November 16, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we take a look at the happenings taken place down under in Melbourne, Australia as Holly Holm upset Ronda Rousey to win the women’s bantamweight title.
Holm, game plan takes out Rousey
No one would have thought this would have been the ending. But, a headkick knocked out Ronda Rousey and the aura of invincibility was over. Holly Holm, who hovered around an 8-1 to 12-1 underdog depending on where you looked, outclassed Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Holm’s game plan trumped Rousey’s athletic ability. Moreover, Rousey’s boxing was exposed and it was clear that she was exhausted at the end of Round 1.
For Holm, it was the culmination of a long-term plan that had her and her trainers preparing for Rousey even before she was in the UFC. Her management fought tooth and nail with UFC management in negotiating her signing with the company. Turns out it was worth it.
As for Rousey, her loss seemed to satiate the thirst of every Rousey hater. Everyone was quick to tweet with glee her loss and KO. As is with most MMA fighters that gain more popularity than the others, MMA “fans” began to despise Rousey. The good news for them is that she lost and MMA fans will turn their attention to Conor McGregor in December silently hoping for him to lose as many have those tweets ready for their timeline.
Joanna Champion still Champ
It was not a dominant performance, but Joanna Jedrzejcyzk retained her 115 pound title with a unanimous decision over Valerie Letourneau. Letourneau came down 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds and you have to think that it might have played a factor. Overall, it was an entertaining fight with Joanna retaining her title.
Attendance and Gate
It was a record setting night for the UFC as the announced attendance was 56,214 with a gate of $6.8 million (U.S.). It did better than UFC 129 which drew 55,724 in Toronto. However, the gate did not exceed the 55,724.
As Darren Rovell tweeted, there were many comps for the event although the UFC no longer reports on the number.
This was a little curious as Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey and Kyle Noke earned the $50,000 bonuses. Holm won for both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. Noke earned a Performance of the Night Bonus. Rousey drew a Fight of the Night bonus although you might argue that she didn’t deserve it for her part in the fight. Certainly, there were other fighters (e.g., Ben Nguyen) that could have received a Performance of the Night Bonus instead of Rousey receiving one for FOTN.
Promotion of the Fight
Ronda Rousey went on Good Morning America in late August to announce her fight with Holly Holm. Originally scheduled for January 2nd, the event was moved up in part to replace the main event of UFC 193 as well as attempt to set a new UFC attendance (and gate) record at Ethiad Stadium.
Perhaps the best video promotion for a UFC event was produced for UFC 193. It debuted on Ellen’s web site which featured a younger Ronda Rousey learning martial arts with the underlying message that women could do anything.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 2, 2015
A lengthier feature was shown after the UFC 193 PPV.
You might recall Dana White announced in a phone interview Rousey-Holm was moved from January 2nd to November 14th on a Friday night on ESPN. The date was moved up due to the usual injury issues.
The event was a reward for the province as a law which prohibited cagefighting was lifted. With opposition still abound in the area, the attendance at the event (albeit with some comped seats) was still strong. USA Today reported on the “stir” in Australia with opposition to the sport of MMA. Rousey spoke with local media about the controversy.
UFC Embedded, the video series, aired on Fox the Saturday before the fight. Usually, it’s online but with a Rousey fight, it seemed to demand more visibility. Also, Ruby Rose was the narrator for the series.
Rousey was also on the front page of the NY Times Sunday Styles Section in October. This was one of several media obligations which catered to women. It will be interesting to see if Holly Holm can continue this trend and appeal.
In the octagon, we had a couple international UFC sponsors as well as the usual mainstays. Unibet, Xbox’s Tomb Raider, DraftKings, Wargaming.net, Bud Light, the upcoming film, “Creed,” Bud Light, Reebok and Monster Energy Drink had the center. Unibet had the fighter prep point. Holly Holm was sponsored by Unibet and announced a new deal with GRRRL Clothing.
Odds and Ends
Since it always comes back to gambling. The betting line on Holm in Vegas and the aftermath:
Donald Trump weighed in on Ronda Rousey tweeting that he was glad that she lost because she is not a nice person. I didn’t know they knew each other.
EA Sports announced that Rousey would be on the cover of its latest UFC game coming out this spring. Was it a video game cover curse?
