Report indicates former UFC fighter indicted for match-fixing

August 14, 2017

According to a Korean news outlet, former UFC lightweight Tae Hyun Bang has been indicted accused of match-fixing.  Korean prosecutors have filed charges against the MMA fighter stemming from a fight in 2016 in South Korea.

Bang is accused of taking a bribe of almost $88,000 if he lost his fight to Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79 in November 2015.  However, according to a swing in betting lines, UFC officials warned Bang prior to the fight of match-fixing.  Bang won via split decision and according to the report, he changed his mind in fixing the fight.  Bang was the favorite at the time of the fight but a last minute swing in odds made him into a massive underdog.

According to MMA Junkie, Bang received death threats from organized crime figures that had bet on him losing the fight to Kuntz.  Junkie also notes that Bang denied knowledge of match-fixing.

This is not the first time in recent memory that the UFC has been the subject to possible match fixing.  In Sydney, Australia at UFC 193 in November 2015, there were concerns of corruption on the card.  Recall, this was the Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey main event.  There were concerns by gambling authorities of “irregularities.”

Payout Perspective:

There is no timeline on Bang’s legal issues in South Korea.  However, gambling and the UFC are tied together considering the use of betting lines when discussing and previewing fights.  It’s likely fixing fights will not occur on main events where everyone is looking at the betting lines.  Rather, it would happen with smaller, less scrutinized bouts where most are not eyeing the betting.  Key to this is the fact that the fighters are likely not making money and a lucrative bribe would be considered more than a fighter making more than the minimum 10K and 10K.  It will be interesting to see if the UFC attempts to monitor match-fixing more in the future.

Mayweather-McGregor may use 8 ounce gloves

August 10, 2017

The Nevada State Athletic Commission will be looking into changing the glove size for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight at its next meeting on August 16th.  Mayweather has requested that the glove size be changed from the typical 10-ounce gloves for the 147-pound weight division to 8 ounce gloves.

In MMA, the glove weight is four ounces.

In a report on BoxingScene.com, Association of Boxing Commission rules dictate that boxers must wear 8 ounce gloves contested at the 147 pound weight limited and lower.  Above the 147 pound require boxers to wear the 8 ounce gloves.

Mayweather went on social media to make it known that he is making the request for the change.

Don’t believe what you hear in the media. Don’t believe what you hear on blog sites. If it’s not coming directly from me, then it’s not true. I’m telling McGregor, “Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves”. McGregor can fight in any brand he prefers or chooses. I’ll be wearing 8 oz Grant gloves. Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate. Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see. @grantworldwide @mayweatherpromotions

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

According to the report, the parties may have a right to submit a waiver before the commission to use the 8 ounce gloves and explain the reasons why.  The commission will then vote on the waiver.  However, it appears that this has rarely, if ever, has happened.

This is not the first time Mayweather has sparred with his opponent over gloves.  He disputed the use of Everlast gloves by Marcos Maidana in their first fight in 2014.

Payout Perspective:

At first, it seemed like a ploy with Floyd knowing that the contract stated it was 147 pounds.  But now – it still seems like a plea for fans to watch the fight.  The public relations aspect here is that Floyd wants to make it clear that Conor McGregor has a chance of beating him.  The smaller gloves are supposed to be advantageous for the MMA fighter.  With most analysts acknowledging that McGregor has little, if any chance, the parties are thinking of something to make it seem more competitive.  The 8 ounce gloves provide some semblance of leveling a playing field with the opportunity for McGregor to knock Floyd out.  I would assume this happens as the commission will likely allow the sides to proceed so long as each party agrees.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night draws 728,000 viewers

August 8, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 728,000 according to Nielsen.  The event featured Vasyl Lomachenko as he handily took care of Miguel Marriaga.

There was an overlap with the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies which may have skewed the ratings.  Still, the main event went up against UFC Fight Night’s main event of Pettis-Moreno.

The ratings are less than Top Rank’s debut last month with Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn.  The event drew 3.1 million viewers and peaked with 4.4 million viewers.  Saturday night’s event was much less than that.

On Friday night ESPN presented Golden Boy drew 415,000 viewers and 0.13 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.

Payout Perspective:

One has to think this is a disappointing rating for Top Rank as the UFC, with a weaker card, outdrew the debut of Lomachenko on cable TV.  It’s hard to explain why UFC Fight Night did better than someone that is considered one of boxing’s best at this time.  Perhaps the run-up for Mayweather-McGregor or combat sports fans are conditioned to watch UFC Saturdays, but boxing did not draw Saturday night.

