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Would you invest money into MMA in this business climate? (Audio show included)

By Zach Arnold | March 16, 2011

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Put yourself in the situation of a money mark being recruited by people in the MMA business to put up some cash, either for a new start-up or for a ‘turn-key’ operation. Other than murmurs about something happening with Pro Elite, the entire industry is owned by Zuffa on a large scale. Bellator is on the outside-looking-in on MTV2, somehow hoping beyond hope that they catch a few breaks and that UFC breaks away from Spike TV. Showtime is stuck, for better or for worse (depending on your point of view), in a shotgun marriage with a new business partner that has been trashing them for the past several years. Outside of Zuffa & PRIDE & K-1 (in the past), nobody has a proven long-term track record of making money in MMA. Are you willing to pony up big cash to get into the sport?

BTW, as Josh Gross pointed out on Wednesday: Rough day for ProElite, Inc. stockholders out there. Shares fell $0.10 & lost over half their value. Volume still high, just under 700k.

Dana White says that Zuffa doesn’t have a monopoly in the business — all it takes is someone with guts and big money. Of course, it’s easy to say that when you have over 300+ fighters under contracts and none of them are classified as employees with benefits. 10 years ago, Turner ditched World Championship Wrestling and sold the assets to WWE. The wrestling business has never been the same since then. TNA has tried and utterly spent millions upon millions of dollars going nowhere. WWE has declined as well and has been saved by international expansion, but things aren’t looking terribly great domestically for them on PPV.

UFC is in the PPV business and a heavy portion of their viewer demographics crosses over from the pro-wrestling field. They know what the formula is to make money. For an outsider wanting to get in, the barriers are now extremely high. A lot of money, a lot of resources, and a need for office talent that understands the business. It’s not something you learn in a textbook. And yet, in many situations when new money marks come into the fold, it’s always the sleazy retreads who should never have gainful employment who somehow attract the marks in order to draw a few paychecks before the next failure happens.

And that’s just the climate in the States. Try Japan. Sumo’s falling apart. The wrestling scene has limited power now. K-1 has had financial difficulties. The yakuza problems still exist. Now, the big Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear problems. Want to be a promoter in Japan and spend a lot of money only to have to cancel a show? Several promoters have had to deal with that fate this week, including Dragon Gate which announced a cancellation of their big March 20th event in Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan. All Japan has a show scheduled for the 21st at the same building. Their show may get postponed as well. Between the politics, resources, and crime, how will the Japanese scene look in the future?

As a reader, give me a scenario in which you can see an outsider coming into the MMA landscape and being successful. Forget about competing with UFC, I want a scenario in which you can see someone making money for a sustained period of time and having somewhat of an impact. How do you do it? Who do you need to align with? Is the entry into MMA as poisonous at this point as the entry is into professional wrestling? How do you convince television executives who believe that only Zuffa knows how to promote the business and no one else?

To add further context to this discussion, check out our audio conference call on this subject with myself and Jeff Thaler. Issues addressed include: Has MMA jumped the shark? Will there be any anti-trust issues down the road? Who will want to invest money in the sport? Will Zuffa cash out in the near future?

Get a head start and listen to our discussion (it’s 20 minutes long), as I’ll try to transcribe parts of it this weekend. It’s worthy of your time to download the conference call and check out the discussion. I’d like to get your responses to what was discussed on the audio.

Topics: All Topics, Fight Opinion Radio, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 43 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

43 Responses to “Would you invest money into MMA in this business climate? (Audio show included)”

  1. Sundog says:

    Only if I could afford to buy a stake in the UFC 🙂 Abu Dhabi made a good call

  2. Steve4192 says:

    The Gross tweet is misleading.

    ProElite was trading at around a penny a week ago. Yesterday they exploded up to 19 cents, and today they dropped down to 9 cents. A 900% gain in a week might not be as good a 1900% gain, but it ain’t too shabby either.

    Of course, the stock will probably be back down to a penny in another week or two, but that is beside the point.

