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« | Home | »

UFC 181 perfectly displayed the company’s potentially bright yet complicated future

By Zach Arnold | December 6, 2014

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The headline coming out of UFC 181 in Las Vegas was the signing of CM Punk by UFC.

“This is obviously gigantic news for a lot of people.” – Ariel Helwani

CM Punk credited Ariel Helwani with him getting a fight in the UFC. Punk stated that he had a meeting in Chicago with Dana & Lorenzo.

When pressed about the critics trashing the promotion for hiring a guy with no experience, Dana White agreed with the criticisms and said he is skeptical, too, but would be willing to give Punk a fight. He estimated that it could happen within the next six or seven months.

Immediately, several UFC fighters smelled blood in the water (and money) and challenged Punk to a fight.

First Question: If Bellator had signed CM Punk to a fight, would they be receiving the same amount of criticism as UFC is getting right now for the hire?

Second Question: Given CM Punk’s admitted history with concussions, should he be cleared to fight by a high-profile athletic commission?

And on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of talent & experience, there’s Anthony Pettis. The UFC is pushing him hard as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in MMA.

Pettis has the total package except for consistent health. He attracts a lot of female fans, which is very important right now for UFC. He has the potential super-fight with Jose Aldo. Really, everything you could ask for. Plus, Ben Askren is working alongside him.

As for the Welterweight division, Las Vegas judges really do not like Johny Hendricks. The Welterweight division has a bunch of really talented fighters who all possess different styles that will likely end up cannibalizing each other in fight after fight. Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler likely in Montreal. None of the guys in Welterweight have the star potential of Georges St. Pierre but they are all extremely respectable & diverse in skill and present some interesting match-ups on paper. I’m not sure if any of them will shatter the current glass ceiling for stardom but you never know.

Everything that took place at UFC 181 happened admist a back-drop where the company is basically greasing the skids, in my opinion, to make managers extinct with the new Reebok uniform/sponsorship deal. If signing with the UFC means they control your fight booking pay slots, have your rights/likenesses forever, and now control your sponsorship deals, why have an agent? Conversely, the company is exerting & maximizing business control during a time in which their (reported) estimated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, etc) has gone down 40% this year.

Lucky for UFC, Bellator exists. In one respect, Bellator is a gnat in their face. In another respect, Bellator presents great cover whenever someone starts pushing against UFC for being a monopoly. The UFC has the best of all business controls right now. Everyone’s an independent contactor. They will control the sponsorships. They get to pump out merchandise for years to come with the images & likeness of past and present fighters. On one hand, UFC is facing some very difficult challenges. On the other hand, they are insulating themselves with more international TV deals.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 60 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

60 Responses to “UFC 181 perfectly displayed the company’s potentially bright yet complicated future”

  1. Mark says:

    Remember when Dana shit on Strikeforce for Herschel Walker 4 years ago?

    Now he’s bringing a 36 year old novice in who just spent 4 hours on his friend’s podcast talking about how wrecked his body is, including multiple surgeries he wasn’t allowed by WWE to take enough time off for and numerous concussions.

    The guy will draw, but he’s not coming close to doing Brock numbers, nor having Brock’s success. He’ll fight a can and probably lose that.

  2. Alan Conceicao says:

    If Pettis becomes a big star, Pettis will be tougher to control. Ergo, I doubt he becomes a big star. If he does, it is because his management intelligently moved him to that point.

    I laughed at the concept of CM Punk in the UFC before the show started and I’m still laughing. CM Punk hasn’t been in real athletic competition in his adult life. In fact, we don’t even know if CM Punk has ever been in a competitive sport, even as a child or adolescent. This truth is a great separating point between the imbecile wrestling fans who think he could ever be competitive as an MMA fighter and everyone who is rational. If CM Punk fights once against a Elliott Seymour type, will that draw a bunch of buys to justify it? Because if he fights anyone remotely skilled, he’ll probably get rolled on.

    • Mark says:

      He won’t come close to doing Lesnar numbers, but he could do Rousey/Jones numbers. If 300,000 WWE fans who haven’t bought a UFC PPV since Lesnar retired buy a CM Punk show, then putting him on with a Lawler main event would do as good as UFC can outside of superfights in 2015.

