Court will likely decide Zuffa’s-NY motions without oral argument

February 23, 2015

Zuffa’s lawsuit in which it sued New York for its legislation banning professional MMA in the state is still ongoing and it looks like there could be a conclusion this spring based on the dual summary judgment motions filed by the state and Zuffa. But, it appears that there will be no oral argument to persuade the judge on the matter unless attorneys for each side amend their travel schedules.

Originally, the Court of Judge Kimba Wood issued an Order a couple weeks ago in which it would grant the parties final briefing and an oral argument on whether the New York statute banning professional MMA in the state was unconstitutionally vague. The briefs would be limited and the sides would only be allowed only 10 minutes of oral argument. The Court set the hearing for March 5, 2015.

However, the state indicated that both sides had conflicts with the date provided by the Court.  Each side indicated conflicting travel schedules (with nonrefundable tickets) and unavailability for the hearing.  In a letter from attorney John Schwartz on behalf of the state of New York, he proposed a hearing date scheduled for some time the week of March 30th.

Defendants' Letter to the Court by JASONCRUZ206

Well, no go from the Court.

Court Order in response to request to move hearing date

Instead of providing the accommodation, the Court has decided to render its opinion without oral argument unless of course they are available on March 5th.  The Court indicated in an order dated February 20th that it has reserved time for March 5th “in case that date becomes viable for counsel.” This is well within the rights of the Court.

Payout Perspective:

Would the Court have been persuaded by either side’s additional briefing or oral argument? Moreover, did the sides piss off the Judge for not being available or does the Judge just want this case to either end or proceed to trial? We shall see. Based on the limited scope of what the Court was requesting, it appeared that it wanted to hear some further information but maybe not so much as to postpone the decision any further.

What will be interesting is to see if a ruling comes out prior to an anticipated vote in the New York State Assembly on legalizing professional MMA in the state. MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC Fight Night 61 Attendance and Bonuses

February 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 61 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The attendance for Sunday night’s event was 5,080 which was a sell out according to the UFC.  The promotion indicated that it would like to hold another UFC event in a bigger venue when it returns.  No gate was announced which is standard for these small Brazilian shows.

The bonuses for the night were awarded to Frank Mir, Sam Alvey, Marion Reneau and Matt Dywer.  All were Performance of the Night as no Fight of the Night bonus was handed out.

Payout Perspective:

An interesting night of fights with several upsets.  Obviously, the attendance was quite low based on the small venue making it one of the smallest crowds in Brazil to attend a UFC event since 2012.

UFC Events in Brazil since 2012

Date Event Location Main Event Attendance Gate
1/14/2012 UFC 142 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aldo-Mendes 10,605 $2,800,000
6/23/2012 UFC 147 Belo Hor, Brazil WSilva-Franklin 16,643 $1,420,000
10/13/2012 UFC 153 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Silva-Bonnar 16,844 $2,550,000
1/19/2013 UFC on FX 7 San Paulo, Brazil Belfort-Bisping 9,116
5/8/2013 UFC on FX 8 Jaragua, Brazil Belfort-Rockhold 7,642
6/8/2013 UFC on Fuel TV 10 Fortaleza, Brazil Nogueira-Werdum 6,286
8/3/2013 UFC 163 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aldo-Korean Zombie 13,873 $1,500,000
9/4/2013 UFC Fight Night 28 Belo Hor, Brazil Teixeira-Bader 5,126
10/9/2013 UFC Fight Night 29 Barueri, Brazil Maia-Shields 6,621
11/9/2013 UFC Fight Night 32 Goiania, Brazil Belfort-Hendo 10,565
2/15/2014 UFC Fight Night 36 Jaragua, Brazil Machida-Mousasi 7,511
5/31/2014 TUF Brazil 3 Finale San Paulo, Brazil Miocic-Maldonado 8,986
9/13/2014 UFC Fight Night 51 Brasilia, Brazil Bigfoot Silva-Arlovski 8,822
10/25/2014 UFC 179 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aldo-Mendes 11,415
12/20/2014 UFC Fight Night 58 Barueri, Brazil Machida-Dolloway
2/21/2015 UFC Fight Night 61 Porto Alegre, Brazil Bigfoot Silva-Mir 5,080

UFC Fight Night 60: 913K, Prelims: 775K

February 18, 2015

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 60 drew an average viewership of 913,000 viewers.  The Prelims which aired prior to the event on FS1 drew 775,000 viewers.

In the main event, Benson Henderson submitted Brandon Thatch in Henderson’s first fight at welterweight.  The Prelims aired from 5:00pm PT to 8:00pm PT and the main card was immediately after with about 20 minutes of overrun.  Approximately 8:00pm PT to 10:20pm PT.  Obviously, a late card for those on the east coast.

It was nowhere near the overnight rating of 1.7 million viewers that saw UFC Fight Night 59 when the promotion pulled out all of the stops for Conor McGregor as he headlined the show in Boston last month.  That event ended up with 2.7 million viewers.  But, Saturday’s event was slightly lower than UFC Fight Night 58 in December which featured Lyoto Machida and C.B. Dolloway in Brazil of 966,000.

