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.

WME-IMG now free to solicit offers for new media rights deal

October 3, 2017

As we head into October it is worth noting that the exclusive negotiating period between WME-IMG and Fox to renew the UFC television contract came to an end.  WME-IMG will be free to solicit its television deal with others.

The UFC signed a 7-year deal with Fox in 2011 worth a reported $100 million per year (although others reported the deal at $115 million).  The current deal ends at the end of 2018.  The contract with Fox came with an exclusive negotiating window of 90 days which began this past July.

Last November, the UFC proclaimed that it was eyeing a $450 million per year deal for its next contract.  It will offer four annual broadcasts, six annual cable events and weekly programming as well as UFC Fight Pass.  It’s unlikely that the UFC will give up its PPV business with this upcoming deal.  Industry executives opine that the new deal will grant the winning bid more input into the matches and what will be a part of the UFC PPV events.

Payout Perspective:

It was likely that there would be no deal with Fox during this exclusive period as the new owners wanted to see what it could obtain in the open market.  With the possibility of bidders like Turner, CBS/Showtime, NBC and the wildcard that is Amazon out there, the UFC could be an attractive sports property.  But can it grab a $450 million deal?  It appears that the market for sports properties has dried up a bit and it’s hard to fathom that it can secure a $450 million deal (e.g., WWE’s media rights deal in 2014).  But, despite the low PPV buys this year and the volatility of the product (i.e., injuries and/or drug tests that may put off fights), it is still one of the better properties attracting the younger male demo.  We should see movement on this in the coming months.

UFC Fight Pass has streaming issues for The Money Fight

August 26, 2017

The Money Fight may surpass the record for PPV buys Saturday night, but many fans that purchased the fight on UFC Fight Pass experienced technical difficulties.  As a result, Showtime released a statement that the main event would be delayed slightly.

Another tweet from UFC Fight Pass made it sound like that they would not be able to fix this issue any time soon.

For weeks the UFC has promoted the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight would stream over its digital platform, Fight Pass.  It had offered a hat if you had pre-purchased the PPV before tonight.  However, many fans that purchased the event found issues with their feed. The culprit appears to be the high demand.

Payout Perspective:

 

There were other outages through other platforms but focusing on UFC Fight Pass, this has to be the worst nightmare the company as it appears there will be a need to refund (not just credit) UFC accounts that purchased through Fight Pass.  Its unfortunate but if you are looking on the bright side, the technical difficulties are believed to be due to the heavy amount of people seeking to purchase the PPV.  The bad news, is that there appears to be a need to give out a refund.  This issue turns from tech to PR as the UFC will have to address this issue with its customers.  It will also need to look at building back trust in its platform later down the road.

 

Snoop Dogg to provide commentary for Dana White’s new Fight Pass show

July 1, 2017

Snoop Dogg will be a commentator on Dana White’s new UFC Fight Pass show when it debuts in July.  The “entertainment icon” as described in the press release will be part of “Snoopcast,” an alternative commentary for the show on the digital platform.

Snoop Dogg will be a commentator with soon-to-be UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber.

The rapper is a big fan of the UFC and friends with Dana White.  The new UFC Fight Pass Show, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series will feature up-and-coming fighters.

Payout Perspective:

The addition of Snoop Dogg makes no real sense other than White doing a favor for his friend.  First, this show is a “deep dive” for UFC hardcores on Fight Pass.  Second, Snoop is on the alternative commentary with Faber.  Both are not seasoned veterans when it comes to commentating and while this may be a way to pattern after the “Area 21”/”NBA on TNT” model where you just talk about what’s on your mind and nothing much else, it seems like a waste of money and resources.  The move is likely a way to broaden the digital platform and make it more entertaining.

Fight Pass introduces 24/7 live stream

June 20, 2017

The UFC announced a new addition to its UFC Fight Pass over the top platform in a press release sent out on Tuesday.  It is adding a linear streaming channel to complement the Fight Pass’s video-on-deman function.

The move will feature more than 100 hours of live programming.  As evidenced by the promotional push for the show, the weekly Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series will be one of the focuses of the new live programming component.  In addition, the release indicates that the UFC’s annual Hall of Fame event, UFC Fight Night Rotterdam, two GLORY Kickboxing events, two Invicta FC events, an Eddie Bravo tournament featuring female Flyweights and the debut of Polaris will be featured live events this summer.

Payout Perspective:

 The move to include a live stream sounds similar to the WWE Network.  It will be interesting to see the value of this change and whether it means an evolution of the platform or a strategy to seek more advertising revenue through the live stream.

UFC 204: Payout Perspective

October 10, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 204 from Manchester, England which pitted Michael Bisping defending his UFC middleweight title against Dan Henderson.

Bisping outlasts Hendo

The rematch was 7 years in the making and despite the time in between fights, everyone knew the backstory from UFC 100.  Hendo hit an “H Bomb” that knocked out Bisping and then landed on the Brit with another shot while he was on the ground.  This was the story that sold the fight otherwise the matchmaking never made sense aside from Bisping wanting to avenge a loss.

