Silva issued 70K fine, indefinite suspension from NAC

September 23, 2014

In a busy session of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s monthly meeting, it issued a $70,000 fine and an indefinite suspension to Wanderlei Silva.  The ruling comes just days after Silva announced his retirement.

The ruling was based on Silva eluding a drug test in preparation for his UFC 175 match-up with Chael Sonnen.  The fine is equivalent to 35% of Silva’s fight purse at UFC 175 which would have been $200,000.  The commission was especially harsh with Silva since he ran from his drug test.

Silva was not present at the commission hearing nor was he on the phone which appeared to anger the commission members. Despite not showing up, Silva’s attorney indicated that they would appeal the order.

Payout Perspective:

Although Silva’s attorney challenged the jurisdiction of the Commission, it did not matter.  Despite Silva’s retirement, the commission issued its ruling.  Certainly, the facts of Silva’s case coupled with him not showing up before the commission likely made the penalty simple for the commission.

Weidman out, Hendricks-Lawler II for UFC 181

September 22, 2014

The UFC announced this afternoon that Chris Weidman is out of his main event fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 182 on December 6th.  In its place, the UFC has inserted Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler as the main event for the PPV.

Hendricks-Lawler had been rumored to be scheduled for early 2015, possibly Super Bowl weekend.  Instead of putting Gilbert Melendez-Anthony Pettis at the top of the card, the UFC decided to add the welterweight title match to the card.

With Weidman’s injury, if all goes well, we could see Weidman-Belfort on the same card as Nick Diaz-Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

Payout Perspective:

The move to insert another title fight into the mix for UFC 182 reflects two things.  The first is that the UFC wants to end 2014 on a high note with its PPVs.  Certainly so far there’s been some real underwhelming PPVs and even a cancellation.  Secondly, while no one will admit to it, there has to be a concern that the Gil-Pettis title fight may fall victim to injury.  Thus, Hendricks-Lawler serves as insurance for the PPV.  The Weidman injury is a blow to the PPV but at least the Belfort TRT issue will not be a part of the pre-fight media.  Based on the slate of fall PPVs upcoming, the UFC definitely wanted a big card to end the year and adding the rematch to what was arguably the best fight (so far) of 2014 helps.

Cyborg to 135 and Invicta sets new date on UFC Fight Pass

September 22, 2014

The UFC has announced another Invicta event which will take place on UFC Fight Pass on November 1st. The UFC also announced that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will make her first appearance on UFC Fight Pass on December 5th.

Cyborg stated that she will move down to Bantamweight which means that an eventual fight with Ronda Rousey should happen in the not too distant future.

The news was announced via a special, “UFC Minute.”

Payout Perspective:

The news of the return of women’s MMA to UFC Fight Pass should peak the ears of many fans that have gravitated to the women’s division.  More important, the news that Cyborg will be returning to Invicta in December should spark more interest since it means an eventual jump to the UFC and fight with Ronda Rousey (possibly July 2015 to headline the annual big UFC show).

Spike TV to air “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” Saturday

September 22, 2014

Spike TV announced that it will air both Eddie Alvarez fights against Michael Chandler in Bellator in opposition to UFC 178 this Saturday.  Spike TV is calling the program, “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike.”

Via Spike TV press release:

MMA fans can sit back enjoy Eddie Alvarez’s two most memorable bouts against Michael Chandler for free on Spike TV on Saturday, September 27 at 10:00pm ET/PT. The 90-minute “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” special will kick-off with his first bout with Michael Chandler at Bellator 58, regarded by many as  the  “Fight of The Year” in 2011.  Then, your night of free Eddie Alvarez continues with his rematch with Michael Chandler from Bellator 106 from November, 2013 where Eddie regained the title in a dramatic 5-round decision.

The program airs at the same time as the start of UFC 178 on PPV.

Payout Perspective:

With the past salary dispute between Alvarez and Bellator, the title of the program, “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” might have a little irony to it.

Does this sound familiar?  Previously, Spike TV has done well with airing MMA programming opposite the UFC.  Spike TV used the UFC library during UFC events in the past as a result of an inexplicable rights agreement that allowed Spike TV the UFC library for a year despite its move to Fox.  It makes sense from Bellator’s perspective and the title says it all.  It basically tells you why pay $55 when you get guaranteed exciting fight for free on Spike TV.  With the original main event (Jones-Cormier) moved to next year, SpikeTV/Bellator has a shot to grab some viewers not willing to pay to see Demetrious Johnson headlining a PPV.

