sponsored by the UFC in what looked like signature gear. She was also sponsored by Xyience.
Tate had a number of sponsors including Autoshopper.com, Venum, Affliction and Training Mask.
Silva did have less sponsors this go round. He had Wizard, Burger King, computer maker Lenovo and soccer club Corinthians Paulista.
Weidman had an assortment of sponsors including Bad Boy Club, Oak Grove Technologies, American Ethanol, Monster and investment firm InCapital.
Post-UFC 168 Headlines
The new faces of the UFC. Saturday we saw the two new faces of the UFC in Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman. With GSP and Anderson Silva gone within weeks of each other, Weidman should be marketed as the top UFC guy. Even though Jon Jones has a fair argument here, his last couple of fights have not equated to PPV success. Weidman took down the GOAT twice and we will see how long he can defend the belt in this division.
Despite being the “heel” against Miesha Tate, Rousey has the “it” factor that draws people to watch her. She is brash, dominant and that look of determination walking to the ring would have anyone hiding their arms around her. The question is whether the fame and time obligations may catch up to her. With her next fight so close to this one and coming off of shooting two movies, we will see if it catches up with her.
Odds and Ends
-The UFC offered closed circuit of the fight at the MGM for $60 per person. I do not believe the UFC put this PPV in movie theatres.
-There were over 5 million Google searches for Anderson Silva on Saturday night. Most searchers likely wanted to see an image of his broken leg.
-It was the first time I recall the main event fighters coming out from different sides of the curtain at the weigh-ins.
-Over 14.6K people were on YouTube at the start of the very first fight which bodes well for viewership for the rest of the card.
-Rumors of Brock Lesnar in Vegas during UFC 168 is reminiscent of the two guards that sat in the courtroom that unnerved Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men.” In other words, the UFC could have just flown Lesnar out to Vegas and create a story that wasn’t there.
-Rousey and Tate are complete opposites and this was most telling in their walkout songs. Katy Perry (Tate) vs. Joan Jett (Rousey).
-Due to the short fights, there was a lot of downtime and “commercials” and the live fights ended at 9:30pm PT.
-Buried by the main event stories was the second straight impressive win by Michael Johnson on the Prelims.
-Uriah Hall saved his job, while Chris Leben likely heads to retirement.
-Marc Jacobs is selling a Ronda Rousey t-shirt.
-Anyone else notice that the broadcast team kept pumping up the odds including right before the Tate-Rousey fight. That might not be new, but what was new was that it directed people interested in odds to the UFC web site.
The hype for this fight was the biggest this year and the women co-main event had a lot to do with it. It may be one of the highest HD PPV buys ever. There was a lot of mainstream buzz for the fight which not always transfers into PPV purchases. But I think the buzz helped. Despite the protests about the price increase, it will likely not affect the final PPV buys. An estimation of around 750K PPV buys should be attainable if not surpassed after all is said and done.