The fight itself was great.  Hendo almost recreated his KO of Bisping in round 1 and picked his spots which stung Bisping and bloodied his eyes.  However, Bisping’s excellent cardio kept him in the fight and staying on top of the 46-year-old appeared to be the critical factor in the decision.

A matchup with Jacare Souza seems like the most logical matchup for Bisping but we’ll see what happens next.

ufc-204

Mousasi stops Belfort

Vitor Belfort’s days as a top-level fighter are over as Gegard Mousasi had little difficulty with the former champion.  Belfort looked much different in terms of body composition than previous fights and for a black belt did not handle being mounted too well.

Mousasi called out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview in what you can call a “resume builder” for the middleweight.

Attendance and Gate

The event took place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England and drew 16,000 for a live gate of $1.96 million.  The attendance was impressive considering the event took place in the middle of the night to accommodate American PPV.

The attendance and gate come in second to UFC 105 held at the same arena.  That event which featured Randy Couture-Brandon Vera drew 16,693 for a $2 million gate.

Bonuses

$50,000 bonuses went to Hendo-Bisping for Fight of the Night and Iuri Alcantara and Jimi Manuwa for Performances of the Night.  Mike Perry and Danny Roberts and Stefan Struve could have won bonuses too.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC did its usual promotional events for the fight.  As seen on the Embedded series, Dan Henderson visited the Manchester City Football Club.  Bisping is a fan of Manchester United, the rival club.

Sponsorships

Monster Energy Drink, UFC Fight Pass and Bud Light were thenotable mainstay sponsors for the night.  In addition, video game Gears of War 4 and “What Now?” the upcoming Kevin Hart comedy also had signage in the Octagon.  Also,  Twinzz.com, a European hat maker was also in the Octagon.  IconicFaceOff.com which features a Conor McGregor commercial on its web site was also on the mat.   Also, UFC 205 signage including it’s “Can’t Wait” tag was in the Octagon.

Odds and ends

UFC 204 had 500,000 plus searches on Friday in the US.  I couldn’t find the number of US searches for Saturday for UFC 204 which might be an oversight or the fact that there were other searches more popular than the event.  However, in the UK UFC 204 registered 200,000 plus searches on Saturday

The post-fight show usually on FS1 was switched to FS2 due to college football.

Brian Stann served as the color commentator in place of Joe Rogan and was fantastic.

The trailer for UFC 205 were shown during the telecast.

Appealing to their apparel sponsor, one of the Embedded showed a picture of a young Michael Bisping wearing a Reebok sweatshirt.  Also, an episode showed Hendo picking out a cup for the fight.

The PPV ended early due to the early stoppages in the first 4 main card fights and the telecast filled it with the Brad Pickett-Iuri Alcintara fight.

Conclusion

Since this fight did not occur in the U.S., it seems that there was less buzz for it.  Then again, if you did not like the main event, there was not much for the casual viewer.  While the Bisping-Hendo fight brought some history and curiosity I don’t think Bisping is a PPV draw unless he’s fighting a name brand opponent.  Hendo is great but he is not a PPV draw.  UFC 199 featuring Rockhold-Bisping drew 320,000 buys.  But, with this happening during college football season, the PPV will likely do 275,000 PPV buys.

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 200: Payout Perspective – Part 1 of 2

July 11, 2016

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 200 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nunes upsets Tate to win women’s title

If I were to tell you at the start of the year that the main event for July’s UFC 200 would be Amanda Nunes versus Miesha Tate, you probably would have thought that it was a joke.  However, due to Ronda Rousey’s movie career, Conor McGregor’s poorly played power move and a Jon Jones drug test, we received Nunes-Tate as the final fight on what was/is supposed to be the biggest card of the year for the UFC.

Amanda Nunes looked sharped and started off quick as she always does.  She peppered Tate and may have broken her nose.  Once it got to the ground, Nunes applied the rear-naked choke (or chin crank) for the victory.  You could see Tate being broken as the round went on.  She barely made weight for this fight despite seemingly calm throughout the rest of the camp.

Nunes was emotional and became the first openly gay UFC champion for the sport.  It was fitting as it was the same weekend that the UFC announced its line of apparel in support of the LGBTQ community.  Of course, the weekend was somewhat tarnished by comments made by Donald Cerrone on Sunday although The Cowboy did apologize immediately.

Nunes may have Holly Holm or a returning Ronda Rousey at year’s end.  If Rousey decides to return to the Octagon, I could envision a New York defense for Nunes against Rousey.

UFC 200

Lesnar dominates Hunt in return to Octagon

Brock Lesnar surprised most of the MMA fanbase as he defeated Mark Hunt in a 3-round heavyweight bout.  Although Lesnar’s last time in the Octagon looked very bad (a loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141), he looked quick and his wrestling helped squash Hunt.  In another surprise, Lesnar’s post-fight interview was far-less dynamic and much more humanitarian than beast-like in his UFC 100 tirade which even UFC Fight Pass censors due to his comments about sponsor Bud Light.

