UFC 228 Prelims draw lowest ratings of 2018

September 11, 2018

The UFC 228 Prelims on FX drew 560,000 viewers on FX Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The ratings make it the lowest-rated Prelim event of 2018.

The prelims were switched from FS1 to FX due College Football.  This is the second straight PPV with FX serving as the home for the prelims.

In addition, the UFC Prefight show drew 271,000 viewers and a 0.11 in the A18-49 demo.

The feature bout of the Prelims saw Taitiana Suarez defeated Carla Esparza via stoppage in the 3rd round.  The event drew a 0.25 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The Prelims saw a decrease from the 717,000 viewers on FX for the UFC 227 Prelims.  The 560,000 viewers is the lowest rating for the Prelims this year.  It’s the lowest since UFC 215 on FX.  A combination of College Football, move to FX and lack of drawing power may have contributed to the low ratings.

Chiesa sues McGregor, Barclay’s over UFC 223 bus attack

September 10, 2018

TMZ reports that Michael Chiesa has filed a lawsuit against Conor McGregor for injuries he sustained in April when McGregor hurled a dolly at the bus that the lightweight was on.  Chiesa was injured as a result and was pulled from his fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC 223.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, states Chiesa is suing McGregor for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  He is also suing Barclay’s Center for negligence as the incident occurred at the venue.  Chiesa’s theory likely claims lack of security allowed Conor to run roughshod in the bowels of Barclay’s.

McGregor was arrested on criminal charges but those charges were subsequently reduced to almost nothing.

Payout Perspective:

This is the second personal injury lawsuit that Conor is facing.  He still has the Nevada “thrown can” lawsuit.  If you have extra time, I talk about it here the Thinking Like a Lawyer podcast.   Unlike that lawsuit, Chiesa was smart enough to sue Barclay’s Center.  If nothing else, there is insurance coverage that may have some money for Chiesa.  With that being said, he does have a valid legal argument against McGregor.  It’s clear that Conor was acting reckless and the video should tell you that.  Plus, Chiesa legitimately lost money due to McGregor’s action.  Regardless of the severity of the injury, the monetary loss is real.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC Performance Institute partners with performance management company, Omegawave

September 10, 2018

The UFC announced that the UFC Performance Institute has partnered with Omegawave, the world’s leading provider of training and performance management solutions for injury prevention and overtraining.

According to the press release, it will monitor the training of UFC athletes to help produce maximum performance and minimize the risk of injuries due to overtraining. Omegawave provides leading methods for monitoring an athlete’s functional condition by providing instantly-relevant advice on the optimum amount of intensity and volume of training. By identifying an athlete’s physiologically limiting factors and providing guidelines to eliminate them, Omegawave helps to improve performance, prevent overtraining, decrease injuries and improve fitness and overall health.

Payout Perspective:

The partnership is another move for the UFC to use technology to improve training for its athletes.  While the monitoring and data will benefit the athletes, the overarching advantage is for the UFC so that they will ensure that the contracted athletes are less likely to pull out of fights due to injury which can be caused by overtraining.  It also will be able to collect data on fighters to see tendencies and address injuries in order to prevent for the future.  This makes the question of who owns the data another interesting question that we will revisit later.

UFC 228 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 8, 2018

UFC 228 drew a gate of $1.7 million on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Tyron Woodley retained his welterweight title as well as winning one of the fight bonuses for the evening.

In addition to Woodley, Jessica Andrade earned the other Performance Bonus with a KO of Karolina Kowalkiewicz.  Irena Aldana and Lucie Pudilova earned the Fight of the Night.  Aldana won the battle of bantamweights via split decision.

The event drew 14,073 for $1.7 million at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  There have been several PPV events in Dallas as it seems to be an annual stop for the company.  This was the lowest gate of the 5 PPV held there since 103.

Payout Perspective:

This card had several impressive finishes and KOs including Zabit Magomedsharipov’s finish of Brandon Davis and the stunning headkick KO of Geoff Neal just to name two.  The attendance may reflect the lack of star and drawing power for the main card which was to have had two title fights.

