ONE announces investment in esports

November 7, 2018

ONE Championship announced that it is launching an eSports division.  The newly signed Demetrious Johnson, and avid gamer, will serve as Chief Brand Ambassador for the company.

According to a press release, ONE Championship plans on investing up to $50 million with “other key partners into ONE eSports to create Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series.”

Per press release:

ONE eSports will also work with Razer, the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, to leverage its ecosystem of hardware, software, and services in the following manner:

  • Razer will provide its expertise and leadership as a pioneer in the eSports industry to develop, manage, and organize an eSports tournament or series in partnership with ONE eSports.
  • eSports Mogul, a Razer portfolio company, will provide the technical know-how and innovation for the development of an online platform to organize, manage, and stage online eSportsevents and tournaments.
  • Razer Pay will serve as the payment platform for the ticketing of ONE eSports tournaments, as well as for the online sale of related merchandise and content.
  • ONE eSports and Razer will explore joint marketing opportunities using Team Razer eSportsathletes as well as ONE Championship athletes to drive communication and engagement to all martial arts fans and gamers across Asia.

Payout Perspective:

Everyone is getting into eSports as it’s the hottest sports property and its growth is undeniable.  Having Johnson as Brand Ambassador makes sense.  He is a video game guy with his own channel on twitch.  You might also recall he was the first UFC fighter with Xbox as a sponsor.

With this announcement, it will be interesting to see what game titles it secures to use for its plans.  Also, we will keep track of its partners with this ambitious investment of $50 million for this endeavor.

EA Sports introduces “Notorious Edition” of UFC 3

October 2, 2018

The UFC and EA Sports announced a special edition of the EA Sports UFC game with a “Notorious Edition” in honor of the return to the Octagon of this Saturday night.

Via press release:

The Notorious Edition is available for a limited time and features exclusive cover art, as well as bonus in-game content including 500 UFC Ultimate Team Points, five Notorious Ultimate Team Packs and the choice of one “Champion” fighter – McGregor, former two-time UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre, former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, former UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk or former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva – all for $29.99 USD. Players looking for a reason to get into the game Bleacher Report calls a “can’t miss” and UPROXX remarks is “truly outstanding” should act fast, as the Notorious Edition is only available through Monday, October 15.

In addition to the launch of the UFC 3 Notorious Edition, all current EA SPORTS UFC 3 owners will also get access to new fighters, including a Hall of Fame version of former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as well as UFC athletes Sean O’Malley and Israel Adesanya. This new content update is available today to all EA SPORTS UFC 3 owners to download for free. Fans can also check out the EA SPORTS UFC 3 website right now to see the collective community results of the in-game matchup between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and McGregor, including which fighter has won more times, the breakdown of TKOs, submissions and decisions, and more. The official EA SPORTS UFC 3 fight simulation of UFC 229 will be released on Friday, October 5.

Payout Perspective:

You’ll have to be a true gamer and/or McGregor fan to want this edition.  Also, if you already purchased the UFC 3 game, why get this one?  I assume for the extra fighters and features.  But, the new edition keeps the game associated with the McGregor brand in the news and EA hopes that the edition will spark more sales of the game.


Dana White to make an appearance on Twitch live stream Tuesday

May 21, 2018

Dana White will be appearing on Twitch with Daniel Cormier, Matt Serra, Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman on Tuesday night at 6:30pm PT.  White will host an EA Sports UFC session with YouTube Influencer KSI.

They will be playing EA Sports UFC 3 on Twitch live stream.  Select fans will be able to join the live stream via their Playstation 4 during the event.

Payout Perspective:

The event will be an interactive event on Twitch.  It’s a foray into the world of esports and it will be interesting to see how many people will tune in.  The event is promoting the video game which has not seen robust sales yet in a time where everyone is turning to esports/video games as a source of promoting the league brand and revenue, the UFC’s move was anticipated.

EA’s UFC 3 drops price after just one month

March 2, 2018

A month after the release of EA Sports’ UFC 3, the video game has dropped its price which reflects slow sales.

With Conor McGregor on the cover, EA UFC 3 came with all the hype including a ton of promotion on UFC television and PPVs.  But, when the game was available to the public at the beginning of February, there was not a rush to scoop it up or download it.

According to NPD, the largest specialty video game research firm in the world, it opened at # 13 in sales in January which reflects low interest in the video game.

The game which retailed for $59.99, is now $39.99 on Xbox and Playstation platforms.

