Week in MMA & Boxing #13
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
October 17 - October 23, 2015
GGG PPV numbers not good
The attempt to make Gennady Golovkin into a PPV fighter didn't start out strong, as the 10/17 fight where Golovkin beat David Lemieux from Madison Square Garden is estimated based on early figures in boxing press at doing 150,000 buys. It seems a little early to me for any accurate estimates. The show did draw a legit sellout of 20,538 to Madison Square Garden.
The 150,000 buys has got to be well below their expectations for the fight, and it’s not a good thing for Golovkin, K2 or Lemieux and his promoters at Golden Boy. If Golovkin had brought in 250-300K PPV buys, then he would have been in an excellent position to get a fight against the winner of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto bout on November 21st.
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Loeffler seemed to be overly ambitious going into the fight due to the high presale numbers for the fight for their fight at Madison Square Garden. The hope was that with the fast ticket sales for the Golovkin-Lemieux fight, it would possibly bring in a lot of PPV buys. But instead of the fans purchasing the fight in high numbers on HBO, they balked at the $45 asking price on PPV and chose instead to stay away in high numbers.
That’s not to say that the Golovkin vs. Lemieux fight wouldn’t have brought in good numbers if the fight was on regular HBO Championship Boxing, because it probably would have. But asking fans to start paying to see a fighter that they used to see for free is always a tough task, especially when he’s being matched up against a Canadian fighter who was previously exposed in the past against weaker opposition.
Canelo weighs in Huge
In a sign that we could be seeing a heavy Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) on the night of his fight against WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs), Canelo weighed in at 167.8lbs for his World Boxing Council mandated 30-day weigh-in for his 155lb catch-weight fight next month on 11/21.
The maximum allowable limit was 176lbs, which could see Canelo eclipse on the night of the fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cotto was the one who wanted the catch-weight at 155, but Canelo had no problems with it because he’s had his last three fights at the 155lb catch-weight.
The 167.8lbs puts Canelo 12.8lbs above the 155lb catch-weight for the fight. It’s unknown how much weight Canelo had to lose to get down to 167.8. You can assume that Canelo weighed in after a strenuous workout where he lost a ton of water weight.
That’s 20 pounds of water weight that Canelo has to take off for him to make weight. He says he’s not a middleweight, but when you weigh 175, you’re clearly a middleweight. Boxer Gabriel Rosado thinks that the reason why Canelo tries to say he needs to fight at 155 is so that he has an excuse not to face the bigger middleweights.
UFC Reinstates Jon Jones
UFC announced the reinstatement of former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jones had been suspended since an April hit-and-run case, coming a few months after a cocaine test positive a well as a late night car crash.
Dana White had said previously that if Jones was reinstated, he could immediately challenge for the championship that he never lost. The title is currently held by Daniel Cormier, who Jones defeated via decision on Jan. 3 in one of UFC's biggest pay-per-view shows of recent years.
A Cormier vs. Jones title match would be expected next on the agenda. `We've made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward,' said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. `We're happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person.'
`I am thankful to be able to do what I love once again and I look forward to proving myself as a champion in and outside of the Octagon,' Jones said."
Jones also said on Facebook: "It took me losing almost everything I had worked for to realize how much I had."
Jones, who has a 21-1 record, is generally considered the most talented fighter in the history of the sport. In his 22 pro fights, he won every one of them handily with the exception of a close decision win over Alexander Gustafsson. His lone loss, to Matt Hamill, was via disqualification in a one-sided fight where he had destroyed Hamill the entire fight.
At 24, he was the youngest champion in UFC history when he defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to win the title. With eight title defenses, he was on the verge of Anderson Silva's record of ten when the title was stripped from him due to his suspension.
