TUF 12 ratings increase for Episode No. 3 and Best of Pride ratings

October 4, 2010

MMA Payout has learned that The Ultimate Fighter earned a 1.3 hh rating for last Wednesday’s episode. It received a 1.71 rating in M18-49,  a 1.90 in M18-34, and  a 2.3 in M25-34. The episode which included an appearance by Mike Tyson had an average audience of 1.8 million viewers.

The quarter hours/hh ratings are as follows:1.3, 1.2, 1.2 and 1.3.

Best of Pride Fighting Championships which followed TUF at 11 pm reached an audience of 821,000 viewers. It received a .70 hh rating for M18-49 and a .82 for M18-34.

Payout Perspective:

The Mike Tyson appearance on TUF seemed a little forced like an Entourage cameo. Still, the ratings for TUF episode 3 were promising.

As a fan of MMA, I like the back to back shows of TUF followed by Best of Pride Fighting Championships. Pride deserves a dedicated time slot behind TUF. This week’s show included Sakuraba, Takanori Gomi and Mark Hunt.

Best of Pride Ratings Jump 40%

May 5, 2010

MMAPayout.com has learned that since moving from Fridays at 10PM to its new timeslot on Wednesdays at 11PM,  the ratings for Spike TV’s Best of Pride series have by jumped over 40%. The last three telecasts of the series have drawn 995k, 950k, and 911k, respectively – compared to the series average of 675k in the old slot.

Payout Perspective:

Spike has really done a great job in the last 6-12 months of maximizing its viewership through program scheduling. I’ve noticed a shift in the way the network has positioned shows to build an audience that lasts for more than one hour at a time. Evidently it’s working.

Many had thought the dismal ratings the BOP series had garnered in initial telecasts was a sign of the UFC’s brand power, but these ratings might suggest that the UFC isn’t the only type of MMA that casual fans are truly interested in. Moreover, the ratings might also support the idea that fans are equally interested in the personalities as they are the brand/sport itself.

Certainly, this revelation provides an opportunity for the UFC to experiment a little bit in regards to how they promote their up-coming fights. I’d expect to see a great deal of Rampage Jackson and Rogerio Nogueira in the lead up to UFC 114 at the end of May.