      Whether he’d win or lose really doesn’t matter to the core fanbase. Shamrock, Kimbo, Tito, Liddell, ect. all lost tons and either drew big TV numbers or good buyrates. If Brock stayed after the Overeem fight, he’d probably still do at least 500K.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        When Brock debuted in the UFC fighting former champ Frank Mir, the show drew 600,000 buys during a really hot period for the promotion. I don’t think the UFC did 600,000 buys this year. And when Brock got stopped by Overeem, he managed 535K. I seriously doubt that he would have been able to manage the same number in perpetuity if he kept getting KOed.

        CM Punk, meanwhile, isn’t going to fight a Frank Mir. They will want him to win. They will need to seek out someone bad enough to give a win. I don’t see CM Punk fighting a homeless tomato can w/Robbie Lawler (!) in the main event generating their highest buyrate since 2013. Sorry.

        • Mark says:

          Nobody cared about Frank Mir in 2008. He was seen as a has-been. When he was UFC champion, they were depending on Kimo, Tank and Shamrock still. So to the post-TUF fans, he might as well have been a legit can when their first exposure to him was that godawful UFC 61 fight and getting KOed by Vera. And the WWE fans who weren’t even casual UFC fans until Brock signed knew even less.

          I remember seeing them on the F4W forum, they were all convinced Brock was going to just massacre guys with ease because they believed in his WWE gimmick. You had a few of the educated MMA fans like myself trying to talk sense into them about being a novice who hadn’t competed in a real sport since he graduated college in 2000 (the NFL cup of coffee doesn’t count), and they didn’t care. So CM Punk has been doing a “wrestler who does MMA spots in his matches” gimmick forever. These same people will believe in him. 300K extra doesn’t seem like a leap at all to me. With a title fight on top, that could do 650K-700K, or a big UFC on FOX number.

          Even now, they’re on there bringing up “Punk knows BJJ, Punk has Muay Thai training.” Uh, the guy lives on a tour bus 5 or 6 days a week driving across the country. How much training could he actually have done? But it doesn’t matter to them.

          And it doesn’t matter to the UFC. They have stiffs on top. Guys who are content going “I’m going to win this fight because I work hard and my wife and kids support me.” CM Punk is a charismatic guy, pretty likable, who you can put on a Countdown show and not be Chris Weidman. They are desperate for that. A woman and a Featherweight are the only other two who “get it”. I’m sure Dana is getting sick of getting creamed by Floyd’s “Hey look at my cars and butterface harem of girlfriends. Hard work, dedication, dedication” and wants life in his hype again. That’s what got UFC to the dance in the first place. They are loaded with incredible fighters, unloaded with compelling fighters casuals can grasp. So if that means signing a 36 year old rassler, so be it.

        • Mark says:

          Now, that’s not saying I love the idea. I’d much rather Dana White throw the bank at Adrien Broner to get him into UFC be charismatic and trash talk everybody, and hope he could knock somebody out before he gets the Couture/Toney treatment. But the guy is desperate for something for that 2005 spark.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Frank Mir is a former champion. He was a name. Even if “nobody cared about him” that’s better than a homeless guy no one has ever seen before. And asking people to pay money to see him fight that homeless guy is insane. They’d be smart to put him on Fox, but the UFC is the UFC, and this whole thing smells like desperation.

        • Mark says:

          It is desperate.

          But he has a rabid fanbase. He claims he outsold John Cena in merchandise (which is something nobody else has claimed, Meltzer always put him at #2), so the people are going to pay. UFC fans will shit on it. But even if he tags on only 100,000 extra buyers who wouldn’t have bought a show otherwise, it’s worth it for Dana. I doubt he’s getting a huge contract or anything. Probably 100 grand plus PPV bonuses.If he brings in 7 million dollars in PPV money, it’s worth it for UFC. Who knows when Ronda is leaving, Jones isn’t going to catch on at this point, GSP is still working on a comeback, so who’s left for money?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Right now, CM Punk is red hot. In 6-7 months, he might not be. The smart thing to do is get this on Fox and free up a couple fighters who aren’t hot garbage to compete on PPV.

  3. BD says:

    Good roundup, but does Pettis really attract female fans? How? Why?

    • Mark says:

      It’s never been shown that women watch UFC because the guys are cute. Roger Huerta never drew a dime, Vitor was a sex symbol in Brazil after Big Brother but not here, and Dave Meltzer is the only one who tunes in to gawk at Urijah.

      Although Andrei Arlovski did bring in Erin Bucknell.

