Bellator 124 Live +3 scores over 1.4M

September 18, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the Live +3 numbers (also known as DVR plus 3) increased Friday’s Bellator ratings to 836,000 viewers with a peak viewership of 1.429 viewers.

23 minutes of the Bellator 124 on Spike TV had an average audience of 1 million viewers.

Bellator 123:  667,000 viewers, peak 979,000; Live +3: 777,000 viewers, peak 1.193 million

Bellator 124:  771,000 viewers, peak —-; Live +3 836,000 viewers, peak 1.429 million

via MMA Payout

via MMA Payout

The increase in ratings reflects a positive uptick for this season.  The 1.4 million viewers is the best viewership its had on SpikeTV.

Bellator 124 peak over 1.2M

September 16, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the peak viewership for Bellator 124 this past Friday was 1,271,000.

Bellator MMA Live Season 11

Bellator 123:  667,000 viewers, peak 979,000; Live +3: 777,000 viewers, peak 1.193 million

Bellator 124:  771,000 viewers, peak 1,271,000

Bellator 11th Season

Payout Perspective:

According to the information we have the actual peak came at 10:13pm which I believe occurred prior to the main event.  Notably, the live viewership peak is already better than the Live +3 day peak from last week.

Bellator appoints Chief Operating Officer

September 16, 2014

Bellator MMA has announced the appointment of Jason Jordan as Chief Operating Officer for the company.  Jordan will report to Scott Coker per a company press release.

According to the Bellator release, Jordan will oversee all financial and operational aspects of the business, manage corporate strategy and business development efforts, define and evaluate new growth opportunities,

Via Bellator press release:

“As Bellator continues to evolve into a premier mixed martial franchise, we are thrilled to join forces with such a dynamic and strategic leader with an incredibly comprehensive background in major entertainment brands such as Viacom and Disney,” said Coker.

Jordan’s role expands from Senior Vice President, Digital Operations, Strategy & Finance, Viacom Entertainment Group, where he is responsible for the fiscal management of the digital activities of the Viacom Entertainment Group’s portfolio of brands, including Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land and South Park.

Prior to joining Viacom, Jordan was the Chief Financial Officer of IFILM Corp, which was sold to MTVN in 2005.  Before that Jordan ran Business Development at an action sports production company and played an integral role in Corporate Strategic Planning Department of The Walt Disney Company, where he assessed business opportunities in the television, theatrical, music, and online spaces.

Jordan holds a Masters of Science degree in Operations Research and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Both degrees are from Stanford University. Jordan is an avid athlete and sports fan and competed on the crew team in college.

Payout Perspective:

From what we understand, it’s still too early to tell at this point whether there are new strategic initiatives on the horizon with Jordan’s appointment.  It does appear that Bellator is looking to broaden its base of viewers as Jordan has an extensive entertainment background and it is looking for new input in how to do this.

Bellator 124: 771,000 viewers

September 15, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the second event in Bellator MMA Live’s season 11 this past Friday received a viewership of 771,000 viewers.

Bellator MMA Live Season 11

Bellator 123:  667,000 viewers, peak 979,000; Live +3: 777,000 viewers, peak 1.193 million

Bellator 124:  771,000 viewers 

Payout Perspective:

If you want to compare this to last season, the second event in Bellator’s 10th season (Bellator 111) did 653,000 viewers. Bellator 124 ratings improved 16% from the season debut which is a promising sign.  It was another spinning back fist which Emmanuel Newton used to put down Joey Beltran in the main event.  The overnight viewership average so far for Season 11 is 719,000 viewers.

Bellator 123 Live + 3 rating: 777,000

September 10, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Bellator MMA Live’s season 11 premiere on Friday received a viewership of 777,000 viewers including Live + 3 Day data.  Including the additional numbers, the peak of the telecast was 1.193 million viewers.

Previously, the peak was reported at 979,000 viewers at 8:34pm of the telecast on Spike TV.

Bellator MMA Live Season 11

Bellator 123:  667,000 viewers, peak 979,000; Live +3: 777,000 viewers, peak 1.193 million

Payout Perspective:

Season 10 averaged a little over 668,000 viewers so this season’s viewership is right in line with last season.  But, if you factor in that Bellator had stiff competition with the UFC on Friday and the fact that its peak viewership is over 1 million and you can argue that viewership is trending up.  Last season saw peak viewership hitting over 1 million on several occasions.  But, can Bellator continue an upward trend without its more known fighters on the card.  We will see this Friday with Newton-Beltran as the headliner.

Ortiz-Bonnar promo launches fight announcement

September 7, 2014

Bellator MMA announced its first big event under the Scott Coker regime with Tito Ortiz facing Stephan Bonnar on Saturday, November 15th.  The event was promoted on Friday’s Bellator 123 telecast with an in ring promo that was reminiscent of pro wrestling.

The Bonnar-Ortiz segment can be seen here. It features a man in a mask and the requisite fighter pull apart.  It was part pro wrestling, part early days of UFC when Ortiz and Chuck Liddell/Ken Shamrock feuded.

Tito-BonnarIn addition, the promotion will hold the rematch of May’s PPV fight between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks.

