Spike TV programming to support Bellator 131: Tito vs. Bonnar

October 15, 2014

Bellator announced shoulder programming on Spike TV to support November’s upcoming card featuring Tito Ortiz versus Stephan Bonnar.

The schedule is as follows via Bellator press release:

“Tito vs. Bonnar: Winner Take All

Premieres on Wednesday, November 12 at 11pm ET/PT

Before they battle it out in the cage, watch MMA light heavyweights, Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, sit down face-to-face and discuss their upcoming fight. Tension will be high as these two MMA greats discuss their keys to victory and their budding intense rivalry.

“Unrivaled: Tito Ortiz”

Premieres on Wednesday, November 12 at 11:30pm ET/PT

MMA icon Tito Ortiz clashes on November 15th with fellow legend Stephan Bonnar in the Bellator cage. “Unrivaled” investigates the scope and magnitude of this epic battle in this look back at the career roller-coaster ride of one of mixed martial arts most controversial pioneers, Tito Ortiz.  With the chip ever planted on his shoulder, Tito plans on showing the world just how brutal the Huntington Beach Bad Boy still is.  Love him or hate him, Tito Ortiz is truly unrivaled.

“Countdown to Ortiz vs. Bonnar”

Premieres on Friday, November 14 at 10:30pm ET/PT

Bellator’s stacked Nov 15th card will be previewed with an inside look at the heated rivalry between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar.  The show also breaks down the rematch between Lightweight World Champion Will Brooks and the man he beat, former champion Michael Chandler along with the highly anticipated clashes between King Mo and Tom DeBlass and Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling.

Payout Perspective:

The promotional shows leading up to events is nothing new as it helped Bellator 120 which centered around Rampage Jackson facing King Mo.  This set of programming hopes that viewers are still fans of Tito Ortiz as most of the features center around The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.  Bellator 131: Tito vs. Bonnar will air on SpikeTV and will need some help considering it goes up against UFC 180 that same night.

Bellator fights at Monster Energy event

October 15, 2014

Bellator announced that it will have four MMA fights at the 2014 Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas this Saturday, October 18th.  The fights will take place at the entrance to Sam Boyd Stadium where the Supercross event will take place.

Via Bellator press release:

Bellator MMA and Monster Energy have taken the next step in their dynamic brand alliance as the 2014 Monster Energy Cup will play host to four MMA fights inside the Monster Energy Hexagon featuring a collection of Bellator fighters. The Monster Energy Cup will be hosted on Saturday, October 18th from Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium and feature top Supercross talent from around the world competing for a one million dollar prize.

“The Monster Energy Cup is a hallmark Monster event and having four Pro MMA bouts before the race is a game-changing addition — Bellator’s support will definitely elevate and amplify the overall event and fan experience this year.” said Monster Energy Director Of Action Sports Cody Dresser.

“This was a unique opportunity to align two hugely exciting brands in Bellator and Monster, and we are excited to be a part of it,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “I know over 50,000 people will be in attendance for the Monster Energy Cup on October 18th and those fans are also going to be treated to some incredible action inside the cage before the racing begins. There is a huge crossover in terms of demographics so this made all the sense in the world to collaborate on this, and take the next step in our partnership with Monster Energy.”

Monster Energy Bellator

Payout Perspective:

This will be an interesting event for Bellator that should gain some crossover recognition from the crowd attending the Supercross event.  But, how many fans will this capture for the Bellator brand?  Although Coker is quoted as saying that 50K will be at the event, it’s not clear what impact it will have for the organization.  While the demos may be the same, having fights for the sake of fights might not work.

Bellator 128: 668,000 viewers

October 14, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Bellator 128 this past Saturday drew 668,000 viewers with a peak of 946,000 viewers.

Bellator 128

In the main event, Joe Warren upset Eduardo Dantas to win the Bantamweight title.

Payout Perspective:

The season live average is now up to 685,500 with a live peak of slightly over 966,000 viewers.  Viewership was up for the first time in the past three events for season 11.   The peak also returned to the mid 900s.  Bellator competed with the MLB playoffs on TBS which led the night on cable Friday with close to 6 million viewers.  Notably WWE Smackdown did 2.67 million on SyFy Friday.

Royce Gracie signed by Bellator as Promotional Brand Ambassador

October 8, 2014

Bellator MMA announced on Wednesday that UFC Hall of Famer has become a Promotional Brand Ambassador for the company via press release.

Via Bellator Press Release:

Known simply as the pioneer of mixed martial arts, Royce Gracie is widely considered the most influential and important figure the sport has seen. Engaging in some of the most memorable fights in MMA history during his time with the UFC and PRIDE Fighting Championships, Gracie has now joined Bellator as an official brand ambassador for the Viacom-owned promotion.

“I have known Scott [Coker] for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” Gracie said. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of. UFC has done a great job over the past twenty years in building this sport and taking it globally and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed marital arts as a sport worldwide.”