  3. Steve4192 says:

    “For an outsider wanting to get in, the barriers are now extremely high”

    That’s only true if you are talking about a touring national promotion with a TV-based revenue model. New MMA promoters are popping up every week on the local/regional circuit and doing just fine with a gate &/or casino fee based revenue model. There are at least a dozen who have popped up in my area in the post-TUF years, and a few of them have been around for four or five years now and show no signs of going under.

    Even if you do limit the conversation to national promotions, there are obviously no barriers to entry. Barriers to success absolutely, but to entry? Not so much. It’s like battling a Hydra. Every time Zuffa chops off one promoter’s head, two more spring up in it’s place. From Sibling Entertainment (Monte’s Cox’s M-1 adventure) to Bodog to the IFL to the WFA to Affliction to EliteXC to Strikeforce to Bellator to Shark Fights, there never seems to be any shortage of new promoters willing to jump into the fray.

    • Chromium says:

      @Steve4192: I don’t think there’s really a huge debate that you can make money being a small indy promotion that is essentially a feeder league to bigger things. However all those promotions you mentioned as national ones are dead or owned by Zuffa (or both,) except Bellator and Shark Fights. That Shark Fights can even be mentioned as being the next step down now from Zuffa is amazing, since they are adamantly minor league and none of the people there are really under a binding contract to them as far as I know. They are an indy league that uses some well known names, nothing more. They do not qualify any more than King Of The Cage does.

      Bellator is the only remaining company doing exclusive contracts that isn’t kind of a joke (like Shine Fights). They are the UFC’s only remaining competitor for talent. Their Featherweight division is promising, and they put on the strongest field of female competitors in any women’s tournament ever. However, looking at their business model I would be stunned if they are making a profit. Their payroll for their first show alone was $142,000. Their overall production costs must be closer to $250,000 at a minimum, if not $350,000+. There is no way MTV2 is paying that much for a show that is getting less than 250,000 viewers even if it’s a two-hour show with an immediate replay getting the same rating. They are also not likely off-setting the difference with extra sponsorships and their ticket gate. If they are breaking even I would be very surprised.

      Even Bellator gives the UFC a wide berth, avoiding going head-to-head with them and actually looking to be their lead-in. This is the final head of the “hydra” of true competitors to the UFC, and while they may have 25 shows planned this year they are not in a very good position. Looking at their finances and the ratings they pull and their small live gates I just don’t see them making money right now.

      So yes, I do see a real shortage of new promoters wanting to jump into the national fray against the UFC. As in I see none right now.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Bellator was likely signed to a 3rd tier CBS channel as an insurance policy just in case the UFC leaves SpikeTV (also owned by CBS). So once the UFC signs back, Bellator could be let go.

        UNLESS they decide to let their talent go to fight in the UFC. Then I could see Zuffa having mercy on them and letting CBS know that there is some value in keeping then around for long term growth.

        But as long as Bellator’s business plan includes competing for young talent…. They are fighting a stupid battle that has a 99% failure rate.

        • Chromium says:

          Normally I’d say it’s stupid reasoning that just because they’re both under the giant CBS/Viacom conglomerate it means they are linked in that way, but they are both specifically part of the MTV Networks subsidiary, so yeah, good chance that Spike has them on standbye. Joe Warren appeared on TNA Impact recently, and there was a graphics insert on MTV2 at the beginning of one of the fights on Saturday promoting TNA Impact on Bellator.

          I guess it is possible MTV2 is overpaying for Bellator and that MTV Networks is willing to actually lose some money on them for a year or so as insurance (I don’t see them holding onto Bellator indefinitely). This could also be a negotiations tool with the UFC, saying that they have MMA programming ready to replace them if they do leave (obviously they would prefer to have UFC to Bellator).

          Maybe Bellator won’t die in 6 months after all…

  4. Steve4192 says:

    “As a reader, give me a scenario in which you can see an outsider coming into the MMA landscape and being successful.”