Should we read into the fact that Ronda’s mother was not at the fight a sign of discontent with her? It is a long plane ride to Australia for sure, but her mother has already been there for her fights.
Rousey’s hang up during a UFC 193 Conference Call was an act of unprofessionalism despite the question asking about Travis Browne. Even worse, the excuse that her “phone died” just insults everyone’s intelligence. You mean, the UFC and/or Rousey’s management could not have given her a phone to finish the call?
At the end of Episode 3 of the Embedded series, Rousey uses an analogy about being bankrupt. All the while, it shows her hitting mitts with Edmund. His bankruptcy filing occurred this summer and comes to a head this month. This issue had not been a problem in the past, but with the news surfacing now, it all makes it more of a deal.
Letourneau was informed by USADA that Hector Lombard could not corner her for her fight as Lombard’s participation would have violated the new anti-doping policy. Lombard, who admitted to using PEDs earlier this year would fall under the “prohibited association” rule of the UFC anti-doping policy.
Lenny Fresquez, the agent/manager for Holly Holm, won six figures betting on her client. There’s something that seems unsettling with a manager that is already making off of her client for representation to bet money on her client. Sure, it’s legal and acceptable, but is there a conflict of interest?
Notably, Fresquez said that Holm has 2 more fights under her existing contract.
FS1 could not carry the post-fight show until late due to the Pac-12 game between Utah and Arizona going to double OT. Most of the post-fight was on FS2.
The PPV went over the 3 hour mark which is a rarity.
It was interesting that not much was made of the fact that one of the biggest cards in UFC history and it was headline by two women’s title fights.
In anticipation of a Rousey “vine” like finish, the UFC sent out a reminder to media outlets that you would be in violation of Zuffa’s copyright of the PPV. It appeared as though the Huffington Post Sports twitter feed was allowed to post the finish (as it did). Still, others posted the finish online. In protection of its copyright (and in order for people to buy the PPV), the UFC wanted to deter people from posting their videos.
Certainly a Rousey-Holm rematch seems ripe for July’s UFC 200.
It was interesting that despite Ronda Rousey google searches hitting 500,000 on Friday, there was a slight downturn (note: in the link the google trends embedded link is constantly changing over time which I think is pretty cool) in searches right around the time after the weigh-ins. But, the searches jumped back up on Saturday afternoon. What does this mean about PPV buys? Who really knows? But, if we are to look into the past history of Rousey fights, one might think this still does well. I would predict 750,000 PPV buys.
March 4, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 184 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. In the main event, Ronda Rousey fought Cat Zingano.
Gone in 14 seconds
Zero strikes but a scramble that had Cat Zingano’s arm caught by Ronda Rousey and a straight armbar ended the night very early for the challenger.
It’s too bad considering the Zingano backstory. Even though she was a huge underdog, you would have like to see more of a fight.
For Rousey, she has received mainstream approval and sports people asking if she’s good for the sport. Obviously, the fact that people are talking about Rousey is good for the UFC. The question of who should see fight next is a good question. With Rousey taking time off to do a movie, it will be interesting to see who will be set up as her next opponent. Beth Corriea? Jessica Eye? One fighter not mentioned was Cris Cyborg who fought on the Invicta card the night before.
Holm defeats Rocky
It was not the strongest of debuts for “The Preacher’s Daughter” but she sustained a very good Raquel Pennington for the decision. Holm was one of the most talked about women’s fighters not in the UFC prior to her debut. Now, she seems destined to challenge for Rousey’s belt. Based on Saturday, she’s not ready yet.
Attendance and Gate
According to the post-fight press conference UFC 184 at the Staples Center drew a reported 17,654 fans for a gate of $2.675 million. Of the UFC events held at the Staples Center, only UFC 60 which featured Matt Hughes taking on Royce Gracie did better (14,802 for $2.9 million). The Staples Center capacity ranges from 18,000-21,000 depending on the event.
Cat Zingano ($100K) actually had a higher base salary than Ronda Rousey ($65K) although it was reported by Larry Pugmire of the LA Times that Rousey would probably clear $1 million with her cut of PPV revenues. Also, Rousey was sponsored by Reebok, Monster and Monster Headphones. All are UFC sponsors (presumably Monster Energy Drink has signed with the UFC).