"Congrats to Jon `Bones' Jones on his reinstatement to the UFC," wrote Cormier on Facebook. "For MMA fans, this is a good day. A guy that has shown to be one of the greatest fighters of all-time is back. As a competitor, there could be no other outcome and this is the best news I've heard in a long time. Jon has said the right things and his actions are backing his words up. We all hope this is the last time we have to deal with anything like that. And lastly, as a fan, you get to see two of the best fighters compete against each other. With that being said, I can't wait to compete against him again."
UFC Fight Night this week
The first show in three weeks will be a Fight Pass card on 10/24 from Dublin, Ireland. The show will be prime time in the U.K. and an afternoon show in the U.S., starting at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
The current match order of a show which doesn't have a lot of big names, is Bubba Bush vs. Garreth McLeflan, Darren Elkins vs. Robert Whiteford, Tom Breese vs. Cathal Pendred, Krysztof Jotko vs. Scott Ashkam, Aisling Daly vs. Ericka Almeida, Jon Delos Reyes vs. Neil Seery, Mickael Lebout vs. Stevie Ray, Nicolas Dalby vs. Darren Till, Reza Madadi vs. Norman Parke, Louis Smolka vs. Paddy Holohan and Joseph Duffy vs. Dustin Poirier. With the loss of the Stipe Miocic vs. Ben Rothwell heavyweight fight.
it's really a one-fight show as Duffy and Poirier have both looked great so far at lightweight. Duffy's big claim to fame is a sub-one minute win over Conor McGregor. Poirier was a good featherweight who got beaten by McGregor but said he was cutting too much weight, moved up to lightweight and has two straight first round knockouts and performance bonuses since.
UFC Cuts multiple Fighters
UFC has cut a significant number of fighters this past week. The actual number isn't known but there have been media reports of 50 fighters being cut, and according to someone with very good knowledge of the situation, the number 40 would be pretty close to accurate.
What happened is that there were a lot of injuries needing late replacements and when guys on the roster wouldn't fight on short notice, they would sign new guys and generally promise them at least two fights because if you go in with no notice and lose, you really deserve a second chance for doing the company a favor. There was a glut of people who were injured that were ready to fight at the same time, plus with all the international TUF shows, the top guys from those shows are added on. So the roster got bloated.
One of the reasons the 12/10 show is taking place, and why so many of the shows are having 13 fights, which is probably too many, is because so many people are owed fights as it is.
UFC PPV Predictions
Chris Weidman, in an interview with Ariel Helwani, predicted the 12/12 show (the most loaded show in a long time including Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor for the featherweight title, Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold for the middleweight title, Yoel Romero vs. Jacare Souza for the next middleweight title shot, Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Saenz, Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens, Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson, Demian Maia vs. Gunner Nelson) would do 1.4 million buys. Weidman also said he was cutting his training camp for Luke Rockhold down from eight weeks to six weeks to lower the risk of injury.
Regarding the anti-trust lawsuit filed against UFC, one of the big claims is that the fighters were paid a small percentage of overall revenues. The problem is that nobody really knows how much the fighters make, because of bonuses and pay per view points. And even if the percentage is lower than it should be, if it is what is contracted, you can band together and try and get better deals but I'm not sure how a court case is going to be able to rule on that subject.
All that said, Zuffa's profits for 2006 were $75,291,550. The most profitable year in WWE history, which was 1999-2000, the profits were $68,973,000 (2000-2001 would have actually been more profitable, at $84,981,000, except the company also lost $68,994,000 that year on the XFL). The point is, UFC was not generating much money until getting on television in 2005. The first TV year, 2005, the profits were in line with what WWE was doing during the Hogan era. From that point on, the profits annually have been huge.
John Nash at Bloodyelbow.com used several of the bond rating reporting services where UFC had to report income to because of their loans out and got total UFC revenues (or strong estimates) at $4.6 million in 2001, $9 million in 2002, $9 million in 2003, $14.3 million in 2004, $48.3 million in 2005, $180 million in 2006 (actual number is $179,696,415 for that year), $217 million in 2007, $271 million in 2008, $339 million in 2009, $424 million in 2010, $360 million in 2011 (the other year filled with major injuries and card changes), $480 million in 2012, $483 million in 2013 and $522 million in 2014. The 2013 and 2014 are fiscal year numbers from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013 and October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014. This year with the big PPVs in January, July and August, it should be by far the highest ever total revenue, particularly since the revenues from the TV deals increase every year.
