Brian Stann joins PFL to lead Fighter and Competition/Rule Committee

May 17, 2018

The Professional Fighters’ League announced that Brian Stann has joined the  promotion on the Fighter Competition/Rules Committee.

Via PFL press release:

The Professional Fighters League (“PFL”) today announced that former MMA star and veteran Brian Stann will help lead the league’s 2018 Fighter and Competition/Rules Committee, bringing his expertise to the first “true sports format” MMA league. Stann will play a major leadership role on the Fighter and Competition/Rules Committee in its efforts to support fighters by developing procedures and making recommendations with respect to competition format and rules, fighter care, and athlete conduct. Under Stann’s leadership, the Committee will play an important role in the “fighters first” league as it debuts its 2018 regular season live on Thursday, June 7, at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In 2017 Stann left his post as a commentator for UFC events to pursue a position as a COO at a real estate firm and also going to school to pursue his Masters in Business Administration.

Payout Perspective:

Stann’s addition brings a level of credibility to a promotion that desperately needs to have a great year for a multitude of reasons.  We will see how much of a role he has once the PFL events begin and whether he will remain on with the promotion.

PFL announces uniform policy for upcoming season

May 11, 2018

The Professional Fighters League has announced a uniform policy which will begin at the start with its first event this June.  Unlike the UFC’s uniform policy, it will allow up to 2 sponsors in designated areas of the uniform.

MMA Fighting first reported the news of the uniform policy. Sponsors will be allowed to be on warmups including hoodies and hats.

The PFL will supply the fighter with gloves and shorts.  PFL official apparel will be required for walk ins and weigh-ins.  The sponsors must be consistent on the shorts and walkout wear (i.e., hoodies and hat).  Fighters can change sponsors and logos three times throughout the season.

 

Of course, the PFL reserves the right to feature up to two logos of official league brand partners on the fight shorts and other gear.

 

The new policy eliminates banners in the cage and there is also a ban on certain sponsors such as vape, tobacco, condoms, porn and gambling.

 

Payout Perspective:

 

The uniform policy seems to be a compromise of sorts in which the PFL give the fighters an opportunity to solicit sponsors but also has the ability to sell its own sponsorships.  No clothing sponsor was announced although I would think that Under Armour might be in the running since some of the investors are tied to the company.  The most notable thing in the policy is the ban on certain sponsors including vape and gambling companies which would seemingly be big sponsors at this time.  Yet, the policy is a move to create a brand for the promotion.  This seems to be important, especially for this promotion at this time as it starts this new venture.

PFL finds new TV deal with familiar partner

January 29, 2018

The Professional Fighter’s League is back with NBC Sports Network as part of a one year revenue sharing deal according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

Previously the World Series of Fighting, the organization went through a regime change and renamed itself the PFL.  This year it will offer a league setup with the promise that fighters on its roster will get regular fights and offer a league-style makeup for its six weight divisions culminating with a $10 million prize for fighters at the end of the year.

The article indicates that Jon Miller, NBC Sports Networks’ head of programming reached out to the new PFL heads as he has previously worked with PFL Executive Chairman Russ Ramsey and PFL President of Event Production Carlos Silva. Miller was also fond of CEO Peter Murray, who Miller worked with at the NFL and Under Armour.

In addition to NBC Sports network, Facebook has agreed to pick up the streaming rights for the PFL which include events that are not carried by NBCSN and will carry the first three hours of a PFL event before NBCSN takes over.

Payout Perspective:

The deal appears to be better than the previous WSOF “time buys” in which the organization purchased time from NBCSN.  Although no financial terms were not disclosed, it would seem that revenue sharing would mean that at least a portion of the advertising dollars and sponsorships from the televised event would go back to the network.  This may give a little more incentive for NBCSN to promote PFL.  The online streaming proved to be successful with the organization’s fans with PFL’s one event last year.  We still don’t have a solid date for the PFL to start but with this news, we should expect it happening sooner than later.

Former fighter threatens to sue PFL

December 20, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that former Professional Fighter’s League fighter Bruce Boyington is threatening legal action after he was informed by the PFL that he would not be included in the company’s 12-man lightweight division 2018 season.

Boyington is 14-11 and has lost his last 3 fights.  He claims to have had a four-fight contract with the predecessor entity, World Series of Fighting.  But, he’s being released having just fought one fight in the WSOF.  He believes that he was going to be a part of the PFL and turned down other fights and opportunities as he was waiting for the upcoming 2018 season.

