UFC 228: Payout Perspective

September 12, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 228 which took place at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Woodley submits Till

Tyron Woodley used a D’arce Choke to earn his BJJ Black Belt and retain his UFC welterweight belt.  Woodley submitted Darren Till and earned a performance bonus.  Despite the belief by many that Till was the contender to dethrone Woodley, the champion had little difficulty with him.

Next up for Woodley looks to be Colby Covington.

Mottano stripped of title

The second title of the evening was scrapped due to Nicco Montano being sent to the hospital presumably as a result of trying to cut weight.  As a result, her fight with Valentina Shevchenko was taken off the card and Dana White stripped the TUF winner of her flyweight title.  Shevchenko will have the opportunity to fight for the flyweight title at a yet to be determined date.

Stripping Mottano of the title hurts her pay scale since she now will receive only $3,500 from the Reebok Outfitting Policy.  As the champion, Mottano (who never defended the title) would have made $40,000.

Attendance and Gate

The event drew 14,073 for a gate of $1.7 million at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  There have been 5 PPVs in Dallas and of that UFC 228 was the lowest gate of the 5 held there since UFC 103.

Bonuses

There were a variety of finishes and stoppage for UFC 228 that could have received the $50,000 bonus.  Woodley, Jessica Andrade and Irena Aldana and Lucie Pudilova earned the bonuses.

Ratings

The UFC 228 Prelims on FX were the lowest of the year drawing only 560,000 viewers and peaking with 683,000 viewers.

The prefight show on FX averaged 271,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

The post-fight show on FS1 drew 64,000 viewers.

Sponsors

Fight week saw the announcement of 3 new “Official” UFC sponsors.  Nemiroff became the “Official Vodka of the UFC,” P3 became the “Official Protein Bar of the UFC,” and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum became the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the US.  Nemiroff and P3 were in the Octagon for UFC 228.  Also in the Octagon was Motel 6, MetroPCS, Modelo, Toyo Tires, Harley-Davidson the movie Predator was also featured and Monster Energy had the middle of the Octagon.

The movie, Predator also sponsored the Embedded episodes.

Toyo Tires sponsored the backstage interview which was seen on Facebook.

Odds and ends


The visual seems to tell the story that most BJJ practitioners know. It’s hard to be awarded black belt in jiu jitsu.

If you watched the Embedded episodes, you may have noticed Woodley wearing a CbdMD shirt which one might infer, he is a sponsor.  In fact, the company sent out a PR release congratulating him.  I’m sure this is something that Woodley and his camp have looked into and ensuring that he does not cross the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

One of the judges in the Esparza-Suarez fight mistook Suarez for Esparza in the first round and gave Esparza, not Suarez a 10-8.

Xbox put out a tweet gaging interest in the event.

By the way, what was up with the poster? I realize that Till is taller but did they have to make him look like a giant?

This is an ominous tweet with a quote from Shevchenko’s manager.

One might infer that Shevchenko was not paid her fight purse or her win bonus for making weight despite her opponents’ trouble. Once again, this is an overarching issue that manager’s must handle in the contract. Until there is a union, association and/or collective bargaining unit that will address this situation, the athletes are at the mercy of the UFC.

There was a Fan Experience held in Dallas prior to UFC 228 with numerous sponsors and athletes:

There were over 200,000 google searches for Tyron Woodley Saturday.  On Friday, there were over 200,000 google searches for UFC 228.

Conclusion

UFC 228 was an entertaining event with a lot of finishes including Tyron Woodley making it known that he is one of the top UFC stars in the company.  But, going up against two other boxing events on the same night may have hurt PPV purchases.  Also, the big GGG-Canelo fight occurring the following week may have detracted the casual fan on a budget from purchasing this PPV.  It would appear that this event is likely to have drawn around 175,000 to 200,000 PPV buys.

