Lawler, Pettis, Gil top UFC 181 salaries

December 8, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the salaries for UFC 181.  With his win bonus, Robbie Lawler was the top earner for the card.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the fight purses for the event:

Robbie Lawler: $220,000 (includes $110,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks: $150,000

Anthony Pettis: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Gilbert Melendez: $200,000

Travis Browne: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Brendan Schaub: $32,000

Todd Duffee: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Hamilton: $10,000

Tony Ferguson: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Abel Trujillo: $14,000

Urijah Faber: $140,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus)
def. Francisco Rivera: $20,000

Josh Samman: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Eddie Gordon: $15,000

Corey Anderson: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Jones: $8,000

Raquel Pennington: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ashlee Evans-Smith: $8,000

Sergio Pettis: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Hobar: $10,000

Clay Collard: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Alex White: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

Gilbert Melendez actually had the highest base and will gain some PPV points as well per the terms of his deal.  Hendricks and Pettis were next on the list of top paid after Lawler.  Notably the two fill-ins, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Justin Jones received only $8,000 each.

TUF 20 Episode 11: 532,000 viewers

December 8, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that the penultimate episode of TUF 20 drew an average viewership of 532,000 viewers in its first showing (7pmPT/10pmET) on Wednesday on FS1 per a Nielsen source. The episode brought the season 20 average to 514,000 viewers.

There were two fights on the 11th episode. First, Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres and will face Jessica Penne in the semifinals. Also, Rose Namajuna submitted Joanne Calderwood and will face Ronda Markos in the other semi.

In the adult 18-49 demo, the episode drew 365,000 viewers which is 10% over the season average of 333,000.

The same episode which aired the same night 10pmPT/1amET) drew 81,000 viewers. It did draw up almost 30% in the adult 18-49 demo (71,000 versus 55,000). One might infer that younger people in the demo watching live on the west coast or are night owls for watching TUF at 1am.

TUF 20 Episode 11

Payout Perspective:

As we near the end of another season of TUF, we note that this season will do better than the BJ Penn-Frankie Edgar season of last spring but will not do as well as Rousey-Tate last year. The viewership has been steady this season and has received a nice bump with DVR ratings. But, if you watched the weigh-ins on Friday, you wonder where that spark between Anthony and Gil were during the filming of the season.

Phil Brooks aka CM Punk signs with the UFC

December 8, 2014

In a surprise announcement during Saturday’s UFC 181 PPV, former WWE pro wrestler Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk) announced that he has signed with the UFC. He indicated that he would have his first in 2015.

Unlike WWE pro wrestler and former UFC fighter Brock Lesnar, Brooks does not have a pedigree in a combat sports discipline although it is documented that he has trained extensively in Jiu Jitsu and Kempo Karate. Lesnar had a legitimate background prior to entering the Octagon.   He also did one fight outside of the UFC before signing.

There is much debate on the signing as Brooks stated that this is his new career.  This, despite a recent announcement he was assisting in writing a comic book for Marvel.  He did not give many details about where he would train and when his first fight would be.

Post by UFC.

For those wondering, PPV buys for notable debuts of fighters with not a traditional MMA pedigree are as follows:

UFC 81 – Brock Lesnar (Noguira-Sylvia main event) first fight 600K

UFC 113 – Kimbo Slice (Machida-Rua main event) 520K

UFC 118 – James Toney (Edgar-Penn II) 570K

Payout Perspective:

While it should be respected that Brooks comes at this opportunity with respect, it seems like a “bucket list” thing to do.  The fact is he is 36 years old with notable health issues (outlined as recently as the infamous Colt Cabana podcast) entering a tough sport.  Regardless of what you may think of pro wrestling, it is a rough business that takes a physical toll on your body.  And thus, this won’t go well inside the Octagon.  However, if you are looking at the spectacle aspect of this, it should draw some casual, crossover fans.

And while a lot of people within MMA and pro wrestling know of CM Punk, don’t look for his signing to grab a ton of new fans.  What would be interesting is to see if the UFC can sign Brock Lesnar and put him on the same card as Brooks?  Is the signing an act of desperation by the UFC, strategy to keep him away from a potential Bellator signing or a desirable business move?

