Dillashaw tops UFC 177 salaries

September 2, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the salaries for UFC 177 as disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.  T.J. Dillashaw was the top earner for the night with $150,000 ($50K to show, $50 to win and $50K performance bonus).

Via MMA Junkie:

T.J. Dillashaw: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Soto: $20,000

Tony Ferguson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Danny Castillo: $36,000

Bethe Correia: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Shayna Baszler: $8,000

Carlos Diego Ferreira: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ramsey Nijem: $18,000

Yancy Medeiros: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Damon Jackson: $8,000

Derek Brunson: $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $28,000

Anthony Hamilton: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Ruan Potts: $10,000

Chris Wade: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Cain Carrizosa: $8,000

Payout Perspective:

Dillashaw’s base salary of $50,000 is a dramatic step up ($18K base plus $18K win = $36K) from UFC 173 when he took the title from Barao.  Dana White stated that Barao would not be paid for pulling out late.  At UFC 173, Barao had a base of $74,000.  Not only did Barao lose his title fight, he lost out on a nice payday.  It’s interesting to note that no other fighter had a show purse more than $22,000 (Brunson).

Pettis wins Wheaties box cover

September 2, 2014

Anthony Pettis has won the Wheaties cereal box cover according to his Instagram account.  Pettis won a vote as part of the cereal maker’s contest.

This was a great promotion although it received a critique from sports business guy Darren Rovell who indicated he had not heard of the 5 athletes competing for the cover:

For those wondering, Pettis was up against motocross star Ryan Dungey, track and field para-athlete Blake Leeper, lacrosse player Rob Pannell and women’s soccer player Christen Press.

Payout Perspective:

It’s likely that Pettis took advantage of his social media account and his UFC fame to propel himself to the win.  The Wheaties box is another accolade in the champ’s (remember, he’s the lightweight title holder) sponsor portfolio.  Now, if he just stayed healthy enough to stay in the Octagon.

UFC 177: Payout Perspective

September 1, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective  This time we take a look at UFC 177 which took place at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California where T.J. Dillashaw defeated his bantamweight title against Joe Soto.

Dillashaw KO’s Soto in 5th round

It was not Renan Barao, but T.J. Dillashaw was able to end the fight in the 5th round again as he disposed of a game Joe Soto.  Dillashaw described himself as a “company man” and there was no issue about whether he’d take the new opponent on a day’s notice.  For Soto, it was a solid effort in his debut fight in the UFC.  Both fighters are likely in the good graces of the UFC.  Who is not on the UFC’s good side?   Renan Barao for not making weight.  The former champ, who just this past May was praised by Dana White, is now on the outs with the organization for not making the 135 pound limit.  White’s distaste toward Barao may be fueled by the already anticipated lack of buzz in this event.

UFC 177

Attendance and gate

Although the initial thought was that this event would pull a small attendance and gate, it actually exceeded the amount of fans that saw Dillashaw-Barao this past Memorial Day weekend.  The secondary market reflected the fact that demand was low.  But, the amount off walkups and discounted tickets helped with the attendance and gate figure.


As reported, bonuses of $50K each went to Dillashaw, Yancy Medeiros, Carlos Diego Fierra and Ramsey Nijem with the last two awarded Fight of the Night.  Despite a slick first round sub on the first fight of the UFC Prelims on FS1, Chris Wade was shut out from reported bonuses.


Sponsors in the Octagon tonight were Las Vegas.com, video game Assassin’s Creed Unity, Fram, Musclepharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Corn Nuts, Alienware, MetroPCS, Xyience and Bud Light had the center.

MetroPCS and Harley Davidson were the most notable sponsors with activation surrounding the event.  MetroPCS did its usual social media promotion including its “Tale of the Tweet” app. Harley Davidson  launched the Hometown Throwdown III promotion in which fans could win the opportunity to have the UFC come to their town as well as throw a tailgate party before the event.  The fighters that won their fights on the main card of 177 received a Harley Davidson.

