UFC 227: Payout Perspective

August 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 227 taking place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.  The show featured two championship fights with one title change.

Dillashaw retains title in stoppage of Garbrandt

T.J. Dillashaw successfully defended his UFC Bantamweight title over Cody Garbrandt with a first round stoppage of the former champion.  Dillashaw is now 2-0 over his former stable mate.

Cejudo wins split decision over Mighty Mouse to end Johnson’s reign

Henry Cejudo’s wrestling was the key in a split decision victory over Demetrious Johnson to win the UFC Flyweight title.  Cejudo’s several takedowns and ability to pin down Johnson likely earned him the narrow victory.  Johnson indicated that he suffered a broken book and knee injury during the fight.  Still, the former champ almost pulled out the victory.

Johnson’s loss is his first since October 2011.  He successfully defended the title 11 times prior to this defeat and has to be considered as one of the greatest title runs ever in the UFC.

Attendance and Gate

The event was a sellout at Staples Center with 17,794 in attendance for a gate of $2.85 million.

Bonuses

Dillashaw, Cejudo, Johnson and Renato Moicano earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Dillashaw and Moicano drew the Performance Bonuses while Cejudo and Johnson earned the Fight of the Night.

Payouts

Mighty Mouse and Dillashaw earned the most out of the purses disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.  The payouts are here.

Reebok Payouts

Notably, Cub Swanson and Thiago Santos were the only fighters outside of the title fight participants to earn 5 figures.

T.J. Dillashaw: $40,000
Cody Garbrandt: $30,000
Henry Cejudo: $30,000
Demetrious Johnson: $40,000
Renato Moicano: $5,000
Cub Swanson: $20,000
J.J. Aldrich: $4,000
Polyana Viana: $3,500
Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $10,000
Kevin Holland: $3,500
Pedro Munhoz: $5,000
Brett Johns: $4,000
Ricky Simon: $3,500
Montel Jackson: $3,500
Ricardo Ramos: $3,500
Kyung Ho Kang: $5,000
Sheymon Moraes: $3,500
Matt Sayles: $3,500
Alex Perez: $3,500
Jose Torres: $3,500
Weili Zhang: $3,500
Danielle Taylor: $4,000
Marlon Vera: $5,000
Wuliji Buren: $3,500

Sponsorships

Van Heusen made its first appearance in the Octagon as an official sponsor of the UFC.  Stephen Thompson and T.J. Dillashaw star in an online commercial for the men’s brand which is launching a flexible casual line.  It had the fighter prep point.

Fallout 76, a multiplayer action video game sponsored the Embedded Series this time around.

It was announced that Trifecta Nutrition was the “Official Meal Delivery Partner of the UFC.”  The deal is set to be worth $10 million dollars.  Notably, Blue Apron, another company within the same space as Trifecta Nutrition is experiencing issues with its company as its second quarter earnings didn’t match up to analyst expectations.

In addition to Van Heusen and Trifecta Nutrition, Harley Davidson, Modelo, MetroPCS, Motel6.com, UFC Fight Pass, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy/Circle K and the movie Mile 22 which stars Ronda Rousey were in the Octagon.  Monster Energy had the center.

There seemed to be a concerted effort to promote the Reebok walkout shirts from the fighters.

Ratings

UFC 227 Prelims on FX: 717,000, 0.3 in the A18-49 demo (3rd highest in cable)

UFC 227 Pre Fight Show on FX:  306,000

UFC 226 Post-Fight Show on FS1:  122,000

Odds and Ends

Likely overshadowing this event was the news that Conor McGregor was returning to fight against Khabib Nurmogomedov in October.

While the story died down, there were old social media posts made by Garbrandt where he used racially insensitive language.  He was able to explain the posts away and it was seemed to be disregarded once fight night came around.  There was the news that was contemplating pulling out of the fight due to issues with his back but decided to go through with it due to financial reasons.  You have to feel for Garbrandt who has a little baby and is looking to buy a house, get insurance and all the other things with becoming a regular adult trying to start a family.  During a prefight media event, he revealed he went to Vegas to get epidural injections in his back.

There were over 500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 227 which is the norm for PPV buys in the 200K range.

Cub Swanson stated that he paid for $26,000 for tickets for the event.  The SoCal native lost via submission in the first round.

Garbrandt and Mike Tyson are friends if you watched the Embedded series.

The Prelims were shuffled to FX due to MLB on FS1.  It was also a busy night for combat sports as there was boxing on Fox and another on HBO.

