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Wednesday workweek notes

By Zach Arnold | February 28, 2007

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The story of the day comes from Japan, with an announcement that Gong Magazine (both the wrestling and MMA editions) will likely discontinue after March. Now the question is whether or not they will keep their mobile news service wire going.

Also, a report on Sherdog that the PRIDE 33 event drew 8,334 paid and 4,577 freebies for a total of 13,180 fans in the seats. That means around 63% paid, 37% comped.

Evander Holyfield named in online media reports as part of the recent raid on a online pharmacist that sold steroids and HGH.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. The Associated Press: Ultimate fighting battles for PPV crown
  2. The Oregonian: Un-retired and facing a ‘giant’
  3. UFC HP: England expects, UFC vows to deliver
  4. Stephen Quadros: UFC 68 event preview
  5. Radio: MMA Smackdown #12
  6. MMA Fighting: Interview with Lisa Ward
  7. Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB): Conditioning and kickboxing giving catcher Chris Snyder an edge
  8. The Honolulu Advertiser: Frank Trigg faces Robbie Lawler in Icon Sport March 31st event in Hawaii
  9. The Lariat Online (Baylor University): Boxing tournament debuts in Waco (it’s really a boxing promotion doing an amateur MMA show)
  10. Hall of Fame Magazine: “The Natural” Returns
  11. The Victorville Daily Press: Dan Henderson secures second PRIDE title
  12. The Miami New Times: Cage Rage (long article about MMA for newbies)
  13. Radio: Eddie Goldman interview with Matt Lindland
  14. NYU News: In a ring with (almost) no rules
  15. NBC Sports: Jason MacDonald and Rich Franklin need one win for a title shot
  16. UFC Junkie: Interview with Rich Franklin

Topics: All Topics, Boxing, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 29 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

29 Responses to “Wednesday workweek notes”

  1. mmaguru says:

    hey zach, what do you think about fishman basically putting the squeeze on pride its on the gryphon blog im surprised you didn’t mention it

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    The story that is said publicly is not what is truly happening. It’s such a complicated mess with all parties. More will be forthcoming soon.

  3. Jordan Breen says:

    That article says that Weekly Gong is being discontinued. You might wanna clarify that, since it says nothing about Gong Kakutougi.

  4. Xenos says:

    Jordan, do you speak/read Japanese or do you you use an online translator?

  5. roadblock says:

    8,344 is not a terrible number of paid attendance. That is in the ball park of what UFC was doing before TUF. The question for PRIDE is can they get mainstream exposure where the casual fans become aware of them. If they can make it a product vs product, brand vs brand battle with UFC they have a chance to do big business in the States. But they can’t just be on the internet and on PPV and compete with UFC.

  6. Mike says:

    Isn’t that around the same paid as PRIDE did for the first show? That’s a positive at least in that there wasn’t a drop-off.

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    two off topic remarks.

    1.Is there a new edition of FightOpinion radio coming out soon? Seems we are overdue and I can’t wait much longer.

    2. Bodog is worth checking out this week. Thye had some good heavyweight bouts.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    1.Is there a new edition of FightOpinion radio coming out soon? Seems we are overdue and I can’t wait much longer.

    A new show is coming shortly. We had to wait longer than usual because of the booking of guests (and I think you’ll be pleasantly happy on this front).

  9. 123 Kid says:

    Vegas attendance and paid attendance numbers are always skewed. And this goes for both the UFC, Pride, and boxing. It would be nice to see how many tickets, and what dollar amount were purchased by various casinos to give to their high rollers. It is completely different then running in Ohio, where the paid attendance IS the paid attendance.

  10. Ivan Trembow says:

    In-depth article on the attendance and gross revenue figures: (total attendance in the building was 12,911 and not 13,180; the paid attendance of 8,334 is slightly lower than UFC 67’s paid attendance of 8,700; and lots of comparative business notes)

  11. PizzaChef says:

    That’s a positive for PRIDE Ivan, thanks. And Zach thanks for pointing out that Nick refused to resign with the UFC, hence throwing something in the face of Dana White. Unfortunatley people will still accuse you of wanting to suck Dana off. 😛

    I do have a question though….Someone mentioned about PRIDE should get a chance to run at a Indian casino like the UFC did in the old days so they can run with their own rules and judges. What do you think about that idea?

  12. Zack says:

    “8,344 is not a terrible number of paid attendance. That is in the ball park of what UFC was doing before TUF.”

    True…and keep in mind Pride has inflated ticket prices like post-TUF UFC’s as well. UFC ticket prices basically doubled with UFC 57 and Prides prices are right at that level.

  13. Zach Arnold says:

    I do have a question though….Someone mentioned about PRIDE should get a chance to run at a Indian casino like the UFC did in the old days so they can run with their own rules and judges. What do you think about that idea?

    Unless they ran at Foxwoods in CT, Indian gaming facilities probably wouldn’t be big enough.

    For PRIDE, they have a couple of states they could run shows in without commission intereference — but they aren’t gambling venues. Indiana (you could run in Indianapolis) and Massachusetts would be the prime states.

  14. Armen says:

    Those are impressive paid attendance figures when compared to the doom-and-gloom forecasts of the online pundits and reporters. Like I said in an earlier post, if I were PRIDE I would price my tickets a little bit lower, perhaps 2/3 of what they are pricing at now in order to entice people to take a chance and try their product. But it seems they are doing okay without that. If they can sustain these numbers or grow them slightly on every show, I think that will be a promising sign.

    All the talk about takeovers and sellouts needs to be put to bed though. Throws so much doubt over the whole thing.

