MMAterial Facts (01/18/10)

January 18, 2010

  • Boxer’s treatment costs spur look at injury fund
  • One on One With Shari Spencer
  • Looking at Japan in 2010
  • Get an inside look at how Illinois legalized UFC
  • Fighting for MMA

Boxer’s treatment costs spur look at injury fund

The creation of a fund earmarked for catastrophic injuries to boxers and martial arts fighters is being studied by the Nevada Athletic Commission, its chairwoman said Tuesday…

Lundvall said to prevent taxpayers from paying the medical bills of fighters in the future, she is asking some of the “best minds in insurance” to devise ideas “along the lines of an annuity.”

Lundvall, a Reno attorney, said she envisions a monetary pool for catastrophic injuries being funded through a small percentage of both ticket sales and pay-per-view sales in Nevada.

How much that percentage would be, she said, “needs much more study.” She said the question of how to fund a catastrophic medical pool will be on the commission’s agenda in February.

A recent study done by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on the nongaming economic effect of 20 major fights since 2005 found that nearly $200 million was poured into the community by visitors… (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

One on One With Shari Spencer

Just as his accomplishments inside of the UFC’s Octagon can be attributed to hard work, dedication, and the continuing improvement of a skill set that is already amongst the most formidable in any weight class, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre’s accomplishments outside of the cage can almost exclusively be attributed to the efforts of his personal manager, Shari Spencer. Aside from defending his title twice in 2009 against two of the best fighters in the welterweight division, St-Pierre became the first MMA fighter to truly break into the mainstream of sports advertising when he signed exclusive sponsorship agreements with marketing juggernauts Gatorade and Under Armour last year, two of the largest sports-related advertisers in the world… (Tapology)

Looking at Japan in 2010

Michael Schiavello: I think 2010 will be a resurgence year for K-1. We’ll see K-1 do some big things in Europe, such as the rumored four European shows including possibly a European Grand Prix in a major European city (I can’t say which city just yet, but if the rumor comes true, it’s a city K-1 hasn’t been in yet and one that would be very exciting). Also I believe we’ll see K-1 return to mainland USA this year, with at least one show but maybe as many as three, which is big in itself and has a lot to do with the enormous popularity K-1 has garnered on HDNet.

Michael Schiavello: I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to do a show in Japan unless you’re working in with FEG. They’re the big power in Japan. They hold all the aces in their pockets with television, marketing, the best fighters, venues, etc. Scott Coker is a smart cookie and has tremendous experience with the Japanese market from his many years working with K-1. A Strikeforce show in Japan done with the blessing and partial assistance of FEG could be successful depending on which fighters were utilized. The key to capturing the Japanese fans is using Japanese fighters, not American fighters. Strikeforce and FEG have a working relationship which I believe is very healthy. My dream scenario would be for a joint Strikeforce/Dream series doing one show a piece in the USA and in Japan, not unlike Dynamite was a DREAM/Sengoku series… (MMAFighting)

Get an inside look at how Illinois legalized UFC

It didn’t take any punches or kicks or choke holds for mixed martial arts to be legalized by the Illinois Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, just the usual mix of political clout and a little campaign cash, according to a portion of Blagojevich’s new book, The Governor.

Other key players declined to talk about Blagojevich’s version of the story, but public records back up key portions.

Blagojevich writes of his distaste for the sport, which takes place in an octagonal steel cage and combines boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts. But he says he put that distaste aside and signed the legislation legalizing mixed martial arts to score points with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, the real-life model for the character Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage.”

And why might Ari Emanuel care about mixed martial arts? Among his Endeavor Talent Agency’s clients:  Zuffa LLC, the Las Vegas company that owns UFC… (Chicage Sun-Times)

Fighting for MMA

According to mmafacts.com, a website devoted to spreading the word about MMA, an HR&A study conducted in 2008 analyzed the economic impact one Ultimate Fighting Championship (a company that hosts MMA caged bouts) event would have in Buffalo and Downstate New York.

