Munhoz fined for exiting cage after Garbrandt KO at UFC 235

April 24, 2019

UFC bantamweight Pedro Munhoz was fined $2,5000 by the Nevada Athletic Commission after he exited the cage in celebrating his win against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235 last month.

He will also have to pay $327.06 in prosecution fees prior to obtaining another license to fight.  He’s scheduled to meet Aljamain Sterling at UFC 238 in Chicago this June.

According to the AG’s office at the Commission hearing held on Wednesday, he was told not to exit the cage after his fight was over.  Munhoz jumped the fence after his KO of Cody Garbrandt and stood in front of the announce team and seemed to calmly talk to Dominick Cruz about wanting to fight him next.

Payout Perspective:

The obvious reason for the enforcement of these rules stems from last October’s melee when Khabib Nurmogomedov went after Conor McGregor’s corner.  Obviously, it also prevents anyone from the outside injuring the fighter and vice versa.  It also sounds like the commission warned fighters not to exit the cage after fights.  While I think that the fine was not necessary, it was required due to enforce the rules uniformly.

USADA announces sanctions for four UFC fighters for Ostarine

April 23, 2019

USADA announced that four UFC athletes have accepted six-month sanctions for violating the UFC Anti-Doping Policy for trace amounts of ostarine “consistent with supplement contamination.”

Via USADA release:

USADA has resolved the following cases, after conducting a thorough investigation and finding no evidence of intentional use, consistent with other supplement contamination cases:

  • Augusto Mendes, 36, of Glendale, Ariz., tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on March 7, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on March 20, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
  • Marvin Vettori, 25, of Mezzocorona, Italy, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on August 24, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on August 24, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
  • Sean O’Malley, 24, of Phoenix, Ariz., tested positive for ostarine following out-of-competition tests conducted on September 5, 2018 and December 8, 2018. His two positives were treated as a single, first violation because the amount of ostarine in both samples is consistent with ingestion prior to September 5, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on September 19, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
  • Nicco Montano, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on October 25, 2018. She accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on November 15, 2018, the date she was provisionally suspended from competition.

Payout Perspective:

The blanket six-month sanction for these four fighters may bring into question of the use of ostraine and its contamination with other supplements.  It also brings back the controversial two year sanction for Tom Lawlor.  The former UFC fighter, now mostly pro wrestler had his career in the promotion come to an end because they could not pinpoint the ostarine that showed up on a failed USADA test.  These light sentences was blasted by Lawlor on social media.

UFC on ESPN +7 Prelims draw 232,000 viewers

April 23, 2019

Saturday morning’s UFC on ESPN + 7 Prelims on ESPN2 drew 232,000 viewers.  The event took place in St. Petersburg, Russia with the main card airing on ESPN +.

The feature bout of the Prelims event saw Movsar Evloev defeat Seung Woo Choi by unanimous decision.  ‘

The event drew a 0.07 share according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

Payout Perspective:

The low viewership might have been expected considering the early morning start on the west coast.  Add to that the Prelims featured a lot of regional fighters that many North American fans had not heard of.

UFC Heavyweight punished four months for banned dietary supplement

April 22, 2019

UFC Heavyweight Walt Harris has accepted a four-month sanction for utilizing a banned substance.  Due to his cooperation with USADA, Harris’ suspension was reduced to just four months and he will be able to return to the Octagon on April 30th.

Via USADA:

Harris, 35, tested positive for LGD-4033 as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on December 29, 2018 that was collected by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) at UFC 232 in Inglewood, Calif. LGD-4033 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy (UFC ADP), which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following notification of his positive test, Harris provided USADA with information about a dietary supplement product he was using before and at the time of the relevant sample collection. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, analysis conducted on both the open and independently sourced, unopened containers of the product by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, indicated that the product contained LGD-4033.

Although not stated in the report, there is an over the counter supplement known as Ligandrol which claims to build muscle mass.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that this is another case of where the athlete just didn’t know that a banned substance was in the supplement because it was not on the label of ingredients.  Fortunately for Harris, he has served his short suspension without losing out on any fights as it was unlikely he’d have come back this soon after his December fight.

PBC on Fox draws 1.01M viewers in Fast Overnights

April 21, 2019

PBC on Fox drew an average of 1.01 million viewers according to the fast-overnight ratings provided by Television By Numbers.