Gracie will immediately be involved with Bellator including promotion for Bellator 131, which is headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, along with a Lightweight Title fight between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks on November 15. Moving forward Gracie will host seminars, be involved in autograph and promotional appearances, as well as aiding in the International expansion of Bellator around the world. Bellator and Gracie will also be involved in a co-branded merchandise line that will debut in 2015.

Gracie named as brand ambassador

Payout Perspective:

It does not sound like there will be ill will between Gracie and the UFC as there was with Randy Couture’s departure.  Of course, we have not heard from Dana White.  Still, Gracie was not an active part of the UFC promotional machine.  The addition of Gracie means more for Bellator than it does for the UFC to lose him as a potential ambassador. The deal for Gracie sounds promising assuming his compensation is tied to his appearances as well as receiving a portion of the merchandise sales from co-branded merchandise.

Bellator 127 Live + 3 increases slightly to 670,000

October 8, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the adjusted viewership for Bellator 127 on Friday drew up just 61,000 viewers to 670,000.  The live +3 peak was up to 886,000 viewers which made it the lowest of the season.

Bellator 127 DVR

Payout Perspective:

It’s the smallest increase this season for Bellator as the overall viewership for this event was the lowest of the season.  The peak viewership was the lowest of the season and the first under 1 million.  Overall, it looks like baseball took away from Friday’s show.

Bellator 126: 656,000 viewers

September 30, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Friday’s Bellator 126 drew an average viewership of 656,000 viewers with a peak at 942,000.  It is the lowest output of the season although the season average is ahead of the pace from season 10.

Bellator 11th Season - 126

In the main event Brandon Halsey won the Bellator welterweight championship from Alexander Schlemenko.  Halsey could be a rising star for the organization.  He even did a Monster Energy Drink post-fight promo.

 Payout Perspective:

With Friday’s show, Bellator’s 11th season has an overnight ratings average of 709,000 viewers.  Its live peak average is slightly over 1 million viewers.  Through 5 events in its 10th season, the overnight viewer average was at 684,000 with its live peak at 950,000 viewers.  It’s a slight incremental increase, but if we are to put a positive spin on the viewership it is growing and staying steady with fighters that are not really known to the casual fans.

UFC 178: Payout Perspective

September 29, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.   In this edition, we review UFC 178 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Demetrious Johnson took on Chris Cariaso in the main event.

Johnson outclasses Cariaso

Despite the lack of fan support (i.e., PPV buys), Demetrious Johnson can legitimately stake a claim to being the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC.  It was clear in the first minute that Johnson was the better fighter and ended Cariaso in the second round with a submission.

Johnson is getting prime placement on UFC shows and it’s the second PPV he’s headlined this year.  One should also stress the fact that Johnson has not been hurt during his title reign and is not an outside-the-Octagon problem.  So, why don’t people buy his PPVs?

UFC_178_event_poster

Cowboy welcomes Eddie to UFC

The skeet shooting and wakeboarding training regimen pre-fight aside, Donald Cerrone is an extremely good fighter.  In what was one of the more entertaining fights on the card, Cerrone defeated Eddie Alvarez.  It was the long-awaited debut for the former Bellator champ and the first round he showed why the UFC wanted to acquire his services.  Yet, Cerrone moves on looking for another fight before 2014 closes.

McGregor makes quick work of Poirier

You would have thought that this was the main event based on the crowd reactions.  The hype, trash talk and vitriol between the two (especially during any face off promoting the fight) was classic in what to do to have people interested in purchasing your fights. The Conor McGregor experience continues and likely his most impressive fight on the biggest platform so far.  McGregor easily handled Dustin Poirier in the first round.  It’s clear that McGregor is ready for a title shot after Saturday night.

Attendance and Gate

The attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 10,544 for a gate of $2.2 million.  Out of 9 PPVs this year, it ranked 7th in attendance.

Bonuses

The bonuses of $50K each were awarded to Yoel Romero-Tim Kennedy for Fight of the Night and Dominick Cruz and Conor McGregor for Performances of the Night.

Promotion of the Fight

The Embedded episodes continue to be popular as the UFC has found a formula to promote the fights digitally.  For the most part, viewers got to see Cowboy Cerrone wakeboarding and skeet shooting prior to his fight with Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor get a haircut, Demetrious Johnson getting a shave and Dustin Poirier at the Whole Foods at Vegas.  The one thing really missing from the embedded episode was a profile on Chris Cariaso.  The Countdown show did have a profile on Cariaso but it seemed incomplete.  Even if it was a foregone conclusion that he would likely lose (which happened), it would have been nice for them to have elevated his profile for this fight.  It seems to get better reviews than the UFC Prime Time episodes because they are short and can be viewed whenever people want to see them.

Conor McGregor did a good amount of pre-fight press.

Mighty Mouse appeared on the local Fox affiliate in Seattle last week hyping UFC 178.