Payout Perspective:

 This is probably not what the UFC or EA expected.  Whether it is the lack of buzz or the failure to draw an audience with its new enhancements, the game has not sold well.  On the other hand, WWE 2K17 has found an audience with it doing much better in sales than the UFC debut.  The poor sales might be an issue if/when there might be another edition of the video game.

EA releases official trailer, cover for UFC 3

November 3, 2017

EA Sports unveiled the cover and release date for EA UFC 3 on Friday.  Conor McGregor graces the cover of UFC 3 holding his Featherweight and Lightweight titles.  The game will release February 2, 2018.

A Champions Edition of the game will allow consumers to get the game up to 3 days earlier.

There several new modes for this game including Real Player Motion Tech (RPM) which allows players to move, strike and create seamless combinations in-game and the “cutting-edge animation tech” creates a real-life feel.  There is also a G.O.A.T. Career Mode which is an interactive part of the game that allows players to make choices throughout a career that impacts the game.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly, the news is good for video game enthusiasts.  With many of the sports-type games, it allows for players to immerse themselves in a “career mode” and this appears to be the same for UFC 3.  UFC 2 received positive reviews and generals and one expects that upgrades have been made to this version.  Sales of UFC 2 were good but it also received a price cut shortly after its release which some believed was due to poor sales.  But, with the current increase in the popularity of the video game market coupled with the UFC popularity, expect that this game will do well.

UFC 208: Payout Perspective

February 14, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at the UFC’s second PPV in New York. This time at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

New champ of new women’s division

Germaine de Randamie narrowly defeated Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s Featherweight Division.  The decision did not go without controversy as de Randamie won 47-48 but was not deducted a point after two clear shots after the bell.  Joe Rogan was apoplectic that the referee did not deduct one point on the second shot after the bell.

Regardless, the title goes to de Randamie.  She has offered up a rematch with Holm due to controversy but one would think that Cyborg gets the next shot if she is given a retroactive TUE.

Silva turns back the clock, Brunson

Anderson Silva showed he still has it with a victory over Derek Brunson.  Perhaps Silva won via show but Brunson seemed too tentative.  It was a very emotional scene for Silva post-fight as he has come to terms with his role as a fighter that will not compete for a title.

The Barclay’s Center was a sellout for UFC 208 with 15,628 fans for a live gate of $2,275,10.  It was the highst grossing sporting event in arena history.


There were only 3 bonus winners since there was only one finish.  Dusin Poirier and Jim Miller won for Fight of the Night while Jacare earned a Performance Bonus for stopping Tim Boetsch.

In tying in a sponsor, the UFC tweeted out the winners and included a link to Netflix’s new realtiy show Ultimate Beastmaster.  It sounds like American Ninja Warrior.

Notably, Anderson Silva co-hosts the Brazilian version of Ultimate Beastmaster.

Promotion of the Fight

Holly Holm appeared on “Live with Kelly” to promote the event.

There was no sponsor for the Embedded series this time around and perhaps sponsors knew that this was going to be a dud this time around.


The usual sponsors were in the cage including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Budweiser, Halo Wars 2, the movie Fist Fight, Netflix’s The Ultimate Beastmaster and Monster Energy had the center.

Also, Microsoft’s Halo Wars 2 had the fighter prep point.

The movie Fist Fight starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube was featured during UFC 208.  They also included a tweet associated with the event.

Odds and ends

It was the first time, in a long time that a PPV did not have Mike Goldberg as Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier joined Joe Rogan.  The three still need seasoning.  If it was up to me, I would like Dominick Cruz in place of Cormier.

New walkout song for The Spider.  Hard not to associate him with DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  But, the song that replaced it was performed by his son Kalyl.

Dana White went on Instagram during UFC 208.

Jacare Souza should get the next shot at Bisping.  Period.

Tony Parker, whose San Antonio Spurs played the New York Knicks on Sunday.  The Spurs lost.

UFC 208 drew over 200,000 google searches on Friday.  Anderson Silva drew 50,000 on Saturday.  Likely, the searches for Silva occurred after news that he had won.  So, it’s likely those aren’t due to wanting to buy the PPV.


It’s hard to think that this will be a big buy rate.  None of the fights were compelling from a causal viewer standpoint.  UFC 206 had over 200K google searches this past December and I think that 208 will do a similar buy rate.  Look for this event to do between 150,000 to 175,000 buys.

EA UFC 2 releases this week

March 16, 2016

Electronic Arts, Inc. announced the release of EA Sports UFC 2 this week.  The new video game features the largest roster for an official UFC game.

