Bellator appoints Chief Operating Officer

September 16, 2014

Bellator MMA has announced the appointment of Jason Jordan as Chief Operating Officer for the company.  Jordan will report to Scott Coker per a company press release.

According to the Bellator release, Jordan will oversee all financial and operational aspects of the business, manage corporate strategy and business development efforts, define and evaluate new growth opportunities,

Via Bellator press release:

“As Bellator continues to evolve into a premier mixed martial franchise, we are thrilled to join forces with such a dynamic and strategic leader with an incredibly comprehensive background in major entertainment brands such as Viacom and Disney,” said Coker.

Jordan’s role expands from Senior Vice President, Digital Operations, Strategy & Finance, Viacom Entertainment Group, where he is responsible for the fiscal management of the digital activities of the Viacom Entertainment Group’s portfolio of brands, including Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land and South Park.

Prior to joining Viacom, Jordan was the Chief Financial Officer of IFILM Corp, which was sold to MTVN in 2005.  Before that Jordan ran Business Development at an action sports production company and played an integral role in Corporate Strategic Planning Department of The Walt Disney Company, where he assessed business opportunities in the television, theatrical, music, and online spaces.

Jordan holds a Masters of Science degree in Operations Research and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Both degrees are from Stanford University. Jordan is an avid athlete and sports fan and competed on the crew team in college.

Payout Perspective:

From what we understand, it’s still too early to tell at this point whether there are new strategic initiatives on the horizon with Jordan’s appointment.  It does appear that Bellator is looking to broaden its base of viewers as Jordan has an extensive entertainment background and it is looking for new input in how to do this.

Ross and Sonnen chosen as broadcast team for Battlegrounds MMA PPV

September 4, 2014

Former WWE broadcaster Jim Ross and Chael Sonnen will be calling the live PPV telecast of Battlegrounds MMA from Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 3rd.  The PPV is $19.95 in the U.S. and Canada.

Via BattleGrounds MMA press release:

Two consummate performers in WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and recently retired UFC superstar Chael Sonnen have teamed up to form what is bound to be one of the most memorable commentary teams in sports entertainment history, and will call the world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action on the LIVE pay-per-view telecast of BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ from BOK Center in Tulsa, Oka. on Friday, October 3.

Headlined by the first one-night, eight-man tournament in Tulsa since UFC 4 in 1994, BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ will award its welterweight (170 pounds) winner a grand prize of $50,000.

BattleGrounds MMA ‘O.N.E.’ will be distributed at a price point of $19.95 in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing, beginning at10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on October 3 on both cable and satellite pay-per-view carriers iN DEMAND, DirecTV, DISH and Avail-TVN in the United States and Bell TV in Canada.  A pre-show will begin at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

“As a longtime fan of MMA, to be asked to call the fights for the BattleGrounds MMA event is amazingly exciting for me,” said Ross, a 2007 WWE Hall of Fame inductee.  From commentator to referee to executive and even occasional wrestler, Ross has played a multitude of roles for the world’s leading professional wrestling league.

“I’ve broadcast NFL and XFL games,” continued Ross, “FOX Sports boxing and WWE action, but MMA is a new adventure and one that I’m enormously excited about contributing to. To launch this phase of my broadcasting career in my home state, and with Chael Sonnen at cageside makes it an ideal opportunity and a bucket list experience.

“This is going to be a TV event that any MMA fan won’t want to miss,” said Sonnen, who recently retired from the sport that he competed in as a professional since 1997.  A three-time UFC championship challenger, Sonnen fought his last 11 career bouts inside The Octagon and enjoyed a stint as an analyst for FOX Sports Network.  “I am thrilled to be working with a legend like Jim Ross and, together, we are going to make the BattleGrounds MMA event one of the most exciting extravaganzas in combat sports history.”

Payout Perspective:

The card features a one night tournament featuring eight welterweights including former UFC fighters Cody McKenzie, Brock Larson and Luigi Fiorvanti.   Obviously the selling point is Ross and Sonnen as the announce team rather than the actual card.  It will be interesting to see how many buys this drums up for the organization.  One has to think that this has to be a “break even” situation for the company in hopes of future success.