Conclusion

Based on the google searches and the prelim ratings, this PPV likely drew around 250,000-275,000 PPV buys.  Outside of Conor McGregor, its hard to see a lighter weight division title fight drawing near 300,000 PPV buys nowadays.

UFC 226: Payout Perspective

July 11, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 226 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier is a Champ x2

Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.  Cormier becomes just the second fighter (behind Conor McGregor) to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.  The former Olympian described post-fight that video study showed Stipe drops his hands coming out of the clinch and that is exactly how Cormier dropped Stipe with a short shot to the chin.

The bigger news came when Brock Lesnar came into the Octagon after the fight and shoved Cormier.  He then cut a promo on the heavyweight division and he weak it was.

Lesnar has been put back into USADA testing program and should be available by the end of the year.  Cormier, who has already announced his retirement plans on a handful of fights left despite just earning the title.  We shall see if one of those is his arch-nemesis Jon Jones.

Lewis-Ngannou turn in Worst Match of Year Candidate

This fight should have been one round.  Not because there was heavy-slugging and someone would have been knocked out, but because it was such a boring fight.  What most thought would be a back and forth home-run hitting fight, turned into one of the lowest striking fights in the history of the UFC.

Derrick Lewis came out as the “winner” although he stated he hurt his back during the fight.  Ngannou was buried post-fight by Dana White who claimed that the guy that was deemed a future superstar had an ego.

With Brock Lesnar coming in, Lewis will have to wait in line for a title shot.  More likely he’ll have to go through Curtis Blaydes before he gets a shot post-Lesnar fight.

Max Holloway pulls out of fight with Brian Ortega

Max Holloway was forced to pull out of his fight with Brian Ortega due to “concussion-like” symptoms.  Holloway’s team decided it best he not fight despite going through media obligations.  Ortega took it in stride but declined a fight against Jeremy Stephens as a replacement.  While Dana White was not pleased with missing a fight, Ortega had trained for Holloway and not Stephens.  A loss by Ortega would be a disaster for his title plans.  Remember Luke Rockhold did not have to take the fight with Yoel Romero when he missed weight.  He did and lost.

Attendance and Gate

Despite the loss of one title fight, it didn’t seem to damper the attendance.

Prior to the Holloway-Ortega fight being scrapped SeatGeek reported tickets on the secondary market being the highest since UFC 205 when the company had its first show in New York.

Bonuses

Daniel Cormier, Anthony Pettis, Khalil Rountree and Paulo Costa all received $50,000 bonuses.

Payouts

The Nevada Athletic Commission list of disclosed the full list of payouts prior to the event.  Stipe Miocic earned the most with $750,000 followed by Daniel Cormier’s $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The Embedded series seemed to have a focus on Ortega-Holloway from the outset and had to refocus and it appeared that there was a pause between episodes 3 and 4 so that they could do extra filming for Cormier, Miocic, Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Lewis and Ngannou.

Toyo Tires was active leading up to this event as it had a new commercial with former rivals T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz starring and former UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin in a starring role.

The company also ran a marketing campaign with Brian Ortega ads.

Metro PCS ran a social media campaign using Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in promoting their SuperFight.

Did Drake reference Max Holloway in “8 out of 10” on his new album?  I didn’t think so.  The UFC paid homage to the Scorpion album with an Instagram post hyping the main event.

Next Saturday's OFFICIAL tracklist. 🦂 #UFC226

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Ratings (all on FS1)

UFC Weigh-Ins – 239K

UFC Pre-Show – 254K

UFC Prelims – 668K (peaked at 800K in the 9:45-10:00pm ET quarter hr)

UFC Post Show – 155K

Sponsorships

UFC sponsors Harley Davidson, Metro PCS, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy, EA’s UFC 3 and Modelo in the center of the Octagon. It also had signage for EA UFC’s latest version of its video game and the first glimpses of the logo for the company’s 25th Anniversary show in November.

There was an extended promotion for the latest version of EA’s UFC 3 with Tito Ortiz and Kimbo Slice.

Kamaru Usman introduced the promoted movie for this event, Denzel Washington’s

Odds and ends

It was International Fight Week which included the induction of individuals (and a fight) into the Hall of Fame.  Headlining the list was Ronda Rousey.  It also gave us a Chuck-Tito faceoff for a fight that appears to be happening in 2018 or 2019.

Despite an International Fight Week curse of headlining matches scratched, UFC 226 came through with several great main card performances from Khalil Rountree, Anthony Pettis and Daniel Cormier.  Also, the Mike Perry-Paul Felder fight was an entertaining bloodbath with Felder fighting at least 2 rounds with a broken arm or hand.

