UFC on ESPN 4 draws 957,000 viewers, Prelims 548,000

July 23, 2019

UFC on ESPN 4 drew 957,000 viewers Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Rafael dos Anjos and Leon Edwards.

The event drew 481,000 viewers in the A18-49 category and an overall share of 0.60 for the 2 hour show.

The 3-hour Prelims which preceded the event on ESPN drew 548,000 viewers and 260,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.  It drew an overall share of 0.35.  The prelims featured Raquel Pennington as she defeated Irene Aldana via split decision.

The event took place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

UFC on ESPN ratings

UFC on ESPN 1: 1.463M viewers, prelims 988,000

UFC on ESPN 2: 828,000 viewers, prelims 480,00

UFC on ESPN 3: 1,091M viewers, prelims 543,000

UFC on ESPN 4:  957,000 viewers, prelims 548,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are good considering there was some competition with PBC Boxing on Fox which aired to promote the Pacquiao-Thurman PPV later that night.  The prelims were the second highest out of the 4 UFC on ESPN events.

Jon Jones in trouble again after revelation of incident at strip club in April

July 22, 2019

An Albuquerque, New Mexico television station, KRQE, reported that Jon Jones is being charged with battery for an incident that happened at a local strip club this pat April.  A bench warrant was issued for Jones as he failed to show for failing to show at a mandatory hearing.

Jones’ spokesperson stated that the light heavyweight champion did not know of the charges.  They also deny any wrongdoing and claim that this was a false allegation.

According to the report based on a police investigation Jones slapped a waitress inappropriately and “pulled her down to his lap and kissed her neck.”  She also told police that he placed her in a chokehold and picked her up off the ground.

While there seems to be more to investigate before drawing a conclusion, prosecutors believe that there was enough to charge Jones with battery.

Payout Perspective:

Jones seemingly was in a good place with his life and career and his victory in July highlighted the fact he is the top star in the promotion and at the peak of his career.  But Jon Jones’ worst enemy may be himself.  While its not known the veracity of the claims made by the waitress, the fact that he was in another situation where things could go wrong is an ongoing flaw with the otherwise unflappable fighter in the Octagon.  Moreover, the fact that this incident seemed to be swept under the rug of anyone covering the sport highlights the issues with reporting that is a question mark to all that are fans.

UFC on ESPN +4 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 21, 2019

UFC on ESPN +4 took place on Saturday night from San Antonio, Texas.  The UFC awarded bonuses to Walt Harris, Dan Hooker, Mario Bautista and Jin Soo Son.

The bonus winners won $50,000.  Harris earned the bonus for his quick work in stopping Aleksi Oleinik.  Hooker stopped James Vick and Bautista and Son earned Fight of the Night.  Bautista won via unanimous decision.

The event took place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and aired on ESPN.  The event drew 9,255 for a live gate of $841,820.61.  The numbers were announced post event.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate are on par with most Fight Night events.  The main event of Rafael dos Anjos and Leon Edwards was a good attraction but not one with much star power despite RDA being a former champion. With Pacquiao-Thurman on Saturday night and a PBC on Fox card, it will be interesting to see the ratings for the UFC event.

UFC middleweight given 3 month sanction by USADA

July 18, 2019

USADA announced that Alen Amedovski has accepted a six-month sanction for the use of marijuana above the accepted range.  The native of Italy had his sanction reduced to just three months after completion of a USADA approved drug awareness and management program.

The UFC’s anti-doping partner on Thursday announced a three-month suspension for Amedovski.  An in-competition urine sample came in over the 150 ng/mL limit for Carboxy-THC for his octagon debut at UFC on ESPN+ 7. The event took place April 20 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  His period of ineligibility ends Saturday.

Amedovski lost a decision to fellow middleweight Krzysztof Jotko in his debut with the UFC.  He was previously undefeated after coming off of two victories in Bellator.

Payout Perspective:

Amedovski’s infraction was exceeding the threshold for marijuana use at the time of the fight.  With the softening of regulations around the nation, it would be interesting to see if the UFC decides to lighten the restrictions for its use.  This might not be within WADA regulations, but would be something that could be done.  Obviously, the drug awareness program helped mitigate the already cut-down sanction against the 31 year old middleweight.

Zuffa files Reply Brief supporting motion to exclude Plaintiffs docs including report from Golden Boy lawsuit

July 16, 2019

Zuffa has filed its Reply Brief in support of Objections to Plaintiffs’ Exhibit List.  In the pleading, they support their initial argument that reports in the Golden Boy Antitrust lawsuit are inadmissible.

Zuffa contends that the exhibits that Plaintiffs are attempting to use should not be admitted into evidence.  Specifically, the Deetz Expert Report from the Golden Boy lawsuit against Al Haymon it contends is unreliable.  Zuffa argues that the Plaintiffs failed to secure to include the data from Deetz because they did not subpoena the underlying data or depose him about it.

“Without the ability to test or verify the data in the Deetz Report, neither the parties nor the Court have any way to know whether that inconsistency is due to error, a deliberate decision (legitimate or otherwise) by Mr. Deetz to manipulate his data or some other reason entirely,” writes Zuffa in Reply to Plaintiffs’ opposition to exclusion.

