Belfort license allows Belfort-Weidman at UFC 181

July 23, 2014

Vitor Belfort was granted a conditional license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday.  The issuance of the license allowed the UFC to announce Belfort-Chris Weidman at UFC 181 set for December 6th in Las Vegas.

With his attorney, Belfort appeared at the Commission hearing to discuss the application for license.  The Commission asked Belfort about a failed February 7th test for testosterone.  He claims he took a larger dose the day before to compensate for missing his biweekly prescribed TRT treatment due to traveling.

Granting Belfort his license came with conditions.  Namely, the commission could test Belfort extensively including blood and urine for the rest of the career.  Belfort would have to pay for the testing.

The commission voted unanimously to give a conditional license to Belfort.

(H/t: MMA Junkie)

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, Belfort’s attorney Michael Alonso, works at the same firm that represents the UFC in other matters.  Belfort was told the day before the hearing that he’d have the shot against Weidman so I do not know if there was a feeling that despite his second failed drug test; Belfort would be issued a license.

Was the punishment fair?  Belfort will have to stay clean with the extensive drug testing and with him paying for this the commission will not have to expend additional resources here.  The announcement of the fight seemed almost instant after the license was granted.  I realize the UFC talked with Belfort (and Weidman) about the fight but it seemed interesting timing.

NSAC Commission to stream on Fight Pass

July 22, 2014

The UFC announced that the UFC Fight Pass would live stream coverage of Wednesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Wednesday starting at 10am PT.

Among other things, the Commission will hear Vitor Belfort’s request for a license and hear the disciplinary complaint of Chael Sonnen.

There are 35 new business items on the agenda although Belfort and Sonnen’s issues will be the most interesting for UFC Fight Pass subscribers.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC has inferred that it would continue to live stream Nevada State Athletic Commission hearings on Fight Pass if they were of interest.  Sonnen’s disciplinary hearing will be an interesting one assuming that it goes forward.  The NSAC requested that Sonnen appear at the hearing although Sonnen, through his representative, indicated that it would accept whatever punishment he was given

Remember when administrative hearings were aired on a Public Access channel and you didn’t have to pay for them?  From the UFC’s side of things, it’s filling a demand and likely an inexpensive way of padding its content.  Streaming the hearing makes sense since the Belfort and Sonnen hearings are of interest to many UFC fans.

The New Yorker features Rousey

July 21, 2014

Ronda Rousey is featured in the current issue of The New Yorker.  The piece entitled, “Mean Girl: Why the world’s best female fighter loves to be hated” doesn’t break new ground but gives the UFC bantamweight champ more mainstream exposure.

The piece written by Kalefa Sanneh gives non-MMA fans a long-form profile of Rousey.  It pointedly talks about MMA web sites as “monomaniacal.”  It even name checks Cage Potato.  The article delves into the perceived “heel turn” by Rousey as the story begins around the time for her preparation for her February 2014 against Sara McMann.

Payout Perspective:

The New Yorker write-up is the latest in a line of noteworthy press for Rousey.  Last week, Rousey won an ESPY for Best Female Athlete.  In a piece in the Hollywood Reporter, she said she wanted to become “The Female Rock” (that is former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson).  By the way, a lot of pro wrestling references in the New Yorker piece based upon Rousey’s fixation on it (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 biggest event on Fight Pass

July 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 was the ‘biggest’ event on UFC Fight Pass.  Dana White stated this in the post-fight press conference after Conor McGregor’s successful stoppage in the main event.

The UFC does not release digital network numbers for viewership or the number of its subscribers but White stated Saturday’s event from Dublin was the most successful event stream for the company’s digital network.

The success is likely due to the popularity of Conor McGregor and the fight week buzz.  The UFC aired a three-part series, “On the Fly” with Conor McGregor on Fight Pass as shoulder programming to promote the event.

The digital network has added more content recently including the announcement of a September event featuring women’s fight organization InvictaFC and live streaming of Nevada Athletic Commission hearings.  It began airing select overseas live cards exclusively on the network this past January.

Payout Perspective:

The success of Saturday’s event according to White supports the company’s belief that it can create a loyal fan base via its digital network.  This equates to paying subscribers and another source of revenue for the company.  Fight Pass does help with international fans as events and fights are more accessible.  With the localization of the product in different areas of the world, more people would be exposed to the product.

UFC Fight Night 46 attendance and gate

July 20, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 46 was a sellout with an attendance of 9,500 for a gate of $1.4 million. The event took place at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland and featured Conor McGregor.

With the attendance and gate figures, it comes in second to UFC Fight Night 37 in London in terms of non-PPV events for 2014.  The last time the UFC came to Dublin, UFC 93 drew 9,369 for a gate of $1.3 million.  That card was headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate is good news for the UFC as it seeks to expand its global footprint.  Now, the UFC has a bona fide star it can market to the region in McGregor.  It should be able to build on this when it returns.  There was debate as to whether this card should have been on FOX versus Fight Pass.  Certainly, when you think of the domestic impact of putting it on network TV, McGregor would help with the marketing for the UFC.  Then again, if the UFC is seeking to build its digital network with Fight Pass and expand internationally, this card definitely helps.