What will be interesting to see is whether Brooks will comment on things like drug testing in the UFC, the new Reebok uniform deal and the lack of a union for fighters?   Those things are much more interesting to know about than what will actually happen in the Octagon

Pettis Wheaties box revealed

December 5, 2014

At a UFC media event this week in lead up to this Saturday’s event, Wheaties unveiled the Anthony Pettis box donning his image.  Pettis won a contest this past summer to determine which next sports star should be the face of the cereal box.

Pettis is the first MMA fighter to have his image on the trademark Wheaties box.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a nice, creative image which takes advantage of Pettis’ GQ good looks yet still puts him in a position where the casual person can tell he’s an MMA fighter. The timing of the event works out as its added publicity for Pettis and the UFC for this Saturday’s PPV.  With the Reebok announcement made on Tuesday, perhaps the Pettis-Wheaties partnership will be short-lived.  But, maybe the UFC could be making inroads with Wheaties to make it an official sponsor.

UFC-Reebok uniform deal worth $70M per report

December 4, 2014

Gareth Davies reports that the UFC-Reebok uniform deal announced on Tuesday is worth $70 million dollars.  The 6 year pact makes Reebok the official clothier for the mixed martial arts promotion.

While the deal has been described as a positive “game changer” for the UFC, it has been criticized for the elimination of all other sponsors and the new function of UFC rankings which will dictate how fighters are paid via the new system. The UFC has posted details of the deal on its web site.

Here are comparisons to uniform deals in other sports:

MLS:  Adidas estimated $25M per year through 2018.  An initial 10 year $150M deal was extended in 2010 reflecting a 66% increase and the new deal is valued at $200M

NFL:  Nike estimated $220M per year.  The deal is estimated at $1.1B dollars for 5 years which began in 2012.  Previously, Reebok had a 10 year $250M deal.

NBA:  Adidas estimated at over $400M per year.  The 2006 deal was for 11 years.

NHL:  Reebok estimated at $200M per year.  The deal is up in 2016 and hockey brand Bauer may make a play for the spot.

Payout Perspective:

So,is this a good deal?  Its clear that the UFC would not garner the amount of money one of the major leagues would command but assuming the report is correct, Reebok is paying the UFC approximately $11.67 million per year for the right to outfit UFC fighters.  One wonders if the deal will (or eventually will) include exclusivity for UFC gyms.  Reebok is big in the fitness/crossfit industry and the additional exposure would make sense.  For the UFC, it creates more opportunities for visibility and arguably legitimizes it as a sport.

Le requests release from UFC

December 4, 2014

Cung Le requested his release from the UFC on Wednesday in an interview with Josh Gross on his podcast.  The request comes as a result of the way the UFC handled his post-UFC Fight Night 48 drug test which initially claimed he tested positive for elevated levels of growth hormone.

On Gross’ podcast, Le outlined his issues with the UFC.  He stated that he had not spoken with the UFC since a Dana White phone call to Le where they advised he was suspended due to the initial post-fight test results.  Further communications occurred through Le’s reps and UFC legal counsel.

Payout Perspective:

The Le announcement is somewhat of a surprise but one can only speculate as to his reasons for wanting out of the UFC.  Could this be the pre-cursor to a potential lawsuit against the UFC?  Or, is it him trying to break free and attempting to go to Bellator and reunite with Scott Coker?  It’s not a stretch to say that Le’s relationship with the UFC is strained and it would be hard to foresee both parties working together in the future (i.e., Le fighting on a UFC card).  Yet, Le was a fighter that the UFC could utilize to help with its Asian expansion efforts.  We shall see if the UFC grants his wish and what that means after Le leaves.

TUF 20 Episode 10 Live + 3 numbers up to 821,000 viewers

December 3, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the Live +3 ratings for last week’s TUF 20 episode drew up to 821,000 viewers.

Episode 10 saw a 54% increase in viewership with the adjusted numbers. It was an increase of 287,000 viewers from its overnight rating.

TUF 20 Episode 10 DVR

Payout Perspective:

The updated ratings bring the Live +3 ratings up to 796,000 viewers.  The average viewership rise from the DVR is 284,000.  The ratings increase is the largest since Episode 3 which may be due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

UFC-Reebok announce 6 year sponsor deal

December 2, 2014

The UFC and Reebok announced the long-awaited fight uniform deal which will commence during International Fight Week July 2015.  The announcement came with many interesting details.