Rousey did make $65K and $65K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $180,000.
In addition, Jake Ellenberger made $68K and $68K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $186,000.
Tony Ferguson and Tim Means earned the other $50K Performances of the Night. There was no Fight of the Night.
The rest of the payouts are here.
Promotion of the Fight
The episodes of UFC Embedded were once again entertaining although I would argue that this time around the portion of the UFC Countdown show focusing on Cat Zingano had to be the best
The pre-weigh-in staredowns included the main eventers wearing evening gowns.
Rousey made the usual media rounds including an appearance on Jim Rome. Something that people picked up on was a dispute between Rousey and Arianny Celeste.
Probably the biggest sponsor for Saturday was the “M” in the middle of the Octagon which replaced the usual Bud Light sponsor. It appears that Monster Energy Drink has signed on as a sponsor for the UFC. The former Bellator sponsor was shown prominently in the center of the Octagon as well as ring posts.
In addition, DraftKings announced a new sponsorship deal this week and was also on the Octagon mat.
Rounding out the sponsors on the Octagon mat included, Bud Light, MetroPCS, MusclePharm, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve and the movie Run All Night. Harley Davidson had the prep point.
Holly Holm had no sponsors except UFC on her ring gear. Raquel Pennington had a pretty nice “Colorado Rocky” shirt.
Ronda Rousey had Monster, Reebok and the UFC on her ring gear. She also donned Monster headphones upon heading to the Octagon. Rousey also had her jeans sponsor Buffalo on her fighter poster. Maybe Nissan of Omaha was the best sponsor for Cat Zingano as it was clearly seen as she was being submitted. Other notable Zingano sponsors included Sepec and Kalapaki Joe’s.
Odds and Ends
The UFC indicated that the social media campaign around Ronda Rousey did well:
— Shanda (@UFC_Shanda) March 2, 2015
Big search numbers for Ronda Rousey:
Ronda Rousey finished w/ 1M Google searches Saturday. Another 200k for RR plus 200k more for UFC 184 on Friday. 50k for Cat Zingano Thursday
— Adam Swift (@AdamMSwift) March 2, 2015
Darren Rovell took an ad hoc poll on the popularity of the UFC. The fact that Rovell is gaging his followers on its popularity shows that Rousey sparked his interest in the UFC.
POLL RESULTS (700+ VOTES): Only 23% more interested in UFC than they say they were 3 years ago pic.twitter.com/DgyDjvtLYH
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 1, 2015
Sponsor Mike’s Seafood on Derrick Lewis’ backside was either a good idea or a bad one.
The top three cities on Google Trends that searched for “Ronda Rousey” were Quezon City, Philippines, Los Angeles and New York in that order.
UFC 184 was in theaters once again. There were anecdotal reports of packed sports bars watching the fight.
Mark Munoz did not look good on Saturday. He failed to make weight on his first try at the weigh-ins although he subsequently made it. I would have hoped that he would make it to the Philippines card and then retire. It might be best for him to retire now.
InvictaFC had a card the night before in LA with Cyborg in the main event. Yet no real mention of her after the Rousey fight.
Essentially, the PPV ended at 9:00pm PT due to the quick main event and prelim matches were shown to fill-in time.
Ronda Rousey is one of the big draws of the UFC and based on searches and media coverage she is someone that casual viewers would tune into watch. The fact that ESPN talking head shows and other sports media were talking about her 14 second win on Monday reflects her popularity. But does that mean it equates to people paying $60 to watch her fight? We shall see. The last time Rousey headlined (without another co-main) was UFC 170 which drew 350,000 PPV buys. My guestimate would be somewhere around that mark and perhaps a little more 350,000-375,000 PPV buys.
October 16, 2014
MMA Junkie reports (via USA Today) on one of the newest revenue stream for MMA fighters which utilizes their following on social. Squor pays athletes for using their platform when they are on social media.
Fighters have been paid up to $4,000 per month for just using the Squor link on their twitter feeds. The company also offers bonuses. UFC Strawweight competitor, Felice Herrig, confirmed that she was paid $8,900 per month for using Squor through “engagement bonuses.” Conor McGregor was also a fighter mentioned in the article that does well each month from Squor per his use of it on social media.
