UFC on Fox 16 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 25, 2015

In the post-event press conference, Dana White announced the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fox 16 on Saturday night from Chicago, Illinois.

White announced attendance at 11,663 with a gate of $1.2 million for the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  Notably, UFC on Fox 2 in January 2012 drew 16,963 for a gate of $1.271 million and UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 drew 10,795 for a gate of $863,655.

The bonuses of $50,000 each went to Edson Barboza, Paul Felder, T.J. Dillashaw and Tom Lawlor.  Barboza and Felder drew Fight of the Night and Dillashaw and Lawler scored the Performance of the Night bonuses.  White indicated that he also liked the Ben Saunders-Kenny Robertson fight and was impressed with James Krause’s win tonight.  It sounded that those three fighters may also receive additional compensation.

Payout Perspective:

The event was not a sellout as the ‘get in’ price as of noon Saturday was $59 according to StubHub.  The United Center could house 20,000 plus so it was far from selling out.  The fights were very good tonight which culminated in Dillashaw’s domination of Renan Barao.  Dillashaw earned a bonus and the lighter weight divisions are on a roll this month.

UFC McGregor bio indicates UFC 189 did 1M PPV buys

July 24, 2015

UFC is reporting that UFC 189 drew 1 million PPV buys according to the biography of Conor McGregor on the company’s web siteMMA Junkie noted the information on McGregor’s bio.

Via UFC.com:

The fight attracted a record 16,019 fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, plus a $7.2-million live gate and 1 million pay per view buys, proving McGregor’s sizable drawing power. Some 3,000 Irish fans converged on Las Vegas and left deliriously happy.

UFC 189 would be the first PPV hitting 1 million PPV buys since UFC 168 which featured Silva-Weidman II and Tate-Rousey in December 2013. Prior to that, you’d have to look to July 2010 and UFC 116 (Lesnar-Carwin) for a PPV to strike 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

If the PPV number is correct, it shows that the ratings from the UFC 189 Prelims were an inconsistent indicator of PPV success. UFC 189 Prelims on FS1 drew only 847,000 viewers.  The televised Prelims usually entice “on the fence” fans to purchase the PPV.  Here, one might conclude that people already were set to buy the PPV because of McGregor.  This would be great for the UFC as it has a confirmed PPV star in the new interim Featherweight champion.

It’s interesting that the information on PPV buys was somewhat buried in the bio of McGregor and not officially announced by the UFC.  Usually, when organizations do well business-wise there is some release about the information.  For instance, Bellator’s tentpole events 131 and 138 ratings were announced immediately when received as the company was happy with the great ratings.  Here, no official announcement. We shall see if we get an official announcement soon.

Dillashaw signs deal with Everlast

July 23, 2015

UFC Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has signed a sponsorship deal with Everlast as announced by the company via tweet.  Dillashaw is set to make his second title defense against Renan Barao this Saturday at UFC on Fox 16.

Despite the talk of the sponsorship market shrinking due to the Reebok deal, Dillashaw has a deal with Onnit and now Everlast.

It was reported back in May that Dillashaw left his agents at MMA, Inc. to go at it alone.  Unless Dillashaw has signed with another agent, it appears that he has secured this sponsorship on his own.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting sponsorship since Dillashaw cannot wear any logos sporting the Everlast brand this week due to the new UFC outfitting policy.  The good news for Dillashaw is that the brand is willing to work with him outside of the UFC umbrella.  Perhaps a trend of seeking out the lower-weight divisions for sponsor deals.

Reebok receiving criticism for Duran departure

July 23, 2015

Reebok is feeling the heat after the UFC let go of cutman Stitch Duran.  The official clothier of the UFC sent out a tweet in apparent response to UFC fans outraged by his dismissal.

Not even one month into its official partnership with the UFC, it is feeling the brunt of criticism from the fans.  The dismissal of Duran after he spoke out about losing out on sponsorship money due to the Reebok deal has angered the MMA internet community and Reebok felt compelled to respond.

