UFC Fight Night 94 draws 826,000, Prelims 637,000

September 20, 2016

UFC Fight Night 94 held on Saturday night drew 826,000 for the main card on FS1 according to Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims drew 637,000 viewers and the post-coverage drew another 280,000 viewers.

The prelims were delayed slightly due to an overrun from an extra innings baseball game on FS1.

The main card peaked at 905,000 viewers between 11:30pm-11:45pm ET according to Nielsen.

The main card drew 439,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo and the prelims drew 334,000 viewers in the demo.  The post-fight show garnered 137,000 in the demo.

The main card featured Michael Johnson taking on Dustin Poirier.  Johnson scored a KO victory in the first round.

UFC Fight Night 2016
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 81 2,288,000 1,767,000
UFC Fight Night 82 1,300,000 1,093,000
UFC Fight Night 83 983,000 829,000
UFC Fight Night 85 1,149,000 766,000
UFC Fight Night 86 781,000 443,000
UFC Fight Night 87 656,000 494,000
UFC Fight Night 88 757,000 469,000
UFC Fight Night 89 964,000 369,000
UFC Fight Night 91 609,000 311,000
UFC Fight Night 92 863,000 662,000

Payout Perspective:

College Football ruled the night as it usually does during the fall.  There was also the PPV event with Canelo Alvarez on during the night as well.  The ratings for these types of events are pretty good considering the abundance of other things you can do on a Saturday night.

AXS TV ANNOUNCES LONG-TERM AGREEMENT WITH LEGACY FIGHTING ALLIANCE AS PART OF EXPANDED MMA LINEUP

September 20, 2016

Los Angeles – Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 – AXS TV FIGHTS and the LEGACY FIGHTING ALLIANCE (LFA) today announced an exclusive, long-term broadcasting agreement. The multi-year pact will see AXS TV FIGHTS broadcast 30 live LFA events in 2017.

The newly formed LFA is the result of a merger between Legacy Fighting Championship and Resurrection Fighting Alliance, both of which rose to national prominence on AXS TV FIGHTS. The merger and new broadcast agreement now set the stage for the LFA and AXS TV FIGHTS to expand on their reputations as the proving ground for the next generation of MMA stars, as evidenced by their heralded pasts where the promotions have combined to place over 100 fighters in the UFC and Bellator.

Based on the strength of talent within the combined organization and LFA’s 30 fight schedule, AXS TV FIGHTS will expand its 2017 lineup to 45 live events—its largest ever, extend its live broadcast window to three hours, and kick off its Friday night broadcasts an hour earlier at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich will be joined by veteran reporter Ron Kruck to form combat sports’ best broadcast team.

“AXS TV is proud to broadcast the LFA to help create MMA’s premier developmental league,” said Mark Cuban, founder and CEO of AXS TV. “AXS TV FIGHTS’ expanded 2017 lineup builds on AXS TV’s 13-year, 336-fight legacy as ‘Your Home for MMA’ with more live mixed martial arts and kickboxing events than any other TV network.”

To accommodate its increased commitment to live MMA events, AXS TV concurrently announced that INSIDE MMA will conclude its historic run on Sept. 30, 2016 when it broadcasts its 433rd and final episode. On the finale, Mauro Ranallo, Bas Rutten and Ron Kruck will be joined by original host Kenny Rice to celebrate and take a look back at the show’s achievements and memorable moments as television’s longest running and only independent MMA news series.

The pioneering program, INSIDE MMA, debuted on Sept. 14, 2007 as the first and only television series devoted to the burgeoning sport of MMA. In the 10 seasons that followed, INSIDE MMA documented the meteoric rise of MMA from a fringe sport fighting for mainstream acceptance to becoming the fastest growing sport in the world.

“INSIDE MMA blazed the trail for mainstream media’s acceptance of MMA,” said Cuban. “Bas, Kenny and Ron were there from the start, introducing the sport and its stars to a national television audience when other networks and newspapers were too afraid and out of touch to recognize its appeal.”axs-tv

UFC 203 PPV buys estimated between 425K-475K

September 19, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that UFC 203 early projections have it between 425,000-475,000 PPV buys.  The numbers would make it the best UFC PPV not featuring Conor McGregor or UFC 200 which brings up the question of whether the CM Punk experiment helped boost the buy rate.