Promotion of T.J. DIllashaw

While many have criticized the card, the one thing that may be overlooked is the great job the UFC did in building the T.J. Dillashaw brand.  It’s understandable for the cynical UFC fan to say if the UFC was doing such a great job, this would not be “overlooked.”  But, regardless of the fights on the card, the UFC’s shoulder programming has done a great job in building Dillashaw.

In watching the Countdown show and the Embedded vlogs the UFC has introduced people to Dillashaw and you get to see someone deal with all of the responsibilities of being champion.  The one plus from my perspective is that Urijah Faber was not used as the bridge to introduce Dillashaw.  This may seem absurd, but since Faber is a name and trains with Dillashaw it would make sense for Faber to be the one to introduce him.

Can Dillashaw be a draw? As it currently stands, fans are underwhelmed with the lighter weight divisions.  Despite being one of the best in the business, Demetrious Johnson has not sparked the interests of the UFC universe.  Jose Aldo has not been healthy enough for anyone to remember how vicious he once was and despite banking blue chip sponsors; Anthony Pettis has not been in the Octagon in ages.  If Dillashaw can string some wins together and defeat a guy like Dominick Cruz, I could envision the UFC marketing him much more.

Odds and ends

While I just praised the shoulder programming in the previous section, one of the scenes in the Embedded vlogs was Team Alpha Male doing a ticket giveaway for UFC 177 which foreshadowed the issues with selling this event.

If you were watching the Embedded episodes, Dillashaw did a lot of post-workout work in a hyperbaric chamber and dreamed of having one in his home.  I’m sure Dillashaw got his Hyperbaric chamber in his home after this event.

Barao and Cejudo were not paid per Heidi Fang’s tweet and Jorgenson and Anthony Birchak (who was scheduled to face Joe Soto)  were given show and win purses despite not fighting per MMA Junkie.  Tough time for Birchak who found his home robbed after coming back from Sacramento.

Bethe Corriea’s quest to run through the Horsewomen continues.  Really, if the four ladies are going to go through with this gimmick, someone else has to be good in the group aside from Flair.  The good news for Corriea, this “Horsewomen” thing has Rousey wanting to fight her.  So, yes, pro wrestling is seeping into your pure MMA sport.

Bellator decided to release Soto’s fight against Joe Warren prior to Saturday night.

Just a thought, but as a way to entice or say thank you to those that ordered UFC 177, it could offer them a month’s free use of UFC Fight Pass.  I understand that it tacitly admits that the card was not PPV-worthy but if you were to offer something like that, it would build a lot of good will with a loyal fan base.  If they have Fight Pass, they tack an extra month for free and if you don’t it gives them a chance to try it for free.  I know, probably a lot of administrative headaches with deciphering who ordered the PPV, but it still seems like a good PR move.

Expect a low number for the prelims on FS1.  There was one fight in the first hour and lots of filler due to a first round sub.  Also, with Henry Cejudo pulling out of his fight with Scotty Jorgensen, there were only three fights set for the two hour time block.

With the first full weekend of college football coupled with the multiple problems with the card, it was the perfect storm for folks to actually “boycott” this card.

Earlier in the week, Dana White landed on a list by GQ naming him one of the sleaziest people in sports.  Let’s be honest, any combat sports promoter could be found on this list.


It was likely that if UFC 176 was not cancelled, this event would not have gone forward.  But, the UFC could not take the PR hit of cancelling two events in a row.  Most importantly, the UFC does not want to confirm what most fans and pundits know; there are too many events.  Also, at such a late time for Barao pulling out, it was too late to pull out of the PPV and/or cancel the event.  This buy rate will rival that of UFC 174 and maybe even do worse.  As an interesting and random note, the first UFC did slightly over 86,000 PPV buys.  It would not be surprising that the actual buy rate would rival this number.  My take is that we’ll never receive an official number for this event although a range will be given around 90-110K PPV buys.

