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Three media notes on UFC that will cause a mixed reaction

By Zach Arnold | November 25, 2009

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First, this morning on ESPN’s news ticker (which airs on all their main television channels), they ran with a headline that said that Houston Alexander told KEZO-FM 92.3 (Z-92) that he would be fighting Kimbo Slice on December 5th in Las Vegas. Now, this match has been (if you are a hardcore MMA fan) one of the worst kept secrets in the world, but it was supposed to be a secret nevertheless because of all the teases UFC has made on The Ultimate Fighter about whether or not Kimbo would return to the tournament as a fighter replacement.

Making ESPN’s news item interesting is that on the Todd n Tyler radio show page, they use the following news teaser:

“Our UFC fighter buddy who’s fighting a guy whose name we can’t legally say yet., but it’s a big fight on Spike TV, Saturday December 5th.”

So the radio show doesn’t actually say who it is, but ESPN attributes the news item to them during their Houston Alexander interview. (Listen to the interview here.) The catch is that ESPN’s report is based on Sherdog’s report. Read the Sherdog item to see how it plays off the radio show teaser.

Second, there was recently a radio discussion about how low the PPV buyrate will be for Survivor Series, which used to be one of WWE’s biggest events of the year. The discussion, for a second, turned to last weekend’s UFC 106 PPV event:

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “God, you know what sucks is they can’t even blame it on UFC because that Tito buyrate ain’t going to be all that good.”

DAVE MELTZER: “No, but it doesn’t help when you have both on the same [weekend], but no no, the Tito buyrate isn’t going to be big either, I don’t think. That one I actually have a handle on, and so far… I mean I don’t have a good handle on it, but it ain’t going to be that big.”

Third, a media note related to the second item. MMA Junkie has a news item that says: UFC 106 draws 10,529 attendees (6,631 paid) for $3 million gate. What’s striking about that number is that Dana White gave out the 10,529 number at the post-fight press conference and given the $3 million gate, it made some sense that the paid number would be a good portion of the overall attendance figure. However, 6,631 paid for a crowd size of 10,529 is the type of number that should be alarming as far as UFC shows in Las Vegas is concerned.

A lesson you learn quickly as a promoter is that tickets = currency. If you give tickets out to charities or to potential sponsors and it helps you make some business in-roads, that’s acceptable. But when you have to comp. at least a third of your show, look out. The message it sends to fans who pay for tickets is this — why should we buy tickets early when we can get free or discounted ones near show time? Even more disheartening about the MMA Junkie report is while the paid gate of $3 million is respectable, the face value of the comps was $2.3 million dollars. Simple math says that the value of each paid ticket was around $450 and the value of each comp ticket was close to $600. What it indicates is that fans are not buying the more expensive seats and that UFC needs to start adjusting to the marketplace by lowering the cost of premium seats. They don’t need to discount every seat price, since they still do command good money for the tickets they sell. What’s interesting about this situation is that Dana White has been asked by a few reporters (including Yahoo writer and ESPN radio host Steve Cofield) if he would ever lower ticket prices like promoters did for the Shane Mosley/Antonio Margarito fight at the Staples Center last January and White’s response was one of those “all options on the table” responses, but the delivery of it made you feel like it wasn’t something that would be seriously considered. Well, given the amount of injuries with top stars and several top fighters taking time off, something has to give here for UFC. I’m not sure what the right answer is, but it’s an answer that the company really needs to sit down and take some time to analyze. The numbers from the UFC 106 show are a warning sign of things to come, despite how cursed the show was from the beginning.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 63 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

63 Responses to “Three media notes on UFC that will cause a mixed reaction”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) All this will do is effect one rating of TUF. Not a big deal.

    2) Until buyrates are in, I don’t see the need to speculate. If it is low, then so be it…. But let the numbers be in before everybody claims gloom and doom.

    3) UFC 106 ticket prices were there for a Lesnar and Ortiz co-main event. When Lesnar was gone, the card was not good enough for the ticket prices. I don’t think this is alarming at all. Just a case of a fighter getting sick and effecting business on one show.

  2. mattio says:

    I would have either cancelled the event or done major PPV and seating price slashing. And I would have bumped every one who paid for a ticket’s seating up for the event. Let the third of the audience who couldn’t bother to pay for a ticket sit in the horrible seats.

    We’ve found out just how easy it is for a top level MMA org to run out of main events. To have to sell these subpar events as can’t-miss-extravaganzas must be ulcer-inducing. And there is no real solution for it except to wait for the shelved fighters who can sell tickets to get healthy.