      • duck says:

        Rosie O’Donnell thinks Faber’s cute, she was even talking him up to Mike Tyson.

        GSP brought in a lot of female fans, his buyrates weren’t that big just from Canada, he outdrew everyone else in ht US besides Lesner and maybe Chuck

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    I went to the theater for it.

    There was 10 people in the entire theater. And that is not a type. 10 people. The UFC is dead?

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      After they see CM Punk roll around on the mat with a gas station attendant from Peoria, this sport is gonna take right off again.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I don’t see it doing big business at all. He isn’t a big enough star from the WWE and he doesn’t give the impression of being enough of a threat to make the fight interesting to casual fans.

        I am sure there will be a slight up tick of PPV Buys, but not as much as Zuffa probably expects.

        Personally, I hope CM Punk does decent. He seems like a nice guy…

  5. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    To be honest Onefc 23 had the better show. Vera looked great at HW Gracie looked great at 205 Bibiano finally “came off”, and the ko’s curled MY toes! ufc had some lumbering tko’s Pettis fight was “good”, but the main event had me dozing off almost. There was that point when the lack of urgency was appalling, their casual sparring match attitude lasted way too long.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      OneFC is a beer league compared to the UFC. Brandon Vera is washed up in the UFC yet is “great” in OneFC? No thanks.

      • Diaz's packed bowl says:

        …you can’t really complain if you didn’t watch it, can you?
        onefc had a better presentation imo, better fighter bios better walk outs and having Franklin and Thompson on color commentary beats out moldy goldy and joe trt rogain.

        • duck says:

          That’s not how you rank promotions, presentation, that’s like saying Pacquiao-algieri was better than Mayweather-Canelo, because Bob Arum spent more money on lighting or sonme shit.

          One FC has a few good fighters, the UFC has dozens.

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          You guys just don’t get it still, its about the fighters you like to watch. Its about watching them regardless of where they are, no matter if they are on at 4 in the morning. UFC is not a sport, its a popularity punch out contest, why else would they dump Gracie and not even sign funky? I want to see more exciting fights with high level grappling exchanges, onefc does that.
          Say you like Roger Gracie, do you stop watching him because he was cut by the ufc after one close loss? Because he’s no longer in the more visible promotion? Because you are lazy and just take what ever the ufc drops in front of you? If you were an Askren fan did you stop watching him just because you are too lazy to change the channel from bellator or because he didn’t make it to the “big show”?
          Of those dozens of good fighters not too many even fought this year, but i guess you guys were ok with their second and third tier fighters.

  6. Safari_Punch says:

    Answers to Zach’s questions:

    1) Bellator would be getting more criticism by signing CM Punk because Zuffa are the opinion leaders on message boards and have online and broadcast media shills. The backlash is pretty bad as it is from die-hard MMA fans with Punk signing with the UFC, but it would be 10 times worse with Zuffa’s guerrilla marketing tactics. Although that could also backfire if more fans tuned in as a result to a Bellator show and Punk looked “good.” Bellator and Coker don’t go out of their way to promote other companies and slam the competition; Zuffa does.

    2)I don’t know if he Punk should be cleared or not, but you know he will. Zuffa has some pull in that department and have a history of getting things done when a fighter is in their company (Josh Barnett fighting in Ohio for Strikeforce once owned by Zuffa). I’m not sure who his opponent would be if an AC properly monitored the situation.

    Speaking of athletic commissions, If the NSAC can prevent Mark Hunt from fighting Butterbean in MMA, how much more could they potentially handcuff Joe Silva’s first matchup for Punk? IMO, the UFC will be forced to sign some complete and total can to face Punk on a one and done contract. With all things being equal, I don’t know how an AC could make him face any fighter on the current UFC roster given his lack of athletic background.

    Part of me wonders if the UFC is doing this as an attack on WWE? They know fans will tune in regardless of whether Punk wins or loses. It is money in their pocket and not in the WWE’s. The UFC has been slammed in terms of value of their Fight Pass in terms of value of “real fighting” against the value of the “fake fighting” that is offered by WWE Network. Maybe this is a way for Zuffa to rub WWE’s nose in it? IF Punk is a flop in the octagon performance wise, they can say, “this is what happens when a guy who thinks he’s tough really has to prove it: he falls flat on his face.”

