Update on Wilder Povetkin Appeal

February 12, 2019

A couple weeks ago, attorneys for Deontay Wilder filed a Reply Brief in its Appellate case with World of Boxing and Alexander Povetkin.

The long-winding legal case currently resides in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Reply Brief by on Scribd

Specifically, Wilder appeals the U.S. District Court’s ruling which dismissed the boxer’s allegations that Povetkin breached their bout agreement to fight when he tested positive for Meldonium.  A jury ruled in Wilder’s favor that Povetkin ingested meldonium post January 1, 2016 but the court later sided with the World Boxing Council, the regulating body governing the Wilder-Povetkin bout.  In a November 2017 order, the WBC stated that it could not determine whether Povetkin ingested meldonium post-January 2016.  The WBC Rules and Regulations indicated that “any dispute or controversy” would be bound by its own rules.  Therefore, the Court seemingly adopted the WBC’s interpretation of the issues associated with this case and neglected to enforce the jury verdict.

Of course, WOB adopted the district court ruling.  They argued that the trial court was correct in deferring the discretion of a private organization in interpreting their own rules.  Notably, the Deflategate case is one of the central cases in this appeal.  As you recall, Tom Brady was accused of deflating footballs below regulation.  The New England Patriot quarterback requested arbitration to challenge his four-game suspension.  He participated in an arbitration in which the Commissioner affirmed the suspension.  Ultimately, the trial court set aside the arbitration decision.

But Wilder differentiates the Brady Deflategate case by citing that the WBC had not held an arbitration and allowed the Southern District of New York to hear the dispute.  Therefore, there was not an arbitration decision to set aside since the WBC, according to Wilder, had allowed the court to litigate the case.

In its Initial Brief it stated that the WBC “circumscribed any discretion it had with regard to the jury verdict when it issued its October 2016 ruling.”  Essentially, the WBC did not grant Povetkin a chance to challenge the jury’s actual verdict.

Most importantly, Wilder argues that the District Court should not vacate the jury verdict.

It also argued that WOB’s arguments do not escape it from the fact it violated the terms of the bout agreement.  Wilder asserts that even if the WBC had ordered Wilder to fight Povetkin in a postponement of their May 2016, he tested positive for another banned substance, ostarine.  This would have been another factor which would have prolonged the anticipated fight with Wilder.

The Reply Brief, which primarily addressed Povetkin and World of Boxing’s Answering Brief, responds to the arguments which ultimately supports the District Court ruling which found in favor of Povetkin and WOB.

The brief gets into a fairly detailed argument related to the testimony of an expert that testified as both an expert and fact witness and an allegation of attorney misconduct on the part of Wilder’s attorneys which the District Court referred to as a “kitchen sink” approach of throwing in every accusation in a court filing in demanding a new trial.

Bellator 199 draws 453K on Paramount and another 152,000 on CMT

May 15, 2018

Bellator MMA 199 drew 453,00 viewers on the Paramount Network and another 152,000 on the CMT network for a total of 605,000 viewers on Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured King Mo taking on Ryan Bader.  It took Bader 15 seconds to take care of Lawal in the first round to move on in the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament.

The event drew 0.16 in the A18-49 demo on the Paramount Network.

Payout Perspective:

Similar to the UFC Prelims on FX, the ratings for Bellator seemed to be nullified due to the choices on Saturday.  We note that the Lomachenko fight on ESPN was the big winner of the night with over 1 million viewers in the 8pm ET time slot.  The Bellator ratings show that the viewership on both networks (Paramount and CMT) are barely reaching the viewership levels of the prior years when it was just on Spike.

Hunt lawyers seek to include facts about UFC pulling him from Fight Night 121 in lawsuit

December 18, 2017

On Friday, Mark Hunt’s lawyer filed a motion to supplement its First Amended Complaint according to court papers.  The supplemented information appears to include his “unilateral removal (for pretextual reasons) from UFC’s November 2017 “UFC Fight Night 121” card.  Hunt claim’s he “incurred in excess of $100,000.00 in damages for the cost of his pre-fight training camp and related expenses, in addition to the lost fight purse.”

Hunt is requesting the supplement to add factual allegations supporting existing claims.  The supplementation may give rise to further legal wranglings from Zuffa, Dana Whtie and Brock Lesnar since the three have motions to dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  Essentially, the defendants may argue that supplementing the First Amended Complaint with additional factual content impacts the existing motion to dismiss which is pending Court decision.

The removal from the recent Fight Night is the result of Hunt’s article in an Australian web site that he had memory loss and slurred speech related to fighting.  After the article was released, the UFC took him off of UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia due to concerns about his health.  The UFC indicated that Hunt could be checked out at the Lou Ruvo Brain Center but Hunt refused according to Dana White.  Hunt stated that he had the tests done in Sydney instead of Las Vegas where the brain center is located.  According to Hunt, the tests were negative.