This past year, the World Series of Fighting was purchased by new investors and promised a new format which would ensure that fighters would fight and be paid a salary.

Boyington took to social media to advocate his case against PFL.

In response, Ray Sefo addressed the issue:

Payout Perspective: 

There are two sides to every story.  Does Boyington have a case?  We are not sure because you’d have to look at his contract with the company.  One would think that he was classified as an independent contractor and as a result it’s likely he could be released from his contract at any time. Boyington notes that he relied upon the contract and turned down other offers to fight to stick with the PFL (these are his damages he’d claim in a lawsuit). But, Sefo seems to state that even if there was some duty to give a reason for his contract to be terminated, losing 3 in a row would be a valid one.  The underlying issue of the state of the PFL is compelling since the reboot of the company was to provide a fresh start and offer fighters an opportunity with fights and steady pay.  We will see if PFL can come through in 2018.

PFL draws 238K unique viewers for last Thursday’s online event

November 9, 2017

The Professional Fighters League announced it drew its largest online audience ever for its card last Thursday.  The online streams provided 238,000 unique views.

The four-bout card was on a Thursday and went up against NFL Thursday night football, NBA and NHL on television.  The event was headlined by Blagoy Ivanov vs. Caio Alencar.  It was a special Fight Night in Washington, DC as part of a “Fight for Children” event helping underserved youth.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership is impressive as a Thursday night MMA event is rare and it seemed overshadowed by the UFC 217 lead-up.  Still, the 238,000 unique viewers is better than the television viewership from its last NBC Sports Network show which drew just 153,000 viewers.  We’ll see if this means PFL will consider more shows online.

PFL: Everett draws 153,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network

August 4, 2017

The Professional Fighters League put on its second event in Everett, Washington on Saturday night.  The main card which aired on NBC Sports Network drew 153,000 viewers per Nielsen.

The event featured undefeated Andre Harrison as he soundly defeated Stephen Rodriguez in the main event.  The telecast also featured Jake Shields and Yushin Okami.  Both UFC vets handled their opponents soundly.

The event included a 20-minute overrun and drew 0.59 in the A18-49 demo and .87 in the M18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The first PFL event in early July drew 291,000 viewers.  The event took place on a Friday and not a Saturday.  This past weekend’s event took place on a busy night for combat sports as UFC 214’s Prelims and PPV aired on the same night as did Broner-Garcia.

UFC 214: Payout Perspective

August 1, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take you to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California for UFC 214.

Jones returns to win back the UFC Light Heavyweight Title

The matchup finally happened and DC looked much better than their initial fight.  However, a headkick in the third round undid any momentum Cormier might have had as it was beginning of the end.  Maybe the fight was stopped too late as Jones reigned punches and elbows on a hurt Cormier.

Jones gave one of the best post-fight interviews in the Octagon as he praised Cormier and aspired to be more like him.  Whether or not you believed him is up to you but for his sake hopefully Jones can keep on the straight and narrow.

Should Cormier have been allowed to leave the Octagon as it was clear he was still not aware of what happened?  Should Joe Rogan have interviewed him after?  There was a lot made about Cormier crying after the fight but it’s clear that he had waited so long for this fight and wanted to beat Jones dearly.  The game plan was working out but one headkick spelled the doom.  You have to feel for him and it’s clear, similar to Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight, that they should have left DC alone.  The footage of DC wandering around after being KO’d is hard to watch and you have to wonder why his corner was not able to corral him and sit him down.

The big news going forward after this is that Jones called out Brock Lesnar.  Lesnar is retired and still must serve out his USADA suspension.  News that he had put his name in the active testing pool were not true.  So, if this fight were to happen the earliest we might see this is July 2018.  In the meantime, it would be nice to see a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson.

Woodley wins but loses

Tyrone Woodley pitched a shutout with Demian Maia as he stuffed each of the 26 takedown attempts of the BJJ specialist which negated Maia’s path to victory.  The only problem with this is that Woodley did not supply much offense.  While Woodley displayed one of the best defensive fights in recent memory, the name of the game is excitement.  Even though Woodley announced he would fight GSP at MSG in November post-fight, Dana White had other thoughts.  Due to his performance, White announced GSP-Bisping for that date further distancing the relationship between Woodley and the UFC.