    When Yugi Nagata went back to pro wrestling in Japan after his MMA fights against Fedor and Cro Cop it really affected his earnings. Maybe the same will happen to Punk when he gets eaten up by the MMA machine? Personally I think he should have planned a better exit strategy than becoming a pro fighter at nearly 37 years of age.

    • Mark says:

      It won’t affect him if he goes 0-3 in MMA and goes back to pro wrestling. Puro is taken a lot more seriously in Japan than Rasslin is in the US. Brock wasn’t hurt at all.

      • Safari_Punch says:

        That’s why I put it in the form of a question mark.

        If he gets obliterated I can see how wrestling fans would look at him as the MMA version of Iron Mike Sharpe. Brock wasn’t hurt because he had some success and a title reign. Punk’s odds of getting that don’t seem to be very good.

        @liger05 Punk is saying that now. Let’s see if he changes his tune after his fights.

        • Safari_Punch says:

          Never say “never” after all.

        • Mark says:

          If we were in a period like 1998 where the casuals fanbase was enormous, maybe. Casual fans would say “Hey, this guy is supposed to be a bad ass, but he lost for real, so why am I watching this?” But WWE is pretty much down to just the smarks still watching. Punk could get KOed in 3 seconds by Kenneth Allen and they’ll still welcome him back for a Wrestlemania match a few years from now. The legit tough guy search of “could Haku beat Tracey Smothers in a shoot” days are over. Nobody cares that Miz, Bray Wyatt, and Sheamus can’t beat any shooters.

  7. liger05 says:

    Remember unlike Punk Yuji Nagata didn’t really choose to fight Fedor and CM Punk. He was more of less railroaded by Inoki into doing it.

    For Punk I think this is a no lose situation. If he is a success then all good. If he loses 3 fights as expected what’s he lost? He has no interest going back to the WWE.

  8. Jonathan says:

    I’m calling it now, December 8th, 2014.

    1. There will be buzz for Brock Lesnar and CM Punk to fight in the UFC AND WWE.

    2. CM Punk will be back in the WWE, and this is just part of one large cash-grab on his part.

    I’ve been watching wrestling since the early 90s, and I can tell you that one thing that sticks out more in my head than anything else is that wrestlers always seem to come back to wrestling. CM Punk is no different. I’d bet $1000 that CM Punk will be in the WWE ring again.

    • Mark says:

      Of course he’ll be back. Bruno Sammartino not only coming back but giving a BS speech about how Vince McMahon and Paul Levesque have assured him they’re a steroid-free company now proved that everybody has a price (no Ted DiBiase reference intended.) Punk was very bitter on the Colt Cabana podcast, but lots of guys have worse stories and went back. Bret Hart, for instance. At least Punk’s brother wasn’t killed in the WWE.

      • Safari_Punch says:

        I can just imagine what the fall out will be with his wife still working there.

        • Chuck says:

          Punk’s wife, AJ Lee, is on her way out of the WWE. Her contract is running out soon and all points lead to her finishing up when her contract is done.

        • Mark says:

          She appears to be bulletproof. She had a scandal where she got in a fight with Punk’s ex-girlfriend Michelle Beadle at a Tribute to the Troops show last year, turned down a role on Total Divas, got mocked by everybody for getting the date she “won” their women’s belt tattooed, then stayed there after Punk quit. So she’s either secretly liked by Vince McMahon or just everybody being terrible in women’s wrestling kept her afloat.

  9. Mark says:

    He said everything wrong he possibly could last night to get a license. He basically knows nothing beyond hanging out with some dudes as they trained. Don’t license this guy. I wouldn’t license him for an amateur fight right now. I was under the assumption he at least got some training since he bragged about it (yeah, you shouldn’t trust a Rassler.) But he can’t even be bothered to move out of Illinois by the sound of it. AKA wants him, but he doesn’t sound interested.

    Fight won’t happen unless Dana wants to go freak show and ruin years of work.

    • Megatherium says:

      Isn’t Mark Ratner the commissioner? I’d like to see them go all in in this new direction of theirs and do a whole night of celebrity fights. Hell, I’d watch something like that and you could probably fill AT&T stadium if you booked the right celebs in compelling match ups. All the commissions around the country have had a taste of the UFC gate receipts now so sanctioning shouldn’t be an obstacle. This is something they should consider doing semi regularly, at least annually, hardly anyone cares about the cage fighting anymore, it’s surely jumped the shark, The best reason to keep it around is as a fig leaf of legitimacy in order to book fights like CM Punk vs Al Bundy.

