Holloway signs deal with former UFC official sponsor Budweiser

February 3, 2018

Max Holloway has secured a sponsorship deal with Budweiser.  The UFC lightweight champion made it known via social media.

UPDATED:  Just as I posted this, the news that Holloway is out of UFC 222 puts a damper on this news.

Excited to be on the @budweiser team #blessed #kingmoments #staytuned #ufchawaii

A post shared by Max Holloway (@blessedmma) on

Nothing else is known about the terms of the deal.  Budweiser and Bud Lite had been longtime official sponsors of the UFC but Modelo has taken over as the company’s official sponsor starting this year.  Holloway is scheduled to headline UFC 222 in March.

Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone are other the other UFC fighters that have had deals with Budweiser.

Payout Perspective:

Since Modelo is the official UFC sponsor, it appears that Holloway’s deal would include out of Octagon promotion.  One could see the company using Holloway in targeting Hawaii and other regions where the fighter is popular.  It is an interesting signing considering Budweiser has just exited the company as sponsor.

Dodson will not be paid after Munhoz fails to make weight

February 2, 2018

John Dodson will not be compensated for traveling to Brazil, making weight and being ready to fight Pedro Munhoz Saturday after the Sao Paulo native did not make weight.

MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz confirmed with UFC officials that Dodson will not be compensated.  Munhoz was unable to make weight for his fight at 135 pounds.  According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the hotel that Munhoz was staying at ran out of hot water which prevented him from cutting the necessary weight.

Regardless of the reason why Munhoz missed weight, the issue of the other fighter has surfaced once again.  Last month Vitor Belfort was not paid due to the fact Uriah Hall had to go to the hospital due to complications with weight-cutting.  The UFC did not compensate him.  It was noted that they attempted to get him a replacement or a fight on a card the next weekend.

Here, Dodson traveled to Brazil for the fight, had to pay for a fight camp and perhaps some of his coaches.  You might recall that UFC heavyweight Tim Johnson set up an online fund so that his full coaching stuff could travel to Brazil.  So, it’s a huge financial undertaking for the fighter if they are to fight in another country.

Payout Perspective:

I’ve always wondered why UFC contracts do not allow for the fighter that makes the weight to obtain their show money.  It could be that the contractual language allows the UFC to terminate the contract if one side fails to fight for whatever reason.  If that were the case, it would create a huge issue for fighters since the contract would favor the UFC who may unilaterally pull the plug on a fight and not have to pay anyone.  Also, if another fight were to be offered, it would seemingly force the fighter to make weight to have to take the match even if they did not want to do it.  We will see if the UFC addresses it from a PR standpoint and compensate Dodson for traveling to Brazil.

UFC Heavyweight accepts 1 year USADA ban

February 1, 2018

UFC Heavyweight James Mulheron has accepted a 1 year suspense from the UFC.  Mulheron tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite.

 

Mulheron just had one fight in the UFC, a loss at UFC Fight Night 113 this past July in Glasgow, Scotland.  Prior to that he fought primarily in England.  He was scheduled to fight again at the UFC event in China this past November but an out-of-competition test was flagged and he was taken off the card.

Via USADA:

Mulheron, 29, tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite, hydroxyclomiphene, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on November 10, 2017. Clomiphene is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Clomiphene is not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the male population, as its use has not been thoroughly studied for safety and efficacy. Clomiphene also indirectly promotes the secretion of testosterone. Increasing testosterone, especially when combined with strength training, has been demonstrated to increase fat-free mass, muscle size, and strength in males, potentially leading to performance enhancement in sport.

Mulheron’s one-year period of ineligibility began on November 17, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. As a result of his positive test, Mulheron was removed from the Card for the UFC Fight Night event in Shanghai, China, scheduled for November 25, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

The one-year ban seems as though Mulheron got off the hook fairly easy considering most of his MMA career occurs in England.  Even if he does not fight this year, Mulheron will need only wait until next fall to fight again.  The flagged tests seem to capture a lot of first or second time fighters which may be a result of lack of education on the program or a fighter not realizing the demands of drug testin.

UFC on Fox 27 Prelims draw 566,000 viewers

January 31, 2018

The UFC on Fox Prelims drew 566,000 viewers on FS1 prior to the event on the Fox network.  The feature fight of the prelims saw Bobby Green defeat Erik Koch.

The 566,000 viewers improves from this past December’s UFC on Fox 26 Prelim event.  According to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

UFC on Fox Prelims – 2017

UFC on Fox 26:  456,000 viewers (FS1)

UFC on Fox 25: 1.137M viewers (Fox)

UFC on Fox 24: 1.105M viewers (Fox)

UFC on Fox 23: 619,000 viewers (FS1)

The event drew 0.18 in the A18-49 demo. The event on Fox adjusted to 0.6 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The 3 hour event did well however, its clear that putting the prelims on Fox greatly improves its ratings.  With the downturn in Fox ratings, we will see if April’s event on Fox has the prelims on the network or pushes it to FS1.

Miocic tops UFC 220 salaries

January 31, 2018

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission revealed the salaries for UFC 220.  As expected, the main event competitors made the most on the card.

As compiled by MMA Junkie:

Stipe Miocic $600,000 (no win bonus)
def. Franciso Ngannou $500,000

Daniel Cormier $500,000 (no win bonus)
def. Volkan Oezdemir $350,000

Calvin Kattar $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Shane Burgos $22,000

Gian Villante $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Francimar Barrosso $27,000

Rob Font $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Thomas Almeida $36,000

Kyle Bochniak $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Brandon Davis $10,000

Abdul Razak Alhassan $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Sabah Homasi $12,000

Dustin Ortiz $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Alexandre Pantoja $14,000

Julio Arce $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Dan Ige $10,000

Enrique Barzola $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Bessette $12,000

Islam Makhachev $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Gleison Tibau $50,000

Payout Perspective:

This is the third straight fight where the payout for the Heavyweight champ is $600,000 with no win bonus.  Unless he’s getting an incremental step up in PPV upside this seems like the champ is underpaid.  Miocic drew the top salary on the card with DC and Ngannou right after him followed by Oezdemir.  Ngannou had indicated he’d be making $500,000 for the fight. Gian Villante was the only other fighter to earn six figures from their purse and win bonus.