UFC 227: Payout Perspective

August 7, 2018

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

Dillashaw retains title in stoppage of Garbrandt

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

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

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

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

Attendance and Gate

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

Bonuses

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

Payouts

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

Reebok Payouts

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

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

Sponsorships

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings

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

UFC 227 Pre Fight Show on FX:  306,000

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

Odds and Ends

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

UFC 226: Payout Perspective

July 11, 2018

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

Cormier is a Champ x2

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

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

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

Lewis-Ngannou turn in Worst Match of Year Candidate

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

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

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

Max Holloway pulls out of fight with Brian Ortega

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

Attendance and Gate

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

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

Bonuses

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

Payouts

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

Promotion of the Fight

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

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

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

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

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

Next Saturday's OFFICIAL tracklist. 🦂 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on


Ratings (all on FS1)

UFC Weigh-Ins – 239K

UFC Pre-Show – 254K

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

UFC Post Show – 155K

Sponsorships

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

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

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

Odds and ends

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

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

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

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

We are underway in Vegas! #TUF27 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on

Conclusion

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

UFC 222: Payout Perspective

March 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 222 which took place at the T-Mobile Area in Las Vegas.

Cyborg easily handles Kunitskaya

Cris Cyborg took care of Yana Kunitskaya as the UFC women’s Featherweight champion earned the TKO victory in round 1 of their championship bout.  The former Invicta champ earned a takedown in the beginning seconds of the bout and had a couple fleeting moments of offense before being overwhelmed by Cyborg.  It was clear that Kunitskaya did not want to do anything with Cyborg’s striking and was an easy victory for the champion.

In a division that does not have many challengers, Cyborg may fight  Amanda Nunes in a “superfight” or go after Megan Anderson.

Ortega KO’s Edgar for next title shot Brian Ortega made his presence known in the Featherweight division with an impressive KO of Frankie Edgar.  The durable former lightweight champ went down for the first time.  He had never been submitted or was stopped before in his UFC career.

Ortega looked great and the high-level blackbelt also showed his striking ability.  A matchup against Max Holloway is next.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

UFC 222 drew 12,041 for a gate of $1,367, 672 according to the UFC.  The event took Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The last event in Vegas was UFC 219 in December which featured Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Holly Holm.  The event drew 13,561 for a gate of $1,760,628.74.

The bonuses were awarded to Brian Ortega, Alexander Hernandez, Sean O’Malley and Andre Soukhamthath each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC 222 event.

According to SeatGeek, the average resale price on the secondary market was $222.

Payouts

Cris Cyborg led the list of athletes Saturday night earning $500,000.  Brian Ortega earned $100,000 plus another for his win over Frankie Edgar.  Ortega also earned another $50,000 for his KO.

The rest of the payouts via NAC:

Cris Cyborg: $500,000 (no win bonus)
def. Yana Kunitskaya: $100,000

Brian Ortega: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Frankie Edgar: $195,000

Sean O’Malley: $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $19,000

Andrei Arlovski: $275,000 (no win bonus)
def. Stefan Struve: $77,000

Ketlen Vieira: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Cat Zingano: $35,000

Mackenzie Dern: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Ashley Yoder: $12,000

Alexander Hernandez: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Beneil Dariush: $48,000

John Dodson: $82,000 (includes $41,000 win bonus)
def. Pedro Munhoz: $34,000

C.B. Dollaway: $92,000 (includes $46,000 win bonus)
def. Hector Lombard: $62,000

Zak Ottow: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Pyle: $55,000

Cody Stamann: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Bryan Caraway: $21,000

Jordan Johnson: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Adam Milstead: $12,000

The Reebok payouts are listed here.  Notably, Edgar and Arlovski are in the rare 21 UFC bouts or more category garnering $20K.

Promotion of Event

The biggest promotional event was a joint endeavor with the city of Las Vegas and other sports helding events in the city this past weekend as the Ultimate Vegas Sports Weekend.  A “pep rally” was held at the Toshiba Plaza on the Wednesday before the fight.

Sponsorships

Modelo, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Monster Energy and EA UFC 3 were in the Octagon.  Notably, Dollar General was also present in the octagon.

Just a little over a month releasing its latest version of its video game, EA has reduced the price due likely to poor sales.  During the PPV, it advertised the sale.