      • Mark says:

        Ratner won’t allow it unless he goes amateur for a while. And he’ll either get hurt or get beaten so bad nobody would want him turning pro.

        After the Dennis Munson Jr. scrutiny, I’m sure Dana coming to him saying “Hey, get Phil Brooks in. Sure, he’s never cut weight and will need to drop 30 pounds. Sure, he said he averaged one concussion per year in his pro wrestling career. Sure, he’s barely even sparred. But, come on, think of the Vegas money!” isn’t going to have the same ring it once would have.

        But then again, New Jersey signed off on Kimbo vs. James Thompson, which was a guy with 24 pro fights against a guy with 2 pro fights and some internet videos.

  10. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    The brightness is gone,time for ufc’s “complicated future”. Looks like Wandy? has been busy…

    • Megatherium says:

      Well, well, well. Someone has finally had enough of being abused? Good.

    • Safari_Punch says:

      This will be glorious.

      Looking forward to Zach’s article concerning who is a part of the lawsuit, when the seeds were planted and who is behind it. If the stakeholders are successful, you’d have to think the UFC will be out of business and the landscape of MMA will change drastically and it can be argued it probably needs to.

      • Mark says:

        It depends on who signs on.

        Will any current fighters? Will they want to risk getting the Couture/Arlovski freeze-out treatment? Maybe those crazy Diaz brothers. But you have a bunch of guys either struggling to make money as athletes with a short shelf life, or stars who don’t want to rock the boat because they’re reaping the benefits of the system. It would take a very selfless person to want to risk their earning potential in a sport with such a short window of opportunity.

        Then there’s the ex-fighters. Guys like Ken, Tito and Randy can be written off as problem employees by a nasty defense attorney. Lots of guys are no longer fighting there due to drug test issues that won’t make them sympathetic.

        So it might not be the slam dunk to win it sounds like. UFC wouldn’t be the first sports organization to win in court for reasons most people say they should have lost.

        • Mark says:

          Also, what’s the prize? To be able to fight for other promoters? Not to sound like old school 45Huddle, but if you’re in the UFC why wouldn’t you want to be in the UFC? To take a risk that Floyd Mayweather’s threat of starting a MMA promotion with bigger money deals comes true? What if it flops like BoDog? UFC isn’t obligated to take you back if everybody is a free agent.

  11. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    NOW’S THE TIME!!!!! for a fighter revolt….

    It would be stupid for the star fighters to side with UFC, just because they get a lot of $$.
    UFC has few stars right now, if they joined the lawsuit the UFC would still have to pay up.
    I mean if ufc loses, why would they dump their few stars? If they dropped them out of spite where are the star fighters to replace them?

    As the fights themselves become less interesting stand and gang fests, the battle for the profits is becomign more interesting.
    Varners starting a fighter union.
    Bellators Tito experiment proves that “done” ufc champs still have good paying playtime outside of ufc.
    You see with Arlovski Werd Hendo that ufc will resign their cast offs for more $$ when they get desperate. Especially if they whoop Fedor!

    The best result would be the star fighters join up and leave ufc to start a fight league run by actual fighters. The best analogy would be when all the star artists left Marvel and started Image comics in the 90’s. The stars all created their own comics and they allowed other artists to produce comics AND own all rights to them. Allowing the artists to succeed on their own merits, and allowing them to shop their creations to the highest bidder.

    While its true marvel has bounced back with a vengeance in movie form with its beloved characters, there have been more movies based on “lesser known” Image comics creator owned properties than marvel!

    Sadly fighters just don’t have much imagination, if they did they wouldn’t be fighters. This is why they need managers, but not scum like cogan.

    • Mark says:

      But the odds of a non-UFC org making it are bad. Bellator has been run very smartly, but they’re the only one thus far. I think most fighters, knowing they’ve only got a small amount of time to make money as a fighter, are going to be conservative with their career. They know a new Calvin Ayre or Gary Shaw promising them the world has a slim chance of working out. Mayweather, if serious, would be the top guy. But would people be comfortable turning their back on UFC for a guy who doesn’t know anything about MMA?

      It’s also a downtime for MMA as a whole. Who is going to offer a new org TV deals? And if they do get one, will they get enough money and a good enough timeslot/support to make it work? If Floyd has a company, obviously Showtime would give him TV time. But that can’t compete against the UFC’s FOX deal, or Bellator’s Spike deal when Showtime MMA peaked at half a million viewers for Gina. So that leaves, what, 100,000 for a PPV if that’s the hype show?

