Robbie Lawler signs with Adidas Combat

July 24, 2014

Robbie Lawler has signed on with Adidas Combat prior to his fight with Matt Brown Saturday.  The deal comes on the heels of the recent launch of the Adidas-specific web site dedicated to combat sports.

There’s no word on whether Lawler will be able to wear the three stripes into the Octagon on network television Saturday.

Adidas is also the official sponsor of Resurrection Fighting Alliance, the organization headed by Ed Soares. It also sponsors Glory Kickboxers.

Payout Perspective:

Lawler becomes the first Adidas signee in recent memory.  It’s not clear whether it will start to target other fighters in the league.  Still no word on a UFC uniform deal but maybe we can throw Adidas as a possible uniform maker.  For those wondering, Under Armour announced its second quarter earnings and business is good as it exceeded analyst expectations. Although previously the front runner, if a deal were imminent, certainly we would have heard some rumblings in order to stir the pot for the stock even more.  Reebok could be a possibility as it has signed on Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis.  Adidas has worked with RFA for a while and its known as a possible feeder organization for the UFC.

Nick Diaz back with the UFC

July 24, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Nick Diaz has signed a three fight contract with the UFC.  Diaz indicated he is looking to return early 2015.

Dana White tweeted out the evidence of the signing.

Best quote from Diaz after signing: “I’ve been doing a whole lot of not getting punched around-type stuff,” Diaz told UFC.com.

The move brings a fighter back with tons of baggage but is someone that people are interested in seeing.

Payout Perspective:

Despite being on a two fight losing streak, Nick Diaz is a fighter the UFC needs and is a PPV quality fighter.  One need only look at UFC 158, his last fight against GSP, where his rant about “wolf tickets” and other musings helped the event garner 950K PPV buys and stellar ratings for its Prelims, weigh-ins and post-fight show.  Sure, GSP was his opponent, but it was Diaz playing the villain that had viewers wanting to see weigh-ins and see what would happen on the post-fight show.

Many are drumming up dream opponents for Diaz (namely Anderson Silva), but we will have to see who he is willing to face before getting too excited.  Regardless, the signing adds “PPV depth” to the roster.

Conor McGregor signs book deal with Irish publisher

July 24, 2014

Conor McGregor has signed a book deal with Irish publisher Gill & MacMillan according to the publishing company’s press release.  The book is provisionally entitled, “Notorious: My Life in and Out of the Octagon.”

According to the web site, the book will be part memoir, part philosophy as it sounds like readers will get insight into McGregor’s psyche.

Via press release:

‘We think the world needs something as positive as Conor McGregor’s book’ said Conor Nagle, Commissioning Editor for Gill & Macmillan Books, who acquired the book for an undisclosed sum. ‘Fans will love to read about Conor’s journey so far, the technicalities of the sport, but more than anything, the sheer self-belief of an incredibly committed man’.

 Gill & Macmillan is Ireland’s largest publisher of non-fiction per its web site.  The book should be available in autumn 2015.

Payout Perspective:

The McGregor media express continues with this announcement.  The book deal is not too surprising as he’s capitalizing on the media hype that currently surrounds him.  The question is whether he’ll still have this fandom when the book hits the shelves next fall.

Sonnen given 2 year ban by commission

July 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission issued a two-year suspension as at a hearing held on Wednesday.

Sonnen must pay any and all doctors’ fees for the random drug tests he failed on May 24th and June 5th.  Additionally, it is expected that he will become a precautionary tale for others and serve as a “resource” for halting future PED use.

There were differing opinions on the penalty for Sonnen as they ranged from a lifetime ban to the 2 year ban.

Sonnen tested for a total of five PEDs prior to his intended July 5th fight with Vitor Belfort.  Initially, he claimed the positive test for PEDs related to him coming off of TRT treatment and the fact that he was trying to have children.  After the second positive test, Sonnen was terminated from the UFC and his analyst position at Fox Sports.

Payout Perspective:

Fair penalty?  Sonnen’s attorney stressed Sonnen’s cooperation with the investigation and the UFC and Fox Sports terminations when contemplating the penalty.  Essentially Sonnen threw himself at the mercy of the commission.  This strategy seemed to work.  Although it’s unlikely Sonnen will return to MMA in Vegas, the two year ban does leave a slim opening.  Moreover, he could have been assessed a stiff fine but seemed to have avoided this.

Gus out, DC in against Jones for UFC 178

July 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Alexander Gustafsson is out of UFC 178 due to an injury and Daniel Cormier will get the shot against Jon Jones.  Cormier-Jones will be the main event at the September 27th show.

Cormier put off surgery (UPDATED:  Per Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer stated that DC put off surgery) apparently had knee surgery to repair a torn LCL and partially damaged ACL in his right knee. in early July after his final wrestling match at the UFC Fan Expo.  Ironically, it was a knee injury that sidelined Gustafsson.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 178 is looking to be a stellar card with Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier serving as the co-main event as well as Dominick Cruz returning to the Octagon.  The insertion of Cormier should help with the promotion of 178. While the event may lose some of the international fans, it should not suffer too much due to the strength of the card as it is right now.