Mark Hunt’s Motion to Supplement First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Proposed Supplemental First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


Payout Perspective:

The supplemented information to his First Amended Complaint is a procedural matter which Zuffa has the opportunity to object to the supplemented complaint.  The additional information that Hunt would like included in his First Amended Complaint would bolster the alleged claim under the RICO Act since one of the requisites deals with a scheme over interstate lines via “wire, radio or television.”  If the Court allows the supplemental information, you’d expect Zuffa to argue that it has to retool its Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint to address the new facts.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

TUF 22 Episode 5: 498,000

October 8, 2015

The 5th episode of TUF 22 drew a Live plus Same Day viewing rating of 498,000 viewers on FS1.  The event went up against the MLB playoff game between Chicago and Pittsburgh as well as the opening night of the NHL on NBC Sports Network.

In the fight of the episode Saul Rogers defeated Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision.

Per Sports TV ratings, MLB on TBS (8-11pm ET) drew 8.3 million viewers with a 2.6 rating in the adult 28-49 demo.  The Rangers/Blackhawks (8:30-11pm ET) game on NBC Sports Network drew 925,000 viewers and a 0.4 rating.

The replay of TUF 22 the same night (10-11pm PT) drew an additional 58,000 viewers.UFC TUFF 22 Ep 5

Payout Perspective:

Tough night for TUF going up against baseball with two big markets involved as well as the start of the NHL season.  Suffice it to say that MMA fans of TUF in Chicago likely DVR’d this episode.  Despite the ratings, it did better than last spring’s TUF 21 5th episode (340,000) and just slightly less than TUF 20’s 5th episode last fall (509,000).

Bellator announces famous PRIDE announcer for Bellator: Dynamite 1

September 11, 2015

Bellator MMA teased the addition of a legendary MMA figure to the Bellator: Dynamite 1 event a few weeks back. Yesterday, they announced the addition of former PRIDE announcer and MMA legend Lenne Hardt via the apropos usage of SoundCloud.

Bellator: Dynamite 1 is scheduled to take place on September 19th from SAP Center in San Jose, CA and will feature the LHW title bout between Tito Ortiz vs Liam McGeary as the main event.  Bellator: Dynamite 1 will also hold a one-night Four Man LHW Tournament in addition to Glory kickboxing bouts in a unique ring plus cage arena setup announced for the event.


Payout Perspective:

This is not the first time Scott Coker has paid homage to his Japanese roots.  Back in 2011-2012, just before Strikeforce was sold to Zuffa, Coker and match-maker Rich Chou were the composers of the now famed Strikeforce HW GP, which included HW fighters such as Fedor, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, and Brett Rogers.

Also planned for the event was the addition of Lenne Hardt, but scheduling conflicts prevented Scott Coker and Lenne Hardt to come to an agreement. Bellator: Dynamite 1 is the second chance Coker and Hardt had been looking for since their first failed attempt back in the Strikeforce era.

PBC on ESPN draws 1.217M viewers

September 1, 2015

ESPN reports that PBC on ESPN featuring Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares Saturday night drew an average audience of 1,217,000 viewers and peaking with 1,641,000 viewers.

Santa Cruz defeated Mares via majority decision.  The peak occurred in the 12:00-12:15 am quarter hour.  The event officially aired from 10:00 – 12:12 am thus the peak came at the very end.  The rating makes it the largest boxing audience on ESPN since February 1998.

ESPN Deportes averaged a 1.3 Hispanic Household rating and 355,000 Hispanic viewers making it the highest-rated and most-watch boxing telecast to air on ESPN Deportes.  The telecast peaked from 11:15-11:30pm with 453,000 viewers.


July 11th – Thurman-Collazo: 800,000 viewers

August 1st – Garcia-Malignaggi: 1.073M viewers

August 29th – Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares: 1.217M viewers

Only a preseason NFL Football game on the NFL Network between Pittsburgh and Buffalo did better than PBC per Sports TV Ratings.

Payout Perspective:

PBC ran unopposed this past Saturday as the last two PBC events on ESPN ran opposite UFC PPVs.  The event reflects the huge Hispanic audience for boxing.  The fight received much more buzz than the last two on ESPN and based on the ESPN Deportes ratings, it was the most-watch on the network.

UFC Fight Night 73 draws 1.159M viewers; Prelims 306K

August 11, 2015

UFC Fight Night 73 drew an average viewership of 1.159M viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event made it the third-most watch UFC Fight Night of 2015.

In addition, the Fight Night Prelims which aired prior to the main card drew 306,000 viewers from 8-10pm ET.  The main card, which aired from 10pm-1am featured Glover Texeira and Ovince Saint Preux with Texeira taking the submission victory.

