UFC Fight Night 47: 735,000 viewers

August 19, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 47 received an average of 735,000 viewers. The prelims for the event on Fox Sports 2 received an average viewership of 116,000 viewers.

UFC Fight Night 47 which featured Ryan Bader defeating Ovince St. Preux in the main event was up almost 5% from UFC Fight Night 45, the previous Fight Night on FS1.  Below is a graph of the Fight Nights on FS1 since the beginning of the year.  It excludes those Fight Nights on Fight Pass since viewership numbers for those events are not released.

UFC FN TV Ratings 2014

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, UFC Fight Night 47 was the top audience on FS1 for the week.

Payout Perspective:

Due to a programming conflict with MLB, the prelims were on FS2 and thus the reason for the low number. Based on Ourand’s tweet, it reflects the value UFC has to the network. The average viewership for UFC Fight Night events on FS1 since the start of the year is a little over 862,000 viewers.

UFC Fight Night 47 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 17, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s Fight Night event from Maine.  Dana White announced the information during the post-fight press conference.

For its first trip to Maine, the UFC drew 5,329 for a gate of $321, 470.  No comps were mentioned.  The event took place at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.  According to its web site, the venue can hold up to 8,000.

Bonuses went to Tim Boetsch, Thiago Tavares, Alan Jouban and Seth Baczynski.  Each earned $50,000 each.

Boetsch and Thiago Tavares earned the Performance of the Night honors with the former defeating Brad Tavares with a third round KO.  Jouban and Baczynski won Fight of the Night despite it lasting only 1 round.

Payout Perspective:

The event attendance was comparable to UFC FN 45 in Atlantic City (4,115/no gate announced).  Based on the attendance and gate alone, this may be seen as a disappointment if you compare it to how UFC FN 44 in San Antonio (9,227/$728K gate) and UFC FN 42 in Albuquerque (8,775/$697K).  The UFC is trying to expand its market to regions it has yet to visit and it is discovering where not to return.  One might argue that ratings on FS1 will matter more than the gate but its still something to take note.

 

Harvick’s agency signs Tate

August 15, 2014

ESPN reports NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick’s athlete management agency, KHI Management, has signed Miesha Tate to a multiyear commitment.  Reports are that Tate will be sponsored by Budweiser in her next fight against Rin Naka on September 20th.

It is the second MMA fighter to be signed by KHI as it has Donald Cerrone in its stable.  Cerrone was the first MMA fighter in recent memory to be sponsored by Budweiser in the Octagon.  Aside from Budweiser, he is also sponsored by golf brand EZ-Go.

Harvick told ESPN about its approach to UFC sponsorships:

“UFC has a younger demographic,” Harvick said. “NASCAR doesn’t have quite the reach UFC does. It took us a little bit to figure out exactly how we wanted to activate sponsors at a UFC fight. But in the last three fights, we’ve kind of taken a different approach and we’ve had great participation from all the sponsors we’ve entertained.”

Harvick does not identify what its done differently, although its clear his NASCAR contacts have helped Cerrone obtain non-traditional MMA sponsors.

Payout Perspective:

Harvick has been featured many times on FOX as that NASCAR driver that attends UFC fights.  His agency may have an edge in recruiting MMA fighters for its company as it can pitch the fighter to non-traditional MMA brands.  It obviously has an “in” with Budweiser and EZ-Go.  These two brands (and there may be more) are not on any fighter aside from Cerrone.  Now Tate will sport the Budweiser brand (and maybe the golf cart company too).  We will see if KHI gains traction in recruiting MMA fighters to its company.

NSAC holds off on ruling on Jones-Cormier brawl

August 13, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will hold off on ruling on the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier media day brawl due to the fight being postponed until 2015.

Per MMA Junkie, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett stated, “The incident between Jones and Cormier will not be on the agenda for the commission meeting this month.”  The NSAC indicated that it would review the video before determining action.  Now, it is postponing its decision due to the fight’s postponement.

Payout Perspective:

The decision to not make a decision is befuddling to me.  There has to be some sort of ruling by the commission since it’s made the announcement.  Whatever the decision (fine, no fine, stern reprimand), it could have done it swiftly and without much media attention now, since the fight is not until January.  Instead, it will appear as the commission is dragging its feet and without ruling, it infers that a fight in public (where the safety of bystanders could have been compromised) is not that important.

 

Jones-Cormier showdown postponed to UFC 182

August 12, 2014

It was officially announced on FS1’s America’s Pregame that Jon Jones is out of UFC 178 due to a leg injury and his title fight with Daniel Cormier has been postponed until the January 3, 2015 card.  In its place, Demetrious Johnson will face Chris Cariaso for the flyweight title.

The news of Jones’ injury stalls the momentum between the Jones-Cormier feud which was amplified by last week’s media day brawl at the MGM Grand.  It followed with “hot mics” picking up some unrefined banter between the two which was not to be for public consumption.  Yet, it perked everyone’s interest.

Now, it appears that the UFC will replace this hot feud with another title fight featuring Johnson.  Of course, the last time Johnson headlined (at UFC 174), it was the lowest PPV output in 10 years.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 178 will still have Connor McGregor on the card so there is still buzz to be made.  However, replacing Jones-Cormier with Johnson-Cariaso is a disappointment (and its neither Johnson or Cariaso’s fault).  Unfortunately for Johnson, he has yet to translate into a PPV draw and his June showing at UFC 174 reflects the fact that he is not a main eventer.  On the bright side, both Jones and Cormier will get time to nurse their respective injuries so that they will be fresh for UFC 182 on Jan. 3rd 2015.

