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Wednesday war room: Heat-up for UFC Fight Night

By Zach Arnold | September 18, 2007

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Weigh-in results for the UFC Fight Night show that will take place Wednesday night in Las Vegas. A complete event preview is here.

The Vancouver Sun says that the city council will ponder future of ‘human cockfighting.’ The paper claims that the city council will have a report claiming MMA is more violent than boxing.

Steve Cofield is back at it again.

The biggest news few people are talking about – Ken Condon is leaving Bally’s Atlantic City. Condon was a big backer of boxing events.

Kaoru Uno has a broken jaw thanks to the punishment Andre Dida laid on him at the HERO’s Yokohama Arena event. BTW, the HERO’s 9/17 Yokohama event drew a 12.5% rating on Tokyo Broadcasting System.

Headlines from Jeff Comstock

Looking to buy a ticket for the Strikeforce show at the Playboy Mansion? Hope you hace $1100 to spare.

Perth Now (Sunday Times Australia): Carpenter government under pressure to ban cage fights

Sportcentrum KOPS: Jordan Radev to fight Dean Lister in UFC

Other stories

Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira coming soon.

Rich Franklin is a busy man.

Fightlinker tries to predict what Evan Tanner’s future in MMA could be.

The latest update on Bodog.

Kim Young-hyun will face Ryushi Yanagisawa on 9/29 in Seoul, South Korea in the K-1 ring.

In defense of The Ultimate Fighter. Rossen says one fighter was denied from reading a Bible.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. MMA Game: Has the UFC’s collective ego cost them big bucks?
  2. MMA California: Ty Montgomery apologizes
  3. MMA Madness: Interview with Kendall Grove
  4. The Canadian Press: Have hair will travel – Road Warrior Goulet spruces up for next fight
  5. The Dayton Daily News (OH): Dustin Hazelett answers call for UFC show
  6. Sportsnet (Canada): Q & A with Jonathan Goulet
  7. TC Palm Newspaper (Florida): Din Thomas to fight on national TV tonight
  8. The Canadian Press: Nate Quarry makes comeback from devastating loss, painful back surgery
  9. CBS Sportsline: TUF 6 preview – Bad behavior hot tempers, vandalism abound
  10. The Chronicle Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia): Halifax’s Roger Hollett primed to go for third extreme-fighting belt
  11. Yahoo Sports (Dave Doyle): Around the Octagon – UFC 76 storylines
  12. Yahoo Sports (Kevin Iole): Veteran Din Thomas doesn’t play bit parts
  13. The Long Beach Press-Telegram: Jared Rollins fights toward dream career with The Ultimate Fighter
  14. The Nevada Appeal: Judging MMA vs. boxing
  15. NBC Sports: Chuck Liddell and Keith Jardine start long road to the top
  16. The Boston Herald: Kenny Florian’s Ultimate goal to be on top
  17. The Tonganoxie Mirror (KS): Let’s get ready to rumble – Tonganoxie native Casey Allen fearless in kickboxing, cage fighting
  18. The Orange County Register: Kenny Florian, Din Thomas out for lightweight respect
  19. The Orlando Sentinel: ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season to debut Wednesday, featuring local fighter Ben Saunders
  20. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel: South Florida to host MMA team championship Thursday
  21. The Tampa Tribune (FL): Matt Arroyo aiming to be ‘Ultimate Fighter’

Topics: BoDog, Boxing, Canada, HERO's, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 45 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

45 Responses to “Wednesday war room: Heat-up for UFC Fight Night”

  1. Manos says:

    Is that considered a good rating for heroes?

    Sounds like it would be

  2. ukiro says:

    Nothing on Ribeiros eye socket? The way he immediately held his hand over it as he went down tells me it was cracked. He didn’t even move the hand from his eye to protect body shots or for positioning – a clear indication that it was not just a normal hit to the head.

    How they let the Uno-Dida fight continue when his jaw was obviously messed up is a mystery. It looked like he had lost a tooth when the had him checked up in R1 (otherwise why would they break it at that point? He wasn’t bleeding – the ref must have seen the tooth fly) and at that point they had to realize something was wrong with his jaw. And if they somehow missed it, surely it should have been discovered between R1 and R2.

  3. Thomas says:

    I not suprised Uno has a broken jaw. He was closed to being finished a couple of times but everytime there was a small break in the action ref would stop it killing Didas momentum. Also the stoppages seem long.

  4. David says:

    BTW, the HERO’s 9/17 Yokohama event drew a 12.5% rating on Tokyo Broadcasting System.

    Does that not mean that 10% of all Japanese people were watching Hero’s?

    I love Japan!

  5. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Really looking forward to the Kenny Florian fight.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    Answer your mail, Jeremy. 🙂

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    That Nog v Mir fight better be at UFC 78. That card needs help and this match would go a long way toward making it a respectable event worthy of the the support of a major metro area. Somehow I think the UFC will just try to pass off Rashad v Tito as a main event.

  8. AS says:

    If Rosen is in defense of TUF, I think it’s getting stale. I’d like to see them go to something more current like a 24/7 de la hoya-mayweather meets UFC Countdown/All Access as the flagship show.

    http://mmapayout.blogspot.com/2007/09/ultimate-fighter-season-six-preview.html

  9. D.Capitated says:

    If Rosen is in defense of TUF, I think it’s getting stale. I’d like to see them go to something more current like a 24/7 de la hoya-mayweather meets UFC Countdown/All Access as the flagship show.

    Who the hell would want to see this on a weekly basis? People watch the UFC to see fights.

  10. Grape Knee High says:

    Is anyone really all that surprised at K-1’s officiating (or lack thereof)? Worst. Refs. Ever.

    If TUF is going down the rabbit hole of “rednecks fucking shit up”, you can count me out. The last thing I need to waste my time on is a TV show of moron rednecks destroying the house and getting into playground tussles outside of the ring.

