Wanderlei shoots wrestling-inspired promo

September 30, 2013

Wanderlei Silva confronted Chael Sonnen in a pro wrestling-type promotional video which is posted on his YouTube channel.  Silva confronted Sonnen at the Mr. Olympia exhibition held this past weekend in Las Vegas.

The video has over 548,000 views on Silva’s YouTube channel.

Payout Perspective:

Is this something that MMA fans want to see? Its a classic pro-wrestling promo held outside the UFC so as to prove how real the hate is between Silva and Sonnen. Obviously we think about pro wrestling because Chael Sonnen is involved. Silva is a master at self-promotion.  Many will remember his April Fool’s Day joke this year in which he tweeted that he was going to take on Gegard Mousasi.  He’s cut two promos in his “feud” with Sonnen but this video actually involves Sonnen.  Can these videos actually add fans for Silva? The bigger question is does something like this motivate a fan to actually pay to see this fight?

Bellator releases first promo for PPV

September 29, 2013

Bellator has released its first promotional video for its first PPV scheduled for Saturday, November 2nd. In the promotion, it features Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting move for Bellator to feature Rampage and Tito without real mention of the Bellator promotion. Obviously, its the hope that fans will want to purchase the PPV based on the history of the two fighters. It is good that the promo includes Chandler-Alvarez which most “in-the-know” MMA fans believe is the real reason to purchase this PPV.

Jones appears in latest Nike commercial

August 22, 2013

UFC Champ Jon Jones has a small part in Nike’s new “Just Do It” commercial which is narrated by Bradley Cooper and directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. LeBron James and Serena Williams top the list of athletes in the commercial.

In addition to Jones, boxer Andre Ward makes a cameo right after Jones.

Payout Perspective:

If you were wondering when Nike was going to utilize Jones, there he is in the latest commercial. Of course, you have to look fast because you wouldn’t recognize him if you weren’t watching closely. With Reebok and Adidas dipping its toe into MMA sponsorship, we will see what Nike does with Jones.

Rousey stars in new marketing campaign for Insureon

June 13, 2013

Ronda Rousey stars as “The Insureon Protector” in a YouTube video promoting Insureon – an online company specializing in insuring small businesses.  Rousey kicks, punches and uses her trademark armbar in fending off lazy tech support workers.

Payout Perspective:

This is one of the first commercials featuring Rousey since she won the UFC women’s bantamweight title.  According to the Sports Business Daily, the video is the start of a marketing campaign featuring Rousey in a series of videos (presumably as “The Insureon Protector”) as well as an interactive website.  We will see if this catches on for Rousey and if this will lead to bigger deals.

Gamma Labs posts 12 Days parody

December 22, 2012

Supplement company Gamma Labs produced a parody of the “12 Days of Christmas” featuring UFC ring attendant Britney Palmer and other notable UFC fighters. The video should help you get in the holiday spirit.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a great video and anytime you can get your product next to Brittney Palmer it will immediately attract every young male watching. Of course, the product will be the second thing your target audience will be watching. The one issue with the video is that I would have all the cameos appearing wear Gamma Labs gear just so folks would remember the company putting this together.  Overall, it was well done and shows a great sense of humor on the part of the fighters.

Showtime Weekend in Baja

June 21, 2012

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis spent a weekend working for his sponsor Toyo Tires and we get a video as a result.  It appears as though “work” was pretty fun.

Payout Perspective:

A nice video capturing Pettis as brand ambassador for Toyo Tires offroading with his sponsor’s tires.  Pettis is a fighter that could make the leap from fighter to mainstream spokesperson if his career continues to ascend.  His backstory has been featured on MTV and a lot of us remember the Showtime Kick which propelled him to ESPN highlights.  He’s been floating under the radar since coming over to the UFC but hopefully he will be making some noise later this year.  It seems like his sponsorship deal with Toyo Tires is the kind of deal every fighter would want.  It allows Pettis to work outside the Octagon with the sponsor, doing something he enjoys as well as promoting the brand.

Bones vs. The Rock in ESPN Poll

December 16, 2011

After his win this past Saturday, Jon Jones visited the ESPN campus to do some interviews. In addition, he shot this “informal” video to promote himself in a poll against the WWE’s Dwayne Johnson.ESPN SportsNation conducted the poll for its second annual “The Awesomest Dude of 2011.”


(H/t: MMA Mania)

Payout Perspective:

Its nice to see that the UFC and ESPN are playing nice once again. Its a silly award but Jones played along with it well. Jones is becoming a regular with ESPN and he is getting much more comfortable in front of the camera. With GSP out and the uncertainty of Brock Lesnar’s career, Jones could be the new face of North American MMA (with Anderson Silva being the face for most of South America).

