UFC sponsoring Outsports LGBTQ Pride March in New York

June 22, 2018

MMA Fighting reports that the UFC is sponsoring the LGBTQ Pride March in New York for SBNation web site Outsports.  It is the presenting sponsor of the Outsports NYC Price March.

Outsports covers LBTQ athletes and is a sister-site of MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow.

Tecia Torres, Nina Ansaroff and Sijara Eubanks will be part of the march this weekend.  All 3 are openly gay.

Payout Perspective:

The sponsorship for the event makes sense considering the number of openly gay athletes in the UFC.  Perhaps there’s a scheduling issue but I’m surprised Amanda Nunes is not a part of the event.  Ansaroff and Nunes are engaged.  Torres also is dating fellow UFC fighter Raquel Pennington.  A couple years ago, the UFC made an effort to reach out to the LGBTQ community and its nice to see them lend their support once again.

TUF 27 Episode 10 draws 218,000 viewers

June 21, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter 27 episode 10 drew 218,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  Despite being down in the live + SD ratings this week, the DVR viewership is on the rise.

This week’s show featured the fight for a slot in the featherweight tournament finals on July 6th at the TUF Finale.  Brian Katona faced Bryce Mitchell in a battle of Team Cormier teammates.  Katona ended up winning via submission in the third and final round.


Live and DVR + 3 Ratings Increases

1          201,000           298,000           +48%

2          186,000           296,000           +59%

3          246,000           366,000           +48%

4          207,000           357,000           +72%

5          176,000           362,000           +106%

6          196,000           398,000           +103%

7          275,000           437,000           +58%

8          248,000           443,000           +79%

9          290,000           462,000           +59%

Payout Perspective:

While the live + SD ratings may not be trending in a verified direction, the viewership via DVR is going up as the season is ending.  The last 5 episodes have seen a steady increase in viewership via recording the episode for later consumption.

Josh Barnett and UFC parting ways

June 21, 2018

Josh Barnett is negotiating his release from the UFC due to the lack of trust he has in USADA.  Barnett received an admonished but no suspension for a flagged drug test administered by the UFC’s third party anti-doping officiant.

Barnett was the first UFC fighter to “prevail” in an arbitration for a failed test.  The former UFC heavyweight champion was able to prove that he did not knowingly take a banned substance.  This was due in part to a detailed accounting of supplements which led to the finding that a supplement by tbe name of Tributestin purchased at a store in Los Angeles contained Ostrine (a banned substance) although it was not labeled on the product.  He has filed a lawsuit against the drug maker which appears to be the reason for the flagged test.

“I don’t’ feel comfortable giving the control necessary to USADA that would continue my career in the UFC,” Barnett told ESPN.com about his pending release.  Barnett had been with the promotion 5 years after leaving the company in 2002.

Payout Perspective:

It would seem that Barnett would be Bellator-bound if he wanted to continue to fight.  The circumstances surrounding Barnett’s departure are a first and may bring more scrutiny to the UFC’s Anti-Doping Program.  It is a requisite to be registered with USADA to be a UFC fighter, and due to the issues Barnett faced with the provisional suspension and subsequent arbitration, he has drawn a line regarding the policy which is costing him his job with the UFC.

Report: UFC 225 drew 250,000 PPV buys factoring in TV and streaming purchases

June 19, 2018

Dave Meltzer reports that UFC 225 drew 250,000 PPV buys.  The PPV buys was the subject of scrutiny when an LA Times report noted that UFC 225 drew “less than 150,000 buys” per an industry source.

A UFC attorney came out to call it a “material misrepresentation” indicating it was short by “something in excess of six figures,” but did not provide a correct number.

But the key paragraph on Meltzer’s report on MMA Fighting notes:

Industry sources with knowledge of the number pegged that as of the end of last week, it was estimated at doing about 250,000 buys, a number that would combine both the traditional television purchases and the streaming purchases. That would be lower to what would be expected for the show.

