Rousey trainer banned, fined by CSAC

February 2, 2016

Ronda Rousey’s trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, has been suspended three months and fined $5,000 for falsifying his application as a licensed cornerman.  The California State Athletic Commission issued the ruling on Tuesday.

Tarverdyan, who also is dealing with a bankruptcy case, pled no contest to two felony counts of identity theft and one count of resisting arrest in 2010.  A traffic stop revealed he had multiple social security cards, credit cards and PIN numbers (H/t MMA Fighting).

Tarverdyan responded “no” too whether he had any previous criminal offenses when filling out paperwork for his license to be a cornerman in California.  While its mainly ignored, the application is filled out under penalty of perjury.

Today’s ruling was an appeal of the commission ruling.  He was unsuccessful and is now barred from acting as a licensed cornerman in California and in states with ruling bodies that are members of the Association of Boxing Commissions per MMA Junkie.

Payout Perspective:

The ruling is another setback for Tarverdyan whose star athlete lost this past November.  He is also going through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case in which he claims to have not made any money in some years.  The news of his suspension might raise red flags for the bankruptcy court as to the veracity of his petition.  On another note, the moral of this story is never lie on an application.

UFC on Fox 18 Prelims draw 702,000 viewers

February 2, 2016

UFC on Fox 18 Prelims drew 702,000 viewers on FS1 on Saturday night according to Sports TV Ratings.

The event on Fox Sports 2 which preceded the Fox event improved over the 693,000 viewers on UFC on Fox 17 this past December.

The showcase fight of the 3-hour prelim event saw Tarec Saffiedine defeat Jake Ellenberger.

The event did slightly better than preliminary fight on the Kovalev-Pascual main event on HBO.  That fight drew 701,000 viewers for the 39-minute fight.

Payout Perspective:

There’s a big difference when the UFC on Fox events have its prelims on the network versus FS1.  In comparison, UFC on Fox 16 which aired on Fox drew 1.3 million viewers as opposed to the 693K (17) and 702K (18) over the last two Fox cards where the prelims were on FS1.  Of course, time on the Fox network is valuable so putting prelims on Fox every time a Fox card airs might not be feasible.

Bellator signs Bendo

February 1, 2016

Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has signed with Bellator MMA.  Henderson made the announcement on his web site on Monday.

Henderson’s last fight with the UFC was in November in South Korea.  Perhaps a sign that he would not return, after his win Henderson casually took off his UFC gloves in the Octagon.

Henderson thanked Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta in his blog post for the opportunities.

Henderson is 23-5 overall and 11-3 in the UFC.  Prior to that, Henderson had a successful career in the WEC as its lightweight champion.

Payout Perspective:

There is no news on whether there are matching rights in his UFC contract and if so whether or not they will exercise them to retain Henderson.  If Henderson makes it to Bellator, it immediately enhances the lightweight and/or welterweight divisions for the company.  Henderson becomes the first UFC fighter to switch organizations at a point in his career where he is still valuable (sorry Phil Davis, Josh Koscheck, Stephan Bonnar).  The move is great for Bellator.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC on Fox 18 Reebok Payouts

January 31, 2016

The UFC announced its payouts from the Reebok sponsorship deal.  The apparel company paid out $137,500 for Saturday night’s event with UFC vets Anthony Johnson, Ryan Bader and Jake Ellenberger cashing in.

Via MMA Junkie:

Anthony Johnson: $15,000
def. Ryan Bader: $15,000

Ben Rothwell: $5,000
def. Josh Barnett: $5,000

Jimmie Rivera: $2,500
def. Iuri Alcantara: $10,000

Bryan Barberena: $2,500
def. Sage Northcutt: $2,500

Tarec Saffiedine: $5,000
def. Jake Ellenberger: $15,000

Diego Ferreira: $2,500
def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier: $2,500

Rafael Natal: $10,000
def. Kevin Casey: $2,500

Wilson Reis: $5,000
def. Dustin Ortiz: $5,000

Alexander Yakovlev: $2,500
def. George Sullivan: $2,500

Alex Caceres: $10,000
def. Masio Fullen: $2,500

Randy Brown: $2,500
def. Matt Dwyer: $2,500

Damon Jackson: $2,500
def. Levan Makashvili: $2,500

Tony Martin: $2,500
def. Felipe Olivieri: $2,500

As we know, the Athlete Outfitting program pays fighters based on time served with Zuffa which would include WEC and Strikeforce when both entities were owned by the UFC.