Via UFC press release:

“This game is an authentic representation of the UFC brand experience, bringing the excitement of the Octagon to life for all fight fans,” UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products, Tracey Bleczinski said. “From the walkout, incorporating the new UFC Fight Kit, to the intensity of being face-to-face with the top combat sports athletes in the world, this game has it all.

As we know, Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor are on the cover and it will be available on Xbox One and Playstation 4.

A review of the video game (written by the UFC) is here.

Payout Perspective:

The game is finally here.  Not only have we seen the UFC game advertised on signage in the Octagon, Conor McGregor appeared on Conan to advertise the game.  The UFC hopes the use of Rousey and McGregor on the cover boost sales.  The last EA Sports version of the UFC game did poorly as it only posted 278,000 copies sold in the first month precipitating a price drop.  We will see if the advertising push helps sales this time around.

Winner of Aldo-McGregor gets spot on EA UFC cover

December 5, 2015

The winner of the Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor fight at UFC 194 next Saturday will earn the open spot on the new EA Sports UFC game coming out this spring.  It was announced prior to UFC 193 that Ronda Rousey would be one of the UFC fighters on the cover.

The announcement comes going into one of the biggest weeks of the year for the UFC.

Dana White made the official announcement on the Thursday morning edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Do you agree with Darren Rovell?

Payout Perspective:

I would have assumed that McGregor would be the overall choice to be on the cover with Rousey.  But, if he loses, then you would have two fighters coming off losses on the cover.  Thus, the winner of the title fight between Aldo and McGregor will get the cover.  The move should provide some value for EA Sports as it enters fight weeks as a method of activation around the event.  One would suspect that many are hoping a McGregor win as that would provide two of the most recognizable faces in the UFC.

UFC 193: Payout Perspective

November 16, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at the happenings taken place down under in Melbourne, Australia as Holly Holm upset Ronda Rousey to win the women’s bantamweight title.

Holm, game plan takes out Rousey

No one would have thought this would have been the ending.  But, a headkick knocked out Ronda Rousey and the aura of invincibility was over.  Holly Holm, who hovered around an 8-1 to 12-1 underdog depending on where you looked, outclassed Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.  Holm’s game plan trumped Rousey’s athletic ability.  Moreover, Rousey’s boxing was exposed and it was clear that she was exhausted at the end of Round 1.

For Holm, it was the culmination of a long-term plan that had her and her trainers preparing for Rousey even before she was in the UFC.  Her management fought tooth and nail with UFC management in negotiating her signing with the company.  Turns out it was worth it.

As for Rousey, her loss seemed to satiate the thirst of every Rousey hater.  Everyone was quick to tweet with glee her loss and KO.  As is with most MMA fighters that gain more popularity than the others, MMA “fans” began to despise Rousey.  The good news for them is that she lost and MMA fans will turn their attention to Conor McGregor in December silently hoping for him to lose as many have those tweets ready for their timeline.

UFC Melbourne

Joanna Champion still Champ

It was not a dominant performance, but Joanna Jedrzejcyzk retained her 115 pound title with a unanimous decision over Valerie Letourneau.  Letourneau came down 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds and you have to think that it might have played a factor.  Overall, it was an entertaining fight with Joanna retaining her title.

Attendance and Gate

It was a record setting night for the UFC as the announced attendance was 56,214 with a gate of $6.8 million (U.S.).  It did better than UFC 129 which drew 55,724 in Toronto.  However, the gate did not exceed the 55,724.

As Darren Rovell tweeted, there were many comps for the event although the UFC no longer reports on the number.


This was a little curious as Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey and Kyle Noke earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Holm won for both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. Noke earned a Performance of the Night Bonus. Rousey drew a Fight of the Night bonus although you might argue that she didn’t deserve it for her part in the fight.  Certainly, there were other fighters (e.g., Ben Nguyen) that could have received a Performance of the Night Bonus instead of Rousey receiving one for FOTN.

Promotion of the Fight

Ronda Rousey went on Good Morning America in late August to announce her fight with Holly Holm.  Originally scheduled for January 2nd, the event was moved up in part to replace the main event of UFC 193 as well as attempt to set a new UFC attendance (and gate) record at Ethiad Stadium.

Perhaps the best video promotion for a UFC event was produced for UFC 193.  It debuted on Ellen’s web site which featured a younger Ronda Rousey learning martial arts with the underlying message that women could do anything.

A lengthier feature was shown after the UFC 193 PPV.

You might recall Dana White announced in a phone interview Rousey-Holm was moved from January 2nd to November 14th on a Friday night on ESPN. The date was moved up due to the usual injury issues.