    Looking forward to this weekend, am I the only one that sees at an upset in at least one of the Liddell and Shogun fights? I see a plodding, careful fight between Liddell and Jardine that Jardine could win simply by staying out of range and employing leg kicks at the right time.

    Regarding Shogun, the only fighter he’s ever faced that has been taller and larger than him has been Overeem. Both times, Shogun won by getting the fight to the ground and I suspect that will be his way to a smart victory (let’s face it, his striking has not been sharp recently). What if he can’t get Forrest to the ground, or he can’t secure top position? Shogun’s BJJ is clearly superior, but is his wrestling?

  11. MMA Game says:

    It’s safe to say not many people agree with my article (on Sherdog at least)… I’m guessing the same applies here? 😛

  12. The Gaijin says:

    “Regarding Shogun, the only fighter he’s ever faced that has been taller and larger than him has been Overeem.”

    Right off the bat I can point out that you’re incorrect. Off the top of my head, he recently faced Diabate who’s 6’6″ (and Rampage is iirc negligibly taller).

    He’s certainly never seemed to have a problem getting the fight to the ground in any other fights he’s had and quite frankly as “unsharp” as his striking has seemed, Forrest’s technical striking is shit anyways.

  13. Vess says:

    To MMA Game, I stopped reading after the Pride music started. Sorry.

  14. Grape Knee High says:

    “Right off the bat I can point out that you’re incorrect. Off the top of my head, he recently faced Diabate who’s 6?6? (and Rampage is iirc negligibly taller).”

    I should have been more clear. When I said “taller” I meant height, and by “larger” I meant weight. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Diabate is physically beefier than Shogun is. The guy is a stick.

  15. MMA Game says:

    “To MMA Game, I stopped reading after the Pride music started. Sorry.”

    You could have just turned it off 😛

  16. The Gaijin says:

    GKH: I gotcha – it was nitpicky to begin with…but I see where you’re coming from.

    IMO I just don’t see Griffin giving him that much trouble. He’s dealt with bigger, taller, stronger, faster fighters and he’s dealt with better strikers, grapplers, wrestlers as well.

    I just don’t think there’s anything that Griffin brings to the table that Shogun hasn’t already seen that’s better than Griffin. Griffin is far from a tactician and if I know him like I think I do, he’s going to bring the exact same style he’s brought to every fight: tough as nails, bar brawl fighting. While that might have cut it against the likes of Sinosic, Bonnar, Mahood and even Ortiz…I really don’t think Shogun’s the type of fighter that can be accused of being “an overrated PRIDE guy” (ala Mirko).

  17. The Gaijin says:

    “Who the hell would want to see this on a weekly basis? People watch the UFC to see fights.”

    While I don’t think this is worthy of a “weekly basis” type show – I really do believe it would be effective in hyping up their big PPV showdowns.

    24/7 was excellently produced and did an amazing job of hyping the fight. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mixing up the programming and I think it would be cool to show the casual fans the whole “days in the life of fighter” leading up to their big fight.

    Wouldnt you?

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    I’m not sure about Forrest giving Rua trouble, but it is a fantastic style match-up that should be fun to watch.

    I think Frank Mir against Nogueira or Kongo is a bad fight in general.

    There is a lot of complaining going on about Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz 2 being possibly the headline fight in November. i wish the complainers would understand how much of a shock it will be for the UFC to even be able to put a card together for that show. That card has had so many difficulties. Is we end up getting Evans/Ortiz 2, Penn/TBA, Fisher/Edgar, and still have Terrell & Gono on the card… There is little to complain about.

    I finally saw the countdown show to UFC 76 on SpikeTV. It was on Monday Night and I DVR’d it. I thought they did a fantastic job at promoting Rua. They really made him feel like an important fighter coming into the UFC. And it was nice to see Jon Fitch finall get some recognition. I think he is going to be in a different league then Sanchez on Saturday.

  19. D. Capitated says:

    While I don’t think this is worthy of a “weekly basis” type show – I really do believe it would be effective in hyping up their big PPV showdowns.

    Hype shows are great, but they aren’t a suitable replacement for what made the UFC as popular as it is, which is in ring fighting. Anything the UFC should do as a weekly program should have that. Preferably live.

    24/7 was excellently produced and did an amazing job of hyping the fight. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mixing up the programming and I think it would be cool to show the casual fans the whole “days in the life of fighter” leading up to their big fight.

    Well, spending millions on preshows is nice and all, but the more you make, the more money you spend, and the more the PPV has to sell to recoup. I don’t see preshows consistently growing in the ratings over the course of a week or even over 4 weeks with 5 day a week coverage. Its not what people watch the UFC for. The reason Ultimate Fighter succeeded isn’t because people wanted to see who’s team won the challenge. Fuck that, if they want that there’s already a vast number of shows for them. They want to see fights. Whole fights.

    Wouldnt you?

  20. The Gaijin says:

    I agree…they did a real nice job of playing up two guys who a lot of the casual fans likely aren’t too familiar with (Rua, Fitch).

    I think Joe Silva was spot on matching up Griffin with Rua for Rua’s debut fight. You know Griffin is the type of guy that will not be involved in a boring fight and Shogun is just one of those break-neck pace fighters…this is the fight I’m most looking forward to for sure. But I have a feeling Fitch-Sanchez will be the FOTN.

    I’ve been waiting to see Nog vs. Mir for a long, long time…too bad at this point Mir is a shell of his former self (if he really ever was that good to begin with). We’ll hopefully see some exciting MMA-BJJ…but I get this inkling that Mir just*might* gas out after 3 minutes and by inkling I mean I’m positive.

  21. Grape Knee High says:

    Gaijin, I absolutely agree on Shogun. On paper, he should dominate. Without question. But hearing that Forrest trains at 240 lbs was a bit shocking to me and makes me wonder if Forrest might present more of a physical challenge to Shogun (as opposed to one based on skill).

