Owners to hold UFC Fighter Retreat this weekend in Vegas

May 17, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that the UFC’s new owners are holding a retreat this weekend in Vegas for all contracted UFC fighters.  Travel expenses to Vegas will be paid by the company.

The retreat will be held at the new UFC offices in Las Vegas and will kick off with a grand opening of the UFC Performance Institute.  This weekend’s UFC Athlete Retreat will also include “experts across sports, entertainment and business” speaking to the fighters.  The retreat will be a chance for the co-CEO’s Ari Emanuela nd Patrick Whitesell to formally meet the fighters.

According to MMA Fighting,  fighters were sent an email with the invitation.  Fighters with conflicting schedules are exempt from attendance.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not known if attendance is mandatory for those with conflicting schedules.  You may recall this was the issue with Al Iaquinta.  The retreat offers the fighters a chance to see the new campus and the UFC training facility.  Also, it gives the new owners a formal opportunity to address the fighters and quell fighter discontent which has seemingly been on the rise since the sale.

Canelo-Chavez replay draw 769,000 on HBO

May 17, 2017

The replay of the Canelo Alvarez- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight drew 769,000 viewers this past Saturday night on HBO per ShowBuzz Daily.

Canelo’s May fight against Amir Khan drew 767,000 for the replay on HBO.  He drew 459,000 HBO subscribers for his September 2016 fight against Liam Smith.  His 2015 fight with Miguel Cotto drew 901,000 subscribers for its replay.

Payout Perspective:
The lower ratings probably did not impact the PPV buys as it is reported that it will be over 1 million buys for the Cinco De Mayo weekend fight.  The ratings might be lower than the Cotto fight for the simple fact that news got around that the fight was a walkover.  In addition, it was on a night with UFC 211 on that night.

Motion to Dismiss Hunt lawsuit delayed

May 16, 2017

On Monday, a Minute Order was issued by the Federal Court in Nevada handling the Mark Hunt lawsuit against Dana White, Brock Lesnar and the UFC.  Due to a conflict a hearing on dismissing the lawsuit filed by Mark Hunt was reset to Monday, May 22, 2017 at 2pm.

Hunt filed the lawsuit in January alleging RICO violations, breach of contract, fraud and other allegations from his fight against Lesnar at UFC 200.  The UFC and White filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint.  Lesnar joined the motion and filed one of his own.  Hunt’s attorneys opposed the motions to dismiss.

The “Minute Order” is an official order from the Court but a court reporter may not be present.  Oftentimes, it is a response to a party’s request.  But in this case, it merely is resetting the date of the motion one week.

In the meantime, Lesnar’s attorneys have filed their Reply in Support of its Motion to Dismiss:

Reply Motion by Lesnar by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

UFC 211: Payout Perspective

May 15, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 211 from Dallas, Texas where two titles were successfully defended.

Stipe stops JDS

Stipe Miocic withstood a couple stiff leg kicks to stop Junior Dos Santos in the first round of their Heavyweight title fight.  Miocic dropped JDS after clipping him with a punch.  He followed up with punches over a crumpled former champion.  For JDS, the long layoff did not help and one has to wonder if he still has anything left in fighting.  He looked timid at times in avoiding Miocic despite scoring early with leg kicks.  But, putting his back to the fence was his downfall.

One has to wonder if there is a healthy Heavyweight on the roster that could challenge him at this point.  You can argue that Stipe could wait and face Cain Velasquez or take on Derrick Lewis if he gets past Mark Hunt in June.

Joanna Champion remains on top

She had a huge welt on her forehead but Joanna Jedrzejczyk survived a first round onslaught by Jessica Andrade.  From then on, Joanna outclassed Andrade and secured her spot as the Queen of the Division.  Andrade was game but as Daniel Cormier pointed out she gave away her attacks with a “tell” in that she ducked her head each time she was coming in which gave Joanna a split section to move out of the way.

Joanna was emotional at the end of the fight as she takes being a champion as seriously as anyone with a belt around their waste.

Next for Joanna is a showdown with Rose Namajunas. She was in Dallas doing UFC press and its clear that this was done to promote this fight.

Attendance and Gate

It was the second-most attended event in Dallas.  Only UFC 171, which featured hometown favorite Johny Hendricks against Robbie Lawler, outdrew this card.  Below are the top 3 UFC cards in Dallas.

UFC 171: attendance 19,324, gate $2,600,000

UFC 211: attendance 17,834, gate $2,662,645

UFC 103: attendance 17,428, gate $2,400,000

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Jason Knight and Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter.  Stipe and Knight earned Performance Bonuses while Sherman and Coulter earned Fight of the Night for their back and forth fight which Sherman eventually won via stoppage.  All earned $50,000 bonuses.