— Felice Herrig (@feliceherrig) October 16, 2014
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) October 16, 2014
You can follow UFC fighters on Squor here.
It’s not clear how fighters earn their money from Squor or how Squor benefits but one might assume it’s based on the number of followers each individual has and how many of their followers click and follow the Squor link. The monetary incentive for use of social media is reminiscent of the short-live twitter bonuses the UFC awarded. The article does note that the “pay to post” revenue structure may one day run dry and Squor has offered a crowdfund option for fighters. For fighters, it’s another revenue stream for them that may benefit those in between fights.
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:
Wheaties with a cool idea. Problem: Haven’t ever heard of the 5 athletes you can choose from pic.twitter.com/GYyHrc78Pv
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) September 2, 2014
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.
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.
March 17, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time well be taking a look at UFC 171 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.
Hendricks wins vacant title
A scare with not making weight did not matter for Johny Hendricks as he defeated Robbie Lawler in the Fight of the Night. For Hendricks, it was redemption from a controversial loss to GSP last time out. Lawler was impressive in defeat but just didn’t have enough to win the title.
Hendricks was the top welterweight of the night as he will now look to a smorgasbord of challengers to the title which may include a couple fighters (Lombard, Woodley) on the card and one (Nick Diaz) that was in attendance.
Woodley upsets Condit
Tyron Woodley may have moved to the top of the contender’s list for the welterweight division with his victory over Carlos Condit. While the knee injury to Condit caused the stoppage, it should not take away from the fact that Woodley was impressive and can argue he is next in line for a title shot at Hendricks.
Attendance and Gate
As we reported on Sunday, the UFC announced its attendance at 19,324 for a live gate of $2.6 million. The numbers reflect the largest U.S. crowd to see a UFC event. The numbers bested the UFC’s last event in Dallas which did 17,428 for a $2.4 million gate at UFC 103.
There were no information yet on comps and the Texas Department of Licensing will confirm the numbers later this week.
The bonuses were awarded to Hendricks-Lawler, Ovince St. Preux and Dennis Bermudez.
Fight of the Night – Hendricks-Lawler
Performance of the Night – OSP (Von Flue!) and Bermudez.
Each fighter earned an extra $50K. In addition, Harley Davidson ran a promotion in which one of the bonus winners could win a Harley Davidson based upon a fan vote on the UFC’s Facebook page. Hendricks won the fan vote and a new motorcycle.
The usual suspects were in the Octagon including the official UFC sponsors of MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Alienware, Corn Nuts as well as Bud Light taking the center of the Octagon. Fram Auto Filters was the latest addition to Octagon signage. In addition, Robbie Lawler’s sponsor, the Air Force Reserve also had signage in the Octagon.
The most notable sponsor for Hendricks was Reebok. Hendricks wore a shirt with the hashtag Reebokzquick. Hendricks co-starred in a commercial featuring the Reebok fitness line in a recent commercial It was the second time that the clothing brand has sponsored him in the Octagon. With Hendricks as champ, we can expect that Reebok will extend its sponsorship deal. Hendricks was also sponsored by two official UFC sponsors: Corn Nuts and Alienware.
Diego Sanchez had a product tie-in where he wore a Training Mask during his workouts on the UFC Countdown show.
Tyron Woodley signed on with Affliction Clothing prior to UFC 171 (via FighterxFashion). He also snagged a deal with Monster Headphones.
— Monster Products (@MonsterProducts) March 17, 2014
The UFC had a “Vote for the T” Contest where fans had a chance to design a t-shirt for the UFC to market and sell for $30.
Who’s next for Johny Hendricks? A lot of debate swirling that Woodley, Hector Lombard or even Nick Diaz should face Hendricks next. Diaz, who flew to Dallas courtesy of the UFC, was featured on the company’s Instagram account mocking Hendricks when it appeared he had missed weight and needed to retry. Despite the showings of the other welterweights on the card, the appeal of Diaz is that he can sell a fight without even trying (i.e. we’re not talking Wolf Tickets). But, the bottom line is that the show revealed that the welterweight is a very competitive division with many challengers to face Hendricks.