Dominick Cruz covering the fights during media leadup and as analyst on the PPV broadcast is great.

Chiesa missed weight but wore a Shawn Kemp jersey so he gets some press here.

We are underway in Vegas! #TUF27 #UFC226

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Conclusion

This was the biggest UFC event to date and with the 25th Anniversary Show being announced in November and a possible Cormier-Lesnar fight to end in December the latter half of 2018 could be exciting. The loss of Holloway-Ortega did not hurt the gate, but it may have hurt the PPV. Despite being one of the best ever, Cormier has yet to prove he is a PPV draw without Jon Jones. So, this event likely does above average but still nowhere near Conor/Ronda levels. Look for estimates between 450,000 to 500,000.

UFC 223 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 9, 2018

UFC 223 drew over $3 million in gate despite a card that was riddled with replacements for its main event.  Bonuses were handed out with an obvious Fight of the Night on the Main card.

The numbers were announced post-event.  The event at the Barclays Center garnered 17,026 fans a gate of $3,007,108.12.  As occurs most times, the number of comps were not revealed.  It’s the best attendance and gate at the Barclays as it bests last year’s Holm-de Randamie event.  It ranks 4th in terms of numbers in New York since MMA was legalized in the state.

Bonuses went to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chris Gruetzemacher, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak. The Canadian with the fanny pack had an impressive submissive victory over Evan Dunham.  Gruetzemacher defeated Joe Lauzon via corner stoppage after 2 dominating rounds and Zabit and Bochniak stole the show with a back and forth affair.  Zabit still did more to win the fight but Bochniak put up a game effort.

Payout Perspective:

While its disappointing that we did not (and may never get) Khabib-Tony, the Rose-Joanna fight was entertaining and the Zabit-Bochniak was great. While tickets on the secondary market may have decreased during  fight week, there does not seem to be a significant drop with attendance.

Ticket sales still strong despite card UFC 223 card changes

April 6, 2018

Fight week for UFC 223 has been full of excitement and ticket prices have gone up and down this week.

SeatGeek reports that ticket sales on the secondary market went up after it was announced that Max Holloway would replace Tony Ferguson to take on Khabib Nurmogomedov.

The median ticket prices according to SeatGeek, saw a 14% increase:

  • 3/31: $351
  • 4/1: $336
  • 4/2: $374
  • 4/3: $406

As of this past Sunday, the get-in price was $273.

After the Conor McGregor incident, prices were still up from March 31st but had come down since the Holloway announcement.  Per SeatGeek:

-Median Listing Price: $384

-Get-in Price: $146

-Avg. Resale Price: $272

Vivid Seats reported tickets after the McGregor incident started at$ 180.50.  The median ticket price was $ 462.98. And its most-expensive ticket is $4554

After Holloway was pulled from the event, SeatGeek reported a lower median price but a slightly higher average resale price.

-Median Listing Price: $356

-Get-in Price: $149

-Avg. Resale Price: $274

There are still tickets on Ticketmaster with a get-in price of $132.50.

Payout Perspective:

Dana White has indicated a $3 million gate which would exceed the last UFC event at the Barclay’s Center.  This may be due to the women’s championship fight and Khabib Nurmogomedov

How is ticket interest for UFC 220?

January 18, 2018

As UFC 220 nears at the TD Garden in Boston, tickets are still available for the event which features two title fights.

According to Ticketmaster as of Thursday night, there were still seats available between $100 and $350.  SeatGeek indicated that as of Thursday morning the get-in price on the secondary market was $136.  The average resale price for a ticket was $233.  Prices have come down in the last week for ticket demand with the median price dropping from $384 per ticket to $368 per ticket.

In comparison, demand for other events have been more.  Here is a sample per SeatGeek:

  • UFC 219 in Las Vegas, NV: $175 avg. resale price
  • UFC 218 in Detroit, MI: $163
  • UFC 217 in New York, NY: $383

UFC 220 is headlined by title fights featuring Stipe Miocic defending against Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier defending against Volkan Oezdemir.

Payout Perspective:

So, what are we to make of the fact that despite two title fights in the glamour divisions of Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight, the demand for tickets are lower than the past three events.  It could be the focus on the Patriots as they march to another Super Bowl.  It could be the casual nature of the Boston MMA fans in that they know they will get a card at least once a year and can pick whether this one is worth their money.  While the secondary market is not a conclusive indicator on the success of a card, it does tell the general demand an event has with the sport’s fans.

Average resale price for UFC 218 stand at $162 as of Thursday

November 30, 2017

UFC 218 takes place this Saturday at The Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  The average resale price for a ticket to UFC 218 is $162 as of Thursday.

