UFC sale made official

August 22, 2016

The UFC has officially sold as first reported by Darren Rovell. Forbes.com received confirmation from a WME spokesperson Monday afternoon.

The sale for $4 billion means that the Fertitta brothers will cash out nearly $870 million in post-tax cash according to Forbes.com. The Fertitta brothers will not be involved in the day to day operations of the new UFC but will retain a “passive minority interest in the organization.” As previously reported, Dana White has a 5 year deal and will receive 9% of the company’s annual net profits.

Payout Perspective:

We saw glimpses of the new regime this past Saturday as the PPV lacked the “Face the Pain,” theme song at the beginning. Also, no post-fight press conference. The deal gives the Fertitta brothers a hefty return on what was once a speculative investment.

McGregor, Diaz draw over 80% of reported payouts for UFC 202

August 22, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the full roster of disclosed payouts from Saturday’s UFC 202.  The main event accounted for 82% of the reported payouts from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

As previously reported, Conor McGregor earned $3 million (no bonus) and Nate Diaz earned $2 million (no bonus).  While there was no bonus associated with their purse, the two won a $50,000 bonus for their epic fight.

The rest of the card is as follows:

Conor McGregor: $3 million (no win bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $2 million

Anthony Johnson: $270,000 (includes $135,000 win bonus)
def. Glover Teixeira: $65,000

Donald Cerrone: $170,000 (includes $85,000 win bonus)
def. Rick Story: $41,000

Mike Perry: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Hyun Gyu Lim: $18,000

Tim Means: $62,000 (includes $31,000 win bonus)
def. Sabah Homasi: $12,000

Cody Garbrandt: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Takeya Mizugaki: $39,000

Raquel Pennington: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Elizabeth Phillips: $12,000

Artem Lobov: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Avila: $10,000

Cortney Casey: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Randa Markos: $14,000

Lorenz Larkin: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Neil Magny: $47,000

Colby Covington: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. Max Griffin: $10,000

Marvin Vettori: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Alberto Uda: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

The biggest disclosed payday for an MMA fighter goes to McGregor.  Of course, this does not include any discretionary bonuses or PPV points he may receive from the PPV.  It’s estimated that 202 likely hit 1M PPV buys (unconfirmed) so it was a good return for McGregor.  Anthony Johnson earned third highest on the card including his Performance of the Night Bonus and Donald Cerrone (at the end of his fight contract) earned $220,000 including his Performance of the Night Bonus.

UFC 202 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 20, 2016

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz led the list of bonus winners for UFC 202.  The event drew the 5th highest gate in Nevada.

UFC 202 drew 15,539 fans for a live gate of $7,692,010 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Below are the last 3 events prior to Saturday’s event featuring Conor McGregor.

UFC 196: 14,697 for $8.1M

UFC 194: 16,516 for $10.1M

UFC 189: 16,019 for $7.2M

In addition to the main event participants, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Johnson earned bonuses for their stoppages during the main card.

Payout Perspective:

While it was an impressive gate, tickets for the event were still available the day of the event.  This could be due to the fact that the T-Mobile Arena can house 20,000 whereas the MGM Grand Garden Arena holds a little over 17,000.  It still was a bigger gate than last July’ s UFC 189 and had more in attendance than UFC 196.

McGregor payday $3M, Diaz $2M at UFC 202

August 20, 2016

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has disclosed that main event participants will receive $5 million for their fight tonight at UFC 202.  Conor McGregor will receive a UFC record $3 million and Nate Diaz will earn $2 million.

The $3 million will be the highest-reported amount given to a UFC fighter in the company’s history.  Yes, we know about the undisclosed payouts fighters receive but this is the highest amount disclosed to the commission.

Anthony Johnson is reported to make $135,000 to show and another $135,000 as a win bonus.  Glover Teixeira will make $65,000 and another $65,000 if he wins.  Donald Cerrone is set to make $85,000 and $85,000 win bonus.

As for the rest of the card, this:


Payout Perspective:

McGregor made a reported $1M at UFC 196 and the $3M payout (no win bonus) out-earns Brock Lesnar.  The WWE pro-wrestler made $2.5M at UFC 200.  Diaz earns a raise of  at least $1.5M from his win this past March.  Despite his loss, the UFC still believes that McGregor is a top-of-the-card draw.

Tax set on MMA events in New York

August 20, 2016

Law360.com reports that mixed martial arts events and other combat sports in New York state will pay more than 8 percent tax on gross receipts in addition to other tax terms in New York when the sport becomes officially legal on September 1st.

The UFC will debut in New York on November 12th in Madison Square Garden.  On Friday, the company announced it would hold an event in Albany on December 9th.

Per the bill, a tax will be assessed of “eight and one-half percent of gross receipts from ticket sales” and “three percent of the sum of (i) gross receipts from broadcasting rights and (ii) gross receipts from digital streaming over the internet, except that in no event shall such tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph exceed fifty thousand dollars for any match or exhibition.”

The article states that boxing events in New York are assessed a 3% tax on gross receipts with a cap of $50,000.

Payout Perspective:

The 8.5% tax is a hefty bill for a promotion to conduct an event in New York.  One would think that for the UFC, each event in New York in the next year or so would mean they would pay at least $50,000 per event from broadcasting/streaming rights.  Of course, the $1 million accident insurance policy that promoters must purchase for events is another key provision to hold events in the state.  The tax will likely prevent smaller promotions from holding fights in the state although I would expect the UFC, Bellator and WSOF will hold events in New York in the upcoming calendar year.  The fight to legalize the sport in the state likely means promoters will be willing to pay the hefty price in the short term.