Cormier-Jones exchange harsh words after ESPN appearance

August 9, 2014

MMA Junkie reports on the “behind the scenes” verbal sparring between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier after their appearance on ESPN’s Sportscenter. As many know, the two had a big dustup last week at the UFC media event at the MGM Grand.

The video shows Jones and Cormier in different studios after their appearance on Sportscenter when Jones starts a verbal fight with Cormier.  Cormier responds and quickly escalates to Jones threatening to kill Cormier.

Payout Perspective:

Does the additional venom perk your interest in this PPV? While there are skeptics that might argue the verbal sparring between the two may be produced (and its definitely edited), the amount of attention for this fight has grown. The question is whether or not the UFC, Jones and Cormier can continue this frenzy until September 27th.

UFC 175 draws 500K-545K PPV buys

August 8, 2014

MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer reports that UFC 175 did between 500,000 – 545,000 PPV buys according to various cable sources.  It’s the best showing on PPV since UFC 168.

UFC 175 featured Ronda Rousey defending her title against Alexis Davis and Chris Weidman defending his against Lyoto Machida.  Interesting enough, UFC 168 featured Rousey and Weidman although in higher profile matchups: Miesha Tate and Anderson Silva.

The 500-545K PPV buy rate is the highest for 2014 which saw its lowest PPV buy rate in 10 years in UFC 174.

UFC 2014 PPVs

Payout Perspective:

Initial reports of this PPV hitting 500K buys appeared to hold up.  It should be considered a positive and reflects the successful duo of Rousey and Weidman.  The obvious difference from 168 is that the opponents were higher profile.  It’s expected that we should get them again in December with Weidman-Belfort and the possibility of Rousey-Carano.

Sonnen readies for Metamoris, no clarification from NSAC

August 7, 2014

Despite threats from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it appears that Chael Sonnen will participate at this Saturday’s Metamoris event in Los Angeles.  Sonnnen’s legal representatives believe that he has a case that the NSAC penalty assessed in July does not apply to this event.

According to MMA Junkie, Sonnen’s lawyer in this matter has contacted the commission twice seeking clarification yet it appears that it has yet to respond to the inquiry.  It was the commission that warned Sonnen about violating the terms of his year suspension by participating in the grappling event on Saturday.  Notably, the NSAC did not question Sonnen about the event even though he was before the commission to receive his punishment in July.

Sonnen’s lawyer argues that the NSAC has “no jurisdiction” over the grappling event.  Essentially, Metamoris is not regulated because it does not fall within the ambit of “unarmed combat” per the Nevada rules.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the NSAC does when Sonnen participates.  If the NSAC levies a fine, it would not be surprising to see Sonnen fight it considering the strong arguments made by Sonnen’s attorney.  The lack of clarification from the NSAC to Sonnen’s lawyer infers that it is not wholly clear on whether Sonnen is violating his suspension.

UFC cites Code of Conduct for potential penalty for Monday fight

August 5, 2014

The Monday melee between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier may have ramifications for both from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC.  The UFC indicated that it is looking into the incident and citing it as a violation of the UFC’s code of conduct.

“We expect more from our athletes, especially these two gentlemen, who are very well-trained and highly educated professionals.  Their actions were clearly a violation of the UFC’s code of conduct,” stated Kirk Hendrick, the UFC’s Chief Legal Officer, per a report on UFC.com.

Hendrick indicated that the UFC would reserve the right to penalize Jones and Cormier pending the NSAC’s review of the incident.

Payout Perspective:

The Code of Conduct has not been in the news since Matt Mitrione caused a stir with his comments about Fallon Fox.  It’s clear that despite the news it’s achieved, brawling in a public setting where bystanders could have been injured is not a good idea.  However, don’t expect any suspensions.  It’s likely we will see a fine but nothing else.

NSAC will review video before determining action in Jones-DC melee

August 4, 2014

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has not ruled on whether there will be any repercussions following today’s brawl during a promotional square off for UFC 178 between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.

The fisticuffs (click the link) between the two main event fighters on September 27th occurred during the standard face to face between fighters.  However, Jones head-butted Cormier and Cormier shoved Jones off of him causing a different kind of press scrum in which the UFC 178 backdrop was sent flying as well as staff trying to separate the two.

The two continued their feud with joint appearances on ESPN’s SportsCenter and then Fox Sports 1.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

One might think that if the NSAC had jurisdiction over this appearance, it would levy some sort of monetary fine as a deterrent for future events.  Notwithstanding any fine, the UFC probably makes this up in the amount of social media buzz and press it received.  While the brawl may not be the most professional thing, it is something that draws interest as it’s out of the ordinary.  The brawl shows the passionate hate between the two.  In the past, these types of bitter rivalries have helped sell PPVs.  Think Rashad-Rampage (UFC 114 1 million PPV buys), Silva-Sonnen II (UFC 148 925K PPV buys), Tate-Rousey (UFC 148 1.02 million, of course Weidman-Silva helped) and even Jones-Evans at UFC 145 drew 700K buys.

What was missing from this matchup was a backstory as to why these two hate each other.  There is enough lead time to build this.  In an unusual quiet time for the UFC (due in part to the cancellation of UFC 176), the Jones-DC rivalry is heating up and should have enough promotion time to make September 27th a must see for the casual PPV fan.

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