Odds and Ends
Unfortunately, the UFC 171 Prelims were on FS2 due to college basketball tournament action as the prelim fights were probably the best in recent memory.
The Von Flue Choke will be the most demonstrated move in BJJ gyms across the nation this week.
Hendricks marketed “BeardHeads” riffing off of his trademark facial hair. There was a sponsor giveaway associated with the gimmick as well.
I am not clear why Diego Sanchez was eating quail egg and steak tartare before a fight. It seems very suspect.
The top cities that searched the name Johny Hendricks on Google were Oklahoma City and Montreal.
Google trends revealed that Johny Hendricks was not getting as many searches as when he fought Georges St. Pierre but UFC 171 was getting significant traffic.
If GSP does come back against Hendricks, it could be the Cowboy Stadium show that the UFC wants and a 1 million PPV buy event.
While the attendance and gate numbers are impressive for a show not featuring GSP/Anderson Silva or Cain Velasquez (note we excluded Ronda Rousey based on her last outing), it’s hard to conclude a big buy rate. There was nothing that stood out in the promotion of this event despite it being for the vacant welterweight title. Still, the Hendricks win puts him in a position to be groomed to be the next big draw for the UFC. With the lack of a big name at the top, and the minimal buzz for the event, a buy rate of 300,000 would be solid.
February 25, 2014
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will fight Marcos Maidana on May 3rd in Las Vegas per a tweet sent out by Mayweather on his birthday. It will be Mayweather’s third fight for Showtime Boxing.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) February 25, 2014
Mayweather engaged with his twitter followers by asking them to go to his web site to vote for who he should fight.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) February 4, 2014
According to this Kevin Iole story (via Lockerdome), Khan won the unofficial fan vote.
The “Cinco de Mayo weekend” fight has become tradition for Mayweather. Maidana as his opponent is somewhat surprising as most had Amir Khan as the frontrunner for the shot. Khan would have drawn a lot of British fans as he is from the United Kingdom. He also has argued that he would have brought in a lot of interest from the Middle East as Khan is of Pakistani descent. Yet, Mayweather chose Maidana which is likely due in part to his upset victory over Adrien Broner. Maidana, who is from Argentina, made a strong case for himself as he knocked Broner down twice and his style could bring a much more fan friendly, exciting fight than Khan.
Mayweather is master of social media strategy. He implemented the use of his followers to engage with him on twitter as to his next fight and created traffic for his own web site. Regardless of the opponents he listed on the poll, the goal of creating traffic appears to have worked.
December 30, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at the last UFC event of 2013 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weidman retains belt after Silva breaks leg
Corey Hill. That is what went through my mind as Anderson Silva’s shin was shattered on a Chris Weidman leg check. Many may recall the lanky TUF competitor breaking his leg on an eerily similar
Leg checks are gruesome as it is and Silva’s kick that broke his leg looked like it was right on Weidman’s knee.
It appeared that Weidman may have knocked out Silva in the first but Silva was able to survive round 1 and even bloodied Weidman. Although Weidman likely won round 1, the fight was still up in the air before the kick despite folks concluding that Weidman would have won the fight. Weidman did look much improved from July and solidified his standing as the division’s champ. It appears that Vitor Belfort may be next. The question is will it be in Vegas or Brazil?
As for Silva, it’s likely the end to his career. At 38, Silva has had a successful run and should be financially set for the rest of his life. We may see him in the UFC in some sort of emeritus role but never again in the Octagon fighting.
Rousey armbars Tate to retain title
Ronda Rousey submitted Miesha Tate although the challenger put up a fight and was the crowd favorite throughout. Rousey refused a Tate handshake at the end which solidified her as the heel.
Tate was a heavy underdog and it seemed that surviving the first round was a victory in itself. Despite not getting armbarred in the first or second round, Rousey was still dominating the match. Her Judo was exceptional and one has to wonder why attempt to take Rousey to the ground when Tate scored with shots on her feet.
Rousey has a quick turnaround as she fights Sarah McMann on February 22nd.
Some have speculated that the Rousey-McMann fight was made to coincide with the Winter Olympics. Both were medalists in the Olympics. The only problem with this theory was that Rousey and McMann competed in the Summer Olympics.