And with the video, we see that the iPad gets some publicity as Jones kicks it but it still works.

UFC offers off-beat promo for 136: “The Great Debate”

October 5, 2011

The UFC offers a unique promo hyping the third meeting between Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard this weekend. Its not the usual fight hype video as it pokes fun of January’s draw.

(H/t: MMA Mania)

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps the UFC is trying something new that it may use when it starts promoting for Fox? Its definitely different and actually allows Gray Maynard to do some acting. The other underlying thing about the video is that it does not stereotype the UFC audience. While we saw a guy with sleeve tattoos and sunglasses, he is driving his daughter to gymnastics practice. The UFC is subtle in showing that its audience aren’t all young males. Also a nice product plug for the UFC video game.

Payout Perspective: UFC 127

March 1, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This time we look at UFC 127 which took place at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. The main event saw a draw between Jon Fitch and BJ Penn. In the other featured bout, Michael Bisping defeated Jorge Rivera after an illegal knee and a questionable decision to continue the fight.

Fitch-Penn Draw

Although one judge had Jon Fitch beating BJ Penn, the other two judges scored the fight a draw resulting in a majority draw decision. Two judges scored the fight 10-8 for Fitch in the third which caused the draw. While the draw may not be the most questionable call of the night, it was an interesting matchup with both fighters displaying their strengths. At the end, it had BJ bummed, and contemplating retirement and Fitch uncertain of the direction of his career.

Bisping illegal knee drops Rivera, then KOs Rivera

Michael Bisping is a sensitive guy. At least that’s how he started his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. He certainly displayed this characteristic after his illegal knee put Jorge Rivera on Dream Street. Perhaps the knee was due to the emotion of the trash talk videos Rivera made in ramping up to the matchup. Inexplicably, the ring doctor and ref did not take control and stop the fight. Instead, they asked Rivera if he could continue. What do you think would be the response? Rivera was game enough to hold off Bisping momentarily before the stoppage. After the fight was when the real fireworks began as Bisping spat at Rivera’s corner as well as middle fingering the crowd (or someone in the crowd but the camera panned away). Bisping’s actions caused a mention on ESPN’s Sportsnation.

In recent memory, when most bad blood fights happen (except Rashard-Rampage); the fighters are professional in squashing whatever beef they had after the fight. Bisping looked like he would do the same, but he decided to rub it in. Even Paul Dailey thought the illegal knee was unprofessional. The UFC has decided to punish Bisping for spitting at Rivera’s corner, not for the knee.

All of the bad blood stems from the trash talk and videos made between the two. From a fan perspective, the hype is great and it’s definitely motivation to watch a fight (which frankly did not look too exciting on paper), but as professional fighters they have to know that what’s said to hype the fight can’t be taken personal. Yet, both camps (Alchemist-Wolfslair) are still issuing statements calling out the other.

For Bisping, Vito Belfort and Chael Sonnen (assuming his career is thawed out by the UFC) have already requested to fight him. Does anyone else think it should be Bisping calling out Belfort and/or Sonnen?

Last minute fill-in Ebersole becomes feel good story of UFC 127

Self-proclaimed journeyman Brian Ebersole upset Chris Lytle in his debut in the UFC. It was great to see Ebersole’s raw emotion on two specific occasions: as Ebersole readied himself to enter the Octagon for the first time and at the end of the fight. The cameras caught Ebersole realizing his dream–good TV.  Ebersole was unique as seen with his cartwheel kick, shaved chest and wearing headgear to the ring. Great visibility for Hayabusa-Ebersole’s sponsor.


Fight of the Night honors went to Ebersole and Chris Lytle for their fight.

Former TUF cast member, Kyle Noke won Submission of the Night honors with an early choke out of Chris Camozzi.

Mark Hunt won KO of the night with his second round beat down of Chris Tuchscherer. It was also featured on ESPN’s Sportsnation.

Each fighter earned an additional $75,000 to their pay. (H/t MMA Junkie)

Attendance and Gate

As previously reported, UFC 127 was a success as it set the record for attendance for UFC events outside of North America. 18,136 fans attended for a gate of $3.5 million.


For the first time, the UFC aired its fights over three platforms: Facebook, TV and PPV. The ION broadcast garnered 714,000 viewers according to MMA Junkie. This is down from the 829,000 viewers of ION’s initial broadcast in January. This is a significant downturn from the UFC 126 prelims on Spike TV which garnered an all-time best of 2 million viewers.

Despite the decrease in viewership for UFC 127, fans had the opportunity to watch more fights. The drawback was that you had to switch from your computer, to finding the ION channel (again) and then switching to PPV. Not the most convenient for the casual fan.

