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.

UFC 203: Payout Perspective

September 11, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 203 from Cleveland, Ohio where CM Punk’s debut and Stipe Miocic’s title defense were the headlining events.

Gall mauls CM Punk

We all knew that this was going to happen.  3 pro fights in and Mickey Gall looks like a top prospect.  Of course, his opponent was former pro wrestler CM Punk.  Despite being a huge favorite, Gall had a game plan which was to take down and grapple Punk.  Gall is a brown belt, Punk is a white belt as astutely pointed out by Joe Rogan.  Gall had his way with Punk on the ground and eventually choked him out in round 1.

Mickey Gall wants fellow pretty boy Sage Northcutt next.  Please UFC, book this.  As for Punk, he gave a very nice speech about dreams and believing in yourself.  Certainly this was a huge risk for a person in his late 30s but if he does continue his MMA dream it appears that it would be on a smaller, regional card.  Or Bellator.

Stipe stops Reem

Stipe Miocic successfully defended his UFC 203 heavyweight title against Alistair Overeem in one of the best and craziest rounds of this year.  Miocic was in trouble early in the first and almost was submitted (Reem thought there was a tap) by Overeem.

It looks like that Stipe gets Cain Velasquez next.  So long as the fight is at sea level, this will be a tough fight for Miocic.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

Cleveland came out for the UFC as the company reported a sell out for the event where the Cavaliers play.  The event drew 18,875 for $2.6M.

Bonuses went to Miocic-Overeem for Fight of the Night and Yancy Medeiros and Jessica

Promotion of the Fight

ESPN aided the UFC with the promotion as it had Stipe Miocic on Sportscenter talking up the fight.

Of course, there was the 3-part series on FS1 for CM Punk.

Miocic and Jessica Eye did local promotions since they are from the area.

The Cleveland Cavaliers through their support behind Miocic and Eye.

They also let Dana White handle the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Eye had a chance to throw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians home game as seen on Embedded.

There were tons of tweets from athletes, celebrities and pro wrestlers throwing their support for CM Punk.

Sponsorships

The newest sponsor in the Octagon for this PPV was IrishFireVodka.com.  The company is based out of Dallas, Texas per its web site. Aside from that, there were the usual sponsors including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Bud Light and Monster Energy Drink in the center.  They also promoted the UFC 204 PPV in the octagon.

MetroPCS had the fighter prep point.  Throughout the PPV, they had voiceover ads for Topps Fighter Trading Cards App.

Odds and Ends

UFC offered a 10% discount on purchasing this PPV if you had previously filled out a survey regarding UFC Fight Pass.  I’m sure they offer this periodically.  It’s just another subtle way to get consumers to gravitate to the UFC web site as opposed to PPV cable and satellite distributors.

CB Dolloway was involved in an elevator accident after the weigh-ins which caused his fight to be cancelled.  Expect a lawsuit.

Jessica Andrade looks like a legitimate title contender for the 115 pound women’s division.

What went on in that Browne-Werdum fight?  If a fighter asks for a halt to the fight without the referee first calling it, shouldn’t that be a verbal submission?  Then there’s the fracas with Edmund Tarverdyan post-fight.

Embedded showed Ronda Rousey’s dog with Travis Browne, but no Rousey.  She was in Cleveland as she was present for a pro wrestling show the night before to support her friend and former MMA fighter Shayna Baszler.

The Ohio Athletic Commission allowing the CM Punk license was one thing.  Its explanation for doing it was another.  Punk has publicly admitted to several concussions while wrestling, is 37 years old and the OAC waived its license requirements citing he was a top end pro wrestler.  But, to show its force, it stated it would investigate the Jessica Eye-Bethe Corriea shoving incident at the ceremonial weigh-ins.  It also fined Alistair Overeem $500 for being late to the weigh-ins.  Speaking of the Browne-Werdum fight, why did the referee allow for Browne to call an injury timeout on his own and not know that if Browne called for a stop to the fight, the fight was over.  Will the OAC look into that debacle?

After Joe Rogan interviewed Stipe Miocic who thought he was knocked down by a kick (instead of a punch) and then Overeem believed Miocic tapped to a guillotine, Rogan made the comment that maybe he shouldn’t interview guys after a fight.  Especially those that have been knocked out.  Makes sense to me although this is unlikely to happen.

Conclusion

Saturday night’s event drew over 1M searches for UFC 203 and another 200,000 for “UFC 203 Fight Card.”  Certainly, the attendance at the event was great as it was pushing for Miocic and Eye as hometown favorites. But was the allure of CM Punk reason for casual viewers to purchase the PPV?  It may have received a bump from pro wrestling fans but unlikely to move much with the rest.  Although the PPV had a heavyweight title fight, Miocic-Overeem are not PPV draws.  Since there was a little more marketing behind this event, I think we could see about 325-375K PPV buys.

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.

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