MMAterial Facts (02/01/10) : Strikeforce Miami Edition

February 1, 2010

Strikeforce Miami Post-Fight News and Notes

  • More Info On Problematic EA/Strikeforce Stream: A lot of questions were asked on Saturday as to what happened and who to blame for the bad EA/Strikeforce stream.  According to Sam Strayer via Josh Gross,  the executive producer of  iBN Sports (who was responsible for streaming the Strikeforce Jay Hieron vs Joe Riggs fight on Saturday):  “We had a huge influx of fans… The show went well for most. …Some with lower bandwidth had trouble due to high quality of stream. They are looking into a re-air.” Though many fans were obviously disappointed by the stream quality (or in most cases lack thereof) , there were apparently a few fans who were blessed with enough bandwidth to watch the fight.  Not focusing on only the negative, Strayer commented on the amazing turnout for the stream,   “Great night tonight. iBN Stream had some technical issues out of the venue… what an amazing turnout for the stream. Unbelievable numbers… All the fans can watch it again soon… We will keep you posted!!!” We will keep an eye on when EA/Strikeforce/iBN  plan to make the fight available again for viewing.
  • Paydays Put Into Perspective: Wes Sims (22-13), who lost to Bobby Lashley (5-0) by TKO in the first round on Saturday night, was estimated to make $30,000  (Josh Gross).  Hershel Walker (1-0), who won his debut against Greg Nagy (1-2), was estimated to make six figures, which he will donate to charity (MMAJunkie).  The way this is shaping, taking into consideration that Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Manhoef, Lawler, and Cyborg will also make some good pay days, the pay scale for this event should be one of the highest in Strikeforce’s short MMA history.
  • Attendance Put Into Perspective: According to Josh Gross over at Sports Illustrated, 8,156 MMA fans packed the BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night.  To put the number in perspective, Elite XC’s CBS event “Heat”, which featured hometown product and current “MMA Viewership King” Kimbo Slice against Seth Petruzelli, drew 9,414 (7,723 paid) fans for a live gate of $826,433.  If Strikeforce Miami can draw similar numbers, which they are currently positioned to do, it will meet the gate and revenue expectations coming into this weekend.
  • Herschel Walker Brought In The Viewers and Media Attention: Some are still questioning whether or not it was a good move by Strikeforce to promote Herschel Walker the way they did and put him on the main card this weekend over the likes of arguably more deserving fighters Joe Riggs and Jay Hieron.  Let me just say that absolutely no one on the card came even close to garnering the amount of attention that Hershel Walker received for this event. Walker got heavy attention over at ESPN (Front Page Top Headlines, Top 10 Plays, ESPN Radio, PTI, MMA Live, etc), news papers and publications across the nation, most notably (Atlanta, Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Missouri, DC, and Florida), became a trending topic on Twitter, Front page of CNN, and a slew more nation wide.  In what has to be considered good news for Strikeforce, ESPN and ESPN News showed the MMA tab on their “Scores Bar” followed by  “Strikeforce:” and the results from all main card bouts plus Hieron vs Riggs.  The promotion and amount of eyeballs that Herschel Walker drew for this event had to be deemed a huge success for Strikeforce.  Strong ratings are expected for this event, and the booking of Walker by Strikeforce and Showtime was no mistake.  EliteXC had also been interested in using Walker before they folded, and it comes to no surprise that some of the biggest viewership numbers for MMA on Showtime and CBS come from the Southern states.  Another strategic move by all parties was holding this event the day before the Pro Bowl in Florida.  The booking of Walker got a  good number of NFL affiliates, players, and fans to buy tickets for this event and Showtime’s ties to the NFL (“Inside The NFL”) most likely lead to NY Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s infamous interview, which is still getting headlines.  Not to mention that EA Sports, who hosts the Madden Bowl on Super Bowl Week, was also on scene to promote the Madden franchise, sponsor fighters, and promote their upcoming EA Sports MMA game.  The scheduling and timing of the event was well crafted and was a good display of synergy between EA, Strikeforce, and Showtime to use the NFL’s fan base as potential draws to the event.  Now, they just need to work on better execution.
  • What’s Next For Strikeforce Miami Participants: Scott Coker has already confirmed  interest in putting together Cyborg vs Erin Toughill (145 Lbs Title), Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce LW Champ) vs Shinya Aoki (DREAM LW Champ), Nick Diaz vs Mach Sakurai/Jay Hieron (WW Title), and Bobby Lashley vs Brett Rogers in the near future (MMAFighting).  The April CBS show is already in the plans and Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Jake Shields, Dan Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, King Mo, Brett Rogers, and Bobby Lashley have all been rumored for the event.  Frank Shamrock vs Pat Miletich is also being rumored at the moment for a May Strikeforce event (FiveOuncesOfPain).  There has also been a great deal of talk that Nick Diaz or Robbie Lawler will be jumping ship to the UFC.  I don’t expect that to be happening anytime soon, since both have multiple fights left in their Strikeforce contracts.
  • Strikeforce Fighter Announcements:  Scott Coker implied (previously mentioned by Gegard Mousasi’s manager) that DREAM would be hosting LHW and HW GP’s for 2010, which would free up the lighter weight fighters from DREAM for Strikeforce to use.  Coker has already shown interest in getting Aoki, Kawajiri, Sakurai, Hansen, and JZ in Strikeforce.  Another big announcement was the Women’s 135 lbs and 145 lbs tournaments which are rumored to start around June this year.  Both tournaments will take place within 2 events (1 fight on the first event, 2 fights on the second to crown the winner) and will consist of 8 participants. Strikeforce promises to get the best female fighters around the world in order to create true contenders for Cyborg Santos and for the winner of Sarah Kaufman vs Takayo Hashi, which is for the 135 lbs title bout  set to take place in the February 26th Strikeforce Challengers card. (Sherdog)
  • Strikeforce Announces TV Deals: Distributor Shine International has completed a host of deals for its Strikeforce brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of mixed martial arts programming in Europe, Australia and Latin America. Virgin Media Television-owned Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network in Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased Strikeforce’s library of TV programming (MMAPayout) .  Channel Seven is one of Australia’s biggest networks, and the UK fans were buzzing this weekend after watching the Strikeforce Miami event on Bravo.
  • UPDATE: Looks like MMAJunkie is reporting that Strikeforce Miami drew 517K viewers, which is a 52% ratings increase over the previous Strikeforce event on Showtime (Strikeforce Evolution) and finishes in second place behind Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg who drew 576K viewers and beat Strikeforce: Kimbo vs Tank, which drew 511K.  This is along the range I predicted above, and has to be considered a success for Strikeforce and Showtime, despite Spike TV counter-programming the event with UFC 107, which drew 2.2 million viewers.

QUICK HITS

  • UFC to Offer Spanish PPV Broadcasts (MMAPayout’s Perspective)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Payout Perspective (MMAPayout’s Perspective)
  • Diaz shares spotlight with Walker at Strikeforce: Miami (Sports Illustrated)
  • Diaz bludgeons Zaromskis; Walker wins (ESPN)
  • Despite debut MMA win, NFL great Herschel Walker not a lock for a second fight (MMAJunkie)
  • New York Jets coach Rex Ryan issues apology after “Strikeforce: Miami” bird-flipping (MMAJunkie)
  • Coker Says Aoki, Sakurai, Toughill Will Get Title Shots (MMAFighting)
  • Coker Eyeing Melendez-Aoki, Women’s Tourneys in 2010 (Sherdog)
  • Strikeforce Post-Mortem: Punches in Bunches, Football’s Revenge, and More (Sherdog)
  • Tim Kennedy latest addition to “EA Sports MMA” videogame roster (MMAJunkie)
  • King Of The Cage Is Coming To HDNet on February 12 (HDNet)
  • Despite initial one-sided affair, Strikeforce’s Robbie Lawler said he stuck to game plan (MMAJunkie)
  • Free agent Jay Hieron still not guaranteed title shot with new Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator adds DREAM vet Joe Warren to season-two featherweight tourney (MMAJunkie)
  • Shine Fights signs Abu Dhabi champ Braulio Estima to multi-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • Weekend Rundown: Yamaguchi Captures KOTC Crown (Sherdog)
  • Overeem’s Trainer Likes Chances vs. Fedor (MMAFighting)
  • On Mend, Tyson Griffin Could Be In Vancouver (MMAWeekly)
  • Freestyle Cage Fighting 39 Results (MMARising)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

All Elbows: Robbie Lawler vs Melvin Manhoef

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (2005 World GP Finals)  at 8 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • InsideMMA (Brendan Schaub, Matt Mitrione, & Dermontti Dawson) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents “Furious Finishes III” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (02/05/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • UFC 109: Couture vs Coleman at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Vengeance at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/12/10)
  • UFC 110: Nogueira vs Velazquez at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/20/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Prangley vs  Amoussou at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (02/26/10)
  • WEC 47: Bowles vs Cruz on at 10 PM ET on Versus (03/06/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/29/10)

January 29, 2010

  • Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals
  • Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV
  • Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews
  • Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA
  • “Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet
  • Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals

Distributor Shine International has completed a host of deals for its Strikeforce brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of mixed martial arts programming in Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Virgin Media Television-owned Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network in Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased Strikeforce’s library of TV programming.

