Bellator 233 draws 314,000 on The Paramount Network

November 11, 2019

Bellator MMA Live 233 on The Paramount Network drew 314,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event drew a 0.09 rating in the A18-49 demo.

The event featured John Salter taking on Costello van Steenis in a battle of Bellator middleweights.  Salter won via unanimous decision.  The event also saw the last fight involving “King Mo” Lawal as he went down in defeat to Andre Kapel.  Also Arlene Belencowe ousted Leslie Smith via unanimous decision in a battle likely see the winner of Julia Budd-Cris Cyborg this January.

Bellator 314,000 viewers
Bellator 232:  DAZN
Bellator 231: 265,000 viewers
Bellator 230: 202,000 viewers
Bellator 229: 301,000 viewers
Bellator 227: 276,000 viewers
Bellator 226: DAZN
Bellator 225: 285,000 viewers
Bellator 224: 325,000 viewers
Bellator 223: 386,000 viewers
Bellator 222: DAZN
Bellator 221: DAZN
Bellator 220: DAZN
Bellator 219: 307,000 viewers
Bellator 218: 255,000 viewers
Bellator 217: 349,000 viewers
Bellator 216: DAZN
Bellator 215: 365,000 viewers
Bellator 214: 697,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The main card also was available on DAZN which might attribute to some loss of its viewers on terrestrial television as many will watch online.  Yet, the viewership on The Paramount Network has been down in 2019 as compared to the past prior years.

College student, Scrap Pack and Yang Gang member Smith ready for fight

November 7, 2019

As Leslie Smith prepares for what may be a number one contender fight against Arlene Blencowe this Friday in Thackerville, Oklahoma, she has learned to manage her time training and going to school.  Smith is working on her Bachelor of Science in Labor and Employment through online courses via Rutgers University.  She has 60 more credits left to finish her degree and then plans on heading east to New Jersey to study for her Master’s degree in the subject at Rutgers.

Courtesy Bellator MMA

Its well-documented Smith’s interest in labor, employment and the law.  She founded Project Spearhead as a means to organize fighters.  She also filed a grievance against her previous contracted employer, the UFC.  Although her case looked promising, the NLRB reversed course and denied her claims that the UFC was treating its contracted fighters as employees.

“I actually am really happy by the fact that I’m doing it,” Smith said of going back to school.  “It makes me a lot more proud of how I spend my time.”  Smith has been taking online courses, studying, writing papers and managing her training schedule.  “I feel really happy that I’m training my body and my mind.”  She emphasized that school and MMA have helped her prioritize her schedule and manage her time more effectively.

Smith joined Bellator this past summer and debuted with a majority decision victory over Sinead Kavanaugh.   She is now positioned to be in line for a shot at the women’s bantamweight title with a win on Friday night.

Smith did the majority of her training at the El Nino Training Center in Northern California with the Scrap Pack for this fight against Blencowe.  Despite the fact that some of the more famed members were in New York to help prep Nate Diaz for his fight at UFC 244 against Jorge Masvidal, Smith had ample training partners and coaches to get her ready for her fight.

Smith is prepared for a standup fight with Blencowe who enters this contest with two KOs in her last two Bellator fights.   “I’m just working on being me,” Smith added about preparing for the former female boxer, “I’m sharper and tighter and even more dangerous.  My style in general is going to match up well.  She’s never faced somebody like me.”

In her promotional debut, Smith was a little surprised that her opponent didn’t “bring it” the entire time.  “I thought [Kavanaugh] she was going to stand a little more instead of kind of running.”  Smith won the majority decision this past July.

Not only is Smith of the Scrap Pack, she is also a part of the Yang Gang as a staunch supporter of Democratic candidate Andrew Yang for President.

To borrow a phrase from fellow stablemate, Nate Diaz, “I’m not surprised,” Smith said of the popularity of Yang’s campaign.  “I think the freedom dividend will do big things for the economy,” said Smith of Yang’s idea to provide $1,000 a month for each adult American.  “He’s got a lot of people who are smart that are very excited about him.”

