January 17, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that the World Series of Fighting has postponed its WSOF 35 event set to take place February 28th. It has now been moved back to March 18th per WSOF president Ray Sefo.
No location has been announced for the moved card which had just one fight announced as of now: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Shawn Jordan.
You might recall that the promotion canceled two events to help with its New Year’s Eve show in New York City.
The promotion is in flux as bantamweight and lightweight champions, Marlon Moraes and Justin Gaethje are exploring free agency while welterweight champion Jon Fitch is contemplating retirement.
In addition, there are a spate of lawsuits involving the investors and owners of WSOF.
With the promotion looking like it’s in turmoil, moving its next event seems like a harbinger of things to come. The promotion has failed to gain traction in its existence and with its core fighters perhaps moving on, we might see WSOF fold in 2017.
January 4, 2017
World Series of Fighting drew
941,000 951,000 on NBC Saturday afternoon according to Nielsen. The rating makes it the highest-rated televised WSOF event ever.
The preliminaries on NBC Sports Network drew 71,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims aired from 11:30-1pm PT. The main card aired on NBC from 1-3pm PT.
Notably, the WSOF event took place during the first NCAA College Football semifinal at the Peach Bowl between Washington and Alabama. The game drew 18,397 million viewers on ESPN per Sports TV Ratings.
Also of note, the UFC 207 PPV post-fight replay on FS1 drew 76,000 viewers at 3-4am PT.
The Saturday event bests the WSOF’s last time on NBC when it drew 741,000 for WSOF 11 on July 5, 2014. This past Saturday’s event, which took place in New York, featured Jake Shields-Jon Fitch and Justin Gaethje-Luiz Firmino. Considering WSOF was up against one of the national semifinals for college football, reaching close to 1 million viewers is a success. Of course, the question of whether the WSOF can remain afloat in 2017 is another question.
December 23, 2016
The World Series of Fighting will cap off its year with a show on New Year’s Eve in New York. However, there might be cause for concern for the organization as legal problems persist.
3 new lawsuits were filed in Nevada this year which call into question the financial stability of the company. The lawsuits reveal the fact that the company has internal issues with the people that run it and the people that fund it. Based on the information gathered from the lawsuits, the people investing and claiming ownership (even a small %) are not the most professional people you may know. You may recall a lawsuit in 2015 saw issues with loans and an assignment of rights for use internationally. The new lawsuits see similar problems with loans to keep the organization afloat.
In addition to the legal troubles, WSOF cancelled two events in order to bolster its New Year’s Eve show in New York. WSOF opened an office in New York last year and supported the push to legalize professional MMA in the state so it makes sense that they want a show in the state by year’s end. But a New Year’s Eve show conflicts with the College Bowl Playoffs on television.
Notwithstanding what may happen on its New Year’s show, the ratings for WSOF on NBC Sports Network are slightly behind 2015’s average of 189,000 viewers.
Will WSOF survive its legal and financial woes in 2017 and continue through the year into 2018?
October 18, 2016
The World Series of Fighting announced a New Year’s Eve show in New York which will feature a trio of main events that will be broadcast on NBC Sports and on NBC the afternoon of December 31st.
Justin Gaethje will defend his lightweight title against Joao Zeferino. Jon Fitch will face Jake Shields and Marlon Moraes will defend his bantamweight title against an opponent yet to be named.
The event will be live on NBCSN from 3pm-4pm ET and the rest of the show will be on NBC from 4pm-6pm ET. It will be the second time that the WSOF will be on NBC Sports Network. The event will take place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
In order to have this event, the WSOF cancelled two preceding events.
The event will be great, but there is a glaring typo on the WSOF web site.
The show is a big one for the organization and the NBC exposure should help it. Then again, a New Year’s Eve show might not garner as many fans as you might think with people preparing for festivities later that night. Last year, SpikeTV featured “Breakfast with Fedor” with tape delayed fights from the Rizin show in Japan. It drew only 141,000 viewers and peaked at 271,000. One would think that being on NBC should grab more viewers despite competing with college football bowls.
October 10, 2016
World Series of Fighting 33 drew 146,000 viewers on Friday night on NBC Sports Network according to Sports TV Ratings.
In addition, it drew 51,000 viewers in the Adult 18-49 demo. The event featured David Branch and Vinny Magalhaes with Branch earning the win. The event aired from 11:00pm-2:00am ET.
