TUF 28 episode 8 draws 147,000 viewers

November 2, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter’s return to FS1 drew just 147,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

TUF’s featured fight of the episode saw Macy Chiasson defeated Larissa Pacheco in a women’s featherweight matchup.

Chiasson will take on Leah Letson in the tournament semifinals which will culminate at the TUF Finale in December.

Payout Perspective:

The telecast was the lowest-rated of the season and this may be attributed to the layoff after The World Series.  The layoffs don’t help out with the season as we all prepare for how this will be repackaged on ESPN.

ESPN to air UFC event at Barclay’s January 19th

November 2, 2018

ESPN will carry UFC’s first event under its new contract with the promotion with an event January 19th at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclay’s Center.  Sports Business Daily was the first to report the event on ESPN.

The UFC entered into a 5-year $1.5 billion-dollar deal for ESPN to carry its events which will include events on ESPN+, the network’s streaming service.  There has yet to be a main event attached to this event in Brooklyn.

The UFC ends its network deal with Fox next month.  The network ends a deal that began in 2011 and paid around $120 million annually.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC event on ESPN guarantees to have some star power on it as it will want to make a great first impression being on the main ESPN channel.  It will be interesting to see how different the production and presentation of the promotion will be on ESPN.  We should expect some major announcements after UFC 230 regarding this event on ESPN.

Carl’s Jr. backs Champ Champ after Popeyes sides with Lewis before UFC 230

November 2, 2018

Less than 24 hours after Derrick Lewis secured Popeyes Chicken as a sponsor, Daniel Cormier has retained Carl’s Jr. in a sponsorship deal per the company’s twitter.

The SoCal Company with restaurants all over the country (except Seattle) changed the name of its twitter account to “Carl’s Jr/Daniel Cormier fan account” for the occasion.  Very active on twitter with mostly off-the-cuff humor, Carl’s Jr. entered the UFC world of promotion. It had a campaign with Ronda Rousey in 2015.

Similar to Popeyes offer for free chicken in Texas if Lewis wins Saturday night, Cormier announced that he’d be passing out free burgers when he defeats the Black Beast.

In addition, it appears that Cormier has an individual deal with official UFC sponsor Nemiroff Vodka.

Payout Perspective:

Credit to Cormier’s team and Carl’s Jr. for a chance at jumping on an opportunity.  This is great for Cormier, who made an appearance on the Fox Halftime Show of NFL’s Thursday Night Football and the promotion of Saturday’s event.  The fast-food war between Popeyes and Carl’s Jr. will likely help all involved.

UFC middleweight announces USADA test positive for ostarine

November 1, 2018

Although it has yet to be announced due to new UFC Anti-Doping Policy rules, middleweight Marvin Vettori has announced that he has been flagged for a positive test of ostarine.

MMA Junkie reported Vettori’s announcement made on his Instagram account.  Vettori’s last fight was this past April with a split decision loss to Israel Adesanya.  Notably, “The Style Bender” will fight this weekend at UFC 230 against Derek Brunson.

Vettori described having “a very low trace of ostarine.”  According to his social media post, he has been working with USADA since August.  He believes it to be a contaminated product that caused the test for ostarine.


View this post on Instagram


Hi guys, many of you are asking me everyday when my next fight is going to be, so I thought to do this video to explain you the current situation. It is right that you know from me what happened, that I can tell you what happened in the most straightforward way possible. At the seventh USADA test, I was found positive for a very low trace of ostarine, and since August Im still in the middle of the process of it and I’m waiting for final news. No official press release has yet been done, because the new USADA policy is to say nothing until the confirmation of all the tests, given the many cases of contamination or accidental, like mine. Since the beginning of my career I have always been a clean fighter, I have never intentionally assumed anything that could favor my performances inside the cage because I am convinced that the results are the result of sacrifice, dedication, blood and sweat. This is just a small stop on the way to achieve what I have set. As soon as I will be allowed to return to the cage, I will do it as always at my best and with only one goal in mind. I thank Jeff Notivky for helping me understand the steps in this process with the USADA and I thank the USADA for keeping our sport clean. I thank my team and all of you who follow me everyday. I have never stopped training and I will never do it, the goal remains the same. #theitaliandream

A post shared by Marvin Vettori (@marvinvettori) on

Payout Perspective:

This week we saw Polo Reyes come back from a six-month suspension due to a contaminated product.  If this is the case for Vettori, he may be facing a similar sanction.  This new strategy for a fighter to self-announce the findings puts the responsibility of revealing the information on the fighter rather than USADA.  Whether good or bad, its for the fighter to decide how to let fans know why they are out for a longer period of time.  We have seen Sean O’Malley do the same thing.  Vettori decided to follow suit as well.