    With a good Couture-influenced gameplan, it makes me wonder whether Forrest might be able to use his size and reach advantage to better use in the Octagon against Shogun than Overeem was able to do in a ring. On paper, Griffin is 6’3″ and Shogun 5’11”, but we’ll see at the weigh-ins exactly how they seem to match up physically.

    I’m excited for this fight, frankly, but I think this fight will be closer than it would seem on paper. That said, I hope Shogun comes through and gives Forrest a nice beating.

  22. AS says:

    “Who the hell would want to see this on a weekly basis? People watch the UFC to see fights.”

    I think the novelty of just seeing fights on TV is wearing off, especially if the UFC is going to run 2 shows a month (one spike/HBO show and a PPV). The name of the game is going to become building up fights, not just showing fights for the hell of it. Thats what unleashed is for. The flagship show should be about building stars and big fights. Right now TUF is a good format because it also creates stars, but that will wane as other promotions snap up talent.

    “While I don’t think this is worthy of a “weekly basis” type show – I really do believe it would be effective in hyping up their big PPV showdowns.”

    I think it could work on a weekly basis. I think you’d do it on a 4-week run. The monday after the ppv you’d start with a 4-6 week run focusing on the fighters on the next PPV show.

    “24/7 was excellently produced and did an amazing job of hyping the fight. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mixing up the programming and I think it would be cool to show the casual fans the whole “days in the life of fighter” leading up to their big fight.”

    I agree. I was blown away by 24/7, it made the UFC’s formidable hype machine look like child’s play.

    The bottom line, theres going to have to be something other than TUF eventually. I don’t think Tuesday Night fights is the way to go. Boxing has shown us that the more of it thats on TV, the harder it is to sell on PPV.

  23. 45 Huddle says:

    I think TUF goes 8 seasons before they try something else. Which means 2 seasons in 2008, and then 2009 we get something new.

    I wouldn’t be suprised to see the WEC on ESPN at some point as a weekly show. Much like Tuesday Night Fights. But the UFC is going to be an “event” type of company…. With 12 PPVs, 8 HBO Shows, and 8 SpikeTV Live Events per year. That is an estimate, but a decent one…. So between 25 to 30 shows a year. However, much like they do now, those events will be stacked… So we might go a month without an event, and then get a Wed/Sat combo.

    Now, how the UFC & SpikeTV fill the TUF void will be interesting. A weekly UFC show won’t work. It will actually hurt the big rated shows because people will get use to it. But a show with no fights and no drama is too boring and doesn’t get ratings. I’m not sure if there is a good answer at this point….

  24. D. Capitated says:

    I think the novelty of just seeing fights on TV is wearing off, especially if the UFC is going to run 2 shows a month (one spike/HBO show and a PPV). The name of the game is going to become building up fights, not just showing fights for the hell of it. Thats what unleashed is for.

    I think that’s a pretty stupid idea, given that history seems to indicate across the board that showing weekly live fights on free TV is a really good way to keep the fanbase interested. They aren’t going to get a 3.0 every week, but how can anyone expect that they would? Who does that on a nationwide basis from week to week in real sports?

    The flagship show should be about building stars and big fights. Right now TUF is a good format because it also creates stars, but that will wane as other promotions snap up talent.

    But since they have so many guys under contract, it would be best to, you know, have them compete.

    I think it could work on a weekly basis. I think you’d do it on a 4-week run. The monday after the ppv you’d start with a 4-6 week run focusing on the fighters on the next PPV show.

    For every PPV? Instead of fights? I think you have a gross misunderstanding of the fanbase. These are not people that watch because of the soap opera/drama aspect. Then again, since the “UFC stole WWE’s audience only” belief is strong around here…

    I agree. I was blown away by 24/7, it made the UFC’s formidable hype machine look like child’s play.

    You can’t just make 24/7 type shows and anticipate similar reactions. Again: Gross inability to understand the market that’s buying fights.

    The bottom line, theres going to have to be something other than TUF eventually. I don’t think Tuesday Night fights is the way to go. Boxing has shown us that the more of it thats on TV, the harder it is to sell on PPV.

    WHAT? Are you serious? Boxing not being on free TV and becoming more and more PPV based is what caused its implosion in the eyes of the general public.

  25. D. Capitated says:

    Now, how the UFC & SpikeTV fill the TUF void will be interesting. A weekly UFC show won’t work. It will actually hurt the big rated shows because people will get use to it. But a show with no fights and no drama is too boring and doesn’t get ratings. I’m not sure if there is a good answer at this point….

    How would a weekly show hurt it? You could add weight classes. You can have the show headlined by major names, show 3 live fights and do in studio or on site interviews and hype segments that fans who watch to see fights are drawn to watch. The numbers for UFC hype shows is less than that of any live events, even when they’re minus any sort of draw on the network. There is no connection whatsoever with fights on TV being more accessible making boxing less popular. In fact, everyone in the entire world except, apparently, for people here, argues the exact opposite point: That in fact, boxing disappearing from ABC, CBS, and the USA network was incredibly detremental to its popularity stateside. Need another argument against that? Boxing is on free to air TV often in Germany with ZDF and its hugely popular at the moment there.

  26. AS says:

    “But since they have so many guys under contract, it would be best to, you know, have them compete.”

    Regarding guys under contract. Let’s assume they’re going to run 10 ppvs and 5 HBO shows a year with 8 fights a card. Thats 240 slots to fill. Now let’s add a live weekly two hour broadcast and do just 5 fights a card at the Palms. Thats 500 more slots. So you’d have 740 slots to fill for the year. Figure the avg. guy can do 4 fights a year (some will do more, some will do less). You need 185 fighters. I don’t think the talent pool is deep enough to support that. Not to mention the kind of business infrastructure expansion it would take to pull that off on Zuffa’s end.