MMA fans were not happy with Reebok taking over as the company’s primary clothing sponsor which eliminated many MMA brands from the octagon.  It also angered fans and fighters when the UFC revealed payouts from the sponsorships which were below those that fighters received and now Duran’s departure has drawn the ire of many that follow the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

For those that believe that Reebok is looking for a way out of this deal think again.  Despite the harsh criticism, the brand needs the UFC as much as the UFC needs Reebok.  Reebok is seeking to establish a niche in the fitness market and boost sales for its parent company, Adidas, in the U.S.  The uniforms are a big deal for the brand even though public opinion seems to be negative overall.  If nothing else, Reebok can say it is an official outfitter for one of the biggest female athletes today, Ronda Rousey.

As many know, Adidas is owned by Reebok and there was speculation that it wanted to sell off Reebok due to poor profits.  There were earnings warnings in 2013 and 2014 for Reebok and shareholders were concerned.  Add to that, Adidas has fallen for the first time to number 3 in the U.S. sportswear market behind Nike and Under Armour.  Even the creator of Crossfit made it known in a ’60 Minutes’ segment this year that Reebok should be sold  to “someone young, fresh, excited and willing to enter into the modern era of things.”

However, it appears that profits have turned around in 2015 for the brand and the future of the fitness market is looking bright.  According to a report by CBS Marketwatch earlier this year, Adidas indicated that it would not sell Reebok.  Could some of the brand’s newfound momentum be from the UFC deal?  Even if there is pushback from fans, Reebok will likely ride out the wave of discontent in hopes of a promising future.

Duran dismissed by UFC after comments about Reebok deal

July 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that UFC cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran was let go by the company after revealing that the cutmen were not part of the Reebok sponsorship deal and that he lost all revenue from his sponsors.  Duran detailed this in an interview with Bloody Elbow and despite putting his contractor in a positive light, he was let go.

Duran first revealed the information in a tweet responding to someone asking about whether cutmen were a part of Reebok sponsorship.

He then gave an interview with John Nash of Bloody Elbow in which he clarified the situation.  He indicated that he was an independent contractor for the UFC although it was “highly recommended” not to work for another MMA promotion stating it was “an unwritten rule.”  He told Nash that cutmen were told that they were “given sufficient warning” that they were not a part of the Reebok deal.  In support of the UFC, he stated he didn’t think “they [UFC] did this out of malice.”  Duran claimed that he thought that the cutmen were “doing too good of [a] job where they just maybe forgot about us.”

An interesting sidenote from the interview was that Duran stated that in boxing, boxers pay cutmen directly whereas MMA promotions pay its cutmen.

Duran was let go shortly after the interview as he indicated via twitter.  MMA Junkie confirmed with an unnamed source.

Payout Perspective:

The situation smells of a lawsuit waiting to happen…perhaps.  Duran talks about his work status and is immediately let go by the company.  Unless there was something in Duran’s contract that prevented him from speaking about sponsors, the Reebok deal or his pay his dismissal is very suspect.  Obviously, the UFC can rely on the fact that Duran’s contract can be terminated at any time.

The other part of the situation that puts the UFC in a bad light is the brazen way this looks as how it seeks to control its message.  The Reebok deal has caught major scrutiny and criticism.  And despite efforts by the UFC to use its fighters to promote the deal, many fight fans see the dismissal of Duran (and Burt Watson although that situation was different) as the UFC disregarding the people that helped get it to where it is today.  Duran’s dismissal appears to be a sign to others within the organization that they should remain in line with the company or else.

UFC Fight Night 71 draws 508,000, prelims 292,000

July 21, 2015

UFC Fight Night 71 on Saturday morning drew an average viewership of 508,000 with the prelims drawing 292,000 according to Nielsen sources.

Fight Night 71 featured Michael Bisping taking over Thales Leites.  The event which started at 10am PT on FS1 drew 508,000 viewers.  The prelims which preceded the event at 8am PT drew 292,000.