Silva retires the week before NAC hearing

September 21, 2014

Wanderlei Silva announced his retirement from the UFC in a video post on Friday afternoon.  Silva blamed the UFC for having to retire.  Silva’s retirement comes the week prior to his hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

According to the retirement post on YouTube, Silva stated the UFC “tried to turn my fans against me.”

The full video can be seen on his YouTube channel here:

Silva’s disciplinary hearing is set before the NAC this week as it will assess a penalty for evading a drug test.  Silva’s counsel has filed paperwork opposing the disciplinary proceedings and requesting that Silva’s complaint be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  The argument is that since Silva did not have a license at the time, he was not under the jurisdiction of the state of Nevada.

Payout Perspective:

Will the Commission decide that it has no jurisdiction and let the state Attorney General proceed with its case against Silva?  Does the fact that Silva announced his retirement make a difference?  Silva’s retirement probably has no bearing on what the Commission will do this week.  Perhaps if the case is dismissed against Silva, then we might see Silva rethink his retirement.  But, if the Commission denies Silva’s motion to dismiss and rules in favor of the AG, we will never see Silva in the UFC again.

UFC Fight Night 52 attendance and bonuses

September 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 52 from Japan.  Headliner Mark Hunt led the bonus winners in a

Bonuses of $50,000 each were as follows:

Performance bonuses: Mark Hunt and Johnny Case

Fight of the Night:  Kyung Ho Kang and Michinori Tanaka

Although Myles Jury was announced as a bonus winner, Case was awarded the $50K.  It will be interesting to see if Jury is given his bonus anyways.

The attendance at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan was 12,395 with no gate announce.  The last reported attendance at the venue was UFC on Fuel TV 8 in March 2013 when that event drew 14,682.  There were not an official attendance number released for UFC 144 although it was estimated that 15,000 were in attendance.

Payout Perspective:

It was an entertaining night of fights which saw a lot of action and was evidence that Asia is a definite region that the UFC should expand into.  Attendance was not as good as the last two events in Japan but assuming that most of the 12K in attendance paid, the UFC was likely pleased with the turnout.

UFC suspends Johnson, cuts Silva again

September 19, 2014

The UFC announced the indefinite suspension of Anthony Johnson and the release of Thiago Silva on Friday.  Johnson’s suspension comes on a new report regarding allegations of past domestic abuse and for Silva videos were released by his wife which is purported evidence of his drug and domestic abuse issues.

Silva was re-signed by the UFC a day after charges against him related to domestic abuse were dropped after his wife was reticent to aid authorities and abruptly moved out of the country.  Silva was released Friday prior to any fight assignment after re-signing with the UFC.  The reason for the sudden release is due to two videos.  One video shows Silva carrying a gun and one in which his wife claims he was on drugs.  His wife provided the reasons for releasing the video via Bloody Elbow.

The UFC issued a brief statement on Thiago Silva:

Thiago Silva was released from his UFC contract on Feb. 7 due to his arrest by police in South Florida. The charges against Silva were dropped by the Broward County District Attorney’s office and Silva was re-signed to the UFC earlier this month. Based on new information received today in the form of video and audio evidence, Silva has been terminated from his UFC contract.

Johnson’s situation appears a little more complicated.  Blood Elbow reports that the mother of Johnson’s two children has filed a police report stemming from alleged threats and a report of domestic abuse from back in 2012.  Johnson had another domestic violence incident with another woman in 2009.

The UFC issued a brief statement on Anthony Johnson.

We are aware of the situation involving Anthony Johnson. As a result, we are suspending him indefinitely. We are using a third-party law firm to conduct a formal investigation and once we have more information, we’ll determine whether further course of action is necessary.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC’s actions on Friday can be seen as a direct reaction to what has gone on with the NFL. For Silva, it was similar to the Ray Rice incident, a video is what caused the league to take action.  Here, the Silva video caused the UFC to rethink its decision of taking him back and make the awkward decision to release him after just re-signing him.  In my opinion, the UFC should not have re-signed Silva so quickly.