    “For every PPV? Instead of fights?”

    Instead of the one fight featured on TUF each week.

    “I think you have a gross misunderstanding of the fanbase. These are not people that watch because of the soap opera/drama aspect.”

    They watch TUF each week for the lone subpar fight?

    “Then again, since the “UFC stole WWE’s audience only” belief is strong around here…”

    It looks like a pretty strong argument statistically. Theres a direct correlation between the rise of the UFC on ppv and fall of WWE. Not to mention both Zuffa and WWE internally track the other as competition. The first step to understanding the UFC is to realize that its ran pro wrestling style (not surprisingly they’ve hired alot of people away from WWE) and not boxing style. If TUF doesn’t have the WWE lead-in its first year, the UFC as we know it doesn’t exist.

    “You can’t just make 24/7 type shows and anticipate similar reactions. Again: Gross inability to understand the market that’s buying fights.”

    I think we’re talking about different parts of the market. You’re talking about the hardcore fan that is into quality fights. They rather see a really good fight between no names than a bad fight between marque names. They represent the core fan base and along with the guys who’ve drunk the kool aid on the UFC brand will get you 250,000-300,000 buys.

    I’m talking about the people who take the PPVs to the 750,000-1,000,000 range based on the star appeal of the main events. They’re the guys who don’t care unless theres a star in the fight. They’d rather watch a bad fight between two stars than a good fighter between unknowns. You don’t have to market to the hardcore fans, you can count on them to buy. Its the casual/main stream fan who’s attention you need to attract.

    Did people buy the aforementioned boxing match because they thought it was going to be a great fight? No, everyone who follows boxing thought Mayweather would win handily. It was the personalities, the stars, the big event atmosphere that sold the fight and 24/7 was a huge part of that.

    “WHAT? Are you serious? Boxing not being on free TV and becoming more and more PPV based is what caused its implosion in the eyes of the general public.”

    The reason boxing is off TV is because promoters realized free TV was hurting PPV revenues. Did they over do it and hurt the sport? Yes.

    “How would a weekly show hurt it? You could add weight classes.”

    That’s worked great for boxing. Basically, let’s add a bunch of less talented, no name fighters and a bunch of extra weight divisions so that no one can figure out who’s fighting, let alone who’s a star, or what the hell is going on.

    “You can have the show headlined by major names, show 3 live fights and do in studio or on site interviews and hype segments that fans who watch to see fights are drawn to watch.”

    I think thats an excellent format and have though about myself. But if you start working the numbers it doesn’t make as much sense. Going live each week is a big deal. Even cutting production expenses by doing it at the Palms each weeks has risks, such as burning out your home market for the big money making cards. That’s in addition to my other arguments which you obviously disagree with.

    “The numbers for UFC hype shows is less than that of any live events, even when they’re minus any sort of draw on the network.”

    Absolutely, but TV ratings don’t make the UFC money, ppvs do. Ratings are only useful to get mainstream exposure, create stars, and give the impression that the UFC is a hot product. The hype shows sell ppvs and do a damn good job of according to internal numbers. Thats why they do them.

    I maintain that if you can see live UFC fights on TV every week, people will start to become a lot more picky about what fights they’ll pay for. I think the ideal live event structure is about 24. 10-12 ppvs, 6 HBO shows, 6 fight nights on spike. The rest of the TV slate should be about building stars for those shows which account for 75% of the UFC’s revenues.

    TUF does a good job of that, but its starting to get stale and the talent pool is shrinking. My proposal isn’t perfect, but I think its a logical direction.

  27. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    MMAGame,

    I too bailed after a couple paragraphs. I prefer a little lemon in my fanfics 😉

    ===

    People should be picky about what fights they pay for. That would improve the quality of the PPV cards by necessity.

    If UFC was receiving additional revenue from Spike and HBO, then I do think you’d see the number of PPVs cut back. Right now they’re over-stacked because the company is maintaining a roster of fighters that they need to fill out more events than they’re currently holding in anticipation of expanded cable and subscription cable calendars.

    At least, that’s my view.

  28. D. Capitated says:

    Regarding guys under contract. Let’s assume they’re going to run 10 ppvs and 5 HBO shows a year with 8 fights a card. Thats 240 slots to fill. Now let’s add a live weekly two hour broadcast and do just 5 fights a card at the Palms. Thats 500 more slots. So you’d have 740 slots to fill for the year. Figure the avg. guy can do 4 fights a year (some will do more, some will do less). You need 185 fighters. I don’t think the talent pool is deep enough to support that. Not to mention the kind of business infrastructure expansion it would take to pull that off on Zuffa’s end.

    There’s more than enough of a talent pool to support it right this second, particularly if you add in a 145lb and even a 135lb weight class. You don’t need to put every guy under contract. This is elementary.

    Instead of the one fight featured on TUF each week.

    Do you think if you eliminated the fight from TUF or reduced it to a 30 second clip job that the UFC would be where its at right now?

    They watch TUF each week for the lone subpar fight?

    Uhhh, yeah? They do? If the fight was meaningless in drawing eyes, why have it? It can only cause injuries to contestants.

    It looks like a pretty strong argument statistically. Theres a direct correlation between the rise of the UFC on ppv and fall of WWE.

    No, there isn’t. The WWE’s PPV buyrates were falling long before TUF. Wrestlemania did a better buyrate than any of the last 4 years. Better even than WM19, which far predates the UFC era. How does this work?

    Not to mention both Zuffa and WWE internally track the other as competition. The first step to understanding the UFC is to realize that its ran pro wrestling style (not surprisingly they’ve hired alot of people away from WWE) and not boxing style.

    In that they are their own sanctioning body and promoter in one? Uhh, other than that, its not operated like pro wrestling.

