Week in MMA & Boxing #28
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
February 14th- February 18, 2016
Rousey talks Suicide
Ronda Rousey was on Ellen DeGeneras on 2/16 and ended up getting a ton of press for talking about how, when she was in the training room after her loss to Holly Holm, she thought that how everything she worked for was gone and she felt worthless and at first wanted to kill herself but then saw boyfriend Travis Browne and said he she wanted to have his babies so had to stay alive.
There has been a lot of talk on both sides on how this came off. Is she a sore loser, or human who was faced with a devastating loss, and reacted naturally. More of the questions have been on why she chose to tell the world about it months later and cry on National TV. Many have called her a poor sport and knocked her for how she treated opponents she has beaten in the past.
She was also chosen to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue which comes out this week. They are doing three different covers, with Rousey, Ashley Graham and Hailey Clauson
She’s also filed for a trademark on the phrase “F*** them all,” which likely means she’s looking at it for merchandising in some form.
Huge Bellator show Tonight on Spike
What will likely be one of the company’s most-watched shows in history is Friday night's show which features a five-fight main card with Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez, Melvin Guillard vs. Derek Campos, Emanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell, Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 and Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock.
Gracie vs. Shamrock is a rematch from two fights in the early days of UFC. For the last 20 years, Shamrock has been trying for a rematch. He said that whenever serious talks happened, Gracie either made a demand that Shamrock cut to 185, or asked for so many millions that the fight fell apart. Gracie said it never got to a serious negotiating place. Shamrock believes that when he looked so terrible against Kimbo Slice, that immediately Gracie made it clear he’d face Ken and Bellator made the fight. Gracie thinks that Shamrock’s only chance would be to land a big punch early, because he feels he’s in tons better condition than Shamrock and is a better grappler. Gracie is 49 and Shamrock just celebrated his 52nd birthday.
UFC this Sunday
This week’s show is a Sunday 2/21 card that goes head-to-head with the WWE PPV, and is headlined by Donald Cerrone vs. Alex Oliveira in the battle of the cowboys.
The show starts at 5:15 p.m. with Fight Pass bouts with Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Anthony Hamilton, Sarah Moras vs. Lauren Murphy and Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Marion Reneau. The rest of the show is on FS 1 starting at 7 p.m. with Nathan Coy vs. Jonavin Webb, Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Daniel Sarafian, Alex Garcia vs. Sean Strickland, Shane Campbell vs. James Krause, Chris Camozzi vs. Joe Riggs, Cody Garbrandt vs. Augusto Mendes, Dennis Bermudez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri, Derek Brunson vs. Roan Carneiro.
UFC Fiscal Year Financials
A new report on UFC with information regarding its last fiscal year, from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. The key is that missed the last three PPV shows of the year, which included UFC 193 and UFC 194, both of which did in excess of one million buys.
The total revenue for that period was $535 million and EBITDA (not exactly, but essentially profits before taxes) was about $132 million. Lorenzo Fertitta has stated publicly that the total revenues for 2015, including the two big PPV shows, topped $600 million.
Of that $132 million, somewhere in the range of $22 million to $24 million would be the annual interest on outstanding loans (which are $467 million). Also in the report, it listed that during the period, the company paid out $51 million in interest payments from the large profits. Given the ownership breakdown of 40.5% owned by Lorenzo Fertitta, 40.5% owned by Frank Fertitta, 10% owned by Flash Entertainment and 9% by Dana White, that would approximate dividend payouts of $20,655,000 to each Fertitta Brother, $5,100,000 to Flash and $4,590,000 to White.
The approximate dividend payout the previous year would have been $17,820,000 to each Fertitta Brother, $4,400,000 to Flash and $3,960,000 t White.
EBITDA was in the $110 million range for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and $66 million for the 2013-2014 year, due to the weak PPV business the prior year.
The report, which was compiled by the Bloody Elbow web site, also listed that this past year saw increases in every key revenue stream, including tickets sold, an increase in the average ticket price, growth in Fight Pass, as well as increases in both U.S. and international television rights fees.
The report also gave a strong outlook for future growth. While it is highly unlikely PPV revenue in 2016 will be close to that of 2015. Ronda Rousey will fight at most once, if at all, and she was the biggest draw. Conor McGregor, the other top draw, headlined two PPV shows in 2015 and, barring injury, will probably headline three in 2016. But his drawing power to a degree depends on the results of his fights.
However, the 2015-2016 fiscal year numbers will be stronger because they will include UFC 193 and UFC 194, as well as UFC 196, 197 and 200, which are all expected to do big numbers.
Rampage going back to Bellator after-all
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson signed a two-fight deal with Bellator as part of an out-of-court settlement on a breach of contract lawsuit filed by the organization.
Jackson was Bellator’s biggest star when he signed in 2013, after his UFC contract expired after a loss to Glover Teixeira, his third in a round.
Jackson was strongly negative about UFC on the way out, and spent months singing the praises of how much things were better at Bellator. But a year later, he was taking the opposite approach, saying that he never realized how much better things were in UFC.
Jackson was signed to a joint contract through Spike TV, with both Bellator and TNA wrestling, with the idea of being a major star on both platforms, which would cross-promote him.