  3. Fluyid says:

    Report Shows Station Casinos Insiders, Not the Recession, Drove the Company into Bankruptcy: Labor Union Calls on Company Creditors to Demand Significant Equity Investment from Insiders

    ” … According to an analysis released by the union, the company could have averted bankruptcy if not for the substantial debt it took on largely to enrich a small group of company insiders. The report examines how this debt enabled insiders to extract over a $1 billion from the company in recent years and that these insiders, not the global recession, drove the company into bankruptcy….”

    Related: Boyd makes second push to buy Station assets

    Ed. — Your link is broken, Fluyid. Use simple HTML hyperlink coding and put the URL into it and I can copy it over here or use something like tinyurl to get it working.

  4. Mark says:

    UFC have made their “mandatory 2 shows minimum a month” bed and they’ve got no choice to lay in it. If they did the wise thing of pulling back the number of shows 1) It would be impossible since they gave PPV networks and Spike guarantees and 2) They would view it as the world viewing it as a sign of weakness. And people would probably kneejerk claim it is a sign the company is about to collapse, but it’s still a smart thing to do.

    I just find it hilarious that this summer after the high of UFC 100 numerous people were calling for even more events then they currently run, and when I said that would be a disaster (with injuries piling up until you’re left with little to no stars being of the key reasons) they thought I was just out to bash Zuffa’s success. What a difference a few months makes.

    As for the Kimbo teases being ruined, they weren’t working that great to begin with. If people were that convinced he was going to be back soon they wouldn’t have dropped off in half. Or people would assume they’d announce he’s coming back at the end of one show for the next week to make sure the ratings are there. Plus I think if people have watched this far into the season they feel they might as well see the conclusion.

    As for Ortiz-Griffin, Brock or no Brock if it is being hinted the buyrate is a disappointment then it is a disappointment. Obviously the lure of 3 stars on the same show would have rivaled UFC 100. But Ortiz’s return, if he was ever going to be a big draw in his return, should have drawn on this one at least and Forrest Griffin is coming off of a show where he almost drew a million buys. It should have done 600K-700K on their name values and controversy on if Forrest really won the first fight. I’m guessing it will be under 500K if the Yahoo crew are bracing people for a disappointment.

  5. david m says:

    I bet it did no more than 400k buys, and hopefully closer to 200k. Nobody cares about Tito anymore and Forrest was ruined as a PPV headliner after Anderson [edited] his soul. Im glad the WWUFC had to comp so many tickets; they should have canceled the show after they lost the main event.

    I know the parochial idiots with tunnel vision are going to say “why would they cancel the show when they can still do a few hundred thousand buys and get a 3 million dollar gate?” and the answer is that you don’t want to shit on your fanbase. Tito vs Forrest was not a main event. It was disrespectful to pretend it was. People were paying money to see Brock fight, not some bleached blond washed-up faux Hispanic with the striking skills of a TKD white belt fight against a guy with the punching power of Kenny Florian and the chin of Andre Arlovski.

    The December show in Memphis is also not a real main event, although because BJ Penn is God, people accept it. That was supposed to be the #2 fight on the card. Rashad vs Thiago is not a real main event, but UFC is pushing it off as if it were, even though neither man has a belt, neither man has much of a fan following, and neither man will be the number 1 contender with a win. I would be shocked if that is anywhere near a sellout or does 300k buys (well on second thought it may be a sellout if it is in a city the UFC hasn’t gone to before just for the novelty of the show, but I don’t remember where the event is being held).

    Then Couture vs Coleman headlining in February? GTFO of here with this weak ass nonsense. 45 will say it is just temporary weakness, but he misses the fundamental point: once you lose the trust of your clientele, you’re done. People buy UFC ppvs and tickets for the main events, and putting on substandard main event after substandard main event, while asking people to keep paying hundreds of dollars for good seats or 50 dollars to watch at home, is damaging the UFC’s reputation with their fanbase. It is hard for people to get groups together to watch these shows every month when there aren’t any fights that excite.

  6. The Gaijin says:

    Like I was trying to say before, Tito as a draw is done. You can’t lose all of your fights that aren’t against Ken Shamrock, get blown out by Liddell twice in succession (which was one of the big draw killers, but it fed the Liddell beast so it’s not a total loss), and get fed to Machida as a “damage your rep” going away present. Not to mention getting totally bashed and sh*t on by the prez in the media for the last two years while you sat on the sidelines collecting dust. They did a really good job of salting the earth to make him look bad and look like a dumb ass…the only problem was they ended up signing him (and his damaged reputation – the one they helped damage) when the dust settled.

