Week in MMA & Boxing #3 - August 13, 2015
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
August 7 - August 13, 2015
MMA Union Talks
The Teamsters Local 986, which covers Southern California and Nevada, and The Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the largest union in Las Vegas, are attempting to organize UFC fighters to unionize.
Obviously being unionized has helped salaries in the major pro sports, and UFC athletes do get a lower percentage of revenues than those in bigger sports. The problem is the Culinary Workers Union has such a bad reputation among fighters for taking quotes out of context and sensationalizing things to be anti-UFC, as well as being the key to keeping UFC out of New York for purely political reasons.
UFC Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendricks after the news came out sent a memo to fighters telling them how the Culinary Workers Union had been working against the sport for years and were the key reason they were still banned in New York.
From a morale standpoint given some of the negativity among the fighters for losing sponsorship money in the Reebok deal, this was probably the best time for the Teamsters and Culinary Workers Union to make this play, because unhappy workers are more likely to unionize.
The fact is that player salaries in the major sports all escalated greatly when they became unionized, and the sports with the strongest unions have been able to garner the highest salaries for their competitors.
While UFC is steady as a business to a degree, it doesn’t have the television contract cushion of the top tier sports and it is the two key stars being injured for a long period of time in a sport with a high injury rate and losing one major television deal away from facing some real financial struggles.
UFC fighters, like WWE performers, are listed as independent contractors, not employees. They have no pension plan. The UFC fighters are the only combat sports athletes who have medical insurance paid for by the promotion when it comes to injuries.
The problem with a union when it comes to fighters is that the key to the fight economy is the small top tier of fighters, who are paid very well. For a strike or threatened union action to have any benefit, the top fighters would have to be aligned, not just the majority of the lower paid fighters. It’s the same issues, plus fear or losing a position with the only promotion you can make a good living in (with few exceptions) that have kept both wrestlers and MMA fighters in the top organization from unionizing.
UFC Fight Night Review
The 8/8 Fight Night with a main event of Glover Teixeira beating Ovince Saint Preux and the biggest on the undercard being Michael Johnson and Sara McMann, ended up as the sixth most-watched Fight Night since the launch of FS 1. The show did 1,159,000 viewers from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., peaking at 1,356,000 from 12:45 a.m. to 1 a.m. for the main event and post-match interviews.
As far as main stories, Teixeira, with the win, put himself with Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans and Ryan Bader as the five key light heavyweights. With them fighting each other, Teixeira, who came off losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis in his last two fights, challenged Cormier, but he’s a few fights from the title picture.
The other fight with top contenders saw Amanda Nunes stop Sara McMann in just 2:53 via choke. Nunes, now ranked No. 4, is the highest ranked womens’ bantamweight that Rousey hasn’t beaten. She’s probably two fights away from contention if we figure that Miesha Tate and Cris Cyborg are the next two.
The night’s main controversy was the judging in the Michael Johnson vs. Beneil Dariush fight. Everyone had Johnson winning the first round. Most had Dariush winning the third, so it came down to round two. I watched that round over several times and can’t possibly see how Dariush could win. Johnson outlanded him 35-22, his punches landed significantly harder, he blocked every takedown attempt and had Octagon control, and was the aggressor except for Dariush going for bad takedowns he never came close on.
People were largely outraged, including Dana White. What was notable is that usually if someone wins, they will advantage ahead of the guy they beat in the rankings. The UFC rankings by reporters kept Johnson at No. 5, even with the loss, that in theory should have dropped him several spots. I have to applaud that one, because if one considers it a loss for Johnson, who came in with four straight wins, it would severely hurt him when it comes to ever getting a title shot in such a deep division.
But it appears that everyone is treating it like the win it should have been, but the key would be whether he gets someone like an Anthony Pettis or Benson Henderson next, which would indicate UFC is booking him like he’s on a five fight win streak.
Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor Fight Set
UFC officially announced Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor as the main event for a PPV show on 12/12 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, so UFC is not going to do a stadium show in Dallas after all. It appears that they leveraged the idea of the stadium show into cutting a deal with MGM Grand, because the hotel and the city didn’t want to lose out on the tourist traffic from Ireland for the fight.