The UFC touted the announcement as its biggest non-broadcast contract ever.  Financial terms were not disclosed for the 6 year partnership which makes Reebok the exclusive uniform supplier and commercial outfitter.

One of the most compelling details of the deal is that fighter compensation will be tied directly with the UFC fighter rankings.  The rankings are often criticized, and there is no exact science to determine how fighters are ranked.  Moreover, unsaid but inferred from the structure, unranked fighters will benefit, little, if any from the deal.


The pay structure will allocate funds per fight, based on a tiered ranking system. Champions will receive the largest payment, followed by fighters ranked Nos. 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and unranked. UFC’s official rankings are voted on by media outlets and are overseen by the company.

Starting with UFC 189, which coincides with International Fight Week, there will no longer be fight banners or any other types of sponsors aside from Reebok.  Fighters will be able to ascertain sponsorships outside of the Octagon but cannot be sponsored by any other company leading up to a fight or during it.

The UFC indicated that aside from “costs associated” with the sponsorship, the money goes directly to the fighters.

Here’s what we should expect at UFC 189 via MMA Junkie:

At each UFC event after the July rollout, a newly established team of UFC equipment managers will distribute to each fighter and cornerman a Reebok gear bag with fight shorts, walk-out jerseys, hoodies, T-shirts, fleece tops and bottoms, headwear, socks and shoes, among other items, which will be used throughout fight week and are intended for the athlete to keep after the event.

In addition, there is a charity component of the deal as a portion of the revenue from the UFC-Reebok line of products goes to Fight for Peace, a nonprofit aligned with the sportswear manufacturer.

The UFC indicated it had reached out to UFC fighters about this deal before it was announced.

The deal does not dismiss other sponsors, but one might assume that agents and managers will have a harder time finding sponsors for fighters outside of a UFC event.  Moreover, one of the prime attractions for most sponsors, the logo on the shirt/shorts, will go away.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting deal that will certainly garner scrutiny in the days to come.  For top-level fighters and current champions, the deal is favorable for them.  Of course, these are not the fighters to be concerned with as they have always be taken care of from various sponsors.  But, for those fighters that appear on prelims and Fight Nights, this new change could be a concern.  There are many unknowns at this point on what the pay structure will look like and only time will tell to see how fighters will benefit.  How much money will be allotted to fighters?

MMA Payout will have more on this deal.

UFC and Reebok to announce fighter uniform deal

December 2, 2014

MMA Junkie reports on a special announcement occurring this morning involving the UFC and Reebok.  The announcement will reveal the UFC’s long awaited, anticipated uniform deal.

MMA Payout will have more details after the press conference.  The live stream for the conference is at MMA Junkie.   It is expected that Ronda Rousey will be the center of the uniform deal as the UFC indicated this several months ago.

Silva seeks court review of NSAC suspension

December 2, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that Wanderlei Silva will appeal the Nevada State’s Athletic Commission’s lifetime ban.  Silva’s lawyer filed a petition for judicial review in Clark County, Nevada on Monday.

The process for appeal of an administrative hearing ruling such as the NSAC’s, is usually through filing for judicial review in superior court.  Goodman’s lawyer believes that the legal issue was not given full review by the NSAC.

Although Silva did not appear at the NSAC hearing which handed out the ban and fine, his attorney appeared to argue Silva’s case.  The legal theory asserted by Silva’s lawyer was that the NSAC could not discipline him because the commission did not have jurisdiction over an unlicensed fighter.  Silva was not licensed by the NSAC at the time it attempted to take a drug test from him. You may recall that Silva eluded the test which was preceding his match against Chael Sonnen at UFC 175.

Payout Perspective:

It’s interesting that Silva has decided to continue pursuit of this claim.  Although it may be just to clear his name, it seems like a moot point based on Silva’s advanced age and the fact that he is likely banished forever from the UFC.   Although it appears that Bellator would welcome him, due to contractual issues, he’d have to sit out for some time.  Still, it’s likely Silva could work around the Nevada suspension if he wanted.  According to the report, there should be a court date and briefing on the issue in the new year.

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