    Tito may still be semi-relevant in terms of the LHW division, but he’s next to irrelevant as a main eventer. He is not a good draw anymore and he won’t ever be again.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    The solution to running out of main event fighters is….. One numbered event per month. Take out UFC 101 and 105 out of the equation, and the last 3 months of cards would have been much stronger. Yes, the title fights wouldn’t have been there except for Machida/Rua, but the cards would have been PPV worthy. And the rest if the fighters would have filled out a UFC Fight Night card….

    And I agree that they really should have done something for the ticketholders. Those people got screwed.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    Not sure about the UFC 107 hate. Penn vs. Sanchez is a legit main event title fight and the undercard is great. One of the best events of the year on paper.

    The problem is not the number of events Zuffa us running. It is how they are handling it. They need less big shows. They need a secod announce team for non-PPV events. Kind of like how HBO does it. I still think they can do a weekly show. They just need to have a real line drawn in the sand for what is an acceptable card for $45, and be willing to cancel a show if it doesn’t reach that standard. As said above, you kind if screw over your fanbase by nit doing that.

  9. Fluyid says:

    “The solution to running out of main event fighters is….. One numbered event per month”

    I like that, except I vote for 10 per year.

  10. david m says:

    I wasn’t hating on WWUFC 107; just saying that BJ vs Diego wasn’t supposed to be the main event. Having 2 buzzworthy fights should be the baseline for a UFC show; Penn vs Sanchez and Rashad-Rampage on the same card would have felt like a card worth buying. Penn vs Sanchez alone probably is as well because BJ is the best p4p fighter on Earth after Fedor and Sanchez is a great MMA’ist, but when you fumble the ball in November, January, and February, it is hard to not also recognize that December’s show isn’t as good as it was supposed to be (not the UFC’s fault, don’t get me wrong).

    45 mentions the UFC having a weekly show: I was thinking about this to myself earlier–what will the UFC do when TUF is canceled eventually? Or will TUF go on forever? If TUF goes away, would the UFC’s brand name recognition shrink at all? How responsible is TUF for WWUFC’s continued success?

  11. Mark says:

    I still think they can do a weekly show.

    UFC fans are now discerning bad cards from good cards and the “We’ll watch anything and buy most of everything” fan pattern petered out in 2008. You can’t just slap the UFC logo on a crappy group of fights and assume 3 million people will watch it anymore (as we saw from Couture-Vera which a year ago probably would have equaled the Ortiz-Shamrock show or at least Henderson-Jackson.) So with a bunch of fights barely good enough for a Fight Night undercard and nothing close to a star, that’s going to get 2 million viewers a week?

    As for canceling shows, it would never happen. If they booked something they’re going to follow through. Throwaway shows would have to do 100,000 or less for them to start considering it, and that won’t happen for a while.

    And I’m very excited to see Penn-Sanchez, it could be a possible FOTY (even though Sanchez has nothing for Penn it will still be good for at least 2 or 3 action packed rounds) but I don’t know if it’s exactly a blockbuster fight. It would have been if paired with Jackson-Evans, but alone with people having no faith that Diego can do anything to win, it won’t sell that great. And certainly Kongo-Mir won’t help sell anything. I also hope Gouveia-Belcher is broadcast on Spike, that’s the only other fight that night I’m interested in seeing.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    The weekly show would only be getting like 1.5 Million viewers a week. I don’t think it has to be all fighting either. Can have interviews as well. But it shouldn’t be drawing 3 million fans a week. Not with their current fanbase.

    I like the idea of only 10 big shows a year. Personally I prefer 8…. But I know both are not going to happen so I would settle for one per month.

  13. david m says:

    I really can’t wait until Pac-PBF is announced and Dana starts talking shit about it and telling people not to buy it. I mean he has no credibility anyways, why not bash what is shaping up to be the most awaited fight since Ali-Frazier I? I hope I can be in the room when Dana sees the Pac-PBF ppv numbers and sees 4 million buys.

  14. Mark says:

    Dana is already going on the defensive about people assuming he’d trash talk Floyd-Pac. He’s been saying “Actually I like good boxing fights so I want to see it too” to the media who are dying to get his typical “boxing is for doo doo heads” quote. I hope he continues that stance because he’ll look incredibly ridiculous bashing something that would be guaranteed to crush anything he’s ever done. At the most he’ll give some weak “Oh yeah, well it didn’t set up any fights for the future like we do!” quip.