Smith introduced Yang at a campaign stop in San Francisco this past March.  Notably, Yang has supported the rights of mixed martial arts fighters in organizing a union or association to advocate for their rights as well as an expansion of the Ali Act to cover mixed martial artists.  Smith spoke passionately about the inequality in the United States noting that the disproportionality of income in the nation is at the same levels as it was in the 1920.  “I feel like a part of that is that a lot of these large companies have figured out how to take advantage of the gig economy.”  “Andrew Yang’s plan is going to be huge for the economy.”

As for the showdown against former boxer Belcowe on Friday, she is ready to stand and bang.  Smith sees that with a win against the Australian, she deserves a shot at Featherweight Julia Budd.  “This is really exciting to be in a promotion that is merit based and get the opportunity to fight for the title.”

Cat Zingano signs with Bellator

October 30, 2019

Former UFC women’s bantamweight title contender Cat Zingano is heading to Bellator.  Zingano signed a multi-fight deal with the Viacom-owned company and will be in the women’s featherweight division.

Zingano was the last woman to defeat Amanda Nunes before her title run, never had her own run at a title.  She has had an injury-plagued, bad-luck stint with the UFC.  The culmination of her career with the company came when she had a title shot at Ronda Rousey’s bantamweight title at UFC 184 in February 2015.  That fight ended in just 14 seconds after a straight armbar submission.

Including that loss, she went 1-4 with the UFC.  Her last loss came against Megan Anderson at UFC 232 in December 2018 when she was accidentally poked in the eye but could not continue with the referee issuing a TKO one minute into the fight.  An appeal of the decision was denied.

Payout Perspective:

A change of scenery may be helpful for Zingano as she joins Leslie Smith as former UFC women fighters entering the featherweight division in Bellator.  Zingano has a dedicated following and one would hope that she is able to turn her fight career around.

Bellator 231 on the Paramount Network draws 265,000 viewers

October 28, 2019

Bellator MMA Live 231 drew 265,000 viewers on The Paramount Network according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

Bellator 231 was the first of two nights of MMA action from The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.  Friday night featured veteran heavyweights Frank Mir and Roy Nelson.  Mir won the bout albeit not very entertaining.

The event aired on The Paramount Network as well as DAZN.  The prelims of Friday’s event aired on the Bellator App.

Bellator 231: 265,000 viewers
Bellator 230: 202,000 viewers
Bellator 229: 301,000 viewers
Bellator 227: 276,000 viewers
Bellator 226: DAZN
Bellator 225: 285,000 viewers
Bellator 224: 325,000 viewers
Bellator 223: 386,000 viewers
Bellator 222: DAZN
Bellator 221: DAZN
Bellator 220: DAZN
Bellator 219: 307,000 viewers
Bellator 218: 255,000 viewers
Bellator 217: 349,000 viewers
Bellator 216: DAZN
Bellator 215: 365,000 viewers
Bellator 214: 697,000 viewers

Payout Perspective: 

I’ll be honest, I did not know that Friday’s event aired on DAZN only.  Based on the ratings, it appears that everyone else is tuning in on the app and not the network which doesn’t bode well for the network ratings.  While Friday’s event did better ratings than Bellator 230, it doesn’t say much.  With the main event being between two former UFC heavyweights, one might have though you would get more of a viewership audience.  Alas, it seems that most casuals that knew of the fight, did not want to tune in.

New responsibilities, newborn child and new Bellator contract, Nick Newell looks to keep momentum going

October 22, 2019

With a 10-month-old boy at home, two gyms to manage and training for an upcoming fight, Nick Newell is a busy man.  Yet, with all that’s going on, he’s embracing the responsibilities of being a new father. Newell (16-2 overall, 1-0 in Bellator) is on the main card of this week’s Bellator 232 event against Manny Muro this Saturday.

Newell admitted in a phone interview with MMA Payout that he’s not the best at changing diapers deferring to his wife, but he’s getting there.  One of the learning experiences of changing diapers–he had poop on him and didn’t even notice it.  While Newell is honing in on his diaper skills, his MMA skills had him secure a 4-fight deal with Bellator.

The 33-year-old fight fight veteran has a lot going on in his life.  He now owns two gyms where he deals with the day-to-day things that come up in a business, trains and teaches classes and tries to spend time with his young son.  “I literally never stop,” said Newell.