The movie “Hurricane Heist” was given some airtime during the UFC broadcast.

Ratings

The UFC Prelims drew a respectable 905,000 viewers with the peak happening during the last quarter hour for Mackenzie Dern’s fight.  The event drew 11,009 viewers streaming.  Dern’s fight peaked at 1,076,000 viewers.

The prelim showed had a higher than normal viewership with 431,000 viewers on FS1.  The Post-Fight show drew 177,000.

Also on Saturday night, were two boxing telecasts on HBO and Showtime.  Deontay Wilder’s fight on Showtime drew an impressive 1,055,000 viewers on the network which beat out HBO’s fights featuring Sergey Kovalev.  The boxing events occurred during the PPV and did not compete with the FS1 Prelims.

Odds and ends

The biggest bit of business news coming out last week was that Amazon has signed on to stream UFC PPVs.  Similar to ordering via Fight Pass or UFC.com, it cost $64.99 and you have access to the PPV for 24 hours.

There were rumors that Conor McGregor offered to fill-in to save UFC 222.  Of course, this sounds like someone trying to stay relevant while taking time off.

Mike Pyle retired after his loss on Saturday.  A good career despite going out with a loss.

Mackenzie Dern has a lot to work on but the UFC is hoping she turns into another mainstream star similar to Ronda Rousey.

There were 7 Embedded episodes with 6 of those coming before Friday ended.  Most were done to promote potential new stars Dern, Sean O’Malley and Ortega,

Over 200,000 google searches for UFC 222 on Saturday night.  Same for Deontay Wilder.

Conclusion

All indications pointing toward this PPV doing between 340,000-380,000 PPV buys based on the prelim ratings, google trend searches and past history with Cyborg on PPV.  Not an exact science, but if this does mid-300s, you have to think this is a success considering that the card was built on one fight (Max-Frankie) that fell through.

 

UFC 221: Payout Perspective

February 13, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the UFC’s first event in Perth for UFC 221.

Romero misses weight but KO’s Rockhold

Yoel Romero missed weight which threw the main event into question.  Romero was fined 30% of his fight purse which was given to Rockhold.  The awkward stipulation was that Rockhold could win the interim title but Romero could not.  It was expected that Rockhold likely received further incentives to fight Romero.

And hopefully he did because Romero KO’d Rockhold in Round 3 to destroy his chances of winning the interim middleweight title and a showdown with Robert Whittaker.

For Rockhold, it has to be a disappointing result. One might suggest he not go through with the fight since Romero missed weight but I’m sure it was a matter of getting paid for the event.  It sounds as though he is looking to move up to light heavyweight next.

Blaydes earns decision over Mark Hunt

Curtis Blaydes earned a unanimous decision victory over Mark Hunt.  The New Zealander was the fan favorite but the now 10-1 (5-1 in the UFC) Blaydes earned the biggest win of his UFC career.  The good news for Blaydes is that he it was the penultimate fight on his UFC fight contract which means he has some leverage going into negotiations for a new deal.

On the other end, Hunt, who is still embroiled in a lawsuit against the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar indicated that he would be ending his time with the UFC.

The UFC may need Blaydes.  Currently 9th in UFC rankings, the division is suffering from lack of known fighters and/or injuries.  Perhaps he is paired with another UFC 221 star, Tai Tuivasa, who defeated Cyril Asker.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

UFC 221 did well despite the Sunday morning start in Perth.  It drew 12,437 fans for a live gate of $3.6 million Australian dollars (or $2,810,520 American).

The bonuses went to Israel Adesany, Jussier Formiga, Jake Matthews and Li Jingliang.  Adesanya and Formiga earned Performance Bonuses while Matthews and Jingliang drew the “Fight of the Night.”  All received $50,000 bonuses.  There was some controversy in Jingliang’s receipt of the Fight of the Night since he eye-gouged Matthews while attempting to get out of his guillotine.  No foul was called despite calls for at least a point deduction.

Sponsorships

Air Asia, Hudson Shipping Lines, Fetch, General Tire and Monster Energy had the center of the octagon.   I do not believe Modelo was a part of the signage for this event.