“Strikeforce is the leader in mixed martial arts content as proven by the huge demand for their programming around the world,” said Chris Grant, president of Shine International.

“They have the world’s best fighters, the world’s best events and they know how to translate that into fast-paced programming that captures what will soon be the most popular sport in the world.”

The deal covers the 30 episodes and 56 hours of fights that have aired on NBC and Showtime respectively. (C21Media)

Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV

The upcoming featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Urijah Faber will be the first pay-per-view fight card in World Extreme Cagefighting history, WEC President Reed Harris said Friday.

“I think the Aldo-Faber fight could truly be one of the most exciting fights ever in the whole sport of MMA,” Harris said on the Dave and Mahoney Show.

Harris said an official announcement is coming within the next week or 10 days, and that he expects the fight to take place in May and cost $45, the same price as a UFC pay-per-view.

There’s no question that Aldo vs. Faber is a good enough fight to be worthy of pay-per-view. The question is whether the WEC can convince enough people of its worthiness to make the event a financial success. Non-UFC MMA events have never turned a profit on North American pay-per-view, and the WEC faces an uphill battle in making this one work, no matter how great a fight Faber vs. Aldo is.  (MMAFighting) … [MMA Payout’s Perspective]

Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews

New York Gov. David Paterson’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts in an effort to raise $2 million to help close the budget gap doesn’t have much support among registered voters.

According to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 68 percent of registered New York voters opposed Paterson’s plan to legalize what’s known as ultimate fighting. However, 29 percent support the measure.

The institute, which is affiliated with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, found 82 percent of women and 55 percent of men disapproving Paterson’s proposal.  (The Business Review)

Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA

Donofrio credits the UFC with helping Michigan regulators realize the importance of bringing the sport to the state, but he also feels the sport’s biggest promotion may have added a few regulations that make true grassroots growth of professional MMA very difficult.

“It wasn’t exactly as I hoped it would be,” Donofrio admitted. “There were so many stipulations that would make it difficult for a small-time promoter to be successful. One of them was you have to have a minimum of 30 rounds (on a card), which would be 10 three-round fights. You can’t have a pro-am card. The fee to do the show is $2,000 compared to $125 for boxing. And then the fighters have to have a CT scan and EKG, all that stuff.

“So it’s kind of difficult for anybody to be profitable doing a professional show here in Michigan. That was probably by design.”

Donofrio, who is the first to admit he’s not a medical professional, thinks perhaps the extensive testing could be reserved for older fighters and those who have shown previous reason for concern. Nevertheless, the promoter admits fighter safety is of the utmost concern, and simply hopes the commission will at least revisit the fees one day in the future.

In the meantime, Donofrio is pleased that unlike a handful of states still looking to pass regulation, Michigan will no longer have to concern itself with unregulated events.

“I think the regulations in Michigan are pretty strict, but I think the rogue promoters need to be put in check,” Donofrio said.  (MMAJunkie) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

“Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet

This week the “Inside MMA” panel will preview the “Strikeforce: Miami” fight card with the following fighters joining Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten to add perspective to the event and to discuss their own journey through the ranks in mixed martial arts.  The panel features Gegard Mousasi, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champ (and former Dream Middleweight Champ), Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce Lightweight Champ and Tony Lopez, the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion of King of the Cage.  The panel will take a look at the Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Marloes Coenen match-up, along with the Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis fight and Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy.

Also, Ron Kruck files a report on the MMA debut of Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner, and former NFL running back.  Despite having several decades of experience in martial arts and being a sixth- degree black belt in tae kwon do, Walker admits he has quite a learning curve.

Also, HDNet will make a BIG announcement on tonight’s broadcast.  Don’t miss it!  (HDNet Fights)

MMAPayout Note: KOTC has partnered with Mark Burnett to produce KOTC based programming and signed a 3 year deal with HDNet for live monthly events. The first KOTC event to air live on HDNet will be the 2/12/10 show, which features Lopez v. East, Valenzuela v. Sanchez, Coca v. Cullum, Wiuff v. Kyle, and Clementi vs. Lapsley.

Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Herschel Walker is most known for his accomplishments on the gridiron, but his athleticism extends further, and on Saturday, Jan. 30, he will add mixed martial artist to a stellar résumé, debuting for Strikeforce at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.

The 47-year-old Walker will face another MMA newcomer, Greg Nagy (1-1).

“I love martial arts,” he said. “I’ve loved it for years. I love the sport of it. When I saw MMA years ago, I fell in love with it.

“They’ve cleaned it up so much that it is now a mainstream sport, and I wanted to get involved in it. There are incredible athletes doing it, and I want to consider myself a good athlete, and that’s the reason I want to do it.”

A very good athlete, Walker, a 6-1, 220-pound former running back with the University of Georgia, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in Kenpo karate and Muay Thai.

“People have to know that I love this sport [MMA], but I am green,” he noted. “I’m not stepping into this sport, fighting for a belt, `Oh, I want to be heavyweight champion.’ No.

“I’m stepping into this sport because I love it and to fight people who are trying to grow like I’m trying to grow. I don’t know how far I’m going to go and how long I’m going to be in it.”  (Miami Herald)

***

Drive to compete powers Walker’s jump to MMA

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Walker said. “This was a very tough sport for me. … Every muscle in your body is sore.”

