Extension granted in Hunt Motion to Dismiss FAC

July 13, 2017

Mark Hunt lawyers received an extension in filing their opposition brief to the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.

The original deadline to file an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint was this past Monday, July 10th.

Stipulation to Extend Time to Respond to Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

According to the Stipulation agreed to by the parties and signed off by the Court, lead counsel for Hunt is going on a pre-planned vacation and another had just come back from a vacation and will be in deposition which will not allow them an opportunity to “prepare a meaningful and adequate response.”

If you haven’t checked it out, I took a look at the first hearing.

Payout Perspective:

The parties agreed to the one-week extension and the Court signed off on it.  While one might think that a vacation is not a valid excuse, Hunt’s attorneys previously stipulated to an extension.  Courts like for the parties to settle these things without judicial intervention.  Also, it is “civil” litigation.  It is frowned upon when there are known dates such as pre-planned vacations and/or holidays and parties file motions with the intent that it annoys the opposing so as to work during these times.  While its understood that deadlines are not always extended, the parties were able to work this one out.

Mayweather-McGregor Press Conference in LA draws 124,000 viewers on FS2

July 12, 2017

Tuesday’s Mayweather-McGregor Press Conference on FS2 drew 124,000 live viewers according to Nielsen.  A re-air of the World Tour on FS1 drew 133,000 viewers.

The launch of the World Tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles aired live on FS2 at 2:30pm.  It peaked with 176,000 viewers.  The re-air on FS1 at 8:00pm peaked with 166,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Getting 124,000 viewers to tune in live, not to mention those watching online via Showtime, is extraordinary considering a large portion of the time was spent waiting for the two to get on stage.  The viewership is a sign that people are engaged with this tour and know that McGregor is a showman that can promote.  Will this translate into PPV buys?  We shall see.

Taking a look at the Motion to Dismiss hearing in the Mark Hunt lawsuit

July 12, 2017

It’s not often that you get the transcript from a court hearing for free (relatively speaking).  But Brock Lesnar’s attorneys have attached the entire hearing from the parties’ Motion to Dismiss on May 22, 2017 as an exhibit to its current Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint of Mark Hunt.  MMA Payout takes a deep dive into the hearing.

Transcript Exhibt a to Lesnar’s MTD by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

There were three parties present.  Howard Jacobs, representing Brock Lesnar, J. Colby Williams and Donald Jude Campbell on behalf of Zuffa, LLC and Dana White and Scott Ingold and Joseph Gonnella on behalf of Mark Hunt.  Jacobs, Williams and Ingold were the attorneys that argued the motion before the Honorable Jennifer A. Dorsey.

The Court complimented the parties on how well-briefed the parties were in arguing the Motion to Dismiss.  As such, he made the introductory note that he had read all of the cases cited by both parties and thus did not need a rehash of the cases.  In my experience, this is helpful and shows the court’s competence.  Also for judicial efficiency, he does not want a party to go too deep into the cases they cite by bringing up the underlying facts in that case unless its central to the point of the parties.

I will let everyone know, first of all, I have read every word of all of the very nicely prepared briefs. I want to thank all of you for the care and attention that went into those briefs. And, because I think everything was so well briefed, I definitely don’t need a reiteration of every argument and every point raised. I’ve spent a lot of time with these motions. I’ve read all of the cases that are cited in them. So I’m prepared to hear what else or what else you would like to stress.

The Court takes time asking questions of Hunt’s attorney about their tort-based claims as well as their theory for the RICO claim.  Defendants seem to have successfully pegged the RICO claim as one that circumvents the rationale behind the purpose of the claim and more of one where attorneys attempt to frame a RICO claim in order to triple their damage claim.  As such, there’s no standing for Hunt to assert his RICO claim.

Colby Williams:

Here, Mr. Hunt’s Complaint is a prime example of the overenthusiastic use of RICO and its specter of criminal wrongdoing to seek a financial windfall in the context of a routine commercial dispute. And, while RICO has unquestionably been stretched in scope and meaning beyond the organized crime context, certain guiding principles remain no matter what the subject matter is of the case.

