UFC 213: Payout Perspective

July 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 213 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Whittaker wins interim middleweight title

Robert Whittaker won a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero to win the interim middleweight title. Originally, a co-main feature, it took over as the last fight of the show when Amanda Nunes was reportedly hospitalized and could not fight Saturday night.

Romero tired and Whittaker was able to take advantage. One of Whittaker’s cornermen almost suffocated him with the black Reebok champion shirt during his post-fight interview. Also, Michael Bisping entered the Octagon to do a WWE-style promo on Whittaker. The two may fight after Bisping-GSP in November at MSG (likely to happen) so their fight might not happen until International Fight Week 2018.

With the UFC announcing that it is returning to Australia in November could Whittaker return to defend his title at that point?

Nunes withdraws leaving void for main event

If you watched the Embedded episodes for this event, you saw Amanda Nunes in a self-sauna in her hotel room.  Everything seemed fine as she was on weight on Friday morning.  But news Saturday morning of an illness and the immediate thought was about weight-cutting issues.  However, it was chronic sinusitis that led to the main event being cancelled.  Valentina Shevchenko will have to wait until Nunes gets better but it put off the main event of International Fight Week which apparently didn’t sit well with Dana White.  As promoter, having a fighter bail on a main event due to an issue which seems minimal compared to other injuries, is infuriating considering this is the second year in a row that a last-minute change occurred.  But, for Nunes, her career and livelihood was on the line.  She is an independent contractor and if she were to have lost due to an illness, there’s no guarantee she receives a rematch.  Sure, she lost out on her fight purse but this is the long versus short term view.

While White says he will not trust Nunes again with a main event spot, he’s said the same about Jon Jones who is headlining later this month. If Nunes comes back and defeats Shevchenko like she did Tate and Rousey I assume all will be forgiven.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romer drew Fight of the Night while Rob Font and Chad Laprise scored Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages. Each earned $50K bonuses.

Despite the last minute scratch and lack of big fights on this card, UFC 213 drew the second-highest attendance and gate for 2017 with $2.4 million for 12,834. Only UFC 211 in Dallas this past May drew higher numbers with 17,834 for a gate of $2,662,645.

UPDATED:  Salaries

Alistair Overeem topped the salaries for the event with $800,000.  You can see more of the salaries here.

Promotion of the Fight

There were some sponsor activations for UFC 213 but it seemed that this event lacked buzz of the past July International Fight Weeks. The Embedded appeared to start later than usual in a fight week and there were only 5 episodes as opposed to the 6 that are usually put out there. This could be due to the Nunes news. Despite this, the episodes were sponsored by Budweiser.

There were some other sponsorship activation which we detail below.

Sponsorships

A couple new sponsors in the Octagon this month including Performance Inspired Nutrition and Gruntstyle.com.  Grunt Style is a Patriotic-Inspired Apparel company although the signage in the Octagon was rather bland.  The UFC sent out a press release the last week of June announcing that Performance-Inspired Nutrition would be the “Official Sports Supplement” of the UFC.  The partnership means that they will provide the supplements at the UFC Performance Institute in Vegas.

Performance-Inspired also sponsored the Performance of the Night Bonuses

Also, an ad for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for Fight Pass.

Also, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Monster Energy, 7-Eleven, Toyo Tires and the movie, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” were all in the Octagon with Monster Energy having the middle.

MetroPCS also did some live streaming with Forrest Griffin and Demetrious Johnson analyzing the UFC 213 card. There was also a contest for a chance to win UFC or Samsung gear.

UFC is offering a mobile video game capitalizing on the esports/mobile game space.

Toyo Tires aired a new commercial featuring UFC fighters which included Anthony Pettis and Paige VanZant. Toyo Tires also sponsored post-event backstage interviews including this one with Dana White.

Odds and ends

Michael Johnson-Justin Gaethje was the fight of the weekend. His fight style is not long for this sport but he should get a top 10 lightweight next.

