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New data shows that without Al Haymon & WWE’s cash, California’s athletic commission would be hurting bad
By Zach Arnold | December 13, 2016
A deep dive into a recent financial document dump by the California State Athletic Commission reveals some alarming conflicts of interest and troubling financial realities for the state agency.
Without cash from WWE and Al Haymon, the athletic commission would be dealing with financial problems. And in both cases, not coincidentally, the state agency is skirting the law in how they deal with both entities.
On page 48 of the document dump, there is a list of taxes regarding how much the commission has made from various sports. Here is how the breakdown looks for the first four months of Fiscal year 2016-2017:
Boxing – $114,953.27
Wrestling gates – $124,797.25
Radio/TV tax – $85,619
Commission fines – $18,304.41
MMA taxes – $24,293.22
The numbers are worth highlighting for a number of reasons.
- Andy Foster was brought in as an MMA revolutionary to California four years ago. Today, MMA is struggling for relevancy in the state of California as a big-ticket attraction.
- WWE is, in essence, being extorted. There is no regulation of their events. The Athletic Commission is sending a couple of inspectors to go to the box office of the arenas WWE is running and demanding, through the power of the state, a check of 5% per event on the gate plus demanding a TV tax check (of up to $35,000) for a TV/PPV event. No other wrestling company is treated in the same manner as WWE. WWE refuses to file for an injunction against the Athletic Commission to stop the disparate treatment. Without WWE’s money, the Athletic Commission would be in the red.
- By a nearly 5-to-1 margin, boxing revenue surpasses MMA revenue in California.
This data sets the stage for more claims presented by the Athletic Commission in their financial document dump. On page 77, there is an executive summary. Of the 140 shows regulated in 2016, 90 of them are boxing and 44 MMA. Of the total revenues brought in, 18% of the total pie comes from Al Haymon shows via front man Tom Brown. 15% of the revenue comes from UFC. 13% from Golden Boy. 12% from Tom Loeffler.
Now you have a possible financial motive as to why the state of California has refused to consider bringing any criminal or civil action against Haymon on behalf of the Athletic Commission.
If Al Haymon’s operations slow down or halt completely, California is beholden to UFC for financial stability. We’ve detailed just how dependent Andy Foster is on UFC. After Andy gave Conor McGregor a boxing license, a media frenzy ensued. California got some free publicity for giving McGregor his boxing license. Then came the heat. And now the ass-kissing is underway. At this week’s commission meeting in Sacramento, the Athletic Commission will celebrate UFC:
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a world renowned Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promoter licensed by the California State Athletic Commission (Commission), promotes many high profile MMA champions and contenders, such as California residents Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey, Urijah Faber, and Dominick Cruz. These events have allowed greater opportunities for California licensees to participate in major professional MMA contests in California.
In just the last 4 years, UFC has promoted a total of 10 events in California, totaling $773,480.88 in Commission revenue. One example of the positive impact to the California economy is that ticket sales alone for these events generated approximately $11 million dollars. Additional revenues are generated from television contracts, concessions and promotional items. Most significantly, UFC has demonstrated a commitment to California MMA fans and we know they are planning to hold many more high profile events in California.
Accordingly, to show the Commission’s appreciation to UFC for holding their events in California and in the spirit of Business and Professions Code 18640.5, Chairman Carvelli has requested that the Commission recognize UFC.
You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube after giving Conor McGregor a boxing license.
The financials for California’s commission are not as solid as they appear on the surface. Once Al Haymon’s activity slows down, there goes a chunk of revenue. If WWE decides enough is enough and puts up a fight in court, that would stop a significant flow of cash. And if UFC decides to play political hard ball, they can not only limit revenue flowing to California but also put the clamps on the help of their lobbyists whom the Athletic Commission relies upon for political power in Sacramento.