MMA and Boxing Events Suffer from Weak Attendance in Las Vegas
From Loretta Hunt of Sherdog:
“A Night of Combat 2,” a collaborative event led by Superfights MMA promoter Skip Kelp in conjunction with Kim Couture’s KC Concepts, sold 1,063 of the 8,911 tickets available at the Thomas & Mack Center for a gate of $32,405. Tickets were set in a very reasonably priced $15-50 range, and comped tickets brought attendance up to 1,735 spectators.
Xtreme Couture standouts Jay Hieron, Mike Pyle, and John Alessio topped an 18-fighter bill that paid $160,500 in fighter purses.
Gary Shaw’s Antonio Tarver-Chad Dawson light heavyweight title fight drew 911 attendees to 1,770-seat Pearl inside The Palms for what was anticipated to be a sellout. Tickets ranged from $150-750 for a total gate of $329,650.
Tarver was compensated $1 million for his unanimous decision loss, while Dawson earned $800,000 for the live Showtime-aired event. No other fighter on the bill made above $5,000, though the promotion paid out the maximum $50,000 broadcast tax, signifying it took in at least $3 million from Showtime.
It's no secret that the Las Vegas area has been hard hit by falling home prices and a decline in tourism dollars due to a slowing economy. The weak attendance for these two events may be a sign that fans are becoming more selective in their use of lessening disposable income. Even the UFC is experiencing some difficulty:
The Success of DEEP
Sherdog has a nice article about DEEP and the man behind it,promoter Shigeru Saeki. The story is an interesting one as it ties in the success of a regional show like DEEP into the personality and ability of Saeki himself. As for what accounts for DEEP's success, it's essentially their ability be unorthodox while offering a consistently quality product. They play outside the boundries of the Tokyo-based large promotions and that's precisely why they thrive:
As a promoter who has found success where others have not -- with female fighters and nationwide touring -- one would be hard pressed to pinpoint why Saeki has flourished when many of his peers have failed. It’s difficult enough to survive as a regional fight show in Japan without accruing huge debt in the dark days that have followed the “kakutogi boom.” Still, Deep clings to its place in the local MMA scene.
“I wouldn't be able to comment because I never realized that there was [a boom],” Saeki says. “Maybe for K-1 and Pride there was, but for myself, Shooto, Pancrase, GCM and ZST, we didn't really feel one.”
So where then does the promotion’s success originate? Another ingredient in Deep’s triumphs comes from the time-honored tradition of spectacle, which appears to work well in Japan.
“This year will be Deep’s eighth, so Japanese fans probably know what we do best by now,” Saeki says. “We're an MMA promotion, but we're also an entertainment company.”
DEEP's Megaton tournament wasn't anything I cared about and not something I'd like to see replicated in America, but if it keeps the Japanese happy and MMA alive there is some upside to it after all.
Props to Bloody Elbow.
Aleksander Emelianenko to fight at M-1 Challenge 9
Aleksander Emelianenko, the younger brother of WAMMA champion Fedor, will take on Sang Soo Lee in a superfight at M-1 Challenge 9 in Russia on November 21.
Emelianenko (13-3) will look win his fifth straight as well as avenge his teammate Roman Zentsov's loss at M-1 Challenge 7 to Lee (9-4).
Lee of South Korea has won three in a row fighting for HEAT, DEEP and M-1 Challenge.
Emelianenko vs. Lee will be one of two superfights on the M-1 Challenge 9 card. The rest of the card from the team MMA league will be filled by matchups between Team Korea vs. Red Devil and Russia Legion vs. Team Holland.
Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes set for UFC 93
A light heavyweight fight between Andre Gusmao (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Antonio Mendes (15-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has been added to UFC 93, an event that takes place Jan. 17 at The 02 in Dublin, Ireland.
The match-up was first reported in the Oct. 13 edition of Wrestling Observer.
The 205-pound match-up complements the night's main event between light heavyweights Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin, as well as a co-main event of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Mark Coleman.
Exclusive: Interview with KJ Noons
It has been a rocky road between EliteXC and former lightweight champion KJ Noons over the last few months. EliteXC had been adamant about the fact they wanted to see Noons defend his title against Nick Diaz on October 4th when the organization held its third card on CBS but negotiations fell through.
