The Rock announces productions company working on Smashing Machine redux

November 1, 2019

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced on Friday that he is developing film about mixed martial arts fighter Mark “The Smashing Machine” Kerr.  The original film about the former MMA star, was a sobering depiction of Kerr and his rise and fall.

Johnson announced the project at a press conference hosted by the UFC at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.  Johnson is scheduled to be present to award the BMF belt to the winner of the main event between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Johnson, his business partner (and former spouse) Dany Garcia and their Seven Bucks Productions company will be developing the film.  Kerr will have some part with the film’s creation.

The 2002 documentary entitled, “The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr,” detailed his career in MMA which highlighted stints in Japan.  It also depicted his battles with injuries and drug abuse.

Payout Perspective:

The original film was well done and a shock to the system for many, like myself, that had not seen MMA.  Kerr’s story is a cautionary tale but was a very informative and interesting documentary.  One has to wonder what a remake would and could look like.  With Johnson’s name attached, their will be a big budget for the film.  It will be sort of unfair as the remake will be immediately compared to the original which was so well-done it cannot be emulated.

UFC 244 ticket demand highest since July

October 30, 2019

Ticket demand for this week’s UFC 244 event in New York is running fairly high as of Wednesday with the secondary market at its highest since July’s UFC 239

According to secondary market ticket vendor SeatGeek, the get-in price for the showdown between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal is $266 per seat with the average ticket being $439.  Notably, the average resale price for UFC 241, the last time Diaz fought was $314.

The event takes place at New York’s Madison Square Garden and promises to be at capacity with many stars in attendance as well as President Donald Trump.

The last time that prices on the secondary market have been this high was UFC 239 in Las Vegas when Jon Jones fought Thiago Santos in the main event.  You might recall that Masvidal appeared on the undercard when he recorded the fastest KO in UFC History over Ben Askren.  The average ticket resold for that event was $547.

Notably, SeatGeek indicates that prices have fallen 15% over the last two weeks.

In comparison, the get-in price for the Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev fight taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is $293 with an average resale price of $688.

Payout Perspective:

The ticket demand has fallen, yet there is still a lot of people clamoring to watch the fight.  One might think there would be a downtick in pricing with extra security for the President.  There’s also the New York Marathon the next day so a lot of people will be in town.  Still, the event will probably be at capacity with a record gate (although secondary market will not be accounted for) for a UFC event at MSG.  As for Canelo-Kovalev, the ticket demand seems about right although one might expect these prices to go down as well.


Dana White’s Contender Series coming to Asia in 2020

October 30, 2019

The UFC has announced that it will launch its first ever Dana White’s Contender Series Asia in 2020.  The events will air at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, China.

Hoping to capture the success of Dana White’s Contender Series which has aired the past 3 summers on UFC Fight Pass, the promotion is taking the concept to Asia.  The UFC will utilize the 93,000 square feet building in Shanghai which is nearly three times as large as the PI in Las Vegas.  According to the press release announcing the first-ever Asia Edition, the Shanghai PI “was built with advanced production capabilities with spectator seating that allows UFC to produce and distribute events…”

The show will feature both male and female athletes and all UFC weight classes will be considered for the show.  The release all states that the bout results will count toward athletes’ professional records.  In prior years, such as the fights on The Ultimate Fighter, they were considered exhibitions and not levied against a fighters’ record.

Payout Perspective:

Similar to the Contender Series in the U.S., the programming will build content for Fight Pass and serve as a way to find new athletes to fill their roster.  The obvious belief is that the best of the fighters will receive contracts and fill out shows in Asia and other locales overseas where the UFC will hold events.  We are starting to see the monetization of the Shanghai PI.

BMF wing sauce at BWW for UFC 244

October 29, 2019

Buffalo Wild Wings is getting in on the “BMF” craze with UFC 244 taking place at Madison Square Garden Saturday Night.  The restaurant will be featuring the “BMF” wing sauce this weekend to accompany its showing of the PPV.

Buffalo Wild Wings, a UFC sponsor, will take advantage of the UFC applied-for-trademark with its own twist on “BMF” with a wing sauce that will accompany its wings.  The sports bar is known for frequently airing UFC PPVs for those patrons not wishing to shell out the $60 charge.

According to the company copy, “The UFC-inspired sauce combines the flavors of sweet mango, spicy habanero and the unrelenting heat of ghost peppers, which are then topped with the sweet and smoky chili pepper flavor of Desert Heat seasoning – creating a diabolical mashup worthy of the “BMF” moniker.”

The sauce will be available only on the day of the fight – this Saturday November 2nd.

Payout Perspective:

If you wanted to know what the UFC would do with the BMF trademark aside from a belt (which has yet to be seen), the UFC has licensed it (or just granted the right) to one of its sponsors for activation purposes.  Buffalo Wild Wings signage has appeared in the UFC octagon and you can see more publicity around the sauce as the fight nears.

President Trump scheduled to attend UFC 244

October 29, 2019

It appears that President Donald Trump will be in attendance at UFC 244 this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.  According to a tweet by White House Correspondent Anni Karni, the President will be in New York to attend the event featuring Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

According to a Kevin Iole tweet last week, White was having dinner with the President.

