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Talk Radio: Could Strikeforce draw 150,000 or more PPV buys with a Fedor vs. Alistair Overeem match?

By Zach Arnold | June 1, 2010

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From a late Monday night Observer radio show.

Before we get to the quotes on how a Fedor Emelianenko/Alistair Overeem PPV would do business-wise, let’s present another topic here to chew on — what do you think about the idea of having five judges scoring an MMA fight instead of three? After all, since we’re on the theme of going from three to five for rounds per fight for big fights…

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Do you think three judges are enough in an MMA fight in an Octagon or cage? Given the shape and size of the area, are judges able to see enough of the action if it’s on the other side to be accurately judge the action? The action is on the ground and up against the cage, I’d imagine it might be difficult to see exactly what is going on. Maybe five might be the answer.”

DAVE MELTZER: “I’m not against the idea. I think three comes from boxing, just like everything that they do is fricking comes from boxing as opposed to like coming up with something that’s more conducive to the sport. So… Five judges is probably better than three. But they have three because boxing has three. It’s going to (be) real, like, it is so hard to get anything changed, even if it’s like for the good, it’s just so hard. And it’s why you know like… it’s, you know, things are just going to stay the way they are. I mean it’s so hard to get rule changes. I mean even things that are like logical. To me, in every state in this country that you know they should drug test and if you fail a drug test, you should forfeit your match. I mean, to me that’s just like logic and there’s places where that just doesn’t occur and there’s places where the referees are not allowed to use instant replay to overturn a decision. It’s ludicrous. This is like a real sport, it’s not like fricking professional wrestling you know where you need that stupid gimmick to like you know let heels win, you know, to have an excuse for heels to win.”

Now, onto the debate about how well a Fedor Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem PPV promoted by Strikeforce and Showtime would do…

DAVE MELTZER: “It’s too early to tell because you know it all depends on the last week of build-up, so we’re…”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “I don’t feel 150,000.”

DAVE MELTZER: “I think if it’s done well, it can. I mean, I… I don’t see any reason why not. The WEC show did, you know, did that. But the WEC show had a great job of last week of build-up, thought.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Yeah, I… I… I… Well, it is way early but my initial guess. I think they could 75,000 to 150,000.”

DAVE MELTZER: “Oh, they’ll beat 100,000 for sure because Affliction did 100,000 with no TV!”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Well, that’s true.”

DAVE MELTZER: “And Fedor and Overeem… You know, I think that Overeem in people’s eyes just because of how he looks people are going to think he’s more of a threat to Fedor than you know the guys he’s fought for so far, you know Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski even though Andrei Arlovski did have some UFC fame. But Andrei Arlovski was tailor-made to get knocked out by Fedor. Overeem… you know, at least Overeem I think has a fighting chance of winning that fight. I didn’t think Andrei Arlovski had a prayer.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “I just think with like all of the promotion for that WEC show on all those UFC PPVs and on Spike and they got a lot of promotion for a really big fight and they did 150,000? I just don’t see, I don’t see Strikeforce doing nearly that much promotion. I just… I don’t know. I mean, maybe…”

DAVE MELTZER: “What if they have Gina Carano and Herschel Walker on the undercard?”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Depends on who they fight, I think.”

DAVE MELTZER: “Yeah. Herschel Walker, though, Herschel Walker got tremendous press for his first fight.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Sure.”

DAVE MELTZER: “So, you know…”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “But if I mean if it’s Herschel Walker versus your average geek, I don’t picture that… I picture that leading to a lot of people watching it for free. But I don’t picture it…”

DAVE MELTZER: “Yeah, oh I agree that Herschel Walker would be better for free than on PPV as far as like you know making a big difference, but as far as getting publicity for the show… you know, he can get publicity for the show especially if it’s during a football season.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “And I think you would have to have Gina vs. (Cris) Cyborg in a re-match for people to really care.”

DAVE MELTZER: “That would be huge and then, but the problem is I don’t see them making that fight because you know it’s not going to be any different than the first one. In fact, it’d probably, I actually think it would be worse than the first one because I think Cyborg would have more confidence and Gina’s coming off. Think about this — Gina would be coming off doing a movie so that’s only going to make, that’s only going to make her worse.”