This was supposed to be a one-time thing for Lesnar as he was on “loan” (for $2.5M +) from the WWE.  We will see if he will fight again.  If he does, you have to think he’s close to being in line for a title shot.

Aldo wins interim belt as McGregor watches on

Jose Aldo looked like his old self in securing a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar.  Aldo’s ability to stuff takedowns and score on the outside helped him defeat a game Edgar.  Aldo should receive his much-anticipated rematch against Conor McGregor (after his one-off with Nate next month).

Not sure what Edgar will do next.  He had been on a great run up until Saturday.  However, he’ll have to hope for a Conor win to get another shot at the 145 title.

Attendance and Gate

The UFC set a gate record in Nevada with $10.7 million for the 18,202 in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Bonuses

The bonuses of $50,000 went to Amanda Nunes, Cain Vevlasquez, Joe Lauzon and Gegard Mousasi.  All were performance bonuses as there was no Fight of the Night.

Payouts

The biggest payout was Brock Lesnar and his $2.5 million.  Even with no win bonus, it’s the largest reported payout for a UFC fighter.  No complaints from anyone else as Lesnar likely brought in many PPV purchasers.  Lesnar likely will make more from his PPV cut.

Lesnar’s opponent, Mark Hunt, received $700,000 for stepping in with the WWE superstar.  According to Kevin Iole, the Nevada State Athletic Commission stated that Cormier was slated to make $1 million for his fight with Jon Jones.  But since that was cancelled, he made $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC bought ad time on Adult Swim in an effort to expand its reach as well as touch upon the network’s African American demo.  At the time, the main event was Cormier-Jones.

In addition, the UFC had a “confrontation show” on FS1 with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier talking about their fight.

Bud Light and Monster Energy held promotions months in advance holding trips to win a chance to go to UFC 200.

The UFC did their usual media stops although it did not seem as broad a reach as UFC 196.

Sponsors

The special gold mat included the usual sponsors as well as a couple new ones.  EA UFC2, Harley-Davidson, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Bud Light and Monster were all in the Octagon with the energy drink having the center of the Octagon.  Hudson Shipping Lines, a mainstay sponsor on many International UFC cards had signage in the Octagon.  DirecTV promoted its original show, Kingdom.  It showed clips of the show as well as showing stars in attendance.  Also, Speedway was also in the Octagon sharing a signage post with Monster.  The company is a gas and convenient store with most of its locations on the East Coast.  It ran a promotion in conjunction with Monster leading up to this event.

Bud Light had the prep point at the televised weigh-ins and at the event.

As we mention, Bud Light and Monster Energy had promotions far in advance of 200.

Odds and ends

Yes, we’ll address the sale in another post.

The mat probably was to be more a gold look but was yellow to commemorate UFC 200.

The UFC offered 200 in 4K.  It was the first time ever and event was offered in PPV.

This was the first reveal of the Reebok kits.  It had more colors.  Notably the yellow looked good for Anderson Silva as it was his usually color.  But, the yellow also was the same as the mat.

Interesting that DC was wearing his Nike Air Max shoes during fight week including during the Embedded where Dana White told Cormier that his fight with Jones was off.

The WWE did not actively promote UFC 200 although the PPV featured an ad for Summerslam.  It was not until Brock’s win did the WWE social media machine engage.

While there is so much love for Lesnar right now, an injury-free Cain Velasquez at sea-level is probably the best heavyweight out there.

It’s been slightly over 1 year with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the company’s biggest event is greatly affected by it.  At least we know that there are no favorites in the process.

The UFC and Snapchat announced a multi-year partnership for coverage of its live events which began at UFC 200.

The UFC Prelims on FS1 were sent to FS2 for the first half hour due to the MLB game that preceeded the event going to extra innings.  The FS1 audience missed out on the Sage Northcutt fight.  Despite an average (maybe below) average performance, Sage secured an individual Reebok sponsorship.

The Exclusive UFC Fight Pass Prelims had some of the more exciting fights of the night on it as it produced two bonus winners (Lauzon, Mousasi).

Speaking of Fight Pass, I was interviewed by The Verge about how the UFC became the ‘Netflix of Combat.”

Conclusion

We’ll have more on the event, the Expo, Jon Jones and more in part 2.  But, everyone probably wants to know what an estimated buy rate would be for this event.  While we pondered whether this event could draw 2 million PPV buys, that would be unlikely after the Jon Jones debacle.  Jones is not a big PPV draw but the promotion and marketing was centered around the feud with Cormier.  UFC 182 drew 800,000 PPV buys.  With Lesnar and two other title fights, one would think that it could draw near the 2 million mark.  Even without the feud, UFC 200 should do well with just the name Brock Lesnar attached.  UFC 200 should doing something between 1 million to 1.2 million PPV buys.  While it won’t eclipse UFC 100’s buy rate, it will be a good sendoff for Zuffa.

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.

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