According to the study “$1.7 million of direct spending is leveraged three times to result in $5.2 million of total activity in the local economy,” which means one event “could increase direct sports-related activity in Buffalo by 20 percent.”

Every dollar spent planning, promoting and staffing the event,  along with  every dollar spent on ticket sales, merchandise, food, travel, hotels, and entertainment will has a three-fold impact on the community.

By attracting event-goers and employing locals to work at the event, just one UFC or MMA event will bring money in to the community and keep it there. The money is leveraged because it will continue to circulate within the community even after the day of the fight.
Furthermore, the direct revenue benefits, or taxes, to New York State could total $320,000, and that’s from just one event.

The impact on Downstate New York is even greater: findings indicate potential for $11.3 million of economic output,” which is 15 percent of the [region’s] economic activity over a single weekend.”

“The Times Union Center in Albany anticipates a single MMA event generating close to $1 million in economic impact for Albany businesses and an additional $100,000 in tax revenues for Albany County” the study reported… (Saratoga Today)

QUICK HITS

  • Herschel Walker isn’t joking about MMA (ESPN)
  • Expectations rise for Strikeforce’s Bobby Lashley (USA Today)
  • Report: Floyd Mayweather to fight on May 1st, would go head-to-head against UFC PPV (Fight Opinion)
  • UFC president says May 1 card in Montreal could be moved to another date (The Canadian Press)
  • Sanchez contemplates return to 170 (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson vs. Matt Mitrione targeted for UFC 113 in Montreal (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Derrick Noble vs Yves Edwards Heads MFC 24 (MMAWeekly)
  • Weekend Rundown: Monson Wins; Houston Alexander Loses (Sherdog)
  • ESPN to air UFC: Best of 2009 on free-to-air weekend (Mirror.co.uk)
  • Kongo vs. Buentello, Ludwig vs. Fisher Added to UFC on Versus (MMAFighting)
  • Kampmann vs. Saunders set for UFC 111 main card, two bouts official for prelims (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator Signs GSP Training Partner Mike Ricci (MMAWeekly)
  • Koscheck vs. Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal (MMAWeekly)
  • Update On Bobby Lashley’s Strikeforce Opponent (MMANews)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

Countdown to UFC 107 Ratings

December 10, 2009

Countdown to UFC 107 aired Tuesday night on Spike TV to an average audience of 618,000, which is the highest rated Countdown show since UFC 101 (805,000 viewers) in early August. It’s a good sign for the UFC, because the interest levels in Countdown ratings tend to have a ballpark correlation with the actual PPVs they’re meant to promote.

However, the pre-fight indicators are generally mixed when it comes to UFC 107. It was reported earlier this week that just over 10,000 tickets had been sold one week out from the event, which isn’t spectacular for a new market. Barring any strong sales in the last week the attendance should fill out to an average 14,000 or 15,000, and would probably translate into a $2.0-$2.3 million gate.

Gregory Saks of Tapology.com also talks about the general interest activity surrounding BJ Penn, Diego Sanchez, and Frank Mir being somewhat average:

While the bout is highly compelling in its clash of styles and big personalities, the fan buzz rankings show that most casual viewers of the sport do not yet know of BJ Penn as a household name. Though Penn is one of the top pound-for-pound MMA fighters in the world he is currently only 31st in the buzz rankings of fighters. Diego Sanchez is ranked slightly higher, likely due to the lasting appeal and recognition generated from his days on Spike TV. While the card may deliver an excellent night of action for the fans, the UFC may need to temper any expectations for a blockbuster night along the lines of UFC 101 when Penn last fought.

The buzz rankings take into account the level of activity for people searching and reading about each MMA fighter online. The more online buzz, the greater the ranking.

Interestingly, UFC 107 participants BJ Penn, Diego Sanchez, and Frank Mir all peaked at one point in the past year at 5th in the buzz rankings. Penn’s peak came in January during the lead-up to his bout against Georges St. Pierre, Mir’s was in July surrounding his mega-bout with Brock Lesnar, and Sanchez reached 5th when he competed against Joe Stevenson in London, England.

