New UFC HW Champion heads list of bonuses for UFC 198

May 14, 2016

Bonuses for UFC 198 were announced post-fight at the UFC press conference.  The new Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, headed the list of winners.

Miocic stopped Fabricio Werdum with one punch in the first round to earn the title.

In addition, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza earned a performance of the night for his stoppage of Vitor Belfort.  Souza cut Belfort early on and was able to control the former UFC champion until a flurry of punches from the mount spelled the end as the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

The Fight of the Night went to Francisco Trinaldo and Yancy Medeiros which aired on FS1.  All fighters earned $50,000 each.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously, Cyborg, Little Nog and Damian Maia could have earned bonuses for their stoppages during the fights.  Miocic one-punch victory was surprising but then again not surprising.

Monster Energy re-ups with Bellator MMA

May 13, 2016

Bellator MMA has reached an agreement with Monster Energy Drink to extend its sponsorship agreement which will see the green “M” in the Bellator cage for years to come according to a press release.

Via Bellator MMA press release:

Monster will continue to own highly visible inventory inside the Bellator cage and sponsor concourse activations during events as well as additional off-site promotional activations. To complement the live event experience, Monster and Bellator will look to engage in a multi-faceted activation plan intended to build customer loyalty and drive tune-in of the Bellator broadcasts on Spike. The sponsorship extension will also see Bellator MMA continue to put on fights during the “Monster Energy Cup” – an event that showcases the world’s top supercross riders in a head to-head battle for the coveted “Monster Energy Cup” award and the chance to win one million dollars.

PHOTO © HANS MOLENKAMP// MONSTER ENERGY/All Rights Reserved

PHOTO © HANS MOLENKAMP//MONSTER ENERGY/All Rights Reserved

Payout Perspective:

Monster is also the “Official Energy Drink” of the UFC and with this agreement will have honed in on the MMA demo.  It’s clear that the company sees the MMA demo of young (mostly male) adults correlates with the company’s target market.  The announcement comes the day before Bellator 154 which features Phil Davis taking on King Mo. Davis is a Monster Energy-sponsored athlete per the Bellator release. In addition, Rampage Jackson, Joe Schilling, Michael Chandler, Joey Beltran and Brennan Ward are Monster-sponsored as well.

UFC lightweight latest flagged by USADA

May 13, 2016

Carlos Diego Ferreira was flagged by USADA of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation.  The notification is a result of an out-of-competition sample collection.  He has been taken off o the May 29th UFC card in Las Vegas where he was to meet Abel Trujillo.

The UFC has issued its standard statement with respect to being notified by USADA of a possible violation by one of its contracted fighters.

Fighters flagged by USADA for potential anti-doping violations 

Carlos Diego Ferreira

Viscardi Andrade

Frank Mir

Yoel Romero (penalty reduced to 6-month suspension via settlement)

Felipe Olivieri

Diego Brandao

Gleison Tibau

Mirko Cro Cop

Payout Perspective:

The 31-year old Brazilian fighter is 3-2 in the UFC.  According to the USADA database, he’s been tested twice in 2016.  He was not tested in 2015.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

TUF 23 Episode 4 draws 336,000 viewers

May 12, 2016

The fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 23 drew a live plus same day rating of 336,000 viewers.  It’s one of the lowest viewership ratings for a TUF episode.

In the fight of the show, Andrew Sanchez defeated Myron Dennis via unanimous decision.

Episode 4

Per Sports TV Ratings, the episode drew 226,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The 336,000 viewers is an all-time low for the series on FS1.   Prior to this Episode 5 of TUF 21 drew just 340,000 viewers.

In comparison to this episode, last spring TUF 21 Episode 3 drew 364,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

An NHL Game 7 and two NBA Playoff games on TNT probably spelled the doom for any live viewers of TUF.  The Golden State-Warriors-Portland Trailblazers Game 5 drew over 6 million viewers according to Sports TV Ratings.  As we know, we should see an uptick in viewership due to the DVR ratings.

Rousey clears potential defamation claim from former manager

May 12, 2016

Ronda Rousey has agreed to change a portion of her autobiography to avoid a potential defamation lawsuit from former manager Darin Harvey.

Rousey’s autobiography which was released last year included a section which describes Harvey.  The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion agreed to change the section for the second release when it comes out in paperback, ebook and  audiobook.

The two parties settled their lawsuit in February.  After a California State Athletic Commission ruled in Rousey’s favor with respect that her contract with Harvey was not valid, a lawsuit filed by Harvey in Los Angeles Superior Court remained.  The court had ordered the case to go to arbitration.  Yet, this new wrinkle appears to tie up loose ends.

Or does it.  According to MMA Junkie, Havey claims that comments made by Rousey’s attorney in the LA lawsuit about the changes in the book were in violation of the confidential settlement agreement.

Payout Perspective:

Just because Rousey and her publishing company are changing a portion of the book, it does not mean that what Rousey wrote about Harvey would be defamation.  However, the prolonged litigation would have been a drag on Rousey and affect the book sales as well as a potential movie on the autobiography which is a possibility.  You might recall that Rousey recently signed a deal with the Lifetime Network.  For Harvey, it gives him piece of mind about his past business relationship.  Of course the new wrinkle is the comments made by Rousey’s attorney in the LA lawsuit.  He was not the party representing her in the potential defamation matter and Harvey’s comments make it seem like this might not be over.  Violating a confidential settlement agreement has its penalties which would be included in the agreement.  It would be hard to speculate on what the parties agreed to but they usually involve monetary penalties or a voiding of the agreement.  Of course, a party to the agreement would have to prove that the terms were violated.

