Over $400 for standing room only for UFC 229 according to ticket seller

October 5, 2018

UFC 229 is tracking to be one of the biggest events in company history.  According to secondary market ticket-seller SeatGeek, its tracking to be at an all-time high with the average resale price at $1,234.

The average resale price is second to only UFC 205, McGregor-Alvarez at Madison Square Garden.  The UFC’s debut in New York drew $1,441.

The get-in price as of Thursday night for UFC 229 was $424 for a standing room only ticket.  The get-in price for a seat is currently $670.

Tickets for the event sold out quickly and the only way to purchase a ticket is through the secondary market.

Payout Perspective:

It’s astounding that a standing room only ticket at the cavernous T-Mobile Arena is going for $424.  It goes to show the interest in this event and the pull of Conor McGregor.  While an estimated 3 million PPV buys is hard to imagine, the gate should be near the record for the T-Mobile Arena for a UFC event of $10.7M for UFC 200.

Air Asia announces it will take over red corner at UFC 229

October 4, 2018

UFC sponsor Air Asia has announced a deal where it will have a presence in the Octagon as part of the red corner.  The partnership activation begin this Saturday at UFC 229.

Via press release:

In the lead up to this colossal event,  AirAsia’s cabin crew will join UFC’s Octagon Girls on stage during the official ceremonial weigh-ins, as one of the many highlights of a UFC fight week which sees thousands of fans in attendance and millions watching around the world.

Through this multi-facetted partnership, AirAsia will extend its brand presence on a global scale with asset integration across UFC’s social, digital, and Pay-Per-View broadcast of the event.

It will continue with its activation in lead-up to November’s inaugural Beijing, China show where it will have a UFC-branded airplane and fly to Beijing during the event’s fight week.

Payout Perspective:

The sponsorship activation is one of many we should see this Saturday as UFC 229 will be the biggest event in the company’s history if you believe the PPV projections.  Taking over the red  corner with signage during the event ensures its logo will be seen through almost every fight of the event which aids its brand awareness.

Court in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit denies Motion to Exclude Plaintiffs’ Experts

October 3, 2018

Late last week, the Court in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit denied Zuffa’s Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Guy Davis, Dr. Andrew Zimbalist and Dr. Hal Singer.

The Motions to Exclude were filed back in February.

The Court issued a minute order without further explanation:

Upon review of the record, the Court denies without prejudice the [517] Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony of Guy Davis, the [522] Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony of Dr. Andrew Zimbalist and the [524] Motion to Exclude Testimony of Dr. Hal Singer, as premature. The Court will consider the arguments in the Motions and Responses in its review of the [518] Motion to Certify Class, however, the Court is not required to determine the admissibility of evidence in ruling on the [518] Motion to Certify Class nor does such evidence have to be admissible for consideration by the Court. See Sali v. Corona Reg’l Med. Ctr., 889 F.3d 623, 631-32 (9th Cir. 2018).

Payout Perspective:

It would appear that the Court is pushing back its ultimate decision on the testimony of Plaintiffs’ expert when it decides the Motion for Class Cert.  If it had excluded the testimony, it would have crippled the case for Plaintiffs as they would be left without expert testimony.   Or, there would have been an appeal.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

White believes UFC 229 will do 3 million PPV buys

October 3, 2018

Dana White is touting that this Saturday’s UFC 229 is trending to 3 million PPV buys.  If true, it would blow away the UFC record of 1.6 million buys.

White states that the Embedded for the first episode of Khabib-Conor drew 1.7 million views within 24 hours.  In comparison, he states that the first episode of Mayweather-McGregor had 800,000 viewers within 24 hours.  He indicated that the viewership online for the UFC 229 press conference was at 4.7 million views which outdoes the biggest World Tour press conference for Mayweather-McGregor

White estimated that it would be 2 million PPV buys, but now believes that it closer to 3 million.

Payout Perspective:

Will it actually do 3 million PPV buys based on the online interest in comparison to Mayweather-McGregor?  It’s hard to say because comparing Mayweather-McGregor to Khabib-McGregor is vastly differently.  Certainly, The Money Fight’s popularity was due to the fame of Mayweather and the curiosity and spectacle of the event.  But, can White extrapolate the success of the PPV buys of that event and use it as a model for this event?  With predicting PPV buys, its always speculative.  In that past, we have used Google Searches and Prelim ratings to determine the popularity of the event and how that might equate to PPV buys.  In this case, the 3 million number is an aspiration and not a certainty.  Moreover, one must factor in the international appeal of this event as it may not equate to the domestic PPV market.  What will be telling is whether the UFC will release its buys from its own UFC.tv site.