UFC 213 Countdown drew 116,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday Night per Nielsen.

MetroPCS had new commercials with Sage Northcutt and Demetrious Johnson. Maybe the UFC is making good with Johnson.

Here’s the portable sauna that Nunes used in episode 5 of the Embedded series. It only goes for $179.

If all UFC contracted athletes can use the Performance Institute, why don’t they especially if they need treatment or would like to do non-specific training.

The get-in price of UFC 213 as of Saturday afternoon of the event was $80 with a lot of tickets left on Tickemaster. The going price on SeatGeek was an $86 get-in price.

At the TUF 25 Finale weigh-ins, it looked like Tom Gallicchio had sponsors on his shorts.

The UFC 214 official promo is great.

UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2

The official promo for #UFC214: Daniel Cormier vs Jon "Bones" Jones 2.Enjoy.

Posted by UFC on Sunday, July 9, 2017

It was announced during the broadcast that Nevada has yet to agree to the Unified Rules of MMA.

Reebok should go with a v-neck shirt to put over fighters after their bouts for the simple fact it’s hard to put them over your head.  Robert Whittaker was almost choked out by his own corner man by putting on his black Reebok champ shirt.

The internet always wins:

UFC 213 google searches drew over 200,000 on Saturday night. Google searches for “UFC” drew over 200,000 which likely may be attributed to the cancelled fight and Dana White’s subsequent comments. I don’t think we can extrapolate that all of these searches were related to people buying the PPV.

Conclusion

It’s hard to think that the removal of Amanda Nunes could impact PPV buy rates. But, a show that could have done 300,000 PPV buys is likely doing something around 250,000 if lucky. Whittaker-Romero are not main-eventers and the lack of an actual (not interim) title on the card likely hurt. With over 200,000 google searches on Saturday night, I would suggest this PPV draws between 200-250,000 PPV buys.

$10M price tag for title sponsor of May-McG

June 29, 2017

ESPN reports that it will cost $10 million to be a title sponsor for the August 26th Mayweather-McGregor fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The price tag outpaces the $5.6 million title sponsor deal for Tecate’s main sponsorship of Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Per ESPN:

The sponsoring company would get its logo at the center of the ring at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, its branding on ring girls, on two of the ropes and in the two nonfighter corners of the ring. The deal also includes sponsorship of the first minute of every round on the broadcast and $500,000 in tickets.

In addition, the article notes that WME-IMG are selling corners for either McGregor or Mayweather for $5 million apiece.

If the title sponsorship and two ring corners are sold, the $20 million would be the largest sponsorship package sold for a fight.

Payout Perspective:

Its hard to fathom a company will invest $10 million to be a sponsor although I’m sure we’ll see a company emerge.  The article notes that none of the UFC’s existing corporate sponsors do not have automatic rights to the fight including McGregor’s existing marketing deals.  It’s not clear if the sales are a split between Mayweather and WME-IMG, done by one entity or if they’ve enlisted a third party and then split commissions.  It would be interesting to see how the sides are selling the ROI and ask price since it’s the largest ever where its one of the fighter’s first time in the boxing ring.

McGregor negotiating with apparel sponsors for Mayweather boxing match

June 19, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that Conor McGregor will not be tied to Reebok for his August 26th boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.  McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar told Ariel Helwan on The MMA Hour.

According to Attar, he is a free agent with respect to athletic apparel.  McGregor was one of a handful of UFC athletes to have personal Reebok sponsorship deals.  However, Attar stated that they have been negotiating with brands, including Reebok.

A recent Forbes survey indicated McGregor made $7 million in sponsorships for 2016.  One would expect that to increase due to this superfight with Floyd Mayweather.

Payout Perspective:

Even if McGregor had a deal with Reebok, I would argue that this would be limited to mixed martial arts fights and not boxing.  But, letting the deal lapse shows that McGregor had a broader plan and didn’t want to be tied to a Reebok payout.  With the boxing match, he can truly seek higher bidders for this one of a kind “one off” fight.