    MMA Big Show in the OH/KY/IN tristate area has made a killing since they jumped on the MMA bandwagon in 2006. They have developed some quality prospects (Roger Bowling being the best), have a sweet fee deal with the Belterra casino, and just scored a TV deal on one of the local independent stations. They’re not all that different from what Strikeforce was pre-Showtime. The owners might not be getting filthy rich, but they are turning a tidy little profit.

    • Exactly. The problem with comparing the business models of MMA and wrestling (which is often done) is that the way a regional MMA promotion operates compared to a regional wrestling promotion operates are very, very different at their cores. When you look at second tier MMA promotions, they look much, much more like their boxing counterparts in terms of business plan and income streams than pro wrestling.

      There’s plenty of money to be made in MMA right now. Anyone who says there’s no place to go is delusional. The sport is crying out for someone to develop a National Golden Gloves of MMA. You want to make a shit load of money? Figure that one out and you’ll rake it in.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The sport is certainly crying out for a true feeder league. But that really is the catch. The company had to cultivate talent but HAS TO be willing to give the better fighters up once they have established their skills. If they don’t, they become competition to the UFC and have to compete for contracts, sponsors, and TV contracts. That’s a guaranteed way to failure.

        If Bellator allowed their toothy winners to sign with the UFC, they might actually have a much brighter future.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          A true feeder to the UFC can’t work unless the UFC is directly involved by name. I’m sure of it. Right now, the current state of the sport empowers the small regional promotions too to screw over guys and further limit pay spots.

          What I’m talking about is larger scale, national amateur events. Amateur MMA is where the smart guys make their money because they aren’t paying guys, or do so under the table.

        • Chris Hansen says:

          I am a little late to this conversation but would like to ressurect it. It is 2014 and Bellator lives! I have a project that was designed to be that “feeder” league not limited to mma.It is called TRAP fighting and is based on the use of the only patented hybrid fight cage called the TRAP/TFC and will be a lacalized private club configuration with a pro division that could compete with all the “copycats” and the Big Dog.You guys were on the right path 3 years ago in this lune of thinking. I have one built and looking for a like minded people who may want to get involved.

  5. Jonathan Luther says:

    I would not. It’s a pretty small pond and Zuffa LLC is a very big fish.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    There is a great article on MMA Junkie about how you would really have to define the industry in a narrow view in order to call it a monopoly. Even then it would be hard to prove.

    Seems like the MMA world is having a hard time moving on from this merger. At least the media is. They have spent so many years comparing the UFC to their competition…. That they are really reaching for topics now that those storylines are finished. Is the MMA Media that afraid to just talk about the fights?

    Penn/Fitch 2 in July. Along with Guillard/Roller and Soti/Dunham. Add in a title fight and already that is PPV worthy.

    • Jonathan says:

      I will pull a ZA and pat myself on the back when I said that this would happen when the UFC was the only big organization out there.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “There is a great article on MMA Junkie about how you would really have to define the industry in a narrow view in order to call it a monopoly. Even then it would be hard to prove.”

      It blows my mind how many people, including a lawyer, are approaching this from a completely useless perspective. Sure you would have to define the industry very narrowly to call it a “monopoly” FROM A CONSUMER’S PERSPECTIVE. What few seem to understand or acknowledge is that the monopoly claim is not going to come from the government or consumers re. controlling the price of a ppv…it’s going to come from the fighters much in the same way the formerly unionized NFL players are doing with the NFL.

      Mind boggling.

      • nottheface says:

        Exactly. What someone advocating for the fighters is going to have to claim is that the UFC is a monopsony whose complete domination of the market (and now elimination of competition) restricts the fighters earning capabilities. That’s where any anti-trust or attempts to classify fighters as employees is going to have to go.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          So you guys are saying the lawyer is wrong? I’ll take his word on this matter….

          It’s not a monopoly because the UFC hasn’t created any barriers of entry into the sport. They are the largest MMA organization buy hardly the only. Being much better at it doesn’t create a monopoly.

