Frank Mir signs with Bellator

August 15, 2017

Frank Mir has announced that he has signed a deal to fight for Bellator MMA.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion announced his plans via his podcast.

Mir was issued a two-year suspension by USADA after testing positive for a banned substance.  Mir claims the positive test may have been a result of eating kangaroo meat while in Australia.  He fought Mark Hunt in March 2016 in Australia.

Mir announced his release from the UFC contract on July 9th.

He stated that he signed with Bellator because he did not want an exclusive deal.  He stated that his options came down to the Viacom-owned company and ACB, Absolute Championship Berkut.  He stated that he has a broadcast deal with ACB.

He noted on the podcast that he will be paid more in Bellator than he did in the UFC.  He has a 4 fight deal with Bellator.  He stated that his contract includes a “Right of First Refusal” with Bellator with a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that he would be able to solicit offers and fight with other promotions.

Mir’s last reported payout from a UFC fight was his second-to-last fight at UFC 191 where he made $200,000 in a loss to Andrei Arlovski.

Mir noted that he was unhappy with the Reebok deal and would be able to solicit sponsors again.

Payout Perspective:

Mir is 38 years old and has not looked good in his last couple of fights with the UFC.  But, he still is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion that the company can promote.  Mir’s explanation of not wanting tot be pinned down to an exclusive deal with a promotion probably reflects his concern of not being able to maximize his limited time left in MMA.  The good news, is that he will likely make a fluid transition into broadcasting.  In my opinion, he is one of the better analysts of MMA based on his days in the WEC.  It will be interesting to see how Bellator deals with Mir’s two-year USADA suspension.  Based on his suspension, he would not be able to fight until April 8, 2018.  Will the company allow him to fight prior to this or will they utilize him in more of a promotional role until then?

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending August 11th

August 12, 2017

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending August 11th was highlighted by Saturday night’s UFC and Top Rank Boxing which went head to head.

Friday

ESPN: Golden Boy Boxing 9:00-11:09pm ET 415,000 viewers, 0.13 A18-49

Saturday

FS1: UFC 214 Pre-Fight Show: 7:26-8:00pm ET 208,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

FS1:  UFC Fight Night Prelims 8:00-10:00pm ET 633,000 viewers, 0.20 A18-49

FS1: UFC Fight Night 10:00-1:08am ET 859,000 viewers, 0.32 A18-49

FS1: UFC Fight Night Post Live 1:08am-2:08am ET 327,000 viewers, 0.11 A18-49

ESPN Top Rank Boxing:  11:45pm ET, 728,000 viewers, 0.32 A18-49

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.314M viewers (up from last week)

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.263M viewers (up from last week)

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 3.144M viewers (up from last week)

Tuesday

USA WWE Smackdown 8:00pm-10:00pm ET 2.584M viewers, 0.80A18-49

Wednesday

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 103,000 viewers, 9pm ET 56,000 viewers

Thursday

 PopTV: Impact Wrestling, 8:00pm-10:00pm 277,000 viewers, 0.07 in A18-49

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night draws 728,000 viewers

August 8, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 728,000 according to Nielsen.  The event featured Vasyl Lomachenko as he handily took care of Miguel Marriaga.

There was an overlap with the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies which may have skewed the ratings.  Still, the main event went up against UFC Fight Night’s main event of Pettis-Moreno.

The ratings are less than Top Rank’s debut last month with Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn.  The event drew 3.1 million viewers and peaked with 4.4 million viewers.  Saturday night’s event was much less than that.

On Friday night ESPN presented Golden Boy drew 415,000 viewers and 0.13 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.

Payout Perspective:

One has to think this is a disappointing rating for Top Rank as the UFC, with a weaker card, outdrew the debut of Lomachenko on cable TV.  It’s hard to explain why UFC Fight Night did better than someone that is considered one of boxing’s best at this time.  Perhaps the run-up for Mayweather-McGregor or combat sports fans are conditioned to watch UFC Saturdays, but boxing did not draw Saturday night.

UFC Fight Night 114 draws 859,000 viewers, Prelims score 633,000

August 8, 2017

UFC Fight Night 114 on FS1 Saturday night drew 859,000 viewers per Nielsen .  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 633,000.

Despite the fact the main and prelim card had mainly up and coming fighters, the ratings were strong up against live boxing on ESPN.  The FS1 main card featured Sergio Pettis taking on Brandon Moreno.  Pettis won a decision.