The event’s main event featured Stipe Miocic defending his UFC heavyweight title in his hometown against Alistair Overeem.  But most people were intrigued by CM Punk’s debut against Mickey Gall.

Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting opined that Punk probably brought in an additional 125,000-225,000 extra buys or between $3.75 million and $6.75 million.  This estimate is based on UFC 198’s PPV buy rate which registered slightly under 300,000 PPV buys.

Maybe not a good comparison, but UFC 118 which featured James Toney taking on Randy Couture drew 535,000 PPV buys.  Of course, that event featured Penn-Edgar II at a time that The Prodigy was still a very popular fighter.

Payout Perspective:

One must conclude that the uniqueness of CM Punk’s debut attributed to the buy rate.  While Miocic-Overeem is a good match-up for most hardcore MMA fans, the casual viewer was likely intrigued by the Punk debut.  Does this mean Punk should come back or was this just a one-hit wonder?  We now know Punk’s skills and I would suggest that most casual fans would now pass on Punk’s second fight.  But, the Punk experiment does seem to have paid off for the UFC.

Iaquinta off of UFC 205 due to dispute over pay

September 19, 2016

Al Iaquinta is off of the UFC 205 card in New York due to a dispute over fighter pay according to FoxSports.com.

Iaquinta (7-2 in the UFC) was going to make $26,000 to show and the potential to double that with a win.  In addition, he would receive $5,000 as part of the Reebok deal.  Thus, without any unknown locker room bonuses, he would have made a low of $31,000 and a high of $59,000.  According to the FoxSports.com report, the UFC has deemed him not eligible to receive a post-fight bonus due to infractions which included missing a fighter summit last year.

Iaquinta was scheduled to face Thiago Alves in the organization’s debut in New York.  The native New Yorker decided to turn down his “dream fight” because of a contract dispute.  According to Iaquinta, he signed a four-fight deal with the UFC prior to the Reebok deal.  He stated that he made more from one sponsor in his previous fights than the $5,000 (the amount he would receive based on the number of fights with the company) he would make in his next fight.

Iaquinta has been out of action for over a year due to a knee injury.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Iaquinta stated that he is a real estate agent out of the Octagon.  He also stated that he never signed the bout agreement as he would likely be fighting for free after paying taxes and his team.  Iaquinta did not have nice things to say about Joe Silva who apparently was angered at Iaquinta for backing out of the bout due to money demands.  Iaquinta learned of Silva’s comments through his manager.

Payout Perspective:

Iaquinta has a legitimate issue with fighter pay but since he signed the contract with the company there’s not much he can do.  If there’s anything that can be learned from this situation, it would be for fighters to learn about their worth and market value.  Realistically, Iaquinta may have discovered that his worth is $26K and $26K.  But, he could have made more in Bellator.  This situation is another argument for a fighter association or union to assist lower-to-mid-level fighters.

Bellator 161 draws 686,000 viewers

September 19, 2016

Bellator 161 drew an average rating of 686,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.  The event ratings represent a slight decrease from last month’s event.

The event which featured Cheick Kongo taking on Tony Johnson drew 330,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  Kongo earned the majority decision over Johnson.

bellator-through-160

Payout Perspective:

The 2016 average is 736,500 but if you take away the huge tentpole event of 149, it is 642,000.  College Football on Friday night was the big sports event on cable with a game between Baylor-Rice drawing 1.454M viewers on ESPN.  The viewership looks to be on par with what it has been throughout this year.

More details on PFA intent to set up UFC union

September 18, 2016

Jack Encarnacao of the Boston Herald writes about Jeff Boris and his quest for his Professional Fighters Association (PFA) to establish a union for UFC fighters.  In an interview with Boris, he explained more details for his plan for the company.

In the article, Borris states that the PFA will seek to have an executive board of fighter representatives for each weight class and an agent advisory board.  The agent board would be comprised of those that represent a significant amount of fighters for the organization.