As for Johnson, the news comes at a time when he had a career revival in his return to the UFC.  Even though the domestic abuse allegations occurred in 2012, the NFL’s issues have made the UFC much more aware of these problems.  In the case of Johnson, the indefinite suspension will probably last as long as the law firm investigates the situation.  If there is nothing found, I’d expect he would be back with the UFC.  If there is evidence of further abuse or a pattern of abuse, I’d expect the UFC to release Johnson again.

From a PR perspective, the UFC must be sensitive to these issues of alleged domestic violence especially with its past problems and the current issues going on with the NFL.  We could see the UFC being much stricter with its code of conduct and dismissing and/or disciplining fighters more than before.

TUF 20 Episode 2: 574,000 viewers

September 18, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that the second episode of TUF 20 on FS1 scored an average viewership of 574,000 viewers.  The average is up slightly (7%) from the debut episode which aired last Wednesday on the network.

According to a Nielsen source, it’s only the sixth time in the twenty seasons of TUF that the second episode drew more than the debut episode.  Wednesday’s episode grew in the important adult 18-49 demo from the first (359,000 viewers) to the second episode (364,000 viewers).

In offering a quick comparison from the start of this season to the start of TUF 19, the second episode from the Penn-Edgar season drew only 320,000 viewers.

Episode 1:  536,000 (on FS1)

Episode 2:  574,000

Payout Perspective:

The good news is that the second episode drew higher than the debut episode for Episode 20.  One might have expected a higher bump considering the additional viewing opportunities for TUF 20’s debut episode which re-aired Sunday on Fox before or after NFL Football in many markets.  Still, the ratings are better than TUF 19 at this point.  We’ll see if there will be additional efforts to promote TUF on Fox.

NAC to issue ruling on Jones-Cormier brawl

September 18, 2014

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has filed complaints against Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier after review of the video related to their brawl at a UFC media event last month to promote their upcoming fight.  The complaint seeks to fine the fighters up to $250,000 and the potential for all of their fight purses according to the document obtained by MMA Junkie.

The issue will be determined at the upcoming NAC hearing on September 23rd.

According to the complaint obtained by MMA Junkie, the fighters violated NRS 467.158 which allows for a penalty not to exceed $250,000 or 100 percent of the share of the purse whichever amount is greater.  The penalty may include costs for the investigation including attorney’s fees.

Payout Perspective:

It is good to see the commission taking action whereas it appeared that it was going to wait on making a decision on the brawl.  The penalty for Jones and Cormier will probably not take away either of the fighters’ fight purse for their fight (now scheduled for January 2015) but I think that the NAC will issue a stiff fine to prevent these types of fights that could potentially hurt innocent bystanders.  It’s clear that a part of this brawl was precipitated to draw interest in the event and we will see how the commission will rule to prevent future spectacles.

TUF 20 re-air on Fox Sunday draws 1.735M

September 17, 2014

The Ultimate Fighter 20’s season debut which Fox re-aired on the network Sunday “adjacent” to NFL on Fox game coverage scored a composite of 1.735 million viewers.  Additional re-airs on FS1 and FS2 added 267,000 viewers for a total of 2.54 million according to a company media release.

It was the first time that Fox has aired a TUF episode on Sunday next to NFL games.  The times as to when TUF aired on Fox varied.  For example, some viewers across the country saw TUF prior to the 1pm west coast (4pm east coast) game while others saw it after the early games (10am/1pm respectively).  In Seattle, TUF did not air until 11:30pm on Sunday night.

The 1.753M number comes from the national average of viewers which Nielsen calculates using around 200+ local markets.

In addition, the Live +3 day viewership drew a significant amount more viewers (up 55%) as it added another 295,000 viewers to the initial viewership of 536,000.  Thus, the total amount of viewers that saw TUF 20’s debut (if you included those that saw it on DVR) was 831,000.

Payout Perspective:

The total viewers that have seen TUF 20 is actually 2,538,000 although the media release rounded up.  Airing TUF on Sundays piggybacking on the NFL should help with the visibility of the TUF product as the hope appears to be snagging NFL fans not flipping to the Red Zone channel after/before the games on Fox.  It’s a good more and shows that the UFC/Fox really want to push this season.

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