May 26, 2015
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the salaries from Saturday’s UFC 187. Notably, Chris Weidman and Anthony Johnson received $500,000 each for their respective fights.
Via MMA Junkie:
Daniel Cormier: $180,000 (includes $90,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Johnson: $500,000
Chris Weidman: $500,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)
def. Vitor Belfort: $300,000
Donald Cerrone: $152,000 (includes $76,000 win bonus)
def. John Makdessi: $30,000
Andrei Arlovski: $84,000 (includes $42,000 win bonus)
def. Travis Browne: $60,000
Joseph Benavidez: $106,000 (includes $53,000 win bonus)
def. John Moraga: $28,000
John Dodson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Zach Makovsky: $19,000
Dong Hyun Kim: $116,000 (includes $58,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Burkman: $45,000
Rafael Natal: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Uriah Hall: $14,000
Colby Covington: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Pyle: $51,000
Islam Makhachev: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Leo Kuntz: $10,000
Justin Scoggins: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Sampo: $13,000
According to MMA Junkie, Rose Namajunas received her show and win pay despite her fight with Nina Ansaroff being cancelled. Namajunas received $50,000 plus $2,000 from Ansaroff’s purse due to her missing weight. Not only was Ansaroff sick, but she missed weight and was fined her show money of $8,000. Thus, she received $6,000.
It’s unbelievable to see Johnson receive $500,000 for his fight against Cormier. This makes him the highest paid fighter of the night if you consider Weidman is making $250K/$250K. Johnson just signed a new contract and he steps up big-time in pay. His last contract had him at $53k/$53K. Not clear if this new deal is a flat fee (i.e., no win bonus) but it is sure to make other fighters up for a new contract take notice. Aside from Johnson and Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Daniel Cormier, Donald Cerrone, Joseph Benavidez and Dong Hyun Kim earned six figures on Saturday.
May 26, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 187 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with two title fights on the card.
Cormier wins Light Heavyweight title
Despite getting knocked down in the first round, Daniel Cormier dominated Anthony Johnson eventually getting a submission over the exhausted Rumble in the third round. Johnson was visibly gassed by the second round and Cormier took advantage of Johnson when the fight went to the ground. It’s a great story, as the 36 year-old Cormier finally earned the Light Heavyweight Championship after the UFC stripped Jon Jones of the title.
Cormier gets Ryan Bader next and while Bader’s post-fight press conference antics may have drawn some sparks, not many think Bader has a chance against Cormier. The real question will be whether Jon Jones will be back by the end of the year for another fight with Cormier. Perhaps in New York?
Weidman destroys Belfort
Chris Weidman established his dominance in the middleweight division by dispensing of Vitor Belfort. Weidman had been critical of the drug testing leading up to the fight and made a comment about Belfort’s testosterone levels at the weigh-ins and perhaps that spurred him to KO Belfort.
Weidman should face either Luke Rockhold or Jacare Souza next. The native New Yorker hopes that his next fight take place in the state if it is made legal in Albany next month.
Attendance and Gate
UFC 187 was the best event in Vegas (considering attendance/gate) this year outdoing UFC 182 and 183. It was announced at the post-fight press conference that the event drew 12,615 for a gate of over $5.1 million.
The numbers are very good despite tickets still being available through Ticketmaster on Friday night and the secondary market “get-in” price softened during fight week (i.e., the demand went down).
Fight night bonuses were awarded to Travis Browne, Andre Arlovski, Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier. Browne and Arlovski earned Fight of the Night while Weidman and Cormier drew the Performance of the Night. All received the standard $50,000 bonus.
The Octagon sponsors included Bud Light, the movie “Entourage,” MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve. Fram, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Draft Kings, Bud Light and Monster Energy Drink had the center of the Octagon.
Draft Kings had the fighter prep point. Harley Davidson sponsored the fighter arrivals. Rumble Johnson sported a pink bowtie upon arriving to the arena while Daniel Cormier wore sponsor DipYourCar.com.
