No Need To Panic: An Analysis of the MMA Industry
In recent days we’ve seen a flurry of MMA business activity that has forced everyone within the community to re-evaluate the health of the industry. Individuals like Dana White will be the first to tell you that MMA is going to be more popular than soccer or the Superbowl, worldwide, by 2016. Yet, others are far less optimistic and hailing 2008 as the beginning of the end of MMA. However, the truth of the matter is that neither side is accurate in their assessment of the industry.
Looking beyond the exaggerations and severe panic attacks, the truth can be found somewhere in between both extreme points of view.
Where does the market for MMA really stand?
If the UFC’s 2008 results are any indication, the market for MMA is quite healthy.
The latest S&P credit rating reports for the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, indicate that PPV buy rates are largely flat, yet revenue is growing due to the increased number of PPVs in a year and also an increase in the prices of those PPVs.
The Zuffa End Around
It is often said that business ethics is an oxymoron, but that is the case only if you conduct yourself in such a manner. Rob Maysey details the increasingly questionable nature of the UFC’s push for merchandising agreements with it’s fighters:
Multiple sources have indicated that UFC officials are now sending letters to fighters who have not yet signed the Merchandising Rights Agreement. The letter warns fighters that if they do not return the executed Merchandising Rights Agreement by the end of the week, the offer will be rescinded, and the fighter will not be included in the UFC’s licensing program.
Even more outrageous, UFC officials are directly contacting fighters, instead of the fighters’ selected agents. Fighters are told that they are hearing only one side of the story from their selected representatives, and that the UFC’s Merchandising Rights program really is a great deal. By not signing the Merchandising Rights Agreement, fighters are told they are leaving money on the table.
The old saw “he signed the contract, he should honor it” line of thinking is a bit of a dodge and hard to defend if the signature is attained by subverting the fighter-agent relationship and without the advise and consent of legal representation, in effect, duping the fighter. Moves of this nature are more at home in the moral morass that is the boxing scene, and not something that MMA promoters should be mimicking.
Xtreme Fighting Championships drawing record-setting crowds in Florida
The UFC has been there. EliteXC also has paid a visit.
However, neither promotion is the answer to this question: which organization has drawn the largest mixed martial arts crowd in Florida?
That distinction resides with Xtreme Fighting Championships. If XFC doesn't exactly ring a bell, you're not alone.
"I've never heard of them, and we have 52 fighters under contract and another 45 on our prospect list," said Ken Pavia, one of the sport's top agents and an MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) contributor.
Pavia lives and breathes MMA, and the upstart organization isn't even on his radar, but, amazingly, Tampa-based XFC has staged four shows in the Sunshine State, and each has produced a bigger live gate than any other promotion in the state's history.
UFC 88: YOSHIDA WANTS TO BUILD ON PARISYAN
The influx of international talent into the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to grow with almost every event. One of the most recent additions to the ever-growing welterweight division is Japanese standout Yoshiyuki Yoshida, who made his debut at UFC 84 picking up a quick submission win over Jon Koppenhaver.
Now the Judoka returns against one of the toughest tests in his career as he faces Karo Parisyan at UFC 88 in Atlanta, but it won’t be the first time he steps in as the underdog not expected to win.
Making his way through Japanese promotions such as Shooto, Yoshida worked his way into the GCM: Cage Force welterweight tournament as one of eight fighters vying for the championship title.
QUACH OUT, ELITEXC TAPS CULLUM FOR TITLE BOUT
EliteXC has tapped Abel Cullum to step in to replace the injured Bao Quach in the promotion’s first bantamweight (140-pound limit) title bout. Cullum will face Wilson Reis on Sept. 26 as part of a ShoXC event on on the Showtime premium cable network.
Quach suffered a fractured orbital bone in training and subsequently had to be withdrawn from the card, according to ProElite.com.
Allum brings with him an 11-1 professional record in the bout against the undefeated Reis. He is the current King of the Cage flyweight champion, among other honors.
Affliction to Air Prelim Fights on HDNet
From an HDNet press release:
HDNet Fights today announced a long-term partnership with Affliction Entertainment to air live MMA events exclusively in North America on HDNet. These live events, featuring the top Mixed Martial Arts fighters from around the world, will be broadcast on HDNet as a lead-in to Affliction's Pay Per View Events.
"This is the beginning of a long-term partnership with Affliction that encompasses live MMA, co-marketing and top fighters for the top weekly show in MMA - Inside MMA on HDNet," said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. "Affliction has quickly become one of the top organizations in MMA which means it is a must have for HDNet."