Popeyes Chicken in Lewis corner at UFC 230

November 1, 2018

The Black Beast has made himself known for the outrageous things he says and his love of Popeye’s Chicken.  MMA Fighting reports that Derrick Lewis has signed a sponsorship deal with Popeye’s Chicken.

Through his management, Lewis has secured a deal with Popeye’s Chicken.  Lewis and his opponent this Saturday, Daniel Cormier, have taken friendly jabs at each other over the restaurant.

Lewis recently did a video in conjunction with another one of his sponsors, Represent.  Taking advantage of getting rid of his pants in his post-fight interview at UFC 229, Lewis is selling shirts with his infamous response to Joe Rogan.

Founded in Louisiana in 1972, the company now calls Miami, Florida its headquarters.  There are more than 2,600 Popeyes restaurants in more than 40 states and D.C., Puerto Rico and 30 countries worldwide.

As part of the sponsorship, Lewis will get free Popeyes for life in Houston and his picture will be on the  menu board according to his agent, Malki Kawa.  In addition, Lewis posted on Instagram that Popeyes in Cypress, Texas will let everyone eat for free on Sunday (from 2-4pm) if he defeats Daniel Cormier.


View this post on Instagram


“If Derrick Lewis wins eat for free from 2-4 on Sunday” at Popeyes on 9120 Barker Cypress Rd, Cypress, TX 7743. Also Derrick Lewis will eat for free at this location for the rest off his life!!

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on

Payout Perspective:

At a time when its perceived to be hard to secure sponsor deals outside of the Octagon, Derrick Lewis has been able to draw deals.  Lewis’ outspoken nature has helped him jump on opportunities where none were available.  The Popeyes Chicken deal was facilitated through his management team that saw an opportunity that coincides with this fight.  Cormier and Lewis joked over the fast-food restaurant and an opportunity was born.  Lewis also got ahead of the curve when he started selling t-shirts with his catchphrase from UFC 229.  Lewis social media presence likely helped as he has 141,000 followers on Twitter and another 1.4 million followers on Instagram.  Of course, Daniel Cormier has more followers on both but Lewis has been a media darling for the outrageous things he says.  If he scores an upset Saturday, his portfolio of sponsors will continue to grow.

UFC lightweight back after 6 month USADA suspension

October 31, 2018

On Monday, USADA announced that UFC lightweight Polo Reyes has accepted a six-month sanction for violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Reyes tested positive for ostarine after an out-of-competition test on March 8, 2018.

Via USADA press release:

Reyes, 33, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on March 8, 2018. Ostarine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 and Enobosarm, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is illegally sold worldwide as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. Nonetheless, ostarine has been found as a declared and undeclared ingredient in many dietary supplements. More information about the risks of ostarine can be found through a USADA athlete advisory.

Following notification of his positive test, Reyes provided USADA with information about two dietary supplement products he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement labels, testing conducted on independently sourced, unopened containers of the products by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, indicated that they contained Ostarine.

Reyes is the first UFC fighter to have his suspension announced after serving it.

Payout Perspective:

Since coming to the UFC in 2015, Reyes has had two Performance of the Nights including his last fight in January 2018 where be beat Matt Frevola via KO/TKO.  Notably, Reyes worked with USADA to determine the cause of his failed test.  With the suspension behind him, Reyes may continue his lightweight career with the company.

UFC Fight Night 138 draws 531,000 viewers

October 30, 2018

UFC Fight Night 138 drew 531,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims drew 237,000 viewers on FS2.

The last part of the prelims aired on FS1 and drew 159,000 viewers in the 20 minutes it was on the network.  The main card saw a 12-minute overrun for the featured fight of Anthony Smith defeating Volkan Oezdemir.

The post-fight show drew 299,000 viewers on FS1.