The prelims reflect a 6% increase over the two previous Saturday day fights on FS1.  The main card delivered a 4% increase over the last two Saturday day cards.  In the A18-49 demo, Saturday’s Fight Night 71 drew 275,000 viewers which was 3% more viewers than the prior two card average of 267,000.

UFC Fight Night 71

UFC Fight Nights 2015
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 59 (FOX) 1,700,000 908,000
UFC Fight Night 60 913,000 775,000
UFC Fight Night 61 1,200,000 813,000
UFC Fight Night 62 617,000 280,000
UFC Fight Night 63 389,000 304,000
UFC Fight Night 66 575,000 286,000
UFC Fight Night 67 813,000 713,000
UFC Fight Night 68 950,000 782,000
UFC Fight Night 70 (prelims on FS2) 909,000 223,000
UFC Fight Night 71 508,000 292,000

Payout Perspective:

In comparing the ratings for a UFC Fight Night during the day this year, UFC Fight Night 63 which aired during the morning/afternoon in the US drew 389,000 (main card) and 304,000 (prelims).  UFC Fight Night 66 drew 575,000 (main card) and 292,000 (prelims).  Thus, the ratings from Saturday were slightly above the last two cards held during the day on Saturday.

Mir, Thomson sit atop UFC Fight Night 71 salaries

July 21, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the disclosed salaries from Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 71.  Frank Mir headed the list of fighters making $200,000.

Mir defeated Todd Duffee in the first round.  Mir did not receive a win bonus.  Duffee made $20,000 for his part in the main event.

Via MMA Junkie:

Frank Mir: $200,000 (no win bonus) 886,000
def. Todd Duffee: $12,000

Tony Ferguson: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Thomson: $85,000

Holly Holm: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Marion Reneau: $12,000

Manny Gamburyan: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Scott Jorgensen: $33,000

Kevin Lee: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. James Moontasri: $10,000

Alan Jouban: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Dwyer: $10,000

Sam Sicilia: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Yaotzin Meza: $16,000

Jessica Andrade: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Sarah Moras: $10,000

Rani Yahya: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Masanori Kanehara: $14,000

Sean Strickland: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Igor Araujo: $15,000

Kevin Casey: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ildemar Alcantara: $20,000

Lyman Good: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Andrew Craig: $17,000

Payout Perspective:

Mir’s $200K flat appears to be his standard pay at this point.  Thomson’s $85K was second on the pay roster for last week.  Notably, Holly Holm’s first UFC fight at UFC 184 was at $25K/$25K.  She made the same on Wednesday.

Aldo set to defy USADA IV rules

July 20, 2015

MMA Fighting reports that Jose Aldo may ignore new USADA protocol and continue to use IVs to rehydrate after cutting weight.  In October, under the new UFC-USADA program, fighters will no longer be able to utilize intravenous fluids to rehydrate after weigh-ins.

The use of IVs occur after fighters dramatically cut weight to make the contracted weight class per their bout agreements.  The IV process allows them to rehydrate quicker than if they did not use them.

The new USADA protocol regarding intravenous infusions were sent out in an “Athlete Information” memo dated July 1, 2015.  It notified that fighters were prohibited from using IVs beginning October 1, 2015.  The memo clarifies the use as “IV infusions are not expressly prohibited by the various State Commissions that regulate the sport nor by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts…”

USADA indicates that the “IV Rule” is put in place to protect the sport and that “IVs can be used to change blood test results…mask urine test results…or by administering prohibited substances in a way that will more quickly be cleared from the body in order to beat an anti-doping test.”

Aldo stated in a recent interview he said that he would use an IV anyway challenging the rule stating that they would not take him out of the fight.