He added that his MMA instruction was even tougher than the grueling NFL training camps he endured for 12 seasons in the sweltering heat. Walker said that in football, a play goes for eight seconds and then players have 30 seconds to rest. In MMA, athletes don’t have such a luxury.

Even his Tae Kwon Do skills were somewhat neutralized, saying he had to, in essence, forget about that fighting style and enter his training with a completely open mind.

Walker, who said he’s an avid fan of MMA and watching it inspired him to enter the sport, is thankful to Strikeforce for giving him a shot. For a company looking to raise its profile any way it can, this was a simple decision. In announcing Walker’s signing in September, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said, “I flew to L.A. last month to watch Herschel train and was surprised to see his advanced wrestling and striking abilities. He’s got work ahead of him.”

Coker’s company has plenty of work to do too. Strikeforce is the No. 2 MMA company in the United States, behind the juggernaut Ultimate Fighting Championship. Not many sports bosses are going to travel to watch a guy pushing 50. But, Walker brings a known name and will attract mainstream interest.  (Fox Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • MMA fighting: Herschel Walker faces new challenge at 47 (Miami Herald)
  • ESPN Primer: Strikeforce: Miami’ (ESPN)
  • COENEN READY TO GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH CYBORG (MMAWeekly)
  • The future of women’s MMA (Baltimore Sun)
  • Nick Diaz getting back in cage (Lodi News)
  • Cyborg Santos ‘Ready for War’ With Marloes Coenen (MMAFighting)
  • Shamrock gives Coenen a shot at ‘Cyborg’ upset (Cage Fighter)
  • Diaz, Manhoef tabbed to earn victories at Strikeforce: Miami (Sports Illustrated)
  • Strike Force Miami (Sun Sentinel)
  • Nagy Ready to Seize his ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’ (Sherdog)
  • Lawler: I’ll take my chances on the feet against Manhoef (USA Today)
  • Melvin Manhoef Coming to Strikeforce for ‘American Dream’ (MMAFighting)
  • Wes Sims promises Hogan legdrop on Lashley (USA Today)
  • Five Burning Questions for Strikeforce in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Five Burning Questions for WEC in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Intimidation Clothing Sponsors Greg Nagy at Strikeforce Miami (Email Wire)
  • 5 Heavyweights Strikeforce Needs to Sign (Fight Magazine)
  • Matrix Fights to launch in Philadelphia on Feb. 27 with Matt Makowski vs. LeVon Maynard (5OzsOfPain)
  • Ultimate fighting a knockout and bound for Sydney (Cumberland Courier)
  • King of Cage competition producer returns home (U.S. Marine Corps Bases Japan)
  • Marloes Coenen: Survival of the Fittest (Fight Magazine)
  • DREAM LIGHTWEIGHTS HEADED TO STRIKEFORCE (MMAWeekly)
  • HIERON/RIGGS WINNER LIKELY TO GET TITLE SHOT (MMAWeekly)
  • DREAM Roughs Out 2010 Plans, Korea Possible (MMAWeekly)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • Inside MMA Preview (01/29/10): Guests Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez and Tony Lopez weigh in on the latest in mixed martial arts news with hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten. Also, reporter Ron Kruck previews the upcoming Strikeforce: Miami fight card.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Updates on the attendance for the past two shows. The Jan. 2 show drew 13,529 fans in total according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Those are different numbers than announced that night or numbers from the building. The live attendance and gate were the same as we reported, with 8,004 paying $1,969,670, so there were 5,314 comp tickets, and of those paid tickets, a couple of thousand were casino buys, so there were actually more fans who didn’t pay for tickets in the arena than paid. (Dave Meltzer commenting on UFC 108 attendance, Wrestling Observer)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/28/10)

January 28, 2010

  • EA MMA Adds Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Riggs, Manhoef and Possibly Joachim Hansen
  • Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. to Produce Logistics at Strikeforce: Miami
  • Aiona proposes creation of Hawaii Sports Commission
  • Bud Light Takes Over South Beach Hotel for Football’s Big Week
  • Herschel Talks up MMA on ‘Pardon the Interruption’
  • Women’s MMA rests on Santos’ shoulders

EA Sports MMA Adds Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Riggs,  Manhoef and Possibly Joachim Hansen

Shortly after Bobby Lashley was announced on today’s edition of ESPN.com’s “MMA Live” as the latest addition to “EA Sports MMA,” four more fighters involved in this weekend’s “Strikeforce: Miami” event were also confirmed for the game.

Nick Diaz (20-7 MMA, 2-0 SF), Marius Zaromskis (13-3 MMA, 0-0 SF), Joe Riggs (32-10 MMA, 3-2 SF) and Melvin Manhoef (24-6-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) will all appear in the upcoming rival to THQ’s “UFC Undisputed” franchise.

The latest additions to the forthcoming video game’s roster were announced in an ESPN.com interview with Lashley.

Diaz and Zaromskis will be featured in the main event of Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Miami” event in Sunrise, Fla., when the pair contests the promotion’s vacant welterweight title. (MMAJunkie) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

***

Former Dream lightweight champion Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen is the latest fighter expected to take part in the upcoming “EA Sports MMA” video game.

The title is expected to be released late this summer on the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 consoles.

A native of Oslo, Norway, Hansen is widely respected as one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport with notable victories over the likes of Shinya Aoki, Caol Uno, Yves Edwards and Takanori Gomi to his credit. (5OzsOfPain)

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. to Produce Logistics at Strikeforce: Miami

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. (OTCBB: SEWE) to coordinate logistics at Strikeforce: Miami, a mixed martial arts (MMA) event at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday, January 30.

“Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. is proud to be coordinating and aiding in the production and operations of Strikeforce: Miami. The Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. team offers top experience in event planning and equipment manufacturing, so the quality in the products and services we bring to Strikeforce is second to none,” said Eddie Wenrick, CEO of Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd.

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. has cultivated an unparalleled client base consisting of the top MMA brands. With the MMA culture quickly becoming a standard in sports excellence, Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. provides graphic and printing services for the cage canvas, as well as coordinates all equipment and manufacturing for Strikeforce.  (CNN Money)

Aiona proposes creation of Hawaii Sports Commission

At a press conference yesterday at the State Capitol, Aiona discussed a joint legislative proposal that would establish the 13-member Hawaii Sports Commission. The entity’s mission would be “to attract, develop and promote sports and sporting events throughout the state, and generate revenues for Hawaii’s economy,” Aiona said.

If enacted by the state legislature, the HSC would not require any general funds but it would have a $100,000 appropriation from a special fund for this fiscal year. The commission would be established this July and expected to be up and running by next legislative session.

Of the 13 members, eight would be appointed by the governor with the remaining five representing the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the mayors of the state’s four counties. The only paid member would be the executive director.

Although there was emphasis on the high-profile sports such as pro football and golf, the commission would also be looking at international and domestic competitions in youth sports, such as regional volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball tournaments. Among those attending yesterday’s press conference were representatives of AYSO, LIttle League, the Hawaii Golf Alliance, the Hawaii Stadium Authority and Mixed Martial Arts Hawaii. (Star Bulletin)

Bud Light Takes Over South Beach Hotel for Football’s Big Week

For eleven days this winter the world’s best-selling light beer is heating up South Beach and creating an exclusive football fan experience when it transforms Miami’s Surfcomber Hotel into the Bud Light Hotel.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 8, Bud Light is re-branding the entire Surfcomber property – everything from the towels and mints to the marquee atop the property – and has planned a full lineup of exclusive events, star-studded live concert performances and sports exhibitions making the Bud Light Hotel the place to be on South Beach.

“Pro football’s culminating event is one of the biggest events on the American sports calendar,” said Mike Sundet, senior director of Bud Light brands.  “As the beer of good times, Bud Light saw an opportunity to offer adult football fans everywhere a VIP experience to the celebration, social scene and special events leading up to kickoff.”

Wave Two (Feb 1 – 4)

The second wave of guests check-in Monday night to relax poolside and enjoy cold Bud Light with new friends.  On Tuesday, UFC’s own Mike Goldberg hosts UFC stars like former World Champions Rich Franklin and Matt Hughes, The Ultimate Fighter Season Eight Champion Efrain Escudero and other rising superstars as they demonstrate training techniques and fighting styles in a mixed martial arts exhibition in the Octagon placed over the Bud Light Hotel pool.  The following night, musical acts Uncle Kracker and DJ Skribble perform live at the Super Pool Party.  Wave Two wraps up Thursday night with an invite-only event hosted by GQ Magazine.  (PR Newswire)

Herschel Talks up MMA on ‘Pardon the Interruption’

Mixed martial arts has many opponents in the mainstream media, but few are as vocal or high-profile as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the hosts of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.

So Herschel Walker accomplished something extraordinary in an appearance on PTI Wednesday by convincing both Kornheiser and Wilbon that they should check out his fight on Saturday night at Strikeforce Miami.

Knowing that Kornheiser and Wilbon were skeptical about MMA, Walker patiently explained to them why they shouldn’t view MMA as a brutal endeavor.

“This sport has been cleaned up,” Walker said. “I think football and boxing is worse. In boxing you get knocked down, they give you a standing eight count, you’re still woozy and then you get back in there and fight. In football you’ve got all the concussions. Years ago this was a brutal sport, years ago there’s no way I would have gotten involved in it, but it has become a sport, it has become an art.”

Both Kornheiser and Wilbon have a long history of saying they find MMA abhorrent, but they obviously respect Walker.

“Herschel, what you’re doing sounds insane to me, but I know you’re very serious about it,” Kornheiser said, adding that Walker seems like too sweet a person to hurt anyone,

Walker responded, “I don’t know that I’m stepping in the cage to hurt anyone. I’m stepping in the cage to compete.”

Strikeforce signed Walker for exactly the kind of publicity that he got in his Pardon the Interruption appearance, during which he was sure to promote Strikeforce and Showtime and to note that there are better fighters than him on Saturday night’s card.  (MMAFighting)

Women’s MMA rests on Santos’ shoulders

Inside the cage, the Brazilian faces the most experienced top fighter she has ever faced in Marloes Coenen (17-3) of Holland in her first championship defense. The fight is the semifinal, under Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis, at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., on the Strikeforce event that airs live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET.

More important in the long run, no matter who wins, is the question of how the public will react to women in a top position on a major show without the obvious public appeal Carano brought to the table.

Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker, with UFC not promoting women as fighters, has become the builder of women’s MMA. And no matter what happens Saturday, he’s got ideas spinning in his head to feature women prominently on shows for the next several months, with new matches and attempts to create new stars.

“If Marloes wins, we can do Gina vs. Marloes [for the title],” said Coker. “If Cyborg wins, we’ll come back with Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill (10-2-1).”

Toughill’s career dates back to the same Japanese tournament where Coenen made her name. She’s also the only woman ever to have stopped Coenen, by knockout, in a 2004 match in Japan. Of Toughill’s two losses, one was via disqualification and the other was against a 320-pound Russian Olympic judo star.

