Gegard Mousasi signs multi-fight deal with Bellator

July 10, 2017

Gegard Mousasi has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA according to a company press release issued on Monday.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  The former UFC fighter was a top middleweight and now supplies the Viacom-owned company with another quality fighter.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gegard to the growing Bellator family,” said Bellator President Scott Coker in a company press release.  “ “He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of MMA and can compete in multiple divisions, so that really opens up some exciting matchmaking opportunities for us and for the fans. We’re looking forward to having him compete on Spike very soon.”

Mousasi’s last UFC fight was a controversial victory over Chris Weidman at UFC 210.  According to a Swedish website Kimura.se, a UFC attorney didn’t think Mousasi was a big enough name to justify his salary demands.

Mousasi’s last reported salary was at UFC 200 last July where he made $110,000 (which included a $35,000 win bonus plus a Performance of the Night Bonus of $50,000).  Since then, he’s fought 3 other times with the last being Weidman this past April.  He earned 3 Performances of the Night bonuses with the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Frankly, the report that a UFC attorney stymied negotiations seemed short sited and throwing the attorney under the bus.  We do not know what were Mousasi’s demands.  Mousasi has fought on UFC International cards and only 3 US cards while with the company.  The UFC may have thought his value on the International market did not equate to his salary demands.  For Bellator, this is a good pickup since he’s a known commodity that is still young (31) and can inject some appeal into the middleweight division.

UPDATED: 6/27 Bellator-Spike announce a ratings number for Bellator 180 over two networks

June 26, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that Bellator 180 Saturday drew 901,000 viewers across two networks: Spike TV and CMT.  The event aired prior to Bellator: NYC, the company second-ever PPV.  According to Nielsen Spike TV drew 758,000 viewers and another 143,000 viewers on CMT. 

Here’s a question:  How many of those 143,000 viewers were converted to buy the PPV?

The televised event featured Phil Davis and Ryan Bader in the main event of Bellator 180.  The main event peaked at 1.1 million over the two networks.  Yes, I do not know what that means either.  According to the MMA Fighting report written by Dave Meltzer, the company sent out the information via press release.

The article notes that Bellator was trending on twitter and received 200,000 google searches Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

I have been traveling so I’m not sure if MMA Payout received the release.  Usually when there is big news regarding ratings I am not on the “preferred” media list to receive this info.  I guess that this is news except why did Viacom show this across two networks and then report the ratings as one?  We all know for folks that are interested in ratings, you will be looking at one rating and not whether it was aired on two networks.  So to report the 901K number seems a little weird since a rating for each network cannot be provided in the press release.  If you were to just look at the headline, you’d think that the 901K was on one network and think it was good.  We’ll see once all the info comes out.

Updated viewership ratings for Bellator 179

May 26, 2017

Last Friday’s Bellator 179 drew 659,000 viewers in overall adjusted ratings for those that watched via DVR.  In addition, the main event featuring the Bellator Debut of Rory MacDonald peaked at 955,000 viewers.

The overall main event between MacDonald and Paul Daley drew 877,000 viewers.  On Monday, Nielsen reported the event drew an overnight (Live + SD) rating of 607,000 viewers.

The event was tape-delayed from London.

Payout Perspective:

The tape-delayed event did well in viewership at nearing 1 million viewers for MacDonald’s debut is good news for the promotion.  For MacDonald, it means a new career in a new promotion.  With a reported raise from the Viacom-owned company, the change seems like the best move for The Red King.

MacDonald making less money from sponsors in Bellator

May 22, 2017

Rory MacDonald debuted in Bellator on Friday night with one sponsor on his shorts, Monster Energy drink.  Even though MacDonald is free to sign with multiple sponsors, he has selected a different strategy.

In an interview, last week on The MMA Hour, MacDonald indicated that his UFC-Reebok individual sponsorship deal had run its course.  Recall, MacDonald was just a handful of UFC fighters with their own Reebok deal.

You may recall that prior to the Reebok deal and its exclusivity, MacDonald’s shorts were adorned with multiple sponsors.  Upon leaving the UFC, it looks like that MacDonald will be much pickier about his sponsor partners.  He is seeking out blue-chip brands.

Of course, one of the advantages of leaving the UFC is the opportunity to solicit sponsors which gives fights extra income for their fights.  MacDonald’s training partners, Kajan Johnson, just revealed in an interview with Ariel Helwani that MacDonald is making $400,000 per fight year in Bellator.  Johnson was at the center of controversy at the UFC Retreat this past weekend when he spoke up against the Reebok deal.

Payout Perspective:

Making less on sponsors is helped by making more money to fight.  For MacDonald, his brand strategy makes sense.  He wants to maximize his brand by taking an initial hit on pay with the hope that it lands him bigger deals in the future.  It’s great for guys like MacDonald, but other fighters will need to maximize their pay now and seeking out as many sponsors as they can helps mitigate training costs.  Speaking out, Johnson may have put himself in the doghouse for the UFC, but he felt like it was a necessity least he suffer in silence.

Bellator announces Ortiz and Henderson at NASCAR event

May 2, 2017

Bellator announced that the company’s MMA Fight Series will take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20th and will feature Tito Ortiz and Dan Henderson signing autographs for fans.  Henderson’s last fought in the UFC this past October as he lost to Michael Bisping in a bout for the middleweight title.

Via Bellator press release:

Through Bellator MMA, along with longstanding partner Monster Energy, mixed martial arts will be included as a pre-race activation exclusively for fans in attendance. The lineup on Saturday will consist of four MMA bouts featuring some of the best regional up-and-coming talent, with the main event prospects in consideration to be signed to a multi-fight Bellator MMA contract.