Cyborg wins her title

Let’s face it this division was meant for Cyborg Justino.  When a Megan Anderson fight was nixed and Tonya Evinger was her replacement, it gave fans all the more reason to think Justino would take this title.  Evinger did her best but could not match Cyborg here.  Despite Germain de Randamie winning the title against Holly Holm, Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz threw shade at GDR for not wanting to face Cyborg.  The only fight you would think happens in this division is a fight with Holly Holm.

Attendance and gate

It was a new record for MMA events at the Honda Center with 16,610 fans for a live gate of $2,448,870.00.  With a variety of great UFC events held at the venue, including UFC on Fox 1, this event did the best of all of them.

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Jones, Vokan Oezdemir, Brian Ortega and Renato Moicano.  Ortega and Moicano earned the Fight of the Night as Ortego submitted Moicano in the 3rd round with a back and forth fight.  Oezdemir vaulted into the Light Heavyweight title picture with a KO of former contender Jimi Manuwa and Jones won with his stoppage of DC.

The Curran-Albu fight could have earned a FOTN but the Ortega sub probably was the deciding factor.  Ricardo Lamas also had a potential Performance Bonus based on his stoppage of Jason Knight.

Payouts

Daniel Cormier earned $1 million and Jon Jones drew $500,000 for the main event.  A total of 11 fighters made a reported 6 figures for UFC 214.  In comparison (and perhaps unfair), the total reported salaries from PFL Everett was $376,5000.  3 fighters made more than that at UFC 214.

Tyrone Woodley made $500,000 for his title defense against Damian Maia.

Promotion of the Fight

The Summer Kickoff press conference a couple months ago kicked off the run up for this event.  Obviously, everyone held their breath that this fight would happen considering the past problems with booking the rematch.

The UFC put on some great video promos for UFC 214 featuring Jones and Cormier.

Notably, the Embedded series focused a lot on Cyborg and less on the Woodley-Maia co-main.  Whether it was logistics since Cyborg trains in Southern California or a choice to push Cyborg more than Woodley.  Also, no Cerrone antics on the Embedded which was disappointing.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon at UFC 214 with Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, Monster Energy, UFC Mobile, Dana White’s Contender Series on Fight Pass, Gruntsyle.com, Performance Nutrition and 7-11.  Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  The UFC Mobile game was also featured in the Octagon.

HSS was a new sponsor on the telecasts as it sponsored the fight clock.

Performance Nutrition sponsored the Embedded episodes this time around.

Also, 7-Eleven, which has shared signage with Monster Energy in one of the Octagon posts.  It also sported the Big Gulp logo during the broadcasts as well as voiceovers about the convenience store.

Tyron Woodley, Jon Jones and Donald Cerrone were some of the fighters sponsored by Monster Energy.

Metro PCS used Facebook Live and Periscope to promote UFC 214 during the event.

Interesting to note that while they did show Mayweather-McGregor insets during the telecasts, there was nothing on the mat or Octagon promoting the fight.

Odds and ends

Before we talk UFC 214, I went to PFL Everett, Washington Saturday night.  On Friday afternoon, I interviewed Carlos Silva and Ray Sefo.  During the Yushin Okami fight, I heard a heckler yell out to Okami, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” which is in reference to Okami being Japanese and that’s really about it because it made no real sense except the guy was a racist.  He followed up with “Come on, we were all thinking it.”  Actually, no I’m sure a lot of people were not thinking racist thoughts because you see a Japanese guy.  There were some murmurs and snickers from people around me which is disturbing as well.  Unfortunately, it goes to show you that racism still persists and people are not afraid to express it.

The Prelims aired on FXX and despite the fact that it aired on a channel different than its usual spot, I suspect that these fights will do well ratings-wise.  No problems with finding the channel as it drew 866,000 viewers and peaked over 1 million during the Sterling-Barao fight.

It’s always awkward to see fighters from other organizations cornering their teammates.  Notably at UFC 214 we saw Tito Ortiz in Cyborg’s corner and Ben Askren with Tyrone Woodley.

CSAC prevented Renan Barao from cutting down to 135 pounds and his fight with Aljamain Sterling was at a catchweight of 140.  Despite a request, Sterling was not given more money for accepting the catchweight fight.

Also of note Sterling and Al Iaquinta are getting into the real estate business.  I feel a reality show on UFC Fight Pass upcoming.

