WSOF announces New Year’s Eve Show in New York

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

WSOF 33 draws 146,000 viewers on NBCSN

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.


Payout Perspective:

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.

Tax set on MMA events in New York

August 20, 2016 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.

WSOF 31: 126,000 viewers

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.


Payout Perspective:

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.

Branch, Fitch top WSOF 30 salaries

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

Payout Perspective:

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.

WSOF 30 draws 158,000 viewers

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
WSOF 27 211,000
WSOF 28 161,000
WSOF 29 208,000
WSOF 30 158,000

Payout Perspective:

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.

Bellator and WSOF support NY vote

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.

WSOF 29 draws 208,000 viewers

March 15, 2016

World Series of Fighting 29 on NBC Sports Network Saturday night drew 208,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  The rating reflects a 23 percent boost from last month’s WSOF 28

Notably, the live event which aired from 10-12pm ET drew 88,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

In an immediate replay, the event which featured Justin Gaethje taking out Brian Foster drew an additional 108,000 viewers.  It drew another 58,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

WSOF events in 2016

WSOF 27:  211,000

WSOF 28:  161,000

WSOF 29:  208,000

Payout Perspective:

On a weekend where there was no major MMA or boxing event on the calendar except WSOF, the promotion improved upon last month’s ratings.  Yet, it is still behind the pace from the first 3 WSOF shows in 2015 as those shows averaged 216,000 viewers while this year the first 3 shows have yielded an average of 194,000.

WSOF 28 draws 161,000 viewers

February 23, 2016

World Series of Fighting 28 on the NBC Sports Network Saturday night drew an average viewership of 161,000 viewers per Nielsen.  The event Saturday night is down 24 percent from WSOF 27.

The event featured Marlon Moraes defend his Bantamweight Championship against Joseph Barajas.  Moraes won handily.

2016 WSOF Events

WSOF 27 – 211,000

WSOF 28 – 161,000

Payout Perspective:

Where the event was held made more news than the actual fights.  The ratings are off from last month which may be due to the amount of college basketball on cable as well as going up against Bellator and UFC the same weekend.

WSOF 27 draws 211,000 viewers

January 26, 2016

The World Series of Fighting 27 drew 213,000 viewers on Friday night on NBC Sports Network according to Sports TV Ratings.  The immediate replay drew 111,000 viewers.

WSOF 27 featured Caros Fodor facing Luiz Firmino in the main event.  Firmino scored the upset over Fodor with a 3 round unanimous decision.

The Friday night ratings reflect a 24% increase from the company’s last event on NBCSN in December 2015.  The event aired 10pm-12am and then the replay ran from 12am-2am.

The NBA game between Indiana and Golden State on ESPN won the time slot with slightly over 2 million viewers between 10:35pm and 1:00am ET.

Payout Perspective:

A promising start to the year for WSOF. 213,000 viewers does not seem much but take a look at the WSOF track record and it is a good showing for a card with a lot of talent many have not heard of unless you follow WSOF.  The 2015 NBCSN average for WSOF programming was 189,000 viewers.

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