Conor McGregor signs book deal with Irish publisher

July 24, 2014

Conor McGregor has signed a book deal with Irish publisher Gill & MacMillan according to the publishing company’s press release.  The book is provisionally entitled, “Notorious: My Life in and Out of the Octagon.”

According to the web site, the book will be part memoir, part philosophy as it sounds like readers will get insight into McGregor’s psyche.

Via press release:

‘We think the world needs something as positive as Conor McGregor’s book’ said Conor Nagle, Commissioning Editor for Gill & Macmillan Books, who acquired the book for an undisclosed sum. ‘Fans will love to read about Conor’s journey so far, the technicalities of the sport, but more than anything, the sheer self-belief of an incredibly committed man’.

 Gill & Macmillan is Ireland’s largest publisher of non-fiction per its web site.  The book should be available in autumn 2015.

Payout Perspective:

The McGregor media express continues with this announcement.  The book deal is not too surprising as he’s capitalizing on the media hype that currently surrounds him.  The question is whether he’ll still have this fandom when the book hits the shelves next fall.

Sonnen given 2 year ban by commission

July 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission issued a two-year suspension as at a hearing held on Wednesday.

Sonnen must pay any and all doctors’ fees for the random drug tests he failed on May 24th and June 5th.  Additionally, it is expected that he will become a precautionary tale for others and serve as a “resource” for halting future PED use.

There were differing opinions on the penalty for Sonnen as they ranged from a lifetime ban to the 2 year ban.

Sonnen tested for a total of five PEDs prior to his intended July 5th fight with Vitor Belfort.  Initially, he claimed the positive test for PEDs related to him coming off of TRT treatment and the fact that he was trying to have children.  After the second positive test, Sonnen was terminated from the UFC and his analyst position at Fox Sports.

Payout Perspective:

Fair penalty?  Sonnen’s attorney stressed Sonnen’s cooperation with the investigation and the UFC and Fox Sports terminations when contemplating the penalty.  Essentially Sonnen threw himself at the mercy of the commission.  This strategy seemed to work.  Although it’s unlikely Sonnen will return to MMA in Vegas, the two year ban does leave a slim opening.  Moreover, he could have been assessed a stiff fine but seemed to have avoided this.

Gus out, DC in against Jones for UFC 178

July 23, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Alexander Gustafsson is out of UFC 178 due to an injury and Daniel Cormier will get the shot against Jon Jones.  Cormier-Jones will be the main event at the September 27th show.

Cormier put off surgery (UPDATED:  Per Wrestling Observer podcast, Dave Meltzer stated that DC put off surgery) apparently had knee surgery to repair a torn LCL and partially damaged ACL in his right knee. in early July after his final wrestling match at the UFC Fan Expo.  Ironically, it was a knee injury that sidelined Gustafsson.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 178 is looking to be a stellar card with Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier serving as the co-main event as well as Dominick Cruz returning to the Octagon.  The insertion of Cormier should help with the promotion of 178. While the event may lose some of the international fans, it should not suffer too much due to the strength of the card as it is right now.

Belfort license allows Belfort-Weidman at UFC 181

July 23, 2014

Vitor Belfort was granted a conditional license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday.  The issuance of the license allowed the UFC to announce Belfort-Chris Weidman at UFC 181 set for December 6th in Las Vegas.

With his attorney, Belfort appeared at the Commission hearing to discuss the application for license.  The Commission asked Belfort about a failed February 7th test for testosterone.  He claims he took a larger dose the day before to compensate for missing his biweekly prescribed TRT treatment due to traveling.

Granting Belfort his license came with conditions.  Namely, the commission could test Belfort extensively including blood and urine for the rest of the career.  Belfort would have to pay for the testing.

The commission voted unanimously to give a conditional license to Belfort.

(H/t: MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, Belfort’s attorney Michael Alonso, works at the same firm that represents the UFC in other matters.  Belfort was told the day before the hearing that he’d have the shot against Weidman so I do not know if there was a feeling that despite his second failed drug test; Belfort would be issued a license.

Was the punishment fair?  Belfort will have to stay clean with the extensive drug testing and with him paying for this the commission will not have to expend additional resources here.  The announcement of the fight seemed almost instant after the license was granted.  I realize the UFC talked with Belfort (and Weidman) about the fight but it seemed interesting timing.

NSAC Commission to stream on Fight Pass

July 22, 2014

The UFC announced that the UFC Fight Pass would live stream coverage of Wednesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Wednesday starting at 10am PT.

Among other things, the Commission will hear Vitor Belfort’s request for a license and hear the disciplinary complaint of Chael Sonnen.

There are 35 new business items on the agenda although Belfort and Sonnen’s issues will be the most interesting for UFC Fight Pass subscribers.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC has inferred that it would continue to live stream Nevada State Athletic Commission hearings on Fight Pass if they were of interest.  Sonnen’s disciplinary hearing will be an interesting one assuming that it goes forward.  The NSAC requested that Sonnen appear at the hearing although Sonnen, through his representative, indicated that it would accept whatever punishment he was given

Remember when administrative hearings were aired on a Public Access channel and you didn’t have to pay for them?  From the UFC’s side of things, it’s filling a demand and likely an inexpensive way of padding its content.  Streaming the hearing makes sense since the Belfort and Sonnen hearings are of interest to many UFC fans.