The most fundamental of those requirements, Your Honor, we would submit, would be that a plaintiff has to have RICO standing under 18 U.S.C. 1964(c) and that’s a two-pronged inquiry. First prong, you’ve got to demonstrate a cognizable injury to a property or business interest. And, Your Honor, most respectfully to opposing counsel, that is not determined by trying to squeeze yourself into some other interest that has been found suitable for RICO injury in a prior case. The courts are unanimous when they tell us business and property interests are a categorical inquiry based on state law. The second inquiry that must be established for RICO standing is that there has to be proximate cause between the injurious conduct and the claimed injury. These are questions of law for the court; they are proper for determination at the 12(b)(6) stage; and, if a plaintiff fails to satisfy either prong, the RICO claim must be dismissed. We submit Mr. Hunt doesn’t satisfy either one.

Defendant’s stress the fact that personal injury and reputational harm are “simply not recoverable” under RICO.  Hunt’s alleged lost opportunities, according to the defendants, are future claims that are speculative and contingent which do not fall under a remedy under RICO.

Notably, the defendants wanted to make known that Hunt was still gamely contracted by the UFC and performing under the contract at issue.

Williams:

Mr. Hunt, on March 4th, fought Alistair Overeem. He references it in his opposition. He was paid $750,000 for that fight, Your Honor. More money than he made in the summer of 2016 at UFC 200 when he fought Mr. Lesnar. He hasn’t lost a single opportunity. He’s continuing to get fight opportunities. He’s making more money. There is no RICO injury here at all.

Jacobs, the attorney for Brock Lesnar, argued that the claims against Lesnar are baseless as they lack proximity.  The RICO claims, which are based on Hunt fighting Bigfoot Silva and Frank Mir do not apply to Lesnar argued Jacobs.  He claimed that Hunt cannot show that he relied on any omissions or misrepresentations from Lesnar which is a requisite for a fraud claim and the underlying actions for a RICO violation.  Jacobs argues the use of the ESPN interviews with Brock Lesnar and Dana White would defeat his own claim.

…I think, all of the causes of action. Certainly RICO, fraud, false pretenses — all of those claims require an allegation of reliance on the false representations. And so the plaintiff in his Complaint and then as supplemented by his opposition says that he relied on either Brock Lesnar’s alleged misrepresentation that he wasn’t doping or he relied on the material omission of the fact that he was doping. So those are the allegations. And there have to be damages pled which he has to show that he relied on these misrepresentations or omissions.

 … And what he [Hunt]wants to do here is have it both ways. He wants to use the interviews that Mr. Lesnar gave as part of his RICO claims and the predicate acts, but then he wants you to somehow find that his own statements, the very same types of interviews, where he said: I know that Brock Lesnar was doping and I don’t care. I’ll beat him anyway. He wants you to ignore those and you can’t because they show that the allegations here are false.

“He wants to use the interviews that Mr. Lesnar gave as part of his RICO claims and the predicate acts, but then he wants you to somehow find that his own statements, the very same types of interveies, where he [Hunt] said: I know that Brock Lesnar was doing and I don’t care.  I’ll beat him anyway.  He wants you [the Judge] to ignore those and you can’t because they show that the allegations here are false.”

Jacobs also attempts to extinguish Hunt’s purported theories for a RICO claim:

And the pattern of racketeering, it’s been alleged that it’s both an open-ended pattern and a closed-ended pattern. And I just wanted to address some of the statements that are made on both of them. On the closed-ended continuity, the claim seems to be that — at least in part because you have to go further back in time — that the prior retirements of Brock Lesnar somehow factor into this closed-ended continuity. There’s a couple problems with that. One, it has not been pled in the Complaint. Two, any allegation that Brock Lesnar’s prior retirements that predated 2015 is somehow being a pattern of activity because they were used to avoid drug testing under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, they have one significant problem and that is there was no UFC Anti-Doping Policy before 2015 and there’s also no allegation that Mark Hunt ever was in line to fight Brock Lesnar prior to 2015. So it’s — those allegations to establish closed-ended continuity simply are factually impossible in this case.