One might suggest that the LA Times report could have factored in traditional TV purchases and not the streaming purchases which could make all parties correct.

UFC 225 was headlined by Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero in what was to be a bout for the middleweight title.  But, Romero failed to make weight and the fight was declared a non-title bout.  The semi-main event saw Colby Covington win the UFC interim welterweight title with a victory over Rafael dos Anjos.

CM Punk made his second appearance in the UFC with a loss in the first fight of the PPV against Mike Jackson.

Payout Perspective:

 From a tech perspective, one might suggest we see more people buying online rather through their TV distributor.  This could be a result of people cutting the cord.  The 250,000 PPV buy report reflects the lack of drawing power on the card.  Despite the fact that Punk’s last appearance on PPV drew 450,000 buys, it was clear that the draw was just a one-time curiosity.  Arguably, with this being the strongest card put together this year, the PPV buy rate has to be fairly disappointing.

The Interview: USF Law Student Zachary Tomlin

June 17, 2018

I had the opportunity to speak with University of San Francisco Law School student Zachary Tomlin.  He recently won an award in the annual Sports Lawyers Association student writing competition for a paper he wrote about the NLRB and the UFC.

Tomlin SLA Submission by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

During my talk with Zack, we reference an 11 part test applied by the NLRB to determine whether or not workers are employees or independent contractors.

The NLRB 11 Factor Test

  1. Extent of control by the employer
  2. Whether or not the individual is engaged in a distinct occupation or business
  3. Whether the work is usually done under the direction of the employer or by a specialist without supervision
  4. Skill required in the occupation
  5. Whether the employer or individual supplies instrumentalities, tools, and place of work
  6. Length of time for which individual is employed
  7. Method of payment
  8. Whether or not work is part of the regular business of the employer
  9. Whether or not the parties believe they are creating an independent contractor relationship
  10. Whether the principal is or is not in the business
  11. (New:) Whether the evidence tends to show that the individual is, in fact, rendering services as an independent business

Also discussed is the NLRB decision in the case of the Northwestern Football player case.  The board unanimously decided to decline jurisdiction.

The Velox decision is below:

Administrative Law Judges Decision in re Velox Express, Inc. by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

I also apologize for the abrupt ending.  I am still working on my editing skills.

UFC calls report of UFC 225 PPV buys “material misrepresentation”

June 15, 2018

The UFC has refuted an LA Times report that UFC 225 scored just less than 150,000 PPV buys.  UFC attorney Hunter Campbell told the LA Times that the number was a “material misrepresentation” of the actual buys and short by “something in excess of six figures” although he did not provide an actual figure.

UFC 225 featured Robert Whittaker taking on Yoel Romero in a non-title middleweight fight after Romero missed weight.  It also had Colby Covington take on Rafael dos Anjos for the interim welterweight title.

The report of less than 150,000 buys would be a disappointment for the UFC considering it was one of the better cards this year.

Payout Perspective:

In general, the legal definition of a material misrepresentation is the act of intentional hiding or fabrication of a material fact which, if known to the other party, could have terminated, or significantly altered the basis of, a contract, deal, or transaction.  But, truth would be a defense to a claim of material misrepresentation.  Moreover, the UFC would have to prove that the industry source intentionally knew the PPV price and then gave a false number.

Having an attorney come out to refute a report and then provide the legal term “material misrepresentation” is a bit ominous.  Certainly, if the reports were not true, its within the right of the UFC to respond.  But, to provide a response with actually correcting the number seems short of a full explanation.  Being “six figures” short could mean that it did less than 150,000 as well as doing six figures more than 150,000 buys.  The inference here in the response is the possibility for legal action if there are inaccurate reports.  But, how do we know that they are inaccurate if not provided the real number.

Light heavyweight accepts one-year USADA sanction

June 14, 2018

Michal Oleksiejczuk has accepted a one-year sanction for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy per a USADA release on Tuesday.  His victory over Khalil Rountree was overturned by the Nevada Athletic Commission after testing positive for a banned substance.