    I don’t think any PPV of any kind would ever do 4 million buys, especially since it’s going to be $55 or more. I think 3 million or close to it is realistic though.

  15. Fluyid says:

    The Pacman vs. Cotto fight particularly, but both that fight and the PBF vs. Marquez fight served to whet the public’s appetite for the Floyd vs. Pacman showdown. It really could get 3 million or more, I think.

    White was foolish to suggest the two fights that led to Floyd vs. Pacman were fights that no one wanted to see, since they did 2 million plus when you combine them and also amped up desire for the mega-fight.

  16. jr says:

    I expect PPV to further erode like music sales have with all the zshare type sites. With a 13 percent unemployment rate in Nevada, they have to cut ticket prices. You can’t fill a venue with just tourists

  17. 45 Huddle says:

    UFC 106….

    Under 300,000 = Complete Failure
    300,000 to 400,000 = Disappointing
    400,000 to 500,000 = Solid
    Over 500,000 = Success

    Having a PPV like UFC 106 completely bomb would be a bad thing for the UFC but a great thing for fans. Sends the message that they can’t just put anything on PPV and have people order it. You combine that with a few other bad PPV sales on lacklust cards, and that would send a solid message to Zuffa to back off so many PPV’s.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    And I think Mayweather vs. Manny does around 2 Million PPV buys…. I don’t think it will get anywhere close to 3 Million.

    This is the biggest boxing fight of the last 5+ years…

  19. Mark says:

    Dude, Floyd-Oscar did nearly 3 million. There is no way that fight gets more buys than this one. The media hype is going to be insane. And not just Dana calling into an AM radio show or going on ESPN for 2 minutes, non stop mainstream media buzz. What this fight would have over DLH-Mayweather is a feeling of relevance; Oscar was clearly at the end of his career, but even though Mayweather has retired as well he is still in his athletic prime. You’re crazy if you don’t think this is going to be #1 in boxing PPV record books.

  20. Zack says:

    I think BJ vs Diego is a good main event, personally.

    I’d like to see the UFC scale back PPV’s to 8-10 a year. Do 2 live fight shows on Spike, and on varying weeks do a Joe Rogan type sitdown show where you interview and profile people. I mean, you throw a guy like Paulo Tiago on the PPV and he has an entertaining fight in my opinion, but he’s already lost one, and most people don’t care about it.

    But you do a 10 minute special on him on a show with footage of him in BOPE, talking about his life story, etc…you could create real interest in him. Then have him fight the following week on the Spike card. Eventually stars will begin to emerge, then you move them to the PPV shows.

    I’m really disappointed that Zuffa didn’t merch the WEC into the UFC and don’t plan on it. Lots of media outlets reported the new deal, but I never saw any details as to how long it is for…does anyone know?

  21. david m says:

    Oscar v PBF did 2.45 million buys. Pacman and Floyd both can claim to be the best fighter in the world right now. PBF can hype a fight, Manny doesn’t need to hype anything because anyone who has seen the way he fights doesn’t need any convincing of how amazing he is, and Freddie Roach loves talking shit. Pacman vs Oscar was a classic passing of the torch fight; Oscar was demolished and afterwards was graceful in defeat and that fight solidified Pacman as a box office draw (dont forget that Floyd only won a split decision over Oscar and Manny stopped him). Then he knocked Hatton dead unconscious in under 2 rounds (it took Floyd 10 if I recall correctly), and now killing Cotto. He has more buzz in America than any non-American fighter I’ve ever seen. Floyd is going to talk shit and play the villain, and we are going to get the biggest show ever. I bet HBO will do 6 episodes of 24-7 instead of 4 just because both of these guys are so compelling. The 2 best fighters on Earth at their peaks, going head to head. Amazing.

    Dana quote: “Nobody wants to see Floyd fucking run away for 12 fucking rounds, boxing sucks. I love boxing, promoters have ruined it, fucking fuck fuck. Manny Pacquiao isn’t a real fighter, he doesn’t know takedowns fucking fuck boxing fucking sucks fuck Floyd boxing sucks.”

  22. Zack says:

    David M is owning this thread.

  23. IceMuncher says:

    You can’t just cancel an event. There’s 20 fighters on that card that need to fight to make a living. If you don’t like it, don’t order it, but demanding they cancel it is pretty self-centered. What about the fans that still wanted to see it anyway?