Promotion of Fight

The UFC once again direct messaged people that follow it on Twitter to encourage them to order UFC 211.

Stipe Miocic threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers baseball game.  He also appeared with Junior Dos Santos before a Mavericks game earlier this year.

The UFC Countdown show took a look at Miocic and how he’s revered in Cleveland including attending a Cavaliers basketball game.

MetroPCS also had a sponsorship activation which included Stipe Miocic doing an interview with Megan Olivio on behalf of the company.

Sponsorships

The usual UFC sponsors were in the Octagon including Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Monster/7-11, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy in the middle.  Also, the new Alien movie, Audience Network’s Kingdom and upcoming video game Injustice 2 and the UFC’s own new version of its EA video game were in the Octagon.

With the Audience Network unveiling the third season of its MMA original series, “Kingdom,” we once again had the show work with the UFC.  This included showing the actors in the crowd during the PPV and there was also a Pre-Fight Party in Dallas.

In a pre-recorded video, Rose Namajunas introduced the trailer for the new Alien movie during the PPV.

Eddie Alvarez was overheard saying “Goddamn Reebok” prior to the official weigh-ins as it appeared that he had to have non-Reebok sponsors patched over.

Odds and Ends

Dustin Poirier is auctioning off his gear from his fight with Eddie Alvarez to aid a Second Harvest Food Bank in his local Lafayette.  He is making a new tradition which is an admirable way to give back.

Speaking of Poirier, it was a disappointing end to his fight with Eddie Alvarez as the issue of rules relating to a downed opponent was confusing once again.

Due to NASCAR on FS1, the UFC Prelims were pushed to FX which is in more homes so there’s a chance we could see a better number than usual.

500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 211 which made it the top searched subject in the US Saturday.

Jason Knight is your next big thing.  “Mississippi Mean” will be one to watch in the Featherweight division.

The UFC Summer Kickoff on Friday will likely have several fighters fined as a result of getting physical at the news conference including Amanda Nunes, Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee.  Do the kickoff events do anything for anyone except make everyone cringe?

Michael Johnson said he ate shit.  This makes no sense.  But considering Lyoto Machida drank his own pee, it’s no wonder this is a niche sport.

Conclusion

Look for this PPV to do slightly better than this year’s PPV buys but not near the 450,000 buys the Stipe Miocic-headlined UFC 203 did when CM Punk was on the show.  Despite how good the card was including two title defenses, there is a lack of interest in fthese ights from the casual fan.  While the google trends search was encouraging, I would think 350,000-375,000 PPV buys would be how much we see this event do.

UFC 211 attendance, gate and bonuses

May 14, 2017

UFC 211 drew 17,834 fans for a live gate of $2,662,645 per UFC officials post-fight.  In addition, $50,000 bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Jason Knight, Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter.

The event did not outdo UFC 171 with Hendricks-Lawler drawing 19,324 for a gate of $2.6 million.  UFC 103 drew 17,428 for a gate of $2.4 million for an event which featured Rich Franklin-Vitor Belfort.

Ticket sales for UFC 211 went well despite the fact the secondary market plateaued.

Miocic stopped Junior Dos Santos in the first round of his Heavyweight title defense.  Knight stopped Chas Skelly in the third round of their fight and Sherman and Coulter won a Fight of the Night Performance for their bout on the FX Prelims.

Payout Perspective:

It was a very good night of fights and the city of Dallas appreciates the UFC.  Although it did not outdo UFC 171, homestate favorite Johny Hendricks was on that card.  But, with two titles on the line and a good undercard, fans appreciated the event.

UFC-McGregor could agree to bout with Mayweather by Sunday…but Mayweather has to accept

May 13, 2017

The New York Times reports that Conor McGregor could agree to a deal with the UFC to fight Floyd Mayweather by Sunday.  Of course, that just leaves out one big party to the fight to agree to the deal…Floyd Mayweather.

Dana White set an artificial deadline of Sunday to come to terms with McGregor to do a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.  Notably, Mayweather has not named his price for the fight.  Moreover, even if a deal is struck with McGregor, White must broker a deal with Mayweather.

One of the bigger hurdles that White and the UFC must come to terms with is that the PPV will most likely go through Showtime.  You might recall that White has had his issues with Showtime in the past.  But, this is a big money fight so you can see White, and the new owners, overlooking this past beef.

Yet, Mayweather will undoubtedly look for “A” side money leaving less of a pie for McGregor and the UFC to split.