UFC median TV audience age is 49 compared to 34 in 2006 according to SBJ study

June 6, 2017

The Sports Business Journal reports that television viewer data for 25 sports, including the UFC, boxing and pro wrestling, reflect that the median age of TV viewers have increased from 2006 to 2016.

The commissioned study by Magna Global, shows that pro wrestling, the UFC and action sports have shown the most dramatic increase in median age from 2006 to 2016.  The UFC’s median age is now 49, which reflects an increase of 15 years which means that the median age in 2006 was 34.  For pro wrestling, the median age is 54 which reflects a 21-year increase which makes the 2006 median age for pro wrestling 33 years old.

Of the 25 sports reviewed, only WTA Tennis, decreased in age demo with it going down from 63 years of age to 58.

There’s been no big change to boxing’s demo as its median age has gone up just 4 years since 2000.  It is 49 in 2016 and was 45 16 years previous.

Notably, the youngest viewing audience according to the study was the Mexican football (soccer) league system, Liga BBVA Bancomer (MX), which has a median age of 32 years old in 2006 and 39 years old in 2016.  Second was International soccer, 35 in 2006 and 39 in 2016.  MLS was third youngest audience with the median age being 39 in 2006 and 40 in 2016.

Payout Perspective:

There were several takeaways from the study.  First, soccer seems to have the youngest audience.  I am not a big soccer fan so I do not really understand the fascination with the sport from a younger demo.

Next, the sports properties with which we think are competing demos have shown the aging in their sports.  The aforementioned pro wrestling, UFC and action sports (median age in 2016:  47, median age in 2006: 34).  Also, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series increased by 9 years in the 2006 to 2016 span (49 years old to 48 years old).  This means that the fans (most likely) have been loyal throughout the years which is a positive.

But, one may argue that this means that the sports are not doing a good job in cultivating a younger demo.  Traditionally, the younger demo, which is attractive to advertisers, has more spending power as they aren’t tied down with kids, mortgages, etc.  There are mitigating factors here.  For the younger demo, there are the cord-cutters and cord-nevers (those that never paid for TV) which would not be captured in this study.  Also, the birth of over the top platforms has happened in the past couple years which would not be registered in the study as well.  Finally, the changing landscape of TV viewership has changed over 10 years which may skew the demos.

In the end, the study may mean that the likes of the UFC and pro wrestling may shift its focus on advertising sales to an older demo.  Or, make a stronger pitch to the younger demo to attract those advertisers.

UFC 212: Payout Perspective

June 6, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UC 212 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the Featherweight title was unified.

Holloway scores TKO over Aldo

Max Holloway scored an impressive stoppage of Jose Aldo to unify the UFC Featherweight Title (technically Aldo held the title and Holloway won the interim belt in December).  Holloway stopped Aldo in the third round.  It was an impressive showing of Holloway’s talent and his “no fear” attitude in going to Brazil, embracing his surroundings and winning.

Holloway is probably hoping Conor McGregor returns to division for a rematch of their first fight which took place the first day of FS1 in August 2013.  It was Holloway’s last loss in the UFC.  If that doesn’t happen a showdown with Frankie Edgar or perhaps Cub Swanson should happen.  My only bias, but I’d like to see that fight happen with the UFC going to Hawaii.  The logistics and expense would be tough but it would be a great visual to see the fans go crazy for the first Hawaiian fighter to win a UFC title since B.J. Penn.

The UFC covered the homecoming for Holloway which was a great visual and a sign that the company will get behind the new Featherweight king.

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53169658

Claudia Gadelha submits Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Gadelha looked impressive in submitting Kowalkiewicz.  The problem for the UFC is whether they can really have her face Joanna Jedrzejcyk for a third time when she lost the first two.  Perhaps they go with Rose Namajunas against Joanna before Gadelha gets another shot.