UFC Fight Night 114 draws 859,000 viewers, Prelims score 633,000

August 8, 2017

UFC Fight Night 114 on FS1 Saturday night drew 859,000 viewers per Nielsen .  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 633,000.

Despite the fact the main and prelim card had mainly up and coming fighters, the ratings were strong up against live boxing on ESPN.  The FS1 main card featured Sergio Pettis taking on Brandon Moreno.  Pettis won a decision.

The prefight show on FS1 drew 208,000 and the postfight show drew 327,000 viewers for a 60 minute recap on FS1 which immediately followed the main card.

For those wondering, UFC Fight Night 111 was a Fight Pass Only event.

Payout Perspective: 

Notably, UFC Fight Night 114 did better than Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which drew 728,000 viewers.  With the opportunity for combat sports fans to watch one of the best boxers in the sport today, Vasyl Lomachenko, more wanted to watch Pettis-Moreno.  An interesting win considering ESPN is hoping to garner more fans to the network by partnering with Golden Boy and Top Rank.

Hume-OneFC and Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit file briefs regarding subpoenas

August 7, 2017

Attorneys representing Matt Hume and Group One Holdings PTE LTD., the holding company for OneFC has filed a response to Plaintiffs Motion to Compel the Deposition of Matt Hume.  Plaintiffs have also filed its response to Hume’s Motion to Quash or Modify its Subpoena to Hume, a OneFC executive.

Hume is an officer in the Asian-based MMA promotion, OneFC.

Hume’s attorneys argue that Plaintiffs in the Antitrust lawsuit are trying to pull an end around into improperly attempting to obtain OneFC’s “confidential and proprietary business information.”  They argue that Group One is a Singaporean company that is not subject to jurisdiction in the United States.  Hume’s attorney assert that it the Plaintiffs seek to obtain documents from the company, it “must follow the procedures adopted by the Hague Convention.”  Moreover, they claim that Hume does not have access to the financial information sought by Plaintiffs.  This process does not have a specific timeframe as to when letters of request must receive a response but it is understood (within the context of European regulation) that it is 90 days.  Yet, there does not seem to be a hard and fast rule.  The average time according to one procedure manual is that it is 6 months to a year for a response which creates problems with US discovery schedules.

Opposition to Subpoena Filed by Hume by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Hume argues that Mr. Hume’s deposition, if taken, cannot be used to obtain Group One’s confidential information.  The concern is that a “fishing expedition” would take place in which the Plaintiffs would be able to ask Hume, under oath, specific financial, business and confidential information about OneFC without using the proper channels to obtain the information.  Hume’s attorneys conceded that if a deposition were to take place, the Court should prohibit inquiry into Group One’s competitively-sensitive business information.  It also opposed any fees needed to be paid by Hume or OneFC as a result of this motion.  Plaintiffs claimed in excess of $21,000 for having to file the motion to compel.

Plaintiffs oppose Matt Hume and One FC’s Motion to Quash or Modify the Subpoena. Plaintiffs cite a declaration Hume submitted on behalf of Zuffa in the Antitrust Lawsuit which states “Group One Holdings compete with Zuffa to sign professional MMA fighters” and “One Championship is not a minor league or feeder league for the UFC.” Based on the fact that Hume’s title at OneFC is that of “Vice President,” Plaintiffs suggest he should have access to business documents – a statement Hume’s attorneys deny.

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion to Quash Hume Subpoena by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Despite the Nevada Court’s stating that OneFC should submit to the subpoena, Hume’s attorneys claim that it is misrepresenting the Court’s statements. Notably, a minute order stated that Plaintiffs could issue a subpoena to OneFC but Hume’s attorney stated that it would not accept service citing that it must abide by The Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad.

In addition, Hume’s attorneys are opposing a motion to transfer this issue to the District Court of Nevada. You might recall that the District Court of Los Angeles transferred a discovery dispute to Nevada involving Bellator.

Payout Perspective:

The dispute is not a sexy substantive issue but an important procedurally issue if Plaintiffs believe that OneFC’s information is helpful for their case. Despite the Nevada Court granting the right for Plaintiffs to issue a subpoena, it does not give specifics in its order. As attorneys for Hume and OneFC, they saw the issue with the order and the fact that to ascertain the information from its foreign client, it must go through a process and not through Hume. The motion to transfer the case to Nevada makes sense for Plaintiffs but Hume’s attorneys will try to keep it in Washington state where they might receive a more favorable ruling. MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Report: UFC 214 draws 850,000 PPV buys

August 7, 2017

ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that the UFC 214 held July 29th featuring Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier drew 850,000 PPV buys per sources.  The number includes US, Canada, Australia and digital platforms like UFC.TV.