The main card was the second-most watched cable sporting event on Saturday night next to NASCAR on NBC Sports Network earlier in the day.

UFC Fight Nights through 73

UFC Fight Nights 2015
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 59 1,700,000 908,000
UFC Fight Night 60 913,000 775,000
UFC Fight Night 61 1,200,000 813,000
UFC Fight Night 62 617,000 280,000
UFC Fight Night 63 389,000 304,000
UFC Fight Night 66 575,000 286,000
UFC Fight Night 67 813,000 713,000
UFC Fight Night 68 950,000 782,000
UFC Fight Night 70 (prelims on FS2) 909,000 223,000
UFC Fight Night 71 801,000 543,000
UFC Fight Night 72 508,000 292,000
UFC Fight Night 73 1,159,000 306,000

Payout Perspective:

Saturday’s UFC event is a reason why FS1 wants the promotion on its network.  The UFC delivered with high ratings for the main card which brought the average up to 877,000 for all televised Fight Nights in 2015.  Last year, only 2 events exceeded 1 million viewers.  UFC Fight Night 73 featured fringe fighters that most casual viewers would not know.  Thus, not a big reason to tune in.  One might conclude that the reason so many people tuned in was that it was live and a UFC event.   A positive for FS1 and the UFC.

Bellator CEO jabs at UFC pre and post PPV

May 18, 2014

Saturday night was a very interesting night of MMA for Bellator as its inaugural PPV was entertaining but depending on whom you talk to, came with questionable judging.  In its lead-up to the event, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Junkie it plans to have future PPVs.

As he has been doing throughout the PPV hype, Rebney took subtle shots at the UFC.  For instance,  Rebney took a shot at the UFC by indicating its PPVs would be quality rather than quantity.

“You’re never going to see our organization where we’re in a position where we’re just force-feeding one every two to three weeks. It’s never going to happen. We’ll do big, significant pay-per-view events.”

He reiterated this at Bellator’s post-fight press conference.

He has taken other shots at the UFC in lead-up to the event including criticizing Zuffa for the reason that MMA is still not legal in New York (via Latin Post).

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that Bellator is not relying on the PPV model for its business but does the foray into the platform make sense for the company?  From the company’s perspective, having a big event 2-3 times a year would be an interesting piece to add to its content as the company could build its seasons on Spike TV around the potential for PPV.  We could certainly see a lot more build with tournament finals culminating on a PPV broadcasts as well as interesting rematches from the seasons airing on PPV.  We can foresee Rampage-Tito and Alvarez-Chandler/Brooks as headliners for the next PPV.  But will fans have the appetite to pay $44.95 for another MMA PPV?

As for Rebney’s jabs at the UFC, it is fine but if he is going to criticize the UFC, he probably should know the attendance and gate of his first PPV event.  This is something Rebney did not reveal to the media post-fight as he stated he did not know. Certainly, this will be something that the UFC will mention when asked about its PPV.

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (1/06 – 1/19)

February 4, 2014

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal. In this edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 1/06 – 1/19.


 Week: (1/6 – 1/12)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (1/08):
– Big East Basketball: 73,000 viewers (7:00-9:00 PM)
– Best of UFC 2013: 160,000 viewers (9:00-11:00 PM)
– Fox Sports Live: 50,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Friday Night Block (1/10):
– Daytona Preseason: 320,000 viewers (1:00-5:00 PM) **
– Crowd Goes Wild: 55,000 viewers (5:00 – 6:00 PM)
– FOX Football Daily: 43,000 viewers (6:00 – 7:00 PM)
– Daytona Preseason: 130,000 viewers (7:00 – 8:00 PM)
 UFC Reloaded: 367,000 viewers (8:00-11:00 PM) *
– Fox Sports Live: 38,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

* = FS1 highest viewership of the week… ** = FS1 second highest viewership of the week.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– Ultimate Insider (1/11) on FS1 drew 48,000 viewers.
– Best of UFC 2013 (1/8) on FS2 drew 52,000 viewers. ^
– Best of PRIDE FC (1/06) on FS2 drew 13,000 viewers.
– Golden Boy Boxing (1/06) on FS1 drew 113,000 viewers.
– Supercross (1/11) on FS1 drew 283,000 viewers.

^ FS2 viewership high for the week.

Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals (1/6 – 1/12):
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 168,000 (last week: 182,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 25,000 (last week: 13,000)


 Week: (1/13 – 1/19)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (1/15):
– UFC Tonight: 123,000 viewers (3:00-4:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night Pre-fight Show: 89,000 viewers (4:00-5:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night Prelims: 220,000 viewers (5:00-7:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night: 629,000 viewers (7:00-10:00 PM) *
– Ultimate Fighter Nations: 371,000 viewers (10:00-11:00 PM) **
– Fox Sports Live: 259,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Friday Night Block (1/17):
– Barrett-Jackson: 242,000 viewers (2:00-9:00 PM) 
– Ultimate Fighter Nations (repeat): 109,000 viewers (9:00-10:00 PM)
 UFC Main Event: 200,000 viewers (10:00-11:00 PM)
– Fox Sports Live: 40,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

* = FS1 highest viewership of the week… ** = FS1 second highest viewership of the week.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– PAC-12 College Basketball (1/16) on FS1 drew 318,000 viewers.
– Ultimate Insider (1/19) on FS1 drew 41,000 viewers.
– UFC Unleashed (1/14) on FS2 drew 46,000 viewers.
– Barrett-Jackson (1/14) on FS2 drew 106,000 viewers. ^
– Best of PRIDE FC (1/13) on FS2 drew 22,000 viewers.
– Golden Boy Boxing (1/13) on FS1 drew 143,000 viewers.
– Supercross (1/18) on FS1 drew 284,000 viewers.

^ FS2 viewership high for the week.

Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals (1/13 – 1/19):
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 206,000 (last week: 168,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 26,000 (last week: 25,000)

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.


Payout Perspective:

From January 6 to January 12,  the primetime viewership for FS1 dropped to a lowly 168,000 viewers, a decrease from 182,000 viewers the previous week.  In December, primetime viewership on FS1 declined from 514,000 to 144,000, which is roughly a 72% drop. Without any live UFC events this week, FS1 viewership numbers fell below 200,000 once again. The highest rated program for the week was UFC Reloaded, which drew 367,000 viewers.  The most watched non-UFC program this week was Daytona Preseason which drew 320,000 viewers. Supercross produced another good number as well as it drew 283,000 viewers on Saturday.

Fox Sports 2 primetime viewership the week increased from 13,000 the previous week to 25,000, which is typical due to the small viewership numbers for the network. The FS2 high for the week was Best of UFC 2013 on Wednesday at 1AM, which drew 52,000.

UFC programming only claimed 4 out of the top 10 most watched programs on FS1 for the week, though they claimed the most watched event for the week on FS1 from UFC Reloaded, which drew 367,000 viewers.


From January 13 to January 19,  the primetime viewership for FS1 was 206,000 viewers, an increase from the 182,000 viewers it drew the previous week. With a live UFC events this week, FS1 viewership numbers just climbed over the 200,000 mark once again. The highest rated program for the week was UFC Fight Night, which drew 629,000 viewers and the Ultimate Fighter Nations debut, which drew 371,000.  The most watched non-UFC program this week was Pac-12 Basketball, which drew 318,000 viewers. Barrett-Jackson live on Sunday drew 287,000 viewers while Supercross produced another good number, drawing 284,000 viewers on Saturday.

Fox Sports 2 primetime viewership the week increased from 25,000 the previous week to 26,000, which is the typical range due to the small viewership numbers for the network. The FS2 high for the week was Barrett-Jackson, which claimed a viewership high of 106,000 on Tuesday, but also took second (95,000), third (85,000), and fourth place (80,000) for most watched on the network. Coming in fifth is the highest rated UFC show on FS2 for the week, which was a UFC FS1 Fight Night repeat, drawing 68,000 viewers.

UFC programming only claimed 5 out of the top 10 most watched programs on FS1 for the week, even though they claimed the two most watched event for the week on FS1 with the live UFC Fight Night event (629,000) and the debut of TUF Nations (371,000).

UFC contemplates expanding production arm

October 16, 2013

The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reports that last month Dana White and UFC senior vice president of production and operations Craig Borsari began work to create non-UFC sports programming in hopes of it landing on Fox Sports.

Although nothing specific was provided, White said the programming would resemble the “Countdown” shows it does to hype PPVs.  The initial plan appears to have a UFC production staff in Vegas and establish a new group in Los Angeles.

The UFC has worked with Fox on the look of its broadcasts since it came aboard in 2011.  Although each is known for controlling most aspects of the broadcasts, it seems that both sides have been able to work together.  The UFC did away with its original opening, nixed prelim walkouts and allowed new camera angles. White is notorious for wanting control of all aspects of the UFC shows.  This was exemplified when he was turned off by Showtime execs for not taking input from him on a Strikeforce event.  Although maybe not the last straw in its relationship, it was probably one of the reasons that the UFC-Showtime relationship ended after the demise of Strikeforce.

No word as of yet when, and if, the UFC will begin producing non-UFC content.

Payout Perspective:

The need for content on its networks and the fact that the UFC has proven itself to be an asset on the new FS1 and FS2 has given the UFC an opportunity to expand.  The UFC should learn from the WWE’s failures in expanding into “entertainment” and work with industry pros rather than go off on its own.  The report doesn’t give specifics on what type of “non-UFC” content it is looking to produce, but it can be a great opportunity for the company as the expansion of the production arm could aid the UFC’s bottom line.

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