The Prelims were off from UFC Fight Night 59 Prelims which drew 908,000.  However, Saturday’s Prelims did do much better than the 608,000 for UFC Fight Night 58.

Payout Perspective:

It’s likely that the NBA All Star Saturday Night may have drawn away some viewers for the Prelims.  But, the main card largely went unopposed in terms of sports competing with it.  Aside from the former UFC lightweight champion in the main event, the card did not have a lot of big names.  Still, the main card rating was above the 2014 Fight Night main card average of 819,000.

Silva fails post-fight drug test, 3 other UFC fighters issued penalties by NSAC

February 18, 2015

Four UFC Fighters including Anderson Silva were issued suspensions by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday at its monthly meeting.  Notably, it was revealed that Silva failed a second drug test post-fight according to MMA Junkie.

Silva tested positive for oxazepam and temazepam which are used to treat anxiety and insomnia.  Junkie reported Silva failing a second test although it was not known when he took it.

In addition, Hector Lombard, Nick Diaz and Ashlee Evans-Smith were all fined and suspended by the NSAC.

The UFC has called a news conference for Wednesday to address the spate of failed drug tests.

It will be interesting to see what the UFC will do.

Payout Perspective:

The news of Silva failing his post-fight drug test is disappointing when you recall that he denied any PED use upon the first failed test.  Not only does it appear that he lied, he has taken several banned substances in lead-up to his return to the Octagon.  For someone that was supposed to be an ambassador to this sport, this is a definite public relations issue for the UFC.  Regardless of the cost, it must do something to ensure the integrity of the sport.

MMA Payout will have more on the UFC news conference and the potential implications.

Bellator 133 overnight and adjusted viewership numbers

February 18, 2015

Bellator 133 held last Friday night drew an average viewership of 565,000 on Spike TV which is considerably down from January’s Bellator 132.  Its adjusted viewership (Live +3) increased to 606,000 viewers.

The event peaked at 967,000 viewers.  In the main event, Alexander Shlemenko used a spinning backfist to KO Melvin Manhoef in the second round.

Bellator 2015 viewership

Payout Perspective:

In terms of competition, the NBA All Star Events may have drawn some viewers away although it seems like the demo watching those festivities would not watch Bellator.  The NBA Celebrity Game on ESPN at 7:00pm drew 1.78 million viewers while the Rising Stars game on TNT held at 9:00pm drew 1.55 million viewers per Television By Numbers.  In terms of winning the night in cable ratings “Gold Rush” (4.6 million) followed by “Alaskan Bush People” (3.8 million) on the Discovery Channel were 1-2 in the cable ratings.

WSOF 18: 209,000 viewers

February 17, 2015

MMA Payout has learned that World Series of Fighting 18 held last Thursday drew an average viewership of 209,000 viewers according to Nielsen.  The viewership is slightly off of last month’s show which drew 222,000 fans on a Saturday night.

WSOF aired from 8:56 p.m to 11:11 p.m. on NBC Network Sports.


In the main event, Marlon Moraes retained his WSOF bantamweight title with a win over Josh Hill.  Perhaps the most news coming out of this event was the emulation of the Street Fighter video game by Shane Campbell.

Payout Perspective:

For a Thursday night, the viewership numbers were very good.  There was one NBA game it competed with due to the NBA All Star break and several college basketball games.  Having the event on Thursday prevented it from competing with either Bellator on Friday or the UFC on Saturday.

Coker ok with uniform drug testing policy if all support it

February 16, 2015

MMA Junkie reports on Bellator’s Scott Coker addressing the need for uniform MMA drug testing.

Coker indicated his approval for a “worldwide testing policy” for MMA.  However, he stated that “everyone would have to support it” lest it not work.  Obviously, we may infer Coker is alluding to the UFC which is in need of a solution to its recent influx of fighters failing drug tests.

But, the UFC is not the only one with drug issues.  Coker had four of his fighters fail drug tests at Bellator 127 last year.  Coker indicated that the commissions, which regulate the fights in the states where the company holds events, administer the drug tests.  He did not attest to what was done prior to taking over Bellator.  He stated that he reached out to all of his fighters about fighting clean after Bellator 127.

The Mohegan Department of Athletic Regulation (MDAR) will administer the drug tests for Bellator’s next event February 27th.  MDAR conducts “out of competition” drug testing in addition to its standard testing.

Payout Perspective:

While Coker’s call for a uniform policy of drug testing sounds positive, it can do more by being the leader in drug testing for the sport rather than calling for all organizations to abide by the same set of rules.  Calling for a “worldwide testing policy” seems like Bellator is putting the drug issue into UFC’s lap to make a move first.  Certainly, if Bellator adopted a stringent drug policy it would make a statement about its commitment to integrity in the sport.  Coker talking to his fighters about fighting clean is a good thing but I’m sure this will not be a deterrent for some fighters looking for any advantage that they can get.

UFC Fight Night 60 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 15, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday Night’s UFC Fight Night 60 from Broomfield, Colorado.