Donald Cerrone indicated in an interview that he would be losing $60K in sponsor money due to the Reebok deal. At least for one more fight, Cerrone was able to rep his array of sponsors including Monster Head Phones, DipYourCar.com, E-Z Go, Qore24, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Monster Energy Drink, Budweiser, Greenlee, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Red Digital Cinema. It appears that having Kevin Harvick’s agency representing Cerrone has helped him with sponsors as the Cowboy has a lot of them. Cerrone will likely be able to keep official UFC sponsors, but he will be losing out on the others unless he can coordinate agreements outside of the Octagon and UFC fight weeks.
Fear the Fighter owner, John Makdessi, did not wear his clothing brand but was sponsored by Topps.
Joseph Benavidez was sponsored by Sling Shot. In the link, you can see what the product does. Very interesting sponsor for Benavidez.
Odds and ends
The UFC Prelims were threatened to be shuttled to FS2 due to an extra innings MLB game but it abruptly ended right before the first Prelim fight started. Despite a 5 or 6 minute delay in broadcasting, no fights were lost on the FS1 broadcast.
With the NBA and NHL Playoffs starting during the last hour of the UFC Prelims, it will be interesting to discover the ratings for the event.
Best shot of this set of Embedded episodes: Anthony Johnson sitting next to an old woman in the waiting room of a colonics center.
What became of the agent/manager meeting this week?
It was interesting that the UFC promoted the Periscope App as the promotion wanted fans to follow Dana White and his videos. Of course, many people are using Periscope to shoot video of the event itself. It will be the next big First Amendment issue in sports.
Joseph Benavidez announced he let go of his management team and fought the fight without a manager. His move could be a new trend in the future as the Reebok deal goes into effect.
UFC 187 drew 200K plus google searches last weekend. It was second in the U.S. on Saturday to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. In comparison, UFC 182 drew 400K searches and UFC 183 drew 500K searches.
While google searches are not definitive as to PPV buys, it is a good indicator. If that is the case, UFC 187 likely did not fare well. Even with two title fights, the buzz for this weekend was just ok. How much would have Jon Jones added to the card? If Weidman can remain healthy and fight on a consistent basis, he could be a PPV attraction. At this point, he’s a wait and see fighter. While the google searches indicate a low PPV buy rate, I am predicting it does somewhat better: 450-500K PPV buys.
May 25, 2015
Six weeks away from UFC 189 and the UFC will go all in with its promotion of the Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor fight on Saturday, July 11th.
The official trailer was revealed during Saturday’s UFC 187. If you had watched the UFC Embedded videos for the World Tour, you may recall the shooting of the promo on the Las Vegas Strip. The promotional video shows that the UFC is spending a lot of money for the event.
The promotion indicated that it will make some commercial buys during the NBA Playoffs. With both Eastern and Western Conference Finals heading to sweeps (or near sweeps), we may see UFC commercials during The Finals next week.
If the World Tour earlier this year wasn’t enough, we will see more Embedded videos leading up to the fight. We can expect more ad placement along every platform. The hype for UFC 189 will outdo UFC 182 earlier this year. The World Tour included an extensive Embedded series which was entertaining mainly due to Conor McGregor’s antics. Expect a 10 series Embedded series in lead-up to the event as well as a UFC “Bad Blood” episode which likely will air on FS1. A lot is going into this production as many predict this to be the biggest fight of the year (so far). With a lot invested in this event, Zuffa is hoping that it brings in the PPV buys.
May 24, 2015
Andre Arlovski, Travis Browne, Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier earned the $50,000 bonuses. Arlovski and Browne earned the Fight of the Night for their one round slugfest with Arlovski earning the KO. Weidman and Cormier earned Performance bonuses of the night after their respective stoppages.
The attendance for UFC 187 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was 12,615 for a gate of $5,189,167.