Three interesting notes in MMA journalism at UFC 214.  First, the MMAJA had its first meeting.  The second was Luke Thomas was shut down by Jon Jones after asking a question.  While the question is subject to scrutiny, Jones’ utter refusal and the subsequent applause by fans goes against what a lot of MMA fans want, which is for journalists to ask questions and fighters to answer.  Granted, the question was probably not going to reveal anything as Jones is media trained but he still should have answered it.

Joe Rogan came under scrutiny as he decided to interview Daniel Cormier after it was clear he displayed the symptoms of someone that suffered a concussion.  Rogan stated that he wanted to give Cormier a chance to talk which is fair.  Yet, it seemed like the production crew that saw the footage of Cormier and/or DC’s corner could have prevented Rogan from making this decision.  Cormier did not say anything out of order but he could have which would have been awkward for live PPV.  Rogan apologized the next day via social media.  Some didn’t think the apology was enough but it does come into question the health of a fighter versus entertainment.  Certainly, fighters should not be interviewed after a head injury.  But, that is balanced with wanting to hear the raw emotions of the fight.  Rogan knew he probably shouldn’t interview Cormier (recall the Alistair Overeem interview after he lost to Stipe Miocic post-fight where Overeem thought Miocic tapped), but this was a big moment and the end of a heated, personal rivalry.  From the entertainment perspective, fans wanted closure and hear both sides of the story.

The three-man booth of Anik, Cruz and Rogan is still going through growing pains with Cruz and Rogan stepping over each other at times.

There were stars at the fights but forget all of them.  The Rock was in the building

Quotes of the night:

“Jarred Brooks can cuss ladies and gentlemen.”  – Jon Anik after Brooks’ post-fight interview

‘“I don’t know what’s happening in my hands, but that’s dynamite.”  Vokan Oezdemir after ending Jimi Manawa in less than 1 minute in R1.

There were over 2 million google searches for UFC 214 Saturday night.

Conclusion

This event seemed less-hyped than UFC 182 which was sold solely on Cormier-Jones.  Yet, the depth of this card would seem to help with the UFC casual fan.  The return of Jon Jones probably helped with last-minute buys as folks probably wanted to make sure that he would be fighting.  Will it surpass 1 million buys?  With over 2 million google searches it’s a possibility.  But, I think this event lands somewhere around UFC 182 and expect that it does the best for 2017 with 800,000 buys.

PFL Everett: Shields tops salaries; slightly over 3K in attendance

July 31, 2017

MMA Payout has obtained the attendance, gate and payouts from PFL Everett held in Everett, Washington on Saturday night.  Jake Shields led the roster of salaries with $100,000.

Shields soundly defeated Danny Davis, Jr. and earned $50,000 to show and a $50,000 win bonus.  UFC veteran Yushin Okami earned $50,000 total ($25,000 plus $25,000 win) for his win on the show.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, there were 489 paid tickets with 2,542 comps.  The total attendance was 3,031 with a gross gate revenue of $19,444.  The PFL held a promotion where U.S. veterans were given free entrance which might account for the number of comps.

Per the Washington State Department of Licensing the rest of the purses are as follows:

Punahele Soriano $1,000 ($1,000 win bonus) = $2,000 def Jon Gover $1,000 to show

Miles Hunsinger $3,000 ($3,000 win bonus) = $6,000 def Andy Nigretto $1,000

Jared Torgeson $2,000 ($2,000 win bonus) = $4,000 def Dale Sopi $3,000

Louis Taylor $8,000 ($8,000 win bonus) = $16,000 def Zach Conn $4,500

Luiz Firmino Carvalho $17,000 ($17,000 win bonus) = $34,000 def Eddy Ellis $5,000

Jared Rosholt $16,000 ($16,000 win bonus) =$32,000 def Nick Rossborough $6,000

Josh Copeland $10,000 ($10,000 win bonus) = $20,000 def Mike Kyle $15,000

Bruno Santos $8,000 ($8,000 win bonus ) = $16,000 def Rex Harris $7,000

Jake Shields $50,000 ($50,00 win bonus) = $100,000 def Danny Davis, Jr. $10,000

Yushin Okami $25,000 ($25,000 win bonus) = $50,000 def Andre Lobato $5,000

Andre Harrison $17,000 ($17,000 win bonus) = $34,000 def Steven Rodriguez $5,000

Payout Perspective:

The total reported salaries for PFL Everett came to $376,500.  Harrison, the main event earned as much as Carvalho, who was on the prelim show.  Shields and Okami, as expected earned the most.  The gate was more than I expected although I thought there were more paid attendance.  But with the veteram promotion and UFC 214 the same night (even though you could have gotten home to watch the co and main events) the number of paid attending seems very low.