UFC strips women’s flyweight champ after sent to hospital

September 7, 2018

The UFC has stripped Nicco Montano of her UFC flyweight title after she had to withdraw from her fight against Valentina Shevchenko.  She was to defend her belt for the first time at UFC 228 this Saturday.

Dana White made the announcement post-UFC ceremonial weigh-ins to TSN.   Valentina Shevchenko will challenge for the now vacant belt at a later date.  According to MMA Junkie, Montano’s manager had not heard from the UFC directly about the stripping of the title.

Unfortunately, Montano was sent to the hospital after issues with cutting weight according to a report from MMA Fighting.  Prior to White’s announcement, Montano’s team released a statement through training partner Steve Hanna which, in part, read, “The UFC medical team was called in to evaluate her this morning during the process of her weight cut. They determined that she had to cease cutting weight and be transported to and treated at the local hospital for issues regarding her kidney function.”

Montano won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight championship at the TUF 26 Finale last December.

Payout Perspective:

This is an unfortunate circumstance for Montano who now must take a steep paycut from her pay as champion to a regular UFC athlete.  Notably, her compensation from the Reebok sponsorship structure will drop from $40,000 to $3,500 per fight as she has less than three fights in the UFC.  The decision to outright strip the title may be due to weight cutting issues.  Despite the fact that the UFC has in the past granted fighters’ chances to continue as champion despite having to pull out late, they decided to strip her with her first defense.

Frankly, I did not even know Montano was champion which may say something about the lack of promotion for her in light of her title.  This is too bad considering she may never get a shot at the title and/or will be forced to fight in the bantamweight division due to her inability to cut weight.

UFC announces “Official Protein Snack of the UFC”

September 7, 2018

The UFC has announced P3 Portable Protein Pack as the “Official Protein Snack of the UFC.”  It is the third announcement of a new sponsor and sponsorship category this week.

The press release reads:

P3 Portable Protein Snacks deliver a tasty combination of meat, cheese, nuts, and fruits, all in one portable pack. They come in multiple varieties and sizes, all offering a convenient way for consumers to get their protein. Oscar Mayer established the Adult Snacking segment withP3 in 2014, and since its launch, the P3 brand has successfully built awareness and has grown in popularity with consumers. They are widely distributed in retail grocery and convenience stores across the country. The UFC partnership will further expand awareness to a new and coveted loyal MMA fan base.

Under the terms of this partnership, P3 will have a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon® at select UFC events for the remainder of the year. Additional partnership activations will include the integration of P3 branding throughout UFC’s telecasts, digital media campaigns, and Fight Week integrations. At select participating retail locations, P3 displays will feature images of UFC athletes and official UFC logos at point of sale.

The first P3 activation with UFC will begin on Saturday, September 8, with UFC® 228: WOODLEY vs. TILL, featuring the highly anticipated welterweight championship bout that will see Tyron Woodley defend against undefeated No.2-ranked contender Darren Till.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement finishes a week where the UFC announced 3 new sponsors and categories.  It looks like Endeavor is swiftly moving to secure sponsors.  This may be in part to UFC 229 next month which stands to be a huge PPV for the company.  But, for the company it will get a lot of visibility with the coveted young demo of the UFC.

Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum is named the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States

September 5, 2018

The UFC has announced a new marketing partnership agreement with Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum making it the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States.

The brand is owned by Heaven Hill Brands, America’s largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits company.  It appears that the partnership will start with activation around the UFC 25th Anniversary event in November.  However, the UFC and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will be co-branded at retail point of sale materials in locations across the U.S. and in various digital and social media ads.

Via UFC press release sent Wednesday:

As part of this collaboration, Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will have a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon® and at UFC VIP Experiences during key events throughout 2018-2019, beginning with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: EDGAR vs. KOREAN ZOMBIE. The event, which takes place on Saturday, November 10, at Pepsi Center in Denver, will be the focus of attention as it also marks UFC’s historic 25thanniversary celebration. The fast-growing Spiced Rum brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

 Payout Perspective:

A day after the UFC announced its “Official Vodka of the UFC,” it now has a Rum.  Based on the qualifier that it is the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States, we may see the UFC sell the assets internationally as well.  As we highlighted yesterday, these new sponsorship categories were made possible after Bud Light’s beer sponsorship lapsed.  This should bring in additional revenue for the company which value has increased according to Dana White.