Fighters with 1-5 fights: $2,500

Fighters with 6-10 fights: $5,000

Fighters with 11-15 fights: $10,000

Fighters with 16-20 fights: $15,000

Fighters with 21 fights or more: $20,000

Champions: $40,000

Title Challengers: $30,000

Payout Perspective:

Barnett receives only $5,000 despite his lengthy career and the fact he would likely garner much more than $5,000 in sponsorship money if there was no Reebok deal.  He has 9 UFC fights spanning back to 2000 but his time in Strikeforce was pre-Zuffa.  Similar to Barnett, it was Ben Rothwell’s 9th UFC fight despite being a long-term pro.  The $137,500 reflects the fact that most of the fighters on the card have less than 10 fights and there were no title fights making this a relatively inexpensive night for Reebok payouts.

UFC on Fox 18 draws 2.43M in overnight ratings

January 31, 2016

UFC Fight Night 18 on Fox Saturday night drew an overnight average of 2.43 million viewers with an 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and a 3 share per Television By Numbers.

The event aired on Fox from 8:00pm-10:00pm ET with the main event between Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader ending prior to 10:00pm.  UFC on Fox drew stiff competition as it went up against the NBA in primetime with the San Antonio Spurs playing the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Dateline Mystery on NBC drew the most viewers overnight with 4.75 million and a 0.9 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.  It also received a 3 share.  The NBA game which started at 8:30pm ET drew 3.17 million with a 1.1 rating in the adult 14-49 and a 4 share.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000

UFC on Fox 18 Ratings Payout Perspective:

Pretty good ratings considering the main event was not between two “brand name” opponents or for a title belt.  However, in comparison to last January’s UFC show on Fox which pulled 2.82 million viewers and the previous 2 January events did much better (2013 – 3.77M overnight 2014 – 2.55M, 2014 –  2.82M).  The NBA probably pulled away some of the target demo.  The event is pretty comparable to the PBC event last weekend on the network which drew about 2.5M when all was said and done. MMA Payout will keep you posted on the updated ratings.

UFC on Fox 18 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 30, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC on Fox 18

Anthony Johnson, Ben Rothwell, Jimmie Rivera and Iuri Alcantara drew the $50,000 fight-night bonuses.  Johnson and Rothwell won Performance of the Night while Rivera and Alcantara won for Fight of the Night.  The bonuses were announced at the post-UFC on Fox press conference.

In addition, the attendance and gate were announced at the presser with 10,555 in attendance and a gate of $818,000.  The event was 7th out of 7 UFC events at the Prudential Center according the MMA Junkie.

Payout Perspective:

The performance bonuses were well-deserved although you might have thrown in Bryan Barberena who submitted Sage Northcutt.  The comparatively low attendance and gate are not surprising considering the talent on the card.  We  will see how well it did on Fox.

Stations Casino IPO put on hold

January 28, 2016

The Fertitta Brothers will have to wait on an IPO that will provide them with a financial windfall.  Due to stock market conditions, the Red Rock Resorts (RRR) IPO will hold off going public for now.

According to the New York Post, Deutsche Bank delayed the IPO from going public on Thursday.  Deutsche Bank holds a 25 percent stake in the offering.

The newly formed Red Rock Resorts IPO will buyout Fertitta Entertainment, the management company which runs Station Casinos.  The Fertittas own 57 percent of Stations Casino.  The IPO will net $460 million for the management company.

Last week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board signed off on the deal which would allow Stations Casinos to become a public company traded on the NASDAQ under the name Red Rock Resorts with RRR as its symbol.  I’m sure it was not done for “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.

With the stock market in flux, the decision to go public was held off.

Payout Perspective:

Despite a slight turn for the better recently which included Facebook (another company trading on the NASDAQ) recording solid profits, the decision to forego an IPO this week was a prudent decision.  One would expect that they revisit launching its IPO once the markets stabilize. One would think that the IPO happens before the summer.

Feb. 6th event becomes UFC Fight Night

January 28, 2016

The UFC announced on Wednesday that UFC 196 originally scheduled for PPV on Saturday, February 6th will now be called “UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs. Thompson.”  The full card will be shown on FS1 with the exception of the Fight Pass Exclusive prelims.

The PPV was scrapped earlier in the week after both Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum pulled out of the UFC Heavyweight title fight.  Originally Cain was replaced with Stipe Miocic, but when Werdum heard the news of the scratch by the former champ, he pulled out as well claiming injury.

Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson will be the feature bout for this event in Las Vegas.

