UFC 221 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 10, 2018

The UFC made its promotional debut in Perth for UFC 221 and fans were happy to see the fighters in action.  It drew 12,437 fans for a live gate of $3.6 million Australian dollars.

The US equivalent is $2,810,520 for the gate for a Sunday afternoon in Perth.  According to UFC exec David Shaw it was the largest gross ever earned in a sporting event at Perth Arena.

The bonuses for UFC 221 went to Israel Adesanya, Jussier Formiga, Jake Matthews and Li Jingliang.  Adesanya and Formiga earned “Performance of the Night” while Matthews and Jingliang earned “Fight of the Night.”

Payout Perspective:

The gate has to be promising for the company as it tries to expand its reach in the region.  While the card may not have been PPV-worthy, there were some good matchups on the show.  Of course, Yoel Romero did not earn a bonus due to not missing weight.

UFC 221 weigh ins: Romero misses weight, Rockhold agrees to fight

February 9, 2018

Yoel Romero missed weight during the UFC 221 weigh-ins and the main event for an already thin PPV card was put in jeopardy as Luke Rockhold considered not fighting Romero tomorrow in Perth, Australia.

Romero weighed in at 188 pounds and was not able to cut down to the limit of 185 pounds within the time given him.  Rockhold was less than pleased with the outcome.  According to sources, he has agreed to fight Romero with Rockhold having the chance to win the interim middleweight belt.  Romero, if he were to win, would not be able to win the belt.

Romero was a replacement for Robert Whittaker, the interim champion that defeated Romero this past July.  Whittaker has been suffering from an illness.  Georges St Pierre, who defeated Michael Bisping to gain the middleweight championship in November, vacated the title.

Payout Perspective:

For a card that did not have a lot of mass appeal, Romero missing weight may deter even more fans from sitting out this card. The good (or bad) news is that the UFC is making its debut in Perth and the fans in a new market are generally excited to see the UFC regardless of who is fighting.  However, with prices raised to $65, the card looks, at best, like a UFC Fight Night card rather than a PPV.

UFC raises its PPV prices $5

February 8, 2018

Although most have not talked about it, you will notice that your cable and/or satellite bill might be a little more if you purchase UFC PPVs as the suggested price has been raised $5.00 to $64.99.

The last time the UFC raised its PPV prices was 2015.

UFC 220 started 2018 with two title fights.  The PPV sold for $64.95 HD and $74.95 for 4K.  There was no indication if this was just a one time price adjustment from the standard $59.95  HD price.

But, at least two carriers have priced UFC 221 this Saturday at $64.95.

Miesha Tate also unofficially confirmed the new price.

Payout Perspective:

The question is whether $5 more will detract the casual fan from purchasing PPVs like this Saturday where there is not a whole lot of big names on the card.  Similarly, UFC 222, a card which was sold for one fight, Holloway-Edgar fell through and the company scrambled to replace the main event.  It has Cyborg fighting on the card and Edgar staying on to face Brian Ortega.  Still, February and March seem like very low PPV buy rates.  One has to wonder if the new strategy is to load up on big cards and see what happens with cards without big drawing names or fights.

Hunt allowed to include removal from UFC Fight Night 121 in his lawsuit against UFC

February 8, 2018

The court in the Mark Hunt-UFC/Dana White/Brock Lesnar lawsuit has granted Hunt the opportunity to Supplement his lawsuit to include facts about his removal from UFC Fight Night 121.

   Order on Supplemental Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

In finding for Hunt, the court stated that Defendants’ argument in precluding the filing a supplemental complaint was that the allegations were false.  Secondly, they argue that the accusations are distinctly different from the lawsuit.  The Court denied both arguments.

Payout Perspective:

As we stated, this was the likely result as the Court would be willing to include the additional information in order to properly litigate the entire case rather than piecemeal.  The factual claims serve as to bolster Hunt’s causes of action.  It also forces Defendants to address the allegations as it tries to dismiss the lawsuit.

UFC Fight Night 125 draws 839,000 on FS1; Prelims on FS2 361,000

February 6, 2018

UFC Fight Night 125 on FS1 drew 839,000 viewers on Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The Prelims, which aired on FS2, drew 361,000 viewers.

The main card was highlighted by Lyoto Machida defeating Eryk Anders via split decision in the main event.  The prelims feature bout saw Sergio Moraes defeat Tim Means via split decision.

The post-fight wrap-up show on FS1 drew 231,000 viewers and 0.09 in the A18-49 demo from 10:26pm-11:26 pm PT

The Prelims rating on FS2 improved over this past October’s UFC Fight Night 119 prelims when it was also pre-empted on FS1.  Notably, that post-fight show drew 265,000 on FS1.

Payout Perspective:

The main card ratings improve upon October’s UFC card in Brazil which drew just 558,000 viewers for Machida against Derek Brunson.  The card went up against the NBA on ABC and boxing on ESPN.  Good ratings for the Prelims as well for it being on FS2 due to college basketball.