The event which took place at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado drew 5,807 for a gate of $382,875.  There was not a breakdown of comps based on the announcement post-event.

The numbers make it the third-watched UFC event in the venue.

UFC Fight Night 13 in April 2008:  Attendance: 6,7402, Gate: $753,429

UFC on Versus 1 in March 2010:  Attendance: 6,443, Gate $568,125

UFC Fight Night 60 in February 2015: Attendance 5,807, Gate $382,875

In addition, Benson Henderson, Brandon Thatch, Neil Magny and Ray Borg earned the bonuses of the night.  Henderson and Thatch won Fight of the Night while Many and Borg won for their respective stoppages.  Henderson (with toothpick in mouth) did sub Thatch with a rear naked choke.

Payout Perspective:

Kenny Florian defeated Joe Lauzon at the first event in Broomfield, Colorado.  It also was the first meeting between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. One might recall that UFC on Versus 1 introduced us to Jon Jones as it appeared he broke Brandon Vera’s face.  The attendance and gate are quite low but it was “Fight of the Night” card which usually does not feature top-UFC talent.  Of course, the insertion of Henderson to the card helped.  Obviously holding a card on Valentine’s Day night may have hurt the attendance as well.

European Judo Union cancels event due in part to UFC sponsorship

February 14, 2015

Bloody Elbow reports that the UFC will end its sponsorship with the European Judo Championships due to threats that the entire event would be cancelled as a result of its affiliation.  However, it appears from its web site that the event scheduled for Glasgow has been cancelled according to the official web site of the organization.

The partnership was to help facilitate the development of future fighters.  David Allen,  the UFC’s senior vice-president and general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) indicated the reason for the sponsorship:  “People practice tae-kwon-do, karate and judo individually but if you want a career to earn a living, and you’re good enough, MMA is the sport where you can become a professional athlete.”  (via Sky Sports)

But it appears that the European Judo Union does not approve of the sponsorship.

Allen via Bloody Elbow:

“We love to see sport thrive and athletes prosper, which is why the UFC prides itself on supporting all combat sports both mixed and individual disciplines. Our aim was to help Judo reach a new audience, increase promotion, help to sell tickets and create a buzz around the European judo Championships. It is disappointing to see that the European Judo Union cannot see the benefits of collaboration and celebration of all sports.”

The Eurpoean Judo Union posted a message on its web site indicating the cancellation of the event:

The European Judo Union has come to the realisation that the British Judo Association does not fit the EJU criteria to host the EJU flagship event.

The BJA had entered into a sponsorship agreement which did not meet the EJU values. BJA persisted in this, notwithstanding that it had been warned on a number of occasions that this arrangement was unacceptable to the EJU, which has a right under the event contract to approve or disapprove any sponsorships of EJU events.

In their several e-mails and telephone conversations the BJA refereed to a loss of funding. In addition, the BJA missed the agreed deadline to pay the event license fee, which is also a breach of contract.

Taking all of the above into consideration, and given the limited time to the staging of the European Championships, in order to protect the interests of the EJU national federations and European judoka, EJU Executive Committee have unanimously taken the decision to withdraw the event from Glasgow and designate as quickly as possible an alternative host who is willing and able to stage these continental judo championships.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that EJU does not like the UFC based on the statement of cancellation.  While it does not call out the sponsorship agreement, it certainly sounds like it was not pleased.  One might infer that despite the UFC’s global expansion, there is still room to educate the greater martial arts community.

Spike TV announces “Friday Night Lights Out”

February 13, 2015

Spike TV has announced that its combat sports-branded Friday night now has a name. Per a press release it has named it “Friday Night Lights Out” with the first night under the new moniker starting March 13th.

Below is a portion of the Spike TV press release:

Spike TV has given combat sports fans a destination every Friday night with its action-packed Bellator MMA, “Premier Boxing Champions,” and Glory kickboxing. Now, Spike TV has given that destination a name – SPIKE’S FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT.

Launching on Friday, March 13 at 9:00pm ET/PT with the debut of “Premier Boxing Champions,” Spike TV will package its hard-hitting roster of combat sports franchises under the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT banner.

Each FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT live telecast on Spike TV will include special content including in-depth feature segments showcasing the fighters and their unique personal stories.

“With first-rate production values, engaging on-air personalities, and some of the most athletically-gifted and fearsome athletes in the world, FRIDAYNIGHT LIGHTS OUT on Spike TV is THE must-see home for sports fans on Fridays nights,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Branded Entertainment.

On-air and digital spots for SPIKE’S FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT sports block promoting the March 13 PBC event will begin during the “Bellator 133: Manhoef vs. Shlemenko” telecast on Friday, February 13 at 9:00pm ET/PT.

Payout Perspective:

Friday Night Lights Out should be an interesting programming experiment for Spike TV. Each sport (Bellator, Glory and PBC) should complement the other as it’s the hope that fans of one will give the other sport a try. It’s clear that Spike TV wants to give this night a chance by building it out with production as well. We will see what the product looks like March 13th.

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