In the first fight of his four-fight deal with Bellator, Newell is in a good place with the promotion and Scott Coker.  “Bellator is a fighters’ first organization,” Newell added, “They have always worked with me and been super helpful and great to me and have treated me well and not just as a novelty act.”  After what one might call an audition with the Viacom-owned Bellator this summer in which he passed with another submission victory on his record, the organization gave him a deal that could have him a mainstay for the company.

Newell is training out of his two gyms, Fighting Arts Academy, in West Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts.  In addition to his set of coaches, he’s brought in a couple more to get ready for his first fight under his new deal.

Although he believes that his opponent Manny Muro is a “well-rounded” fighter Newell is looking to end the matchup early.  I want to “get it done as fast as I can.” Of his 16 wins, Newell has 13 via stoppage (2 KOs and 11 submissions).  Muro, who has one Bellator fight under his belt (a win in 2017), won his last bout on the regional circuit this past June.  But, prior to that he had dropped three in a row all by stoppages.  Newell look to add a fourth straight stoppage to Muro’s record.

Newell’s arm-triangle choke of Corey Browning in the very 1st round this past August showed Bellator what many observers knew, he’s a beast of a fighter with a top-notch submission game.

Despite losing a unanimous decision to Alex Munoz last July, only his second of his career, during Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Newell has moved on from trying to fight for the UFC a goal.  He proved to Bellator that he could be an exciting fighter that could make a run at a championship like he did in the World Series of Fighting.

He’s also keeps himself prepared to fight at a moment’s notice as with this fight being an example.  “The honest truth was that I wasn’t tired of training and training hard.  I just wanted to hang out with my son,” said Newell of his fight schedule and his initial thoughts of taking time off after his August fight.  But, Newell believes that being busy is a good thing.  Newell said that he has breakfast with his wife, who works as a speech pathologist and his son and then leaves for the gym around 9 in the morning and does not return home until 10:30pm at night.  Newell’s wife does the “brunt of the work” although they do have help to watch their son from family.

If all goes well after this fight, Newell would like to spend some time to be there with his son although he’s always there to answer the call if Scott Coker were to ask.  Yet, he does want to dedicate time to be a dad and with the new security of a fight deal with Bellator, he could do just that. The Connecticut-native looks to make it two in a row this Saturday night at Bellator 232.

Bellator MMA 230 draws 202,000 on Paramount Network

October 15, 2019

Bellator MMA 230 on the Paramount Network Saturday night scored 202,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast featured Rafael Carvalho as he took on Vadim Nemkov in a light heavyweight bout.  Nemkov submitted Carvalho who was making his debut at light heavyweight.  The event took place from Milan, Italy.

Bellator 230:  202,000 viewers

Bellator 229:  301,000 viewers

Bellator 227:  276,000 viewers

Bellator 226:  DAZN

Bellator 225:  285,000 viewers

Bellator 224:  325,000 viewers

Bellator 223:  386,000 viewers

Bellator 222:  DAZN

Bellator 221:  DAZN

Bellator 220:  DAZN

Bellator 219:  307,000 viewers

Bellator 218:  255,000 viewers

Bellator 217:  349,000 viewers

Bellator 216:  DAZN

Bellator 215:  365,000 viewers

Bellator 214:  697,000 viewers

(does not include DVR + 3 ratings)

Payout Perspective:

Ratings for the Bellator telecast this past Saturday were very low as has been the norm for its overseas events.  One Championship’s airing on TNT later on Saturday actually fared better.  Bellator on Paramount Network is averaging below 400,000 viewers per telecast as it seems that most viewers are tuning into DAZN to watch DAZN events rather than Paramount.

Fedor-Rampage announced for December 29 show in Japan

October 9, 2019

Bellator announced it will hold an event in Japan at the Saitama Super Arena and it will be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko taking on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  The official name of the event is “Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage, powered by RIZIN”.  The event takes place on December 29 on the Paramount Network in the United States.

With RIZIN’s name associated with the event, it appears that the show will be a cross promotion although its too early to speculate if there will be matches between the promotions.  The event poster does state Bellator vs. Rizin so that might answer my question.  Both, Emelianenko and Jackson made their names while in Pride and this event evokes memories of a time gone by. While you might guarantee the pomp and circumstance prior to the event, will this main event produce inside the ring?