    If TUF doesn’t have the WWE lead-in its first year, the UFC as we know it doesn’t exist.

    And yet the UFC has had no effect on WWE ratings when positioned against it. How does that work?

    I think we’re talking about different parts of the market. You’re talking about the hardcore fan that is into quality fights. They rather see a really good fight between no names than a bad fight between marque names. They represent the core fan base and along with the guys who’ve drunk the kool aid on the UFC brand will get you 250,000-300,000 buys.

    I’m talking about the people who take the PPVs to the 750,000-1,000,000 range based on the star appeal of the main events. They’re the guys who don’t care unless theres a star in the fight. They’d rather watch a bad fight between two stars than a good fighter between unknowns. You don’t have to market to the hardcore fans, you can count on them to buy. Its the casual/main stream fan who’s attention you need to attract.

    No number of such shows is going to do it because people are buying PPVs to WATCH FIGHTS. You have to attract them with the product. If there is no fighting to watch, people are not going to watch. This is saying that the NBA would do better business eliminating 20 of its regular season games and replacing it with recap shows.

    Did people buy the aforementioned boxing match because they thought it was going to be a great fight? No, everyone who follows boxing thought Mayweather would win handily. It was the personalities, the stars, the big event atmosphere that sold the fight and 24/7 was a huge part of that.

    You don’t get it. You could do the same series of shows about Hatton/Mayweather, argurably a more competitive fight, and it wouldn’t get you the same numbers. I don’t know how to explain the obvious in this fashion.

    The reason boxing is off TV is because promoters realized free TV was hurting PPV revenues. Did they over do it and hurt the sport? Yes.

    Its official: You have no idea what you’re talking about. It didn’t “hurt PPV revenues”, its that the revenues from PPV, even PPVs with mediocre numbers, exceeded what networks were willing to pay. When competitive high level boxing disappeared from free TV, however, people no longer watched because it became increasingly difficult to build fighters with the public because they had to pay $50 to see them make moves up the ladder. Free boxing never “hurt PPV revenues”. In fact, it had the exact opposite effect.

    That’s worked great for boxing. Basically, let’s add a bunch of less talented, no name fighters and a bunch of extra weight divisions so that no one can figure out who’s fighting, let alone who’s a star, or what the hell is going on.

    Boxing has had twice as many weight divisions as mainstream MMA for around 50 years.

    I think thats an excellent format and have though about myself. But if you start working the numbers it doesn’t make as much sense. Going live each week is a big deal. Even cutting production expenses by doing it at the Palms each weeks has risks, such as burning out your home market for the big money making cards. That’s in addition to my other arguments which you obviously disagree with.

    Which is why you work alternate arenas. ESPN does it and has been doing it twice a week for 8 months with boxing for years while only garnering around a .5 for ratings due to the rather mediocre nature of most fights. There is no shortage of places to run shows.

    Absolutely, but TV ratings don’t make the UFC money, ppvs do.

    And you need as many eyes as you can for exposure, right?

    Ratings are only useful to get mainstream exposure, create stars, and give the impression that the UFC is a hot product. The hype shows sell ppvs and do a damn good job of according to internal numbers. Thats why they do them.

    I can’t spell this out anymore than I have.

    I maintain that if you can see live UFC fights on TV every week, people will start to become a lot more picky about what fights they’ll pay for. I think the ideal live event structure is about 24. 10-12 ppvs, 6 HBO shows, 6 fight nights on spike. The rest of the TV slate should be about building stars for those shows which account for 75% of the UFC’s revenues.

    They don’t even have an HBO deal yet, so its a waste of time talking about it until it happens. Will people be pickier about what fights they watch on PPV? Uhh, they already are. That’s why its not too easy to find a buyrate for UFC 72.

  29. D. Capitated says:

    People should be picky about what fights they pay for. That would improve the quality of the PPV cards by necessity.

    Agreed!

    If UFC was receiving additional revenue from Spike and HBO, then I do think you’d see the number of PPVs cut back.

    ding ding ding! You’re right on money! If HBO or Spike or Fox or whoever on the planet decides to start throwing money to the UFC for live fight cards on free TV, and it challenges that which they are recieving for PPVs, then they won’t run as many PPVs. Period. They do it out of necessity. Those sorts of things mean more advertisers and more build for upcoming mega PPVs because they’ll have huge audiences to watch the shows hyping them.

    Right now they’re over-stacked because the company is maintaining a roster of fighters that they need to fill out more events than they’re currently holding in anticipation of expanded cable and subscription cable calendars.

    This man is money right now. And eventually, should they continue to be popular, they will have more live dates and their fighters will be more active as a result, rather than getting shelved sometimes for months because they have nothing for them.

  30. Dedwyre says:

    I’ve pretty much given up on TUF, not so much because it’s stale, but because I’m really starting to despise the fact that its based around creating real animosity between people. That’s what most reality shows do, and I dislike most reality shows for that reason (and because they’re boring). Something seems cruel about putting people together and hoping they hate each other and get you ratings.

    Plus, this time, there’re guys who aren’t serious about fighting; they’re just there to get face time.

    I liked season 4 because most everyone was professional (the fights were dull, I’ll admit that). Ironically, they most talked about instances in that season were Matt Serra blowing up at Marc Laimon and deciding that he disliked Matt Hughes.

    I might watch the replays just to see the fights.

  31. The Gaijin says:

    GKN:

    Forrest trains at 240?!?!!? Fuck me…I was not aware of this. Nor did I realize it was actually possible to cut THAT MUCH weight and fight competitively.

    I’m a little more intrigued by info like this, but I think Shogun has faced guys like Arona and Randleman that are “big like that”, so it won’t be a completely new thing….but I agree, that’s definately something to contend with. And of course there’s something to be said about training with Randy!

  32. The Gaijin says:

    “People should be picky about what fights they pay for. That would improve the quality of the PPV cards by necessity.

