More details on PFA intent to set up UFC union

September 18, 2016

Jack Encarnacao of the Boston Herald writes about Jeff Boris and his quest for his Professional Fighters Association (PFA) to establish a union for UFC fighters.  In an interview with Boris, he explained more details for his plan for the company.

In the article, Borris states that the PFA will seek to have an executive board of fighter representatives for each weight class and an agent advisory board.  The agent board would be comprised of those that represent a significant amount of fighters for the organization.

Borris states that he hopes to unionize fighters in the next 6 months but it may take up to a year to obtain the requisite number of fighters to command a vote to unionize or for the UFC to recognize the fighter union.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see whether the PFA can get enough fighters (30% of contracted fighters) on board to sign union solicitation cards.  The intent to set up fighter representative boards is interesting and we will see if and when this might occur how much influence agents and/or other fighters have in the selection to these type of boards.

UFC Fight Night 94 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 18, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo, Texas.

The UFC announced attendance of 5,624 for a live gate of $323,419.  The event took place at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.  The venue holds about 6,800 for concerts.

In addition, the UFC announced bonuses from the FS1-aired event.  Michael Johnson, Chas Skelly, Evan Dunham and Rick Glenn earned $50,000 bonuses.

Johnson and Skelly earned Performance Bonuses while Dunham and Glenn earned the Fight of the Night.  It was Glenn’s debut with the organization.

Payout Perspective:

Saturday night’s Fight Night event is the lowest gate of 2016 and the second-lowest attendance of the year.  Only the Sunday night UFC Fight Night 88 at the Mandalay Bay drew less attendance.  Still, for the venue, the attendance does not seem too bad.  But in comparison to other events, it does look off.

Chael Sonnen signs with Bellator MMA

September 15, 2016

Chael Sonnen is returning to MMA as part of Bellator per an announcement late Thursday. Sonnen, 39, is signing a multi-year, multi-fight contract with the company.

The Bellator press release stated that Sonnen will compete in the 205 pound division although he states in the release that he is not limiting himself to just one division.  Sonnen’s last fight was against Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in November 2013.  He lost via TKO in the first round.

A press conference is set for Friday.

Payout Perspective:

Murmurs of a comeback occurred when Sonnen indicated that his name went back in the USADA testing pool  as he was tested twice under UFC anti-doping policy.  Sonnen can still sell a fight and he is another pickup from the UFC that Bellator hopes can still draw ratings.  Certainly, Bellator’s tentpole events featuring Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice reflect the fact that older fighters can still be attractions.

TUF 24 Episode 3 draws 441,000 viewers

September 15, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter 24 episode 3 drew 441,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night per Sports TV Ratings.  It’s a 17% increase from last week and it’s the best showing thus far this season.

The episode drew 225,000, another season high, in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.

episode-3

Also, DVR numbers remain about the same, as Episode 2 drew 601,000 viewers, up from 347,000 in Live +SD.  The previous week drew 634,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The season average is 377,000 viewers and 209,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  ESPN’s coverage of MLB featuring Seattle and Los Angeles bested TUF in the time slot as that game drew 473,000 viewers.  We can probably expect more of the same with the ratings for this season.

GGG draws 843K HBO viewers for Saturday afternoon fight

September 13, 2016

HBO Boxing on Saturday afternoon featuring Gennady Golovkin taking on Kell Brook drew 843,000 subscribers. The event aired in the afternoon from 3:10pm-3:28pm PT per Sports TV Ratings.

It drew 393,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The event was replayed later that night in addition to two other live fights.