Bantamweight accepts one-year sanction from USADA for banned diuretic

February 5, 2018

Carls John de Tomas has accepted a one-year sanction for testing positive for a diuretic prohibited by the UFC anti-doping policy.

The Filipino fighter tested positive for furosemide on December 8, 2017 before his bout at the UFC Fight Night event in Fresno, California.

Via USADA:

Furosemide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

De Tomas’ one-year period of ineligibility began on December 29, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. The athlete’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission, which has also sanctioned De Tomas with a one-year suspension and a $2,500 fine.

Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to continue to make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time completed under their sanction.

The 21-year-old lost to Alex Perez at UFC Fight Night 123 on December 9th.

Payout Perspective:

It was just the second fight for De Tomas in the UFC which may be another reason to wonder if fighters just starting in the UFC are more susceptible to failing a drug tests due to lack of knowledge or education of the UFC anti-doping policy.  De Tomas was also fined $2,500 by the California State Athletic Commission which is harsh for a fighter that just made $10,000 from his loss.

Dillashaw rebuffs rematch with Garbrandt on short notice

February 4, 2018

T.J. Dillashaw has turned down a rematch against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 222 after it was announced that Max Holloway had to pull out of the main event against Frankie Edgar.

Dillashaw was hoping for a potential fight against Demetrious Johnson this July prior to the news of Holloway’s injury.  He has turned down the offer from the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Its not the fault of Dillashaw that the UFC planned for a PPV with just one quality fight and while you may argue he is doing it out of spite, there’s nothing to gain for TJ in taking this fight.  If he loses, his fight with Johnson is likely out and he will have to seek a rematch for the title.  If he wins, there’s always the possibility of getting injured and not being able to fight in July.  Moreover, the fact that he has not been training for a fight would be the biggest in-Octagon factor.  At his point in his career, Dillashaw should have the ability to control the direction of his career.  This means he no longer has to take fights on short notice unless he wants to and he is compensated accordingly

UFC Fight Night 125 attendance and bonuses

February 4, 2018

The UFC announced the attendance and bonuses for Fight Night 125 from Belem, Brazil.

Thiago Santos, Anthony Smith, Valentina Shevchenko and Iuri Alcantara drew the $50,000 bonuses for the event.  Santos and Smith earned Fight of the Night while Shevchenko and Alcantara earned Performance Bonuses.

The event drew 10,444 fans with no gate being announced.  The event took place at the Mangueirinha Gymnasium in Belem, Para, Brazil.

The numbers were announced post-event.

Holloway signs deal with former UFC official sponsor Budweiser

February 3, 2018

Max Holloway has secured a sponsorship deal with Budweiser.  The UFC lightweight champion made it known via social media.

UPDATED:  Just as I posted this, the news that Holloway is out of UFC 222 puts a damper on this news.

Excited to be on the @budweiser team #blessed #kingmoments #staytuned #ufchawaii

A post shared by Max Holloway (@blessedmma) on

Nothing else is known about the terms of the deal.  Budweiser and Bud Lite had been longtime official sponsors of the UFC but Modelo has taken over as the company’s official sponsor starting this year.  Holloway is scheduled to headline UFC 222 in March.

Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone are other the other UFC fighters that have had deals with Budweiser.

Payout Perspective:

Since Modelo is the official UFC sponsor, it appears that Holloway’s deal would include out of Octagon promotion.  One could see the company using Holloway in targeting Hawaii and other regions where the fighter is popular.  It is an interesting signing considering Budweiser has just exited the company as sponsor.

Dodson will not be paid after Munhoz fails to make weight

February 2, 2018

John Dodson will not be compensated for traveling to Brazil, making weight and being ready to fight Pedro Munhoz Saturday after the Sao Paulo native did not make weight.

MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz confirmed with UFC officials that Dodson will not be compensated.  Munhoz was unable to make weight for his fight at 135 pounds.  According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the hotel that Munhoz was staying at ran out of hot water which prevented him from cutting the necessary weight.

Regardless of the reason why Munhoz missed weight, the issue of the other fighter has surfaced once again.  Last month Vitor Belfort was not paid due to the fact Uriah Hall had to go to the hospital due to complications with weight-cutting.  The UFC did not compensate him.  It was noted that they attempted to get him a replacement or a fight on a card the next weekend.

Here, Dodson traveled to Brazil for the fight, had to pay for a fight camp and perhaps some of his coaches.  You might recall that UFC heavyweight Tim Johnson set up an online fund so that his full coaching stuff could travel to Brazil.  So, it’s a huge financial undertaking for the fighter if they are to fight in another country.

Payout Perspective:

I’ve always wondered why UFC contracts do not allow for the fighter that makes the weight to obtain their show money.  It could be that the contractual language allows the UFC to terminate the contract if one side fails to fight for whatever reason.  If that were the case, it would create a huge issue for fighters since the contract would favor the UFC who may unilaterally pull the plug on a fight and not have to pay anyone.  Also, if another fight were to be offered, it would seemingly force the fighter to make weight to have to take the match even if they did not want to do it.  We will see if the UFC addresses it from a PR standpoint and compensate Dodson for traveling to Brazil.

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