The New Yorker features Rousey

July 21, 2014

Ronda Rousey is featured in the current issue of The New Yorker.  The piece entitled, “Mean Girl: Why the world’s best female fighter loves to be hated” doesn’t break new ground but gives the UFC bantamweight champ more mainstream exposure.

The piece written by Kalefa Sanneh gives non-MMA fans a long-form profile of Rousey.  It pointedly talks about MMA web sites as “monomaniacal.”  It even name checks Cage Potato.  The article delves into the perceived “heel turn” by Rousey as the story begins around the time for her preparation for her February 2014 against Sara McMann.

Payout Perspective:

The New Yorker write-up is the latest in a line of noteworthy press for Rousey.  Last week, Rousey won an ESPY for Best Female Athlete.  In a piece in the Hollywood Reporter, she said she wanted to become “The Female Rock” (that is former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson).  By the way, a lot of pro wrestling references in the New Yorker piece based upon Rousey’s fixation on it (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 biggest event on Fight Pass

July 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 was the ‘biggest’ event on UFC Fight Pass.  Dana White stated this in the post-fight press conference after Conor McGregor’s successful stoppage in the main event.

The UFC does not release digital network numbers for viewership or the number of its subscribers but White stated Saturday’s event from Dublin was the most successful event stream for the company’s digital network.

The success is likely due to the popularity of Conor McGregor and the fight week buzz.  The UFC aired a three-part series, “On the Fly” with Conor McGregor on Fight Pass as shoulder programming to promote the event.

The digital network has added more content recently including the announcement of a September event featuring women’s fight organization InvictaFC and live streaming of Nevada Athletic Commission hearings.  It began airing select overseas live cards exclusively on the network this past January.

Payout Perspective:

The success of Saturday’s event according to White supports the company’s belief that it can create a loyal fan base via its digital network.  This equates to paying subscribers and another source of revenue for the company.  Fight Pass does help with international fans as events and fights are more accessible.  With the localization of the product in different areas of the world, more people would be exposed to the product.

UFC Fight Night 46 attendance and gate

July 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 46 was a sellout with an attendance of 9,500 for a gate of $1.4 million. The event took place at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland and featured Conor McGregor.

With the attendance and gate figures, it comes in second to UFC Fight Night 37 in London in terms of non-PPV events for 2014.  The last time the UFC came to Dublin, UFC 93 drew 9,369 for a gate of $1.3 million.  That card was headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate is good news for the UFC as it seeks to expand its global footprint.  Now, the UFC has a bona fide star it can market to the region in McGregor.  It should be able to build on this when it returns.  There was debate as to whether this card should have been on FOX versus Fight Pass.  Certainly, when you think of the domestic impact of putting it on network TV, McGregor would help with the marketing for the UFC.  Then again, if the UFC is seeking to build its digital network with Fight Pass and expand internationally, this card definitely helps.

McGregor’s performance tops UFC Fight Night 46 bonuses

July 19, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses from UFC Fight Night 46 taking place from Dublin, Ireland.  Connor McGregor led the list of fight-night bonuses.

As mentioned, McGregor won a Performance bonus for his first round stoppage of Diego Brandao.  Gunnar Nelson also won a “Performance of the Night” for his work against Zak Cummings.

Fight of the Night honors went to TUF 19 alums Cathal Pendred and Mike King.  Pendred took the victory over King with a rear-naked choke.

All fight night bonus recipients received the standard $50,000 bonus.

Payout Perspective:

McGregor’s finish was likely the most satisfying considering the hype behind him.  Irish fighters went 5-0 at the event and this is the best outcome for the region.  Can the UFC pull off a soccer stadium type event in the future?  We will see.

Upon signing, Carano gets next shot at Rousey

July 18, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Gina Carano, if signed, will be next in line to take on Ronda Rousey in December.  Dana White announced this during a media scrum on Friday.

The announcement means that Carano will be given a title shot even though she has not fought in five years.  White defended his choice of opponents for Carano’s comeback as she has been training despite not actively fighting.

via Wikimedia Commons - The Strikeforce Days

via Wikimedia Commons – The Strikeforce Days

Payout Perspective:

The match makes sense from a business perspective but not from a matchmaker’s perspective. Carano has been gone from active fighting and it’s not clear what type of shape she will be in.  Furthermore, she will be fighting arguably the best UFC fighter right now.  Rousey is on a tear and it seems like Carano would be prudent to take a fight or two before she takes on Rousey.  Then again, the UFC wants to jump on this fight now.  If Carano would take another fight and lose, it would make it that much harder for the UFC to set up Carano-Rousey.  If done, this fight will certainly grab  the attention of a ton of non-MMA press.

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