Show Money Episode 8 talks MMA Free Agency, PBC and more

February 8, 2016

We’re back with Episode 8 of Show Money.  Myself and Bloody Elbow’s John Nash and Paul Gift talk MMA Free Agency, the state of PBC, the Conor effect, the UFC lawsuit and more…


Bellator 148 draws 566,000 viewers

February 1, 2016

Bellator MMA 148 drew 566,000 viewers on Friday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event is off approximately 18% from the last Bellator event this past December.

The event on Friday featured Paul Daley in his first round KO of Andy Uhrich.  His quick work sets up his fight with Josh Koscheck nicely.

Bellator 148 – 566,000 viewers

In other ratings, the UFC Weigh-Ins for UFC on Fox 18 which aired from 7-8pm ET drew 156,000 viewers according to Sports TV Ratings.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator actually did better in ratings than any live cable sports programming on Friday outside of the Australian Open Women’s Final on ESPN.  It outdid the X Games on ESPN which drew 544,000 viewers.  Notably, the X Games was a 4-hour block which started at 7:00pm and went until 11:00pm.  The ratings are below 2015 levels as last year averaged approximately 749,000 viewers.  Of course, this is just one event with a big tentpole event due in a couple weeks.

Despite ban, Shlemenko to fight in Russia

January 23, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that former Bellator middleweight Alexander Shlemenko is slated to fight in Russia despite a three-ban by the California State Athletic Commission for alleged steroid use.

Last June, Shlemenko was suspended 3 years and fined $10,000 by the California State Atheltic Commission.  It was the harshest penalty against an MMA fighter since it began regulating the sport.

Shlemenko filed a lawsuit in California seeking judicial review of the commission ruling.  The case is stil ongoing, but Shlemenko believed that he could no longer wait on a determination and took the fight in Russia for the M-1 Global promotion.  According to a report from Bloody Elbow, Shlemenko stated that Bellator gave him written permission to fight for M-1.

The CSAC indicated that it would not take further administrative action against Shlemenko since it had no jurisdiction.  It is not known whether the CSAC would use Shlemenko’s decision to fight elsewhere in the court case.

Payout Perspective:

At the age of 31, you can understand why Shlemenko is seeking somewhere to continue his career.  Despite being banned by the CSAC, one had to know that this would be a possibility with a 3 year ban.  The inevitable return of Shlemenko reflects the fact that a state commission’s reach when banning fighters can only be so far.  Even if Shlemenko were to lose his court case, it’s clear that a fighter can find other promotions to continue fighting if the promotion is willing.

15 for 15: No. 10 Bellator’s successful tentpole events

December 23, 2015

Following up on a successful tentpole event in November 2014, Bellator held a three more tent pole events on SpikeTV.  Overall, the events and ratings have been a success.

Shamrock-Kimbo, St. Louis, MO, June 2015 – The long-awaited fight that was supposed to take place in EliteXC, but due to a Ken Shamrock injury, Seth Petruzelli stepped in and we all know the rest.  From an outsider’s point of view, one would think that this fight between two men well over 40 would not be of interest.  However, the ratings told otherwise as Shamrock-Kimbo drew the biggest ratings for any Bellator MMA event including the Ortiz-Bonnar show from November 2014.  It averaged 1.58 million viewers and the main event drew 2.1 million viewers.  In comparison, Ortiz-Bonnar drew 1.24 million viewers overall with the main event grabbing 1.8 million viewers.

Dynamite I, San Jose, CA, September 2015 – In collaboration with Glory Kickboxing, Bellator MMA held an event with both a kickboxing ring and an MMA cage side-by-side which had many long-time combat sports fans thinking of Japanese events from the past.  The event drew 800,000 viewers which was very good although some believed that the mix of kickboxing diminished the overall product.

Bellator 145: Straus-Pitbull, St. Louis, MO November 2015 -Although this event did not have as much fanfare of any of the other tent pole events, it drew 814,000 viewers as it exceeded the ratings of Dynamite I and was the third highest show this season.

The tentpole events have worked in generating a higher number of viewers for its special events.  Moreover, the Ken-Kimbo showdown drew a big number and it still shows that Kimbo Slice is still a draw.  Bellator will look to him again as they’ve pitted him against Dada 5000 for its February 2016 tentpole event.