 As to open-ended continuity, it seems to be thatlooking forward, well, Brock Lesnar could unretire and again avoid testing at any time. Again, if you look at the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, specifically at Article 5.7 which we asked that judicial notice be taken of, it specifically says that if he unretires he — basically he has to serve his suspension from that point going forward. So, if he has 11 months left on his suspension, he has to be in the pool for 11 months if he unretires for testing. So this notion and these arguments that he could somehow step out of retirement and straight into the ring is also factually impossible.

Hunt’s attorney first brings up the fact that it is the burden of the moving party thus setting the landscape for his argument that despite possible omissions, the non-moving party (Hunt) would have deference for any vague or ambiguous facts.  He stresses based upon case law that Hunt need only set forth “plausible” facts for their claims.  Further, he need not provide specifics on damages.

He notes that the RICO claim is based on “an ongoing course and conduct by the enterprise and the parties that make the enterprise,” including Brock Lesnar.  He notes that reliance on fraud need not be alleged to make his RICO claim.

He addresses the Defendants’ issues with Hunt’s standing (re question of damages) and proximate cause.  He notes that Lesnar was allowed by the UFC through a “fraudulent agreement by the enterprise.”  He goes on to state that Defendants “defrauded Mr. Hunt when they did that.  They defrauded the Pay-Per-View subscribers. They defrauded many people who were paying or relying on the fact that Mark Hunt was going to get fight a fair fight.”

But the Court asked whether the allegations were “patently speculative” including whether Hunt would have beaten Brock Lesnar if he had fought clean.  The Judge also questions how a fighter that uses PEDs would be able to increase the value of the company based on Hunt’s allegations in the Complaint.  In fact, the Court seems to question the theory of case and alleged damages posed by Hunt.  The attorney for Hunt does not go into the problems only that it needs discovery to determine more detailed matters.

Yet, he seems to have a hard time with the questioning and focusing on the rationale of the RICO claim.

THE COURT: How is it — how can you — I guess the question may be ultimately is what facts have you alleged currently to demonstrate and how — as opposed to just conclusory allegations that these damages, these lost opportunities, are from the RICO activity and the racketeering activity and not merely from the fact that he got beat?

INGOLD: Well, Your Honor, the defendants seem to say, well, we would have to prove that but for the cheating by Mr. Lesnar, Mark Hunt would have won the fight.

THE COURT: But for the racketeering activity

INGOLD: Well, if — if the defendants had not, in our view, committed wire fraud; if they had said, we’re going to make Mr. Lesnar go through the same testing protocols; we’re going to hold him to the same standards as every other fighter, as Mr. Hunt in fact, then it would have likely turned up that Mr. Lesnar was cheating; he would have not been able to compete; they would have substituted another fighter. Even if Mr. Hunt would have fared better against a clean Lesnar, that would have helped his brand.

 THE COURT: How is all of what you’ve just described not patently speculative?

 INGOLD: Well, Your Honor, Mendoza says that we’re allowed to allege damages generally at the pleading stage.

Ingold goes on to analogize the issue of damages:

Your Honor, I would submit that if Michael Jordan never won a basketball game kids wouldn’t be buying Air Jordan sneakers from Nike for hundreds of dollars; that if Mike Tyson never won a boxing fight, people wouldn’t have paid hundreds of dollars in Pay-Per-View fees to see him fight.

The fact of the matter — and we put this in our brief — is that losing fights is bad for business.

The Court also questions why his claims for false pretenses is based upon a criminal standard rather than a civil one.  The Judge read it more like a fraud-in-the inducement claim and Hunt’s attorney could not really address why the False Pretenses claim was based on a Nevada criminal statute.  The Judge also questioned Mr. Ingold as to whether they were challenging the enforceability of the contract.  It was clear that Mr. Ingold did not want to argue that the contract was unenforceable or voidable.