The 850,000 PPV buys bests Jones-Cormier I at UFC 182 in January 2015.  UFC 182 drew 800,000 on PPV.

UFC 214 is the best buy rate since Ronda Rousey’s return against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016.  The first round stoppage of Rousey by Nunes drew 1.1 million buys.

UFC 214 also featured Tyron Woodley defending his welterweight title against Demian Maia and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino winning the Women’s Featherweight title from Tonya Evinger.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the fact that Dana White indicated that the PPV was tracking 1 million PPV buys, 850,000 is a very good number.  While the cynic may claim that it took 3 title fights and a very good Lawler-Cerrone fight to reel in 850,000 buys, the event has to be considered a positive for the new owners.  The first half of 2017 has been sluggish in PPV sales and this event helped create some momentum for the rest of the year.  It also brings up a question as to whether Jon Jones is a major draw or was it the rivalry that stoked fans to purchase the PPV.

UFC Fight Night 114 attendance and bonuses

August 6, 2017

UFC Fight Night 114 drew 10,172 fans in Mexico City Saturday night according to UFC officials post-event.

There was no live gate announced for the event.  Of 5 events taking place in Mexico City at the Mexico City Arena, UFC Fight Night 114 drew the lowest attendance of the 5.  Arguably, it was the weakest card out of the 5 as well.

  1. UFC 188:  Velasquez Werdum – 21,036
  2. UFC 180: Werdum-Hunt – 21,000
  3. UFC Fight Night 98: RDA-Ferguson – 11,460
  4. UFC Fight Night 78: Magny-Gastelum – 10,410
  5. UFC Fight Night 114: 10,172

The UFC also announced the bonuses for Fight Night 114 which included Dustin Ortiz, Joseph Morales, Humberto Bandenay and Niko Price.  There was no Fight of the Night as all 4 received Performance Bonuses.

Payout Perspective:

You probably shouldn’t be surprised with the low turnout since this is the archetype for a Fight Night card.  Still, Niko Price, Sergio Pettis and Markos-Grasso put on good performances on Saturday night.  We shall see how it did up against ESPN’s Topo Rank Boxing.

Show Money Episode 18 reviews WME-IMG’s first year of UFC ownership and more

August 5, 2017

Its another episode of Show Money, I hop on with John Nash and Paul Gift of Bloody Elbow to discuss WME-IMG’s first year of ownership of the UFC, Bellator’s latest PPV and more.

Zinkin Entertainment ordered to produce more documents to Plaintiffs in Zuffa Antitrust Lawsuit

August 3, 2017

Last week a Federal Court in Fresno, California has ordered MMA Fighter Management firm to hand over more documents in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit.  The fighters suing the UFC had requested documents from the company related to Zinkin’s clients within the requisite period of time related to clients’ “image and likeness.”

Plaintiffs have offered to provide a third party discovery vendor to Zinkin to collect this information at Plaintiffs’ expense per Court Order.  The MMA Management firm which currently represents Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier was served a subpoena by Plaintiffs in 2015.

Zinkin Entertaintment – Order to Produce Docs by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Zinkin had produced documents to the Plaintiffs but based on the motion Plaintiffs believed the documents to be insufficient.  The documents are being produced as “Attorney Eyes Only” which means that only the Plaintiffs’ Attorneys, and not their clients – the fighters, will be able to have knowledge of these documents.  This designation usually occurs where sensitive and confidential information is provided.  It provides some security that the discovery documents are not disclosed to a broad group of people.  It is a condition that Zinkin’s attorneys likely wanted if they had to produce documents.

WME-IMG receives $1.1 billion in capital infusion

August 2, 2017

Variety reports that WME-IMG is receiving an investment of $1.1 billion via a Canadian pension fund and a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.  The deal, arranged by WME-IMG and Silver Lake Partners, will make it possible to buy out some minority partners in the UFC.

In a letter to investors, it stated that in addition to buying out some minority shares in the UFC, it will allow some of WME-IMG’s senior management and investors to cash out.  The money will also be used to further acquisitions for the company.

Payout Perspective:

The report did not indicate which minority interests would be bought out or which senior management/investors would be cashing out.  I would expect the influx of capital to be geared toward acquisitions and payouts rather than infrastructure for its existing properties (i.e., don’t look for the money to pay fighters or build out the company).  The report stated that the money will relieve pressure on going public which will enable it to maintain control.

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