UFC 177 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 30, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 177.  Despite the last-minute main event change and the lack of star power, UFC fans came out to see their hometown fighter, T.J. Dillashaw as it drew 11,1000 for a gate of $700,000.

The attendance and gate were announced at the post-fight press conference.  In addition to the attendance and gate, bonuses were awarded to T.J. Dillashaw, Yancy Medeiros, Carlos Diego Fierra and Ramsey  Nijem.  All were awarded $50,000.

Dillashaw and Medeiros were awarded Permances of the Night and Fierra-Nijem received Fight of the Night.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate figures infer that there was a good amount of people walking up to buy tickets today based on previous projections.  Notably, more people attendanded this fight, than the Memorial Day event in which Dillashaw won the title.   Bonuses seemed appropriate although Chris Wade could have won a Performance Bonus for his first round sub in his prelim bout.

Ticket demand nears all-time low for UFC 177

August 29, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that UFC 177 is one of the weakest markets for ticket in he UFC in some time.  Even before the announcement that Renan Barao would not be in the main event, the average ticket price on the secondary market according to SeatGeek is just $136.  It’s worth noting that the event is not sold out as of Friday afternoon.

The average ticket price is down 66% from the $410 average of UFC 175 in Las Vegas.  It’s also the second lowest average ticket price and the lowest since August 2012 for UFC 150 (Edgar-Henderson II) .  Due to the fact that tickets are still available at the box office, fewer than 400 tickets have been sold on the resale market.  According to SeatGeek, it’s the least activity on the secondary market for a UFC fight in the United States.

SeatGeek points out tickets are still available to purchase on the primary market and are listed for as low as $65.40 in the upper level and as of noon today, the best available from Ticketmaster is $314.25.  But, tickets on the resale market in the lower bowl are going for as low as $104 which is less than half of face value.  So, if you want to sit close, the secondary market may be where to go but if you just want to get in, you might be able to walk up to the box office tomorrow night.

Via SeetGeek

Via SeetGeek

For those wondering, UFC 174’s resale tickets averaged $175.

Payout Perspective:

Since tickets are not selling, it’s evident that the secondary market would not have much action.  We should point out that UFC 175 was the big July show that was centered around top stars (i.e. Weidman, Rousey) whereas this show has suffered setbacks with the latest being the loss of Barao.  If UFC 176 had not been cancelled, we might have seen this show being axed.  But, if you do watch the prelims or purchase the PPV, you may see a lot of open seats due to the lack of demand.

UFC 180 sells out in 8 hours

August 29, 2014

The UFC has announced that the tickets for UFC 180 sold out in just 8 hours.  It’s the first UFC event to be held in Mexico on November 15th at Mexico City’s Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

The event features Cain Velasquez defending his heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum.  Per the UFC, it’s the fastest sell-out in the history of the venue the 20,000 plus fans that are expected will be a record for the venue.

Via the UFC:

“That we’ve sold out in the blink of an eye is proof that Mexico is ready for its first UFC event and shows the true devotion of UFC’s fan base,” said Jaime Pollack, UFC Senior Vice President, International Development and General Manager, Latin America. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner in Zignia Live, who provided the staffing and technology to keep pace with the high demand and ensure a seamless experience from UFC fans in Mexico and around the region.”

Payout Perspective:

I actually had this post written prior to the Barao news, so the 177 news shadows over this good news.  The sell-out coupled with the good debut for TUF Latin America shows that UFC growth is international.  We will see how it cultivates this early success.  Certainly the scene in Dublin in July and the anticipated crowd for 180 will be positives for a company that will need to recover from embarrassing setbacks with UFC 174 and now 177.

Barao out of main event at UFC 177

August 29, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Renan Barao is out of tomorrow’s UFC 177 main event against T.J. Dillashaw.  Barao passed out while attempting to cut weight for Friday’s weigh-ins.  As a result, former Bellator champ and newcomer Joe Soto gets the shot tomorrow night.