Payout Perspective:

The de-designation of the UFC event likely preserves the company’s July event of UFC 200.  It also means that the UFC will probably insert another PPV event somewhere in its calendar to account for the loss of this one.  One might see this as a make good for distributors who will lose out on next weekend’s PPV.  Regardless of the shuffle, it was likely the best move for the UFC to move the event to live television.  A short term loss may still be a future gain for the company if it can schedule a card that the casual fan will be interested in purchasing.

UFC files Answer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, parties fight over discovery process

January 27, 2016

Last week, attorneys for the UFC filed its Answer to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in the ongoing Antitrust lawsuit venued in Nevada.  The rather long (27 pages to be exact) goes through each and every paragraph of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint.

After the court denied the UFC’s motion to dismiss, per the rules of federal civil procedure, the company had to file an Answer to the Complaint.  Per rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the answering party must admit, deny or state that they do not have knowledge to admit or deny the allegation.  However, according the rules stating that you lack knowledge serves as a denial.  It is standard that parties address each and every sentence in a Complaint and even if the statement or allegations may not need an admission or denial, attorneys are ultra-careful and deny most allegations to ensure that there is nothing that might be construed as an admission.

In the Answer the defendant may set forth “Affirmative Defenses” which are facts not within the plaintiffs’ complaint which might defeat the plaintiffs’ allegations.

The Answer filed by the UFC’s attorneys, Boies Schiller and Campbell and Williams does not include many revelations as most Answer’s do not reveal too much.

Zuffa Answer to Plaintiffs' Consolidated Amended Complaint

Here are some of the more interesting parts of the Answer:

  • Probably not too interesting, but Zuffa denies it violated the Sherman Act or engaged in any anticompetitive activity, or that it has injured the Plaintiffs in any way.
  • Zuffa’s annual gross revenues for 2015 exceeded $500 million dollars (page 3, paragraph 7). Although Zuffa remains vague on its revenues, the statement is a conservative estimate from Lorenzo Fertitta’s assertion it made $600 million in 2015.
  • When plaintiffs cited an article or photo included in its Amended Complaint (see paragraph 8 and 12, page 4) and, the UFC did not admit to the veracity of the article or photo. Instead, it indicated the source of the article would be the place to determine the truth of the statement.
  • Zuffa objects to the definition of “Elite Professional MMA Fighter” for being “vague, unclear, confusing, misleading and without any objective or quantifiable basis or any standard usage in any industry.”
  • It notes that the video games UFC Undisputed 2015 sold over 2 million units while UFC Undisputed 2009 sold over 3.5 million units.
  • It notes that Fedor Emelianenko turned down offers to fight in the UFC.

In addition, Paul Gift of Bloody Elbow took at look at the discovery efforts ongoing in the lawsuit.  So far, according to the report 17,909 documents totaling 239,923 pages have been provided from Zuffa’s electronic fighter files.  It is in addition to 108,000 documents provided late last year.  The parties are still haggling over details in the discovery process including custodians (individuals who might have discoverable documents), search terms (the words/phrases used to identify potential relevant documents), relevant time frame among others.

The discovery phase continues as the parties indicate that they have served discovery requests on third parties which should add another level of complexity to this process as the third party lawyers will get into this situation.  Certainly, the attorneys for these third parties will want to ensure that its clients are protected.

Payout Perspective:

Nothing terribly earth-shattering from the Answer.  As in most lawsuits, you want to be as vanilla as possible when providing an Answer.  The Affirmative Defenses do not reveal too much about litigation strategy as well as many are very much form defenses to the lawsuit.  Watch for the discovery fight to continue as third parties were served discovery requests.  Do not be surprise if we see attorneys for the third parties file motions to narrow the scope of discoverable information.

Rousey produces above average ratings for SNL

January 27, 2016

Ronda Rousey’s appearance on Saturday Night Live provided the show with above average ratings this past Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.

Rousey’s appearance on SNL drew a 5.0 household share and a 2.5 share with the 18-49 demo in the overnight ratings for the metered markets.  The show is averaging a 4.6 household share and a 2.2 in 18-49 in overnight ratings.

Although the episode did not provide the ratings Donald Trump commanded when he appeared as a guest on SNL, Rousey is not running for president.

The ratings might have been skewed in part due to the east coast snowstorm which might have had local stations move SNL due to coverage of the snow.

Notably, Donald Trump drew a 6.6 share in November 2015 for his appearance as host.

Payout Perspective:

The above average ratings may be in part due to the east coast snowstorm as people staying inside decided to watch SNL instead of going out.  It also could be due to Rousey as many wanted to see if she could act or not.  She was better than Nancy Kerrigan and was no worse than Trump in the kits where she was a part.  Will she be back on SNL?  If her movie career takes off, it’s not out of the question.

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