UFC announces Nemiroff as Official Vodka sponsor

September 4, 2018

The UFC announced its first-ever Official Vodka Partner as Nemiroff becomes the “Official Vodka” of the UFC in a new sponsorship category for the company.

In return, Nemiroff will have a branded presence inside the Octagon starting with UFC 228 this Saturday.

Via the UFC press release:

“We’re excited that Nemiroff is joining us as UFC’s first-ever global Vodka partner,” said Paul Asencio, UFC Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships. “The alcohol and spirits categories continue to be an important component of our sponsorship business, and Nemiroff’s global popularity will help us grow UFC’s brand and the sport of MMA around the world.”

Additional partnership activations will include the integration of Nemiroff branding throughout UFC’s telecasts, as well as sampling, digital media, and other promotional opportunities. Through UFC’s worldwide programming distribution, Nemiroff’s brand exposure has the potential to reach 1.1 billion TV households in more than 160 countries and territories in 40 different languages.

Nemiroff was one of the first enterprises in Ukraine with foreign investment in the production of vodka.  It was established in 1992.  Production is based in Namyriv and was established on the place of a distillery that existed from 1872 specializing in the production of horylka.

Payout Perspective:

You may recall that when Bud Light was the official beer for the UFC it blocked potential liquor/spirit sponsorships.  With Nemiroff as the “Official Vodka” it’s likely we could see more official spirits of the UFC.  It’s a growing industry that is tailored for the younger demo of the UFC.

Endeavor purchases Flash Entertainment’s stake in UFC

September 4, 2018

Flash Entertainment has sold its 10% UFC stake to Endeavor according to Arabian Business.

MMA Fighting has also reported and confirmed the sale by the Abu Dhabi-based company.  There are no reports on the amount it sold its stake in the company.  “After almost 10 years the time was right to exit that investment,” Lickrish is quoted by Arabian Business.

Flash kept its 10% stake in the company after the sale to WME-IMG (now ‘Endeavor’) for $4 billion.

Dana White recently boasted that the company is now valued at $7 billion although that has not been independently confirmed.

Flash Entertainment is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government.  It purchased a stake in the UFC in 2010 for a reported to an amount between $150 million and $175 million.  You might recall that the UFC put on a PPV in Abu Dhabi, UFC 112.  It was a mid-afternoon PPV on a Saturday in the United States to accommodate the show at the Concert Arena on Yas Island.  The event drew 500,000 PPV buys.  It also held a Fight Night in 2014.

Last year, Endeavor purchased the 5.8 percent of the company retained by the Fertittas in the initial sale for a price valuation of $5 billion.

Payout Perspective:

The transaction seems to close out all minor investors in the UFC pre-sale to Endeavor.  Based on estimates, Flash Entertainment may have made between $500-$700 million with its investment.  It might have been time to cash out as well as Endeavor seeking to retain full control over the company.

Nick Diaz cleared of criminal charges of domestic violence

September 2, 2018

The Las Vegas District Attorney declined to pursue domestic assault charges against Nick Diaz.  The charges result from a May 2018 altercation with a woman claiming to be his girlfriend.

The state did not move forward and the case was dismissed with prejudice by Las Vegas Justice Court judge Amy Chelini.  There were conflicts with the girlfriend’s story when interviewed by authorities which caused doubt in the allegations.  Police had ruled Diaz as the aggressor in the altercation which alleged resulted in an injured hip to the girlfriend.

But a grand jury declined to indict Diaz and after Diaz’s attorney, Ross Goodman, spoke with the district attorney’s office, the prosecutors decided to dismiss the charges.   Judge Chelini stated on the record that “they say you can indict a ham sandwich so that tells me everything I need to know.”  She also credited prosecutors for not dedicating any more resources to the case.  (transcript via MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

The good news for Diaz is that he is cleared of all charges and may continue with his MMA career.  It does appear that the allegations were not solid to prosecute Diaz and based on the Court’s tenor, they did not believe that there was a case.

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