It was the light heavyweight’s first fight with the UFC.  And now, the 23-year-old will have to wait until December 2018 to return to the UFC.  The Polish fighter was flagged for an in-competition test.

Per USADA press release:

Oleksiejczuk, 23, tested positive for clomiphene following an in-competition urine test conducted on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219 in Las Vegas, Nev. Clomiphene is a Specified Substance in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the WADA Prohibited List.

Oleksiejczuk’s one-year period of ineligibility began on December 30, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected, and is identical in length to the sanction imposed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) on March 13, 2018. In addition, the NSAC overturned Oleksiejczuk’s victory at UFC 219 to a no-contest.

Payout Perspective:

At only 23, the sanction does not detour his career too much although a year away from the organization could hurt.  He had made $12,000 and $12,000 to win according to Nevada Athletic Commission pay disclosures.  It’s not clear whether Oleksiejczuk will have to return the pay due to the overturn to a no-decision.

Report: UFC 225 draws “less than 150,000” PPV guys

June 13, 2018

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that this past Saturday’s UFC 225 drew less than 150,000 PPV buys.

The event featured the anticipated title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.  But Romero missed weight by .2 pounds and the 5 round fight became a non-title bout.  The co-main event featured a title fight for the interim welterweight title with Colby Covington defeating Rafel Dos Anjos.  The card also featured CM Punk’s second fight in the UFC.  Punk’s last fight on PPV helped the card draw 450,000 buys.

The report, which is included on an article on Conor McGregor’s court hearing, is based on an industry source that informed the paper.

While the attendance and gate were strong from a live event perspective, it failed to yield a huge buy rate.

Payout Perspective:

The news cannot be good for the company which hoped to have a solid buy rate for this PPV.  The card was one of the best PPV cards this year, yet it still did not surpass 200,000 buys.  It’s likely the worst buy rate for this season and does not say much for the draws in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

Greg Hardy awarded a UFC contract

June 12, 2018

Former NFL player Greg Hardy was awarded a UFC contract after his first round KO on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.  The controversial move looks to be a public relations issue due to Hardy’s past regarding domestic violence.

Hardy took out another former NFL player, Austen Lane.  The 29-year-old former Pro-Bowler will now have a chance to compete in the UFC Heavyweight division.

White indicated that Hardy’s deal may include fights outside the UFC banner prior to an official debut.

Payout Perspective:

Hardy is an elite athlete and is likely more athletic than most of the Heavyweights in the UFC division.  He still is raw but has potential in the sport.  His controversial past, including an arrest on assault of his ex-girlfriend will carry with him when he debuts.  It will also cause many advocacy groups to protest his signing.   The graphic photos showing his former girlfriend with bruises from Hardy caused outrage and he was ex-communicated from the NFL.  Hardy was arrested and convicted but the charges were overturned on appeal and his record was expunged.   The UFC is giving him a second chance because he has the chance to re-ignite an aging Heavyweight division.  His performance Tuesday night proved the point.  Yet, the UFC will have to address a public relations storm waiting for it.

Santa Cruz-Mares draws 600K on Showtime

June 12, 2018

The rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares drew 600,000 viewers Saturday night on Showtime according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The fight peaked at 633,000 viewers which is less than their first fight.

The first fight, which took place on ESPN in August 2016, between Santa Cruz and Mares drew 1.217 million viewers and peaked with 1.614 million viewers.

The Santa Cruz-Mares fight drew 214,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.39 household rating.

The other fight on the telecast took place between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.  The event averaged 532,000 viewers and peaked at 575,000.  The fight drew 199,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and drew a household rating of 0.36.

Payout Perspective:

Terrence Crawford and Jeff Horn fought earlier in the night and Santa Cruz-Mares went up against UFC 225.  The fight hype may have been overshadowed by Crawford despite being it being on ESPN +.  Santa Cruz won the rematch via unanimous decision in a very entertaining bout.

Next Page »