Fetch is an independent internet pay television provider.

Odds and ends

The promotion in the U.S. was minimal.  The UFC Countdown Show on Sunday night did register in the Nielsen 150 with 102,000 viewers and 0.04 in the A18-49 demo.  The post-fight show on FS1 drew 188,000 viewers.

The UFC 221 Prelims on FS1 drew 697,000 viewers on FS1.  It was the lowest-rated UFC Prelims event since UFC 216 on FX drew 653,000 viewers.  UFC 216 drew about 120,000 PPV buys.

Luke Rockhold arriving to open workouts on a camel was some Ricky Jarrett from HBO’s Ballers-type stuff.

Tai Tuivasa could be a fighter to watch out for in the heavyweight division.  Drinking out of the shoe was different.

Tyson Pedro also gave a great post-fight promo and Jon Anik was able to catch his attempt at a mic-drop.

There were over 200,000 google searches for UFC 221 on Saturday.

Conclusion

One might expect that this PPV to do very poorly.  Romero not making weight may have added some intrigue to the matchup.  This card would have been an interesting FS1 card but to pay $65 for the card is very hard to reconcile if you are a casual viewer.  Moreover, the fact that there is another UFC card next weekend makes skipping a PPV like this easier.  One might expect a buy rate of around 125,000.

UFC 220: Payout Perspective

January 22, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time, we take a look at UFC 220 taking place at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Miocic handles Ngannou

Stipe Miocic defeated Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision in what was an easy win for the defending champion.  Despite Ngannou’s punching power, he did not have any cardio or any type of grappling acumen to defend himself against Miocic.  This is confounding since this was the obvious test for the challenger since most of his fights are standing up.  Ngannou had no defense to the ground game by Miocic and was visibly exhausted most of the fight.

Truly a disappointing showing for Ngannou who was thought to be ready for his shot.  Obviously, he is a one-dimensional fighter at this point.  The good news is that he is still a very good one-dimensional fighter.  He just needs to extend his grasp of MMA and more cardio.

For Miocic, it truly was a very good game plan.  Even when he was not doing anything to Ngannou, he was leaning on him getting him tired.

Dana White indicated that a Daniel Cormier-Miocic fight would be a good matchup although DC confirmed that he would like to see his stablemate, Cain Velasquez get a shot by the end of the year.

For Ngannou?  Derrick Lewis, a guy who has had his own trouble with cardio was trolling the man from Cameroon last night and that might be a fun fight to see so long as it lasts just one round.

Cormier outclasses Volkan

Daniel Cormier proved that there are different levels of UFC fighter as he soundly handled Vokan Oezdimir and stopped him in the second round.  Cormier, still haunted by the ghosts of Jon Jones, gave a post-fight promo talking about getting his championship back.  Regardless of how much he tucks in his shirt to his pants and has a dad bod, he is still one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.  As he says, it’s not easy going against him.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

Boston fans came out for UFC 220 as the event was a sellout or close to it with the most fans-ever attending a UFC event at the TD Garden.  There were 16,015 fans in attendance with a gate of $2.45 million.  The gate was slightly less than UFC 118’s $2.8 million which had a main event of Edgar-Penn II.

The demand was down on the secondary market with the median price for tickets falling as of this past Thursday from $384 per ticket to $368 per ticket.  The get-in price on the secondary market was $136.  Ticketmaster had seats available although they were close to a sell out as of Friday.

The bonuses went to Cormier, Abdul Razak Alhassan, Calvin Kattar and Shane Burgos.  Each earned $50,000.  Alhassan and Cormier earned the Performance bonuses while Kattar and Burgos drew Fight of the Night.

Promotion of the Fight

This felt like a big event for the UFC as it tried to kick off 2018 on a high.  Embedded was front and center as the tool to promote the event via social media.  This time around, there were no sponsors attached to the event.  It did show a lot of the promotion (i.e., media obligations, ESPN interviews, appearances) in addition to the training the main camps endured.