The announced gate is very good considering that there were still tickets available at Ticketmaster the day before the event and the secondary market was softening in terms of the “get-in” price. The attendance and gate numbers exceeded February’s UFC 183 (13,114 attendance/$4.5 million gate) which featured Anderson Silva taking on Nate Diaz Super Bowl weekend. In fact, it did much better than the heavily promoted UFC 182 (Jones-Cormier). That event drew 11,575 for a $3.7 million gate.
May 23, 2015
MMA Fighting reports that Joseph Benavidez has fired his agents at MMA, Inc. citing the looming Reebok sponsorship deal as a reason for the departure. The news is another example of the changing landscape of UFC business.
Benavidez’s managers at MMA, Inc. represent some notable UFC fighters Paige Van Zant, Urijah Faber and Chael Sonnen. The article also states that UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw also left MMA, Inc.
If you count his WEC time of service plus his UFC fights, it which would put him in the $15,000 range under the Reebok sponsor pay scale. Benavidez is a fan of the Reebok deal stating that he has not received $15K in sponsors since his title fight against Demetrious Johnson in December 2013. Thus, the Reebok deal, for Benavidez, would be good for him.
Benavidez has not closed out future representation but like everyone else in the industry, they are waiting to see the results of the new deal.
Notably, UFC fight managers were set to meet this weekend to discuss UFC business. The meeting was set up by Benavidez’s now ex-managers at MMA, Inc.
Benavidez leaving his agents to go at it alone is a direct result of the Reebok sponsorship deal. It’s clear that fighters realize that the sponsorship market is changing and are not clear the worth of an agent at this point. Based on this, it reveals that the primary service an agent does for fighters in MMA is obtaining sponsors. Aside from that, fighters like Benavidez believe that they have sufficient support to go at it alone. Obviously, Benavidez is a veteran and belongs to a fight camp that provides the support needed for a fight. The future of the agent in the UFC is uncertain. It will be up to agents to show that they add value for a fighter and not just through fight night sponsors.
May 22, 2015
While UFC 187 ticket prices are up from UFC 186 in Montreal, it is down from the last time it was in Vegas UFC 183. The average ticket on the secondary market for UFC 187 is $362 per ticket according to ticket search engine SeatGeek.
Notably, the “get-in” price for UFC 187 is $144 which is down from last week’s price of $210. SeatGeek notes that that the cheapest floor seat available is $851 while the lowest listing for the lower level on the secondary market is $295.
The average ticket price for UFC 183 which featured Nick Diaz taking on Anderson Silva was $464. At UFC 182, which featured Ronda Rousey taking on Cat Zingano, tickets ran for $420 with the “get-in” at $145.
There are a seats still available through Ticketmaster with the lowest (as of Friday night) at $144. The most expensive on Ticketmaster is $1,045.
Perhaps it is not surprising that the ticket prices are down from February’s UFC 183 in Vegas. But, the drop in ticket prices on the secondary market over the course of a week reflects the fact that interest may be waning for the event. While the event has two strong title fights at the top, it does not appear to be swaying fans to purchase tickets for the event. With tickets still available on Ticketmaster, I would suppose the secondary market continues to drop by tomorrow.
May 22, 2015
The UFC announced that it has come to terms with the DISH Network to carry its PPV. The new agreement ends the one PPV hiatus from the network carrier of UFC PPVs.
The 14 million DISH Network subscribers will get their chance to order UFC 187 this Saturday.
The UFC and DISH Network had come to an impasse in negotiations which precluded it from the network to carry UFC 186. The network went on to announce that it would no longer carry any UFC PPVs. The contract between the two ended at the end of January and was briefly extended up until UFC 186 when the sides could not come together on a new contract.
Terms of the deal were not made public although a statement by UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik indicated that it will deliver UFC content to DISH “for years to come.”