Browne KOs the Warmaster
Travis Browne used his elbows to KO Josh Barnett in what was a mini-upset. Browne propels himself to a fight with Fabricio Werdum with the fighter likely getting Cain Velasquez.
Attendance and Gate
As announced at the post-fight press conference, it was the second-highest gate for an MMA event in MGM history with 15,650 for a gate of $6.2 million.
Rousey, Tate and Browne were the recipients of the fight night bonuses. Instead of the standard $50K each, the UFC upped the bonus to $75K.
FOTN – Rousey-Tate
Sub – Rousey
KO – Browne
As we previously pointed out, Jim Miller should have received the Submission of the Night with his slick setup and eventual arm bar of BJJ Black Belt Fabricio Comoes.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed the pay of the top 3 fights on the card (via MMA Junkie). The rest of the card should be made public later this week.
Chris Weidman received a big pay increase in pay in his first title defense. He received $200K to show and another $200K for the win for a total of $400K.
Silva received $600K and would have made another $200K if he won.
Rousey made $50K/$50K but with another $150K in bonuses she tallied $250K for the night. Tate made $28K and another $75K for $103K.
Josh Barnett made $170K and Travis Browne made $56K ($28K/$28K) plus his $75K win bonus for a total of $131K.
Raise in PPV Price
One of the surprises that came before the fight was the $5 bump in price for the last PPV of the year. UFC 168 was the first at $59.99 (HD) and $49.99 (SD). White indicated that this would be the only time it would raise its price. However, there is some confusion as to whether the $59.99 will remain in 2014 as the current prices on the UFC web page list UFC 169 an 170 at $59.99 although there are reports the listed price is a mistake.
There were many promotional commercials leading up to 168 that still promoted the PPV as $54.95 although you were likely made known of the price change when you went to order.
The rise in the price could mean more people went to bars to watch the PPV and maybe more fight parties.
Promotion of the Fight
The UFC went all out for UFC 168 with branding all over the MGM Grand including the key cards, slot machines and gaming felt. I can attest the UFC has done the gaming felt back in the Tito Ortiz days (circa 2006). Still, the constant reminders of the fight likely helped out.
ESPN got in on the action as it let Dana White take over its twitter and Instagram accounts on Saturday to hype the fight. The obvious conflict is that White’s company is featured on ESPN’s newest competitor, Fox Sports 1. The fact White is allowed to promote on ESPN and that ESPN wants White to promote the UFC infers that MMA is legitimately making strides as a sport that is newsworthy (well, except that ESPN got rid of the over the air version of MMA Live).
UFC used FS1 to promote the fight and showed Weidman-Silva I and also aired “Fighting Words” which was an interesting look at the first fight that included audio of the corners that caught what each said to their fighters. It also included interviews by both fighters and audio from Jon Jones and Urijah Faber at the fight. While UFC Primetime has been shut down, this show did a great job in recapping events leading up to the rematch.
The Saturday morning edition of Good Morning America did a spot on Ronda Rousey which is a pretty big even if it was the weekend crew of GMA.
The UFC held a press conference prior to the fights to announce the UFC’s new digital network, the UFC Fight Pass. More on this later but the sweetener for UFC fans is that it is giving users 2 months free before it charges your credit card $9.99 per month.
Sears was the newest “big” sponsor to the Octagon. Maybe a “one off” but I’m sure the UFC hopes that it can bring it in as an official sponsor. Tapout, MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Cinemax’s “Banshee”, Peter Berg’s movie, “Lone Survivor”, WarGaming.net, MetroPCS and Bud Light with the center.
UltimatePoker.com had the prep point outside the cage and AXS TV had the official weigh-ins.
Harley Davidson ran a promotion for its Project Rushmore motorcycles in which the winner of Weidman-Silva would win a motorcycle.
MetroPCS also had a unique activation for this event where twitter users could obtain a “personalized” digital photograph of Ronda Rousey.
Interesting sponsor of the night: Autoshopper.com. It was on a number of fighters including Miesha Tate.
1Law.com, a law firm out of Utah picked the right fighter to sponsor as it was on the front of the shorts of Travis Browne as he KO’d Josh Barnett. It has sponsored Browne in the past.