7:13pm-7:45pm PT – Kamegai vs. Soto-Karass: 667,000 viewers, 336,000 A18-49 viewers

8:01pm-8:48pm PT – Gonzalez vs. Cuardras: 833,000 viewers, 393,000 A18-49 viewers

9:06pm-9:24pm PT – Golovkin vs. Brook (replay): 593,000 viewers, 287,000 A18-49 viewers

Previous GGG fights on HBO:

GGG Fights on HBO

November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)

May 2014 vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. 1.338M viewers (fight only)

July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)

October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)

February 2015 vs. Martin Murray 862,000 viewers (fight only)

April 2016 vs. Dominic Wade 1.325M viewers (fight only)

Payout Perspective:

It seems as the Chocolatito-GGG pairing continues.  Despite being in different venues, HBO found away to include them on the same night.  The ratings are good considering it went up against college football and UFC 203.  The 843,000 is comparable to GGG’s February 2015 fight against Martin Murray which also aired first on a Saturday afternoon.

UFC 203 Prelims draws 870,000 viewers

September 13, 2016

The UFC 203 Prelims on FS1 this past Saturday drew 870,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

The event is up 31% from last Septembers prelim card on FS1.  That card was headlined by Demetrious Johnson-John Dodson 2.

The UFC 203 Prelims featured Jessica Eye and Bethe Corriea in the last fight before the PPV.  Corriea won via split decision.

The event drew 503,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo and peaked at 1.374M viewers in the last quarter of the show (9:45-10:00pm ET).  Also notable is that the adult 18-49 demo was up 51% from last year’s UFC 191.

UFC PPV Prelims
UFC 195 1,032,000
UFC 196 1,843,000
UFC 197 835,000
UFC 198 786,000
UFC 199 798,000
UFC 200 1,700,000
UFC 201 331,000
UFC 202 1,300,000
UFC 203 870,000
UFC 201 on FS2

UFC 201 on FS2

Payout Perspective:

870,000 is a decent number compared to the other prelim events this past year especially when you consider that it went up against a lot of college football and the event, aside from the debut of CM Punk, did not hold a lot of casual viewer interest unless you are into heavyweight fighters.

Punk ($500K) tops UFC 203 payouts

September 12, 2016

MMA Fighting reports the salaries from this past weekend’s UFC 203.  CM Punk led the list of fighter earnings with $500,000.

Punk would have received no win bonus if he had defeated Mickey Gall in his first professional fight.  Gall made $15,000 and $15,000 for his 1st round submission of the former pro wrestler.

Making his first title defense in his hometown, Stipe Miocic earned $600,000 with no win bonus while his opponent, Alistair Overeem, earned $800,000.

Via MMA Fighting:

Stipe Miocic ($600,000 + no win bonus = $600,000) def. Alistair Overeem ($800,000)
Fabricio Werdum ($250,000 + $125,000 = $375,000) def. Travis Browne ($120,000)
Mickey Gall ($15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000) def. CM Punk ($500,000)
Jimmie Rivera ($24,000 + $24,000 = $48,000) def. Urijah Faber ($160,000)
Jessica Andrade ($23,000 + $23,000 = $46,000) def. Joanne Calderwood ($25,000)

Bethe Correia ($25,000 + $25,000 = $50,000) def. Jessica Eye ($25,000)
Brad Tavares ($28,000 + $28,000 = $56,000) def. Caio Magalhaes ($20,000)
Nik Lentz ($38,000 + $38,000 = $76,000) def. Michael McBride ($12,000)
Drew Dober ($19,000 + $19,000 = $38,000) def. Jason Gonzales ($10,000)

Yancy Medeiros ($24,000 + $24,000 = $48,000) def. Sean Spencer ($17,000)

Payout Perspective:

The $500,000 payout for Punk does not include any other ancillary money he might receive from the event.  This amount will likely be criticized by fighters.  Even those at the top of the pay scale would have to be surprised by this.  Of course, there is precedence for Punk’s pay as James Toney made $500,000 in his fight with Randy Couture at UFC 118 back in August 2010.  But, the $600,000 for Miocic shows that the champs are getting boosts in pay.  Overeem getting paid more than the champ is likely due to his seniority with the company.

UFC 203: Payout Perspective

September 11, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 203 from Cleveland, Ohio where CM Punk’s debut and Stipe Miocic’s title defense were the headlining events.