Combate Americas receives 3 award nominations

August 1, 2014

MMA reality series, Combate Americas has been nominated for 3 awards for its series on NBCU’s mun2.  The show which caters to the Hispanic audience is up for awards at the annual Imagen Awards Show which honors Latinos and Latino culture in TV and film.

Via press release:

Combate Americas, the first U.S. Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise created by UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren and designed to serve the nation’s fastest growing demographic, has been nominated for three different awards for its star-studded, hit competition reality series on NBCUniversal’s mun2.

 Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, the self-titled Combate Americas reality series is up for “Best Reality Show” and “Best Marketing” by the 29th annual Imagen Awards Show, which takes place on Friday, August 1 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel International in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 10-episode series has also been nominated for “Best Reality Moment” by Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards), which airs live on Telemundo from American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. on August 21.  The winner of the award will be determined by fans, who can vote for their favorite moment here.

“I am honored and humbled by how incredibly well the Combate Americas reality TV product has been embraced by the U.S. Hispanic community in such a short time,” said McLaren, who launched Combate Americas in 2013 with the reality series production in Miami and who recently appointed Latin Grammy Award winning reggaeton superstar and former professional boxer Daddy Yankee the first Combate Americas League Commissioner.

“We set out to bring the most exciting combat sport in the world to a group of fans who, by all accounts, are one of the most avid groups of fight fans on the planet,” continued McLaren, “and what we delivered is a product that captures not only some of the most fearsome and talented athletes in this demographic, but also the unique cultural values and traditions embraced by this group.”

The Imagen Awards aims to recognize and reward positive portrayals of Latinos in all forms of media and to recognize the achievements of Latinos in the entertainment and communications industries.  Premios Tu Mundo, which also celebrates U.S. Latino culture, allows fans to honor their favorite entertainers and TV moments.

The Combate Americas reality TV series explores the lives, personal struggles and triumphs of 10 aspiring world champions who hail from various parts of the U.S. as well as Mexico, as they engage in grueling and tricky physical competitions that culminate with matchups between the fighters in the Combate Americas cage, La Jaula.

The showdown between series welterweight (170 pounds) arch-rivals, undefeated Danny “The Machine” Morales of Chicago, Ill. and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist J.C. Llamas of Bakersfield, Calif., has been selected as a nominee for “Best Reality Moment” by Premios Tu Mundo.

The 23-year-old Morales, who was incarcerated at the age of 16, discovered the sport of MMA and his calling in life in his jail cell while flipping through the pages of a magazine.  Llamas, a spirited 28-year-old, grew up in poverty in Mexico and accepted his first professional fight with just six weeks of training, in order to be able to pay for medicine needed by his ill grandmother.

Combate Americas premiered on mun2, NBCUniversal’s leading bi-lingual cable TV platform for 18-34 year old adults, on Sunday, February 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.  The show is hosted by Latin Grammy Award winning pop duo Chino y Nacho and MMA reporter and fitness model Andrea Calle

In addition to the hosts and Daddy Yankee, the series features a number of guest appearances by other celebrity athletes and entertainers, including legendary UFC champion and Hall of Famer Royce GracieTop Chef Estrella hostess and former Miss Universe runner-up Cynthia Olavarria; and Lucha Libre superstar Blue Demon, Jr.

Combate Americas is slated to roll out its live event series in the fall on a date to be announced in Miami.

WWE: Record 1 million U.S. households watch Wrestlemania

April 15, 2014

After the successful debut of Wrestlemania 30 on WWE’s Digital Network last week, WWE announced today taht the event did a record 1 million U.S. household reach along with PPV buys for the event.

WWE-WrestleMania-30

STAMFORD, Conn., April 15, 2014 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WrestleMania 30 reached a record 1 million households in the U.S. alone on WWE Network and pay-per-view combined, the first time WrestleMania has eclipsed this mark domestically. With more than 667,000 WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 domestic pay-per-view buying homes for WrestleMania 30, WWE is confident that it will reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014.