    “Call me a killjoy, but I think that because this isn’t to my taste, no one else should be able to enjoy it.” – Marge Simpson

  24. Brad Wharton says:

    …it was supposed to be a secret nevertheless because of all the teases UFC has made on The Ultimate Fighter about whether or not Kimbo would return to the tournament as a fighter replacement.

    There’s no reason that Kimbo can’t come back on the show and be fighting Huston on the Finale.

    The tease is that Kimbo will replace Mitrione – Who’s to say he doesn’t do so and wreck McSweeny, only to have his knee injury flair up (legit or not) thus pulling him out of the semi-finals, setting the stage for an eliminated fighter like Page or Wren to come back?

    Easy peasy.

  25. IceMuncher says:

    Dana White’s been saying for a long long time that he wanted to see Pac vs PBF, and recently mentioned in an interview that he’d buy tickets to see it live.

    I know he’s the evil dictator that fanbois who still live at home love to hate, but he’s not going to start trashing that fight anytime soon.

  26. Mark says:

    And a key difference to Manny being a non-english speaking draw and UFC’s non-english speaking fighters not being draws is he is incredibly likable regardless of the language barrier. Anderson Silva, Machida, Shogun (and Fedor) aren’t particularly likable on television beyond their fights. So the 24/7 show will still make Pacquaio a huge crowd favorite even with subtitles.

  27. Mark says:

    I know he’s the evil dictator that fanbois who still live at home love to hate

    Hmm, the guy who parrots everything 45Huddle says is now aboard his new gimmick of lame insults (BUT DON’T YOU DARE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT HIM~!) Coincidence?

    No, 45Huddle I don’t live at home, I have my own home. And I can afford cable unlike you.

  28. IceMuncher says:

    The fact is that there’s a lot of hate out there for Dana, and I don’t see why. The funny thing is that every few months, he’ll do something, or his opposition will do something, and everyone will be on his side and say how great he is, and then a month later they’ll be back to hating.

    For instance, the Fedor negotiations. Everyone sided with Dana on that one and thought Fedor’s management was unreasonable. Time has passed though, and now everyone hates Dana for not getting the fight done. Or when he pays his fighters for canceled fights (Hazelett recently, Nover and Stout before that). Then there was stand-gate, etc.

    When Dana was talking bad about boxing, he was saying that they don’t put the big fights together. Yes, he said that Mayweather/Marquez wasn’t a fight anybody wanted to see, but in context he was saying that Mayweather/Pac was the fight everyone wanted to see, not Mayweather/Marquez. Now Mayweather/Pac is finally (maybe) happening, and now the talk is about what kind of trash-talk Dana is going to do about boxing now. It gets old.

  29. Mark says:

    The funny thing is that every few months, he’ll do something, or his opposition will do something, and everyone will be on his side and say how great he is, and then a month later they’ll be back to hating.

    Could it be because we’re being realistic instead of idealistic? See, when Dana does something good in our opinions we say something good. When he does something bad in our opinions we say something bad. It’s that simple.

    And I don’t think everybody was positive about the way Dana handled Fedor. Lots of people here were pissed that he leaked info to certain MMA press members to make sure they sided with UFC. It was when the ridiculousness of the numbers all being possible but not likely royalty figures dawned on everyone initially caught up in the emotion that they went a little anti-Dana. Although he’ll always have the public relations advantage over M-1 for what it’s worth (a/k/a Nothing.)

  30. IceMuncher says:

    If that’s the case, why are there people bashing Dana now, when he’s been nothing but positive about Mayweather and Pac?

    My comments aren’t aimed at you personally Mark, but if the shoe fits, take umbrage if you feel you have to.

  31. david m says:

    Bill Simmons, ESPN’s most famous columnist, dropped this tidbit in his mailbag today talking about whether Lebron’s decision on what team to play for should be its own TV show:

    It’s a cut-and-dry thing. So why not? He could even make it pay-per-view. If people were willing to pay $44.99 for a UFC 106 card headlined by Jenna Jameson’s washed-up husband fighting a guy who hadn’t won in two years, I’m pretty sure they’ll pony up $44.99 for “Decision 2010: LeBron’s Verdict.”

  32. The Gaijin says:

    From a realistic perspective it would have been insanely stupid to have PBF vs. Pac for PBF’s return from “retirement”. You had to have PBF come in and get rid of the ring rust against a “name” guy who is competitive and has skills, but isn’t too dangerous.

    Now both have had fights were they looked impressive and the hype for this fight is off the charts already.

  33. Mark says:

    If that’s the case, why are there people bashing Dana now, when he’s been nothing but positive about Mayweather and Pac?