The event from Carson, California featured Danny Garcia as he made easy work of Adrian Granados.  The event aired on Fox with a little overrun past the 7pm (PST) hour.

PBC on Fox went up against the NHL Playoffs on NBC which drew 1.54 million viewers, Ransom on CBS which drew 2.34 million in the 8-9pm hour and The Ten Commandments on ABC, an Easter weekend tradition, which drew 4.9 million viewers. The 9-10pm hour on CBS was a rerun of 48 Hours which drew 2.66 million viewers.

PBC on Fox drew 0.2 in the 18-49 demo and a 1 share.  In comparison The Ten Commandments drew 0.6 in the A18-49 demo.

Notably, last year, UFC on Fox 29 drew 1.78M viewers.  Two years ago, UFC on Fox 29 drew nearly 2 million viewers.  At the time, it drew 1.74 million viewers in the fast-overnights and was the lowest overnight rating in the UFC on Fox history.

Payout Perspective:

It was a busy night of boxing with the Crawford-Khan PPV Prelims and then a portion of the PPV on at the same time as PBC on Fox.  The 1 million viewers should be considered a win due to the marketing behind the PPV event from Top Rank.  Yet, PBC on Fox is not yielding the same ratings that UFC on Fox cards did in the past.

UFC St. Petersburg attendance and bonuses

April 21, 2019

UFC St. Petersburg took place on Saturday airing on the digital platform while Prelims could be seen on ESPN2 Saturday morning.

Islam Makhachev and Arman Tsarukyan drew the Fight of the Night bonus for their co-main event.  Makhachev won via unanimous decision although it may have been closer than the scores revealed.

Magomed Mustafaev earned a Performance Bonus with his first round KO of Rafael Fiziev.  Sergei Pavlovich also won a $50,000 performance bonus with his KO of Marcelo Golm.

UFC on ESPN+7 took place on Saturday at Yubileyniy Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The Prelims aired on ESPN2 while the main card was seen on the company’s digital platform.

According to the company post-event, the event drew a sell-out of 7,326 fans.  The event, which was likely scaled for the smaller audience, was the second event in Russia with last September’s event at Olimpiyskiy Stadium drawing 22,603.  The gate information was not released.

The main event saw Alistair Overeem KO Aleksei Oleinik in a heavyweight matchup.

Expert report dissects Lyman Good earnings as court case nears

April 18, 2019

The earnings of an MMA fighter can be hard and the Lyman Good case is exemplifying that the life in the cage may not be lucrative.

Good is currently suing the nutritional supplement company Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceutical.  He claims caused him to fail a USADA drug test leaving him suspended and out of a payday.  The attorneys for the defendants retained an economic expert to assess the possible damages sustained by Good.

Through the discovery process, Dr. Henry Fuentes obtained Good’s tax return for 2011 and stated in a declaration that he was not provided any other complete returns for the fighter.  Dr. Fuentes studied Good’s returns and other information from the case in rendering the opinion that Good did not suffer economic damages based on his lawsuit.

Paul Gift’s Forbes article on Good’s breakdown of earnings also paints the picture of the meager earnings of Good.  Despite some successful years as a fighter, he’s also had some lean ones which is reflected in his tax returns and earnings (or lack thereof).

The breakdown of expenses has the most going to his agent (who is also his attorney in this lawsuit).  He also spends a lot on transportation.  The life of a full-time fighter is a hard one as they rely on paydays from fights as their main source of income.  According to the 2011 tax return, made money through fights and teaching martial arts classes. He did not have any other form of employment since 2009.  In 2011, Good had more unemployment compensation than anything and of the income, he had to spend most of it for training.

It should be noted that Good lists his Reebok royalties of $1,000.  The defense also concluded that Good made $77,236 in 2009,  That year, Good won the Bellator Welterweight World Championship. In 2017, Good made $65,471.  That year he only fought once but scored a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus on the UFC on Fox 25 card for his bout against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.

Good’s attorney (who is also his manager) has filed a motion to preclude the expert report from the yet to be set trial.  If the court agrees, the expert report would not be considered as evidence in trial.

Payout Perspective:

The information is a glaring look at the unstable earnings of a fighter.  Unlike top-tier fighters, the report indicates that Good does not have steady income from sponsors or any other investments which might generate income.  This is one of the reasons why Stipe Miocic keeps his job as a fireman although its clear he could fight full-time.  Yet, for most fighters, they live from fight to fight to make a living.  MMA Payout will keep you posted on the trial.

