July 20, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 46 was a sellout with an attendance of 9,500 for a gate of $1.4 million. The event took place at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland and featured Conor McGregor.
With the attendance and gate figures, it comes in second to UFC Fight Night 37 in London in terms of non-PPV events for 2014. The last time the UFC came to Dublin, UFC 93 drew 9,369 for a gate of $1.3 million. That card was headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.
The attendance and gate is good news for the UFC as it seeks to expand its global footprint. Now, the UFC has a bona fide star it can market to the region in McGregor. It should be able to build on this when it returns. There was debate as to whether this card should have been on FOX versus Fight Pass. Certainly, when you think of the domestic impact of putting it on network TV, McGregor would help with the marketing for the UFC. Then again, if the UFC is seeking to build its digital network with Fight Pass and expand internationally, this card definitely helps.
July 19, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the bonuses from UFC Fight Night 46 taking place from Dublin, Ireland. Connor McGregor led the list of fight-night bonuses.
As mentioned, McGregor won a Performance bonus for his first round stoppage of Diego Brandao. Gunnar Nelson also won a “Performance of the Night” for his work against Zak Cummings.
Fight of the Night honors went to TUF 19 alums Cathal Pendred and Mike King. Pendred took the victory over King with a rear-naked choke.
All fight night bonus recipients received the standard $50,000 bonus.
McGregor’s finish was likely the most satisfying considering the hype behind him. Irish fighters went 5-0 at the event and this is the best outcome for the region. Can the UFC pull off a soccer stadium type event in the future? We will see.
July 18, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that Gina Carano, if signed, will be next in line to take on Ronda Rousey in December. Dana White announced this during a media scrum on Friday.
The announcement means that Carano will be given a title shot even though she has not fought in five years. White defended his choice of opponents for Carano’s comeback as she has been training despite not actively fighting.
via Wikimedia Commons – The Strikeforce Days
The match makes sense from a business perspective but not from a matchmaker’s perspective. Carano has been gone from active fighting and it’s not clear what type of shape she will be in. Furthermore, she will be fighting arguably the best UFC fighter right now. Rousey is on a tear and it seems like Carano would be prudent to take a fight or two before she takes on Rousey. Then again, the UFC wants to jump on this fight now. If Carano would take another fight and lose, it would make it that much harder for the UFC to set up Carano-Rousey. If done, this fight will certainly grab the attention of a ton of non-MMA press.
July 17, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that UFC Fight Night 45 airing on FS1 Wednesday night received an average viewership of 640,000. The Prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 scored an average of 415,000 viewers.
The viewership is comparable to the past Wednesday night shows. In January, UFC 35 from Duluth, Georgia received 629,000 viewers with the prelims receiving just 220,000. In April, TUF Nations Finale from Quebec City received 641,000 viewers with the prelims doing 263,000 viewers.
Maybe it was the lack of promotion or the fact that it wasn’t hammered into fans’ minds that it was on a Wednesday, but I thought there would have been more viewers. This is due to the fact that the Wednesday after the MLB All-Star is considered the slowest day in sports. The day has been co-opted by the ESPY award show but UFC Fight Night was the only live sports programming occurring on national television. The prelims did do much better than the previous Wednesdays. It’s likely that the viewership did boost the average Wednesday viewership for the network.
July 17, 2014
It was announced at the post-fight press conference that attendance at UFC Fight Night 45 was 4,115. No gate was available at the time. The event took place at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
The $50,000 bonuses were as follows:
Fight of the Night: John Lineker-Alptekin Ozkilic
Performance bonuses: Donald Cerrone, Lucas Martins
The last Wednesday show was from Duluth, Georgia at UFC Fight Night 35 in January. It drew 5,822 for a gate of $231,951. Although no gate was announced we may assume that it was comparable, if not lower than UFC FN 35. It was an entertaining night of fights with Cerrone scoring another bonus check with a headkick on Jim Miller. It’s his fourth straight bonus check and 10th overall in the UFC (including Fight of the Night, Performance, KO and Sub).
July 17, 2014
Co-creator of the UFC Campbell McLaren will be featured in Friday’s edition of Forbes’ “SportsMoney.” He will be talking about his work with MMA promotions including the UFC and about his new promotion Combate Americas.
Mun2 is a division of NBCUniversal. It is a companion cable channel to Spanish language network Telemundo with young Latinos as its target demo. It is available to approximately 39,888,000 (almost 35% of households) pay television households in the United States as of August 2013 according to Television By the Numbers.
Forbes SportsMoney is on The YES Network and the episode will be on Friday night at 11:30pm ET/PT. Check your local listings. But, if you cannot find it, it also can be seen on Forbes.com.