It was a disappointing performance for Kowalkiewicz as she previously had a good showing against Joanna.

Attendance and Bonuses

The event took place at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and drew 15, 412 as reported by the UFC.  The attendance likely means it was a sellout as the capacity is set at over 14,000.  UFC 134 was held in the same arena and drew 14,000.

The bonuses went to Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, Claudia Gadelha and Brian Kelleher.  Holloway-Aldo drew Fight of the Night and Gadelha and Kelleher drew Performance of the Night.  One could argue that Yancy Medeiros, Paulo Borrachinha or Matthew Lopez could have drawn a $50,000 bonus for their performances.  Also, Medeiros-Erick Silva could have been a FOTN candidate.

Sponsors

Budweiser was a prominent sponsor in Brazil as it had the center of the Octagon as well as the fighter prep point and the Embedded episodes.  Kingdom on Audience, UFC Mobile game, UFCStore.com, Hudson Shipping Company, Nissan, General Tires, Manguinhos, a previous UFC sponsor, was on the mat on Saturday.

The Nissan and General Tire sponsors are probably ‘one-offs’ for the Brazil event.

No Monster Energy in the Octagon.  Recall that TNT Energy Drink had the Brazil market at one point as the UFC sponsor.  Aldo was a big sponsor but it looks like that is no longer true.

Odds and Ends

Here is the local coverage in Hawaii for Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros.  The report states that a lot of the UH Football team showed up to see him.

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

The UFC Prelims were late on FS1 as baseball ran over into the time slot.  The event had to be put on FS2.  This may have had an affect on the ratings as it drew 732,000 viewers on FS1 for the bulk of the telecast.  The beginning part, shown on FS2, drew 218,000 viewers.

The Brazilian Commission did not adopt the new unified rules of MMA.  Fortunately, the rules did not come into play.

The UFC 214 promo came out and they look pretty good.

It was interesting that there was promotion for the UFC Fight Night Singapore event two weeks from now but not this week’s Fight Night from New Zealand.

The first Japanese UFC Champion, Sakuraba, will go into the UFC Hall of Fame.  The announcement was made during the PPV.

The “UFC Unfiltered” Podcast ran commercials throughout the PPV Prelims on FS1.

UFC 212 drew 200,000 google searches on Saturday.

Conclusion

200,000 google searches the day of the event, the MLB overrun on FS1 for the Prelims and the fight card in Brazil probably means that this PPV draws somewhere between 150K to 200K PPV buys.  In comparison, UFC 134 (ASilva-Okami) drew 335,000 buys in the same venue in September 2011.  Aldo-Mendes 2 in Maracanazinho, Brazil drew 180,000 buys.  The event took place in October 2014 at UFC 179.  Holloway’s last PPV in December against Anthony Pettis drew 150,000 PPV buys although a replay on Fox during Christmas Eve did well.  Still, we’re talking about buys for PPV and with a string of UFC events coming up for June and July’s International Fight Week coming up this PPV may have been one that the casual fan skips.

MacDonald making less money from sponsors in Bellator

May 22, 2017

Rory MacDonald debuted in Bellator on Friday night with one sponsor on his shorts, Monster Energy drink.  Even though MacDonald is free to sign with multiple sponsors, he has selected a different strategy.

In an interview, last week on The MMA Hour, MacDonald indicated that his UFC-Reebok individual sponsorship deal had run its course.  Recall, MacDonald was just a handful of UFC fighters with their own Reebok deal.

You may recall that prior to the Reebok deal and its exclusivity, MacDonald’s shorts were adorned with multiple sponsors.  Upon leaving the UFC, it looks like that MacDonald will be much pickier about his sponsor partners.  He is seeking out blue-chip brands.

Of course, one of the advantages of leaving the UFC is the opportunity to solicit sponsors which gives fights extra income for their fights.  MacDonald’s training partners, Kajan Johnson, just revealed in an interview with Ariel Helwani that MacDonald is making $400,000 per fight year in Bellator.  Johnson was at the center of controversy at the UFC Retreat this past weekend when he spoke up against the Reebok deal.

