November 20, 2016
Georges St. Pierre met with Bellator MMA’s Scott Coker on Saturday night during Bellator 165 from San Jose, California. GSP is currently at a contract impasse with the UFC.
St. Pierre’s lawyer targeted next year as a possibility for the former UFC middleweight champion to return to action with the company as they have conceded that negotiations for a return to UFC 206 next month have failed. However, GSP’s presence at the Bellator event fanned the flames that he could jump to Viacom-owned Bellator.
GSP’s legal team has indicated that he has other options outside of the UFC although they did not specify what those could be.
It won’t be that easy for GSP to jump to Bellator unless there is some sort of settlement between the UFC and GSP. Still, it’s likely that the UFC will make a push to renegotiate with GSP in 2017 to keep GSP and ensure he does not leave for a competitor.
November 7, 2016
Bellator 163 drew 507,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings. It’s a decrease of approximately 13% from last month’s show. It’s the lowest ratings for a Bellator show in 2016.
In the main event of the night, Phil Davis captured the Bellator Light Heavyweight title over Liam McGeary.
According to Sports TV Ratings, it drew 254,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
Pretty bad ratings for an otherwise good show. The NBA ruled the night with New York-Chicago and then Golden State-Lakers on ESPN. Still, the 507,000 total viewers have to be disappointing considering there was a title fight on the show. One might infer the indifference MMA fans have toward Bellator based on the fact it’s the lowest rated Bellator show of the year.
October 27, 2016
Bellator 162 last Friday night drew 659,000 viewers in adjusted DVR +3 ratings. Its an increase from the 562,000 viewers in Live + SD.
The event peaked at 956,000 viewers during the main event between Shlemenko and Grove.
The ratings made it the third-highest cable sporting event last Friday night behind two college football games on ESPN.
October 24, 2016
Bellator 162 drew 582,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings. It’s a slight decrease of over 15% from Bellator 161.
In the main event, Alexander Shlemenko defeated Kendall Grove in the main event. According to Sports TV Ratings, it drew 259,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
College Football ruled Friday night with the Oregon-Cal game on ESPN drawing over 1.5 million viewers despite the fact it went into the middle of the night. Prior to that, the South Florida-Temple game drew 1.3 million viewers. While there were some interesting matchups and the first of likely many promos between Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen, there was nothing to tune into that you would have regretted missing.
October 21, 2016
The Boston Globe reports that former Bellator MMA fighter Jordan Parsons was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Parsons, who died after he was struck by a vehicle while as a pedestrian in May of this year is the first known case of an MMA fighter suffering from CTE.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist, disclosed the diagnosis. Dr. Omalu first discovered CTE with former NFL football player Mike Webster after he passed away. It led to the investigation of CTE in other NFL football players and eventually the lawsuits related to the discovery. Dr. Omalu was portrayed by actor Will Smith in the movie, “Concussion.”
Currently, the WWE is defending a lawsuit brought by former contracted wrestlers related to CTE. Of the claims, it believes that the WWE knew of the dangers of performing but allowed its contracted workers to continue with stunts that caused head trauma.
Parsons’ diagnosis is ominous for Bellator and the UFC as they need only look to what has gone on with lawsuits in the NFL, NHL and WWE. Certainly, Parsons is just one case, but it could lead to further investigation with former fighters that might bring legal action against promoters.
October 19, 2016
Bellator’s Scott Coker announced on ESPN’s Sportscenter that Chael Sonnen will take on Tito Ortiz which will headline a show on January 21, 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Sonnen announced his return to the sport last month. He has participated in grappling matches and served as a WSOF color commentator during his time away from active action.
Ortiz has not fought since a submission loss to Liam McGeary in September 2015.
Bellator is getting the same treatment as the UFC as ESPN is giving the Viacom-owned company the same platform to announce major news. Sonnen-Ortiz will have some good promotion leading up to the fight but we will see how much the actual fight will live up to the lead-up. Certainly, the shoulder programming, which we anticipate to be on SpikeTV, should provide some interesting color. We assume that this will be Bellator’s next tent-pole event.
October 18, 2016
The UFC has responded to claims that Georges St-Pierre is a free agent. Not surprisingly, the UFC denies claims that GSP is free from his contractual obligations from the UFC.
On The MMA Hour on Monday, GSP declared that he was a free agent per his attorney. His claim was that the UFC did not provide GSP with a fight and as a result his contract was terminated.
In a prepared statement, the UFC responded later in the day:
“Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his promoter. Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St.-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St.-Pierre do the same.
It looks like we may be heading to a legal dispute over GSP’s contract. The declaration of a terminated contract by GSP was reminiscent to Rampage Jackson’s claim that he was free from Bellator’s contract due to not fulfilling certain things within the contract. As you recall, a lawsuit occurred and was subsequently settled. You can bet that the UFC would oppose GSP from fighting in another organization if it boils down to it. GSP’s lawyers seem confident that there was breach of the contract, and/or an unmet requirement within the contract which allowed for the termination. We will see if the parties can come to a resolution prior to litigation.
September 26, 2016
Bellator Kickboxing drew 287,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night according to Sports TV Ratings.
Friday’s event was live from Budapest, Hungary. In addition, the event which aired from 9:00pm-10:51pm ET drew 105,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.
Bellator went up against College Football on FS1 (USC/Utah) which drew 1.042M viewers. The event was the lowest-rated of the 3 thus far as Bellator is attempting to re-introduce kickboxing to Spike. Thus far, it does not seem to be working.
September 21, 2016
Bellator 161 peaked with 966,000 viewers on Friday per Nielsen. The adjusted viewership with DVR +3 ratings brought the event up to 758,000 viewers.
The Spike telecast was the #3 live sporting event on cable on Friday behind college football.
The event featured Cheick Kongo and Tony Johnson with Kongo taking the victory.
The event drew 686,000 viewers on Spike TV in live plus same day viewership. The DVR+3 ratings represents a 10% increase over the live numbers. The numbers are slightly down from last month’s Bellator show.
September 19, 2016
Bellator 161 drew an average rating of 686,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings. The event ratings represent a slight decrease from last month’s event.
The event which featured Cheick Kongo taking on Tony Johnson drew 330,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. Kongo earned the majority decision over Johnson.
The 2016 average is 736,500 but if you take away the huge tentpole event of 149, it is 642,000. College Football on Friday night was the big sports event on cable with a game between Baylor-Rice drawing 1.454M viewers on ESPN. The viewership looks to be on par with what it has been throughout this year.