      Would Dana blackball stars if they left, failed, and wanted to come back? Obviously not. But that’s a handful of fighters these days. They should have done this in 2009.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    If the UFC just gave the fighters their fair share there would have never been a lawsuit. Lets be honest, at the end of the day, it is always about money.

    These are some heavy hitters of lawyers. There is absolutely a case here. If there wasn’t, they would have never taken the case.

    The UFC is f#cked.

    • Mark says:

      They got completely dumbfounded when the name Gilbert Melendez came up. Not sold as of right now.

      Another part was bringing up the WEC buy, that blocked competitors from getting Versus. Who was the competitor? PRIDE? They had a Fox Sports deal. Bodog? They had the ION deal. IFL? They had the MyNetwork deal. A regional like Strikeforce or King of the Cage?

      From what I read on F4W, the only thing I saw convincing was the Jackson ordeal where he was banned from making deals on his own.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Neither you nor I know the laws that well. But for a heavy hitter like this company to take the case…. which will takes years and millions to go through the courts…. They must feel like they have a real strong case.

        Law Firms like this don’t go after “maybe win” cases.

        • Mark says:

          They go after cases that sound good on paper. On paper this sounds like a slam dunk. MMA stars make way less than boxing stars, they don’t have a Bob Arum or Oscar de la Hoya to bid over them and keep them high profile on PPV, and star power a lot of times is more important than winning fights (in the Fitch case.)

          But they crumbled as soon as Melendez got brought up. And fighter bids is a key component in the lawsuit. Arguing every fighter deserves hot bidding wars is absurd. It’s about who is worth the money. Jon Fitch isn’t worth a dime. He’s working for WSOF for a 50% paycut because he isn’t the same fighter he was in 2009. So that’s like blaming the NFL because a guy who peaked 5 years ago can’t find a team to make him a starter for the same money. Athletes have a tiny window when they’re at their peak potential. You can be bitter about it all you want, but it’s a fact of life.

        • Mark says:

          They go after cases that sound good on paper. On paper this sounds like a slam dunk. MMA stars make way less than boxing stars, they don’t have a Bob Arum or Oscar de la Hoya to bid over them and keep them high profile on PPV, and star power a lot of times is more important than winning fights (in the Fitch case.)

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        The competitor for the Versus deal was the IFL.

        • Mark says:

          IFL had three TV deals. They started on FSN, went to MyNetworkTV and then HDNet after they lost the network deal. How were they harmed by not going to Versus? They went out of business because they were poorly run, and their one star (Chris Horodecki) started losing fights. That’s like a crappy soda company going under by bad business, non-interest from the public and blaming Coca-Cola.

          I think the USFL v NFL monopoly suit is the thing to look at. NFL was declared a monopoly, but the jury only ended up giving $3 in a judgement to the USFL because they couldn’t prove the NFL forced them off television, and blamed the USFL making bad business decisions for going under. So when you’ve got, for example, a guy caught attempting to fix a fight and going out of business because nobody wants his company on television anymore, how is that Dana’s fault?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          How were they harmed? Seriously? It was a paying TV deal that could have kept them afloat for some period of time. Maybe they were going to fail no matter what. I would hardly discount the possibility. But the WEC taking that contract was obviously a move to keep them off of a network with more reach than HDNet and away from collecting decent money to operate.

          The USFL thing has been touched on many times. They were awarded $1 by the jury because the jury erroneously believed the judge could set a higher amount and they weren’t sure what to do.

        • Mark says:

          But they bet everything on a network channel giving them more eyeballs. Remember the first episode? They killed good will by doing that fake Rescue 911 teaser with a guy supposedly maimed.

          They also overspent to a ridiculous degree. $1 million shows an episode while FSN was paying them 50K. That’s UFC’s fault? Was their bad idea of surviving on being a publicly traded company that flopped as well?

          They also did sue UFC for claiming UFC was slandering them to networks by claiming Steven Tornabene was using insider information because he used to work for them. And UFC countersued them to keep them off of TV due to Tornabene. IFL got two TV deals anyway, and got an out of court settlement. They didn’t survive because there was no money. They made $24 million off of the stock and burned through it in a year.

          Every MMA company that’s out of business has themselves to blame (and Affliction has Josh Barnett and his syringes to blame.)

