December 5, 2016
Episode 12 of TUF 24 drew 628,000 viewers on FS1 per Nielsen when factoring in DVR +3 information. The DVR ratings represents a 41% bump from Live + SD viewership.
The average viewership for DVR +3 ratings was approximately 564,000 viewers. The highest viewed episode this season was episode 3 which drew 441,000 viewers Live +SD and drew a total of 682,000 viewers when factoring in DVR + 3 viewership.
December 5, 2016
MMA Junkie reports the TUF 24 Finale payouts from Saturday’s event from The Palms. Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson led the payouts as disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The disclosed total payout was $1,242,000. Johnson earned $350,000 with no win bonus.
Champ Demetrious Johnson: $350,000 (no win bonus)
def. Tim Elliott: $100,000
Joseph Benavidez: $140,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus)
def. Henry Cejudo: $50,000
Jorge Masvidal: $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Ellenberger: $78,000
Jared Cannonier: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Ion Cutelaba: $12,000
Sara McMann: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Alexis Davis: $27,000
Brandon Moreno: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Ryan Benoit: $15,000
Ryan Hall: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Gray Maynard: $51,000
Rob Font: $33,000 (includes $16,500 win bonus)
def. Matt Schnell: $10,000
“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Brendan O’Reilly: $12,000
Jamie Moyle: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Kailin Curran: $20,000
Anthony Smith: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Elvis Mutapcic: $16,000
Devin Clark: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Stansbury: $12,000
A nice raise in payment for Johnson who made a show purse of $135,000 at UFC 197. He made $60,000 as a win bonus against Henry Cejudo this past April for a total of $195,000. The $350,000 matches that made by bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in his last title defense at UFC 199. The $350,000 is still less than the $500,000 made by champs like Daniel Cormier and Robbie Lawler (when he held the title). Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic made $600,000 for his last title defense in September. Of course, it’s not even close to Conor McGregor’s purse. Tim Elliott likely made the most out of any TUF winner in their first fight outside of the show with $100,000 to fight the champ.
December 4, 2016
Sara McMann, Anthony Smith, Jared Cannonier and Ian Cutelaba earned $50,000 bonuses. McMann and Smith earned the Performance bonuses while Cannonier and Cutelaba had the Fight of the Night.
McMann submitted Alexis Davis while Smith earned a TKO victory over Elvis Mutapcic.
The event at the Palms drew 1,800 for a live gate of $143,000.
The numbers were announced post-event
Rob Font could have earned a Performance Bonus for his stoppage of Matt Schnell. The attendance and gate is the maximum for the venue as 1,800 for $143,000 is the usual numbers for The Palms.
December 2, 2016
Bloomberg reports that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (Goldman Sachs) has been reprimanded by Federal Reserve regulators for the second time due to its debt deal to purchase the UFC for $4 billion. Regulators consider the loans as “substandard.”
In addition to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank AG, which was the lead underwriter for the junior portion of the deal also has been notified by regulators.
Goldman Sachs had appealed an earlier warning about its deal structure which included add-backs to increase the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). The EBITDA for the UFC was placed at $170 million but then rose to an estimated $300 million when presented to debt investors to finance the sale. The higher EBITDA allowed for WME-IMG to borrow $1.8 billion for the deal. According to a Wall Street Journal article, future “step up payments” for future television contracts and other licensing agreements were factored into bringing the EBITDA up to $300 million. Notably, the UFC has made it public that they will be seeking a $450 million per year television contract once its current agreement with FOX ends in 2018.
With yields for the UFC loans at 8.5%, investors were eager to purchase the debt. The demand was so high, that the UFC lowered the interest rate on the junior debt twice the week the loans went to market.
The concern with the sale is the “add-backs” which were factored into the profitability of the company. If the balance sheet provides too much of a flowery outlook, investors might be led astray. A company inflating their cash flow projections would appear to be able to take on more debt due to its liquidity. But, if the projections are not realistic, there is the concern for a default. Investors are looking for high yields to make money and this deal, with its yield on loans, is enticing despite the fed warnings. We shall see with a new administration coming in January, if these type of deal structures will continue to be pursued.
December 2, 2016
The 12th and final episode of TUF 24 drew 386,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night. The season drew an average live viewership of just 343,000.
In the TUF final, Tim Elliott prevailed over Hiromasa Ogikubo to become The Ultimate Fighter. While the show’s concept this season was unique, Elliott’s win was leaked months ago and TV guides listed Elliott’s name as Demetrious Johnson’s opponent before Wednesday’s episode showed the final.
This season did much worse than last fall’s TUF 22 which featured coaches Faber and McGregor. Still, last fall seemed like low ratings with an average live rating of 522,000. But, this season’s average was lower. Even the ATT v. Blackzilians TUF season (TUF 21) drew a better season average with 393,000 over the 12-episode season. I thought the TUF 24 fights were entertaining but whether it was the fact that people knew the ultimate result or that they are tired with the concept, live viewership is decreasing.