He fought three times in Bellator. A fight with Tito Ortiz, scheduled as Bellator’s first PPV main event, fell through when Ortiz suffered a neck injury. Instead, Jackson won television fights over Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu, before headlining Bellator’s only PPV show, a very disputed decision win over King Mo Lawal on May 17, 2014, in Memphis. The show did slightly more than 100,000 buys on PPV, and Jackson’s PPV bonus didn’t kick in until the 200,000 buy mark. Still, Bellator gave Jackson a bonus above his contract numbers.
Jackson then claimed breach of contract. He claimed Bellator had not given him full disclosure of the PPV breakdown, and claimed Bellator and Viacom had not delivered on promises to get him outside fighting entertainment gigs. Spike had produced a Jackson reality show and got him meetings with Paramount producers as far as movie roles, but none materialized.
He claimed he was a free agent and signed with UFC, with the announcement made during a December 20, 2014, live show on FS 1. Bellator President Scott Coker immediately responded saying that Jackson was still under contract, and the company filed suit.
UFC announced Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado for a fight on 4/25 in Montreal. Bellator got an injunction 18 days before the fight in New Jersey Superior Court preventing the fight from taking place. However, four days before the show, an Appellate court overturned the original ruling, but just for the one fight, stating that Bellator didn’t show enough evidence that it would suffer irreparable harm if Jackson fought. Jackson won a lackluster fight via decision, but with the original injunction put back into effect, his career was frozen until either the lawsuit came to court or both sides settled.
Jackson had talked of retiring, because he did not want to return to Bellator and thought the legal process could drag out a long period of time. But the two sides settled out-of-court on the new deal.
Jackson would be fighting in a light heavyweight division that includes champion Liam McGeary, as well as potential marquee fights with Lawal, Phil Davis and Ortiz, as well as if he’d go to heavyweight, possible fights with Slice or Bobby Lashley.
Overeem resigns with UFC
Alistair Overeem, who was a free agent, has signed with UFC and is expected to return on the 5/8 show in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where it would make sense, since he’s from grew up in Holland, for him to headline against one of the top tier heavyweights like Cain Velasquez, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett or possibly a revenge match against Travis Browne, who beat Overeem in their last meeting.
New HGH Test
Travis Tygart, the head of USADA, told reporter Jeremy Botter that they are now using a new test for HGH that can detect usage going back 21 days instead of just hours. The one thing when it comes to drug testing is things often get said like this and sometimes they are accurate and sometimes they aren’t.
The earliest drug testing in the U.S. was known as the sink test, in which they collected specimens and poured them all down the sink. The reality is they didn’t have a test, but figured if athletes thought there was, they’d get scared and get clean. Obviously that ends up killing credibility in the long run even if there may be short-term value.
If we start seeing a lot more HGH failures not just in MMA, but throughout sports, then they have a new and better test. If we don’t, then we should be skeptical. As of right now, since July, there hasn’t been one HGH test failure in UFC. The only suspension related to HGH was Mirko Cro Cop, and that’s because when he was given a surprise test and knew he’d just taken a shot, so he went to UFC and USADA and admitted use hoping for forgiveness, and then publicly retired feeling that it would avoid his name being linked with HGH. Instead, he was suspended for two years, but, and this isn’t a surprise at all, he didn’t test positive for HGH
Wanderlei's suspension is finally Official
The Nevada Athletic Commission announced on 2/17 that they were suspending Wanderlei Silva for three years. Originally Silva, 39, was given a lifetime ban, but Nevada courts ruled that as excessive and told the commission to give him punishment more in line. Silva was also fined $70,000. Silva’s suspension dates back to his running away from a drug test on May 24, 2014, meaning he is eligible to fight again in commission states on May 25, 2017. This would ban him from the U.S., Canada and Brazil, but not in Japan or Europe.
UFC has already released him and Bellator would be interested in him, but that would not be looked at positively for them to use him on overseas shows while they still do business in commission states. A promotion like Rizin could use him, or he could do pro wrestling in Japan, although the market for MMA stars doing pro wrestling is way down with the decline of the IGF
A Crazy show coming
A new group called Urshow.tv is putting together an iPPV on 3/20 from the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix with boxing, or something close to it, pro wrestling, grappling and MMA in the top four matches.
Roy Jones Jr. doing a boxing match with a fan and if the fans beats him, he’ll get $100,000, plus a pro wrestling match with Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio, an MMA fight with Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn, and a grappling match with Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping.
It’s been noted that the MMA match may not happen because Ken Shamrock is fighting Royce Gracie on 2/19, and if he’s injured or put on a medical suspension, he wouldn’t be able to fight. Severn hasn’t fought in almost four years, and is now 57 years old.
They are also doing a television show called the Republic of Sonnen, where Sonnen talks politics, and some shows with Rampage Jackson. They are paying significant guarantees to all the names involved, as Kurt Angle was planning to take a year off wrestling but was offered big money for the match. It’s an attempt to use this to springboard an iPPV business, but the ceiling on iPPV is still pretty low. It would seem on the surface it has to be a major loss leader. The amount of money an iPPV can generate, particularly with no television building it up, and the high costs of talent guarantees doesn’t sound like a positive.