The event will go up against UFC 180 which will feature Cain Velsquez defending his Heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum on PPV.

Payout Perspective:

What do we think about the promo for the fight?  Is it too scripted for MMA?  My only critique is that they should have had security pull the fighters apart and not Coker, et al.  That would have made the scene a little more authentic.  Certainly, something like this is done to drum up buzz for this fight.  For the MMA fan, the allure of the November 15th fight is Chandler-Brooks but the shoulder programming and subsequent promotion for this event will be Bonnar-Ortiz.

King Mo signs long term pact with Bellator

August 28, 2014

Bellator MMA has announced that “King” Mo Lawal has signed a long-term extension with the company.  In a press release issued by Bellator MMA, Lawal called it, “one of the easiest decisions I could have made.”

Despite a 4-3 record since coming over from Strikeforce, Lawal will continue on with the company.  His last fight with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was likely the key to Bellator’s first PPV success.  His next fight will be on September 5th against Dustin Jacoby on Spike TV.

Lawal via the Bellator release:

“After everything that went down over the last six or seven months, I didn’t think this was something that would ever happen, but when Coker came on board with Bellator, everything changed. This is where I want to be. I don’t care who I fight, when it is, or where it is. I get paid to fight, and that’s what I’m going to do for Bellator. That’s it.”

With the signing, there’s no news as to whether he will continue with TNA Wrestling.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the Lawal extension, Bellator signed Stephan Bonnar yesterday who has immediately called out Tito Ortiz.  Lawal’s signing makes sense for the organization.  While one might balk at his record and the disappointing Emmanuel Newton fights, his feud with Rampage helped spark interest in the product.  It’s clear the regime change has a direction and that includes keeping King Mo.

Alvarez given unconditional release from Bellator

August 19, 2014

Bellator has released Eddie Alvarez from his contract with the organization per a company Media Alert.  The media advisory also includes a statement from Alvarez.

Via  Bellator media advisory:

Bellator President Scott Coker has released a statement regarding Eddie Alvarez:

“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future. We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future. We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on. We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”

Eddie Alvarez has also released a statement:

“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with. I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for my time at Bellator. I know that sounds a little crazy given everything I went through, but I’ve fought there since 2009, and have been involved in some really amazing fights. The staff there always treated me great, and I’m going to miss seeing a lot of those familiar faces around for sure. Myself and my team had some really good discussions with Scott, but in my heart I knew I was ready to move on and start the next chapter in my career.”

Payout Perspective:

This move is probably not surprising to most following the situation since it was clear Alvarez wanted out and Coker likely wanted a clean break from the old regime. Releasing Alvarez under “amicable” terms lets Bellator move on without having to answer any more questions about the Alvarez situation and it allows Alvarez to move on with his career.  We’ll see if his career continues in the UFC or somewhere else.  The one negative for Alvarez here is that he loses leverage with the UFC in negotiating a contract since the UFC is the only place (with the money) where he can land.

UPDATED: 3pm 8/19/14.  And just like that Alvarez is in the UFC.

Coker says Bellator going month to month in 2015

August 18, 2014

New Bellator head Scott Coker stated that Bellator is going to focus on a monthly event in addition to four major shows which will likely feature the bigger stars for Bellator.

Coker revealed the news Monday which means that the upcoming 11th season will be the last with tournament formatting…for now.  Coker indicated that he may bring back the tournament if warranted.  In addition to the once a month event on Spike TV, the promotion would also do four major shows.  There was no clear indication whether the plan would eventually mean these shows would be PPVs although Coker stated the focus would be Spike.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie/The MMA Hour)

Payout Perspective:

The reduction of actual shows from 26 to 16 is the opposite of the UFC plan.  We’ll see if this works as Coker’s plan seems to be quality rather than quantity.  Certainly, focusing on a show a month allows for build and focus on the monthly event.  The one hurdle is keeping viewers engaged in the three or so weeks that its off the air.

Women’s MMA comes to Bellator

August 14, 2014

Bellator has announced that it is re-establishing its women’s division and announced the signing of Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd.

Via Bellator press release:

Bellator MMA has reestablished the women’s division with two of MMA’s top featherweights leading the forefront. Finding previous success in the female MMA game, Bellator President Scott Coker has added Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd to the roster to start the next era of the Bellator women’s division.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”

A former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion and Remix World Cup Champion, Coenen has recorded a 21-6 professional record with 15 wins coming by submission and 12 in the first round. Ranked as the number two featherweight in the world, Coenen is ready to get back in the cage and put on an explosive performance for the fans in the first female fight under Coker’s reign.

Budd joins Bellator riding a four-fight win streak and is currently ranked as the number three featherweight in the world. Having previously fought for Strikeforce and Invicta, the Canadian striker is known for her strong Muay Thai background and is looking for a strong finish in her return to the bright lights.

Payout Perspective:

Gina Carano benefits the most from this announcement as now she has some bargaining leverage with Zuffa.  There were rumors that she had signed with Bellator but there has not been any official confirmation.  The addition of Coenen and Budd is a start and reflects another big move by Scott Coker.  With the apparent re-opening of women’s MMA in Bellator, we will see how the company will utilize its women fighters.

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