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.

UFC 201: Payout Perspective

July 31, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 201 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  The main event featured Robbie Lawler taking on Tyrone Woodley for the welterweight title.

The wait was worth it: Woodley new WW champ

Tyron Woodley waited almost a year and a half for his shot at the welterweight title.  What was almost a nothing fight for the first minute exploded quickly as Woodley laid the hammer down on Lawler.  It has to be one of the bigger upsets in some time.  Then again, it’s yet another title change in the UFC.

So does Nick Diaz actually get the first shot at him?  It’s the “money fight” and could happen sometime this fall.  But, doesn’t Lawler deserve a rematch?  While he got caught, I doubt this could happen in another fight.  Lawler should still be near the top of the rankings for this division.

UFC-201-Lawler-vs-Woodley-Sq

Karolina edges out Rose for chance at Joanna

Karolina Kowalkiewicz defeated Rose Namajunas in the fight of the night.  We now get an interesting all-Polish for the women’s strawweight title.  Hopefully, the UFC can build this fight for women’s MMA as well as its international expansion.  Certainly, this fight with Joanna Champion should take place sometime this fall in Poland.

Attendance and gate

It’s not surprising that this event drew less than the prior two PPV events in Atlanta.  The previous two: UFC 88 and UFC 145, had highly anticipated fights in Evans-Liddell and Evans-Jones.  The UFC did draw a 1 million gate.  Specifically, 10,240 for a gate of $1.07M.

Bonuses

Bonuses of $50K each went to Rose-Karolina, Woodley and Jake Ellenberger.  Rose-Karolina earned the Fight of the Night while Woodley and Ellenberger scored the Performances of the Night for their respective stoppages.

Sponsorships

The usual UFC sponsors were in the octagon including Bud Light, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass, MetroPCS, and Monster had the middle of the octagon.  QT, a software company, shared the post with Monster’s logo.

Also in the octagon was signage for UFC 202 August 20th for Diaz-McGregor.

EA UFC2 had the prep point.

Tyron Woodley wore Monster head phones to the ring.  This is something you rarely see any more.

Notably, MusclePharm was all over the UFC Embeddeds.  Matt Brown even drove a car with the MP logo on the side.

Odds and Ends

On Friday, UFC 201 drew 500,000 google searches which is corrected from our original report that it drew just 50,000 searches.  Still, it did not feel like strong momentum going into this.

Another thing going against this card was that the UFC Prelims were moved to FS2.

Recall this was to be a double title night with Demetrious Johnson defending his title against Wilson Reis.  Johnson was injured, so Reis was bumped off the main card.  He did record a submission victory over Hector Sandoval.

Why do fighters still strip down at the televised weigh-ins if their official weigh-ins were earlier that morning?  No need to be in your underwear in front of the crowd.  You can just wear your fight shorts.

It was interesting that Pat Barry, Rose Namajunas’ boyfriend and coach was not a part of the UFC Embeddeds.  Rose talked about this prior to the fight.

Speaking of the UFC Embeddeds, this is the first time that I thought most of them were bland.  However, the one thing that I enjoyed (aside from the Woodley kids) was that we were introduced to Karolina Kowalkiewicz.  The other thing we may have learned from the video series is that Coy Wire and Robbie Lawler look alike.

Ian McCall received his win bonus and show money after Justin Scoggins could not make weight.  McCall remained an alternate on the card which may explain him receiving the win bonus.  It’s the first time I’ve heard of a fighter receiving a win bonus when they did not fight.

Did Reebok get Erik Perez an official Lucha Libre mask?

Jake Ellenberger was going to be cut but was given one more chance.  He won with a liverkick that stopped Matt Brown.  It’s not his last fight after all.

Conclusion

This PPV felt like the “forgotten PPV” as it is sandwiched between UFC 200 and UFC 202 (featuring the rematch between Diaz-McGregor).  Both of these PPVs will draw over 1 million buys while 201 will fall far short of that.  While Robbie Lawler is an exciting fighter and produced some great battles.  Does it equate to his PPV average of 333,000 buys?  Perhaps.  But with the UFC seemingly promoting UFC 202 prior to UFC 201 even happening (e.g., Nate Diaz on Conan as well as the promos starting earlier), the PPV likely drew 285,000-300,000 PPV buys.

UFC 199: Payout Perspective

June 5, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 199 taking place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  The show featured two title defenses.