The late night event for east coast viewers probably led to the decline in ratings. Aside from WSOF 31, this past Friday’s event was the lowest of the year.
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.
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.
June 20, 2016
World Series of Fighting 31 drew just 126,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network Friday night per Sports TV Ratings. It was the second-lowest viewership ever for the organization.
The televised event went up against Bellator 156 on Spike TV Friday night. Bellator did not fare well in ratings either as it drew 482,000 viewers which was a decline since last month.
In the main event, Blagoy Ivanov defeated Josh Copeland in a battle of heavyweights.
Per Sports TV Ratings, the event (9-11:39pm ET) drew 48,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. An immediate replay of the event (11:39pm-2:17am ET) drew another 88,00 total and 33,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.
Not since WSOF 7 has the company drew less in terms of viewership. Up against Bellator, it was a bad night for a live event.
April 5, 2016
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from WSOF 30 held this past weekend in Las Vegas. The salary information was obtained from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
David Branch was the top earner making $130,000 ($65K/$65K).
Via MMA Junkie:
David Branch: $130,000 (includes $65,000 win bonus)
def. Clifford Starks: $15,000
Jon Fitch: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Joao Zeferino: $15,000
Vinny Magalhaes: $14,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Heun: $10,000
Abu Azaitar: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
def. Danny Davis Jr.: $3,000
Abubakar Nurmagomedov: $7,000 (includes $3,500 win bonus)
def. Matthew Frincu: $4,000
Rex Harris: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Clinton Williams: $4,000
Steve Kozola: $6,000 (includes $3,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Church: $1,000
Adam Acquaviva: $4,200 (includes $2,000 win bonus)*
def. Andres Ponce: $800*
Zach Bunnell: $1,000 (includes $500 win bonus)
def. Jeff Roman: $500
Notably, there was a wide range in payouts as Jeff Roman only made $500 in his loss to Zach Bunnell. It was Roman’s 5th pro fight and first in the WSOF. Similarly, Andres Ponce only made $600 (as $200 was forfeited for not making weight) in his 5th pro bout. But, Branch earned 6 figures with his win bonus. Jon Fitch earned $70,000 which was second-most on Saturday night. While the top of the card made reasonable payouts, it’s clear that the WSOF payroll starting out is much less than the UFC or Bellator.
April 5, 2016
World Series of Fighting 30 drew an average viewership of 158,000 on NBC Sports Network on Saturday night according to Sports TV Ratings.
The ratings reflect a drop from the March show. However, this event aired later at night for the east coast as it had an 8:30PT start time on NBC Sports Network and did not end until past 10:30PT (1:30amET). The event featured David Branch defending his middleweight title against Clifford Starks. It also saw Jon Fitch win the vacant WSOF welterweight championship.
|2016 WSOF Ratings|
The late start was the likely reason for the decrease in ratings. While the NCAA had its two national semifinal games on television, it did not come into opposition with the WSOF event.
March 23, 2016
In addition to the UFC’s statement of support with the news late Tuesday that the New York State Assembly passed the measure to legalize MMA in New York, Bellator and the World Series of Fighting have issued their own statements.
Scott Coker via Bellator press release:
“The New York Assembly’s vote to legalize MMA is a watershed moment for this incredible sport. As someone who has been promoting combat sports for more than 30 years, this is a very exciting time for mixed martial arts. We at Bellator MMA are very much looking forward to hosting an event in the ‘Crown Jewel of America,’ New York. Two Bellator champions, Liam McGeary and Marcos Galvao call New York home and I know it means a great deal to the both of them, as it does for the entire promotion. We’ve already been in contact with the great people at the Barclays Center and several other incredible venues, and we can’t wait bring our world-class athletes and action-packed shows to an arena in the Empire State soon.”
The World Series of Fighting also issued a statement:
“This is an exciting and historic day for our great sport. Those who have been lobbying for the legalization of MMA in NY State, including World Series of Fighting’s new COO Michael Mersch, should be commended for their persistence and commitment to seeing through the passage of legislation that will finally allow fans to watch live MMA in the Empire State, and fighters to compete there. We recently opened an office in Manhattan so, along with our television partner, NBC, we are looking forward to bringing our brand of professional MMA to New York very soon.”
As mentioned in its press release, WSOF opened an office in New York with the anticipation that it would be doing business in the state soon.