Leslie Smith finds new home in Bellator MMA

April 16, 2019

Yahoo! Sports reports that former UFC fighter Leslie Smith has signed with Bellator MMA and plans to move to Featherweight.

Smith’s last scheduled fight was to be almost a year to the day in April 2018 when she was to meet Aspen Ladd in Atlantic City.  However, Ladd did not make weight and Smith did not take the fight at a catchweight.  As those following know, it was to be Smith’s last fight on  her contract but Zuffa decided to pay her show and win money and then call it good despite her only promotion loss to Cristiane Cyborg.

Smith and her attorney Lucas Middlebrook believe that were abrupt dismissal from the company was due to her leading Project Spearhead which sought to have a vote of UFC fighters to determine whether they were employees of the company instead of independent contractors.  Smith had made a case with the NLRB and despite initial optimism which was in favor of Smith’s claims, they were denied.

She now gets a new start after what will be over a year away from fighting.

The new situation should be good for Smith and a move to the more competitive Featherweight division should yield her attractive fights.  Julia Budd is the company’s featherweight champion at this time.

 Payout Perspective:

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Smith and Middlebrook a couple months back.  Her return to fighting should help Bellator with any intent of building its women’s division.  She may be a polarizing figure depending on your view of her lobbying for fighters’ rights.  But through this, she has elevated her status as someone willing to speak her mind regardless of the ramifications.  We shall see whether she brings her Project Spearhead lobbying to Bellator.

UFC 236 prelims draw 893,000 viewers

April 16, 2019

The prelims for UFC 236 on ESPN drew 893,000 viewers according to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz Daily).  The event drew 498,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.60 share on Saturday.

The prelims featured Matt Frevola and Jalin Turner with Frevola winning an impressive unanimous decision.  The event served as the pre-cursor for the first PPV on ESPN+.

Notably, this time last year, UFC held an event on Fox and drew 2,020,000 viewers for the Dustin Poirier-Justin Gaethje matchup.  Ironically Poirier was in the main event for the PPV of UFC 236 as he won the interim lightweight championship.

Payout Perspective:

In my opinion, I thought that the prelims would certainly draw over 1 million viewers.  The Masters, NBA and NHL Playoffs were also on at points during Saturday which may have detracted from the prelims on ESPN.  The UFC on ESPN showed an increase of its viewership in the first appearances on the network.  Yet, this ratings seems to be slightly disappointing considering there were two title fights and was a ESPN+ PPV.

UFC 236: Payout Perspective

April 15, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 236 which took place at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia where fans were witness to two of the best championship fights in recent history.

Poirier earns lightweight title with win over Holloway

Dustin Poirier was too big for Max Holloway and it was clear that his power overwhelmed the 145-pound titleholder.  Poirier hurt Holloway several times in the first round and despite the featherweight champion’s heart, could not fight his way back into the match.

“Paid in full,” was the mantra Poirier proclaimed about his win.  Poirier had made his way back from losses to Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson on his journey to the championship.  He finally got his chance and now has a chance to unify the titles against Khabib Nurmogomedov in what is rumored to be September in Abu Dhabi.

Holloway will be influenced to return to his Featherweight division and the UFC is likely hoping that Alexander Volkanovski can defeat Jose Aldo next month to secure a date between the two for the 145 title.

Adesanya takes middleweight title from Gastelum

In what was a back and forth fight (and likely 2-2 going into the last round) Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim welterweight title and a shot at to unify the middleweight title with a showdown against Robert Whittaker sometime in the future in likely a big stadium on the continent of Australia.

There was a point during the fight that Gastelum had Adesanya hurt on his feet but instead of trying to finish him, Kelvin went for the takedown.  One can only assume that Gastelum was tired himself and could not continue on his feet.

But Adesanya poured it on in the 5th round to earn the victory.  One may argue that the ref could have stopped the fight in the final seconds of the fight.  Clearly, Gastelum was in no shape to continue but had the heart to finish.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

It was the first time that the UFC awarded two Fight of the Nights with the main and co-main events drawing the $50,000 bonuses.  There were no Performance Bonuses due to the dual FOTNs.