WWE Network launched on February 24 in the U.S. and successfully streamed six hours of live coverage of WrestleMania 30 on Sunday, April 6. Additionally, more than 7.1 million hours of video content was viewed on WWE Network during WrestleMania Week from Tuesday, April 1 through Tuesday, April 8.

WWE Network will be rolled out in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics in late 2014/early 2015.

 

Payout Perspective:

If you add up the WWE Network subscribers (667,000) plus the number of Wrestlemania PPV buys (400,000), the total reach for the event results in 1.067M domestic households that purchased the event. The PPV price for a Wrestlemania event is $59.95.  It’s no coincidence that the 6-month WWE Network subscription price is $9.99 with a 6 month commitment, which is $59.94, or roughly the exact same price as the Wrestlemania PPV.  By doing so, the WWE can announce that they domestically sold 1.067M PPV buys for the event, which is an impressive number.  Once you add up international PPV buys, and in the future, international WWE Network subscribers, the number could substantially grow.

All the work that the WWE is doing in terms of their digital network co-inciding with the PPV model is interesting to watch.  Dish and a few other cable/dish PPV carriers have not been too thrilled about the WWE’s decision to start their own digital network and offer their PPV’s as well.  At this point in time, it was a big win for the WWE to keep the cable and satellite companies still offering the event as a PPV.  The UFC and boxing promoters will be watching this venture closely as they observe whether WWE’s new business model is sustainable.  A big part of that if WWE’s hope that they can increase their WWE Network subscription base from 667,000 to 1 million by the end of the year.

FOX Sports 1 Releases 2014 MLB Schedule, UFCs Impact?

February 27, 2014

Today, FOX released their upcoming MLB on FOX 2014 schedule, which will occupy many upcoming Saturdays for the next few months. Will this impact UFC programming on Saturday nights?

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2014 FOX SPORTS/FOX SPORTS 1 MLB REGULAR-SEASON BROADCAST SCHEDULE

(Note: Schedule Subject to Change – Times Refer to On-Air)

Saturday, April 5

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, April 8

8:15 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, April 12

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Saturday, April 19

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Detroit Tigers

8:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, April 26

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at New York Yankees

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, May 3

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

Saturday, May 10

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, May 15

12:35 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds

Saturday, May 17

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees

Saturday, May 24

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, May 31

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, June 7

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, June 14

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, June 21

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

10:05 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, June 28

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

Saturday, July 5

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Texas Rangers at New York Mets
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

Saturday, July 12

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Texas Rangers

Tuesday, July 15

2014 MLB All-Star Game from Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, July 19

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, July 26

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

Tuesday, July 29

8:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Texas Rangers

Saturday, August 2

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Saturday, August 9

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, August 16

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, August 23

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday, August 26

8:10 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

Saturday, August 30

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday, September 6

1:00 PM ET – FOX
San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees

Saturday, September 13

1:00 PM ET – FOX
Atlanta Braves at Texas Rangers
New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

8:10 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks

Saturday, September 20

FOX/FOX Sports 1
TBD

Saturday, September 27

FOX/FOX Sports 1
TBD

 

Payout Perspective:

Since the launch of FOX Sports 1, they have touted MLB on the network in addition to NASCAR and the UFC.  April 5th will now be the official debut of MLB on the network, which will finally place a big traditional sport on the network.  An afterthought to now airing baseball from April to September is what will happen to UFC programming on Saturdays? From a look at the schedule, FS1 will feature at least one, sometimes two MLB games on Saturdays, which happens to be when the UFC airs either their own events or prelims as lead-ins to their PPV events.

From Fox Sports point of view, this is the reason why they created Fox Sports 2, where they can keep the bigger sport on FS1 and move the clashing programming onto FS2.  The question is how much, if any, UFC Saturday programming will be moved to FS2 in the several few months?  The UFC also has the option to air their programming on Fight Pass, which would be a great selling point for the service, but both FS2 and Fight Pass would significantly decrease the exposure and reach of the product.