The prefight show on FS1 drew 208,000 and the postfight show drew 327,000 viewers for a 60 minute recap on FS1 which immediately followed the main card.

For those wondering, UFC Fight Night 111 was a Fight Pass Only event.

Payout Perspective: 

Notably, UFC Fight Night 114 did better than Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which drew 728,000 viewers.  With the opportunity for combat sports fans to watch one of the best boxers in the sport today, Vasyl Lomachenko, more wanted to watch Pettis-Moreno.  An interesting win considering ESPN is hoping to garner more fans to the network by partnering with Golden Boy and Top Rank.

Show Money Episode 18 reviews WME-IMG’s first year of UFC ownership and more

August 5, 2017

Its another episode of Show Money, I hop on with John Nash and Paul Gift of Bloody Elbow to discuss WME-IMG’s first year of ownership of the UFC, Bellator’s latest PPV and more.

PFL: Everett draws 153,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network

August 4, 2017

The Professional Fighters League put on its second event in Everett, Washington on Saturday night.  The main card which aired on NBC Sports Network drew 153,000 viewers per Nielsen.

The event featured undefeated Andre Harrison as he soundly defeated Stephen Rodriguez in the main event.  The telecast also featured Jake Shields and Yushin Okami.  Both UFC vets handled their opponents soundly.

The event included a 20-minute overrun and drew 0.59 in the A18-49 demo and .87 in the M18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The first PFL event in early July drew 291,000 viewers.  The event took place on a Friday and not a Saturday.  This past weekend’s event took place on a busy night for combat sports as UFC 214’s Prelims and PPV aired on the same night as did Broner-Garcia.

The Ratings Buffet for week ending August 4th

August 4, 2017

It was an active week for The Ratings Buffet as Saturday saw three live events and Mayweather replays on ESPN2 are starting to surface in anticipation of later this month.

Friday

Spike TV: Bellator: NYC Replay: 539,000, 600,000 (DVR +3)

FS1:  UFC 214 Weigh-Ins 8pm ET: 245,000, Replay at 10pm ET 142,000

Saturday

FXX: UFC 214 Pre-Fight Show: 7:00pm ET

FXX: UFC 214 Prelims 8:00pm ET 866,000 viewers (peak at 1,072,000)

FS1: UFC 214 Post-Fight Show, 1:00 am ET 267,000 viewers

NBCSN:  PFL Everett:  9:00pm-11:20pm ET 153,000 viewers

Showtime:  Broner-Garcia 881,000 viewers (404,000 A18-49)

Showtime:  Charlo-Heiland 598,000 viewers (213,000 A18-49)

Sunday

FS1:  PBC on FS1 (Ortiz-Corral)  7pm ET 262,000 viewers

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.275M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.194M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 3.021M viewers

Tuesday

USA  Smackdown 8:00pm ET 2.569M viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing  9:30pm ET  159,000 viewers

ESPN2  Top Rank Boxing  8:30pm ET  176,000 viewers

ESPN2  Top Rank Boxing 10:15pm ET  147,000 viewers

Wednesday

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 104,000 viewers, 9pm ET 58,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Gatti) 9:30pm ET 232,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Judah)  9:00pm ET 200,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Corrales) 8:00pm ET 145,000 viewers

 

Replay of Bellator’s second PPV draws 600K on SpikeTV

August 2, 2017

A replay of Bellator: NYC on Spike TV drew 539,000 viewers per Nielsen.  The PPV in late June increased to 600,000 viewers and peaked at 934,000 in DVR +3 adjusted ratings.

Bellator: NYC featured Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva in the main event.  It also featured the return of Fedor against Matt Mitrione.  The 150-minute re-air drew 0.18 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

I thought that this was airing Saturday night to oppose UFC 214, but it made sense to air Friday night.  The ratings are similar to a Bellator live event on Friday night.

Garcia-Broner on Showtime draw 881,000 viewers Saturday night

August 2, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s feature fight between Mikey Garcia and Adrian Broner drew 881,000 network subscribers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It was the highest-rated fight since Deontay Wilder faced Bermane Stiverne on Showtime.

Garcia thoroughly dominated Broner in winning via unanimous decision.

The Wilder-Stiverne fight in January 2015 drew 1.24 million viewers on Showtime.