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          You keep saying those things as if that renders the UFC’s move to take the Versus contract irrelevant. It doesn’t.

  13. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    The IFL which was started by wizard comics publisher Shamus, brings us back to the Image comics analogy…
    At the time there was DC and Marvel the ufc and bellators of the comics world. Because of their demand for more market share lots of other smaller publishers lost out on “market share” due to marvel and dc firstly glutting the market and strangling distribution of the smaller imprints by buying distributors and raising rates for the smaller guys, while lowering their own. Pressuring book stores into carrying their books and not the smaller publishers, etc…. Many comparisons can be made to this narrowing the competition into friendly feeder competition, and owned competition like wec strikeforce and buying entire promotions just to secure the fighters and disband a potential competitor such as wef affliction or pride.

    At one point marvel bought malibu comics which was selling a lot of books because of their involvement with Image comics, and later DC bought Jim Lee’s wildstorm company.
    The take away is that after 22 years there is still an Image comics, that to have any actual competition there needs to be 3 large players, and that there is demand for another league. It will change how the big 2 do business in a big way.

    So, my question is… was wsof created as a limited hang out by the zuffa lawyers to be used to mitigate any potential monopoly litigation in the future which is now?

    • Mark says:

      Image is around because they made good business decisions. They also didn’t get caught with Yakuza, or try to fix things for a star.

      Dana shutdown PRIDE because it was a very tainted brand name for reasons he had nothing to do with.

      • Diaz's packed bowl says:

        To digress, ufc bought pride to obtain it, it was shut down essentially to obtain the pride fighters in one big stack, not because it was a tainted name. Strikeforce was right at the head of the line to buy it if ufc hadn’t!

        I haven’t read the complaint, but if they can get more big name fighters to jump on, also the wsof connection to the ufc would be important to prove.

        • Mark says:

          They claimed originally it was going to stay open. They opened the PRIDE (u)FC office with some of their employees, saw what a trainwreck the whole thing was, and cut their losses with it.

          The UFC purchased PRIDE in 2007 during a time when the organization was plagued with financial difficulties and rumors of a potential tie to the Japanese mob. Initially, UFC officials stated they planned to continue running events under the PRIDE banner. However, no show ever took place.

          “We brought PRIDE to keep PRIDE running,” White said. “But that wasn’t their plan over there. That was their plan when they were sitting across a table from us telling us when we were buying it, but they had other plans. They can shut things off and basically do whatever they want over there.”

          White isn’t sure exactly when the UFC will return to Japan, but he said he knows there’s a fan base there and he’s going to reach it, though he expects plenty of obstacles on the way.

          “Remember how huge the Japanese market was five, six, seven years ago?” White said. “It was huge. The people were loving it over there. Boom. It’s just gone. It’s a handful of people who control it over there. A handful of people that control it, and it’s a hard place to navigate through. Even now when we’re not in Japan and we go after a guy like Mirko – and on the day of my fight when he’s fighting in my show – they come out and start making allegations like that and that he’s signed a deal and everyone heard it and everybody knew about it.

        • Mark says:

          2007 Strikeforce could afford PRIDE? Are you crazy? This was the Strikeforce that was on NBC Saturday at 2am. They hadn’t even had Baroni/Shamrock before UFC bought PRIDE.

  14. Mark says:

    They crumbled as soon as Melendez got brought up. And fighter bids is a key component in the lawsuit. Arguing every fighter deserves bidding wars is absurd. It’s about who is worth the money. Fitch isn’t worth a dime. He’s working for WSOF for a 50% paycut because he isn’t the same fighter he was. So that’s like blaming the NFL because a guy who peaked 5 years ago can’t find a team to make him a starter for the same money. Athletes have a tiny window when they’re at their peak potential.

    And an HGH guy is the star of the lawsuit? An HGH guy with strong ties to #2 promoter Scott Coker? An HGH guy with strong ties to Coker who recently asked for a release so he can go fight for him again in Bellator?

    Plus, blaming UFC hogging all the sponsors is very bad timing. Everybody knows Bellator is going to get a windfall of sponsors now. UFC is more restrictive than ever, and Bellator is very popular right now. Those fighters are going to make great sponsorship money.

    It could be a good suit, but it looks like they did everything wrong from what I’ve seen.

  15. Action Movie says:

    I’ve ridiculously excessive hopes for this film.


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