Zuffa states that Plaintiffs attempt to verify the data was stymied when its own expert, Prof. Andrew Zimbalist indicated at his deposition that he made no independent verification of the data in Deetz’ report.

Exhibit 1 by Jason Cruz on Scribd


The Deetz Report assessed damages on part of the boxing promotion after Al Haymon’s PBC entered the industry.  His report concluded that based on his analysis, that Golden Boy had suffered “significant damage” as a result of anticompetitive conduct of Al Haymon.  The monetary damages was redacted from the public report.  Deetz’s report is premised upon another report in the Golden Boy litigation, GB’s expert Robert Kneuper, Ph.D.  However, Deetz states that he did a “separate analysis of Golden Boy’s contracts with broadcast networks.”  The analysis concluded that Golden Boy’s financial conditions declined when Haymon entered into “exclusive broadcast network contracts.”  Essentially, Haymon’s alleged business strategy of blocking Golden Boy from access to broadcast networks due to exclusive contracts and thereby precluding them from the market caused monetary damages.

Zuffa Reply Brief by Jason Cruz on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Zuffa’s reply stresses that certain exhibits that Plaintiff would like to include in its use at the evidentiary hearing should be excluded on the basis that they fail to provide sufficient reliability.  Although used in another lawsuit, Zuffa makes the argument that there has not been an independent verification of them.  Importantly, the expert report of Gene Deetz from the Golden Boy lawsuit is one of the documents Zuffa hopes to exclude.  Deetz’ report, which was in favor of Golden Boy as it claimed that Al Haymon violated antitrust laws, would similarly support Plaintiffs’ contention in this lawsuit.  Zuffa argues that the report should not be used to buttress Plaintiffs claims here.  The Court will have a chance to evaluate these arguments and make a decision before August’s hearing.

 

MMA Payout will continue to follow.

Faber tops UFC Sacramento payouts

July 15, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the salaries from this Saturday’s UFC event in Sacramento. The salaries for the event totaled $804,000.

 

Via California State Athletic Commission:

Benito Lopez $12,000/$12,000 = $24,000

Vince Morales $14,000

 

Livia Souza $12,000

Briana Van Buren $12,000/$12,000

 

Liu Pingyuan $14,000

Jonathan Martinez $14,000/$14,000 = $28,000

 

Darren Elkins $62,000

Ryan Hall $35,000/$35,000 = $70,000

 

Julianna Pena $40,000/$40,000

Nicco Montana $30,000

 

Andre Fili $40,000/$40,000

Sheymon da Silva Moraes $21,000

 

Michael Rodriguez $20,000

John Allen $12,000/$12,000 = $24,000

 

Marvin Vettori $20,000/$20,000 = $40,000

Cezar Ferreira $45,000

 

Karl Roberson $25,000/$25,000 = $50,000

Wellington Turman $12,000

 

Josh Emmert  $49,000/$49,000 = $98,000

Mirsad Bektic $38,000

 

Urijah Faber  $170,000/$170,000 = $340,000

Ricky Simon  $23,000

 

Germain de Randamie  $45,000/$45,0000 = $90,000

Aspen Ladd $35,000

Payout Perspective: 

A big payday for the returning “California Kid” with $340,000 plus his $50K fight bonus for his KO of Ricky Simon in the first round.  It does appear that the UFC has raised its minimum pay scale to $12,000 and $12,000 up from $10,000 and $10,000.

UFC on ESPN + 13 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 13, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 13 took place Saturday night in Sacramento, California.  The event drew 10,306 fans for a gate of $938,734.17 according to the company post-event.

The event took place at Golden1Center in Sacramento and featured local favorite Aspen Ladd taking on Germaine de Randamie in a battle of bantamweights.  Also, it featured the returning of Urijah Faber as he had his own bantamweight matchup against Ricky Simon.

Faber’s KO of Ricky Simon earned him a Performance Bonus.  Faber’s first round stoppage of Simon was the quickest KO of his career.  Also receiving bonuses were Josh Emmet with a first round stoppage over Mirsad Bektick, Jonathan Martinez with a 3rd round KO of Pingyuan Liu.  Andre Fili grabbed the final Performance Bonus with a stoppage of Sheymon Moraes.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting to note that all of the bonuses were stoppages and no Fight of the Night was awarded.  The event did well as the return of Faber and Ladd in the feature sold tickets as they were local favorites.

Zuffa responds to Plaintiffs’ Objections to its summary of exhibits in Antitrust lawsuit

July 12, 2019

Zuffa has responded to Plaintiffs’ Objections to its Exhibit List in the ongoing Antitrust Lawsuit. They argue in support of utilizing summary exhibits and call plaintiffs’ objections ‘baseless.’

Per order of the Court, the sides exchanged exhibit lists which will be used at the Expert hearings in late August and mid-September.