The story listed the value of the FOX deal at $832 million over seven years (which is the first time that number has been known factually as UFC reported it to Moody's in 2015) and the Globo deal at $232 million over five years. Both deals escalate over the years so the UFC deal may have started at closer to $90 million to $100 million, but by year seven, which is 2018, it will be quite a bit more, probably closer to $145 million by 2017.
Other things in the article were that EBITDA in 2010 was $165 million, which would have been the peak year. In 2013 the EBITDA was around $110 million and in 2014 it was around $66 million due to the weak PPV year. It appears that from 2006 to 2013, UFC was significantly more profitable as a business than WWE ever was, which also indicates the ability to pay talent significantly more, even with the debt from loans being big and interest on those loans being upwards of $20 million per year.
Heavyweight Title Contender
Andrei Arlovski vs. Stipe Miocic in a fight that will likely get the winner a heavyweight title shot (maybe not immediately because there is Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem fight a few weeks earlier) has been made the co-main event of the Jan. 2 show in Las Vegas underneath Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit.
Weight Cut Study
A study of weight cutting among U.K. MMA fighters showed that 67 percent used water loading (reducing sodium, overdrinking water for three days with the idea it will induce excessive urine and cut weight), 17 percent did things to increase sweating such as sweat suits or blocking pores. 37 percent said they used prescription or over the counter diuretics, even though they are banned. 13 percent said they used IVs after rehydration (so much for the idea that "everyone" uses them, like 90 percent or more that was claimed by those saying the IV ban will ruin the sport).
Tom Lawlor suffered a concussion in training on 10/17, and has pulled out of his 11/7 fight in Sao Paulo, Brazil against Fabio Maldonado. Lawlor will be replaced by Corey Anderson, the winner of season 19 of TUF. Lawlor suffered a head-to-head collision while drilling wrestling, and suffered a deep cut, but thought he was okay. But an inability to focus later that night while watching the WSOF show and college football made him realize something was wrong, and he had suffered a concussion and has had a lingering headache since that time.
The biggest show of the past week was the World Series of Fighting card on 10/17 in Mashantucket, CT, headlined by Jon Fitch (27-7-1) winning a decision over Yushin Okami (30-10) in a battle of former UFC title contenders. Okami, who was huge at middleweight, cut to welterweight and was shredded, but ended up being outwrestled to a decision on scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
The win sets up Fitch vs. Jake Shields for the company's vacant welterweight title, which was stripped of Rousimar Palhares when he was suspended for repeatedly holding submissions too long and for repeated eye gouging of Shields in their fight.
Because of them being bigger names, they headlined over two title fights. Blagoi Ivanov (13-1) retained the heavyweight title with a TKO on Derrick Mehmen (19-7) at 4:33 of the second round. Nick Newell (13-1), the fighter who was born with one arm (and was college best friends with pro wrestler Brian Myers) beat Tom Marcellino (7-4) on straight 29-28 scores, winning the first two rounds. Newell was a super big fan favorite and is really an amazing athlete as Marcellino was a legit guy, in the sense he's competed in boxing and wrestling. In what was weird, they didn't show his interview on TV as they went to a commercial, and Newell announced his retirement at the age of 29, saying the sport was getting too hard and it's time to pass on his wisdom, and later said he didn't want to be a busted up guy fighting for a paycheck.
A battle of former UFC fighters saw Vinny Magalhaes (13-7), a former Jiu Jitsu world champion, tap out Matt Hamill (11-6) with a kneebar in 1:08 afer Hamill had hurt Magalhaes with an uppercut.