LFA finds home on UFC Fight Pass

November 13, 2019

Legacy Fighting Alliance, a longtime fixture on AXS TV until the recent acquisition by Anthem Sports and Entertainment, has found a new home with UFC Fight Pass.

The first event streams live this Friday, November 15th according to a company press release.

LFA has been a springboard for many fighters looking to make it into the UFC.  The agreement will continue airing the promotion’s event.

The new agreement will live stream the promotion’s last two events in 2019, 20 events in 2020, and 24 events in 2021. It will also have access to the entire LFA event library starting in January.

Payout Perspective:

This seems like the most logical step for both entities. LFA needed a landing spot after its time with AXS TV came to an end and the deal bolsters the UFC’s digital platform with additional live events and content.

UFC Moscow attendance and gate

November 10, 2019

UFC on ESPN +21 took place in Moscow on Saturday with the main event drawing a Fight of the Night bonus.

Zabit Magomedsharipov’s win over Calvin Kattar drew Fight of the Night Honors.  In addition Magomed Ankalaev’s front kick stoppage of Dalcha Lungiambula drew a Performance Bonus.  David Zawada’s upset victory over Abubakar Nurmagomedov took home the other $50,000 bonus.

The event took place at the CSKA Arena in Moscow and drew 11,305 fans.  The event was the second-highest attended event since the UFC started to hold events in the country last year.  No gate was announced.

UFC Fight Night 136, September 2018:  22,603

UFC on ESPN +21, November 2019: 11,305

UFC on ESPN + 7, April 2019: 7,236

Gastelum, Cordeiro and Anderson fined by NYSAC

November 8, 2019

ESPN reports that the New York State Athletic Commission fined three for conduct before and during UFC 244.

Corey Anderson was fined $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and Gastelum was fined $1,000 for violating a weigh-in policy.  In addition, Gastelum’s coach, Rafael Cordeiro was fined $200 for helping his fighter during the weigh-in process.  Video of Gastelum’s weigh-in showed his right arm touching Cordeiro which may have helped him make weight for his contest against Darren Till.

Anderson’s KO of Johnny Walker caused the usually reserved light heavyweight to burst with emotion and seemingly mock him.

Payout Perspective:

The heavy-handed fines seem disproportionate.  While Anderson’s actions are unsportsmanlike, the $10,000 fine seems steep.  The Gastelum-Cordeiro fine seems an after-the-fact issue since the commission could have stopped the assistance or appearance of assistance on the part of Cordeiro.  Instead of re-weighing Gastelum without Cordeiro standing near him, the commission allowed it.

PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 159K viewers another 74K on Fox Deportes

November 6, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night averaged 159,000 viewers and an additional 74,000 viewers on Fox Deportes per Nielsen.

The FS1 telecast peaked from 12:15 am-12:30am with 198,000 viewers.  Notably, this was prior to the main event in Las Vegas featuring Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev as DAZN paused their event to await the finish of the UFC feature fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Also airing Saturday night were PBC studio specials promoting the upcoming Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz fight.  The Fox PBC Face-to-Face averaged 590,000 viewers from 12:21am-12:51am and PBC’s Fight Camp averaged 365,000 viewers from 12:51am-1:21am.

The telecast featured Brian Castano as he defeated Wale Omotoso in a battle between super welterweights.  Castano earned the victory.

Payout Perspective:

There was a lot of boxing on Saturday night including PBC on FS1, Top Rank on ESPN and the DAZN card featuring Canelo.  Not to mention the UFC card which sparked controversy for DAZN’s decision to wait for the card to end to begin the main event.  While the PBC ratings on Saturday was comparatively low, there is still general interest in the buildup for the Wilder-Ortiz fight.

$60K bill paid by RNC for President Trump and guests to attend UFC 244

November 5, 2019

The Washington Post reports that the Republican National Committee covered the costs of the seats President Trump and guests sat in during UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. According to reports, the cost of approximately $60,000 included catering and security.

President Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) and Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) along with Eric and Donald Trump, Jr. attended the event.

The President was met with a mixed reaction of some cheers and some boos dependent on who you talked to.

Ticket demand for the event was at its highest since July’s UFC 239.

Payout Perspective:

As WaPo points out members of the House are allowed to take free tickets for the sporting events if the event is a “bona fide” fundraiser per House ethics rules.  “The event was not an official fundraiser nor a campaign event, so it is unclear how the lawmakers could accept tickets.” The RNC paid for the attendance because the President attend. The RNC also paid for seats in a luxury suite at Nationals Park for the President and other legislators from the party for Game 5 of the World Series.  He will be in attendance this weekend at the LSU-Alabama college football game.

With the added need for security in New York for the event, the huge bill was likely.  The questions as to how and why the other lawmakers could receive free tickets to the event is something that probably could be looked into but with the amount of controversy occurring with the administration, this seems like a blip on the screen.  It is interesting if the UFC looked into comping the tickets and/or allowed the President to pay face value for the tickets.

Khabib comments on father’s visa issue in DW IG post

November 3, 2019

President Donald Trump attended UFC 244 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden to a mixed response depending on what your read or saw on social media.

In an Instagram post by Dana White which showed he and the president in what looks like a suite at MSG, the UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmogomedov asked about his father’s visa.

Perhaps in jest, maybe serious, Khabib’s father accompanied him to the Octagon in his September title defense against Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi.  However, due to “visa issues,” has not been able to come to the United States to watch and/or assist coaching his son.  Without getting too much into politics, President Trump is tough on immigration but we don’t know if a favor had been called in about Khabib’s father.

Nurmagomedov does not have another fight scheduled although the rumor is that he would face Tony Ferguson.  Location?  In all likelihood, you would think it would be in Las Vegas. Perhaps there will be strings pulled so that Mr. Nurmagomedov is allowed to come to Vegas to escort his son to the Octagon.