The Court noted that if there was not a false pretense, it would impact his claim for unjust enrichment and other claims made by Hunt.  Basically, under Nevada law, could not claim damages covered by a contract and then have an unjust enrichment claim against the contracting party.  Mr. Ingold cited a case in which there could be more damages claimed outside the contract under unjust enrichment.

It was curious to note that Hunt is not alleging that his fight contract is unenforceable despite the fact that he claims that portions of the contract were breached.

Notably, the Campbell & Williams attorney, Colby Williams, started by quoting a case in which it attempts to frame its argument that RICO does not apply in this case.

“…Mr. Hunt’s Complaint is a prime example of the overenthusiastic use of RICO and its specter of criminal wrongdoing to seek a financial windfall in the context of a routine commercial dispute.”  Williams goes on to state that Hunt has failed to satisfy the two-prong test set out to claim that they can sue (“standing”) under the federal RICO statute.  First, you have to “demonstrate a cognizable injury to a property or business interest.  Second, the UFC brings up a fact that had not been brought up which actually helps their case here.  Jon Jones failed a USADA test and was not allowed to fight at UFC 200.  This factual distinction serves as circumstantial evidence that the UFC would not have allowed Lesnar to participate at UFC 200 if it had known that he was taking a banned substance, he would not have allowed him to fight at the event.  Thus, the plausibility of a conspiracy claim falls flat here.”

The Judge does side with Mr. Williams here in citing that the claim was “overenthusiastic” use of the civil statute.  He dismissed the cause of action with the right to amend which Hunt did.  However, the Court did warn that the threshold for a plausible civil RICO claim was high.  Whether or not Hunt met this hurdle will be determined in the upcoming Motion to Dismiss of the First Amended Complaint.

The primary problem found by the Judge was “the lack of demonstrated RICO standing.”  The Court did not buy a “specialized business personal injury” as asserted by Hunt regarding his loss opportunities and damage to his Juggernaut brand.  Personal injuries are not recognized under this statute.   He also could not infer proximate cause.  Essentially, the Judge could not determine that the claim that the UFC concealed exemptions “to cause clean fighters to fight doping fighters” caused Hunt’s injury.

Once again, I am curious as to why Hunt’s attorney did not include USADA in its Complaint for damages.  Certainly, there could be a level of liability on USADA, a third party (and nonparty in this lawsuit) that administers and enforces the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  With the claims that Lesnar was allowed clearance to fight without proper drug testing, USADA could have been an entity to point the fighter.  Secondly, based on the argument and Hunt’s briefing, Juggernaut brand could have its own claims here.  As pointed out by Defendants, the company owned by Hunt should bring its own claim if it had one.

We shall see how Hunt’s attorneys respond and what they will argue to the Judge has changed (specifically the RICO claim) from the original complaint to the First Amended Complaint.

UFC 213 Prelims are the lowest this year

July 11, 2017

The UFC 213 Prelims on FS1 drew 657,000 viewers Saturday Night per Nielsen.  It’s the lowest-rated Prelims this year.

The feature fight for the Prelims was Travis Browne taking on Oleksiy Olynik with the Russian winning via rear naked choke.   Per Nielsen it drew 0.24 in the A18-49 demo.

The post-fight show 1:12am-2:12am ET  on FS1 drew 206,000 viewers while the pre-fight show 4pm-5pm ET scored 219,000.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are ominous for an event that usually draws well.  The last two Prelims for International Fight Week drew 1.7 million (UFC 200) and 847,000 (UFC 189) respectively.  UFC 200 drew over 1 million

Gaethje tops TUF 25 Finale salaries

July 11, 2017

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the payouts from TUF 25.  Newcomer to the UFC, Justin Gaethje drew $300,000  including bonuses for Friday’s fight against Michael Johnson.