Updated Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway Fight Card:

Heavyweight Main Event: Allen Crowder (7-2, Mebane, N.C.) vs. Robert Neal (4-2, Jefferson, Ga.)

Welterweight Bout: Jeremie Holloway (8-2, Charlotte, N.C) vs. Jacob McClintock (8-2, Charleston, S.C.)

Lightweight Bout: Mike Stevens (6-3, Winston-Salem, N.C) vs. Lashawn Alcocks (6-8, Wilmington, N.C.)

Light Heavyweight Bout: Allen Bose (5-0, Jacksonville, N.C.) vs. Chris Crawford (8-5, Durham, N.C)

Notably, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will air on FS1.  We will see if there is extra care taken to avoid Bellator signage during the telecast.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator attempted a similar collaboration with Monster Energy in 2014.  The belief is that MMA and NASCAR share the same demos.  The news comes after the Viacom-owned company apparently jumped the gun on a partnership with NASCAR last month.  The news that Henderson will make an appearance is interesting but makes sense since the retired UFC fighter has ties to Scott Coker and the company is known for having legends at its functions to do meet and greets.

Updated ratings for Bellator 177 and Bellator Kickboxing

April 21, 2017

An update from last Friday’s Bellator 177 has the event peaking at 859,000 viewers per Nielsen.  In addition Bellator Kickboxing last Friday peaked at 452,099 viewers on Spike TV.

Bellator 177’s viewership drew 595,000 viewers in DVR+3 ratings.  Bellator drew 577,000 viewers in overnight plus same day ratings.  Kickboxing’s adjusted viewership increased to 321,000 viewers.  It drew 295,000 viewers and 118,000 in the A18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.

Update on Bellator 176 ratings and Bellator Kickboxing draws 399K viewers

April 13, 2017

Bellator 176 peaked with 688,000 viewers on Saturday afternoon on Spike TV per Nielsen.  In addition, Bellator Kickboxing which aired after Bellator MMA on Spike TV drew 399,000 viewers.

Bellator Kickboxing aired immediately after Bellator MMA on Spike TV.  The event aired from Torino, Italy.  It peaked with 579,000 viewers.

Bellator MMA’s DVR+3 rating drew 496,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Relatively speaking, good numbers for Bellator Kickboxing (rating includes DVR+3 rating) considering last September’s edition of Bellator Kickboxing drew 287,000.  In April it drew 346,000 viewers.  In June, it hit its peak of 418,000 viewers.  The DVR numbers are slightly stronger for Bellator MMA as those who were out on Saturday afternoon recorded the event to watch later.

Spike TV’s deal with PBC is over

April 12, 2017

ESPN reports that Spike TV will no longer air Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV which ends a two-year partnership to air PBC on Spike TV.

In March 2015, Spike TV launched “Friday Night Lights Out” with Glory Kickboxing, Bellator MMA and PBC with Haymon’s company as the big add to the network.  According to Spike TV, a third-year option was negotiated was not included in the final contract.

Notably, Spike TV was not happy with the quality of PBC cards aired on Spike TV and the network wanted to commit to Bellator MMA.

The last PBC on Spike TV card aired this past January.  The network stated that it is willing to revisit PBC and/or a boxing event but it looks like its combat sports programming will be limited to Bellator MMA.

Payout Perspective:

It’s interesting that Spike was frank about the quality of PBC cards.  Most of PBC cable cards are now airing on FS1.  The best PBC on Spike TV did on the network was its March 2015 debut when it drew 869,000 viewers.  The ratings have struggled to grasp a consistent audience with its events on Spike TV.  The network, which ended its relationship with Glory, now seems to be making a concentrated effort into Bellator MMA.  Will this equate into a push for bigger ratings and more sponsors?  We shall see.

Saturday afternoon’s Bellator 176 draws 438,000 viewers

April 12, 2017

Bellator MMA drew 438,000 viewers on Saturday afternoon per Sports TV Ratings.  The promotion aired the event from Italy live instead of tape delay.

The telecast drew 198,000 viewers in the Adult 18-49 demo according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event featured Melvin Manhoef versus Rafael Carvalho.  The Brazilian Carvalho won via TKO.

Payout Perspective:

Probably a good idea for Bellator to avoid UFC programming but a Saturday afternoon spot without any real fighter of notoriety on the card results in this rating.  With The Masters and baseball on during the day, this event could have got lost in the shuffle.

[UPDATED] Bellator 175 draws 907,000 viewers

April 4, 2017

Bellator 175 drew 907,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The main event featuring Rampage Jackson taking on King Mo Lawal in a rematch of their 2014 fight drew 1.2 million viewers.

The event took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

Bellator MMA Live Ratings for 2017 (Live + SD)

Bellator 170: 1,374,000 viewers *tentpole

Bellator 171: 720,000

Bellator 172: 807,000  *Mitrione-Fedor cancelled

Bellator 173: 557,000

Bellator 174: 755,000

Bellator 175: 907,000

Payout Perspective:

Rampage-King Mo did not seem to evoke the spark you would anticipate however according to Nielsen, the main event drew 1.2 million viewers.  While 907,000 viewers is a nice bump from the general Bellator events, it may show that Jackson is no longer the draw that Bellator would hope it shows that Jackson can still draw.  Likely not helpful that in an ESPN interview hyping the fight he stated he regrets ever starting MMA.  But, based on the information coming in about the ratings, his comments may not have mattered.  MMA Payout will have more on the ratings tomorrow.

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