President Trump last made a public appearance at a sporting event this past Sunday night as he appeared in a suite at the Washington Nationals-Houston Astros World Series Game 5.  He was loudly booed and viral video showed fans chanting “lock him up” which referred to a pending impeachment inquiry among other things.

One might expect President Trump to find a much softer landing spot with the UFC as White is considered a friend and his sons attended at a UFC event in New Jersey this past summer to watch Colby Covington.

Payout Perspective:

With the New York Marathon happening the following day, New York will be gridlocked more than usual. The appearance of the President may be s public relations redux after his less-than-warm welcome at the baseball game this past Sunday.  Even though it is on the Presidential itinerary, he still may not show up.  Or, in the alternative, he just stays for a short period.  Regardless, there will be

Brazilian strawweight accepts 2 year USADA sanction

October 27, 2019

USADA announced that Istela Iane Nunes Souza has accepted a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for stanozolol metabolites.

The Brazilian fighter tested positive for multiple stanozolol metabolites as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample on July 22, 2019.  The Brazilian was scheduled to make her promotional debut with a fight against Angela Hill at UFC Mexico City this past September.  Instead, the she will have to serve a two-year suspension which will be up in July 2021.

UFC Singapore attendance and bonuses

October 26, 2019

UFC Singapore took place Saturday with Demian Maia submitting Ben Askren in the third round of their main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Maia and Askren drew Fight of the Night of the night. In addition, Beneil Dariush earned a $50,000 Performance Bonus for his win over Frank Camacho. Also, Ciryl Gane earned a $50,000 Performance Bonus for his submission victory over Don’Tale Mayes in a heavyweight battle.

According to the UFC post-event, the event drew 7,155. There was no gate announced.

The event in Singapore, a return of sorts for Askren from his days at ONE Championship, who dominated his division while with the promotion. However, for Askren it’s the second loss in a row for the welterweight.

USADA clears Diaz to fight at UFC 244

October 25, 2019

Nate Diaz will fight at UFC 244 next Saturday as USADA has cleared the Stockton-native of a drug test which found elevated levels of a banned substance.  Diaz tweeted about the adverse finding and that he would be out of the bout next week.  But, Dana White said on Friday via twitter that the fight was on.

Diaz’s levels of Ligandrol, a banned substance known as LGD-4033 which stimulates muscle growth, was detected at a “double picogram/mL” level.  The source of the substance was traced back to a legal supplement Diaz ingested, which was categorized as an organic, vegan, plant-based daily vitamin.

The lengthy statement from the UFC can be found via Ariel Helwani’s tweet below:

The UFC emphasized that Diaz had not committed an anti-doping policy violation and has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions.  Similar to what we hear from Jon Jones’ exoneration last year, the UFC stated that there was no “appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system…”

Diaz should be facing Masvidal next week in the main event of UFC 244.

Payout Perspective:

Clearly the news that Diaz may have had an adverse finding from a USADA test was an alarm to the UFC as it was anticipating a huge payday from its annual New York event.  One has to infer that the expedited nature of these findings were done in order to save the main event and a fighter from having to serve the standard provisional suspension which occurs with an adverse finding.  Many athletes have had their careers and livelihoods put on hold due to a contaminated supplement.  Josh Barnett noted this on social media Friday night.  While its great news that fans get to see Diaz fight, its also shows that there is a process for which USADA can determine these findings without having athletes being put on prolonged suspensions.  Hopefully, the policy changes for the better soon.

Report: Diaz not yet provisionally suspended by USADA

October 25, 2019

ESPN reports that Nate Diaz has not been provisionally suspended by USADA despite his tweet that a USADA drug test found a potential banned substance in his system.

The report quotes a USADA spokesperson that the, “UFC and USADA are gathering information and will issue a statement as soon as possible.”  The ESPN report nots that Diaz tested positive for trace amounts of a prohibited selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).

According to another report by Bloody Elbow’s Nick Baldwin, USADA would have a statement about the situation on Friday.

Payout Perspective:

If it is true that Diaz failed a USADA drug test, then per the current rules, he should be out of next Saturday’s fight.  If USADA determines that Diaz can fight under some sort of clarification, you have to think that the UFC influenced it into making this decision.  Certainly, its unfortunate that Diaz had an adverse finding which may be due to a tainted supplement (according to Diaz).  But, if USADA allows him to fight Saturday, one has to wonder what went on in making the decision.  Also, it would bring into question cases where fighters had been provisionally suspended due to similar situations.

UFC Heavyweight suspended two years by USADA

October 25, 2019

UFC Giacomo Lemos has accepted a two-year sanction for testing positive for drostanolone and its metabolite according to a statement from USADA.

The heavyweight has yet to fight in the UFC but a drug test was flagged by USADA from July 9, 2019.

Via USADA release Lemos the 30 year old Brazilian tested positive for drostanolone and its metabolite 2α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α-ol-17-one as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample.  It is an anabolic steroid that helps performance enhancement.

The announcement was issued on Thursday prior to Nate Diaz’s tweet that he would not be fighting at UFC 244 due to an adverse finding from a drug test.

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