One of the more unique opportunities was Daniel Cormier being interviewed for Complex Magazine regarding his shoe game.  As someone that is somewhat of a sneakerhead, this was a good way to tie in Cormier with a personal interest with the underlying goal of promoting UFC 220.

Sponsorships

It was the first time that Modelo was a part of a UFC PPV.  The beer maker took over for Bud Light as the “Official Beer” of the UFC.  It was front and center during the UFC Prelims as the studio shots had the logo prominently displayed.  It was also on the canvas and Octagon posts.

BodyArmor also made its first appearance on a UFC PPV with the stools, drinks and towels having the logo.

Although no announcement has yet been made, Wish Shopping may be the next sponsor to fall in line with the UFC.  The company, which features online shopping, was one of the sponsors for The Money Fight this past August.  It also sponsors the Los Angeles Lakers.  During the PPV, it sponsored the Fighter Descriptions.

Gruntstyle.com, MetroPCS, Body Armor, Toyo Tires, Performance Inspired, Modelo, EA’s UFC 3, Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  7-11 shared an Octagon post with Monster Energy.   The upcoming video game also had the fighter prep point.

MetroPCS offered its Periscope analysis during the event with Forrest Griffin, Demetrious Johnson, Tyron Woodley and Cody Garbrandt.

Performance Inspired also sponsored the UFC bonus announcements.

EA UFC3 offered up the video game versions of the main event participants.

Odds and Ends

As most know, the event went up against Bellator 192 on the reboot of SpikeTV now known as The Paramount Network.

Francis Ngannou, a native of Cameroon, had some choice words for the President.  I also wrote about it here.

The weirdest news out of this week was the internet feud between Daniel Cormier and professional wrestlers, The Young Bucks.  The two went back and forth before third parties decided to be jerks and both sides decided for cooler heads to prevail.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 220 on Saturday.  In comparison Bellator 192 had over 200,000.

UFC 220 was $5 more ($64.99) than PPVs last year.  If you wanted the 4K version it cost $74.99.

Luke Rockhold, a training partner of Cormier, trained in Florida with Volkan which caused somewhat of a stir but for the fact Rockhold immediately dispelled a myth of a fissure between himself and DC.

Conclusion

The google searches and promotion of the event leads me to believe that we should see a better than normal buy rate for this event.  While UFC 219’s mid-300s was a success despite the consensus feel that it was not, look for UFC 220 to do slightly better.  Perhaps the 350-375K range.

Monster Energy renews deal to be “Official Energy Drink” of the UFC

January 17, 2018

The UFC and Monster Energy have renewed their global partnership agreement according to a UFC press release.  The renewal is a multi-year extension and continues it as the “Official Energy Drink” of the UFC.

The “M” will remain in the center of the Octagon and entrance logo placement inside.  According to the release, the brands will also work in conjunction on retail promotions during UFC events in select markets.

Via press release:

Monster’s logo will also remain prominently located on the UFC FIGHT NIGHT COLLECTION apparel of its sponsored UFC athletes. This current list includes: UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, UFC women’s strawweight Paige VanZant, UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez and UFC welterweight Donald Cerrone.

Payout Perspective:

No financial terms were released.  Its not known whether Monster Headphones will continue as the UFC’s sponsor to continue the perceived confusion.  Also, interesting to see if Monster Energy will continue working with Bellator and Rampage Jackson.  The renewal is not surprising as the UFC continues to secure sponsors for this year.  Maintaining a relationship with Monster Energy makes sense and we shall see if the companies will try to use more integration in the relationship such as using more UFC stars in Monster Energy marketing/ad campaigns.

UFC 217: Payout Perspective

November 6, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 217 taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York.

GSP Returns to win Middleweight Title

Georges St Pierre looked more muscular than ever before in his foray into the middleweight division against champion Michael Bisping.  GSP looked great in the first round but it appeared that he tired.  Bisping was able to open him up with elbows from guard despite being taken down.  But, Bisping was caught by GSP.

We’ll see what happen next for GSP.  He’s not done, but could be in the middleweight division.  Of course, that puts Robert Whittaker’s position in the division up in the air.  If GSP leaves to face Tyron Woodley in the welterweight division, we could see Whittaker-Bisping.