The 43-year-old Emelianenko’s last fight was a loss this past January at Bellator 214 to Ryan Bader in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Final.  Prior to that, Fedor had victories over Chael Sonnen and Frank Mir to advance in the grand prix.  Jackson’s last appearance was over a year ago with a win over Wanderlei Silva.  Prior to that, he was on a two-fight losing streak.

A press conference was held in Japan to announce the event.

Payout Perspective:

This event will bring back memories of Pride and many will reminisce about the times that Fedor and Rampage ruled that promotion.  But this is 2019 and we will see if these two will be ready for this event.  Will be interesting to see what type of card is put together as this seems to be in place of the usual Japan card around New Year’s Eve.

Pitbull leads Bellator 228 Payous Saturday

September 30, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payouts from Saturday’s Bellator event at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  Patricio Freire led the roster of payouts with $200,000.  Main eventers Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida earned $150,000 each for their fight which Mousasi won via split decision.

Via the California State Athletic Commission:

James Barnes  $2,250 def

David Duran  $2,250


Joshua Jones $2,000 def

Dominic Clark $2,000

Weber Almeida  $6,000 def

Castle Williams  $2,000


Leandro Higo $14,000 def

Shawn Bunch  $13,000


Mike Jasper $10,000 def

Johnny Cisneros  $4,000

Antonio McKee $25,000 def

William Sriyapai  $5,000


Ava Knight  $10,000 def

Shannon Goughary  $3,000


Al Agazarm  $14,000 def

Jonathan Quiroz  $2,000


Ian Butler  $1,500 def

Emilio Williams  $1,200


Ozzy Diaz  $1,500 def

Andre Walker  $1,500


Benji Gomez  $1,500 def

Johnny Santa Maria  $2,000


Adrian Najera  $1,200 def

Jason Edwards  $1,200


Daniel Weichel  $40,000 def.

Saul Rogers  $20,000


Darrion Caldwell $125,000 def

Henry Corrales  $30,000


AJ McKee $50,000 def

Georgi Karakhanyan  $30,000


Patrico Freire  $200,000 def.

Juan Archuleta  $75,000


Cyborg signs with Bellator

September 3, 2019

Bellator announced the signing of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino on Tuesday.  According to the promotion, it’s the largest contract in women’s MMA history although financial details were not disclosed.

Cyborg will compete in the women’s 145-pound weight class according to Bellator’s press release announcing the signing.  The contract is a multi-year, multi-fight contract.

Cyborg’s last fight in the UFC was this past July at UFC 240 against Felicia Spencer.  Dana White announced that it would not resign the former champion and the company waived its 90-day exclusive period for negotiating a new contract.

Payout Perspective:

The writing seemed to be on the wall for Cyborg as the UFC did not want her anymore.  Moving to Bellator will bring some notoriety to the women’s division that includes former opponent Leslie Smith.  But Cyborg’s signing should infuse some energy into the women’s division which has not been heavily promoted.  It is interesting that Bellator announced the signing as the largest in women’s MMA history considering the pay received by Ronda Rousey.

Bellator posts lowest Paramount Network ratings in 2019 this past weekend

August 29, 2019

Bellator 225 which took place on Saturday night drew just 285,000 viewers on Paramount according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event, which also aired on DAZN, featured heavyweights Matt Mitrone and Sergei Kharitonov.  The former Strikeforce fighter won via TKO via the former TUF competitor in the second round.  The event drew an overall share of just 0.09.

Per Jed I. Goodman, here are the Paramount Network ratings for the 2019 events:

Bellator 224 325k

Bellator 223 386k

Bellator 222 DAZN

Bellator 221 DAZN

Bellator 220 DAZN

Bellator 219 307k

Bellator 218 255k

Bellator 217 349k

Bellator 216 DAZN

Bellator 215 365k

Bellator 214 697k

Bellator did go up against PBC on FS1 which drew 345,000 viewers.  But the boxing telecast started after the MMA telecast.

Payout Perspective:

With a Bellator average on The Paramount Network at 325,000 viewers, one has to hope more viewers are on DAZN watching the events.  Granted, it was the start of College Football and the end of NFL Preseason which has many sports fans interested in the sport than MMA.  With this card having little interest, the ratings were likely expected.

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