Belfort license allows Belfort-Weidman at UFC 181

July 23, 2014

Vitor Belfort was granted a conditional license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday.  The issuance of the license allowed the UFC to announce Belfort-Chris Weidman at UFC 181 set for December 6th in Las Vegas.

With his attorney, Belfort appeared at the Commission hearing to discuss the application for license.  The Commission asked Belfort about a failed February 7th test for testosterone.  He claims he took a larger dose the day before to compensate for missing his biweekly prescribed TRT treatment due to traveling.

Granting Belfort his license came with conditions.  Namely, the commission could test Belfort extensively including blood and urine for the rest of the career.  Belfort would have to pay for the testing.

The commission voted unanimously to give a conditional license to Belfort.

(H/t: MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, Belfort’s attorney Michael Alonso, works at the same firm that represents the UFC in other matters.  Belfort was told the day before the hearing that he’d have the shot against Weidman so I do not know if there was a feeling that despite his second failed drug test; Belfort would be issued a license.

Was the punishment fair?  Belfort will have to stay clean with the extensive drug testing and with him paying for this the commission will not have to expend additional resources here.  The announcement of the fight seemed almost instant after the license was granted.  I realize the UFC talked with Belfort (and Weidman) about the fight but it seemed interesting timing.

NSAC Commission to stream on Fight Pass

July 22, 2014

The UFC announced that the UFC Fight Pass would live stream coverage of Wednesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Wednesday starting at 10am PT.

Among other things, the Commission will hear Vitor Belfort’s request for a license and hear the disciplinary complaint of Chael Sonnen.

There are 35 new business items on the agenda although Belfort and Sonnen’s issues will be the most interesting for UFC Fight Pass subscribers.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC has inferred that it would continue to live stream Nevada State Athletic Commission hearings on Fight Pass if they were of interest.  Sonnen’s disciplinary hearing will be an interesting one assuming that it goes forward.  The NSAC requested that Sonnen appear at the hearing although Sonnen, through his representative, indicated that it would accept whatever punishment he was given

Remember when administrative hearings were aired on a Public Access channel and you didn’t have to pay for them?  From the UFC’s side of things, it’s filling a demand and likely an inexpensive way of padding its content.  Streaming the hearing makes sense since the Belfort and Sonnen hearings are of interest to many UFC fans.

Bellator 120 re-air on SpikeTV: 890K viewers

July 22, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Friday night’s replay of Bellator 120, the company’s first PPV from May scored an average viewership of 890,000 viewers.  The 3 hour event starting at 9pm ET/PT peaked at 1,334,000 viewers at 11:39pm.

The peak occurred at the beginning of the King Mo-Rampage fight.  Bellator 120 averaged 1 million viewers for 47 minutes of the telecast according to the Nielsen source.  It also was second in terms of viewership on cable in the Male 18-49 demo during the time period.

Bellator-PPV-Poster-Alvarez-Injury

Payout Perspective:

The re-air of May’s PPV which reportedly drew 100,000 buys showed that people that did not buy the initial PPV wanted to see it or for those that saw the fights, wanted to see it again.  Regardless, it’s a good number for what essentially was a rerun.  The PPV re-air is a good way to condition viewers to tune back in on Friday night’s for Bellator’s Summer Series with a live event happening this Friday.

The New Yorker features Rousey

July 21, 2014

Ronda Rousey is featured in the current issue of The New Yorker.  The piece entitled, “Mean Girl: Why the world’s best female fighter loves to be hated” doesn’t break new ground but gives the UFC bantamweight champ more mainstream exposure.

The piece written by Kalefa Sanneh gives non-MMA fans a long-form profile of Rousey.  It pointedly talks about MMA web sites as “monomaniacal.”  It even name checks Cage Potato.  The article delves into the perceived “heel turn” by Rousey as the story begins around the time for her preparation for her February 2014 against Sara McMann.

Payout Perspective:

The New Yorker write-up is the latest in a line of noteworthy press for Rousey.  Last week, Rousey won an ESPY for Best Female Athlete.  In a piece in the Hollywood Reporter, she said she wanted to become “The Female Rock” (that is former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson).  By the way, a lot of pro wrestling references in the New Yorker piece based upon Rousey’s fixation on it (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 biggest event on Fight Pass

July 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 was the ‘biggest’ event on UFC Fight Pass.  Dana White stated this in the post-fight press conference after Conor McGregor’s successful stoppage in the main event.

The UFC does not release digital network numbers for viewership or the number of its subscribers but White stated Saturday’s event from Dublin was the most successful event stream for the company’s digital network.

The success is likely due to the popularity of Conor McGregor and the fight week buzz.  The UFC aired a three-part series, “On the Fly” with Conor McGregor on Fight Pass as shoulder programming to promote the event.

The digital network has added more content recently including the announcement of a September event featuring women’s fight organization InvictaFC and live streaming of Nevada Athletic Commission hearings.  It began airing select overseas live cards exclusively on the network this past January.

Payout Perspective:

The success of Saturday’s event according to White supports the company’s belief that it can create a loyal fan base via its digital network.  This equates to paying subscribers and another source of revenue for the company.  Fight Pass does help with international fans as events and fights are more accessible.  With the localization of the product in different areas of the world, more people would be exposed to the product.

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