    Agreed!”

    I should fucking hope so…maybe we wouldn’t have to put up with rematches nobody cares about like Ortiz-Evans and Liddell-Jardine on PPV, as f#@kin’ main events I might add. With a roster like they boast, they should be ashamed for promoting something that should be on a UFN, not headlining a $40 card.

  33. D. Capitated says:

    Gaijin, its already happened. The very thread below has, right at the bottom, “Plus… a legitimate news report about UFC? Zuffa ratings outlook cut to negative on weak operating results.” Put on lousy shows and charge people money for them, and shockingly, they may not watch! Gasp! I wonder if there’s any precedent for this? Quick, someone invoke WCW!

  34. AS says:

    “There’s more than enough of a talent pool to support it right this second, particularly if you add in a 145lb and even a 135lb weight class. You don’t need to put every guy under contract. This is elementary.”

    Not in the UFC’s model.

    “Do you think if you eliminated the fight from TUF or reduced it to a 30 second clip job that the UFC would be where its at right now?”

    Do you think TUF/UFC would be where they are now without the star coachs? With just a straight hour of fights? The reality show component was the biggest part in TUF working.

    “In that they are their own sanctioning body and promoter in one? Uhh, other than that, its not operated like pro wrestling.”

    Do you honestly think Vince would have given Spike his blessing for TUF if he knew then what he knows today? Why is that? TV ratings aren’t where UFC hurts WWE, its ppv where there are finite dollars to be spent on what sometimes looks like an endless array of ppv fighting/wrestling options.

    The model is basically the same: exclusively contracted fighters, market the brand above the fighters, ppv as the biggest revenue source, tv geared to build the monthly ppv show.

    “No number of such shows is going to do it because people are buying PPVs to WATCH FIGHTS. You have to attract them with the product.”

    I agree completely. The difference of opinion seems to be on how to attract them to the product. I think we both agree that its by building stars which takes a combo of seeing that person fight and becoming emotionally invested in the outcome of that fighter’s fights. The difference of opinion seems to be on how best to accomplish that. You think seeing other people fight every week is the answer. I think its making people feel like they know the fighter, have a connection to him, and want to see him win or get his ass kicked.

    “You don’t get it. You could do the same series of shows about Hatton/Mayweather, argurably a more competitive fight, and it wouldn’t get you the same numbers. I don’t know how to explain the obvious in this fashion.”

    Obviously it wouldn’t be as big as the first fight because theres no star (de la hoya). But hatton-mayweather with a 24/7 push would almost certainly do better, if not significantly better, than hatton-mayweather with no 24/7 push and merely the usual hype during other boxing matches.

    “Which is why you work alternate arenas. ESPN does it and has been doing it twice a week for 8 months with boxing for years while only garnering around a .5 for ratings due to the rather mediocre nature of most fights. There is no shortage of places to run shows.”

    Does ESPN work with the same promoter/promotion each week? My understanding is its more similar to what HDnet does right now and plans to do in the future, working with promotions around the country.

    I think the ideal UFC event schedule would be 2 per month, one on PPV, one on Spike or HBO, the rest of the TV programming geared towards promoting those shows. I don’t think we’re close to someone paying enough money to warrant canceling ppvs.

  35. AS says:

    “Gaijin, its already happened. The very thread below has, right at the bottom, “Plus… a legitimate news report about UFC? Zuffa ratings outlook cut to negative on weak operating results.” Put on lousy shows and charge people money for them, and shockingly, they may not watch!”

    They’ve put down a lot of money in the UK/european market. The 3 european shows are big money losers as a result. This is not a result of the ppv business weakening. They’re going to have two million plus buy ppvs this year, and at least one 750,000. They did somewhere between 250,000-300,000 for the Super Bowl show on the weakest lineup of the year. They have been hurt however by upsets, Cro Cop in particular but GSP as well. Without those upsets I would have been confident they’d have did record business, and they still probably will.

  36. The Gaijin says:

    Gaijin, its already happened. The very thread below has, right at the bottom, “Plus… a legitimate news report about UFC? Zuffa ratings outlook cut to negative on weak operating results.” Put on lousy shows and charge people money for them, and shockingly, they may not watch! Gasp! I wonder if there’s any precedent for this? Quick, someone invoke WCW!

    Ummm…my understanding is that this is due to them sinking a lot of money into the UK events and blowing $40M on PRIDE. If they really were paying attention to “crap cards = crap numbers = crap financal outlooks”, they wouldn’t be putting Liddell-Jardine or Tito-Evans as main events.

    And if you’re trying to “talk down” to me, you can fuckin blow me.

  37. Zach Arnold says:

    A warning – if I think things are getting out of hand with insults, I will suspended or ban some commenters if I deem it to be necessary.

  38. D. Capitated says:

    Not in the UFC’s model.

    If the UFC continues to expand, its inevitable. What are you talking about?

    Do you think TUF/UFC would be where they are now without the star coachs?

    You’re not getting it.

    With just a straight hour of fights?

    Initially, perhaps not, though its impossible to tell and any claims to the contrary are nothing but speculation. What isn’t is the likelihood that as a sport, the UFC will have to move beyond reality shows to push their agenda in coming years, unless you assume that this is the maximum level of success they envision.

    The reality show component was the biggest part in TUF working.

    The reality show existed because it was the only way they could get on the air. It was a concession by Dana to the media conglomerates. You remove the fight from TUF and its UFC’s Contender and no one watches, just like Contender.

    Do you honestly think Vince would have given Spike his blessing for TUF if he knew then what he knows today?

    Do you think it ultimately would have mattered?

    TV ratings aren’t where UFC hurts WWE, its ppv where there are finite dollars to be spent on what sometimes looks like an endless array of ppv fighting/wrestling options.