Per SeatGeek, the median listing price for the event (as of Thursday) is $236. The get in price for the event is $148 on the secondary market.  A look at Ticketmaster has the lowest price to get into the event to see Jose Aldo fight Max Holloway in the main event is $92.  The highest price per Ticketmaster is $554.

There are still seats on the floor available through Ticketmaster.

The arena, which serves as the home for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, seats between 18,000-20,000 based on configurations.

Payout Perspective:

The event resale price is actually higher than last year’s median resale price which was $206.  Last year, Holloway fought Anthony Pettis in December in Toronto at UFC 206.  There are some good fights on this card but it is unlikely to sell out based on the availability on Ticketmaster.  But, the rise in median prices on the secondary market may mean that people that want to go are seeking the best tickets.

UFC to host more than 1,500 first responders at 216

October 6, 2017

Dana White announced that over 1,500 first responders as well as some injured in the horrific shooting on Sunday will attend UFC 216 Saturday.  White told TSN the news the day before the event.

Everyone at the weigh-ins on Friday were Vegas Strong apparel in support of the community after the tragic mass shooting on Sunday night.  The shirts, made by Fanatics, are being sold at UFC.com with proceeds going to help the families affected by the shooting.  In addition, earlier this week, the UFC announced it was donating $1 million to families of the shooting victims.

Payout Perspective:

It will be an emotional night for the UFC on Saturday.  It was a nice gesture by the UFC and a showing of community by the Vegas-based company.  Of course, the underlying issue here is that the event was not selling well as there are still many tickets available on the primary market with the get-in price at a very affordable $55.

UFC 213 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 9, 2017

UFC 213 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night drew a reported 12,834 for a gate of $2.4 million making it the second-best for 2017.  In addition, the UFC announced bonus of which the main event led the winners.

Robert Whittaker’s win over Yoel Romero drew the Fight of the Night while Rob Font and Chad Laprise scored bonuses for their Performances.  Each received $50,000 each.

UFC 211 in Dallas drew 17,834 for a gate of $2,662,645.  That card featured two UFC titles on the line.  UFC 213 was to have two belts on the line but Amanda Nunes pulled out early Saturday leaving the interim middleweight belt the only one on the line.

Payout Perspective:

As always, the numbers were revealed by the UFC, so no word yet on how many people took advantage of the refund offered for the loss of the main event.  For obvious reasons, last year’s UFC 200 drew a bigger gate and more in attendance (18,202 and $10,700,000).  Still, the UFC is likely happy with the attendance and gate since tickets appeared ample tickets to be available on the day of the event.

Nunes hospitalized, out of UFC 213 main event

July 8, 2017

Another year, another last minute issue with the main event of the International Fight Week PPV.  Amanda Nunes was hospitalized and Dana White confirmed that the title fight with Valentina Shevchenko is off.

The UFC issued a release which includes a sentence noting that customers may request a full refund for their tickets.

The new main event will be Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero vying for the interim middleweight title.

Last year, UFC 200 was dealt a huge blow when Jon Jones was removed from the card after he tested positive for a banned substance.

You can expect a rough secondary market for this event even before the main event was cancelled.  The get-in price on the secondary market is $87 as of Saturday afternoon per SeatGeek.  There are a lot of tickets on Ticketmaster with the get-in at $80 as well as ample floor seats going for $600.

Payout Perspective:

The PPV buy rate will likely take a hit albeit a slight one as while Nunes is an up and coming star and defeated two of the more popular women fighters of recent memory (Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey) I do not know how much of a draw she would have been.  Certainly, having her defending her title would have garnered buys, but I think this card was destined to be in the mid-300s.  Without Nunes, just a guess, but it’s likely 250,000 based on the card as it is now.

UFC 209: Payout Perspective

March 7, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 209 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Woodley wins rematch with Wonderboy

The last seconds of the last round were really the most exciting part of this tactical fight.  There was not a lot of action for the first four rounds and Woodley’s flurry at the end of round 5 may have been the most

Teymur defeats Vannata in FOTN co-main

Replacing Khabib Nurmogomenov and Tony Ferguson was a daunting task and Teymur and Vannata put on a respectable fight.  Obviously, most MMA fans would have liked Khabib-Ferguson.

Attendance and Gate

The get-in price as of Friday, was $62 on the secondary market although there were a lot of tickets available on Ticketmaster.  The lowest price on Ticketmaster as of Friday was $95.  Vivid Seats noted that most tickets on the secondary market were from California.