Carano, who has the lead role in a Steven Soderbergh film, “Knockout,” which is currently filming, is expected to return over the summer.

“I don’t think she wants to go out the way she did in her last fight,” said Coker. “Cyborg has already fought Gina so we want to put her against someone else. She can fight Marloes, or three or four other girls out there, like maybe Kerry Vera (the wife of UFC star Brandon Vera, whose fight with Kim Couture drew the highest rating of any “B” level Challengers fight show on Showtime).” (Yahoo! Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC To Offer Spanish-Language Feed For March PPV Event (Multichannel)
  • Breaking down the Strikeforce card (ESPN)
  • Bobby Lashley Interview (ESPN)
  • Couture Has No Issues With Walker Doing MMA (MMAFighting)
  • With planned retirement at 30, Gegard Mousasi searching for best career options (MMAJunkie)
  • Fernandes Will Defend Title at Dream.13 (MMAFighting)
  • Jay Hieron Looking to Cement His Status as Strikeforce’s Top Welterweight Contender (MMAFighting)
  • Banderas, Paxton Join Carano Film (Sherdog)
  • Gunshot Survivor Johnson, Others Added to March Strikeforce Challengers (Sherdog)
  • 12 Questions for Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos (Sherdog)
  • Patrick Barry vs. Gilbert Yvel targeted for UFC 115 main card (MMAJunkie)
  • Source: Despite threats, no one yet fired from Brock Lesnar’s camp (MMAJunkie)
  • Drwal vs. Palhares, Camoes vs. Pellegrino official for UFC 111 prelims in March (MMAJunkie)
  • Liddell, 40, has plenty of fight left in him (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • DREAM Roughs Out 2010 Plans, Korea Possible (MMAWeekly)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • MMA Live: 1-28-10: MMA live offers up a full preview of Strikeforce: Miami, including the MMA debut of Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker. Also, the crew debate Chuck Liddel’s fighting future.  Bobby Lashley, Nick Diaz, Marius Zaromskis, Joe Riggs, Jay Hieron and Melvin Manhoef  are also announced as the latest roster additions to EA Sports MMA.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

EA Sports MMA: Bobby Lashley

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/22/10)

January 22, 2010

  • UFC launches personal fitness business: UFC Gym
  • Q&A with Brian Diamond (Spike TV Executive)
  • Bellator’s Plan: Talent, Efficiency & YouTube
  • Bellator CEO hoping for another ‘magical’ season

UFC launches personal fitness business: UFC Gym

With more than 3,500 people signed up, the company’s first UFC Gym will open for business Saturday in Concord, Calif., and a 40,000-square-foot facility will open in June in Rosemead, with enrollment starting next month.

“We plan to shake up the fitness industry,” UFC President Dana White said.

White, former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and fighters Anthony Johnson, Jon Fitch and Cain Velasquez are expected to attend Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening in Concord.

The fitness center is intended to be a family-oriented operation, including a kid’s gym, that will provide introductory MMA training to members, with a fitness regimen employed in the world of MMA: Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu and self-defense

A company spokeswoman said there are plans to have as many as 10 UFC gyms opened in 2010. (LA Times)

Q&A with Brian Diamond (Spike TV Executive)

SI.com: The cards scheduled for Versus in 2010, what is your take on that?

Diamond: It’s always been common knowledge for us and for them that they had the ability to do this. For us, it only makes the sport bigger by being out in a different universe. It was kind of interesting because our universe is a little bit bigger, but you know what, the more people seeing the sport the better.

SI.com: That Versus card is very well put together. By it being on Versus, Spike doesn’t have access to Jon Jones versus Brandon Vera. That doesn’t concern you in any way?

Diamond: No. No. We’ve got plenty of fights to show on the air between what we’re doing, what we’ve done. It’s all good.

SI.com: Is the audience still the same?

Diamond: It’s still young men, but you know what’s really interesting is it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for five years. The guys that were 18-34 are now 23-39, so they’re growing and there’s a new audience coming in behind them. I think that’s adding to the volume. And you’ve got new people coming in because they see Kimbo, Chuck or Tito. And then you’ve got The Ultimate Fighter with guys like Kenny Florian who were starting out on TUF 1 and he’s a veteran fighter in the UFC now. There’s all these different streams of consciousness and things happening at the same time that are just lifting the sport up, and up and up. As a sports fan I was introduced to mixed martial arts doing this, and I just think it’s a tremendous sport. The other level of success you see is in local communities with gyms and training centers and camps opening up. I live in New Jersey and you’ve got the Millers up north and (Kurt) Pellegrino and (Frankie) Edgar down south. It’s just going from strength to strength.  (Sports Illustrated)

Bellator’s Plan: Talent, Efficiency & YouTube

“We put our money into two areas of our business. One of them is our fighters and the other is production,” Rebney said of the long-term financial viability of Bellator.

He isn’t afraid to point out where others have failed.

“All of the superfluous expenses that the EliteXCs and the IFLs spent millions upon millions of dollars on, and they’re public record, is something we’re just not doing,” Rebney said. “The reality is that the expenditures of those organizations were foolhardy at best, and we’re keeping it cheap where it needs to be cheap.”

The commitment to fiscal responsibility in Bellator is so great that, according to Rebney, Bellator’s offices cost a 10th of what EliteXC’s offices cost and even executive employees fly coach to save a few extra bucks on the bottom line.