This seems to be the standard procedure for DISH Network. It’s a game of chicken to see who will blink first and sometimes that means that there will be an impasse where a network (or in this case UFC PPVs) will be off of DISH for some time. While we do not have numbers as to how many DISH subscribers purchase UFC PPVs giving 14 million people (reported DISH subs) the opportunity to pay for UFC PPVs should help PPV buys and UFC revenue. Thus, this is good news for both the UFC and DISH.
May 21, 2015
Silva’s attorney, Ross Goodman, was pleased with the court’s ruling that Silva’s punishment was overturned but no happy with its ruling that it had jurisdiction over Silva. With the court ruling, Monday, Silva would have to go back before the commission to determine his punishment for fleeing a drug test last year.
Silva argues that the commission had no right to drug test him since he was not licensed at the time. The commission counters that it has oversight over combat sports within the state and thus had the right to test Silva.
The appeal to the Supreme Court for the state of Nevada is a calculated risk but worth it. The district court ruled in Silva’s favor but he still must go before the commission to be punished. If Silva wins on appeal with a finding that the commission never had jurisdiction, his name is cleared. It would also spur an amendment to the laws in Nevada. Silva has a good chance with his appeal to the Supreme Court as the commission’s argument sought a very broad interpretation of the laws of the state. Reading the laws plainly, one could see Silva winning the appeal. We will see what happens.
May 21, 2015
The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 4 drew an overnight rating of 340,000 viewers for a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 category for adults per Sports TV Ratings. The rating was good enough to be the highest rated show on FS1 on Wednesday.
The show included an appearance by Anthony Johnson and featured a fight between Hayder Hasaan and Andrews Nakahara. Hasaan scored a stoppage for the first win by ATT.
Episode 1 – 490,000 live + Same Day
Episode 2 – 454,000
Episode 3 – 364,000
Episode 4 – 286,000
Episode 5 – 340,000
The season average climbed up to 387,000 which is below many other seasons of TUF. Of course, when put in perspective that it was the highest-rated show on FS1 for Wednesday, there is still value for the program. NHL and NBA Playoffs were at the top of sports on cable for Wednesday night with the Cavaliers/Hawks game receiving 6.84 million viewers.
May 20, 2015
Yahoo! Sports reports that Donald Cerrone is set to lose $60,000 in sponsorship money due to the new Reebok sponsorship deal. However, Cerrone appears ok with it.
Almost 2 years ago, Cerrone signed on with Kevin Harvick’s sports agency and picked up some key non-endemic MMA sponsors which include Budweiser and Fram. Notably, both are UFC sponsors (Bud Light is the actual UFC sponsor although I am not sure if there is a true difference in sponsorship between Bud and Bud Light). He also has had golf-cart operator EZ-Go and others on his shorts in the past too.
Despite losing the sponsor money, Cerrone remained upbeat about the change in policy in the UFC. He acknowledged he will not make the “big money” but thinks it will work out. He stated that his sponsors will stick with him despite the shift. Of course, Budweiser and Fram are official sponsors so this helps. He noted that the deal with Budweiser is for a year and appears to be guaranteed regardless of whether or not he will wear it to the ring.
Interesting to note that the article mentions that one other UFC official sponsor will be on the Reebok uniform along with Reebok. One might suspect Bud Light or Fram would get rotating spots on the uniform at some point. Cerrone is in a unique position as he has secured individual sponsor deals with official UFC sponsors so those relationships are more likely to remain intact. But, does anyone find it odd that Cerrone remains upbeat about the sponsor deal despite losing money? He is one that has admitted to spending money once he receives it which is one reason that he is willing to fight anytime, anywhere. So, if he’s losing money on this deal, wouldn’t you be a little upset?
Fortunately for Cerrone, he is a crowd favorite and one could see a crossover with NASCAR and perhaps making appearances at NASCAR events for a sponsor like Fram or Budweiser or another non-UFC official sponsor. Thus, he can still make money outside of the Octagon without having to wear a patch on his shorts.