Broner continues to be a Showtime draw.  His last fight in February against Adrian Granados drew 779,000 viewers.  Saturday night drew a 0.32 rating in the A18-49 demo.  The co-main event of the night, Jermell Charlo and Jorge Heiland drew 598,000 viewers and 0.23 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

A good night for boxing despite UFC 214.  Broner, for one reason or another, continues to be a draw.  In December 2013, his fight with Marcos Maidana drew 1.3 million network subs.  Also to note that the first All Access for Mayweather-McGregor aired the same night on Showtime.

UFC 214: Payout Perspective

August 1, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take you to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California for UFC 214.

Jones returns to win back the UFC Light Heavyweight Title

The matchup finally happened and DC looked much better than their initial fight.  However, a headkick in the third round undid any momentum Cormier might have had as it was beginning of the end.  Maybe the fight was stopped too late as Jones reigned punches and elbows on a hurt Cormier.

Jones gave one of the best post-fight interviews in the Octagon as he praised Cormier and aspired to be more like him.  Whether or not you believed him is up to you but for his sake hopefully Jones can keep on the straight and narrow.

Should Cormier have been allowed to leave the Octagon as it was clear he was still not aware of what happened?  Should Joe Rogan have interviewed him after?  There was a lot made about Cormier crying after the fight but it’s clear that he had waited so long for this fight and wanted to beat Jones dearly.  The game plan was working out but one headkick spelled the doom.  You have to feel for him and it’s clear, similar to Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight, that they should have left DC alone.  The footage of DC wandering around after being KO’d is hard to watch and you have to wonder why his corner was not able to corral him and sit him down.

The big news going forward after this is that Jones called out Brock Lesnar.  Lesnar is retired and still must serve out his USADA suspension.  News that he had put his name in the active testing pool were not true.  So, if this fight were to happen the earliest we might see this is July 2018.  In the meantime, it would be nice to see a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson.

Woodley wins but loses

Tyrone Woodley pitched a shutout with Demian Maia as he stuffed each of the 26 takedown attempts of the BJJ specialist which negated Maia’s path to victory.  The only problem with this is that Woodley did not supply much offense.  While Woodley displayed one of the best defensive fights in recent memory, the name of the game is excitement.  Even though Woodley announced he would fight GSP at MSG in November post-fight, Dana White had other thoughts.  Due to his performance, White announced GSP-Bisping for that date further distancing the relationship between Woodley and the UFC.

Cyborg wins her title

Let’s face it this division was meant for Cyborg Justino.  When a Megan Anderson fight was nixed and Tonya Evinger was her replacement, it gave fans all the more reason to think Justino would take this title.  Evinger did her best but could not match Cyborg here.  Despite Germain de Randamie winning the title against Holly Holm, Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz threw shade at GDR for not wanting to face Cyborg.  The only fight you would think happens in this division is a fight with Holly Holm.

Attendance and gate

It was a new record for MMA events at the Honda Center with 16,610 fans for a live gate of $2,448,870.00.  With a variety of great UFC events held at the venue, including UFC on Fox 1, this event did the best of all of them.

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Jones, Vokan Oezdemir, Brian Ortega and Renato Moicano.  Ortega and Moicano earned the Fight of the Night as Ortego submitted Moicano in the 3rd round with a back and forth fight.  Oezdemir vaulted into the Light Heavyweight title picture with a KO of former contender Jimi Manuwa and Jones won with his stoppage of DC.

The Curran-Albu fight could have earned a FOTN but the Ortega sub probably was the deciding factor.  Ricardo Lamas also had a potential Performance Bonus based on his stoppage of Jason Knight.

Payouts

Daniel Cormier earned $1 million and Jon Jones drew $500,000 for the main event.  A total of 11 fighters made a reported 6 figures for UFC 214.  In comparison (and perhaps unfair), the total reported salaries from PFL Everett was $376,5000.  3 fighters made more than that at UFC 214.

Tyrone Woodley made $500,000 for his title defense against Damian Maia.

Promotion of the Fight

The Summer Kickoff press conference a couple months ago kicked off the run up for this event.  Obviously, everyone held their breath that this fight would happen considering the past problems with booking the rematch.

The UFC put on some great video promos for UFC 214 featuring Jones and Cormier.

Notably, the Embedded series focused a lot on Cyborg and less on the Woodley-Maia co-main.  Whether it was logistics since Cyborg trains in Southern California or a choice to push Cyborg more than Woodley.  Also, no Cerrone antics on the Embedded which was disappointing.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon at UFC 214 with Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, Monster Energy, UFC Mobile, Dana White’s Contender Series on Fight Pass, Gruntsyle.com, Performance Nutrition and 7-11.  Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  The UFC Mobile game was also featured in the Octagon.