Soto was set to take on Anthony Birchak on the prelim card.  Now, he gets the title shot on Saturday.  The sudden change is another hit to a card that has been harshly criticized for the lack of star power and interesting fights for a PPV.

Payout Perspective:

Even before the news of Barao needing to be replaced, this card was a hard sell. Realistically, I’m not sure how much the loss of Barao cost PPV buys unless people wanted to see the rematch.  Now, we may assume less people are likely to pay for a Soto-Dillashaw main event.  The UFC is not going to cancel the card and its not feasible to convert the card to an FS1 show.  So, the UFC will have to rely on its hardcore base for buys.  While we thought that UFC 174 was the low-water mark for UFC PPVs, it looks like 177 will be lower.

TUF Latin America debut a success with 7.2M viewer peak

August 27, 2014

MMA Fighting reports that the debut episode of TUF Latin America featuring UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum as opposing coaches peaked at 7.2 million viewers on Televisa Ch. 5 in Mexico.

The viewer average was not available according to the article by Dave Meltzer.  But, according to the report TUF Latin America was the highest-rated show in Mexico in its time slot overall and in the 19-44 demo.  TUF Latin America is shown on Wednesday in Mexico and Friday through Sunday in 12 other Latin American countries.

The show will be offered on Fight Pass and Fox Deportes in the U.S.

Payout Perspective:

This is good news for the inaugural event as the continued strategy of exposing the UFC brand through TUF seems to be working in the Latin American market.  Obviously, it’s too soon to call the series a success but fans in Latin American countries are taking notice.  It will be interesting to see how many fans Cain will draw considering he’s not really a native speaker.  Yet, it appears that the fans do not care.

More info on UFC Fight Night 49 ratings including prelims

August 27, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that the UFC Fight Night 49 Prelims received a viewership rating of 113,000 on FS2 and also drew 97,000 viewers on FS1 due to an MLB rain delay.  In addition, the main card on FS1 drew a peak viewership of 962,000 viewers.

First, more main card information.  The 3 hours card averaged 689,000 viewers as previously reported which is off 6% from UFC Fight Night 47.  The show was up 5% in adults 18-49 and up 7% in males 18-49.

The prelims were on both networks due to a baseball rain delay.  So, FS2 had the 2 hour show and also ran 1 hour on FS1.

Fight Nights on FS1 or FS2 in 2014

UFC Fight Night 49  689,000 viewers  Prelims 113,000 viewers (FS2)

UFC Fight Night 47  735,000 viewers  Prelims  116,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 45  640,000 viewers Prelims 415,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 44  702,000 viewers Prelims 500,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 42  1,217,000 viewers  Prelims  812,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 40  735,000 viewers  Prelims 125,000 (FS2)

UFC Fight Night 38  936,000 viewers  Prelims  270,000

UFC Fight Night 36 1,400,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 35 629,000 viewers  Prelims 220,000

UFC FN Prelims thru 49

UFC FN thru 49

UFC apologizes for judge removal

August 26, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has issued an apology for the removal of a judge at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau.  The statement apologized to judge Howard Hughes “for calling his professional judgment into question.”

White removed Hughes after the first two fights on Saturday’s card after he believed that Hughes was a factor in the decisions for which White did not agree.  The UFC has now issued a “mea culpa” by stating it should not have done it.

Via MMA Junkie:

After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC FIGHT NIGHT MACAO.

After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event’s five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC’s protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.

The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body. In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC’s protocol dictates that the organization’s internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.

The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.

Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.

Payout Perspective:

As we indicated, there could have been several interpretations of White’s actions.  While we may think it proactive, it also posed a problem with an appearance of impartiality and fairness.  In a sport where gambling is prevalent (one might argue encouraged), there needs to be an independent authority appointing judges, etc.  This is a problem with international shows that do not have commissions.

The statement also attempts to repair Hughes’ reputation as a judge.  While the guy may have had a bad night in judging, having him removed could destroy any future judging opportunities for Hughes.  It was a good move by the UFC to make this statement.

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