    And, as I’ve stated before, WWE PPV buyrates were falling before the MMA explosion. They continued to falter this year while UFC buyrates were comparatively weak. You talk about there being a strong correlation, then start actually looking at the numbers. You’d be surprised.

    The model is basically the same: exclusively contracted fighters, market the brand above the fighters, ppv as the biggest revenue source, tv geared to build the monthly ppv show.

    So you think its comparable to pro wrestling on this basis? Because PPV is its main revenue stream? You do understand why that is, right?

    I agree completely. The difference of opinion seems to be on how to attract them to the product. I think we both agree that its by building stars which takes a combo of seeing that person fight and becoming emotionally invested in the outcome of that fighter’s fights. The difference of opinion seems to be on how best to accomplish that. You think seeing other people fight every week is the answer. I think its making people feel like they know the fighter, have a connection to him, and want to see him win or get his ass kicked.

    You can do both. But the key here is and has been that people want to see fights. Its a sport. People want to see the sport. If they can’t see the sport, then as far as they know, it doesn’t exist. Continued exposure is the most important aspect.

    Obviously it wouldn’t be as big as the first fight because theres no star (de la hoya). But hatton-mayweather with a 24/7 push would almost certainly do better, if not significantly better, than hatton-mayweather with no 24/7 push and merely the usual hype during other boxing matches.

    24/7 and boxing PPV buyrates aren’t cause and effect. HBO has done preshows hyping fights televised right after major fight cards for years. The people buying boxing PPVs are going to either buy it or they won’t, and there’s no hard link to such hype shows selling PPVs. Mayweather/De La Hoya could have done a daily reality show and it wouldn’t have mattered if mainstream media didn’t pick up the story from day 1.

    Does ESPN work with the same promoter/promotion each week?

    They certainly have in the past. I believe that in 2004 the contract was with Sugar Ray Leonard’s company to produce the fights. They no longer do because they are paying next to nothing for the bouts. In fact, they may actually be paying nothing.

    I think the ideal UFC event schedule would be 2 per month, one on PPV, one on Spike or HBO, the rest of the TV programming geared towards promoting those shows. I don’t think we’re close to someone paying enough money to warrant canceling ppvs.

    I doubt we are either, unless HBO steps into the picture. HBO isn’t going to accept Din Thomas/Kenny Florian.

  39. D.Capitated says:

    Merging replies to prevent multiple posts:

    They’ve put down a lot of money in the UK/european market. The 3 european shows are big money losers as a result. This is not a result of the ppv business weakening. They’re going to have two million plus buy ppvs this year, and at least one 750,000. They did somewhere between 250,000-300,000 for the Super Bowl show on the weakest lineup of the year.

    Two of the events from across the pond had guaranteed money from Spike and advertisers. The event that didn’t would surprise me if it did 300,000 buys. Again: Note the lack of hard numbers in recent months. Aside from that, what events are going to be “million plus buys”? Are you assuming that Hughes/Serra will have the same impact as Tito/Liddell II? That fight was the two biggest stars in the company fighting. TUF might help elevate that show, but it should show you how much faith UFC has in that vehicle that they put Penn/Pulver on free TV. Other than that, I see several PPVs in the coming months that will probably top out at 500,000 if they’re lucky. I have the sinking suspicion that UFC 77 and 78 probably aren’t going to live up to a lot of the expectations people have for them buywise.

    Ummm…my understanding is that this is due to them sinking a lot of money into the UK events and blowing $40M on PRIDE. If they really were paying attention to “crap cards = crap numbers = crap financal outlooks”, they wouldn’t be putting Liddell-Jardine or Tito-Evans as main events.

    It pretty clearly states that what they expected to take in for revenue earlier this year didn’t appear. I don’t know why that would be a surprise for anyone. I mean, when was the last time buyrates were released for UFC PPVs? UFC 67 in January? That’s likely both from live show revenue (the first event at the Palms didn’t look on TV to be a rousing success in terms of bringing people in, for instance) and from PPV revenue. Outside of Couture and Liddell’s headlining shows, how realistic are 500,000 plus buyrates? Particularly in the case of UFC 72, which everyone agreed was a very, very weak card.

  40. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    UK events are difficult because you end up either showing them at 10AM in the western US live, or you show them on tape delay and everyone knows the results already.

    UFC already runs a show on spike that has an hour of fights. It’s called UFC Unleashed. It’s pretty good, you should check it out.

  41. D.Capitated says:

    UK events are difficult because you end up either showing them at 10AM in the western US live, or you show them on tape delay and everyone knows the results already.

    In spite of this, tons of people were watching UFC 70 and 75. Tons and tons of them. Much more than watch an episode of TUF. Interesting that the live fights draw better than the reality show. How does that work exactly when the DRAMA is the draw for so many?

    UFC already runs a show on spike that has an hour of fights. It’s called UFC Unleashed. It’s pretty good, you should check it out.

    Its decent because you occasionally get to see prelims, but there’s no real structure to what’s shown and its prototypically an excuse to make money with old fights featuring headliners from 4 or 5 years ago. Its also not a realistic replacement for a live show. We all know even the worst performing UFNs do twice the viewers that UFC’s news magazine show did, and they’ve always, always beaten UFC Unleashed. People aren’t as dumb as some make them out to be.

  42. AS says:

    1.Yes – I think the post Raw time slot was crucial to the TUF and therefore the UFC’s breakthrough.

    2.Regarding PPV numbers – It would nice if we could get the numbers for every UFC show, but we can’t. Let’s look at we know:

    Feb – 2006 did 400,000 (Liddell-Couture), 2007 did around 400,000

    March – 2006 did 300,000, 2007 did 750,000 (Couture-Sylvia)

    April – 400,000 (Ortiz v. Forrest), I think they I read that they did around 300,000 this year but I could be mistaken.