HSS was a new sponsor on the telecasts as it sponsored the fight clock.

Performance Nutrition sponsored the Embedded episodes this time around.

Also, 7-Eleven, which has shared signage with Monster Energy in one of the Octagon posts.  It also sported the Big Gulp logo during the broadcasts as well as voiceovers about the convenience store.

Tyron Woodley, Jon Jones and Donald Cerrone were some of the fighters sponsored by Monster Energy.

Metro PCS used Facebook Live and Periscope to promote UFC 214 during the event.

Interesting to note that while they did show Mayweather-McGregor insets during the telecasts, there was nothing on the mat or Octagon promoting the fight.

Odds and ends

Before we talk UFC 214, I went to PFL Everett, Washington Saturday night.  On Friday afternoon, I interviewed Carlos Silva and Ray Sefo.  During the Yushin Okami fight, I heard a heckler yell out to Okami, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” which is in reference to Okami being Japanese and that’s really about it because it made no real sense except the guy was a racist.  He followed up with “Come on, we were all thinking it.”  Actually, no I’m sure a lot of people were not thinking racist thoughts because you see a Japanese guy.  There were some murmurs and snickers from people around me which is disturbing as well.  Unfortunately, it goes to show you that racism still persists and people are not afraid to express it.

The Prelims aired on FXX and despite the fact that it aired on a channel different than its usual spot, I suspect that these fights will do well ratings-wise.  No problems with finding the channel as it drew 866,000 viewers and peaked over 1 million during the Sterling-Barao fight.

It’s always awkward to see fighters from other organizations cornering their teammates.  Notably at UFC 214 we saw Tito Ortiz in Cyborg’s corner and Ben Askren with Tyrone Woodley.

CSAC prevented Renan Barao from cutting down to 135 pounds and his fight with Aljamain Sterling was at a catchweight of 140.  Despite a request, Sterling was not given more money for accepting the catchweight fight.

Also of note Sterling and Al Iaquinta are getting into the real estate business.  I feel a reality show on UFC Fight Pass upcoming.

Three interesting notes in MMA journalism at UFC 214.  First, the MMAJA had its first meeting.  The second was Luke Thomas was shut down by Jon Jones after asking a question.  While the question is subject to scrutiny, Jones’ utter refusal and the subsequent applause by fans goes against what a lot of MMA fans want, which is for journalists to ask questions and fighters to answer.  Granted, the question was probably not going to reveal anything as Jones is media trained but he still should have answered it.

Joe Rogan came under scrutiny as he decided to interview Daniel Cormier after it was clear he displayed the symptoms of someone that suffered a concussion.  Rogan stated that he wanted to give Cormier a chance to talk which is fair.  Yet, it seemed like the production crew that saw the footage of Cormier and/or DC’s corner could have prevented Rogan from making this decision.  Cormier did not say anything out of order but he could have which would have been awkward for live PPV.  Rogan apologized the next day via social media.  Some didn’t think the apology was enough but it does come into question the health of a fighter versus entertainment.  Certainly, fighters should not be interviewed after a head injury.  But, that is balanced with wanting to hear the raw emotions of the fight.  Rogan knew he probably shouldn’t interview Cormier (recall the Alistair Overeem interview after he lost to Stipe Miocic post-fight where Overeem thought Miocic tapped), but this was a big moment and the end of a heated, personal rivalry.  From the entertainment perspective, fans wanted closure and hear both sides of the story.

The three-man booth of Anik, Cruz and Rogan is still going through growing pains with Cruz and Rogan stepping over each other at times.

There were stars at the fights but forget all of them.  The Rock was in the building

Quotes of the night:

“Jarred Brooks can cuss ladies and gentlemen.”  – Jon Anik after Brooks’ post-fight interview

‘“I don’t know what’s happening in my hands, but that’s dynamite.”  Vokan Oezdemir after ending Jimi Manawa in less than 1 minute in R1.

There were over 2 million google searches for UFC 214 Saturday night.

Conclusion

This event seemed less-hyped than UFC 182 which was sold solely on Cormier-Jones.  Yet, the depth of this card would seem to help with the UFC casual fan.  The return of Jon Jones probably helped with last-minute buys as folks probably wanted to make sure that he would be fighting.  Will it surpass 1 million buys?  With over 2 million google searches it’s a possibility.  But, I think this event lands somewhere around UFC 182 and expect that it does the best for 2017 with 800,000 buys.

Next Page »