          And the fighters have a right to unionize. Zuffa can’t legally stop them. So it would be basically impossible for the fighters to cry foul when they haven’t even tried to unionize first.

          You guys are grasping at straws at this point. A fighter can go sign with MFC, KOTC, Pancrase, Bellator, Shooto, M-1, and various other promotions. They will choose not to because the UFC pays more. There is nothing illegal about that.

          Just because another company chooses not to compete with the UFC at this point for fighters contracts, does not mean Zuffa is doing something wrong. Because they are not.

          If a fighter chooses that battle he will get wrecked in court. Not even close. If a fighters wants to fight the system, they need to unionize and put there effort into that.

          If my memory serves me right only 30% of workers need to be open to the idea of a union. And then it takes over 50% of workers to be in favor of it to create it.

          That’s a much better route. And much healthier for the sport instead of trying to split things up (which will only hurt it). A union will give the fighters a voice. That is all that is needed.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Who said the lawyer is wrong? I have my JD too, and I’m saying that he’s not focusing on the right issue…the issue he focused on is insignificant and irrelevant and frankly laughable if anyone tries to argue it.

          The issue myself and nottheface are talking about is the important one. I didn’t say they would win or that it was 100% one way or the other – it is going to be a complicated analysis and it’s still a ways off, but there would be valid arguments for both sides – I said this is the one that needs to be looked at. And your point about unions is immaterial, in fact, if the fighters unionize they are barred from claiming antitrust in the first place(hence the NFLPA’s dissolution).

          No one said the UFC *is* doing anything wrong – you sound like Chris Crocker. Your point that Taichi Palace Fights and MFC exist is irrelevant and only solidifies the point that there is now only one ‘buyer’ for the services of “elite” mma athletes.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “So you guys are saying the lawyer is wrong? I’ll take his word on this matter….”

          Also, all due respect to Mr. Nelmark, but ‘the lawyer’ is an intellectual property litigation lawyer NOT a competition/anti-trust lawyer. He’s hardly an expert or authority on the matter, and as I said, he’s examining the wrong issue.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I think you are the one focusing on the wring element of this.

          The government typically only goes after these types of cases with companies like AT&T and Microsoft. Basically products that the consumer has to use in everyday life.

          The UFC is like NASCAR in that it is privately owned and they both set the pay scale to their liking. “Athletes” in both can use their skills to compete in other versions. Formula 1 for example in racing. Boxing or wrestling for combat sports. So the athletes have choices.

          The largest 3 government issues with sports in the last 25 years has been:

          1) Steroids in Baseball. MLB wasn’t testing properly. UFC has AC approvals so no issues there.

          2) Mohammed Ali Act – This was because promoters were taking advantage of fighters. The UFC has yet to take advantage of fighters that badly so they won’t find major issues in this.

          3) NFL Lawsuit for anti trust violations. They were found guilty and then forced to pay $1. Because nobody cares. They don’t want the league to split up.

          As long as the UFC doesn’t get beyond greedy…. They will have zero intervention from the government. The WWE & NASCAR would have already been in trouble.

          So it’s a silly debate. It never goingto be an issue.

          Instead of complaining about something that won’t happen….. Worry about an issue that could happen. Which is a fighters union. That will strengthen the sport without dividing it.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “I think you are the one focusing on the wring element of this.”

          What are you babbling on about? How do you know it will never be an issue? That’s pretty cute that you definitively decided when the landscape still hasn’t fully settled.

          The UFC is nothing like NASCAR. In NASCAR the “teams” pay the drivers and bid against each other for those driver’s services. No one “sets any pay scale to their liking” because if a team wants to nab a Jeff Gordon or Kyle Busch they are going to have to pony up and their current team will have to match or watch them suit up in another car. Your argument of mma –> boxing is ridiculously laughable, seriously.

          The government isn’t going to intervene, it would likely only intervene in the case of a “monopoly” effecting consumers (e.g. price fixing of ppvs). If the “monopoly issue” ever gets raised it’s going to be the fighters bringing a civil action suing for $$$ not asking for the UFC to be split up. And this would likely be something that happens if the union doesn’t form, but it’s a separate issue entirely.