Topics: M-1, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 15 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

15 Responses to “Talk Radio: Could Strikeforce draw 150,000 or more PPV buys with a Fedor vs. Alistair Overeem match?”

  1. Interesting that you bring up the 5 judges discussion right now. Last weekend we reported live from the Amsterdam Arena where It’s Showtime 2010 was taking place. BTW an awesome event with great fights besides the outburst of Badr Hari.

    Anyway, the interesting part is that they had 5 judges there to rule the bouts. I was a bit surprised at first because in earlier events they had only 3 judges like in pretty much every kickboxing event. But during the evening I noticed that even in fights where the outcome seemed to be pretty clear you had results like 4-1 instead of 5-0.

    What you see from this is that it is not unusual that one judge sees a different fight. With 3 judges this can easily turn the result of the fight while with 5 judges the decision seems to be more “stable”.

    Of course this is not a cure-all but I actually believe it can help.

    • Oh Yeah says:

      Each extra judge reduces the effect of a “rogue” judge.

      5 or 7 would be a good #, if you can manage to scrape together enough quality judges.

      • Fluyid says:

        They used to have 5 judges in amateur boxing. Don’t know about now.

        I lost a 3-judges-to-2 split decision in the semi-finals of the National Junior Olympics and the other guy and his coaches apologized to me later and told me I got ripped off. I think I got ripped off as well.

        Not to be a naysayer, but I think that we’re always going to have to rely on the questionable opinions of some stodgy old men.

        • The ones being scored with computers are definitely with 5 judges. Not only that, they regularly get the wrong guy winning in the Olympics with 5 judges, computers, open scoring, and the most objective criteria possible.

  2. shootor says:

    Arlovski was tailor-made for a knockout and never had a prayer, but Overeem has a fighting chance?

    If Overeem gets hit with the overhand right, his night is over.

  3. The Gaijin says:

    The only problem (well not the “only” problem, but the main one) is the one 45 has pointed out several times…even if this does pull in 150k buys – then what?

    A. Who have they built up as a credible, top level heavyweight and what fight(s) can they set up to carry the momentum?
    – Antonio Silva is really the only guy that approaches the first part of that, but I don’t think anyone gets too excited thinking about him in title fights.
    – Bob Lashley is a total joke and nowhere near ready. If they did put him in there they would look SO bush league.
    – A disgruntled UFC HW or someone that’s been cut?
    – Josh Barnett? (HAAAA-HAAA. Right.)

    If Fedor wins, he’s up for a new contract…even if they do have a champions clause for him, do you really think the M-1 bandits are going to play ball and not hold out for a “renegotiation”?

    If Overeem wins, then you’ve still got a champion that’s not interested in fighting a majority of his fights in a U.S. based promotion because he’s giving up big money fighting in Holland and Japan.

    Sure – they could potentially grab 150k buys for a really super stacked card with Gina, Cyborg, Walker, Le, Melendez, King Mo, Fedor, Overeem. But then they’ve basically burned up everything they have and have nothing else building up in their back pocket to follow on.

    • Phil says:

      The other problem along this line of thought, even if it does 150k, how much money does that make M1? Especially when compared to what they left on the table that zuffa ordered.

  4. Vic Mackey says:

    They can’t even find 3 quality judges to score a fight.

  5. Mark says:

    I hate agreeing with Bryan Alvarez, because he’s a fool who gives pro wrestling fans who like MMA a bad name, but he’s right, it wouldn’t do over 100K. And you’ll never see Gina Carano fight anytime soon.

    WEC had a monster media blitz that made the difference. Strikeforce isn’t going to be able to put Countdown shows on several different channels like Zuffa was able to do. They’ll get a show on Showtime, and the people who watch that are the same people who’d know about the PPV anyway so it’s useless. But lots of people who weren’t avid WEC fans saw their Countdown show on MTV Networks channels and Comcast Sportsnet or whatever else and it made the difference, because without that the WEC would have done 50K if you were lucky. Affliction also had advertising in malls across America that helped sell the Fedor-Sylvia show Strikeforce wouldn’t have either. Fedor-Overeem going on the current Strikeforce promotional path would do 70-100K.