Nick Diaz still owes fine to NAC, may not corner brother at 202

August 19, 2016

According to Fox Sports, Nick Diaz has yet to pay the fine assessed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission last year for testing positive for marijuana from his fight at UFC 183.  As a result, he may not be able to corner his brother on Saturday against Conor McGregor.

NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett told Fox Sports that Diaz is still suspended since he has not paid the balance his $100,000 fine.  In January, the NAC settled with Diaz which gave him an 18 month suspension and a $100,000 fine.  The suspension ended on August 1st but Diaz must pay the remaining $75,000 on the fine prior to being able to obtain a license to corner his brother Nate on Saturday.

MMA Fighting reports that Team Diaz is still working on the situation.

Payout Perspective:

It seems pretty simple that Nick and/or his camp should pay the $75,000 so that he could corner Nate in this big fight on Saturday.  I’m surprised that this has yet to be resolved.  While $100,000 is a big amount, Diaz has had the time and opportunity to make the payment.  With the riotous atmosphere of the press conference, one would think that Nick would be wanted in the corner of Nate on Saturday night.

Rivera flagged by USADA for potential violation

August 18, 2016

USADA has flagged the out of competition drug test of UFC bantamweight Francisco Rivera for a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation from a sample collection on July 23, 2016.

Rivera last fought Erik Perez on July 30th at UFC 201.  He is on a 3 fight UFC losing streak.

The UFC provided its usual statement related to potential violations of its Anti-Doping policy.

“The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Francisco Rivera of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on July 23, 2016.

Payout Perspective:

The news does not look good for the 34-year-old.  One would think he would appeal the ruling considering a 2-year ban would effectively end his MMA career.

MMAFA posts statement on Facebook page

August 17, 2016

The Professional Fighters Association is making waves after its announcement last week of its formation and intent to unionize UFC fighters.  Jeff Borris has made the media rounds and announced a press conference set for Thursday in Las Vegas.

Maybe in direct or indirect response, the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA) has released a statement via its Facebook page.

The Facebook statement goes on to address the issue of agents involved in organizing fighters:

Agent efforts to organize and agent involvement in association operations suffer from two fatal conflicts. First, agents vigorously compete with each other, creating divisions preventing successful formation and operation of the association. Second, agents appropriately view all issues through the lens of “my clients.” Association efforts, on the other hand, must be viewed through the lens of all member fighters.

PFA’s Borris is a sports agent and is a part of an agency that represents the Diaz brothers.  The obvious inference by the MMAFA in its post is that agents should not be involved in efforts to organize fighters due to conflicts of interest.

Borris said in his interview on The MMA Hour that he is not opposed to MMAFA and believes that their mission differs from PFA.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that PFA and MMAFA are, or will be in the near future, on a collision course.  Both want to organize fighters.  PFA wants to unionize just UFC fighters while MMAFA is looking at a broader base of MMA fighters to organize in an association.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  What opposition will they face aside from each other?  Time will tell.

White infers Jones may be back in Octagon soon

August 16, 2016

Jon Jones may be back in the octagon sooner than expected according to Dana White in an interview with Jim Rome on Tuesday.  White indicated that Jones’ removal from UFC 200 due to a flagged USADA test may reveal that the former light heavyweight champion did not knowingly take a banned substance.

According to a preliminary hearing on July 18th, the Nevada Athletic Commission indicated Jones tested positive for Hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogenic agent, and Letrozole metabolite, an aromatase inhibitor.  These drugs are typically used in after a cycle of anabolic steroids.

Jones, whose case has yet to be heard by the Nevada Athletic Commission, indicated in an Instagram post on Sunday (although it has since been taken down) that he had found out “a lot of good news” and he expected to be back in the octagon “really soon.”

Although the NAC retains jurisdiction over Jones’ case, he is still subject to USADA discipline per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Neither organization has commented on Jones or White’s public statements.

Payout Perspective:

If it is determined that Jones’ is clear of any wrongdoing, his case should be a sign that the UFC anti-doping policy should undergo changes.  Requiring expediting results might not cure all the faults with this issue, but Jones was taken off of the biggest card of his career as well as costing the UFC excess money to alter the marketing for the event.  If Jones did not take PEDs, he should have been able to headline UFC 200.  Obviously, this is all speculation as White (who probably should not have revealed Jones’ test results but clearly that was the intent of the interview) was merely speculating to keep fans interested.

Borris talks PFA purpose on The MMA Hour

August 15, 2016

Professional Fighters Association’s (PFA) Jeff Borris was a guest on The MMA Hour to discuss the newly formed PFA which seeks to unionize UFC fighters.  Borris spoke at length about his reasons for his involvement and how his organization differs from MMAFA.

Borris was amazed when he first saw the bout and promotional agreement for Diaz-McGregor I as he saw things that were not valid, unenforceable and needed to be changed.  Lloyd Pierson, a co-worker of Borris and the agent for Diaz, had asked Borris for input on the agreements.

With the seeming tension between MMAFA, Borris indicated that he did not oppose their purpose but believed that it was different from what PFA intendes to do for UFC fighters.

Among its action items once PFA has a bulk of the over 600 UFC contracted fighters on its side were health insurance, pension benefits, a grievance policy and a bargained-for drug policy.

Borris noted the concern existing UFC fighters have had with respect to organizing for fear of retaliation.  He indicated that he will be in Vegas and hold a press conference this week as UFC 202 happens on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

Borris is a part of the Ballengee Group.  The agency represents the Diaz Brothers which is a point of concern from some as there would appear to be a conflict of interest with organizing a union while representing fighters.  Borris indicated that it would be the fighters that would be in charge of the union.  He indicated that the UFC had not contacted him since the announcement of the PFA.  We will see how/if the UFC addresses this new organization seeking to unite UFC fighters.

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