          Your problem is you don’t understand the point in the first place, evidenced by your responses.

        • nottheface says:

          The issue isn’t that the UFC is a monopoly it’s that it is a monopsony. Due to its complete domination of the market that there is no competition for employers wages, the company would have a monopsony not a monopoly.

          A great example of such a monopsony was in professional baseball before 1976 when the league used a “reserve clause” in player contracts to bound each player to a single team, which acted as extreme form of collusion (much like having a single owner of the MLB would have done the same). As a result, teams did not compete for players leading to a high rate of monopsonistic exploitation – according to Scully and Zimbalist (I linked to them on Bloody Elbow) while players averaged four times what the national household average was players were still paid less than half of the value of their contribution to output, and possibly as little as one-seventh. This is an example of the type of anti-trust behavior some claim Zuffa engages in (they do own the only two major leagues). There are many other, including the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 Which forbids a company from so dominating an industry as to prevent competition from suppliers. A antitrust challenge could come about if they could prove the UFC prevented competition for best price (wages) and/or obstructed free entry by new suppliers (promotions).

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I understand the topic. I just don’t agree with you.

          Look…. Zuffa obviously ran this merger by their legal team. Any transaction like this would be run through legal. They obviously didn’t protest to it because the deal was done.

          MMA Junkie’s lawyer writer guy see’s no problem with it for the most part.

          This is a government that let the NBC/Comcast merger take place. Do you really think they are ever going to have a problem with a bunch of fighters being paid reasonable wages and the top guys making millions? Nope. Not going to happen.

          Which is why it’s a useless avenue to go down. Fighters would lose this battle. So it’s best to invest time and energy into a battle they can win. Which is to form a union.

          And I don’t even think right now is the time. Let the UFC mature a few more years. Let the WEC become fully intergrated. Let Strikeforce become fully integrated. Allow for sanction in 50 states. Allow for international expansion to perhaps not fully mature, but at least paint a better picture of it’s overall potential.

          That will take 2 to 3 years tops. It will also determine if the popularity in the US will potentially go down. Once all of that is settled…. Then it’s time for the fighters to group together and form a union.

          Going after the company for these other issues will just make them losers with no real ability to win.

          And fightrs getting money out of this is a pipedream. The NFL paid out $1 after everything is said and done. It’s not something that is worth even trying for fighters. A union is.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And think of it this way….

          The market will always autocorrect itself. If the UFC doesn’t pay its stars enough money, it will give a new company an opportunity to sign that fighter and pay him more.

          This happened with Andrei Arlovski with Affliction. The only problem is that it was shown that guys like Arlovski were making TOO MUCH money in Affliction, and it basically validated the UFC’s payscale.

          Same with Strikeforce with paying guys like Nick Diaz $150,000. And paying Fedor god knows how much. Once again, the market autocorrected itself and showed that the UFC payscale is the only sustainable pay the sport can have at this stage.

          That alone will keep UFC Fighter pay in check. Them not wanting competition to re-enter the market. So the stars will always be taken care of. And they have already shown to pay out solid money to smaller fighters. Not to mention FOTN bonuses, PPV bonuses for everybody on the card (McCorkle verified this).

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And this next comment isn’t directed at you. Because I know your not a UFC hater and typically have a reasonablly balanced view of MMA….

          But for a lot of people pushing this idea about the “UFC is a monopoly or monsopoly”….. It really feels like a last ditch effort by them to once again make the UFC the “evil ones”. It’s the same set of fans who pushed Strikeforce down everybodies throats like it was equal to the UFC. They just can’t let go of the fact that the UFC is now basically the sport…. And they are trying to find any angle to bring negativety to it.

          These fans just can’t let go. They lost. It’s over. The UFC is MMA. Just like the NFL is football. Just like MLB is baseball. These “journalists” and “fanboys” need to just let go instead of grasping at every last straw of this happening.