Monster (an official UFC sponsor) headphones are going to be around more and more heads in the Octagon so get used to them having them on and not listening to anything.
Nike was noticeably absent from Anderson Silva. When asked by Ariel Helwani in a pre-fight interview, Silva told him to ask Dana. White deflected comment but it was clear that Nike did not pay or would not pay the sponsor fee for Silva this time around. To be clear, Nike still sponsors Silva, it’s just that he was not on Silva’s shorts, shirt or banner.
Rousey was sponsored by the UFC in what looked like signature gear. She was also sponsored by Xyience.
Tate had a number of sponsors including Autoshopper.com, Venum, Affliction and Training Mask.
Silva did have less sponsors this go round. He had Wizard, Burger King, computer maker Lenovo and soccer club Corinthians Paulista.
Weidman had an assortment of sponsors including Bad Boy Club, Oak Grove Technologies, American Ethanol, Monster and investment firm InCapital.
Post-UFC 168 Headlines
The new faces of the UFC. Saturday we saw the two new faces of the UFC in Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman. With GSP and Anderson Silva gone within weeks of each other, Weidman should be marketed as the top UFC guy. Even though Jon Jones has a fair argument here, his last couple of fights have not equated to PPV success. Weidman took down the GOAT twice and we will see how long he can defend the belt in this division.
Despite being the “heel” against Miesha Tate, Rousey has the “it” factor that draws people to watch her. She is brash, dominant and that look of determination walking to the ring would have anyone hiding their arms around her. The question is whether the fame and time obligations may catch up to her. With her next fight so close to this one and coming off of shooting two movies, we will see if it catches up with her.
Odds and Ends
-The UFC offered closed circuit of the fight at the MGM for $60 per person. I do not believe the UFC put this PPV in movie theatres.
-There were over 5 million Google searches for Anderson Silva on Saturday night. Most searchers likely wanted to see an image of his broken leg.
-It was the first time I recall the main event fighters coming out from different sides of the curtain at the weigh-ins.
-Over 14.6K people were on YouTube at the start of the very first fight which bodes well for viewership for the rest of the card.
-Rumors of Brock Lesnar in Vegas during UFC 168 is reminiscent of the two guards that sat in the courtroom that unnerved Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men.” In other words, the UFC could have just flown Lesnar out to Vegas and create a story that wasn’t there.
-Rousey and Tate are complete opposites and this was most telling in their walkout songs. Katy Perry (Tate) vs. Joan Jett (Rousey).
-Due to the short fights, there was a lot of downtime and “commercials” and the live fights ended at 9:30pm PT.
-Buried by the main event stories was the second straight impressive win by Michael Johnson on the Prelims.
-Uriah Hall saved his job, while Chris Leben likely heads to retirement.
–Marc Jacobs is selling a Ronda Rousey t-shirt.
-Anyone else notice that the broadcast team kept pumping up the odds including right before the Tate-Rousey fight. That might not be new, but what was new was that it directed people interested in odds to the UFC web site.
The hype for this fight was the biggest this year and the women co-main event had a lot to do with it. It may be one of the highest HD PPV buys ever. There was a lot of mainstream buzz for the fight which not always transfers into PPV purchases. But I think the buzz helped. Despite the protests about the price increase, it will likely not affect the final PPV buys. An estimation of around 750K PPV buys should be attainable if not surpassed after all is said and done.
September 25, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that UFC Heavyweight Junior dos Santos has signed on with 9ine. The Brazilian sports and entertainment company is headed by former soccer star Ronaldo and is backed by worldwide marketing communications firm WPP.
You may recall that Anderson Silva signed on with 9ine in 2011. It also represents several soccer stars as well.
Via MMA Fighting:
According to 9ine’s CEO Marcus Buaiz, the company will take care of dos Santos’ image, social media and contracts with sponsors. “Cigano” is currently sponsored by Nike, TNT and Corinthians.
“Cigano is a great champion with an image that lots of companies want to work with, and he has a good relationship with the media,” Buaiz said. “9ine’s goal is to increase what has already been done with our excellence of working athlete’s image.”