Bisping shocks the world

Michael Bisping waited a long time for his shot at the middleweight title and he did not disappoint.  Perhaps exposing a suspect chin, Bisping KO’d the champion Luke Rockhold in the first round.  Rockhold appeared to be overconfident in the lead up to this fight and admitted as much post-fight.  Bisping is a polarizing figure but you have to respect his journey to the title.  We could see a rematch of the two or maybe Jacare Souza, who congratulated The Count on the way out of the Octagon would be a good choice.

UFC 199

Dominator overwhelms Faber

It was a very entertaining promotion for the fight, but in the end, Dominick Cruz showed that he was much better than Urijah Faber.  The oft-injured bantamweight champion secured a unanimous decision.  Joe Rogan seemed to focus on whether or not Faber would retire after this fight.

Would people be willing to pay $60 for a “superfight” with Demetrious Johnson?

Bonuses

Bonuses went out to Bisping and Dan Henderson (coincidentally opponents at UFC 100) for their performances.  Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim earned Fight of the Night.  All received $50,000.

Attendance and Gate

The UFC announced post-fight that The Forum was a sellout with 15,587 for a live gate of $2,168,675.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon included Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Bud Light, MetroPCS, and the TNT upcoming drama, Animal Kingdom.  Food 4 Less, a Compton, California-based “no frills” grocery was a sponsor in the Octagon as it shared a post with Monster.  As with most UFC events, Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.

Dominick Cruz sported a Monster patch on his Reebok black kit.  He also did an old school thank you to them post-match including holding a Monster can.

UFC Embedded appears to be the place to have your non-official UFC sponsors to be visible.  Luke Rockhold wore Adidas and Monster Milk during the vlogs.

Odds and Ends

Three big pieces of news not related to 199.  First, Brock Lesnar is back.  Despite how he left the company, he returns and the move should draw eyebrows as the WWE is allowing Lesnar to fight a month before the company’s second-biggest show of the year – Summerslam.

Second, Fedor Emelienenko will be on Fight Pass on an EFN card on June 17th.   Thus, the UFC will finally get Brock Lesnar-Fedor…just not together.

Finally, the rematch no one except Conor McGregor wants as Nate Diaz will face McGregor at UFC 202 in Vegas August 20th.  Interesting that the UFC is traveling less domestically.

There were 4 fights on UFC Fight Pass Prelims.  3 of the 4 fights were very good.

UFC Fight Pass introduced a promotion where fans can send in 1 minute videos to tell Dana White why they are the biggest UFC fan.  The winner will get to come to International Fight Week, meet Dana White and attend UFC Fight Night: Alvarez-RDA.

UFC allowed flags in lieu of sponsor banners in the Octagon.

Octagon ladies sport the Monster patch on their uniforms, do they get paid for doing so?

Watching Embedded, apparently the champions (Cruz and Rockhold) were given rental properties to stay in during fight week while the others stayed in a hotel.

The weigh-ins were different since newly instituted weigh-in rules with the California State Athletic Commission allowed fighters to weigh-in between a 10am-2pm window the day before the fight.  Thus, the televised weigh-ins we usually see did not include the official weigh-ins.

Did the finish of Hendo/Lombard look similar to Hendo/Bisping at UFC 100 with Hendo unloading on an already unconscious opponent?

Ariel Helwani and three others were escorted from the building during UFC 199.  Helwani tweeted that he had been banned by the UFC for life.  It was Helwani that broke the Brock Lesnar news on MMA Fighting.

The show concluded with a tribute to Muhammad Ali who passed away on Friday.

Conclusion

This was a very good show but it will likely be overshadowed by the news that Brock Lesnar is returning next month.  Google trends had 500,000 searches for UFC 199 on Saturday.  Notably, Brock Lesnar drew 100,000 searches on Saturday.  How many PPV buys will this card receive?  Without a proven PPV draw at the top of the card, yet a solid lineup for the PPV, the buy rate should be 350,000 to 400,000 PPV buys.

UFC 198: Payout Perspective

May 16, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 198 taking place from Curitiba, Brazil where Fabricio Werdum took on Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight title.

Miocic crowned Heavyweight Champ

Despite the massive crowd in favor of Fabricio Werdum, Stipe Miocic knocked him out in the first round.  The KO stunned the massive crowd in Curtiba.  For Miocic, it was an emotional win and he showed it when he returned back home to Cleveland.  He also had a message for the city’s NBA team.

Cyborg does not disappoint in debut

The long-awaited debut of Cris “Cyborg” Justino did not disappoint the Brazilian fans as she overpowered Leslie Smith earning a TKO in the first round, just 1:21 in, despite a vehement protest from Smith.  Smith took to social media after the fight to vent her anger.