          Nothing is going to be done about it. The government won’t get involved. Nobody is going to care. If a fighter wants to compete in MMA, they have to accept the fact that to be considered the best they need to sign with the UFC. No different then any other major sport in America.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “But for a lot of people pushing this idea about the “UFC is a monopoly or monsopoly”….. It really feels like a last ditch effort by them to once again make the UFC the “evil ones”. It’s the same set of fans who pushed Strikeforce down everybodies throats like it was equal to the UFC. They just can’t let go of the fact that the UFC is now basically the sport…. And they are trying to find any angle to bring negativity to it.”

          I fully agree with you here and I don’t think the point is worth arguing, because I am only pointing out what I think is the only potential hurdle ahead for them…that and unionization…both of which are ‘internal’ issues re. talent, and which is fine b/c they’ve got tonnes of precedent for how to deal with it just like all the other “major leagues”. My sole point is that people are looking at the ‘monopsony’ issue from the wrong angle b/c gov’t intervention to ‘protect the consumers’ isn’t happening and isn’t an issue…some super agent or someone getting in a group of fighters’ ears down the road is…that’s all I’m saying.

          I’m pumped every good fighter will be able to fight each other now. We aren’t going to have any more crap cards that I pass and come find out the results the next morning…this is good for the sport and the fans.

          And yes there’s an awful lot of mma journos that leapt right into the fantasy alternatives of how fighters can stick it to the man, like an ATP/PGA tour of mma fighters…you can tell who’s having a hard time letting go.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “…that’s all I’m saying.”

          That, and that you shouldn’t just dismiss the issue because an IP lawyer from Iowa wrote that on MMA Junkie.

  7. Phil says:

    I don’t think the situation is a dire as everyone is making it out to be. I don’t think it’s much worse than it has been in the past. Elite XC, SF, Affliction, etc all sprang up from the ashes of somebody, someone will spring up from the ashes of Strikeforce.

    If anything, there’s now another way to make money in the mma world. The fact that Zuffa jumped in and bought SF before it was as dead as Pride was means you can try that strategy also. You don’t need to wait for the cash flow to get you into the black, you can get close to that and big enough for zuffa to swoop in and buy you out.

  8. Light23 says:

    It’s not necessarily that hard to be successful in MMA or pro wrestling – you just need to play it right.

    TNA for example are horrible. Their product is atrocious (or was the last time I checked). They slowly killed the things that were actually great about their product (great matches, X-division). They hired guys who were involved in the death of WCW.

    It’s not that you can’t make money in pro wrestling. You just can’t make it while behaving idiotically.

    In MMA you could build a successful promotion, but it just takes time. What we’ve had are people like Affliction and EliteXC who want to instantly compete with the UFC, and start blowing through a ton of money on fighters without having any real brand recognition or fan interest.

    Even Strikeforce was making strides and everybody moans about how they screw everything up. A company like Bellator could do great if they’re correctly run, but it’ll take 5-10 years before they get there. They haven’t even been on TV for two years and they’re making quite good progress.

  9. A. Taveras says:

    Much rides on how we define success. Since WCW is being pointed at I wonder would we call that a success? Sure it ended in financial disaster but for a meaningful amount of timeTurner’s money was succesful at making waves and getting viewers at a national level. I would say it is not outside the realm of reason for a wealthy ‘money-mark’ to come into MMA in the future and likewise burn through a ton of money while succeeding in leaving a mark and temporarily wounding the UFC. It’s just a matter of the pockets being deep enough and of there being a deep enough pool of fading veterans looking for paydays.

    Alternately, as Phil pointed out, Coker has now laid the path to ‘success’. You don’t really have to create a long-term viable promotion, you just have to get to the point where Zuffa decides you are attracting meaningful enough attention to buy you out.

  10. TheJudge says:

    The fans didn’t just cross over from pro wrestling to MMA in the US, they left the former. The athleticism, the aesthetics, the larger than life personality of the sport is much more fun when decided in the ring rather than by some overrated jerkoff backstage.