The event was the promotion’s first in Montcon, New Brunswick Canada.

2018 Fight Nights Main Card
UFC Fight Night  124 1,285,000
UFC Fight Night 125 839,000
UFC Fight Night 126 893,000
UFC Fight Night 127 FP
UFC Fight Night 128 956,000
UFC Fight Night 129 870,000
UFC Fight Night 130 552,000
UFC Fight Night 131 517,000
UFC Fight Night 132 FP
UFC Fight Night 133 754,000
UFC Fight Night 134 492,000
UFC Fight Night 135 596,000
UFC Fight Night 136 FP
UFC Fight Night 137 607,000
UFC Fight Night 138 531,000

Payout Perspective:

Relatively similar ratings for Saturday night’s Fight Night than most over the course of this year.   The UFC went up against College Football, the World Series and one of HBO’s final events on the network.


UFC Fight Night 138 attendance, gate and bonuses

October 28, 2018

UFC Fight Night 138 took place Saturday night in Moncton, New Brunswick Canada.  Anthony Smith led the bonus winners with his main event finish of Volkan Oezdamir.

Also winning bonuses last night were Don Madge, Nasrat Haqparast and Thibault Gouti. Madge earned his performance bonus with a headkick KO over Te Edwards.  Haqparast and Gouti earned Fight of the Night. Haqparast earned the decision win.

In the promotion’s first appearance in Moncton, the event drew 6,282 fans for a gate of $692,000 Canadian dollars.

Payout Perspective:

An impressive night for Smith as he defeated the #2 ranked Light Heavyweight in the UFC.  The attendance and gate are on par with what you would expect from Fight Night events.  But, the pacing once again for these events make it as undesirable to watch as an extra inning baseball game.

Edgar out, Rodriguez in against Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Night 139

October 26, 2018

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that Frankie Edgar has pulled out of his November 10th fight against the Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Night in Denver.  According to the report, the UFC has already found a replacement for Edgar in Yair Rodriguez.

Ironically, Rodriguez had been cut by the UFC in May after contractual and booking issues with the company.  He was to face Zabit Magomedsharipov in August but due to injury that fight was scrapped.

Edgar won his last fight against Cub Swanson in Atlantic City this past April 2018.  Chan Sung Jung has fought just once since returning from mandatory military service in 2017 as an injury has kept him out of the octagon.

Payout Perspective:

Rodriguez coming in on short notice for this featherweight bout will be an intriguing fight for KZ.  It is surprising that Rodriguez took the fight considering he had issues with the company which precipitated his short dismissal from the promotion.

MMA Trade? UFC and ONE looking into swapping Johnson for Askren

October 24, 2018

ESPN reports a potential trade between MMA promotions UFC and ONE.  The deal would have Demetrious Johnson moving to ONE while Ben Askren would head to the UFC.

The trade would have Johnson and Askren released from their respective promotional contracts in order to sign with the other promotion.  Both have fights left on their contract which is the obstacle for Johnson and Askren.

Also, they are independent contractors which means that neither would have to comply with the “trade” since there would be nothing binding each to the deal.  But, it seems as though both fighters are willing to comply.

For the UFC, this could mean that the company is doing away with the 125-pound division.  Before losing the title to Henry Cejudo, Johnson had been dominant as he broke the record for most consecutive title defenses.  Cejudo has been discussing a superfight with bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw.  But, the flyweight division has produced little, if any spark to the promotion since its inception.

Askren has been dominant in ONE’s welterweight division since joining the company in 2014.  He won the ONE Welterweight Championship in just his second fight in the promotion.  He’s had 4 straight title defenses of his championship.

ONE appears to be making moves to become more visible in North America.  Former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez signed with ONE to a lucrative deal.

Two recent articles by John Nash and Paul Gift on the promotion cast doubt on the company’s finances so the Singapore-based promotion will be something to keep eyes on.

Payout Perspective:

The “trade” seems good for both sides.  Johnson, who believes that the UFC has not promoted him correctly, will get a change of scenery and perhaps the marketing push and new opponents that he desires.  Askren will get a chance to test himself against a tough welterweight division.  It’s been clear that Askren has outclassed his opponents and with a UFC roster full of worthy opponents, he should be given some interesting matchups.

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