Sponsorship Watch

SafeAuto Insurance – This was the first of several times this year where SafeAuto will be on the mat and ring posts for the UFC since it became an official sponsor.  It also sponsored Dennis Siver in his upset victory over George Sotiropoulos.

Lids –The hat store, a new sponsor to the UFC, was presenting sponsor of the Tale of the Tape. Interesting to see it becomes involved in MMA sponsorship.

Gamefly.com, the Netflix of video games, and new shooter game Killzone3 were prominent sponsors with the former having its logo on the center of the ring and the latter on the ring posts.

US Marines sponsored the mini-Fitch and Penn Keys to Victory segment. This is a nice segment that they started at 126. It’s a new way to get sponsor visibility during the PPV.

Dethrone Royalty – Surprisingly, there were a lot of positive comments about Jon Fitch’s walkout shirt which depicted a dog.  It definitely was a nice alternative to the usual fare.

Public Relations for 127

Like other places where MMA is trying to penetrate the market, some local newspapers wrote negative pieces (here and here ) about the sport in general. The Herald Sun had an especially ignorant rant on MMA.  For the UFC’s part, it conducted a PR tour in December. The tour consisted of going out into the community, working out at local gyms and giving interviews to local press. Educating the public on the sport is the key for it to make inroads in new markets.

The UFC contributed to the relief efforts for Tropical Cyclone Yasi which caused widespread flooding in Australia. The UFC held an auction featuring UFC memorabilia with funds going toward flood victims. It also matched the fight purse of James Te Huna, who donated his fight purse to the relief efforts. This was a good move by the UFC in recognizing an opportunity to help the community. It shows that it is more than just flying in, making money and leaving.

In the less serious department, during fight week, the UFC had multiple greet and grin opportunities as UFC fighters visited a rugby team, went surfing at Bondi Beach and the UFC Octagon girls visited the zoo.

Storylines Post-UFC 127

– What now for Fitch and Penn? Is a rematch in the future and does anyone want it? Both sides seemed dejected afterward. Fitch wants a shot at the Shields-GSP winner but that is unlikely. Although Penn wondered about hanging it up, it would be hard to see him going out like this.

– Siver upsets Sotiropoulos. Dennis Siver’s win over George Sotiropoulos in front of his homeland crowd stopped Sotiropoulos’ march to the top of the 155 contender list.

– Zhang wins. A preliminary bout with potential major implications. Tiequan Zhang dropped down to 145 pounds and submitted Jason Reinhardt. Zhang, coming off an upset loss needed a victory here. It’s not too big of a stretch to say that Zhang’s success will make it easier for the UFC to create inroads into China. With the global expansion of the company, it would benefit the UFC if Zhang does well at 145. In his post-fight interview he noted that he doesn’t feel pressure to grow the Chinese market but believes the UFC will be in China.

– Judges do it again. Not only was there questionable scoring made in the main event and sketchy decision-making by the ring doctor and ref in the Bisping-Rivera fight,  the judges got it wrong in the Nick Ring-Riki Fukuda fight. Dana White said as much as he tweeted that Fukuda would receive his win bonus despite the loss.

– Australian crowd. The Aussie crowd showed its knowledge of MMA and was into the fights. The attendance reflects the popularity of the sport down under. It was announced that a possible stadium show in Australia could happen in the future. Australia could be marketed as an annual destination stop for the UFC.

Odds and Ends

– Other than the draw, what received more attention for Jon Fitch: his shirt or his diet?

– Speaking of t-shirts, I thought BJ Penn’s shirt/banner, “Aloha Mate” with Mate upside down was pretty clever. Penn was a fan favorite in Sydney.

– Did you know Kyle Noke was “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin’s bodyguard?

– Sonnen and Belfort use email and twitter to lobby for a potential matchup with Michael Bisping. Doesn’t anyone use a cell phone to text anymore?

Form Athletics releases Vegas-inspired video to support new clothing line

February 15, 2011

Form Athletics released a video supporting its Fall 2011 clothing line. With its tagline: “Finally a brand you’ll want to wear,” it looks to be more than just t-shirt designs.

The video shows the Form stable including Urijah Faber, Mark Munoz, Jon Jones (shooting pool in the shadows), Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgenson and Anthony Pettis.

Payout Perspective:

A very cool video inspired by Ocean’s 11. With its recent signings of Jon Jones, Showtime Pettis as well as its focus on being a lifestyle brand, Form is differentiating itself from other MMA brands. It looks like the style is cleaner with fewer huge logos. One sticking point, may be price. A Jon Jones’ hoodie costs $87.99. Will the MMA crowd shell out the money to buy clothes at a higher price point?

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