Payout Perspective:

What are we to think of Aldo’s defiance with the new rules?  Probably just talk until it really happens and Aldo makes it to the December showdown with McGregor.  Aldo is probably the least favorite champion under the UFC umbrella right now based on not being able to fight McGregor at UFC 189 to his comments upset with the Reebok deal to now the new rules regarding IVs in the UFC.  Would Aldo be so bold as to hold up the fight based on the new USADA rules?  One would think that he’d have to sign a bout agreement for December and abiding by the USADA drug protocol would be one of the conditions of the bout.  I doubt that Aldo would agree to terms of a bout agreement with the new USADA protocol and then knowingly use an IV.  One would think that there would be contractual terms in place that would prevent him from being paid if he were to use an IV especially since he’s been public about saying he would use it regardless.  We shall see.

Fedor looking to return to MMA

July 19, 2015

This past week it was reported that Fedor Emelianenko is considering a return to MMA with many speculating UFC and Bellator as the most interested suitors. The question many want to know is whether he’s worth it.

It has been almost 4 years since Fedor’s last significant MMA fight as you might recall Dan Henderson came back to KO Fedor at a Strikeforce event in late July 2011.  That event drew only 571,000 with a peak of 778,000 Showtime subscribers which made it the fourth watched Strikeforce event of all-time.  Earlier that year, a Strikeforce event featuring Bigfoot Silva versus Fedor scored the highest-viewed Showtime event with 741,000 viewers.

At 39 years old, Fedor would fit into a UFC Heavyweight division with many of its top fighters over the age of 30. But, many probably have concluded that he may sign with Bellator and Scott Coker.  Since taking the reigns of the Viacom-owned property, Coker has designed events centered around fighters with past fame.  Notably, Bellator 131 featured Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar.  June starred Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice.  It also centered events around Rampage Jackson and just signed Josh Koscheck and immediately paired him against Paul Daley for a rematch of their infamous UFC fight.

The ratings for the tentpole events of 131 and 138 show that fans are drawn to the events.  Coker is able to draw and past triumphs of fighters to grab attention in the present.  Its an uncanny knack of the old making something out of nothing.

Despite being a recent brand ambassador for Bellator, Fedor’s camp is saying that it will not have any bearing on where he signs.  But what will determine where he signs is the money. If he signs with the UFC, he will look for top dollar.  This would likely include PPV upside.  Since the UFC-Reebok deal, Fedor would lose out on that revenue stream unless he is able to strike an individual deal with the UFC’s official sponsors.  Bellator would welcome him as he could easily be slotted into the main event at a tentpole event.

But could a Fedor fight improve upon the ratings he received in 2011?  Certainly, he’d have more exposure as Showtime is limited to its premium subscribers.

Payout Perspective:

While Fedor’s representatives remain open to fighting anywhere, Bellator seems the most likely place for him to return.  The landscape of MMA has changed and even though the UFC would be happy to take Fedor, past negotiations with him have proven to be difficult.  Still, the UFC may be in the market to keep him away from Bellator.  Of course, the UFC has passed on fighters in the past.  We shall see where he ends up.

UFC Fight Night 72 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 18, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from this morning’s UFC Fight Night 72 from Glasgow, Scotland.

The bonuses went to Joanna Calderwood, Cortney Casey, Joseph Duffy and Stevie Ray.  Calderwood and Casey earned Fight of the Night and Duffy and Ray drew Performance Bonuses.  Each received the $50K bonuses.
Attendance at the SSE Hydrow in Glasgow was 10,451 for a gate of $1.5 million.

Notable first time appearances by UFC in non-US cities:

UFC Fight Night 54: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada 10,782 for $926,000

UFC Fight Night 64: Krakow, Poland 10,000 for $720,000

UFC Fight Night 65: Adelaide, Australia  7,984 for $833,810

UFC Fight Night 66: Pasay, Philippines 13,446 no report on gate

Payout Perspective:
A very good attendance for today’s event in Scotland.  Of course, no report on the number of comps.  Although I have yet to see all of the fights the Calderwood-Casey fight was very good and deserved the fight of the night.

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