Throw in the trio of television deals that Bellator has secured with Fox Sports Net, Telemundo and NBC, and you have to start wondering if a few years from now we’ll all be talking about the stranglehold Bellator has on young talent in the sport. (Sherdog)

Bellator CEO hoping for another ‘magical’ season

“Overall, I’m most excited that there will be an awful lot of competitive fights. We’re going to have an awful lot of that,” Rebney told Cagewriter. “Every guy that we’ve announced so far are guys that I think, I would actually stay home from dinner out with friends because I wouldn’t want to miss the fight. That’s what we were shooting for. It wasn’t about getting names that people recognized, but bringing world-class fighters into the game that would be magical to watch and would make great fights and would could conceivably become big-time names.”

The other big move that Bellator made in their off-season was signing a deal with Fox Sports, NBC and Telemundo, which guarantees that Bellator fights will be available to 12 times the viewers than with their previous deal with ESPN Deportes.

“When we finalized that 12-show run with ESPN, I had to ask, how do we go from being a very cool promotion that reaches a Spanish-language audience only to a promotion that you can see every week on multiple distribution platforms that reach a bigger audience? How could we make it so that I would never go on a blog or message board again and read, ‘Bellator’s cool but I can’t see it.’ This will ensure that we’ll be around for the long haul and ensure that a lot of people will see us, week in and week out.”

“Right now, we’re finalizing agreements for the almost three-quarters of the venues for the entire 24-show run. So, you’ll see fighter announcements for the next week and a half, and then you’ll start seeing venue announcements after that. We want to be out there three, four months in advance. We’re going to some really cool places, too. We’ll be in a lot of different locations, too, which is cool because a lot of different people will get a chance to be a part of the Bellator experience.” (CageWriter)

QUICK HITS

  • TUF 11 Goes Into Production in Vegas (MMAWeekly)
  • UFC on Versus 1 Fight Card (MMAFighting)
  • Strikeforce headliner Marius Zaromskis ready for Nick Diaz now, Jay Hieron later (MMAJunkie)
  • Strikeforce’s Coker not shying away from Pride comparisons (USA Today)
  • Tonight’s ‘Inside MMA’ on HDNet Brings Together Some of MMA’s Heaviest Hitters (PRNewswire)
  • “Strikeforce Challengers VI” tickets on sale today, start at $30 (MMAJunkie)
  • Cristiane Santos: I only train with men. I usually hurt the women (5OzsOfPain)
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims Officially Booked for Strikeforce: Miami (MMAFighting)
  • Herschel Walker’s effort at mixed martial arts is no joke (USA Today)
  • Rolles Gracie: Keeping The Family Legacy Alive At UFC 109 (Heavy)
  • Spike TV features Brock Lesnar in “UFC Unleashed” episodes tonight (MMAJunkie)
  • Titles Aside, Jay Hieron Focused on Joe Riggs (MMAWeekly)
  • Strikeforce signs middleweight Joey Villasenor to four-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva at heavyweight? Manager says it’s possible (MMAJunkie)
  • Anderson Would Welcome St. Pierre (Sherdog)
  • Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Rear Ended In OC Car Accident (TMZ)
  • Buffer, Sherdog at LA Fit Expo This Weekend (Sherdog)
  • Seven opponents turn down bout with Erin Toughill, January 30 FCF bout scratched (5OzsOfPain)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • MMA Live (01/21/10) – It’s all about Brock Lesnar. MMA Live analyzes Lesnar’s SportsCenter exclusive. Also, why is there a new date for UFC 113? And Strikeforce welterweight contender Jay Hieron stops by to discuss his upcoming bout with Joe Riggs.

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  (Frye vs Thompson, Pulver vs Sakurai) at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

The Competition Debate in MMA

January 22, 2010

Danny Acosta of FIGHT! Magazine has an interesting short clip interview where he discusses the idea of competition in MMA with Strikeforce’s Scott Coker.

Payout Perspective:

MMAPayout.com has long talked about why competition is so important in MMA and Coker does a pretty good job of summarizing the position: competition helps to grow demand for the entire industry. How? It affords the consumer the luxury of choice in which they can experience the product in a different light, compare and contrast, and ultimately feel better, or more invested, in their purchase decision. All of those things lead to greater satisfaction, which in turn spurs further repeat business and referrals to the sport.

However, there are some limitations to the argument, and I’ll push back on what Scott has said merely to play devil’s advocate a little bit:

1.) The major limitation to the idea of competition spurring demand in the sports world is that product quality is highly dependent on a very limited source of human capital that cannot be duplicated or engineered the way you might develop a new piece of proprietary technology through R&D. Hence, there’s never been a truly successful model in North American professional sports (or the world, really) where two high level leagues were able to compete simultaneously in the same sport over the long term. There’s always been a merger to combine talent and resources: e.g., NFL and AFL, NBA and ABA, the NHL and WHA, etc.

While I certainly buy that competition spurs demand, I do so with a long-term perspective constrained by the notion that this will only be the case while the sport is moving through the growth phase of its product life cycle. MMA is still a very new sport to many people and it’s less about seeing the best fighters as it is experiencing the novelty of the sport itself. That will only be the case for so long, and we’re already starting to see the effects of a more well-educated MMA consumer (less booing on the ground, larger interest in martial arts programs around the US, fans being selective in PPV purchasing, etc.).

2.) The WWE and Pride are probably not the best examples to cite where competition played a huge role in industry demand. WWE and Pride both thrived on theatrics and the “promotion” aspect of the business that enabled them to go head-to-head with their competition. The quality of the product essentially became more about drama than it did the action.