    Because it’s a cheap turnaround and it probably won’t last throughout the (at least) year it will take before the fight happens. Of course he’s going to not want to bash an event that will probably do double what the biggest buyrate UFC more than likely will ever have did. It would be like trashing the Super Bowl. For all of the talk around here about “people who dislike Dana are just haters”, nothing says “hater” more than constantly talking down to a huge audience that enjoys the PPV product they’ve gotten. I realize guys like Arum do that to the UFC as well, but if he’s a real fan of boxing he should take the high road.

    My comments aren’t aimed at you personally Mark, but if the shoe fits, take umbrage if you feel you have to.

    No, the shoe doesn’t fit. But coming out swinging with generalized insults when no one has insulted you yet isn’t a way to win anyone over. If I came out saying “Anybody who likes Dana White watches War Machine’s pornos just to see his wang”, whether or not it was true, you’d be turned off to whatever argument I was trying to make as to why you should come around in opinion because that’s just trolling. So if you want to insult somebody, at least personalize it.

  34. Fluyid says:

    Because I’m bored…

    “Here’s the reality, here’s the reality. Let’s say Floyd does a million buys out there… there’s a million stupid fucking people out there. All right?”

    – Dana White

    *45 Huddle Says:

    …. Dana White speaks the truth now….. Anybody who purchases that PPV is stupid…..

    *Taken out of full context

  35. David M says:

    IceHuddle wrote:

    “When Dana was talking bad about boxing, he was saying that they don’t put the big fights together. Yes, he said that Mayweather/Marquez wasn’t a fight anybody wanted to see, but in context he was saying that Mayweather/Pac was the fight everyone wanted to see, not Mayweather/Marquez. Now Mayweather/Pac is finally (maybe) happening, and now the talk is about what kind of trash-talk Dana is going to do about boxing now. It gets old.”

    Dana’s comments re: Floyd v Manny were in reference to his failed attempts to sign Fedor. He said (and Im paraphrasing from memory) that boxing promoters dont care what the fans want and that they dont make the matches fans want to see. Keep in mind this was after he failed to sign Fedor. Dana, realizing he had caught himself in his own failures, was like, uhh, sure, I didn’t sign Fedor, but the boxing promoters won’t even try to getting the fight everyone wants to see, Pacman vs PBF, because the promoters cant work together and they’ve ruined the sport bla bla bla.

    Now taking aside the fact obviously people did want to see Mayweather v JMM (as evidenced by 1 million ppv buys and an enormous gate) and Pac v Cotto (1.25 million buys), the boxing promoters have done an unbelievably good job at creating a perfect scenario where PBF and Pac are coming off huge wins and are both so hot right now that you could fry eggs on them. Even if each of them gets 40 million dollars to fight each other, the promoters will still make a huge fucking profit because it will get at least 3 million buys, and draw the biggest gate in Vegas history.

    Dana is an assclown because he thinks that this is the WWE and that the promotion is bigger than the fighters. We are seeing from the recent backlash against shitty UFC cards that this is not in fact true. People plunk down their money to see the best fighters, not the fighters who Dana claims we should be happy to watch.

    The difference between WWE and WWUFC is that in WWUFC, Dana can’t choose who wins based on who is most marketable/malleable to his wishes. Everyone on Earth knows Fedor is the best hw in the sport, and that Fedor vs Brock would do many more buys than Lesnar v Mir and would do an ungodly gate. If Dana had really wanted to make the fight without giving up co-promotional rights (and nobody ever talks about this, but if Arum and Mayweather and Arum and Oscar can work together, surely Dana and Finkelstein can as well, because it would be mutually beneficial), he could have just offered Fedor several more million dollars per fight. However he isn’t going to go outside of his salary structure because he still believes that the brand is all that matters and that fighters are all replaceable and that just calling anything a megafight and calling it a main event is enough to trick mma fans. It isn’t anymore. UFC 106 is going to be a failure, UFC 108 is going to be a MASSIVE failure, and UFC 109 is looking like it will be a huge failure as well. Dana could have had Fedor fighting in November and February, but he is too goddamn stubborn. He has that mafia mentality where it is his way or the highway. His reticence to compromise or to adapt is going to fuck the UFC in the end.