December 2, 2016
I jumped on with Paul Gift and John Nash of Bloody Elbow for Show Money Episode 14. We mainly talk about the MMAAA and touch on Conor McGregor’s move to obtain a boxing license.
December 1, 2016
MMA Fighting reports that Conor McGregor has obtained a boxing license from the California State Athletic Commission. However, he was not issued a boxing license in Nevada.
California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster confirmed the news that McGregor has a license.
The news comes after McGregor was stripped of the UFC Featherweight title. Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will vie for the interim Featherweight title with the winner likely facing Jose Aldo to unify the Featherweight title. McGregor has not defended the title.
However, the Las Vegas Journal Review reports that McGregor was denied a boxing license in the state of Nevada. In part, the denial is due to the outstanding fine assessed McGregor from the bottle-throwing incident at the UFC 202 press conference. In addition, Bob Bennett, NAC Executive Director, stated that he would have to assess McGregor’s boxing ability.
Obtaining a boxing license appears to be the next move in McGregor’s strategy to gain more leverage with the UFC. The never-ending rumor that McGregor may fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. with this news. Will it happen? I doubt it unless there are substantial monetary guarantees and legal hurdles are addressed. From a legal standpoint, the UFC would likely step in to prevent a McGregor boxing fight from happening since he is under contract with the company. Of course, McGregor would fight this. But, I would suspect that the license is more of a way to annoy UFC management.
November 30, 2016
Kevin Gastelum has settled his suspension with the New York State Athletic Commission and can now compete at UFC 206 next week.
Gastelum was issued a six-month suspension due to not making weight for his scheduled fight against Donald Cerrone. Technically, Gastelum did not stand on the scale at the weigh-ins but it was due to the fact he was not going to make it. Gastelum paid a $2,000 fine in lieu of the suspension.
As a result, he should be cleared to fight Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 next Saturday in Toronto. The fight was announced prior to the issue with New York being cleared. However, the settlement should allow for Gastelum to obtain a license to fight in Ontario.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported the settlement.
Gastelum makes out pretty well considering he’ll have to pay $2,000 in order to make his show money for UFC 206. In his last fight at UFC 200, he made $53,000 to show and $33,000 for his win. Thus, the $2,000 fine is not much to make the fight at UFC 206.
November 30, 2016
UFC Fight Night 101 drew 686,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims which preceded the main card drew 654,000.
The main card (10:00-12:56 am ET) was headlined by Robert Whittaker taking on Derek Brunson. Whittaker won via first round stoppage. The event drew 342,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The 2 hour prelims (8:00-10:00pmET) drew 296,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The ratings are somewhat surprising considering the UFC weigh-ins on FS1 Friday drew a very good 297,000 viewers which is above average for a weigh-in on the network.
Notably, the Kovalev-Ward replay on HBO drew more viewers, 834,000 (391,000 in A18-49), than during the main card. Also, the live fight of Lomachenko-Walters drew more viewers (761,000, 347,000 A18-49) than the live UFC event.
It was the first time in a while that boxing on either HBO or Showtime drew better than a UFC event on FS1. It was a free preview weekend for the premium cable channels which may be a reason although I am not sure if the Nielsen numbers include those not subscribed. Still, good numbers for HBO, while the UFC event numbers were lower than the Fight Night average. It is interesting that the main card and prelims were so close in viewership numbers.
November 29, 2016
Leslie Smith has written an open letter in which she states she is no longer supporting the Professional Fighters Association. Per MMA Fighting, labor lawyer Lucas Middlebrook is also severing ties with the organization he helped found with agent Jeff Borris.
The information of a possible board of fighters was leaked to the media which appears to be the reason for the parting of ways. Eleven names of current UFC fighters were revealed.
Smith stated that she helped compile a list of potential fighters to target for the board. The list, according to Smith, was to be confidential but the names as well as other information about the PFA appeared in an MMA Junkie article. She was also upset at the fact that the PFA intended to set up an agent advisory board in addition to the fighter board.
Smith wrote a letter about the situation in which she proposes the next steps in organizing MMA fighters.
Middlebrook left for the same disclosures made. Borris does not know how the leak of information happened.
Altruism or naivete on the part of Smith? Smith is passionate about organizing fighters but it appears that there was a misunderstanding regarding her role with PFA. Whether or not there was an understanding about the confidentiality of the information passed on by Smith is a question that someone at the PFA could answer. Obviously, the Junkie article revealed a lot about PFA’s goals as well as the potential for a board. This might be seen as showing its hand too early. It also might be a way to gain some PR for the organization at a time when it needed to gain traction with fighters. The concern about disclosing names for a board is that it might cause discord between the fighters and the UFC. Middlebrook leaving PFA also reflects a lack of cohesion in the organization less than 3 months into its venture. With the anticipated announcement of another attempt to organize fighters coming up on Wednesday, PFA may lose steam even before it begins.