Defendant’s Oppo to Pla… by on Scribd


“Plaintiffs’ objection, regardless of scope, is wrong,” writes Zuffa with respect to the objections plaintiffs lodged. “Dr. Singer’s data is sprawling and the disputed summary exhibits simplify and highlight key parts of the data that will be relevant and helpful to the Court in conducting the “rigorous analysis” required in deciding whether to certify a class.”

Plaintiffs objected to 22 documents in Zuffa’s exhibit list.  This included, according to plaintiffs, 8 entirely new “Summary Exhibits”  and 14 exhibits Zuffa previously submitted in support of its briefs.  “Nearly all identify [Plaintiffs’ economic expert] Dr. [Hal] Singer’s “backup materials” as their sole purported source.”  According to Plaintiffs, this is outside the scope of the record created by Zuffa’s economists during expert discovery.  Plaintiffs claims that the information submitted by Zuffa is new and therefore past the cutoff to submit expert information.  Moreover, this does not give Plaintiffs time to examine, analyze and rebut this information in a proper time.

Zuffa notes that the materials from Dr. Singer’s expert report(s) are voluminous and its summary are accurate and “cannot be conveniently examined in Court.”  They give an example of the Regression Data containing “9,477 observations with 544 variables for which data may be listed for over a total of over 5.1 million fields of information.”  Secondly, they note that the underlying information that is summarized is admissible in evidence and no one has objected to the underlying information.  Finally, Zuffa notes that Plaintiffs will have the opportunity to examine each disputed summary exhibit.

In addition to citing case law which supports its position that the summary of the exhibits are admissible into evidence, they stress that the exhibits are not new expert testimony.  Rather, they are a summary of what has already been provided.

Finally, Plaintiffs had taken issue with a supplemental report by Zuffa’s economic expert, Professor Topel which was submitted after the expert report deadline last year.  Zuffa argues that the supplemental report was “factual updates relevant” to Prof. Topel’s reports regarding events that occurred after his filed reports.

Payout Perspective:

Zuffa indicates that even if the Court believes there is merit to Plaintiffs’ objections, they would like to have the opportunity to “lay the proper foundation” at the time in Court.  This would be a legal method of establishing the merits of the document, its accuracy and reliability prior to using it in Court.  This fight is more legal than substantive and in most cases even if information submitted by experts is “new,” they will allow the evidence in allowing Plaintiffs time to examine in order to rebut information.  At this point, there is a balancing test of allowing all the expert information into evidence within reason so that a proper decision may be made.  Parties take advantage of this by submitting information considered “new” or not previously submitted skirting prior deadlines.  There is merit to some of these arguments as sides like to “surprise” the other.  It’s the Court’s duty to mitigate the strategy of surprise.  Of course, there are no-nonsense courts that can exclude any information that has a sniff of being new and done as gamesmanship.  Here, it appears that Zuffa’s summaries do not include anything substantially new.  Even if so, its hard to fathom the Court preclude it and would allow deference for Plaintiffs time to rebut if necessary.

ONE CEO & Founder talks U.S. expansion and how it will be different from UFC in SBJ interview

July 12, 2019

In an interview with the Sports Business Journal, ONE Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong talked about the company’s inroads into the United States.

The company’s Founder and CEO described ONE as the power in the Eastern hemisphere and the UFC as the power in the Western hemisphere to comprise of a global duopoly in the field of MMA.  However, he distinguishes his product as more than just MMA as it also includes boxing, kickboxing and other forms of martial arts.

ONE Championship believes it can differentiate itself from other MMA promotions by focusing more on the spirit of martial arts rather than the violence and controversy.  Notably, Sityodtong stated that even if Conor McGregor were a free agent, he would not sign him.

With the company opening satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles, the speculation is that a stateside card will occur sooner than later.  Sityodtong stated that they are searching for a U.S. president to head ONE Championship operations.  As far as an event in the U.S. the company is taking “baby steps” per Sityodtong.

Payout Perspective:

We may have to wait a while to see how the ONE expansion has done in the U.S.  Certainly, doing a slow roll-out may be prudent considering the competition in the market and gaging what will work with U.S. audiences.  It’s clear with the money they are investing into the U.S., the plan will be to market something as an alternative to the UFC.  Will it work with the U.S. audiences and will it appeal to a particular demo.  Time will tell.

UFC 239 prelims on ESPN draw over 1 million viewers

July 10, 2019

The UFC 239 Prelims on ESPN Saturday was the #1 rated cable show for the day earning 1.145 million viewers.  The event was the highest rated in the A18-49 demon with a 0.44 share and 572,00 viewers.

The feature event saw Arnold Adams defeat Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision.

2019 UFC Prelims on ESPN

UFC 234: 1.139M

UFC 235: 1.480M

UFC 236: 893,000

UFC 237: 813,000

UFC 238: 964,000

UFC 239: 1.145M

UFC 239 took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The event featured two successful title defenses.  One by Jon Jones and the other by Amanda Nunes.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect the popularity of Jon Jones even if he wasn’t on the Prelims broadcast.  From all evidence, it is looking like this event was one of the biggest since the promotion moved to ESPN.  The last time ESPN drew over 1 million viewers was for another Jon Jones headlining card back in March.

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