UFC 230 main event announced

October 2, 2018

UFC announced the main event for November’s Madison Square Garden show.  In a surprise announcement, Valentina Shevchenko will take on Sjara Eubanks for the 125 pound Flyweight title.

Shevchenko was to have challenged for the title at UFC 228 but Nicco Montano had to withdraw to a bad weight cut.  As a result, the UFC stripped her of the title that she won last December.  Eubanks, a contestant on TUF 26 had made the final of the reality show which awarded the inaugural 125 pound women’s title but had to withdraw due to a bad weight-cut.  She now gets a shot at the title.

Also, on the MSG card is a matchup between Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier as well as Luke Rockhold getting Chris Weidman in a rematch.

Diaz-Poirier will be a good fight and the two have lobbied for a 165-pound weight limit.  As of today, it seems like there might be an issue.

Payout Perspective:

It would seem like an underwhelming announcement due to the fact that the UFC usually has a big card for these MSG shows.  The speculation was that Jon Jones might be on this card considering his recent suspension coming to an end.  But, that was quickly shot down.  While Shevchenko-Eubanks will be entertaining, it won’t be a draw.  Also, there has to be concern that Eubanks may have issues cutting down to 125 since she has had prior issues.

EA Sports introduces “Notorious Edition” of UFC 3

October 2, 2018

The UFC and EA Sports announced a special edition of the EA Sports UFC game with a “Notorious Edition” in honor of the return to the Octagon of this Saturday night.

Via press release:

The Notorious Edition is available for a limited time and features exclusive cover art, as well as bonus in-game content including 500 UFC Ultimate Team Points, five Notorious Ultimate Team Packs and the choice of one “Champion” fighter – McGregor, former two-time UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre, former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk or former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva – all for $29.99 USD. Players looking for a reason to get into the game Bleacher Report calls a “can’t miss” and UPROXX remarks is “truly outstanding” should act fast, as the Notorious Edition is only available through Monday, October 15.

In addition to the launch of the UFC 3 Notorious Edition, all current EA SPORTS UFC 3 owners will also get access to new fighters, including a Hall of Fame version of former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as well as UFC athletes Sean O’Malley and Israel Adesanya. This new content update is available today to all EA SPORTS UFC 3 owners to download for free. Fans can also check out the EA SPORTS UFC 3 website right now to see the collective community results of the in-game matchup between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and McGregor, including which fighter has won more times, the breakdown of TKOs, submissions and decisions, and more. The official EA SPORTS UFC 3 fight simulation of UFC 229 will be released on Friday, October 5.

Payout Perspective:

You’ll have to be a true gamer and/or McGregor fan to want this edition.  Also, if you already purchased the UFC 3 game, why get this one?  I assume for the extra fighters and features.  But, the new edition keeps the game associated with the McGregor brand in the news and EA hopes that the edition will spark more sales of the game.

 

O’Malley out of this UFC 229 due to failed drug test

October 1, 2018

Despite the fact that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy announced new rules which precludes an announcement from USADA about a failed drug test, Sean O’Malley revealed that he is going through an issue due to a positive showing for a banned substance.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

💔 Just a speed bump on the way to greatness.

A post shared by Sugar Sean O’Malley (@sugaseanmma) on

O’Malley, an up-and-coming, charismatic bantamweight that came to prominence through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’s Series announced via social media that he was out of his fight this Saturday at UFC 229 against Jose Alberto Quinonez. 

As the post states, O’Malley believes that the banned substance may be a result of a contaminated substance.  The testing for this will take 30 days although the exact punishment for this is unknown.

Payout Perspective:

This is a blow for O’Malley’s opponent who will not receive a payday this weekend and will have to hope he can get another fight soon.  The problem with that is that the fight would have been a high-profile one for Quinonez.  O’Malley suffers since UFC 229 will likely be the biggest drawing show in the history of the company (if you believe the advance projections from the company).  The up-front transparency from O’Malley is nice since he’s letting us all know about the process and why he’s being pulled from the fight this Saturday.  With the new UFC policy, we will see how other fighters handle their sudden absence from the Octagon.

Anti-Doping Policy will not announce drug test violations until resolution of case

September 30, 2018

ESPN reports that the UFC has made changes to its anti-doping policy wherein USADA will no longer announce fighters that have been put on provisional suspension until there is a resolution of the case.

According to the UFC, it will not announce a drug test failure until the case is resolved.  The rule will prevent putting fighters in false light as drug cheats wherein some of the failed tests are a result of a contaminated supplement.  Thus, some of the athletes did not intend to use a supplement for advantage but received a drug test failure due to something not labeled properly.