As noted, there is a far higher profit margin in doing a show in Las Vegas than in a stadium. But doing a stadium show right now and loading it up would probably do a record buy rate and garner the company tons more media publicity mainstream, and create the public perception that the sport is back on fire and it’s an in thing to watch, so there are positives in the loaded show at the stadium idea.
But they made the choice to spread out the big fights and not put McGregor and Ronda Rousey together, which if you’re just looking at short-term profit from December and January, you would on paper make more. But that must-see event that captures viewers that aren’t fans of the sport, but fans of seeing the in-thing, which was the difference between 2 million and 4.4 million buys for Mayweather-Pacquiao, that’s the value of the “biggest show of all-time” and the opportunity rarely arises and it was there for them this time, and the stadium is part of that atmosphere.
It now looks like the Rousey vs. Tate fight will be on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas, so they are doing two shows from the same venue three weeks apart. White has predicted the 12/12 show will break the U.S. gate record set by the 7/11 show. Most likely the 12/12 show will do better with ticket sales and the Jan. 2 show will be stronger on PPV.
Rousey vs Cyborg Talks
Tito Oritz, who is the former manager of Cris Cyborg Justino, and is still close with her said that UFC offered a match with Ronda Rousey at Cowboys Stadium. Dana White then said Ortiz was lying and they never offered her the fight. White said that he asked Sean Shelby to call Justino (Cyborg) to see where she stood in being able to make 135 for an eventual fight with Rousey, and that they did ask her if she could fight at 135, but not specifically against Rousey.
George Lockhart, who is Cyborg’s nutritionist, said that she can make 135 by 12/5. An interesting note is that he said she had brought up making 135 to him only in the past week or so. My thought is that if she can, they should book her against someone like Sarah Kaufman, Cat Zingano or Amanda Nunes on that show and aim for Rousey for UFC 200. The longer they wait to do that fight, the bigger the business will be.
Rousey did an AMA and said the delay in the fight isn’t about weight, but money. Said that Cyborg is "just waiting to be offered enough money to get her ass kicked. The delay is all about money, not her weight. She made 145 pumped full of steroids. She can healthily make 135 without them. Her shows that she headlines lose thousands of dollars and the majority of the tickets are given away because no one will buy them. She needs me. So pretty much we’re waiting for her to realize that she needs to fight me before I retire, or she’ll never have enough money to retire.” Damn.
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit
The Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit welterweight title match was announced officially for the 11/15 (11/14 U.S. time) PPV from Melbourne, Australia. A top welterweight contenders match with Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley, a match that dates back to the Big 12 championship in 2005 (Hendricks won that one), has been added to the 10/3 PPV show from Houston.
After the weekly shows almost all summer, things slow down the next two months. There is no show this coming weekend.
There will be a show on 8/23 in Saskatoon, headlined by Max Holloway vs. Charles Oliveira, which goes head-to-head with SummerSlam.
After that, there is the UFC 191 PPV on 9/5, the Saitama show (Josh Barnett vs. Roy Nelson) on 9/27 (9/26 in North America)
Then the 10/3 UFC 192 PPV (Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson; Rashad Evans vs. Ryan Bader, Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley, Jessica Eye vs. Julianna Pena).
Combate in Brazil reported that Anderson Silva’s defense for his failed steroid tests in January will be that he was using sexual performance medication that caused him to test positive for Drostanolone, and that his positive for Adrostane was from a tainted supplement. Silva tested positive for Drostanolone on both 1/9 and 1/31. Silva’s lawyer said Silva admits to use a sexual performance aid that was contaminated with Drostanolone.
They are also noting he did pass one test in the period between 1/9 and 1/31, and another after the fight. He also tested positive for temazepam and oxazepam, anti-anxiety and sleep aids. He’s asking that the commission reverse back the result of his no contest with Diaz to a win for him, and not suspend him or fine him.