Gall mauls CM Punk

We all knew that this was going to happen.  3 pro fights in and Mickey Gall looks like a top prospect.  Of course, his opponent was former pro wrestler CM Punk.  Despite being a huge favorite, Gall had a game plan which was to take down and grapple Punk.  Gall is a brown belt, Punk is a white belt as astutely pointed out by Joe Rogan.  Gall had his way with Punk on the ground and eventually choked him out in round 1.

Mickey Gall wants fellow pretty boy Sage Northcutt next.  Please UFC, book this.  As for Punk, he gave a very nice speech about dreams and believing in yourself.  Certainly this was a huge risk for a person in his late 30s but if he does continue his MMA dream it appears that it would be on a smaller, regional card.  Or Bellator.

Stipe stops Reem

Stipe Miocic successfully defended his UFC 203 heavyweight title against Alistair Overeem in one of the best and craziest rounds of this year.  Miocic was in trouble early in the first and almost was submitted (Reem thought there was a tap) by Overeem.

It looks like that Stipe gets Cain Velasquez next.  So long as the fight is at sea level, this will be a tough fight for Miocic.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

Cleveland came out for the UFC as the company reported a sell out for the event where the Cavaliers play.  The event drew 18,875 for $2.6M.

Bonuses went to Miocic-Overeem for Fight of the Night and Yancy Medeiros and Jessica

Promotion of the Fight

ESPN aided the UFC with the promotion as it had Stipe Miocic on Sportscenter talking up the fight.

Of course, there was the 3-part series on FS1 for CM Punk.

Miocic and Jessica Eye did local promotions since they are from the area.

The Cleveland Cavaliers through their support behind Miocic and Eye.

They also let Dana White handle the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Eye had a chance to throw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians home game as seen on Embedded.

There were tons of tweets from athletes, celebrities and pro wrestlers throwing their support for CM Punk.

Sponsorships

The newest sponsor in the Octagon for this PPV was IrishFireVodka.com.  The company is based out of Dallas, Texas per its web site. Aside from that, there were the usual sponsors including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Bud Light and Monster Energy Drink in the center.  They also promoted the UFC 204 PPV in the octagon.

MetroPCS had the fighter prep point.  Throughout the PPV, they had voiceover ads for Topps Fighter Trading Cards App.

Odds and Ends

UFC offered a 10% discount on purchasing this PPV if you had previously filled out a survey regarding UFC Fight Pass.  I’m sure they offer this periodically.  It’s just another subtle way to get consumers to gravitate to the UFC web site as opposed to PPV cable and satellite distributors.

CB Dolloway was involved in an elevator accident after the weigh-ins which caused his fight to be cancelled.  Expect a lawsuit.

Jessica Andrade looks like a legitimate title contender for the 115 pound women’s division.

What went on in that Browne-Werdum fight?  If a fighter asks for a halt to the fight without the referee first calling it, shouldn’t that be a verbal submission?  Then there’s the fracas with Edmund Tarverdyan post-fight.

Embedded showed Ronda Rousey’s dog with Travis Browne, but no Rousey.  She was in Cleveland as she was present for a pro wrestling show the night before to support her friend and former MMA fighter Shayna Baszler.

The Ohio Athletic Commission allowing the CM Punk license was one thing.  Its explanation for doing it was another.  Punk has publicly admitted to several concussions while wrestling, is 37 years old and the OAC waived its license requirements citing he was a top end pro wrestler.  But, to show its force, it stated it would investigate the Jessica Eye-Bethe Corriea shoving incident at the ceremonial weigh-ins.  It also fined Alistair Overeem $500 for being late to the weigh-ins.  Speaking of the Browne-Werdum fight, why did the referee allow for Browne to call an injury timeout on his own and not know that if Browne called for a stop to the fight, the fight was over.  Will the OAC look into that debacle?

