May 2, 2016
MMA Junkie reports that Kimbo Slice has settled with the athletic commission in Texas after having failed a drug test. Slice agreed to a $2,500 fine and have his license to fight in the state revoked.
As part of the settlement, Slice agreed to waive his right to a hearing. He is expected to remain in compliance with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
In addition, the fight with Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 has been ruled a no-contest. Slice had defeated Dada 5000 by TKO in one of the highest-rated, yet one of the ugliest MMA fights put on Spike TV.
A post-fight drug test revealed that Slice had used the anabolic steroid nandrolone. A urine test also revealed elevated T/E ratio.
Slice originally was offered a settlement of $4,000 fine and license revocation.
Notably, Bellator scheduled Slice for its July tent pole event prior to the settlement with Texas.
The harshest outcome coming out of Slice’s settlement is the revocation of his Texas license. Not because he will never fight in Texas, but because he may find it hard to fight in U.S. jurisdictions where commissions follow the Association of Boxing Commissions. If Slice ever fights in the U.S., he may be subject to an athletic commission hearing prior to receiving a license to fight. Notwithstanding this issue, Slice’s penalty seems like a slap on the wrist.
April 29, 2016
Bellator Kickboxing last Friday drew an average rating of 346,000 on Spike TV per Nielsen. The debut of the promotion’s kickboxing followed Bellator 153.
Notably, per Nielsen the first hour of Bellator Kickboxing averaged 464,000 viewers and peaked with 730,000.
The debut of Bellator’s foray into kickboxing promotion did well considering it was late at night following a two hour plus Bellator card. The broadcast did slightly lower than the average for Glory on Spike TV (in 13 events on the network, it averaged 426,000 viewers). We shall see if Bellator can fare better than Glory did on Spike.
April 29, 2016
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the Nevada Athletic Commission will require all licensed fighters to undergo regular brain health testing. Arizona senator John McCain, Spike TV President Kevin Kay and Bellator MMA President Scott Coker were present with an announcement occurring on Capitol Hill.
The Cleveland Clinic will assess the athletes using its iPad app that can help detect the symptoms of concussions.
Senator McCain spoke with MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas regarding the announcement. He also indicated that he would be in favor of extending the Muhammad Ali Act to MMA.
For those that did not know, Senator McCain was the original sponsor of the Ali Act.
This is a step in the right direction for the sport as we see that the continued advances in science and technology helping detect brain injury. As for Senator McCain’s comments, I understand the sentiment and the rationale for extending the Ali Act to MMA. The question is whether the law, as presently drafted, is living up to the intent of what it hoped to accomplished. While Bellator may be behind amending the Ali Act, the UFC appears to not have the same position on this subject.
April 28, 2016
We have an update on the ratings from Bellator 153 last Friday night. According to Nielsen, the Benson Henderson’s promotional debut against Andrey Koreshkov drew 973,000 viewers peaking at over 1 million.
The fight, which aired between 10:13-11:00pm ET, on Spike TV Friday night drew 973,000 peaking with 1.1 million viewers at 10:57pm.
It should be noted that Bellator 153 saw a jump in viewership once the NBA Playoff game between the Pistons and Cavaliers ended. Per Nielsen, Bellator viewership on Spike TV jumped from 495,000 to 753,000 viewers.
The Cleveland/Detroit game was the second-highest rated game of the night next to the San Antonio/Memphis game which preceded it on ESPN. While we probably should not draw a direct correlation between NBA viewers and Bellator viewers, it is interesting to note the spike of viewers tuning into Spike TV. Despite his loss, the 973,000 viewers and over 1 million peak viewership is good news for the debut of Benson Henderson and Bellator. It shows that the former UFC lightweight champ is still a draw.
April 25, 2016
Bellator 153 drew 618,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV according to Sports TV Ratings. The rating is a modest 6% increase from last week’s tape delayed show Saturday night from Italy.
The main event was the highly anticipated promotional debut of Benson Henderson. Unfortunately, the former UFC lightweight champion was dominated by current welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov.
The sports cable landscape was dominated by the NBA Playoffs Friday night as 2.6M viewers each watched the Pistons-Cavs and Spurs-Grizzlies on Friday night on ESPN. Each game overlapped with the Bellator event.
Bellator 153 also drew 287,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
One would have hoped for a better rating with Benson Henderson’s debut. You would have also hoped for a better fight from Henderson but Koreshkov was just better at 170. Excluding Bellator 149’s tentpole rating of 1.96M viewers, the average viewership this year over 5 events is 653,000 viewers.
April 19, 2016
Bellator 152 drew an average of 580,000 viewers on Spike TV Saturday according to Sports TV Ratings. It was the first Bellator event overseas as the card took place in Turin, Italy.
In the main event of the broadcast, Patricky Frieire defeated Eimilson Souza.
The event, which lasted from 8:00-10:02pm PT, drew 271,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
Saturday night’s ratings reflect a 25% decrease from Bellator 151.