As part of the agreement, HDNet will feature the first ninety minutes of live bouts that are part of each Affliction MMA event. Affliction joins the deep HDNet Fights lineup, which already features more LIVE events than any other network on television today.
Brock Lesnar's Wrestling Coach Goes Full Time
Minnesota assistant wrestling coach Marty Morgan is leaving the program, to focus full time on former Gophers star Brock Lesnar's fledgling fighting career.
Lesnar is on the rise in the Ultimate Fighting Championship ranks. He was once an NCAA champion heavyweight at the school.
Morgan spent 16 years coaching at Minnesota after wrestling for the school himself. He says he will take the next year to concentrate on helping Lesnar train in the field of mixed martial arts before evaluating his career then.
To what extent Morgan understands the specificities of the MMA game is an open question, but adding his knowledge and oversight to the existing squad at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy can only be a good thing. And while Lesnar is a self motivated fighter, having someone on the coaching staff who knows Brock Lesnar is a major plus for the budding heavyweight.
This is also a demonstration that MMA is offering financial opportunities beyond the wrestling mat...even to wrestlers who don't fight. Lesnar is a bit of an aberrant case, but his participation in the sport could be the tide that helps lift all boats.
Brock Lesnar: I'm tired of hearing about Fedor Emelianenko
For UFC newcomer Brock Lesnar (2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), the frustration was evident.
UFC President Dana White yesterday announced Lesnar would face a returning Randy Couture at UFC 91 for Couture's heavyweight title. And despite being part of what White referred to as "the biggest fight in UFC history," Lesnar was largely ignored for most of the hour-long media conference call.
The majority of questions focused on Couture's return and how it would impact a possible bout between Couture and current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. Lesnar quickly grew tired of the hypothetical discussion.
"I'm hearing all this talk about Fedor Emelianenko," Lesnar said. "Who gives a [expletive] about Fedor? I don't care. I'm fighting Randy Couture. That's what this press conference is about."
Lesnar said he was not alone in his disdain for the discussions of Emelianenko.
"I don't give a damn about Fedor," Lesnar said. "I'm tired of hearing about [expletive] Fedor. Randy Couture is fighting Brock Lesnar Nov. 15. His No. 1 concern should be Brock Lesnar. And Dana White could care less about Fedor.
Johnson Recovered, Ready For October Return
During an appearance yesterday on TAGG Radio, Anthony Johnson talked about the controversial TKO loss to Kevin Burns, the fight's aftermath, and his recovery from eye surgery. Johnson said he is cleared to return now but will likely next fight in October.
DynaPep Signs Ultimate Fighter Rashad Evans as Spokesman
DynaPep™ announced today that they have officially signed Ultimate Fighter Rashad Evans as their National Spokesman.
DynaPep™ is the World's First Supercharged energy micro-shot, manufactured and distributed by Intocell Inc www.dynapep.com . DynaPep™ will be using Evans in their National marketing campaign. Look to see Rashad online plugging DynaPep™ as well as in print and radio ads.
"I am thrilled to be the DynaPep™ spokesman" said Evans, "I am looking forward to building the DynaPep brand and being part of the championship team they have assembled."
Rashad Evans was born September 25th 1979 in Niagara Falls, New York. Evans is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter currently signed to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). He now trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with Jackson's Submission Fighting. Evans won the heavyweight division of The Ultimate Fighter 2. He holds notable wins over Hector Ramirez, Brad Imes, Sam Hoger, Stephan Bonnar, Jason Lambert, Sean Salmon, Michael Bisping and went to a draw against former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
Rashad is fighting former UFC champion Chuck Liddell in Atlanta on September 6th. DynaPep will be Hosting the after party at Club Pure 2793 Clairmont Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329877.850.7673404.
DynaPep™ "The World's First Supercharged Energy Micro-shot is packaged in a liquid 4ml twist off top ampoule. Its time released suspension ensures hours of long lasting energy. "All active ingredients in DynaPep™ are derived from natural sources" Comments Paul Edelman, President and co-founder of Intocell and DynaPep™.
Couture and Lesnar on ESPN television shows Mike and Mike in the Morning and ESPN First Take Today
This just goes to show how far the sport of MMA has come. To have two of it's stars on ESPN (the biggest name in sports) is just incredible. Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar were actually just on Mike and Mike in the Morning (which actually airs on ESPN 2) around 9:30 A.M. EST, discussing their upcoming bout at UFC 91and just MMA in general. The pair of UFC stars will also be joining the cast of ESPN First Take, which starts at 10:00 AM EST. What wonderful news for the UFC and MMA in general as a sport, this will only help to turn more people on to MMA and help the sport to grow even more.