The obvious question was whether Cyborg could make weight, which she did.  Now, the next hurdle would be coming down another 5 pounds to challenge Miesha Tate for the bantamweight title.  Of course, maybe there’s a fight out there at the 140 pound catchweight that could happen (i.e., Ronda Rousey).

Attendance

It was a record crowd at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba Parana, Brazil as the announced attendance was over 45,000 (45,207 to be exact).  It made it the 3rd highest attendance in UFC history according to the announcement on the PPV telecast.  The tickets sold out in one day.  No gate was announced which seems to be the norm for Brazil shows.

Bonuses

The bonuses of $50,000 went to Miocic, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Francisco Trinaldo and Yancy Medeiros.  Trinaldo and Medeiros won for Fight of the Night which aired on the UFC Prelims on FS1 and Miocic and Souza earned performance bonuses.

Sponsors

Budweiser was in the center of the Octagon.  Notably Nissan had signage in the octagon.   Bud Light was also present in the Octagon along with Toyo Tires, EA UFC 2, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Fight Pass, and ads for UFC 199 and 200.

Budweiser sponsored the Embedded episodes and also had the fighter prep point.  Bud Light was a big sponsor throughout the broadcast.

No Monster Energy Drink on the broadcast.  This may be due in part that TNT Energy Drink had been a UFC sponsor in Brazil.  According to this UFC press release, the Monster exclusive deal with the UFC, excludes Brazil.

Odds and Ends

This was a big show but think how much bigger it could have been with Anderson Silva-Uriah Hall.

Fans were given Werdum “faces” which had the former champ’s trademark smirk.  He did it a couple times during the walk out.  Werdum seemed like he had the time of his life until the fight started.

A subtle post-fight gesture for new champs is that they are given the champion’s “black” Reebok shirt.  Miesha Tate was given it after defeating Holly Holm.  Miocic was handed the shirt after his post-fight interview.

Matt Brown probably should never fight in Brazil again.  He gave the Brazilian fans the Stone Cold Steve Austin treatment at weigh-ins.  Although FS1 did not show it, there was footage of random fans taking shots at Brown on his walkout to the Octagon against Damian Maia.

Brown was submitted by Maia.  The next day, his ex-coach takes a swing at him.  Fortunately, authorities got a hold (literally) on the guy.

I know that there are practical reasons for this, but does anyone find it odd that Benson Henderson was once again wearing a UFC uniform in the corner of training partner, Bryan Barberena.

It looks like Jon Jones is really feeling it.

Big Nog was announced as the first UFC fighter to go into the company’s Hall of Fame this summer.  Little Nog had a KO of Patrick Cummins as the featured fight on the early UFC Prelims on Fight Pass.

There were 500,000 google searches for UFC 198 on Saturday.

Conclusion

UFC 198 was a very entertaining card with some good finishes.  But, did the Werdum-Miocic appeal to the casual viewers?  Probably not.  This was a card which was focused on Brazil.  The attendance looked very good and the crowds (including at the weigh-ins) were great.  However, the PPV buys for this event will likely come in around 325,000 buys.

Monster Energy re-ups with Bellator MMA

May 13, 2016

Bellator MMA has reached an agreement with Monster Energy Drink to extend its sponsorship agreement which will see the green “M” in the Bellator cage for years to come according to a press release.

Via Bellator MMA press release:

Monster will continue to own highly visible inventory inside the Bellator cage and sponsor concourse activations during events as well as additional off-site promotional activations. To complement the live event experience, Monster and Bellator will look to engage in a multi-faceted activation plan intended to build customer loyalty and drive tune-in of the Bellator broadcasts on Spike. The sponsorship extension will also see Bellator MMA continue to put on fights during the “Monster Energy Cup” – an event that showcases the world’s top supercross riders in a head to-head battle for the coveted “Monster Energy Cup” award and the chance to win one million dollars.

PHOTO © HANS MOLENKAMP// MONSTER ENERGY/All Rights Reserved

PHOTO © HANS MOLENKAMP//MONSTER ENERGY/All Rights Reserved

Payout Perspective:

Monster is also the “Official Energy Drink” of the UFC and with this agreement will have honed in on the MMA demo.  It’s clear that the company sees the MMA demo of young (mostly male) adults correlates with the company’s target market.  The announcement comes the day before Bellator 154 which features Phil Davis taking on King Mo. Davis is a Monster Energy-sponsored athlete per the Bellator release. In addition, Rampage Jackson, Joe Schilling, Michael Chandler, Joey Beltran and Brennan Ward are Monster-sponsored as well.