Via MMA Junkie:

Justin Gaethje: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Johnson: $47,000

Jesse Taylor: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Dhiego Lima: $15,000

Drakkar Klose: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Marc Diakiese: $24,000

Jared Cannonier: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Nick Roehrick: $12,000

Brad Tavares: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Elias Theodorou: $24,000

Jordan Johnson: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Marcel Fortuna: $14,000

Angela Hill: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Ashley Yoder: $12,000

James Krause: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Gallicchio: $10,000

C.B. Dolloway: $86,000 (includes $43,000 win bonus)
def. Ed Herman: $54,000

Tecia Torres: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Juliana Lima: $17,000

Gray Maynard: $102,000 (includes $51,000 win bonus)
def. Teruto Ishihara: $21,000

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the $30,000 earned by Taylor, he received $290,000 which included $250,000 for winning TUF and then $40,000 in wins and bonuses during the season.  The payroll far exceeds the total reported gate of $432,495.  In his debut with the company, former WSOF lightweight champ Justin Gaethje is making $100,000 and $100,000 which seems commensurate to his status and fight style as an entertaining fight favorite.  With his $100,000 bonuses for FOTN and POTN, Gaethje made out with $300,000 (not including Reebok pay) for the night.

Overeem tops UFC 213 salaries

July 11, 2017

The Nevada State Athletic Commission disclosed the salaries for UFC 213 which took place this past Saturday.  Heavyweight Alistair Overeem was the highest paid fighter on the event with $800,000.

The main event competitors Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero earned $350,000 each.  Whittaker did not draw a win bonus although both drew the Fight of the Night bonus.  Thus, each actually made $400,000 notwithstanding the Reebok pay.

Salaries via MMA Junkie:

Robert Whittaker: $350,000 (no win bonus)
def. Yoel Romero: $350,000

Alistair Overeem: $800,000 (no win bonus)
def. Fabricio Werdum: $275,000

Robert Whittaker: $350,000 (no win bonus)
def. Yoel Romero: $350,000

Alistair Overeem: $800,000 (no win bonus)
def. Fabricio Werdum: $275,000

Robert Whittaker: $350,000 (no win bonus)

def. Yoel Romero: $350,000

Alistair Overeem: $800,000 (no win bonus)

def. Fabricio Werdum: $275,000

Curtis Blaydes: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)

def. Daniel Omielanczuk: $30,000

Anthony Pettis: $180,000 (includes $90,000 win bonus)

def. Jim Miller: $71,000

Rob Font: $39,000 (includes $19,500 win bonus)

def. Douglas Silva de Andrade: $18,000

Aleksei Oleinik: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)

def. Travis Browne: $120,000

Chad Laprise: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)

def. Brian Camozzi: $10,000

Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)

def. Gerald Meerschaert: $14,000

Belal Muhammad: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)

def. Jordan Mein: $25,000

Cody Stamann: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)

def. Terrion Ware: $10,000

Trevin Giles: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)

def. James Bochnovic: $12,000

Payout Perspective:

The $800,000 for Overeem is on par with his salary as he earned $750,000 in May for his KO of Mark Hunt.  Werdum’s $275,000 and Travis Browne’s $125,000 shows you that the Heavyweight division is still the place to be if you want to fight.

UFC 213: Payout Perspective

July 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 213 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Whittaker wins interim middleweight title

Robert Whittaker won a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero to win the interim middleweight title. Originally, a co-main feature, it took over as the last fight of the show when Amanda Nunes was reportedly hospitalized and could not fight Saturday night.

Romero tired and Whittaker was able to take advantage. One of Whittaker’s cornermen almost suffocated him with the black Reebok champion shirt during his post-fight interview. Also, Michael Bisping entered the Octagon to do a WWE-style promo on Whittaker. The two may fight after Bisping-GSP in November at MSG (likely to happen) so their fight might not happen until International Fight Week 2018.

With the UFC announcing that it is returning to Australia in November could Whittaker return to defend his title at that point?