Borris states that he hopes to unionize fighters in the next 6 months but it may take up to a year to obtain the requisite number of fighters to command a vote to unionize or for the UFC to recognize the fighter union.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see whether the PFA can get enough fighters (30% of contracted fighters) on board to sign union solicitation cards.  The intent to set up fighter representative boards is interesting and we will see if and when this might occur how much influence agents and/or other fighters have in the selection to these type of boards.

UFC Fight Night 94 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 18, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo, Texas.

The UFC announced attendance of 5,624 for a live gate of $323,419.  The event took place at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.  The venue holds about 6,800 for concerts.

In addition, the UFC announced bonuses from the FS1-aired event.  Michael Johnson, Chas Skelly, Evan Dunham and Rick Glenn earned $50,000 bonuses.

Johnson and Skelly earned Performance Bonuses while Dunham and Glenn earned the Fight of the Night.  It was Glenn’s debut with the organization.

Payout Perspective:

Saturday night’s Fight Night event is the lowest gate of 2016 and the second-lowest attendance of the year.  Only the Sunday night UFC Fight Night 88 at the Mandalay Bay drew less attendance.  Still, for the venue, the attendance does not seem too bad.  But in comparison to other events, it does look off.

Chael Sonnen signs with Bellator MMA

September 15, 2016

Chael Sonnen is returning to MMA as part of Bellator per an announcement late Thursday. Sonnen, 39, is signing a multi-year, multi-fight contract with the company.

The Bellator press release stated that Sonnen will compete in the 205 pound division although he states in the release that he is not limiting himself to just one division.  Sonnen’s last fight was against Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in November 2013.  He lost via TKO in the first round.

A press conference is set for Friday.

Payout Perspective:

Murmurs of a comeback occurred when Sonnen indicated that his name went back in the USADA testing pool  as he was tested twice under UFC anti-doping policy.  Sonnen can still sell a fight and he is another pickup from the UFC that Bellator hopes can still draw ratings.  Certainly, Bellator’s tentpole events featuring Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice reflect the fact that older fighters can still be attractions.

TUF 24 Episode 3 draws 441,000 viewers

September 15, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter 24 episode 3 drew 441,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night per Sports TV Ratings.  It’s a 17% increase from last week and it’s the best showing thus far this season.

The episode drew 225,000, another season high, in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.

episode-3

Also, DVR numbers remain about the same, as Episode 2 drew 601,000 viewers, up from 347,000 in Live +SD.  The previous week drew 634,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The season average is 377,000 viewers and 209,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  ESPN’s coverage of MLB featuring Seattle and Los Angeles bested TUF in the time slot as that game drew 473,000 viewers.  We can probably expect more of the same with the ratings for this season.

GGG draws 843K HBO viewers for Saturday afternoon fight

September 13, 2016

HBO Boxing on Saturday afternoon featuring Gennady Golovkin taking on Kell Brook drew 843,000 subscribers. The event aired in the afternoon from 3:10pm-3:28pm PT per Sports TV Ratings.

It drew 393,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The event was replayed later that night in addition to two other live fights.

7:13pm-7:45pm PT – Kamegai vs. Soto-Karass: 667,000 viewers, 336,000 A18-49 viewers

8:01pm-8:48pm PT – Gonzalez vs. Cuardras: 833,000 viewers, 393,000 A18-49 viewers

9:06pm-9:24pm PT – Golovkin vs. Brook (replay): 593,000 viewers, 287,000 A18-49 viewers

Previous GGG fights on HBO:

GGG Fights on HBO

November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)

May 2014 vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. 1.338M viewers (fight only)

July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)

October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)

February 2015 vs. Martin Murray 862,000 viewers (fight only)

April 2016 vs. Dominic Wade 1.325M viewers (fight only)

Payout Perspective:

It seems as the Chocolatito-GGG pairing continues.  Despite being in different venues, HBO found away to include them on the same night.  The ratings are good considering it went up against college football and UFC 203.  The 843,000 is comparable to GGG’s February 2015 fight against Martin Murray which also aired first on a Saturday afternoon.

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