Payout Perspective:

Even if a deal is struck with McGregor, is this really news until Mayweather agrees to the terms?  White coming out last week to say that GGG-Canelo took their date of September 16th seems puffery than truth.  Why?  There’s no deal in place.  So, by stating that a date was taken (and by the way, fighting Mexican Independence Weekend is not unique) is mere ploy to negotiate through the media.  White is pressing McGregor and Mayweather to a fight despite the fact no one has anything on the table yet.  So, while the UFC may announce McGregor accepting terms to a deal with Mayweather post-fight UFC 211, we should not celebrate until we hear Mayweather say it’s a final deal.

UFC 211 ticket sales going well

May 12, 2017

UFC 211 attendance should be good for Saturday’s event as the event nears a sellout.

As of Friday night, the get-in price through Ticketmaster is $400.00 per seat.  On the secondary market the get-in price is $114.00 for the upper level while it is $264 for the lower level according to SeatGeek.

According to the secondary market ticket vendor, the get-in price has been steady over the past week although the median listing price has fallen by nearly 40 percent over the past week ($265 t.o $165).

The average resale price for a ticket is $230.  In comparison, the tickets for UFC 210 in Buffalo sold on average for $156 on the secondary market.  However, the ticket is not the hottest in Dallas UFC history as UFC 171 commanded $258 on the secondary market.  The main event that time was Lawler-Hendricks.

Payout Perspective:

The ticket sales reflect the popularity of the sport in Dallas.  It also shows that the fans recognize that this is the biggest fight card in the UFC thus far this year.  Will PPV buyers think the same?  The PPV comes a week after Canelo-Chavez which did 1 million buys we will see how many combat sports fans will buy PPVs two weeks in a row.

UFC announces new Dana White Fight Pass show

May 12, 2017

The UFC announced a new, live UFC Fight Pass show, “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” which starts Tuesday, July 11, 2017.  The show will feature live fights in each episode.

According to the press release, the fights will be filmed in The Ultimate Fighter gym in Las Vegas.

Via UFC press release:

Contender Series bouts will feature both male and female athletes and be officially regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). All 11 UFC weight classes will be considered for the show and bout results will count towards athletes’ professional records.

Payout Perspective:

The show occurs the week after the big International Fight Week in Vegas.  You might recall the last couple years they have had a mid-week Fight Night after the big Vegas weekend.  Instead, this year we will get White’s show.  The show looks to be similar to PBC’s weekly, weeknight fights which features up and coming talent.  It also serves as a way to bolster content on Fight Pass with an exclusive series that is not on television.

Notably, the release sounds familiar to how they pitched The Ultimate Fighter.  Whether the new show means that TUF will be repackaged or at some point end is something to look at down the road.

Gastelum’s USADA suspension reduced to 3 months

May 12, 2017

Kelvin Gastelum has accepted a 3-month suspension from USADA as a result of an in-competition sample finding of marijuana.  However, Gastelum will be ready to fight this summer and a rumored bout with Chris Weidman may headline July’s UFC on Fox event in New York.

Originally, Gastelum was suspended 6 months but it has been reduced to 3 months.  Gastelum defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil in March.  He settled with the Brazilian Sports Court adjudicating the failed drug test in Brazil in which the middleweight paid 20% of his fight purse (in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour he refrained from disclosing how much the fine was) and the decision was reversed to a no-contest.  He was also handed a 90-day suspension although he has vowed never to fight in Brazil again.

The USADA suspension runs concurrent with the Brazilian court penalty.  It was reduced by USADA as he completed a drug awareness program.

Payout Perspective:

The reduction seemingly makes everything right (except for the 20% purse fine) as Gastelum does not have to sit out a great length and does not have to spend money on an appeal of the decision.  We should know on Friday when Gastelum is fighting although headlining a UFC on Fox event should be a nice present for the trouble he has gone through with the finding.  Obviously, Gastelum must be aware of the USADA rules with the finding of marijuana metabolites so he has to be careful.

TUF 25 Episode 4 draws 348,000 viewers

May 11, 2017

TUF 25 episode 4 drew 348,000 viewers on Wednesday on FS1 per ShowBuzz Daily.  The episode is up in ratings from last week.

The fight of the episode featured James Krause and Jonny Nunez.  Krause, a UFC veteran, defeated Nunez.  The episode also featured appearances by Miesha Tate and Clay Guida.

The episode drew 0.14 ratings in the adult 18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The NBA Playoff game between Washington and Boston drew 3.756 million viewers on TNT.  Game 7 of the NHL Playoffs between Pittsburgh and Washington drew 2.480 million viewers on NBC Sports Network.  Notably, the ratings in the adult 18-49 demo was down from the prior week.

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