Payout Perspective:

Making less on sponsors is helped by making more money to fight.  For MacDonald, his brand strategy makes sense.  He wants to maximize his brand by taking an initial hit on pay with the hope that it lands him bigger deals in the future.  It’s great for guys like MacDonald, but other fighters will need to maximize their pay now and seeking out as many sponsors as they can helps mitigate training costs.  Speaking out, Johnson may have put himself in the doghouse for the UFC, but he felt like it was a necessity least he suffer in silence.

UFC 211: Payout Perspective

May 15, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 211 from Dallas, Texas where two titles were successfully defended.

Stipe stops JDS

Stipe Miocic withstood a couple stiff leg kicks to stop Junior Dos Santos in the first round of their Heavyweight title fight.  Miocic dropped JDS after clipping him with a punch.  He followed up with punches over a crumpled former champion.  For JDS, the long layoff did not help and one has to wonder if he still has anything left in fighting.  He looked timid at times in avoiding Miocic despite scoring early with leg kicks.  But, putting his back to the fence was his downfall.

One has to wonder if there is a healthy Heavyweight on the roster that could challenge him at this point.  You can argue that Stipe could wait and face Cain Velasquez or take on Derrick Lewis if he gets past Mark Hunt in June.

Joanna Champion remains on top

She had a huge welt on her forehead but Joanna Jedrzejczyk survived a first round onslaught by Jessica Andrade.  From then on, Joanna outclassed Andrade and secured her spot as the Queen of the Division.  Andrade was game but as Daniel Cormier pointed out she gave away her attacks with a “tell” in that she ducked her head each time she was coming in which gave Joanna a split section to move out of the way.

Joanna was emotional at the end of the fight as she takes being a champion as seriously as anyone with a belt around their waste.

Next for Joanna is a showdown with Rose Namajunas. She was in Dallas doing UFC press and its clear that this was done to promote this fight.

Attendance and Gate

It was the second-most attended event in Dallas.  Only UFC 171, which featured hometown favorite Johny Hendricks against Robbie Lawler, outdrew this card.  Below are the top 3 UFC cards in Dallas.

UFC 171: attendance 19,324, gate $2,600,000

UFC 211: attendance 17,834, gate $2,662,645

UFC 103: attendance 17,428, gate $2,400,000

Bonuses

The bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Jason Knight and Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter.  Stipe and Knight earned Performance Bonuses while Sherman and Coulter earned Fight of the Night for their back and forth fight which Sherman eventually won via stoppage.  All earned $50,000 bonuses.

Promotion of Fight

The UFC once again direct messaged people that follow it on Twitter to encourage them to order UFC 211.

Stipe Miocic threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers baseball game.  He also appeared with Junior Dos Santos before a Mavericks game earlier this year.

The UFC Countdown show took a look at Miocic and how he’s revered in Cleveland including attending a Cavaliers basketball game.

MetroPCS also had a sponsorship activation which included Stipe Miocic doing an interview with Megan Olivio on behalf of the company.

Sponsorships

The usual UFC sponsors were in the Octagon including Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Monster/7-11, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy in the middle.  Also, the new Alien movie, Audience Network’s Kingdom and upcoming video game Injustice 2 and the UFC’s own new version of its EA video game were in the Octagon.

With the Audience Network unveiling the third season of its MMA original series, “Kingdom,” we once again had the show work with the UFC.  This included showing the actors in the crowd during the PPV and there was also a Pre-Fight Party in Dallas.

In a pre-recorded video, Rose Namajunas introduced the trailer for the new Alien movie during the PPV.

Eddie Alvarez was overheard saying “Goddamn Reebok” prior to the official weigh-ins as it appeared that he had to have non-Reebok sponsors patched over.