    Strikeforce is mma’s only hope, because in a monopoly, the fans and fighters lose. Dana betrayed the fans by not signing Fedor; all his insults calling Fedor a fat midget and saying he only beats bad fighters just make him lose even more credibility. Bottom line is that he was too proud to sign the best mma fighter in the world, and in so doing, turned down the biggest ppvs in UFC history. All his talk about doing whatever to make the fans happy, and all his talk about how boxing promoters don’t deliver the fights we want to see, is actually backwards. Dana is the one who can’t compromise or work with others, and the boxing promoters have realized that they can either work together and succeed, or bicker amongst themselves and fail. Every time a boxing PPV that Dana says is going to suck, is a blockbuster, UFC looks stupid. Every time boxing puts on a fight that has fans salivating and UFC doesn’t cancel PPV events when their main events are lost, Dana’s credibility vanishes even more. Fedor v Lesnar is a once a lifetime fight, just like Pacman v Floyd. I have no idea how Dana can justify not spending X amount of money to get Fedor when he knows that Pac and PBF are getting a multiple of that to get the same kind of buy rates that Fedor on PPV would get.

  36. Zack says:

    He also already failed to make Fedor vs Couture happen when that was the fight everyone wanted to see.

  37. The Gaijin says:

    ^ Too much to comment on now but the main argument for your last point is:

    After PBF vs. Pac – then what? After Fedor vs. Brock – then what? With boxing, well they’re done the biggest fight they’ll ever have, but they move on from there. After your suggestion for Fedor vs. Brock, a fight that despite all their efforts they couldn’t do (and maybe even in spite of all the money they’d throw at it, they may never) – that they break the bank and fuck the salary structure…well then you’ve blew your wad on the fight and have totally unbalanced the entire set up. And in a place like UFC with multi-fight deals, you have long, long, long lasting effects.

  38. The Gaijin says:

    Sorry that was @ Dave M.

  39. David M says:


    After Pac v PBF, they can do the winner v Mosley, they can do the winner vs the next star, and the next star. Both of those guys, like Brock (and Fedor if he had more exposure), are big enough to carry an event to 7 figure buyrate by themselves because they are so compelling.

    After Brock v Fedor, the winner is going to be undisputed champion, and either way, the champion will be a huge cash cow. Cain, Nog, Carwin, Junior Dos Santos, “Buck” Rogers, etc are all going to be viable contenders. People love watching dominant heavyweight champions. Both Fedor and Lesnar have the Tyson effect–Pac has it too, in that you just can’t afford to miss their fights because there is such a high probability that they will hurt someone very suddenly and badly.

    Anyways, the cycle of life for huge stars is that they fight, they win, guys get rub from being competitive with them, and as younger stars get more mature and as the current stars get old, eventually the younger fighters beat the older stars and the torch is passed. See Oscar v Pacman for a perfect example of how this is supposed to happen.

    Also, I am not sure what your argument is–because Fedor v Lesnar is the biggest fight the UFC could make, future fights with Fedor wouldn’t also be hugely profitable? That doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Re: contracts, the UFC cuts people all the time. Matt Lindland got cut for wearing a hat. The fighters would still not have enough leverage because there wouldn’t be any viable contenders with Fedor in the UFC.

  40. Mark says:

    Obviously there are several fighters who Mayweather and Pacquiao could face before each other that would each get a million-plus buys and the same can be said of the hypothetical Fedor and Brock run. But the problem is you cannot wait to pull the trigger on a big fight because upsets happen time and time again in history to show you cannot risk something being ruined. What if Mayweather next fights Mosley first and loses then nobody wants to see Pacquiao fight him and a Mosley-Pac fight won’t sell nearly as much. Or what if Fedor was signed but Carwin knocked out Lesnar now that fight would be worthless because Lesnar is damaged and Fedor-Carwin isn’t nearly as exciting.

    Now, it’s not like boxing is dead because no matter who wins, unless the winner automatically retires, they have several big fights and the victory will make them an even bigger star. And it’s not a bad thing that there was the peak. I really doubt the UFC will ever top UFC 100 in the forseeable future, but that doesn’t mean Lesnar’s return fight selling a million PPVs doesn’t matter because they didn’t break the record. And Mosley-Mayweather or Mosley-Pacquiao selling less than half of Mayweather-Pacquiao isn’t a bad thing.

    As far as the salary structure debate leading to the end of MMA that’s such crap. Boxers fighting in the same main event most of the time don’t make equal pay, and they never fall apart before fight time. If they want to keep selling crap like Ortiz-Griffin then great, keep the $250,000 pay maximum. But that’s why the history of boxing in the past decade has had far more real, not “because we said it was”, super fights than MMA has.

  41. Mark says:

    Ooops, I got distracted with something and didn’t post my post right away so David said everything I said basically.