McGregor’s performance tops UFC Fight Night 46 bonuses

July 19, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses from UFC Fight Night 46 taking place from Dublin, Ireland.  Connor McGregor led the list of fight-night bonuses.

As mentioned, McGregor won a Performance bonus for his first round stoppage of Diego Brandao.  Gunnar Nelson also won a “Performance of the Night” for his work against Zak Cummings.

Fight of the Night honors went to TUF 19 alums Cathal Pendred and Mike King.  Pendred took the victory over King with a rear-naked choke.

All fight night bonus recipients received the standard $50,000 bonus.

Payout Perspective:

McGregor’s finish was likely the most satisfying considering the hype behind him.  Irish fighters went 5-0 at the event and this is the best outcome for the region.  Can the UFC pull off a soccer stadium type event in the future?  We will see.

Upon signing, Carano gets next shot at Rousey

July 18, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Gina Carano, if signed, will be next in line to take on Ronda Rousey in December.  Dana White announced this during a media scrum on Friday.

The announcement means that Carano will be given a title shot even though she has not fought in five years.  White defended his choice of opponents for Carano’s comeback as she has been training despite not actively fighting.

via Wikimedia Commons - The Strikeforce Days

via Wikimedia Commons – The Strikeforce Days

Payout Perspective:

The match makes sense from a business perspective but not from a matchmaker’s perspective. Carano has been gone from active fighting and it’s not clear what type of shape she will be in.  Furthermore, she will be fighting arguably the best UFC fighter right now.  Rousey is on a tear and it seems like Carano would be prudent to take a fight or two before she takes on Rousey.  Then again, the UFC wants to jump on this fight now.  If Carano would take another fight and lose, it would make it that much harder for the UFC to set up Carano-Rousey.  If done, this fight will certainly grab  the attention of a ton of non-MMA press.

UFC Fight Night 45: 640,000 viewers

July 17, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that UFC Fight Night 45 airing on FS1 Wednesday night received an average viewership of 640,000.  The Prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 scored an average of 415,000 viewers.

The viewership is comparable to the past Wednesday night shows.  In January, UFC 35 from Duluth, Georgia received 629,000 viewers with the prelims receiving just 220,000.  In April, TUF Nations Finale from Quebec City received 641,000 viewers with the prelims doing 263,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe it was the lack of promotion or the fact that it wasn’t hammered into fans’ minds that it was on a Wednesday, but I thought there would have been more viewers.  This is due to the fact that the Wednesday after the MLB All-Star is considered the slowest day in sports. The day has been co-opted by the ESPY award show but UFC Fight Night was the only live sports programming occurring on national television.  The prelims did do much better than the previous Wednesdays.  It’s likely that the viewership did boost the average Wednesday viewership for the network.

UFC Fight Night 45 attendance and bonuses

July 17, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 45 from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

It was announced at the post-fight press conference that attendance at UFC Fight Night 45 was 4,115.  No gate was available at the time.  The event took place at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

The $50,000 bonuses were as follows:

Fight of the Night: John Lineker-Alptekin Ozkilic

Performance bonuses:  Donald Cerrone, Lucas Martins

Payout Perspective:

The last Wednesday show was from Duluth, Georgia at UFC Fight Night 35 in January.  It drew 5,822 for a gate of $231,951.  Although no gate was announced we may assume that it was comparable, if not lower than UFC FN 35.  It was an entertaining night of fights with Cerrone scoring another bonus check with a headkick on Jim Miller.  It’s his fourth straight bonus check and 10th overall in the UFC (including Fight of the Night, Performance, KO and Sub).

UFC co-creator to be featured on Forbes’ “SportsMoney” this Friday

July 17, 2014

Co-creator of the UFC Campbell McLaren will be featured in Friday’s edition of Forbes’ “SportsMoney.”  He will be talking about his work with MMA promotions including the UFC and about his new promotion Combate Americas.

The MMA promotion which debuted on mun2 earlier this year which features 10 Hispanic fighters from different regions as they train and compete.

Mun2 is a division of NBCUniversal.  It is a companion cable channel to Spanish language network Telemundo with young Latinos as its target demo.  It is available to approximately 39,888,000 (almost 35% of households) pay television households in the United States as of August 2013 according to Television By the Numbers.

Forbes SportsMoney is on The YES Network and the episode will be on Friday night at 11:30pm ET/PT.  Check your local listings.  But, if you cannot find it, it also can be seen on Forbes.com.

Payout Perspective:

It should be interesting to hear from McLaren and what is his vision for this organization.  Combate Americas is another sign of the globalizationof mixed martial arts.  We know that the UFC is making a big push in South America, Latin America and Mexico and McLaren’s organization is also doing the same.

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