UFC on Fox 27: 1,770,000 viewers

January 30, 2018

UFC on Fox 27 drew 1,770,000 viewers on Saturday night according to Nielsen making it the lowest-rated UFC on Fox card ever.  The event was headlined by Ronaldo Souza taking on Derek Brunson.

The previous low for the UFC events on the network was August 2016’s UFC on Fox 21 which drew 1,983,000 viewers.  That event had an asterisk as the show was preempted in 15 markets due to preseason football.

The event drew 1.59 million viewers in “fast overnights” and there was a slight increase with the overrun although the first-round stoppage by Souza ended around the top of the hour.

The main event drew 2,224,000 viewers which is the second-lowest rating for a main event since Demian Maia-Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 21.  But, as we indicated, there was a preemption in certain markets.  This past April, a Demetrious Johnson-Wilson Reis main event drew 2,874,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

You could have expected these ratings based upon the lineup for the event plus the Warriors-Celtics matchup on ABC which pitted two of the more popular teams in the NBA opposite UFC.  With a new television deal to be negotiated, prospective buyers may be concerned with the downturn in ratings.  While live sports are drivers for ad buys, the trend of decreasing ratings for the UFC network cards cannot be good.

The Interview: Jeff Unay

January 30, 2018

I had the opportunity to interview filmmaker Jeff Unay whose debut documentary, “The Cage Fighter,” opens this Friday, February 2nd in select theaters across the country and video on demand.  It’s an interesting interview about the behind the scenes of the independent film-making process and one man’s MMA passion.

For more on the film, visit www.thecagefighterfilm.com

Ronda Rousey signs with WWE

January 28, 2018

Ronda Rousey has signed with WWE as she made a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble Sunday night.  ESPN revealed the news after Rousey came down the ramp wearing a jacket given to her by Rowdy Roddy Piper’s son at the end of the show.

There was much speculation about Rousey’s appearance tonight as she was scheduled to be out of the country to film a moving.  It was an obvious swerve.  Maybe there was some foreshadowing as Rousey’s photographer was in Philadelphia according to a tweet he put out (looking for weed).

Rousey indicates in the Ramona Shelburne story that she will be in WWE full-time despite there are other options for her career-wise.

She has not shut the door on an MMA return as Brock Lesnar has returned from WWE to head back into the Octagon.

Rousey’s last fight was at UFC 207 where she was stopped by Amanda Nunes in the first round.  The PPV drew 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

Rousey is a life-long pro wrestling fan and it’s clear that living out her dream of being a wrestler is something that she would like to do.  She made a memorable cameo with the Rock at Wrestlemania a couple years ago.  Her friend Shayna Baszler is on the NXT roster and this past summer there was the hint of a possible feud between Rousey’s Four Horsewomen and the NXT Four Horsewomen of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Bailey.  All indications point to her wrestling debut this spring at Wrestlemania.

UFC on Fox 27 draws all-time low: 1.59 million viewers

January 28, 2018

UFC on Fox 27 drew 1.59 million viewers on Fox Saturday according to Television By Numbers.  The event is the lowest rating for UFC on Fox since its inception.

The event featured Ronaldo Souza taking on Derek Brunson.  Souza stopped Brunson after a head kick in the first round.

The event drew 0.5 in the A18-49 demo and a 2 share.  The NBA Countdown show (0.7 and 3 share) in the first half-hour of the 8pm time slot and the subsequent NBA game between the Celtics and Warriors (1.2 and 5 share) drew the most in the A18-49 demo for the night.  The countdown show on ABC drew 2.53 million viewers and the game drew 3.7 million viewers.

UFC on Fox had the lowest viewership in terms of overall viewers for the night. An NCIS rerun on CBS drew 4.02 million viewers in the 8pm time slot and Dateline NBC drew 3.96 million viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

It’s unlikely there will be a big overrun boost from the 1.59 million viewers as the Souza-Brunson fight ended at the top of the hour.  The low ratings could be anticipated based on the fights set up for this event.  Also, the NBA game between Boston and Golden State drew a lot of casual sport fans away from the UFC.

UFC on Fox 27 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 27, 2018

UFC on Fox 27 took place Saturday night from Charlotte, North Carolina.  Ronaldo Souza headlined the card and took home a $50,000 fight bonus for his stoppage of Derek Brunson.

In addition, Mirsad Bektic, Drew Dober and Frank Camacho took home $50,000 bonuses.  Bektic earned a Performance Bonus with a TKO of Godofredo Pepey.  Drew Dober and Frank Camacho earned Fight of the Night on the main card on Fox with Dober earning a unanimous decision.

The event drew 10,249 for a gate of $944,000.  The event took place at Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

Notably, last year’s UFC on Fox event in January 2017 drew 13,233 and a gate of $1,020,434.  The main event featured Valentina Shevchenko submitting Julianna Pena.  It also had Jorge Masvidal stopping Donald Cerrone.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate is similar to that of a Fight Night card.  With the fighters on this card, it felt like a Fight Night card.  This may not bode well with the network ratings.  We shall see if enough people stayed home to watch the event.  Souza looked impressive in stopping Brunson as he registered another stoppage over the North Carolina native.

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