Odds and Ends

Dustin Poirier is auctioning off his gear from his fight with Eddie Alvarez to aid a Second Harvest Food Bank in his local Lafayette.  He is making a new tradition which is an admirable way to give back.

Speaking of Poirier, it was a disappointing end to his fight with Eddie Alvarez as the issue of rules relating to a downed opponent was confusing once again.

Due to NASCAR on FS1, the UFC Prelims were pushed to FX which is in more homes so there’s a chance we could see a better number than usual.

500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 211 which made it the top searched subject in the US Saturday.

Jason Knight is your next big thing.  “Mississippi Mean” will be one to watch in the Featherweight division.

The UFC Summer Kickoff on Friday will likely have several fighters fined as a result of getting physical at the news conference including Amanda Nunes, Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee.  Do the kickoff events do anything for anyone except make everyone cringe?

Michael Johnson said he ate shit.  This makes no sense.  But considering Lyoto Machida drank his own pee, it’s no wonder this is a niche sport.

Conclusion

Look for this PPV to do slightly better than this year’s PPV buys but not near the 450,000 buys the Stipe Miocic-headlined UFC 203 did when CM Punk was on the show.  Despite how good the card was including two title defenses, there is a lack of interest in fthese ights from the casual fan.  While the google trends search was encouraging, I would think 350,000-375,000 PPV buys would be how much we see this event do.

Bellator announces Ortiz and Henderson at NASCAR event

May 2, 2017

Bellator announced that the company’s MMA Fight Series will take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20th and will feature Tito Ortiz and Dan Henderson signing autographs for fans.  Henderson’s last fought in the UFC this past October as he lost to Michael Bisping in a bout for the middleweight title.

Via Bellator press release:

Through Bellator MMA, along with longstanding partner Monster Energy, mixed martial arts will be included as a pre-race activation exclusively for fans in attendance. The lineup on Saturday will consist of four MMA bouts featuring some of the best regional up-and-coming talent, with the main event prospects in consideration to be signed to a multi-fight Bellator MMA contract.

Updated Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway Fight Card:

Heavyweight Main Event: Allen Crowder (7-2, Mebane, N.C.) vs. Robert Neal (4-2, Jefferson, Ga.)

Welterweight Bout: Jeremie Holloway (8-2, Charlotte, N.C) vs. Jacob McClintock (8-2, Charleston, S.C.)

Lightweight Bout: Mike Stevens (6-3, Winston-Salem, N.C) vs. Lashawn Alcocks (6-8, Wilmington, N.C.)

Light Heavyweight Bout: Allen Bose (5-0, Jacksonville, N.C.) vs. Chris Crawford (8-5, Durham, N.C)

Notably, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will air on FS1.  We will see if there is extra care taken to avoid Bellator signage during the telecast.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator attempted a similar collaboration with Monster Energy in 2014.  The belief is that MMA and NASCAR share the same demos.  The news comes after the Viacom-owned company apparently jumped the gun on a partnership with NASCAR last month.  The news that Henderson will make an appearance is interesting but makes sense since the retired UFC fighter has ties to Scott Coker and the company is known for having legends at its functions to do meet and greets.

Coker announces NASCAR partnership, which company denies

April 4, 2017

Scott Coker tweeted out on Monday a new partnership between Bellator, Monster Energy and NASCAR.  However, NASCAR says it does not have a partnership with the company.

Per MMA Junkie, NASCAR stated it “does not have a partnership with Bellator.”  ESPN reported it obtained a revised news release from Bellator which stated “Details to come soon.”

The tweet from Coker has since been deleted.

In 2014, Bellator partnered with Monster Energy to host fights at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas.  Bellator held four fights at a Supercross event as a way to establish a huge crossover in its target demo.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting faux pas by Bellator or NASCAR here.  Usually these partnerships include positive quotes from all parties involved.  The fact NASCAR denied the partnership makes one think that someone doesn’t want to be associated with MMA.  We will see what the updated details will be.

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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