After Joe Rogan interviewed Stipe Miocic who thought he was knocked down by a kick (instead of a punch) and then Overeem believed Miocic tapped to a guillotine, Rogan made the comment that maybe he shouldn’t interview guys after a fight.  Especially those that have been knocked out.  Makes sense to me although this is unlikely to happen.

Conclusion

Saturday night’s event drew over 1M searches for UFC 203 and another 200,000 for “UFC 203 Fight Card.”  Certainly, the attendance at the event was great as it was pushing for Miocic and Eye as hometown favorites. But was the allure of CM Punk reason for casual viewers to purchase the PPV?  It may have received a bump from pro wrestling fans but unlikely to move much with the rest.  Although the PPV had a heavyweight title fight, Miocic-Overeem are not PPV draws.  Since there was a little more marketing behind this event, I think we could see about 325-375K PPV buys.

UFC 203 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 10, 2016

The UFC announced the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC 203.

Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, Yancy Medeiros and Jessica Andrade earned the bonuses of the night.  Miocic and Overeem drew the Fight of the Night while Medeiros and Andrade drew the Performance Bonuses. Miocic stopped Overeem in an exciting first round. Medeiros was the featured fight on the Early Fight Pass Prelims as he stopped Sean Spencer.  Andrade earned a victory over Joanna Calderwood.

The event at The Quicken Loans Arena drew 18,875 for $2.6M and was announced as a sell-out.  It was the first time the UFC visited Cleveland.

The bonuses and event attendance and gate were announced post-fight.

Payout Perspective:

From watching the PPV, it was a lively crowd and a pro-Miocic crowd.  The event was a hit with the locals and received a lot of backing from the local sports teams.  The heavyweight champ did not disappoint the crowd as he earned a fight bonus for his first round stoppage.

CM Punk explains his move to MMA in his own words

September 10, 2016

CM Punk penned an article in The Player’s Tribune on the bliss in finding his passion for MMA.  Punk has been the headliner this week for UFC despite it being his first fight in the UFC.

While Punk should be better prepared than James Toney when he fought Randy Couture at UFC 118, we all may conclude that this is a gimmick fight despite what the UFC may say.  If Punk was Phil Brooks, aspiring MMA fighter, he wouldn’t be given the privilege of a PPV fight right off the bat.  He’d have to prove himself in smokers, amateur fights and on the regional scene before he would get a shot with the UFC.  He is a heavy underdog against Mickey Gall.  The 24-year-old has just one UFC fight (2 pro fights altogether) after being “discovered” on Dana White’s UFC Fight Pass reality show.  Aside from giving up 13 years in age and millions of dollars in career earnings, Gall should have every advantage in the Octagon to Punk.

Yet, Punk explains in his post on his love of MMA and the reasons why it’s far better than his life as WWE superstar CM Punk.

Certainly, finding your passion equals happiness.  But, like most everyone else in the world, Punk’s dream job was paved through a turbulent road with a crappy former job.  Although Punk did not explicitly discuss his time in the WWE, there were enough inferences that even a non-WWE fan could tell he is in a much better place than when he made much more money with the WWE.

FS1 aired a 3-part series on Punk and his training for Saturday’s fight so there’s a certain belief that his celebrity as a pro wrestler would garner interest in this event.  Despite the main event being Stipe Miocic making his first heavyweight title defense in his hometown, Punk has been the main story line. We shall see if attaching his name to the card equates to a bump in PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

The Player’s Tribune is an outlet for an athlete to handle its own PR without the filter of a journalist to tell their story.  It’s a great source for first person accounts from an athlete’s perspective but one has to read it knowing that it does not tell the full story. In Punk’s case, it’s a good read that tells you why he is doing it.  Of course, what’s left out is the fact that in general fighter pay is low in the UFC compared to revenues and they are treated as independent contractors like in the WWE.  Thus far, it does not appear a “hack journalist” has asked about the seemingly parallel between his current contractor (UFC) and his former contractor (WWE).  Would be interesting questions to ask of him.  Of course, the story is too good thus far to ask these questions.

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