TUF 23 Episode 3 DVR viewership up to 642,000

May 11, 2016

Last week’s TUF 23 Episode 3 saw another big increase in viewership factoring in the DVR ratings.  This week saw a 55% increase from the Live viewership.

Notably, its increase in DVR viewership fared better than last spring’s increase for TUF 21.

UFC TUF 23 Ep 3 DVR

Payout Perspective: 

It’s clear that TUF does best when recorded for later viewing.  Going up against live sports at this time (i.e., NBA and NHL Playoffs) is a tough task.

UFC not for sale per Dana White

May 11, 2016

Despite the ESPN report that the UFC was for sale, Dana White is denying the report that they are looking to sell the company.

Dana White told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the UFC is not for sale after a report from Darren Rovell released a report that Zuffa, LLC was in advanced talks with a prospective buyer.  “The ESPN story is overblown.  Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts.  His facts could not be further off,” he told the paper.

Despite the denial, Rovell stands by his report which was released on Tuesday.  He indicated that ownership enlisted Goldman Sachs to look into selling the UFC.  Rovell notes that his sources claim that there are 4 potential buyers which are seeking to purchase the company.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not the first time that Rovell and White have gone back and forth.  Obviously, since Zuffa, LLC/UFC maintains that since it is a private company it does not release its financials, the company’s information is not open to the public and media to review.  In the past, Rovell has goaded White into producing numbers to back up his claims.

Will the UFC sell?  It would make sense especially with the volatility of the business and the company is doing well financially.  But, does the denial serve as a mere assurance to its contracted fighters and business partners that nothing is going to change.  Or, are we going to see a sale in the coming months?

Zuffa in advanced talks to sell UFC

May 10, 2016

Zuffa is in advanced talks to sell the UFC according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.  The transaction could land the current owners $4 billion.

John Nash of Bloody Elbow and Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report had reported the possibility of the sale earlier this year.

There are at least four bids to purchase the organization including WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group.

Zuffa LLC headed by the Fertitta brothers and Dana White purchased the UFC for $2 million.  The company is being valued at $3.5 to $4 billion.

Payout Perspective:

The fact Zuffa is fielding multiple offers is interesting considering it is still dealing with an antitrust lawsuit filed by former fighters as well as potential lobbying expenditures if an amendment is made to the Ali Act which would include mixed martial artists.  One would think that prospective buyers would be concerned with these issues since it would be there responsibility once acquired.  Of course, the UFC has succeeded in getting MMA legal in New York and withstood another FTC investigation.  MMA Payout will keep you posted on the prospective buyers.

UFC Fight Night 87 draws 656,000 viewers, Prelims 494,000

May 10, 2016

UFC Fight Night 87 drew 656,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday afternoon according to Sports TV Ratings.  The Prelims which preceded the main card drew 494,000 viewers.

The main card featured Alistair Overeem taking on Andre Arlovski.  Overeem, the crowd favorite, stopped Arlovski in the second round.  The prelims were highlighted by Rustam Khabilov as he defeated Chris Wade via unanimous decision.

Notably, the main card ratings were slightly below last month’s Sunday UFC show (781,000) from Croatia.  However, the prelim card was better than last month’s rating (443,000).

According to Sports TV Ratings, the main card drew 340,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The prelims drew 257,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

UFC Fight Night 2016
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 81 2,288,000 1,767,000
UFC Fight Night 82 1,300,000 1,093,000
UFC Fight Night 83 983,000 829,000
UFC Fight Night 85 1,149,000 766,000
UFC Fight Night 86 781,000 443,000
UFC Fight Night 87 656,000 494,000

UFC Fight Nights through 87

Payout Perspective:

I am not opposed to Sunday morning UFC but due to the international audience and start times that relate to the region, the ratings are affected.  Of course, Mother’s Day may have played a part as well.  It will be interesting to see what the DVR rating is for this event.

Belfort compares Reebok deal to slavery

May 9, 2016

UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort compared the Reebok deal to slavery according to an interview he did with Sports TV Brazil.

Translated by Bloody Elbow:

“MMA is a lot closer to entertainment than sport these days. I’m not satisfied with the way the company is handling sponsorship. We are pretty much living in slavery. We can’t use our own sponsors, they are banned inside the Octagon. We have no properties… I hope I can leave a legacy which fighters can use to raise awareness about a minimum wage pay. It’s a contact sport. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to earn 500 dollars to be elbowed in the face. There has to be a retirement plan, which does not exist now. That’s something for the next generation. They need to save their money and invest. They need to know the athlete life will end.”

Payout Perspective:

Salacious comments from Belfort but the remark is support to evoke some emotion from the reader.  Last year, Belfort’s wife and manager indicated that he has lost millions due to the deal.  The sports agency 9ine, founded by Ronaldo, cut ties with the UFC due to Reebok.  The agency had ties with Belfort and Anderson Silva.  Based on his comments, it’s clear that Belfort was one greatly affected by the deal due to the amount of money he could earn from sponsors.  Since that is no longer happening, he is one of the contracted fighters speaking out.

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