Salaries

Salaries have been disclosed via MMA Junkie:

Demetrious Johnson: $183,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Cariaso: $24,000

Donald Cerrone: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Alvarez: $100,000

Conor McGregor: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Poirier: $34,000

Yoel Romero: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Kennedy: $70,000

Cat Zingano: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Nunes: $15,000

Dominick Cruz: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $32,000

Jorge Masvidal: $90,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. James Krause: $15,000

Stephen Thompson: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Cote: $33,000

Brian Ebersole: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. John Howard: $21,000

Kevin Lee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Tuck: $10,000

Manny Gamburyan: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Gibson: $10,000

Some notes:

Some interesting figures including Demetrious Johnson being paid like a champ (base of $129K).  The last official report of his purse was at UFC on Fox 9 where he made a base of $125K (notice a bigger bonus for that Fox event).  You might assume that June’s UFC 174 he made a base of $127K although those salaries were never officially reported.  Eddie Alvarez was paid $100K (show) for his first UFC fight.  You might recall when he was originally offered a UFC contract which precipitated the Bellator lawsuit, he was offered $70K for his first match in the UFC.  Conor McGregor is already up to $75K base.  Cat Zingano only made $9K/$9K which is only a $2K bump from her last fight in April 2013 against Miesha Tate.

Sponsors

The octagon sponsors included MusclePharm, MetroPCS, Alienware, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Fram, UltimatePoker.net, Assassin’s Creed’s latest game, Matefit.me and Bud Light in the center.

Missing from the octagon was long-time sponsor, Xyience, which was purchased by another company that quickly pulled the sponsorship with the UFC.

Yoel Romero was sponsored by likeaboss.com.  I’m not sure what they do.

Cain Velasquez appeared in a promo for Harley Davidson Motorcycle’s “Hometown Throwdown.”

Mighty Mouse had his traditional sponsor of Xbox 360.  The only sponsor for Johnson, his fight banner told folks to pre-order an Xbox One.  I thought those were already available?  If you were wondering, on his recent Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer did not know how much Johnson is receiving from Microsoft.

Cariaso was sponsored by Mountek.  Really.

Dominick Cruz was sponsored by the Phoenix International Raceway which stuck with him despite Cruz being on the shelf for a long time.  It paid off as PIR had a prominent logo on Cruz as he was demolishing Takeya Mizugaki.  He also wore the shirt in his post-fight interview.

Odds and ends

-Didn’t mention this earlier, but Cat Zingano-Amanda Nunes fight was the way to start a PPV.  Zingano has been through a lot and it appears that she will be the next for Ronda Rousey.

-MMA Fighting has backstage footage of Tim Kennedy confronting Yoel Romero about the extra time he took to get up from his stool in between rounds.

-Interesting that the UFC are rolling out different types of Bruce Lee t-shirts.  Hopefully some of the money that I suppose the estate is receiving from licensing his likeness is going toward this.

-Dominick Cruz won me over in just the 61 seconds of work.  First, his Jay Z/Cypress Hill remix entrance, Then, the plain black CRUZ sweatshirt.  Easily the best thing anyone has worn to the octagon in the history of this sport.  Finally, his “Alpha-Fails” drop is probably one of the best post-fight lines in a while.

-UFC on Fox YouTube channel has the whole 61 second Cruz return fight.

-Some argument as to whether Cruz fight should have been on PPV.  You can see it as perhaps a concession to boost FS1 ratings.  In hindsight, all of the fights on the PPV were great and hard to see replacing one.

-The good news is that the clay pigeons that Cerrone shot during that Embedded episode were not real as they were made at the same place that Floyd Mayweather got his fake weed from All Access.

-Not surprising, but according to Google Trends, Dublin and Ireland were the most interested city and country for search term “UFC 178”.

Conclusion

This was to be Jones-Gus II.  But after that was scrapped, it was Jones-Cormier.  After the Jones-Cormier media day brawl in August, one could have made the argument that UFC 178 would be the second-biggest PPV event of the year after UFC 175.  But with Jones getting injured, the need to adjust the lineup probably hurt the buy rate.  Overall, this card was very solid with every PPV fight being an entertaining one.  However, selling the Johnson-Cariaso was tough and you might infer that most of the pre-fight hype was for McGregor-Poirier. Although McGregor could be a breakout PPV star, he is not one yet.

While Google Trends saw an uptick in searches for UFC 178 from Ireland, it’s worth to note that the US was the 4th interested country for the event.  In the end, a buy rate of 300,000-325,000 seems reasonable.

Bellator 125: 742,00 viewers

September 22, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Bellator drew 742,000 viewers.  It also received the highest rating of the season in the coveted males 18-34 demo.

The highest quarter hour was the during the 10:45-11:00pm slot which drew 937,000 viewers.

Bellator 11th Season - 125

Payout Perspective:

The main event which saw Melvin Manhoef KO Doug Marshall in the first round ended the night early for Bellator programming so apparently a lot of viewers got in just to see the last fight.  The ratings are a good sign for Bellator as it continues to trend up even with its lesser known talent.

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.

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