TJ Dillashaw regains Bantamweight Title from Cody Garbrandt

In a heated fight between two former teammates, TJ Dillashaw regained his bantamweight title from Cody Garbrandt.  Cody tagged TJ at the end of the first but it was Dillashaw that got off the shot in an exchange in the second which ended Cody’s night.  Dillashaw says there will not be a rematch for now and is setting his targets on Demetrious Johnson.

Thug Rose upsets Boogie Woman

The stare-down at the weigh-ins and Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s proclamation that she was the “Boogie Woman” made me want to see this fight all the more.  The contrasts between a stoic Namajunas and the bombastic Joanna Violence led many to wonder if Rose was ready or if she knew something.  She knew something as she was able to knock down the strawweight champ twice and with the second make her tap to the strikes.  The loss was surprising to most as Jedrzejcyk looked, on paper, to have the overwhelming advantage out of the 3 title fights of the night.  Yet, Namajunas was able to outstrike the Muay Thai specialist.

If a loss were to ever be beneficial, this one helps the UFC as they can now set up a rematch between the two which could sell much better as a standalone main event for a future UFC PPV.

Attendance and Gate

Madison Square Garden produced a $6.1 million gate drawing 18,201 fans according to the UFC.  The event was the second highest gate in the company’s short history since MMA was legalized in the state.  Last year’s UFC 205 drew astronomical numbers with over 20,000 fans and a $17 million gate.

The secondary market was not as robust as last year’s November event, but still did very well.  Although tickets dropped during the week, the average resale price was still $538 as of Thursday of fight week.

Bonuses

There were no Fight of the Night bonuses as Performance $50,000 bonuses were given to GSP, Rose Namajunas and  TJ DIllashaw.  Ovince St. Preux and Ricardo Ramos drew $25,000 bonuses for their performances.  St. Preux stopped Corey Anderson with a headkick on the UFC Prelims while Ramos’ spinning back fist gave him the win over Aiman Zahabbi.

(UPDATED) Athlete Outfitting Policy Payouts

With 3 title fights, the Reebok payouts was more than a typical card.

Michael Bisping: $40,000
Georges St-Pierre: $30,000

Cody Garbrandt: $40,000
T.J. Dillashaw: $30,000

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: $40,000
Rose Namajunas: $30,000

Stephen Thompson: $10,000
Jorge Masvidal: $15,000

Paulo Costa: $2,500
def. Johny Hendricks: $20,000

James Vick: $5,000
def. Joseph Duffy: $5,000

Ovince Saint Preux: $15,000
def. Corey Anderson: $5,000

Mark Godbeer: $2,500
def. Walt Harris: $5,000

Randy Brown: $5,000
def. Mickey Gall: $2,500

Curtis Blaydes: $2,500
def. Aleksei Oleinik: $5,000

Ricardo Ramos: $2,500
def. Aiemann Zahabi: $2,500

Promotion of the Fight

Sponsors came out in full force for what many believed to be the biggest event of the year thus far.

Bud Light Canada produced a video and sent it out via twitter with Georges St Pierre

Body Armor, a UFC sponsor, produced bottles of its sports drink with the UFC logo.  Kobe Bryant, a part-owner of Body Armor was in town to speak at a Body Armor press conference making the sponsorship official.  Cody Garbrandt, Cynthia Calvillo, Francis Ngannou and Michelle Waterson were announced as the UFC’s BodyArmor athletes and a new UFC-geared BodyArmor flavor – Knockout Punch.

Air Asia was announced as the company’s very first “Official Airline” of the UFC.  It covers Asia and Australia so the opportunity for a domestic airline is still there.

EA Sports released the official trailer of the UFC’s next game, UFC 3.  It will be released on February 3rd and unveiled some new things to the game.  Conor McGregor will make his second appearance on the cover of the UFC video game.

MetroPCS introduced a new commercial featuring Demetrious Johnson.