The event drew 13,150 for a gate of $2,385,230 at the T-Mobile Arena.  It was by far the lowest out of the 4 events at the new arena.  However, the other 3 (200, 202, and 207) had big names attached to those events.

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Darren Elkins, Iuri Alcantara, David Teymur and Lando Vannata.  Elkins earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his come-from-behind win against Mirsad Bektic.  Alcantara won via kneebar against Luke Sanders.  Teymur and Vannata earned Fight of the Night.

Salaries

Woodley earned $500,000 as he earned $400,000 to show and another $100,000 to win.

Stephen Thompson earned $380,000 for his narrow loss to Woodley.

Khabib lost out on $500,000 to show.  Tony Ferguson was awarded his show purse of $250,000 but lost out on his chance to his win bonus of $250,000.

The other salaries are as follows as disclosed by the NAC (via MMA Junkie)

David Teymur: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Lando Vannata: $25,000

Daniel Kelly: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Rashad Evans: $150,000

Cynthia Calvillo: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Cooper: $17,000

Alistair Overeem: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mark Hunt: $750,000

Marcin Tybura: $72,000 (includes $36,000 win bonus)
def. Luis Henrique: $16,000

Darren Elkins: $92,000 (includes $46,000 win bonus)
def. Mirsad Bektic: $21,000

Iuri Alcantara: $68,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Luke Sanders: $12,000

Mark Godbeer: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Daniel Spitz: $12,000

Tyson Pedro: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Paul Craig: $12,000

Albert Morales: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $10,000

Promotion of the Fight

The Embedded series seemed to focus on getting to know Khabib Nurmogomenov.  They showed him a lot during the series including going to see Mike Tyson.  Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for Khabib.  It also gave us a glimpse of the return of GSP.  Once again, there was no sponsor for the series.

The UFC Countdown show airing Sunday night on FS1 drew 80,000 viewers.  I wouldn’t look too much into this as many fans watch it online instead of just the show.

Woodley and Wonderboy did media rounds together to promote the fight.  Woodley brought up the issue of race during the media rounds.  Dana White dismissed this issue and while praising Woodley also called him a “drama queen.”  Whether or not you believe Woodley, his courage to talk about a controversial subject when many UFC fighters tip-toe around being controversial for fear of being punished by the company.

The St. Louis Cardinals supported the Missouri-born fighter.

Sponsorships

Woodley is a Monster Energy sponsored athlete as evidenced by the “M” on his fight kit and holding the Monster can in the Octagon post-fight.

7-11 used UFC 209 for sponsorship activation as it offered a free Slurpee or Big Gulp by simply texting a number.

In addition to 7-11, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Budweiser and Monster Energy were in the Octagon.

The UFC continues its relationship with Netflix as this PPV it featured the series Ironfist.

The Sidekick Experience is a second screen experience where fans can go on the UFC Fan Page to watch Facebook Live of people talking about the fights.

Odds and ends

Maybe the best sponsor of Saturday night was actually Kung Fu Teas which was on the mat during the Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia Fight.  It received great network exposure for a product I did not know existed.  Also of note, Monster Headphones, a UFC sponsor, was in the ring for Thurman-Garcia.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would have placed the strap around Wonderboy had he defeated Woodley.

Bob Bennett showing up at the post-fight press conference to denounce a judge’s score in the main event sets bad precedent.  It undermines his judges and brings into question close decisions.  Press and fans will be looking to Bennett each time there is a questionable score.

There were over 500,000 google searches on Friday night for UFC 209 another 500,000 Saturday night and 100,000 for UFC may bode well for the final PPV buy rate.

The UFC and Dana White filed a Motion to Dismiss Mark Hunt’s lawsuit during fight week.  Despite Hunt stating he was not thinking about it, one has to think it had to be on his mind a little bit.  He is still being paid at a high level, $750,000.  The pay puts him in the top 1-2% of UFC contracted fighters right now.  This is something that the UFC will bring up during the lawsuit as it proceeds.

Perhaps unrelated to UFC 209, but Geico amplified its relationship with the UFC by having Cody Garbrandt star in its latest commercial.

The return of GSP and the announcement that he will take on Michael Bisping did alleviate some sting from the Khabib news.  As for the press conference, what was the deal with Bisping being late and seemingly drunk?  Very unprofessional for the champ.

Conclusion

This event was not going to do huge numbers but looked good from a hardcore MMA perspective as Khabib-Ferguson was a much-anticipated fight that was cancelled twice before this latest cancellation.  It probably hurt some, but overall this PPV was not going to do big numbers.  But, without Khabib-Ferguson, one would think this PPV does between 300-325K viewers.

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