Nunes withdraws leaving void for main event

If you watched the Embedded episodes for this event, you saw Amanda Nunes in a self-sauna in her hotel room.  Everything seemed fine as she was on weight on Friday morning.  But news Saturday morning of an illness and the immediate thought was about weight-cutting issues.  However, it was chronic sinusitis that led to the main event being cancelled.  Valentina Shevchenko will have to wait until Nunes gets better but it put off the main event of International Fight Week which apparently didn’t sit well with Dana White.  As promoter, having a fighter bail on a main event due to an issue which seems minimal compared to other injuries, is infuriating considering this is the second year in a row that a last-minute change occurred.  But, for Nunes, her career and livelihood was on the line.  She is an independent contractor and if she were to have lost due to an illness, there’s no guarantee she receives a rematch.  Sure, she lost out on her fight purse but this is the long versus short term view.

While White says he will not trust Nunes again with a main event spot, he’s said the same about Jon Jones who is headlining later this month. If Nunes comes back and defeats Shevchenko like she did Tate and Rousey I assume all will be forgiven.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romer drew Fight of the Night while Rob Font and Chad Laprise scored Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages. Each earned $50K bonuses.

Despite the last minute scratch and lack of big fights on this card, UFC 213 drew the second-highest attendance and gate for 2017 with $2.4 million for 12,834. Only UFC 211 in Dallas this past May drew higher numbers with 17,834 for a gate of $2,662,645.

UPDATED:  Salaries

Alistair Overeem topped the salaries for the event with $800,000.  You can see more of the salaries here.

Promotion of the Fight

There were some sponsor activations for UFC 213 but it seemed that this event lacked buzz of the past July International Fight Weeks. The Embedded appeared to start later than usual in a fight week and there were only 5 episodes as opposed to the 6 that are usually put out there. This could be due to the Nunes news. Despite this, the episodes were sponsored by Budweiser.

There were some other sponsorship activation which we detail below.

Sponsorships

A couple new sponsors in the Octagon this month including Performance Inspired Nutrition and Gruntstyle.com.  Grunt Style is a Patriotic-Inspired Apparel company although the signage in the Octagon was rather bland.  The UFC sent out a press release the last week of June announcing that Performance-Inspired Nutrition would be the “Official Sports Supplement” of the UFC.  The partnership means that they will provide the supplements at the UFC Performance Institute in Vegas.

Performance-Inspired also sponsored the Performance of the Night Bonuses

Also, an ad for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for Fight Pass.

Also, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Monster Energy, 7-Eleven, Toyo Tires and the movie, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” were all in the Octagon with Monster Energy having the middle.

MetroPCS also did some live streaming with Forrest Griffin and Demetrious Johnson analyzing the UFC 213 card. There was also a contest for a chance to win UFC or Samsung gear.

UFC is offering a mobile video game capitalizing on the esports/mobile game space.

Toyo Tires aired a new commercial featuring UFC fighters which included Anthony Pettis and Paige VanZant. Toyo Tires also sponsored post-event backstage interviews including this one with Dana White.

Odds and ends

Michael Johnson-Justin Gaethje was the fight of the weekend. His fight style is not long for this sport but he should get a top 10 lightweight next.

UFC 213 Countdown drew 116,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday Night per Nielsen.

MetroPCS had new commercials with Sage Northcutt and Demetrious Johnson. Maybe the UFC is making good with Johnson.

Here’s the portable sauna that Nunes used in episode 5 of the Embedded series. It only goes for $179.

If all UFC contracted athletes can use the Performance Institute, why don’t they especially if they need treatment or would like to do non-specific training.

The get-in price of UFC 213 as of Saturday afternoon of the event was $80 with a lot of tickets left on Tickemaster. The going price on SeatGeek was an $86 get-in price.

At the TUF 25 Finale weigh-ins, it looked like Tom Gallicchio had sponsors on his shorts.

The UFC 214 official promo is great.

UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2

The official promo for #UFC214: Daniel Cormier vs Jon "Bones" Jones 2.Enjoy.

Posted by UFC on Sunday, July 9, 2017

It was announced during the broadcast that Nevada has yet to agree to the Unified Rules of MMA.