  6. EJ says:

    Fedor vs. Overeem on ppv woudn’t even do the 100k that the second Affliction show did. Overeem is less known than Fedor is to the public his debut on Showtime was mediocre and this fight is basically a hardcore fans wetdream and nothing more. The WEC had Zuffa pushing them that’s why they did better than what alot of people were expecting. Fedor isn’t a draw and countless tries and millions of dollars wasted have proven that fact at best this would be maybe the 80k buys if everything went right.

  7. Mr.Roadblock says:

    5 judges could potentially help things out.

    But it’s the same problem you have when talking about brining democracy to the Middle East. If you let a bunch of terrorists and zealots hold a democratic election they are going to elect terrorists and zealots.

    If you let 5 incompetent morons score an MMA fight instead of three incompetent morons, you are still going to have incompetence.

    You need better qualified judges, period. And you need more clearly defined criteria. I would also like to see judges have a minimum of three TV monitors to watch the action off, in addition to looking into the cage. In MMA your line of sight becomes more obscured near the cage than it does in boxing or kickboxing. Especially when the fight hits the ground and the ref is moving around.

  8. Mr.Roadblock says:

    I would imagine Fedor/Overeem will do similar numbers to the Affliction shows on PPV.

    I don’t know what kind of deals M-1 has set up internationally for the rights to Fedor’s fights. But it seems hard to imagine that they will make more money fighting Overeem on PPV than they would putting Fedor in UFC.

    Let’s consider that the building is a wash for the location, fighter salaries and satellite set up (it probably won’t cover those costs but for this exercise pretend it does).

    Another question, does Showtime take a cut of PV revenue? I would imagine they do. That’s an x-factor.

    Let’s say they do 150k buys at $50. That’s 7.5 mil in revenue. We will assume they are on a 50/50 spllit w/ PPV. But they may be on a 40/60.

    At 50/50 thats’ 3.75 mil for Showtime, SF & M-1. Take Showtime out of it even and you’ve got 1.8mil for each Showtime and M-1. They’re going to need to do heavy marketing to hit the 150k buys and that will come out of this number.

    If M-1 struck a reasonable deal with UFC that got them say $2-3/buy over 600k they could make more than they would fighting Overeem.

    Also there really is no one left after Overeem. So the earnings potential from subsequent UFC fights as champion makes that a much more lucrative avenue.

    Maybe they’re pulling in big bucks overseas and it makes sense what they’re doing. Who knows? Maybe they think they can take over the Showtime deal from SF.

    I still suspect they’re afraid of putting their investment/property in the current UFC HW division.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Strikeforce’s biggest problem currently is what they are going to do if Diaz & Melendez get suspended? They are short on talent for a long period of time after the Werdum/Fedor fight.

    2) Speaking of the Werdum/Fedor fight…. The line on that fight is -1000 (Fedor) to +500 (Werdum). Shows how uncompetitive that fight is. A fight between Fedor/Silva would be about the same line.

    3) Fedor would milk Strikeforce dry if they went on PPV. They are forced to renegotiate before each one of his fights. If they say the fight will be on PPV, Fedor will want an even bigger cut.

    4) There is nothing available to Strikeforce after Fedor/Overeem that is remotely interesting on any level.

  10. Don’t care what it does on PPV. Honestly wouldn’t bother watching if it was PPV.

    All the judging ideas are completely retarded. 5 stupid judges does nothing that 3 stupid judges doesn’t already do. Nor does open scoring, PRIDE criteria, catch rules, or anything else. What I get is that people want to judge fights on the last 5 minutes and give it to the guy who throws more strikes/is more active, even if he is ineffective. Let’s just hand out booby prizes to guys who fight hard but aren’t good enough to win and just kill the charade of this being a real sport where wins and losses mean anything. Oh, wait….

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