UPDATED: Bellator 147 draws 656,000 viewers

December 7, 2015

Bellator 147 drew an average viewership of 656,000 on Spike TV on Friday night.  In the main event Josh Thomson defeated Pablo Villaseca.

UPDATED 12/08/15:  The event peaked at 833,000 viewers at 11:03pm.

The NBA on ESPN featuring LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the New Orleans Pelicans were the tops in sports cable ratings on Friday night.  The NBA game aired from 9:35-12:32am ET while Bellator’s event aired from 9-11:18pm ET.Bellator 2015

Bellator Ratings Date
135 607,000 3/27/2015
136 655,000 4/10/2015
137 594,000 5/15/2015
138 1,580,000 6/19/2015
139 764,000 6/26/2015
140 722,000 7/17/2015
141 666,000 8/28/2015
142 800,000 9/21/2015
143 669,000 9/28/2015
144 555,000 10/23/2015
145 814,000 11/6/2015
146 650,000 11/20/2015
147 656,000 12/4/2015

The promotion has averaged 749,000 viewers on Spike TV since the network began to promote its Friday Night’s as the combat sports night.  Since then, Glory is no longer on the network and PBC events have not garnered strong ratings.

Payout Perspective:

Friday’s event was slightly better than Bellator 146.  The card did not feature big names but maintained steady ratings as 2015 comes to a close.

Bellator announces events outside US in ’16

November 17, 2015

Bellator MMA has announced that it will hold events outside of the United States in 2016.  The company announced that it will be going to London, Tel Aviv and Italy in a press release sent out on Tuesday.

It will be the first time that Bellator MMA will hold events outside of North America.

The London event will be held at the O2 arena and broadcast live on Channel 5 in the UK and Spike UK will broadcast the prelims live in the UK.  Spike TV in the US will air the main card on tape delay.

According to the press release, live Bellator events are average 872,000 viewers in 2015 with a 17% increase in the M18-49 demo over last year.

Payout Perpsective:

The announcement marks the first time that Bellator will attempt to expand its footprint globally.  The events should help with the visibility of its product abroad as it will seek to extend its broadcast reach.  We will see if one or more of these events end up being a tentpole feature.  One might suspect the London show to be big.

Bellator 145 draws 814,000 viewers

November 9, 2015

Bellator 145, the quarterly tentpole event for the organization, drew an average of 814,000 viewers Friday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.  It was a slight increase over September tentpole event, Bellator: Dynamite 1.

The event aired Friday night from 9:oopm-12:27am ET.  It went up against the NBA on ESPN Friday night.

In the main event, Daniel Straus defeated Patricio Freire and in the co-main event Will Brook defeated Marcin Held.

Bellator 145

Bellator TV 2015
Overnight Peak
Bellator 132 767,000 1,200,000
Bellator 133 565,000 967,000
Bellator 134 872,000 1,200,000
Bellator 135 607,000 922,000
Bellator 136 655,000 900,000
Bellator 137 594,000 768,000
Bellator 138 1,580,000 2,100,000
Bellator 139 764,000 988,000
Bellator 140 722,000 977,000
Bellator 141 666,000 929,000
Bellator 142 800,000 930,000
Bellator 143 669,000 885,000
Belaltor 144 555,000 823,000
Bellator 145 814,000

Payout Perspective:

Let’s not blame Bellator: Dynamite 1 on Glory.  But, Bellator 145, with less promotion, drew a better rating than September’s hyped showcase.  Notably, on a local sports radio station in Seattle, Hershel Walker did an interview promoting Bellator 145 which aired 15 minutes before the event started.  While it was a great interview and promotion for the organization, Walker seemed to use just the last names of fighters on the card as if he didn’t have a “one sheet” with who he was trying to promote.

The good news is that the “tentpole” strategy is working.  This year all Bellator tentpole events have drawn over 800,000 viewers this season.

GLORY-SpikeTV part ways

October 27, 2015

MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas reports that GLORY Kickboxing will no longer be seen on SpikeTV. The promotion’s run which started in November 2013, has come to an end.

The decision to end the relationship was not sudden according to the report as the two sides had been in talks, but it appears that each has allowed the contractual terms to air Glory on Spike TV to end.

Along with PBC and Bellator, GLORY Kickboxing was to be one of the anchors for Friday night combat sports on the network as Spike branded the trio, “Friday Night Lights Out.”  The programming has had mixed results since its inception this past March.