 

UFC 244 attendance, gate and bonuses

November 2, 2019

UFC 244 took place Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.  The event was a success drawing the second highest gate for a UFC event in the venue.

The event drew 20,143 fans for a gate of $6,575,996.19.  It was the 2nd highest gate at MSG behind the inaugural show in the arena, UFC 205.  The bonuses went to Corey Anderson, Kevin Lee, Stephen Thompson and Vincente Luque.  Thompson and Luque earned Fight of the Night and Anderson and Lee earned Performance bonuses.  All received $50,000 bonuses in addition to their fight purses.

The numbers were announced post-fight by the UFC and reported by Ariel Helwani.

Payout Perspective:

The main event was anticlimactic but the event in total was great to watch.  The promotion of the fight picked up due to the inclusion of The Rock and the news that President Trump would attend. The buzz was so big for UFC 244, that DAZN decided to hold the Canelo-Kovalev fight until the conclusion of the UFC main event.  The UFC probably did well in the PPV market due to the hype behind the main event.

Canelo-Kovalev will go on after Masvidal-Diaz

November 1, 2019

Combat sports fans wanting to watch the Canelo-Alvarez fight on DAZN but not miss out on the main event of UFC 244 between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz or vice versa will not have to worry.  DAZN has confirmed that the WBO light heavyweight title fight will not happen until the conclusion of UFC 244’s main event.

EVP of North America, Joe Markowski of DAZN told MMA Fighting that they agreed with Dana White’s contention that the events should be staggered.  Markowski called it an “easy decision.”

The Canelo-Kovalev fight is set to take place in Vegas and UFC 244 is in New York.  In most instances big boxing events taking place in Vegas normally start around 9pm west coast time.  But, the Masvidal-Diaz fight is likely to be going on at that time.  Staggering start times would mean that the boxing main event may not start until after 10pm west coast time/1am on the east coast.

Payout Perspective:

“Holding the curtain” is not unheard of in combat sports. Famously, Manny Pacquiao wanted to watch the end of Game 7 between the Heat and Celtics before he made his walk to the ring against Timothy Bradley.  Moving back the start time for Canelo-Kovalev might lose some east coast fight fans that would have to stay up past 2am to watch boxing.  Yet, most on the west coast will get the uninterrupted advantage of watching both.

The Payout Pick: UFC 244 Main Event Masvidal-Diaz

November 1, 2019

It’s the biggest fight of the year thus far and there’s not even bad blood between the two participants.  But Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will be fighting for the UFC’s version of its BMF belt.

Diaz is coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Anthony Pettis this past August.  Prior to that Diaz, had been on a 3-year hiatus.  Yet, his popularity seems to have grown despite his time away from the organization.

Masvidal’s 5 second KO of Ben Askren was a career defining moment which has propelled him to the elite echelon of UFC fighters that can make demands and the UFC actually listens.

So, who wins the fight?

Masvidal is the #3 ranked Welterweight in the UFC.

Diaz is the #7 ranked Welterweight in the UFC

But, let’s face it.  Rankings don’t matter here. Neither of these guys aren’t really worried about the winner of the Karmaru Usman-Colby Covington winner next month.

Masvidal is coming in as the favorite (-160 per multiple books) having won his last 4 fights via KO.  Diaz is listed as +130 although I would think that the line comes down a little before this fight.

It’s obvioius that the fight stays on the feet as that what the people want and that’s what the fighters specialize in.  Despite Diaz’s superior ground game, expect most of the fight will stay with striking although if this fight were to end up on the mat, Diaz would have the advantage.  Don’t expect Masvidal to take Diaz down unless he’s desperate.  Despite submission victories, there’s no way that Masvidal can tap out Diaz.

Masvidal might be coming in a little more replenished on fight night after making weight.  Yet, Diaz, a triathlete by hobby and someone with excellent cardio, should not tire.  Can Masvidal use what appears to be a strength and weight advantage to bully Diaz up against the cage and win dirty boxing exchanges?  Hard to fathom, but this could be the path to victory.

As this is a five-round fight, its hard to imagine that either Masvidal or Diaz is stopped here.  Diaz has one of the toughest chins in the business.  Conversely, he has not stopped an opponent since 2013.

This fight will go the distance.  Even with the two trading punches most of the 5 rounds, its hard to fathom either one gets knocked out.  One would suspect that a fighter would have to be on the verge of unconsciousness for the referee to stop this one.  As for the winner, I suspect Nate Diaz’s conditioning gets him to victory via split decision.  Still, expect this one to be very close with people clamoring for a rematch.

The Rock announces productions company working on Smashing Machine redux

November 1, 2019

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced on Friday that he is developing film about mixed martial arts fighter Mark “The Smashing Machine” Kerr.  The original film about the former MMA star, was a sobering depiction of Kerr and his rise and fall.

Johnson announced the project at a press conference hosted by the UFC at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.  Johnson is scheduled to be present to award the BMF belt to the winner of the main event between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Johnson, his business partner (and former spouse) Dany Garcia and their Seven Bucks Productions company will be developing the film.  Kerr will have some part with the film’s creation.

The 2002 documentary entitled, “The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr,” detailed his career in MMA which highlighted stints in Japan.  It also depicted his battles with injuries and drug abuse.

Payout Perspective:

The original film was well done and a shock to the system for many, like myself, that had not seen MMA.  Kerr’s story is a cautionary tale but was a very informative and interesting documentary.  One has to wonder what a remake would and could look like.  With Johnson’s name attached, their will be a big budget for the film.  It will be sort of unfair as the remake will be immediately compared to the original which was so well-done it cannot be emulated.

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