  15. ukiro says:

    While the paid attentance figures appear positive for Pride (pretty much regardless of how much was bought by casinos), they’re not going to be financially safe unless the PPV sales take off properly. Am I right in assuming that sponsors and live gate revenue is not enough to cover the cost of an event of this caliber? And when can we expect to see some PPV figures?

  16. Zach Arnold says:

    PRIDE’s not going to survive drawing 8,300 paid every 4 months in Las Vegas. They have to make money in Japan and in the states. If they have a falling out in America, that deal is over. The bigger question now is if they do keep running LV, how will they draw every two months for shows and how will the medical suspensions wreak havoc on their booking.

    Put all of this into historical context – no fight company after losing a major TV deal has ever tried to *expand* operations in order to survive. No one has done it, and the odds are stacked against it happening for a reason.

  17. Stu says:

    For PRIDE, they have a couple of states they could run shows in without commission intereference — but they aren’t gambling venues. Indiana (you could run in Indianapolis) and Massachusetts would be the prime

    In my eyes Hawaii would be an ideal choice, they have a commission but are very liberal and understanding about the rules.

  18. ukiro says:

    Zach: You make a compelling argument, but you could also turn it around and say that they’re doing the right thing by trying to make it in the worlds largest MMA market now that their home turf is so trouble-ridden. If things are as bad in Japan as you claim (and there’s supporting evidence, so I’m not here to argue against you on that point), doesn’t it, at least on a theoretical level, make sense to try to secure a “back-up” market? Spread the eggs in more baskets, or however the saying goes? I am well aware that the current scenario facing Pride is way more complicated than this, but if they were to just remain in Japan and see their market collapse underneath them, wouldn’t that be an even worse plan?

    Their US venture could very well be the straw that breaks the camels back, but then at least they will go down fighting.

  19. JThue says:

    Give credit where due, Zach: You were among the people who said the relatively positive PRIDE.32 attendance/gate stood no chance to be repeated in February. I’m completely shocked by this figure. With no increase in exposure and the glamour of show #1 gone, a 35% drop would have been freaking great for PRIDE, and instead they pretty much EQUAL the first one??!? There was also the noticeable difference in (fewer) “hardcore” fans this time. Obviously not all of them would make it back for show two, but the surprise is others showed up instead. PRIDE have passed a certain hurdle Strikeforce stumbled at. Plenty more challenges to come though.

  20. FightDude says:

    I hear that GONG Kakutogi will be staying.

    WA and HI would be my choices to run a PRIDE event as the y have supporters in Matt Hume and TJ Thompson with commissions that would accomodate them.


  21. FightDude says:

    Oh yeah. Don’t I have to call Zach an assmuffin or something or else my post won’t count?


  22. JThue says:

    Sakuraba, Shibata, Manhoef-fights added to HERO’s 3/12. Yes, Katsuyori Shibata. At least he’s not fighting Leko…

  23. JThue says:

    – Leonard Garcia vs. Roger Huerta @ 69. Hmmkay.

  24. Chris says:

    Well first whats the trouble about the Gong magazine.
    And 2nd who do you think can take over the Fight industry in Japan K-1,Pride or UFC.Or maybe UFC should just buy Pride out and sign all the good fighter’s Hero’s have got and let K-1 stick to Kickboxing and push the excellent K-1 MAX and have more more weights division and mixed weight fight cards.
    There simple.
    P.S. someone give me some good news about Fight sports in Japan.

  25. FightDude says:

    Shibata is listed at 86kg while Yamamote is 108kg? Why fight so far up in weight?

    Hey Chris. The Japanese scene is still going very strong amidst any and all rumblings and Heros will land in the US with Brock Lesnar which will stir things up. Pancrase and Shooto are running non-stop and K-1 and PRIDE are still huge draws.


  26. MMA Geek says:

    Ivan, there’s no empirical evidence that shows that the UFC is directly hurting the WWE business. Just because one trend slopes up and the other slopes down doesn’t mean that they are related. Why not blame the fall of WWE on videogames or Nascar?

    I for one have never purchased a WWE PPV and wouldn’t have purchased one even if the UFC didn’t exists. They are different animals. The only way you could substitate the claim is if there was a scientific poll that asked how many WWE fans converted and also showed that a majority of UFC fans are pro-wrestling fans. Otherwise, its pure speculation and fun with numbers.

  27. johnny6pack says:

    Anybody notice that in the Miami New Times: Cage Rage article, they say that the Fertittas and White bought the UFC for $2000. That’s two THOUSAND dollars. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they paid $2 million, right?

    Oh, and then it goes on to perpetuate the Zuffa myth in staggering detail. OK, the guy can write, but he can’t research worth a damn.

  28. The Gaijin says:

    Question about people railing against the # of tickets sold for PRIDE with respect to casino sales:

    Don’t casinos buy tickets for all events to give to their high rollers? Wouldn’t you be able to equally apply that to UFC, boxing events etc.? And if so, what’s the difference, because if that’s the standard practice, they will continue to purchase those amounts of tickets in the future at any and all related events?

  29. Lynchman says:

    I think the ticket sales are both good and bad.

    There was an expectation that the numbers would go down after the novelty of The Real Deal being the first show. To hold on is a good thing.

    But they will certainly need to build up if they are to make it. If the ppv buys are the same as for the Real Deal, that is a little more worrisome.

    As far as Casinos go, at for The Real Deal, the sponsoring Casinos had an obligation to purchase a lot of tickets. I don’t if it was the same for this show, but I would assume it was.

    If the third show does about the same, then they need to be concerned.


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