    May – 600,000 (Hughes-Gracie), 1,000,000 (Liddell-Jackson)

    June – No ppv in 2006, We only know the 2007 show did bad largely because it was aired live in the afternoon with no primetime replay and the card sucked. Let’s just leave it out for comparison sake.

    July – 750,000 (Shamrock-Ortiz), I haven’t heard an estimate but as you alluded to, let’s call it 300,000.

    August – 500,000 (Liddell-Sobral), early estimates 750,000 for Randy-Gonzaga

    Through this time last year they had 2.9 million buys. This year they have about 3.5 million. For the rest of 2006 they did 400,000 in September, 300,000 in October, 500,000 in November, 1,000,000 in December. So another 2.2 million. So they only need to avg. a little better than 500,000 for the rest of the year to equal last year. It’s going to tough, but I’d say conservatively they can get 300,000 for sept. and oct., November is a mess, and they’re already talking about 1,000,000 for Dec (Hughes-Serra and Chuck-Wandy). That would put them at 1.6 plus whatever the November show does. Not bad, considering they lost two huge matches this year (hughes-GSP and Couture-Cro Cop).

    3.Regarding Unleashed, finally something we can agree on. I think they’ve killed unleashed. Its endless replays of the same fights, despite having a massive unaired tape library. It doesn’t really have any direction, sometimes I think they randomly draw which fights to show. The best unleashed I saw was the one where they took the first half hour and showed the Liddell-Horn countdown interviews, then showed the fight the second half hour. It actually gave the fight context and made it mean something.

    4.Ofcourse live fights get better ratings than UFC inside did. Ofcourse UFC inside was on after midnight with little promotion, and even with its modest ratings most people think it helped move ppvs.

  43. D.Capitated says:

    1.Yes – I think the post Raw time slot was crucial to the TUF and therefore the UFC’s breakthrough.

    I still debate this, but its been done.

    Through this time last year they had 2.9 million buys. This year they have about 3.5 million.

    The amazing part is that they did most of their business only after Gracie/Hughes. Couture/Liddell III would be a monster fight in this climate. That says something IMO about some of their lower ranking PPVs in 2007.

    For the rest of 2006 they did 400,000 in September, 300,000 in October, 500,000 in November, 1,000,000 in December. So another 2.2 million. So they only need to avg. a little better than 500,000 for the rest of the year to equal last year. It’s going to tough, but I’d say conservatively they can get 300,000 for sept. and oct., November is a mess, and they’re already talking about 1,000,000 for Dec (Hughes-Serra and Chuck-Wandy). That would put them at 1.6 plus whatever the November show does. Not bad, considering they lost two huge matches this year (hughes-GSP and Couture-Cro Cop).

    I think Couture/Cro-Cop wouldn’t have done much differently than Gonzaga. Cro Cop as a draw in the states is beyond undetermined. Hughes/GSP is a blow, however. Matter of fact, I have a feeling Hughes/Serra isn’t going to be the golden goose they want.

    3.Regarding Unleashed, finally something we can agree on. I think they’ve killed unleashed. Its endless replays of the same fights, despite having a massive unaired tape library. It doesn’t really have any direction, sometimes I think they randomly draw which fights to show. The best unleashed I saw was the one where they took the first half hour and showed the Liddell-Horn countdown interviews, then showed the fight the second half hour. It actually gave the fight context and made it mean something.

    Exactly. Its a total crap shoot, a la watching IFL’s show on MNTV. The problem with the UFC On Demand thing is that it makes it so that they have no reason to attempt showing many of the better prelims from PPV undercards. And that sucks for fans because, hey, who is seriously spending money on UFC prelims on their On Demand site? Hell, at least get it set up with Comcast or Time Warner or something.

    4.Ofcourse live fights get better ratings than UFC inside did. Ofcourse UFC inside was on after midnight with little promotion, and even with its modest ratings most people think it helped move ppvs.

    I don’t know how many people feel it helped move PPVs. Certainly in a world post MMA boom when the sport is supposedly “mainstream” and bigger than boxing, their world title fights should be doing significantly better than the 300,000 who atypically will buy any major boxing PPV, right? I mean, the .5 and .6 ratings it got weren’t far off from the viewership of the PPVs. They’re speaking to the hardcores with that.

  44. AS says:

    1. Agreed on Couture/Liddell being a huge fight in this climate. If they can just get Rampage and Chuck through to next spring they could be incredibly huge provided the buzz is still there.

    2. If you flip the Gonzaga-Cro Cop fight with Cro Cop winning by head kick, I think they could have done great things in marketing the fight using the Pride tape library. Ofcourse I apparently have a much great confidence in the UFC hype machine with its Countdown and all access specials than you do ;-). For what its worth I think I recall Meltzer saying he thinks that conservatively it cost them $10 million.

    3. We agree completely on Unleashed. The way it is now its a negative overall from my point of view because I think they’re just oversaturing. The ratings for the show bare out that others are starting to fell the same way.

    4.I don’t think the UFC is mainstream yet. Its on the fringe. The biggest fights/stars are mainstream and get treated like big events (see Chuck-Rampage II). Other than that its off the radar.

    It wouldn’t be interesting to see if there’s any correlation between ratings for the countdown/all-access shows on the buyrates.

  45. AS says:

    Just put a period on the PPV discussion:

    2006: I have them at 5.2 million buys roughly.

    2007: The only 4 numbers I’ve seen are: Feb/375k, Mar/750k, May/1mil, Aug/750k. If you put April & July at 300,000 each conservatively (low mark last year), put the ireland show at 200,000, put 76 at 400,000 (should do atleast as Good as liddell-sobral), give franklin-silva 2 350k (although franklin drew the 3 lowest buyrates in the last 2 years assuming 72 sucked), give them 200,000 in november (i am anxious to see what they come up with), and 1 million in december (don’t forget about Chuck v. Wandy), that puts them at roughly 5.6 million buys this year. But they are running an extra show this year.

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