Reebok should go with a v-neck shirt to put over fighters after their bouts for the simple fact it’s hard to put them over your head.  Robert Whittaker was almost choked out by his own corner man by putting on his black Reebok champ shirt.

The internet always wins:

UFC 213 google searches drew over 200,000 on Saturday night. Google searches for “UFC” drew over 200,000 which likely may be attributed to the cancelled fight and Dana White’s subsequent comments. I don’t think we can extrapolate that all of these searches were related to people buying the PPV.

Conclusion

It’s hard to think that the removal of Amanda Nunes could impact PPV buy rates. But, a show that could have done 300,000 PPV buys is likely doing something around 250,000 if lucky. Whittaker-Romero are not main-eventers and the lack of an actual (not interim) title on the card likely hurt. With over 200,000 google searches on Saturday night, I would suggest this PPV draws between 200-250,000 PPV buys.

UFC 213 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 9, 2017

UFC 213 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night drew a reported 12,834 for a gate of $2.4 million making it the second-best for 2017.  In addition, the UFC announced bonus of which the main event led the winners.

Robert Whittaker’s win over Yoel Romero drew the Fight of the Night while Rob Font and Chad Laprise scored bonuses for their Performances.  Each received $50,000 each.

UFC 211 in Dallas drew 17,834 for a gate of $2,662,645.  That card featured two UFC titles on the line.  UFC 213 was to have two belts on the line but Amanda Nunes pulled out early Saturday leaving the interim middleweight belt the only one on the line.

Payout Perspective:

As always, the numbers were revealed by the UFC, so no word yet on how many people took advantage of the refund offered for the loss of the main event.  For obvious reasons, last year’s UFC 200 drew a bigger gate and more in attendance (18,202 and $10,700,000).  Still, the UFC is likely happy with the attendance and gate since tickets appeared ample tickets to be available on the day of the event.

Nunes hospitalized, out of UFC 213 main event

July 8, 2017

Another year, another last minute issue with the main event of the International Fight Week PPV.  Amanda Nunes was hospitalized and Dana White confirmed that the title fight with Valentina Shevchenko is off.

The UFC issued a release which includes a sentence noting that customers may request a full refund for their tickets.

The new main event will be Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero vying for the interim middleweight title.

Last year, UFC 200 was dealt a huge blow when Jon Jones was removed from the card after he tested positive for a banned substance.

You can expect a rough secondary market for this event even before the main event was cancelled.  The get-in price on the secondary market is $87 as of Saturday afternoon per SeatGeek.  There are a lot of tickets on Ticketmaster with the get-in at $80 as well as ample floor seats going for $600.

Payout Perspective:

The PPV buy rate will likely take a hit albeit a slight one as while Nunes is an up and coming star and defeated two of the more popular women fighters of recent memory (Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey) I do not know how much of a draw she would have been.  Certainly, having her defending her title would have garnered buys, but I think this card was destined to be in the mid-300s.  Without Nunes, just a guess, but it’s likely 250,000 based on the card as it is now.

TUF Finale 25 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 7, 2017

Justin Gaethje’s UFC debut was likely one of the best in the history of the company.  Gaethje drew two bonuses for his main event stoppage of Michael Johnson at the TUF 25 Finale Friday night at the T-Mobile Arena.

Gaethje drew a Performance bonus and along with Michael Johnson earned Fight of the Nihgt.  Tecia Torres also drew a Performance bonus for her submission of Juliana Lima.

The UFC announced that the TUF 25 Finale drew 6,308 fans for a live gate of $432,495.  In comparison, the TUF 23 Finale last year drew 8,115 fans for a live gate of $736,408.  Last year there were 3 events during International Fight wheras this week there are only 2.  TUF 24 Finale in December was held at The Palms and had a very small crowd of 1,800.

The bonuses, attendance and gate were announced post fight by UFC officials.

Payout Perspective:

Not a big showing for tonight’s event but those that were in attendance witnessed the reason why Justin Gaethje is one of the most-exciting fighters around.  Granted, his style is not long for this sport, but Gaethje and Johnson put on one of the best fights this year.

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