You may recall that JDS suddenly left long time manager Ed Soares in June 2011 for the Guedes Group. That occurred months before his KO of Cain Velasquez on the first Fox show. The latest development is an interesting move by JDS since he has already secured top sponsors. We will see what his new agency can do for him.
May 17, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that Nate Diaz has been suspended pending an investigation for a tweet in which he made a gay slur. Diaz sent the tweet in defense of Pat Healy as he had been stripped of bonuses for testing positive for marijuana use.
Diaz used the slur to refer to Brian Caraway, the UFC fighter that received the submission of the night bonus after the UFC stripped Healy of the bonus. Incidentally, it was Caraway that lobbied Dana White for the raise in bonuses for UFC 159.
We all remember that the UFC suspended Matt Mitrione for statements that he made on The MMA Hour in relation to Fallon Fox. The suspension was short-lived as Mitrione was scheduled a fight after only two weeks of discipline.
Diaz is coming off his second loss in a row as he suffered the first TKO of his career against Josh Thomson. MMA Junkie reports Diaz’s manager, Mike Kogan, advised Diaz not to delete the offensive tweet and that people look up the offending word in the dictionary. He explained that the word is slang in Northern California.
This probably violates the UFC’s Code of Conduct. Maybe the UFC should have another Fighter Summit to refresh its fighters on what is appropriate to tweet or say to the media. Even if Diaz believed the name calling to be benign and not a slur against homosexuals, but more of dissing Caraway (something seemingly explained by Kogan), he should have called him something else. With Kogan supporting Diaz’s stance and choice of words, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Certainly, the standard way to address issues like this is to apologize for the choice of words. Here, we are asked to refer to a dictionary. We will see how this works.
May 1, 2013
ESPN Business Reporter and UFC head Dana White went back and forth on twitter on the state of UFC business. The UFC drew the scrutiny of ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell. If you didn’t know, Rovell covers the business of sports and is as active on twitter as Dana White. Rovell sent a tweet out the following tweet after UFC 159.
UFC is starting to lose a little bit of its edge. Might need to have fewer events. Know guy who paid $50 for a $553 face seat tonight.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 28, 2013
This drew the ire of UFC fans, media and eventually got back to Dana White. And in usual form, he escalates the criticism to make it personal.
Rovell didn’t seem pleased about the “ESPN” remark and defended his reason for inquiry.
After a query to substantiate the numbers that the UFC was still on the rise, White indicated to Rovell that he’d get him those numbers
On Wednesday, three days after the initial back and forth, Rovell received his request. It appears to either be a cut and paste of a Fuel TV press release, a hastily put together word document and/or both. You can click on the pic to see it close up. As you can read, White tells Rovell that Zuffa is a private company.
The following tweet is a lesson in making sure you read what you tweet. White’s response to Rovell.
Rovell did concede that the UFC had some strong indicators of improvement.
Rovell then addressed the data White provided to a follower that believed White had shown the reporter up.
Rovell did make a back-handed complement about the back and forth with White.
He then makes the most sense in the following tweets in requesting information that most would ask about a company’s financials.
Prior to receiving the data from White, Rovell ran a poll for his twitter followers. Its something he does periodically to create engagement. The poll asks whether UFC has mainstream potential. As you can read, a little over half don’t think so.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 29, 2013
POLL RESULTS: 55% of respondents say they don’t think the UFC has the potential to go mainstream sprts.bz/17rLdRl
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 29, 2013
You can also head over to Storify to see the original version of this.
Its an interesting back and forth between a mainstream business reporter and White. Certainly, there are errors on both sides of the conversation. Rovell frames the questions differently. He first states that the UFC has lost its “edge” based on the anecdotal evidence that a friend bought a ticket for substantially less than face value. He then asks about the UFC slowing down financially and would like to see its net profits. White responds over the top. Rovell baits him to provide him data that the UFC is doing better and then White gives him something that can’t be substantiated. Being a reporter, Rovell is upset and White relies on the “private company” safe harbor to protect the UFC from having to release its numbers.
At times, Rovell uses financial information to dampen the mood for fans. For example, when a player drops in the NFL Draft, he’s the first to tweet how much money that player is losing. Still, Rovell is being a journalist here and it would have looked better if White could have just said granted him an interview to talk about it or provided him information that did not look like it was a press release.