It should be interesting to hear from McLaren and what is his vision for this organization. Combate Americas is another sign of the globalizationof mixed martial arts. We know that the UFC is making a big push in South America, Latin America and Mexico and McLaren’s organization is also doing the same.
July 16, 2014
MMA Fighting reports that Ronda Rousey was named the Best Female Athlete of 2014 at the annual ESPY Awards handed out by ESPN.
Rousey beat out the WNBA’s Maya Moore, Olympic gold medalist skier Mikaela Shiffrin and UConn’s Breanna Stewart.
UFC fighters Chris Weidman and Jon Jones were up for best fighter but lost out to Floyd Mayweather. Weidman was also up for Upset of the Year but lost out to Mercer defeating Duke in the NCAA tournament. Mercer was a #15 seed while Duke was #2.
I actually thought that the 19 year old Shiffrin would have won this award as she was a surprising winner of the gold medal in Sochi. She was also the youngest to win the gold in the Olympic slalom event. Regardless, it’s nice recognition for Rousey as the award may mean an ESPN spot or two. Yes, this is ESPN self-aggrandizement as the underlying purpose of the ESPY awards is to draw attention to the network during a slow time for sports.
July 16, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that King Mo Lawal, Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley have been added to Bellator 123 which takes place on September 5th in Connecticut. Lashley is a pro wrestler with TNA Wrestling and is currently its Heavyweight champion.
In addition to his pro wrestling experience, Lashley has competed in MMA. The move attempts to bulk up an already stacked card which is headlined by Pat Curran defending his Featherweight title against Patricio Freire.
The current card via Bellator press release:
Bellator Featherweight Title Fight: Pat Curran (20-5) vs. Patricio Pitbull (21-2)
Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Cheick Kongo (21-9) vs. Lavar Johnson (18-9)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: King Mo (12-4) vs. Tom DeBlass (9-2)
Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Bobby Lashley (10-2) vs. Josh Burns (8-7)
The Bellator card will go head to head with a UFC Fight Night card that has been bulked up due to the cancellation of UFC 176. The card, which takes place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut is headlined by Gegard Mousasi taking on Ronaldo Souza.
September 5th will be a big night for MMA fans as it’s the first time the two organizations go head-to-head on television and in the same state. The signing of Lashley is somewhat surprising but it does add name recognition for the crossover pro wrestling fans. With TNA Wrestling taping most of its shows through August already, it’s unlikely that Bellator can take advantage of the crossover on its weekly TNA shows (which draw over 1M viewers) unless it edits in info about Lashley in voiceovers. Lawal and Kongo also make sense as Lawal can sell his fights and the ratings reflect that Kongo (for some reason) produces good ratings for Bellator.
July 15, 2014
MMA Payout has obtained the final DVR numbers for TUF 19. Although the Live day viewing was considerably down the DVR numbers saw significant gains.
In the end, the average Live/Same Day viewing which includes the same day replay averaged 476,00 viewers. TUF 18 (Rousey-Tate) averaged 684,000 viewers. TUF 17 (Sonnen-Jones) averaged 832,000 viewers, which was the last season it was on FX.
TUF 19 DVR +3 viewership was up from TUF 18. It averaged a gain of 278,000 viewers from the live number. This is up from TUF 18 which averaged a gain of 250,000 viewers from DVR viewership.
Notably, not one episode this season drew over 1 million viewers. The highest rated show was Episode 6 with the controversial judging ending. There was extra push from social media on how it was a “have to watch” episode and it just topped out at 973,000 viewers with DVR viewership.
The important number for advertisers is likely the Live/Same Day number which has dipped from TUF18. While the DVR numbers are great, it does not make up for the loss of live viewership. As Fox has maintained, its happy with the ratings that TUF is producing and is not just looking at the live ratings when considering its success. The averages reflect a steady drop since TUF left FX.
July 15, 2014
The UFC is presenting a new, original three-part series on its UFC Fight Pass digital network featuring Conor McGregor. “UFC on the Fly” features McGregor as he makes his final preparations for his fight Saturday night in his hometown against Diego Brandao.
A sample of the series is here:
This has to be a risk for the UFC to invest so much in McGregor as he has not had any signature wins and is coming off of a big injury. He talks a good game and has a fan-friendly fight style. McGregor has the “it” factor and the UFC hopes he is someone that can open up new global markets for the company. The new, slick look of this program is well done and tells a good story. Now, all McGregor has to do is put on an entertaining fight…and win. This is the type of content that should supplement UFC fan interest in subscribing to its digital network.