Payout Exclusive: PFL’s Ray Sefo and Carlos Silva

July 28, 2017

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Professional Fighters League (“PFL”) President Ray Sefo and PFL CEO Carlos Silva right before weigh-ins on Friday afternoon ahead of its Saturday night event: PFL Everett.

The main card from the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington includes MMA veterans Jake Shields and Yushin Okami.  In addition, former UFC heavyweight Jared Rosholt will be in action against Nick Rossborough.  The main event features undefeated Featherweight Andre Harrison facing Steven Rodriguez.  It airs Saturday night with the main card on NBC Sports Network starting at 6pm PT which means that it will run up against UFC 214.  The prelims begin at 3pm PT and will be online on the PFL website and the FITE TV app.

The Professional Fighters League had its debut earlier this month in Daytona, Florida.  Everett, which held a World Series of Fighting Event last July, will be the second event under the new PFL structure.  The format has fighters divided into seven weight classes competing throughout a regular season schedule, with winners advancing to a win-or-go home playoff tournament.  Each tournament winner will be crowned PFL champion for that weight class and will collect $1 million.  An additional $3 million will be divided among other regular season and playoff competitors.

In speaking with Sefo, he noted that fighters are excited about the new structure.  “I’m a product of that format,” said Sefo, who referred to his K-1 background.  “It was very similar as to how K-1 was run.”  Sefo noted that the new structure addresses a main concern of fighters.  “The most complaints I get [from fighters] is that fighters don’t fight enough.”

Silva sees gradual growth for the PFL.  “Like any league, we are laying the foundation,” said Silva.  “We are big believers that this sort of transition from promotion to sport is what’s needed in MMA.”

“As you look over the next 3 seasons, you are going to see a lot of development.”  Silva added, “Fighters will know when they are going to fight and they will be able to plan out their season and will be treated like professionals.”

Sefo emphasized that the key word from Silva’s comment was that fighters are being treated as “professionals.” The athletes will know when they are fighting and will train and condition accordingly.

As for business, Silva stated that talks with companies to be sponsors are ongoing.  “There’s a lot of active conversations going on,” Silva indicated.  “You’ll see between now and January that a couple of these really interesting title sponsors that we’re talking to that will give the brand equity to the league which we’re excited about but we’re not ready to talk about it.”

Unfortunate for the PFL, but the Saturday event coincides with the big UFC 214 main event in Anaheim with Jon Jones finally facing Daniel Cormier.  This fight has overshadowed the PFL’s second event but Silva is taking the competition in stride.  “It’s a big night for MMA,” Silva stated about UFC 214 on the same night as PFL Everett.  “We’ve had other big nights up against Bellator and up against the UFC.  There are going to be collisions in professional sports whether it is NASCAR or baseball or the football season starting in a couple weeks.”

“What we tell everybody is that you should buy the pay-per-view, but before you do that you should tune in free on NBCSN watch some great [PFL] main card action.”  Silva advised MMA fans that after watching the PFL on NBCSN you can click on your PPV.

PFL 1 on NBCSN draws 291,000 viewers Friday night

July 5, 2017

The debut of the Pro Fighters League: Daytona drew 291,000 viewers on Friday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The 143-minute telecast drew a 0.06 rating in t he A18-49 demo.

Under the World Series of Fighting name, the promotion last drew over 291,000 viewers on NBCSN at WSOF 10 when it garnered 365,000 viewers.  Its last event, WSOF 34, it drew 951,000 viewers when it appeared on NBC.

The main event for PFL featured Jon Fitch and Brian Foster with Fitch winning via submission.

The event took place at NASCAR’s Daytona International Speedway.  The race was cancelled due to rain and the fights were moved up as a result.  However, there were reports of issues with the mat and one has to wonder if the fights should have gone on due to the conditions.

Payout Perspective:

An inauspicious start to the new PFL.  There were only 4 fights on the card and that may have been good due to the weather.  Frankly, I thought the event took place on Saturday and not Friday night.  The lack of promotion and notice for the PFL is concerning as you would think that a debut would come with more fanfare.  NASCAR did promote the event but I wonder if there was enough buzz for the event.

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