Couture/Lesnar Conference Call Video/Audio
Dana should have made Couture vs Lesnar for the Undisputed HW Championship then Mir vs Big Nog for the Intercontinental Championship and McCully vs Kongo for the Television Championship. Poor Randy! I bet Randy is cursing Dana with his Mind with this one , its like Randy's worst Moment in his Life....Randy is the Man? HAHA Fedor would rather Date a Porn Star than to Fight with this Org with the President who's a Clown,and Brock said Fedor never beat anyone in the company??Brock is reallythe Stupidiest Fighter in MMA,Fedor have not beat a UFC fighter in the UFC because He never even fought in the UFC but He beat Big Nog who can beat Brock 1 million times and destroyed numerous UFC fighters in Pride...Brock is sure Dana's Son like Dana said it cause theyre are Both Douches and Poser,....I think Fedor would just have to meet Randy,Dana and Brock the Dumbass in the street and beat the Living Hell out of them
Dollars and sense: No choice but Lesnar vs Couture at UFC 91
“Well I had hoped to entice you into taking a personal interest in things.”
“That’s an insult to both of us. It makes me stupid, and you a whore.”
While that might sound like the negotiations between Randy Couture and Dana White, it’s actually dialog from a movie about a martial arts warrior trying to bring down an evil syndicate known as “The Octagon.”
Talk about life imitating art.
Randy Couture is back in the UFC … and on Dana’s terms. For those of you who are furiously typing your dissent, don’t bother. Anything less than Couture vs. Emelianenko should be seen as a total failure for “The Natural” and all of his crusaders.
That’s not to say that Couture doesn’t benefit because he obviously does. I’m sure the financials of his three-fight contract are quite lucrative and he now gets to participate in the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) of all time.
Those aren’t my words, they’re Dana’s.
NOG VS MIR FOR (Interim) TITLE DESPITE COUTURE'S RETURN
“We have two heavyweights on the phone. We have scheduled a mega-fight between these two on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in Las Vegas. It will be Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture, the heavyweight champion of the UFC, versus Brock Lesnar.”
Those were the words from Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on Tuesday as he announced the return of the promotion’s embattled champion to the Octagon.
He also confirmed that the fight would be a five-round title bout, leaving many to wonder what is to become of the planned interim title bout between The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 coaches Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who currently holds the interim designation, and challenger Frank Mir.
People didn’t have to wonder long.
Dana White, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar phone Press Conference
The UFC made it official, the champ is back. Randy Couture and the UFC worked out their differences and announced that the 45-year old MMA legend will return for a monumental heavyweight championship battle against Brock Lesnar on Nov. 15 in Las Vegas.
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE:
Lesnar gets pretty pissed with all the questions about Fedor and Randy at around 5:50 of part 2.
Randy Couture returns to fight Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 … in Las Vegas
It’s official: Randy Couture fought Zuffa law and Zuffa law won … kinda.
The 11-month legal drama that involved the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its disgruntled heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, has been resolved.
Thank the almighty … whoever that may be.
In an official conference call today, UFC President Dana White announced that the 45-year-old Hall of Fame inductee had agreed to an out-of-court new three-fight contract. And, as speculated, will return against Brock Lesnar in the main event at UFC 91 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a five round fight for the heavyweight championship of the world.
This is quite a departure — and a monumental breakthrough — from the ugly break up that first began when Couture faxed in his resignation from a South African movie set in late 2007, citing poor pay, lack of respect and a desire to fight Fedor Emelianenko — a high-profile free agent who the UFC was unable to sign.
He has sat on the sidelines ever since, hoping that his legal team could find him a way out of his ironclad contract. Either he eventually realized that it was impossible or would just take too long, which is more than likely the genesis behind his sudden shift in strategy.
UFC could host a military-themed event in December
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV are working toward a military-themed event that would likely take place Dec. 10 -- on a U.S. military base -- as a fundraiser for the Fisher House charity.
Sources close to the event tell MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that organizers have advanced past the preliminary planning stages, though a number of obstacles remain.
Spike TV officials could neither confirm nor deny the possibility of the event when today reached for comment.
However, according to multiple sources, the event would likely feature some UFC fighters who come from a military background (and many who don't). A main event for the card has not been determined.