The event was a reward for the province as a law which prohibited cagefighting was lifted.  With opposition still abound in the area, the attendance at the event (albeit with some comped seats) was still strong. USA Today reported on the “stir” in Australia with opposition to the sport of MMA.  Rousey spoke with local media about the controversy.

UFC Embedded, the video series, aired on Fox the Saturday before the fight.  Usually, it’s online but with a Rousey fight, it seemed to demand more visibility.  Also, Ruby Rose was the narrator for the series.

Rousey was also on the front page of the NY Times Sunday Styles Section in October.  This was one of several media obligations which catered to women.  It will be interesting to see if Holly Holm can continue this trend and appeal.


In the octagon, we had a couple international UFC sponsors as well as the usual mainstays.  Unibet, Xbox’s Tomb Raider, DraftKings,, Bud Light, the upcoming film, “Creed,” Bud Light, Reebok and Monster Energy Drink had the center. Unibet had the fighter prep point.   Holly Holm was sponsored by Unibet and announced a new deal with GRRRL Clothing.

Odds and Ends

Since it always comes back to gambling.  The betting line on Holm in Vegas and the aftermath:


Donald Trump weighed in on Ronda Rousey tweeting that he was glad that she lost because she is not a nice person.  I didn’t know they knew each other. 

EA Sports announced that Rousey would be on the cover of its latest UFC game coming out this spring.  Was it a video game cover curse?

Should we read into the fact that Ronda’s mother was not at the fight a sign of discontent with her?  It is a long plane ride to Australia for sure, but her mother has already been there for her fights.

Rousey’s hang up during a UFC 193 Conference Call was an act of unprofessionalism despite the question asking about Travis Browne.  Even worse, the excuse that her “phone died” just insults everyone’s intelligence.  You mean, the UFC and/or Rousey’s management could not have given her a phone to finish the call?

At the end of Episode 3 of the Embedded series, Rousey uses an analogy about being bankrupt.  All the while, it shows her hitting mitts with Edmund.  His bankruptcy filing occurred this summer and comes to a head this month.  This issue had not been a problem in the past, but with the news surfacing now, it all makes it more of a deal. 

Letourneau was informed by USADA that Hector Lombard could not corner her for her fight as Lombard’s participation would have violated the new anti-doping policy.  Lombard, who admitted to using PEDs earlier this year would fall under the “prohibited association” rule of the UFC anti-doping policy. 

Lenny Fresquez, the agent/manager for Holly Holm, won six figures betting on her client.  There’s something that seems unsettling with a manager that is already making off of her client for representation to bet money on her client.  Sure, it’s legal and acceptable, but is there a conflict of interest?  

Notably, Fresquez said that Holm has 2 more fights under her existing contract.

FS1 could not carry the post-fight show until late due to the Pac-12 game between Utah and Arizona going to double OT.  Most of the post-fight was on FS2.

The PPV went over the 3 hour mark which is a rarity.

It was interesting that not much was made of the fact that one of the biggest cards in UFC history and it was headline by two women’s title fights.

In anticipation of a Rousey “vine” like finish, the UFC sent out a reminder to media outlets that you would be in violation of Zuffa’s copyright of the PPV.  It appeared as though the Huffington Post Sports twitter feed was allowed to post the finish (as it did).  Still, others posted the finish online.  In protection of its copyright (and in order for people to buy the PPV), the UFC wanted to deter people from posting their videos.   

Certainly a Rousey-Holm rematch seems ripe for July’s UFC 200.


It was interesting that despite Ronda Rousey google searches hitting 500,000 on Friday, there was a slight downturn (note: in the link the google trends embedded link is constantly changing over time which I think is pretty cool) in searches right around the time after the weigh-ins.  But, the searches jumped back up on Saturday afternoon.  What does this mean about PPV buys?  Who really knows?  But, if we are to look into the past history of Rousey fights, one might think this still does well.  I would predict 750,000 PPV buys. 

EA announces Ronda Rousey on cover of UFC video game

November 14, 2015

Ronda Rousey will be the first woman athlete to be on the cover of an EA Sports video game as it was announced that she will be on the cover of EA Sports UFC 2.  Rousey along with a yet to be named UFC fighter will be on the cover of the game that is scheduled to be release this spring.

Payout Perspective:

As most could probably deduce, Conor McGregor makes the most sense as the other fighter on the cover. Perhaps that announcement will be made during fight week leading up to UFC 194.  If nothing else, Rousey’s marketing power should aid the sales of this video game.  The last EA UFC video game suffered from poor reviews and sales which forced a price drop only after a month after its release.  We will see if Rousey’s brand can help sales with this version of the game.

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