Tapology: September MMA Buzz Rankings

October 20, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 began airing in September, featuring a cast of heavyweights including Kimbo Slice vying for a UFC contract. The fan interest and buzz surrounding the show was palpable, leading to a huge jump up the rankings for Kimbo as well as several other participants. The Youtube sensation-turned legitimate MMA fighter rose 10 spots to first place from August to September, yet another example of his star power as an athlete.

Also enjoying a major boost in September was UFC 103 participant Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, who returned to the organization and defeated Rich Franklin in a convincing first round stoppage. Belfort’s victory clearly resonated with fans, driving the Brazilian veteran up 21 spots to second place in the buzz rankings.

TUF 10 particpants including Roy Nelson and Wes Sims also enjoyed a significant ‘Spike’ in exposure, climbing 150 and 205 spots, respectively. Seth Petruzelli, the fighter who ended Kimbo Slice’s run in the now-defunct EliteXC promotion, rose to 33 in the rankings despite having no involvement with the show. A rematch between Petruzelli and Kimbo could be a ratings winner for the UFC.

Other notables include Lyoto Machida receiving increased fan buzz despite inactivity in September, a sign that the Brazilian Karate expert could be a casual fan favorite in the making. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Demian Maia, Brian Bowles, and Miguel Torres all suffered unceremonious drops in September after their prior month bouts.

September
Rank
Fighter August to September
Change
1 Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson Up 10
2 Vitor Belfort Up 21
3 Fedor Emelianenko No Change
4 Anderson Silva Down 2
5 Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Up 13
6 Lyoto Machida Up 4
7 Brock Lesnar Down 3
8 Roy Nelson Up 150
9 Chuck Liddell Down 2
10 Rich Franklin Up 33
11 Rashad Evans Up 9
12 Bobby Lashley Up 1
13 Randy Couture Down 5
14 Shane Carwin Down 5
15 Tito Ortiz Down 3
16 Wes Sims Up 205
17 Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic Up 30
18 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Down 2
19 Frank Mir Up 14
20 Ken Shamrock Up 10
21 Brett Rogers Up 5
22 Diego Sanchez Up 3
23 Andrei Arlovski Up 5
24 Tim Sylvia Up 14
25 Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Up 10
26 Forrest Griffin Down 21
27 Dan Henderson Down 10
28 Wanderlei Silva Up 6
29 Gina Carano Down 28
30 Junior Dos Santos Up 45
31 Jason “Mayhem” Miller Up 21
32 Royce Gracie Up 26
33 Seth Petruzelli Up 48
34 Matt Hughes Up 3
35 Keith Jardine Down 14
36 Georges St. Pierre Down 21
37 Efrain Escudero Up 82
38 Paul Daley Up 166
39 Thiago Silva Down 12
40 Bob Sapp Up 15
41 Roger Huerta Up 15
42 Frank Shamrock Down 6
43 Melvin Guillard Up 63
44 Frank Trigg Up 49
45 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Up 45
46 Thiago Alves Down 6
47 BJ Penn Down 33
48 Nick Diaz Down 16
49 Ricardo Arona Up 79
50 Cain Velasquez Down 6

Dropped out from August to September:
Alistair Overeem (#56), Kenny Florian (#59), Mark Coleman (#61), Renato “Babalu” Sobral (#62), Brandon Vera (#66), Nate Marquardt (#68), Gegard Mousasi (#76), Jon Fitch (#80), Gabriel Gonzaga (#81), Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (#92), Miguel Torres (#127), Chris Leben (#137), Demian Maia (#200), Brian Bowles (#219)

Tapology’s buzz rankings are a measure of fan interest and activity. Tapology uses data from Compete, Inc. to directly capture the level of internet users reading about and looking at over 800 of the biggest names in mixed martial arts. Activity is aggregated across multiple websites and represents an actual measurement of millions of consumers. The rankings represent United States fans only; the activity of non-U.S. consumers is not included.

Tapology provides exclusive interviews, news, analysis and rankings of the sport of mixed martial arts.  With a focus on breaking down fan interest, fight odds and fight stats, Tapology looks to offer a unique perspective on MMA.