    So one new point to add, since he mentioned “the Tyson Effect”. Tyson’s biggest drawing fight (prior to returning in ’95) was against Michael Spinks. Spinks was seen as “the real heavyweight champion” by lots of people, so it was seen as more important than any of Tyson’s 3 title victories. And after that it’s not like people stopped caring about his fights, he was just as big of a star, if not bigger, than he was. And Fedor or Lesnar or Pacquiao or Mayweather, unless any of them retired after the win, would continue like that.

  42. David M says:

    Mark is dead-on about the salary stuff. It’s ridiculous, really. UFC fighters get a much smaller slice of the pie than boxers due, so it is hard to feel sorry for the Fertittas and Dana’s empty pockets. The UFC is a cash cow–let’s think about this: if 100 did 1.6 million buys at 45 a pop, that is like 72 million dollars, plus a huge gate plus huge merchandising sales, dvd sales, etc. Now obviously lots of advertising goes into making these events so big, but at the end of the day Zuffa is turning a gigantic profit on the UFC. I know, some of you will say they were in the hole by 40 million so they deserve to get all the profit they can, and that is fair, but mma has matured now to the point where the audience is more discerning and sophisticated. As has been discussed over and over, oversaturation + weak cards = lower buy rates. If the UFC wants to keep raking in the money, they are going to have to spend more on great fighters, and clearly I am talking about Fedor here. Dana is so used to having all the leverage and dealing with broke fighters who will sign their lives away that he has no idea when Fedor isn’t scared of him. He belittles Fedor, insults him, demeans him, and then is surprised when Fedor doesn’t sign with him. Fedor, being the best mma fighter of all time, has a right to get a contract that isn’t standard UFC boilerplate (“we will cut you if you lose or do anything we don’t like”) and deserves to be paid like he is the biggest fighter in the mma world, because he is. Dude drew 5.5 million sets of eyeballs on CBS with the only highlights of him available for CBS to show being a giant Korean man falling on top of him. Imagine the interest and hype for Fedor’s fights if the WWUFC got behind him and showed all his Pride highlights…He would be guaranteed to sell a huge # of ppvs every time he stepped into the cage.

  43. MikeJ says:

    I´ve got a question, since it there seem to be quite a few inviduals here that know about the business aspect of MMA. What were the UFC PPV rates like in the same month as Oscar vs. PBF/Pac? Can it be that this month people were simply more inclined to spend their money on a guaranteed blockbuster like Cotto vs. Pacman, than a lukewarm Tito vs. Forrest? Were UFC buyrates also a bit down during the same month as those DLH fights? Are there any significant comparisons in the past 3 UFC years?


  44. David M says:

    MikeJ you may find some useful stuff on:

  45. Shane says:

    “Imagine the interest and hype for Fedor’s fights if the WWUFC got behind him and showed all his Pride highlights…He would be guaranteed to sell a huge # of ppvs every time he stepped into the cage.”

    I think he’d only do one huge buyrate with Brock (and that’s more to do with Brock than Fedor) and then it will be down to Anderson Silva numbers because they would be marketed the same way.

  46. MikeJ says:

    So if the UFC did indeed bomb with 106 i.e. less than 350K PPV buys, would they even tell the public? Is there any proof that ANY of their PPV numbers are true? Who verified them? I think if they really did bad on this event, they wouldn´t even tell anybody. Saying nothing would be an indication, along with rumors, etc., or they just straight out lie and say they did 600K+.

  47. Mark says:

    May 2007 was UFC 71 which got UFC on the covers of both Sports Illustrated and ESPN: The Magazine so it was a big month for them as well. It did 675,000 buys with that hype so it probably was hurt a little by the Mayweather-DLH fight, but that’s a pretty good number. And especially good considering the co-main was Karo Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman that nobody was excited about besides the super hardcores.

  48. cutch says:

    Gonzaga’s out of 108

    Most fans want Cain Vs Dos Santos but I dont think its fair on Valesquez to fight on only 5 weeks notice.

    This fight could easily be a number one contenders fight, so having one guy fighting on short notice is obviously unfair.

    The UFC are having no luck with injuries

  49. Steve4192 says:

    “So if the UFC did indeed bomb with 106 i.e. less than 350K PPV buys, would they even tell the public? ”

    Zuffa never releases their PPV numbers.

  50. Fluyid says:

    “Zuffa never releases their PPV numbers.”

    Which always makes me wonder how we can be so certain that the one huge PPV they did a year ago did the numbers that everyone accepts as the correct numbers.


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