One might look to the sagging ratings as a reason that the network and the promotion have split ways.

Glory Ratings on Spike
Glory 11 381,000
Glory 12 476,000
Glory 13 659,000
Glory 14 495,000
Glory 15 354,000
Glory 16 498,000
Glory 17 487,000
Glory 18 352,000
Glory 19 542,000
Glory 20 359,000
Glory 21 488,000
Glory 22 152,000
Glory 23 295,000

Glory 23

MMA Payout has reached out to representatives from GLORY and will update this report if and when it becomes available.

Payout Perspective:

Ratings just did not pick up for the kickboxing organization.  Even the joint show with Bellator this past September did not give much of a boost for GLORY.  In fact, there was speculation that Bellator did not help Glory enough with the promotion of its fights on the Dynamite 1 card.  Looking at the ratings on the network, there was no signs of improvement.  GLORY’s next show will be seen on its web site.  In the past, it had aired on CBS Sports Network but as of now there are no US TV deals in the offing for the company.

Bellator 143: 669,000 viewers

September 28, 2015

Bellator 143 drew an average of 669,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.  It’s 17% decrease from Bellator’s tent pole event last week but was a slight increase from Bellator 141.

UPDATED 09/29/15 – Per Nielsen source, the peak occurred during Beltran/Grove match which drew 885K viewers at 10:25pm.  The main event drew an average of 777K viewers.

In the main event, Joe Warren defeated L.C. Davis by unanimous decision.  The event aired from 9-11:13pm ET.

Bellator TV 2015
Overnight Peak
Bellator 132 767,000 1,200,000
Bellator 133 565,000 967,000
Bellagtor 134 872,000 1,200,000
Bellator 135 607,000 922,000
Bellator 136 655,000 900,000
Bellator 137 594,000 768,000
Bellator 138 1,580,000 2,100,000
Bellator 139 764,000 988,000
Bellator 140 722,000 977,000
Bellator 141 666,000
Bellator 142 800,000 867,000
Bellator 143 669,000  885,000

Bellator 143

A college football game between Boise St and Virginia drew 1.752M viewers on ESPN on Friday night won the night.

Payout Perspective:

There was another college football game on FS1 which likely seeped away viewers from Bellator’s show.  The average viewership for 2015 is at 771,000 viewers while in non-tent pole shows it is at 688,000.

Bellator Dynamite quarter hour breakdown and DVR +3 ratings

September 25, 2015

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the quarter hour ratings for this past Saturday’s Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 on Spike TV.  It also has learned that the DVR +3 rating has bumped up the initial overnight rating of 800,000 up to 867,000.

The show peaked at 9:14pm ET which means that people tuned into the start of the show.

Fight #1

King Mo def. Linton Vassell via 2 Round decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #2

Phil Davis def Emanuel Newton via submission, Round 1

(1.1 million viewers)

Fight #3

Keri Melendez def Hadley Griffith via 3 Round decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #4
Paul Daley def Fernando Gonzalez via 3 round Decision

(1.0 million viewers)

Fight #5

Josh Thomson def. Mike Bronzoulis via submission, Round 3

(909k viewers)

Fight #6

Saulo Cavalari def Zack Mwekassa via 5 round decision

(881k viewers)

Fight #7

Phil Davis def. Francis Carmont via KO round 1

(782k viewers)

Fight #8

Liam McGeary def. Tito Ortiz via submission, Round 1

(891k viewers)

Payout Perspective:

The DVR ratings reflect less of an increase from the two prior tent-pole events.

Bellator 141 overnight (Live +SD): 800K; DVR +3: 867K

Bellator 138 overnight (Live +SD): 1.6M; DVR +3: 1.7M

Bellator 131 overnight (Live +SD): 1.24M; DVR +3: 1.4M

Perhaps college football did contributed to less viewers last week.  Of course, Bellator 131 went up against a UFC show and college football.

The individual ratings reveal that at least two of the kickboxing matches drew 1 million viewers but there was a decrease in viewership of the MMA match that occurred after the kickboxing match.  Not sure if we can draw any conclusions that MMA and kickboxing do not mix or just an anomaly.  What is interesting, and maybe concerning, is that viewership decreased over the courtse of the broadcast.  Usually peak viewership occurs toward the end of an event as many tune in for the main event.  However, the conclusion of the light heavyweight tournament and the McGeary-Ortiz fight were watched less than the opening fights.

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