The attendance and gate for UFC 236 did not break records for UFC events at the Philips Arena but it definitely drew a lot of people for this event.  The event drew 14,297 for a gate of $1,908,721.

Past Atlanta, GA UFC PPV events:

UFC 88 (9/06/2008) Evans-Liddell: 14,736 for a gate of $2.6M

UFC 145 (04/14/2012) Jones-Evans: 15,545 for a gate of $2.2M

Payouts

Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway made $350,000 each for their respective fights.  All of the salaries are compiled here.

Promotional Guideline Payouts (compiled via MMA Junkie)

Dustin Poirier: $30,000
def. Max Holloway: $40,000

Israel Adesanya: $30,000
def. Kelvin Gastelum: $30,000

Khalil Rountree: $5,000
def. Eryk Anders: $5,000

Dwight Grant: $3,500
def. Alan Jouban: $10,000

Nikita Krylov: $10,000
def. Ovince Saint Preux: $20,000

 Matt Frevola: $3,500
def. Jalin Turner: $3,500

 Alexandre Pantoja: $5,000
def. Wilson Reis: $10,000

 Zelim Imadaev: $3,500
def. Max Griffin: $5,000

 Khalid Taha: $3,500
def. Boston Salmon: $3,500

 Belal Muhammad: $5,000
def. Curtis Millender: $4,000

 Andre Soukhamthath: $5,000
def. Montel Jackson: $3,500

 Poliana Botelho: $4,000
def. Lauren Mueller: $3,500

 Brandon Davis: $4,000
def. Randy Costa: $3,500

Sponsorships

For the first time, the UFC released a photo of the Octagon match which featured its core sponsors as well as the Cinemax series Warrior.  In addition, in the Octagon was Pari-Match, the international sports betting site sponsor of the UFC.  Also, convenience store RaceTrac shared space on the Octagon with Monster Energy.

The sponsors on the mat were as follows:

Monster Energy: Official Energy Drink of UFC

Modelo: Official Beer of UFC

P3: Official Protein Snack of UFC

Devour: Official Frozen Food of UFC

Nemiroff: Official Vodka of UFC

BODYARMOR: Official Sports Drink of UFC

Warrior: The new original series from Cinemax, premiering April 5

Poker Stars: Official Gaming and Poker partner of UFC

UFC 236 takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the State Farm Arena.

UFC partner, Heed, offered data on the strikes of UFC competitors via sensors in the gloves of fighters. This was explained during a part of episode 3 of UFC Embedded.

The Embedded events were sponsored by the video game Fallout 76.

Odds and ends

It was the first time that ESPN+ became the sole PPV provider in the U.S.  and it came with headaches for many that decided to make the PPV purchase last minute.  Many were directed to a page that indicated they could not purchase the PPV.  Dana White acknowledged the issues and promised that it would be better by the next PPV.  Another critique of the UFC PPV.  No rewind.  Also, if you missed a portion of the PPV, you could not immediately turn back to the beginning.  Instead you had to wait for the full replay to be uploaded on the web site.  Finally, one last critique is that ESPN + was noncommittal about how long you could view a broadcast after purchase.

ESPN ratings for the Prelims were yet to be released at the time of this post but one might them to be north of 1 million viewers.

Kelvin Gastelum actually took off his fight shorts in his hurried rush to take off his sweats for the Octagon and had to put them back on before entering the Octagon.

With the main and co-main event being so good, there were some outstanding performances that did not receive the official bonuses.  This includes Brandon Davis, Khalid Taha, Nikita Krylov and a revamped Khalil Rountree.

From December, Max Holloway has his own Reebok, “It is what it is, headband.”

Shaq was a notable attendee at UFC 236 as he was shown in the crowd during the PPV.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 236 although the number may be misleading as some of these numbers are likely due to the inability to order the PPV.

The UFC marketed the co-main and main event with a Game of Thrones-inspired theme with the popular HBO series returning.

Rich Franklin was announced as heading to the UFC Hall of Fame this July.

Conclusion

We would normally give a buy estimate for this PPV but it’s highly unlikely that ESPN releases any numbers related to the buy rate of UFC 236.  If one had to give an educated guess, I would suggest that despite the buy problems for many fans, it still draws 425,000 PPV buys which is very good.  Adesanya is a rising star in the company and Poirier will get more notoriety as he should face Khabib this fall.

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