The event occurred on a busy night for sports as it went up against playoff basketball and hockey. In addition, there was the replay of Pacquiao-Bradley (which drew 750,000 subscribers) and UFC on Fox earlier on in the evening. MMA Payout will have more on the ratings later this week.
April 18, 2016
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from UFC on Fox 19 this past Saturday. Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans topped the roster.
The Florida State Boxing Commission released the disclosed payouts from this weekend’s fights.
Via MMA Junkie:
Glover Teixeira: $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
def. Rashad Evans: $150,000
Rose Namajunas: $86,000 (includes $43,000 win bonus)
def. Tecia Torres: $20,000
Khabib Nurmagomedov: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Darrell Horcher: $12,000
Cub Swanson: $88,000 (includes $44,000 win bonus)
def. Hacran Dias: $16,000
Michael Chiesa: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Beneil Dariush: $28,000
Raquel Pennington: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Bethe Correia: $25,000
Santiago Ponzinibbio: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Court McGee: $27,000
Michael Graves: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Randy Brown: $12,000
John Dodson: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Manny Gamburyan: $33,000
Cezar Ferreira: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Oluwale Bamgbose: $12,000
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Omari Akhmedov: $18,000
Rashad’s last officially reported salary was at UFC 167 in November 2013 when he made $125K and $125K. Notably, his show salary has gone up to $150,000. Teixeira’s salary should continue to rise with this win.
April 17, 2016
Despite failing a drug test in Texas, Bellator’s Scott Coker announced on ESPN that Kimbo Slice will face James Thompson on July 16 at London’s The O2 as part of Bellator 158. The co-main event will feature Josh Koscheck-Paul Daley II.
Slice-Thompson first met in EliteXC with Kimbo inning via TKO after blowing up Thompson’s cauliflower ear.
The news is unexpected considering the regulating body in Texas announced that Slice tested positive for the steroid nandrolone after his fight with Dada 5000 on February 19 in Houston. Coker revealed that Slice was suspended 90 days (although nothing has been made official by Texas) which would mean Slice would be available in July.
There are a couple angles to this announcement and the subsequent fallout. The first is that Bellator MMA is getting ample time on ESPN to make fight announcements. While Coker could have made the announcement on Spike TV, like Dana White, he went with the network that would appeal to the broadest audience. Similarly, ESPN wants to have these types of announcements on their network to include an MMA audience.
As for the fight, Slice-Thompson and Koscheck-Daley are neither compelling or compulsory. While I do not deny that Bellator will do a good job in making you want to see this spectacle, one has to wonder if it will produce in the ring.
With respect to the lack of news on the suspension, this is an issue for Bellator and the governing bodies that regulate them. Clearly, not good PR for Bellator to announce the next fight for a guy that was last found guilty of using PEDs (especially after the fight he put on while using). After Bellator 127 when 4 fighters tested positive for banned substances, Coker noted that under his management, the company would not tolerate it. Notably, in a 2014 press release, Coker indicated “Bellator will simply not stand for performance enhancing drugs inside our cage.” So, the questions should linger about why Bellator, a company that said it would be strict on PED-users, gives Slice the main spot on its July tent-pole event.
April 1, 2016
The World Series of Fighting has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire the New York City-based MMA World Expo. The organization said that it plans to stage a series of bouts at the Javits Center in Manhattan this December.
Via WSOF press release:
“This is a very exciting and momentous time for our great sport, so we could not be more thrilled to take significant steps towards becoming owners of the MMA World Expo, which has been consistently delivering an incredible fan experience for the last six years and which will make for a great home for live World Series of Fighting action at a landmark location in Manhattan,” said World Series of Fighting CEO Carlos Silva.
In anticipation of New York legalizing professional mixed martial arts in the state, WSOF opened a satellite office in midtown Manhattan late last year.
The acquisition makes sense considering that MMA in New York is now legal. It could have been something that the company had been eyeing for a while. The Expo is an event that WSOF could build around as one of the organization’s “big” events of the year. We will see how the execution plays out.
April 1, 2016
Spike TV announced that it is launching a new marketing campaign around the network’s sports programming. The campaign dubbed, “Fighters First” seeks to promote the fighters as individual brands.
It can be viewed as a slight at the UFC which has shown its brand is bigger than its fighters, the campaign highlights the fighter in the spotlight.
Via Spike press release:
From shoulder programming specials that run on Spike to digital features that showcase the fighters’ lives outside the ring – Spike is dedicated to serving fight fans by focusing on letting the fighters become the stars.
Spike puts fighters first in other ways – from supporting up and coming fighters who are military veterans with our VOW initiative to our continued support of the Cleveland Clinic’s renowned study on Fighters Brain Health – Spike puts fighters first inside and outside of the ring.
Spike Sports’ “Fighters First” launches on Friday, April 1 in the 2016 premiere PBC event.
The obvious takeaway from this is that the initiative will distinguish itself from the UFC and serve as a promotional tool for fighters in the rival company that Bellator is much more receptive to fighters than the rules set in place by the UFC. Certainly, this should help promote Bellator as well as PBC fighters who are relatively anonymous aside from a handful.