The UFC provided a video of Cody Garbrandt preparing for his fight and using TriFecta Nutrition.  The company, which delivers nutritional meals includes Urijah Faber as a part of the company.

Embedded is starting to tie in the UFC sponsors as the episodes featured more Reebok kits (the fighters looked over their kits which they helped design), Body Armor and mouthguard sponsor GuardLab.

Sponsorships

New official UFC sponsor, Air Asia, made its debut in the Octagon.  In addition, MetroPCS, Budweiser, Toyo Tires, Budweiser, Harley Davidson, Performance Inspired, Hospitals for Special Surgery, Wish, Monster Energy and Sheetz shared an Octagon post.  Monster also had the center of the Octagon.  AMC’s the Walking Dead and EA UFC 3 also were in the Octagon

Budweiser sponsored the Embedded episodes and the fighter prep point.

In addition, Toyo Tires sponsored the post-fight interviews which was on the UFC Facebook page.

Wish sponsored the post-fight interviews in the Octagon.  EA Sports UFC sponsored the GSP-Bisping fight.

Odds and Ends

UPDATED:  UFC 217 almost made it without a cancelled fight after all fighters made weight.  But heavyweight Ion Cutelaba was flagged for an out-of-competition test and his fight was nixed from the card.

The Walt Harris-Mark Godbeer fight was called off after a low-blow followed by a kick to the head.  This was the fight that was held over from last PPV after Harris took the Werdum fight.  The way it ended, Godbeer probably wishes that the fight did not happen.

James Vick tied Demetrious Johnson with the latest stoppage of a fight with 4:59 in the third round.  Vick stopped Joe Duffy as the featured fight on the UFC Prelims on FS1.

Notably, GSP is still sponsored by Under Armour as he wore the clothes while working out on Embedded.   Also, some may have noticed the branded mat at TriStar on one of the Embedded episodes.

There were over 1 million searches for “UFC 217” on Saturday which bodes well for the PPV buys.  Dana White noted that it was trending to do 1 million PPV buys but nothing has been confirmed.  Rose Namajunas had over 200,000 google searches.  Cody Garbrandt had 100,000 searches and boxer Deontay Wilder had 100,000.

Conclusion

With over 1 million Google Searches on Saturday for UFC 217 and Rose and Cody getting their own searches, it appears that the return to New York will be a PPV success.  I am not sure if the PPV gets to 1 million buys but it will have the best chance of the PPVs this year to hit the mark.  Look for this to do a strong 825,000-850,000 PPV buys.

Corona will be the main sponsor for The Money Fight

August 23, 2017

The Sports Business Journal reports Mexican beer maker Corona will be the main sponsor for Saturday night’s fight between Conro McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.  Aside from Corona, Body Armor will have “prime placement” as it will be all over the ring on fight night.

Terms of the Corona deal were not announced although it was previously reported that the asking price for the sponsorship, along with a suite of branded areas would go for $10 million.  Corona will have its logo in the center of the mat and will be integrated into Showtime’s PPV telecast of the bout.  Of course, ring girls that have been at Mayweather-McGregor events this week will be

Body Armor will have its logo on “towels and stools in the fighters’ corners.”  Fighters will drink out of BodyArmor-provided bottles.

The fighters have secured their own sponsor deals as Mayweather has renewed a deal with Hublot to have its name across the waistband of his shorts for the fight. He also signed a deal with high-end tequila brand Avion.  Mayweather’s likeness will appear on a limited number of its Tequila bottles.   McGregor has signed deals with Monster Energy and online gambling site BetSafe.

Payout Perspective:

It was curious that the sponsors had not been announced until this week but it appears that there will be a major presence at the event.  Whether or not the fight was able to garner the $10 million price tag for the main sponsor is something that may be revealed at a later date.  Corona is a long-time fight sponsor and most events they seemingly interchange with Tecate as the beer (and usually) main sponsor.  The BodyArmor deal is a big one for the company.  It has had a presence in the sport but I would assume that this is likely its biggest sponsorship to date.  As for the fighters, I think both will earn a lot of money from in-ring sponsorships.

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.

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