As a result of contaminated supplements, several athletes have filed lawsuits against supplement manufacturers and distributors due to serving UFC Anti-Doping Policy suspensions.  In addition, USADA had to address the issue of compound pharmacies when several Brazilian athletes failed drug tests.  These types of pharmacies make their own supplements instead of receiving them from the manufacturer.

One of the reasons for the change is the number of athletes that have failed tests due to unintentional use.

Payout Perspective:

The move is a step in the right direction for the UFC but it will be hard to explain the unexpected disappearance of a fighter from events and/or lack of activity.  This will spur people to believe that there is a violation pending.  But the move seeks to protect athletes from the media and others to jump to the conclusion that the athlete is a cheat.  The amendment was made with little notoriety and apparently without input from the athletes which is a concern for those interested in the rights of the fighters.

USADA forces suspended fighter to take DQ in Muay Thai event

September 29, 2018

As part of being suspended from the UFC as part of violating the UFC’s Ant-Doping Policy, you cannot participate in other combat sports-related activities.  Adam Hunter learned this lesson as he was disqualified from a Muay Thai Competition in June 2017.

Hunter has not even made an appearance in a UFC Octagon as he was suspended prior to his debut in August 2016.  According to the USASDA release, he had participated in the 2017 Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships whil serving his two year suspension:

Hunter, 34, initially accepted a two-year period of ineligibility and loss of results in October of 2016 by USADA and the British Columbia Athletic Commission after a sample he provided during an out-of-competition test on August 11, 2016, tested positive for a tamoxifen metabolite, boldenone metabolites, methandienone metabolites, a drostanolone metabolite, and clenbuterol.

Despite signing an Acceptance of Sanction form, Hunter went on to compete in the 2017 Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships on June 10, 2017, thereby violating the terms of his sanction. Upon investigating the circumstances of the violation, USADA concluded that Hunter was operating under the mistaken belief that his participation in the event would not be a violation of the terms of his sanction.

After fully considering the circumstances that resulted in his participation in the Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships, USADA concluded that Hunter’s level of fault in this matter was low and that an additional period of ineligibility was not warranted. Per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, however, Hunter’s results from the event have been disqualified.

Payout Perspective:

This is the first case where we see USADA reaching outside the UFC.  One would think that you may compete in other sports outside of MMA, but it appears that serving the suspension reaches throughout other sports where drug testing may become involved.  This is tough for Hunter since he’s never fought in the UFC but has been disciplined twice by the organization.

Details of Lorenzo Fertitta deposition in Zuffa Antitrust Lawsuit

September 28, 2018

The deposition of Lorenzo Fertitta was included in Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief to Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit.  In contrast to the deposition of Dana White, Fertitta’s disclosed testimony offers a sobering recount of his old business.

Fertitta discussed the acquisition of the WEC:

Fertitta explains that he didn’t believe that the WEC was a competitor but a regional promotion that featured lighter weight divisions.  The testimony infers that Fertitta did not believe that the UFC was obtaining a rival but adding on to its offering by accessing lighter weight divisions.

Fertitta was asked about the Ali Act and the reasons why boxing adopted the legislation.  When asked about the glut of titles, he indicated that he was not concerned with the commissions regulating the sport but the consumer confusion with so many titles.  This infers the mindset Fertitta had with the business.  Rather than be concerned with any administrative issues, he was more concerned about the business side of the titles.

The attorney deposing Fertitta walked him through a text he received from Dana White regarding the negotiations they had with Gilbert Melendez.  You may recall these were contentious as Melendez was a contender in the lightweight division and the UFC had to match the rights offered by Bellator.

The pertinent section which is intriguing is a part of the text from White:

“….cut throat nasty business like you see in movies.  Good s—t homie.  Congrats.”

We are offered a bit of the text but the response from Fertitta is redacted.  After it was read, there was a break.

It would have been interesting to see the response from Fertitta.  Based on White’s text, we can infer whatever maneuvering executed by Fertitta worked.

Depo of Lorenzo Fertitta by on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

In contrast to Dana White’s deposition where he indicated he was a “genius,” Fertitta’s deposition seems mundane.  There is not a whole lot we can gather from the testimony that is not redacted.  From the information available, it does not look like Fertitta lost his cool or went off script.  He would make a good witness on behalf of Zuffa.  Fertitta’s dealings don’t address much of the detailed day-to-day work as White but it offers some information on behind the scenes of the company.

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