Melendez re-signs with UFC, gets TUF coaching spot and title shot

February 23, 2014

MMA Fighting reports that Gilbert Melendez will remain with the UFC as it has matched the contract offered by Bellator. In addition, Dana White announced that Melendez will be the next coach on TUF opposite Anthony Pettis with the two meeting for Pettis’ title.

Dana White made a subtle announcement via twitter attaching the UFC press release announcing Melendez’s re-signing and that he would be a coach on Season 20 of TUF opposite Pettis.  As you may recall, TUF 20 will feature the 115 pound strawweight women’s division.  The press release states the show will debut September 10th.

MMA Fighting identifies some key issues with Melendez’s new UFC contract:

Per the terms of the agreement, according to several sources, Melendez’s deal guarantees that at least 75 percent of the 31-year-old’s fights will be contested on pay-per-view moving forward. Additionally, income earned from Melendez’s contracted pay-per-view points will kick in at a lower minimum buy rate than for any contract in UFC history, meaning Melendez will still earn pay-per-view point earnings on an event that performs poorly at the box office.

Regardless of Melendez’s placement on the card, he will receive his PPV points.

While no terms of the deal have been released, the article indicates Melendez’s UFC contract will make him one of the highest paid fighters in MMA.

Payout Perspective:

Not only does Melendez get a very good PPV upside package, he ensures that most of his fights will be on PPV and he gets an immediate title shot while getting exposure on TV.

Although Bellator loses out on Melendez, it shows a newfound strategy in attempting to acquire top-notch UFC talent.  The UFC matched the offer which was likely much more beneficial for Melendez than whatever the last offer the UFC gave him before the Bellator signing.  This has to put the UFC on notice that it will no longer have as much negotiating leverage as it once had.

Based on the intriguing contract details revealed in the article, we might see more fighters seeking representation from more traditional sports and entertainment agencies.  It was clear that Dana White was not happy with Melendez’s reps which included Rodolphe Beaulieu (GSP’s agent) and CAA.  Still, they got the job done and the contract terms appear to be advantageous for Melendez since it’s one of the most lucrative in MMA.  Certainly the contract reveal will be taken notice by all others in the MMA business.

MMA Payout will have more as details develop.

Gilbert Melendez signs with Bellator, UFC maintains matching rights

February 14, 2014

We wrote yesterday about the rocky contract negotiations between Gilbert Melendez (22-3, 1-1 UFC) and the UFC.  Today, Bellator shocked the MMA landscape by announcing a multi-fight deal with one of the best lightweights in the world in Melendez, though the UFC currently maintains matching rights.

Bellatormainlogo

 

Gilbert Melendez sits atop the UFC’s lightweight division. With victories over Josh Thomson, Diego Sanchez, Shinya Aoki and Jorge Masvidal, “El Nino” is ready for a new crop of challengers as the Santa Ana native has agreed to a multi-fight, multi-year deal structure with Bellator that can pit Melendez against some of MMA’s best, including Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler, Will Brooks, Dave Jansen and a host of top lightweights from around the world.
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“The moment Gil was legally able to explore the free agent market, Gil’s management team reached out to me and we began figuring out how to bring Gil to Bellator,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “It’s no secret that I’ve been a big “El Nino” fan for many years. Gil was one of the first fighters I tried to sign when I launched Bellator back in 2008, and he’s grown and developed into one of the best and most exciting lightweights on earth.  Gil has a vision for what he wants to accomplish both inside and outside the cage and we can help make his vision a reality.  We are in the business of developing and showcasing the greatest fighters on earth. That’s what we intend to do here with Gil and it’s what we’ll continue to do in the future.”
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The UFC currently holds matching rights on Melendez.

 

Payout Perspective:

Bellator’s announcement today was pretty shocking and caught many in the MMA landscape off-guard.  Nevertheless, it’s a key strategic move for Melendez, who is trying to maximize his market value.  This is a classic example of pinning bidder A versus bidder B, and illustrates the importance of having more than just one key player in the MMA landscape for fighters.  Whether Melendez ends up in Bellator or UFC matches Bellator’s pay and signs back with the promotion, it will be a win/win for Melendez in the short run.