The most popular MMA fights in Japan have all largely been freak show fights or gimmick bouts in which a former pro wrestler fights MMA. Pride worked to mimic a professional wrestling atmosphere in the sense that it built baby faces and heels to polarize the crowd. If you look at the popularity of professional wrestling in Japan today, I’m not sure it should be a surprise to anyone that Japanese MMA has fallen off as much as it has.

If MMA is going to work in North America it cannot be based upon gimmick fights or as a stop-over for every over-the-hill athlete in professional sports. It has to seek legitimacy as a bona fide sport . MMA can and should be story line-driven – all sports are – but it must be so in a manner that more closely resembles the way the professional sports leagues build-up a game between two rival teams.

Why? That’s where the mainstream money lies; there’s a reason wrestling’s growth has stagnated and its demographic skewed younger.

3.) The absence of competition certainly isn’t the only reason the ratings have fallen off in both cases. The WWE lost a great deal of its 90s writing group that produced such successful plot lines. The company also experienced quite a dramatic talent gap: John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista…the new Rock or Stone Cold they are not. Likewise, Pride dug itself a hole with the Japanese mob and debt that ultimately impacted the day-to-day operating environment of the company.

Japanese MMA Event Posters

October 17, 2009

Earlier in the week MMAPayout.com used the release of the UFC 105 poster as an opportunity to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the UFC’s poster design. The common themes among the posters were: 1.) brand focus, 2.) effective background use, 3.) organized presentation, 4.) critical information visible, and 5.) consistency.

To draw a bit of a comparison, I’ve attached some of the posters for Japanese MMA promotions (including Pride, Dream, and Sengoku):

PrideGP 2005                         Pride GP 2006
Pride-32                    d1poster

d2poster                        dream10poster

dream_11_poster                         Sengoku3

sengoku6-poster                             Sengoku9-poster 

Payout Perspective:

It’s important to realize that there exist a number of differences between the American/Western and Japanese consumers that impact how these posters are designed. What’s effective in one market may not be as effective in the other (e.g., Dream 11 might not be a template for North American promotions).

The Japanese posters have some great design concepts, and generally exhibit a higher level of creativity. However, they’re not as consistent at delivering a brand message as some of the UFC posters in the earlier piece. 

Certainly, though, the Pride GP 2006 poster is probably right up there with UFC 94 as one of the coolest posters ever.

Spike TV Announces "Best of Pride Fighting Championships"

August 10, 2009

Spike TV has announced its plans for a new hour-long television series to debut this winter entitled “Best of Pride Fighting Championships.”

Check out part of the release and brief commentary below:

New York, NY, August 10, 2009 – One of the most popular MMA organizations in the world during its ten years of operation (1997-2007), Pride Fighting Championships, based in Japan, featured world class mixed martial arts artists in some of the most dramatic bouts in the early history of the sport.  Spike TV will re-broadcast the best of these bouts in “The Best of Pride Fighting Championships,” premiering Sunday, January 11, 2010 at 11pm ET/PT.

 

Hosted by Kenda Perez, the series features past and present UFC® champions among the legendary MMA combatants that includes Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria, Dan Henderson, Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Mark Coleman, Frank Trigg, Hidehiko Yoshida, Akihro Gono and Takanoro Gomi.

Payout Perspective:

This Best of Pride series is an excellent idea and for many reasons:

1.) It’s more MMA on television.

2.) In addition to appeasing the hardcores, it’s going to help expose some of the more casual UFC fans to Pride and the accomplishments of current UFC fighters (which may give them a boost in popularity).

3.) The UFC opens up yet another revenue stream – however small it may be – from the royalty fees it will receive in owning the Pride footage shown on Spike. It may not make the Pride deal any easier to swallow, but at least they’re making some money off the brand now. The deal could also open up the door to a resurgence of Pride clothing.

4.) The show will also provide an additional avenue for sponsors to advertise to the MMA demographic; you’re likely to see UFC, Xyience, BSN, Bud Light, and Harley Davidson adds all over the place.

Update on Zuffa v. Dream Stage Lawsuit

April 20, 2009

Despite the notoriety of the parties and the purported value of the claims, this action is a simple case of buyer’s remorse–nothing more.  – from Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

Zuffa’s lawsuit against the former owners of Pride continues in District Court in Nevada. The parties are currently arguing a partial motion to dismiss filed by the defendants. What follows is a very basic summary of the current action, however, I should note that I have not seen the Plaintiff’s response.

As you may remember, Zuffa’s case to invalidate the sale was largely built on a background check requirement that they allege Mr. Sakakibara failed to comply with. The defendant’s response argues that while Sakakibara did in fact comply with the provision, it is irrelevant to the sale itself. The motion argues that the provision in question was merely a condition to Sakakibara’s continuing participation as a consultant, not to the sale itself.

In support of this claim the brief points out that the background check requirement is actually found in a section describing the purchaser’s obligations, in a clause discussing Zuffa’s obligation to maintain the Pride brand. As a result the motion argues that while Sakakibara’s failure to participate in a background check could invalidate Zuffa’s obligation to maintain the Pride brand, it has no bearing on the underlying asset sale.

The defendant’s position in a nutshell:

Contrary to the allegations in their Opposition, Plantiffs got exactly what they wanted from Defendants. They eliminated PRIDE, which was the number one competitor to their mixed martial arts brand event–the Ultimate Fighting Championship. By acquiring PRIDE’s assets and thereafter terminating its operation, the owners and operators of the UFC effectively killed PRIDE. Plantiffs now want to rewrite the Asset Purchase Agreement in hopes of reducing their cost to eliminate their primary competitor. The unambiguous contract language, however, dooms the majority of their claims at the pleading stage.

Next Page »