  11. mr. roadblock says:

    MMAJunkie says 406,000 viewers for Shogun/Jones Preview Show.

    That’s not good. They hype for this fight should be off the charts. This is the most exciting (by in the cage ability) fight that’s ever been booked.

    UFC is not doing a good job of developing stars and big money draws.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I don’t put too much into advertisement ratings. Getting 400,000 people to watch an advertisement is already a big win. They also show it on multiple channels. And they have the Jon Jones special on Thursday.

      The show will end up doing around 500,000 buys which is still great business.

    • Zheroen says:

      This is a factor that merits serious review, IMO. A case could be made that the only true UFC-produced stars in the ZUFFA-era are TUF winners. Brock Lesnar is a crossover star from pro-wrestling (hence his debut being marketed with footage from WWE), and I think GSP’s Affliction ties definitely helped elevate him to his current status. That they’ve struggled to market the P4P most dominant fighter in MMA, Anderson Silva, indicates there seems to be relative difficulty (or indifference, possibly) in promoting stars beyond the UFC brand.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        They created GSP. Silva just got 700,000 buys for his last PPV. Velasquez will do good buys once he is healthy.

        For a company that is doing over 500,000 buys at least 4 to 5 times a year…. They are doing something right. I don’t buy into this notion that yet aren’t creating stars. They have done 10 times as good as boxing has done over the last 6 years. Boxing has 2 guys right now that can do over 500,000 buys. The UFC has 5 or 6 and always have new guys in the pipeline to fill those spots.

        • The Gaijin says:

          They clearly know what they are doing, but I think they are also making sure to take a measured approach. They don’t want to make someone too valuable – to the org or to themselves.

          With the SF acquisition the UFC has consolidated itself as THE mma organization and the only “threat” to their structure is going to be a fighter that thinks they can make more money on their own. Like I’ve said in previous posts, they’re only “competitor” is going to be a superstar fighter that decides they want to go the De La Hoya route and promote their own fights and there’s no one capable of doing that now, plus they make sure to pay them enough that it’s not even a consideration.

        • mr. roadblock says:


          Thanks for adding zero to the conversation.

          Saying UFC is doing better than boxing right now is as relevant as saying Elephants are larger than butterflies.

          The point is that boxing wasted 100years of momentum and made itself a fringe sport with a fanatical following.

          UFC is making the same mistakes that boxing did in the 90’s.

          This fight should be epic. People should be buzzing about it on TV everywhere you look and in newspapers. Like they did when Hagler and Hearns locked up.

          But they’re not. It’s just another numbered UFC event.

  12. Pl Allie says:

    A lot of misinformation on the property of cable station everywhere in the mma media. CBS split from Viacom 3-4 years ago and took Showtime with it. Showtime are not in the same company than Spike and MTV2. It’s kind of an important detail that a lot of journalist aren’t reporting.

    The second biggest mma organisation is not Bellator but HDNET. It will be interesting to see what Cuban is going to do with losing 3 partners(SF, Dream, Sengoku).

    • Jonathan says:

      Good point PI.

      They pretty much lose most, if not all, of their MMA programming when all of the current contracts run out and things stay the way that they are in the MMA landscape.

      What is the UFC’s relationship with HDNET?

    • cutch says:

      They haven’t lost Strikeforce, Dana has said that all the deals that Coker signed will not change and Cuban could always try and purchase old Zuffa footage to show, until Zuffa figures out what to do with their vast fight footage.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “The second biggest mma organisation is not Bellator but HDNET.”

      HDNet is a broadcaster, not a promoter. Cuban tried his hand at promoting early on (remember HDNet Fights?) and quickly figured out it was a losing proposition. Getting out of the promotion side and just buying content from foreign and small-time promoters was the best decision he ever made. He pays them a pittance and get oodles and oodles of MMA content. When one goes out of business, he just moves on to another.

  13. […] two weeks ago, Jeff Thaler & I had a conference call (the audio content is as fresh today as it was back then) talking about the ramifications of Zuffa […]


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