In the long run, for a fighter who is as exciting as Melendez, you risk making a choice that may seem near-sighted, and could miss out on potential fight of the night or performance bonuses in addition to base pay, which could end up surpassing Bellator’s proposed pay. Although the exact numbers of the deal are not available at this time, MMAPayout will report them as they become available.

Winning a title and getting a push from the UFC is invaluable for a fighter, but Bellator will do their best to match the same benefits as they tried to do with with Eddie Alvarez, such as offering exposure on Spike TV, featured in a potential PPV down the line against either Eddie Alvarez or Mike Chandler, two of the best lightweights in the world, and certainly other Viacom opportunities.

The ball is now in the UFC’s court, and it’s up to them to determine if they want to retain Melendez and match what Bellator is offering or let him walk away to a competitor.

Boxing and MMA organizations support head trauma study

February 5, 2014

Competing combat sports organizations officially announced Tuesday its collaboration to contribute to an ongoing medical study to address and identify early stage signs of brain injury for those exposed to head trauma.

The UFC, Bellator, Glory, Golden Boy and Top Rank all expressed its support for the study at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.  Senators Harry Reid and John McCain showed their support for the study at the announcement held in Washington D.C.

Via Cleveland Clinic press release:

The study, which launched in April 2011, is focused on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in those exposed to head trauma, as well as determining which individuals may be more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders. While it is still in the early stages, researchers are confident the findings will benefit the safety and health of professional fighters. This information could also be applied to other athletes, members of the military and civilians who may experience head trauma.

According to MMA Fighting, most of the 450 fighters in the study are MMA fighters.  The study stands out as it monitors active fighters.  The study is partly funded by the Defense Department in hopes of using the findings for other brain injuries related to military duty.

Payout Perspective:

You may recall it was Senator McCain that had described MMA as human cockfighting.  Obviously, he’s now in the corner of the MMA here and supports this study.  The collaboration of all of these organizations reflects the importance of the issue and from public relations it shows that each of the organizations is concerned with its fighters.

The other way to see this is as a preventative measure from litigation.  I recently watched the Frontline documentary, “League of Denial” and the information was enlightening and shocking. One might be able to draw a comparison between the types of head trauma a football player receives versus that of a fighter without any headgear.

One thing going for this study is that it says it is tracking active fighters in hopes of spotting early signs of head trauma.  What the researchers to with this information and how it is utilized by each organization will be interesting to see.  Without being cynical, any study to understand head trauma in sports is a good thing and hopefully the research is put to good use.

Jake joins Body Glove Surge Team

July 26, 2013

As he gets ready for his fight Saturday night, Jake Ellenberger recently signed on with sponsor with the Body Glove Surge Energy Team.  According to its web site, “its the first all natural energy shot.”

Via Body Glove Surge press release:

“Mixed martial arts is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. To perform at the highest level requires a total commitment to training, mental focus, discipline and healthy nutrition.  Body Glove SURGE has become an integral part of my training regimen. It’s a unique proven product that is particularly valuable on those days when I do a double workout. Body Glove SURGE gives me instant energy and stamina, improves my mental focus, quickens my reaction times and helps me to train at a higher intensity level. And since it’s all-natural, I know I am not putting any artificial ingredients in my body.  Body Glove SURGE helps me stay at the top of my game,” said Ellenberger.

Via Body Glove

Via Body Glove

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the announcement that Ellenberger would be sponsored by Body Glove Surge, he also will be sponsored by Virus Action Sport performance clothing.  Ellenberger wore a full body suit (long sleeve and tights) during the UFC open workouts on Wednesday.  In addition, he will be wearing his familiar sponsor, Lunar Pages as well.  The new sponsorship plugs into the “energy shot” market which has grown 60% from 2008-2012 according to a recent report.  In 2012, the sales from the energy drink/shot market was worth over $12.5 billion.

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.

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