The fall out would lead to EliteXC stripping Noons of the belt that he had won from Diaz when it was vacant title, stating that they felt Noons was ducking Diaz for a rematch.
Shogun Training Elbows For Coleman
Maurício "Shogun" Rua is practicing his elbow strikes in preparation for a bitter war with long-time adversary Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman, his coach has revealed.
The two will face off at UFC 93 in January in a rematch of their 2006 PRIDE FC meeting that left Rua with a broken arm and the two men as sworn rivals.
Mauricio Veio is training Shogun for the January fight and says his athlete “knows Coleman will go at him”.
PRIDE did not allow the use of elbows, but Rua is adapting quickly to the UFC ruleset and is already making them part of his game.
“He is training hard and will take The Hammer down and hit him with his elbows,” Veio revealed. “Shogun is ready for the worst situations in the fight."
Veio was a coach with Chute Boxe before leaving to join Shogun and Ninja at their new gym, Universidade da Luta (University of Fighting) earlier this year.
He is the brother of Andre ‘Dida’ Amade, who also left Chute Boxe to join Universidade da Luta.
Kalib Starnes: ‘I’m glad I’m not fighting’ in the UFC
“People like to be on the side that’s winning. They’re supportive when you’re winning and critical when you’re losing. I still get some sweet hate mails pretty regularly. There are some gyms with guys who begged me to come in there and train and do seminars before that fight and who wouldn’t return my calls or talk to me afterwards…. It’s good. It separates people who are really supportive and back you from people that are just trying to jump on your wagon while you’re successful…. [Being granted a release from the UFC] was something I’m happy about. I’m glad I’m not fighting there and will be fighting independently where I want and for whoever wants to pay me.”
Kalib Starnes talks about life after his dreadful fight against Nate Quarry at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? earlier this year, which will perhaps go down as the worst performance ever inside the Octagon in modern history. The former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) indicates that he broke his foot early in the fight, causing him to disengage and flee from “The Rock” the entire fight. UFC President Dana White, as well as those who watched the fight, were generally disgusted with the fight — the negative reaction he received was quite remarkable, actually. Starnes asked to be released from the organization shortly thereafter and the request was granted. He will return to action against Kala Kalohe Hose under the Destiny banner on November 15.
Former UFC Fighter Doerksen Added To Sengoku 6
Former UFC fighter Joe Doerksen has been added to the upcoming Sengoku 6 card. He'll face Izuru Takeuchi in a reserve bout for that night's Middleweight GP semifinals and finals, meaning Doerksen could find himself in the final if a semifinalist is unable to continue.
MICHAEL BISPING GETS READY FOR THE SECOND TIME
For the second time in as many months, Michael Bisping has been working and training for a match-up against Chris Leben. The first time around, Leben had to pull out of the bout to serve time for a past legal offense, but now the fight is on and the British fighter has had plenty of time to think about this one.
Before fighting Jason Day in his last UFC bout, Bisping had game planned and prepared for Leben. He is now able to recycle that knowledge for the fight scheduled for UFC 89 this weekend in England.
“This time when the fight was scheduled I kind of already had an idea of how the fight was going to go and what I needed to do,” said the Brit in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I was already watching his tapes, now I started doing that again. The gameplan’s still the same.”
While the gameplan itself hasn’t been revealed, one big key to Bisping’s success could be his patience to deal with Leben’s incredible chin and ability to withstand a ton of punishment.
DETAILING THE KIMBO-PETRUZELLI INVESTIGATION
Last week, the Florida State Boxing Commission opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of fight fixing in the main event of EliteXC’s “Heat” between Seth Petruzelli and Kimbo Slice.
According to Alexis Antonacci, press secretary for Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the investigation will release its findings in a week to a week and a half.
Representatives from the DBPR will first interview the promoters of EliteXC; presumably Jeremy Lappen, Head of Fight Operations; Jared Shaw, Vice President; and Chuck Champion, CEO.
Antonacci said Petruzelli and Kimbo, along with other fighters on the card, may or may not be interviewed.
14 Questions for Marcus Davis
Coming off a loss to Mike Swick in June, Marcus Davis will try to bounce back Saturday against Paul Kelly at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England. “The Irish Hand Grenade” shared some old boxing stories with Sherdog.com, as well as his thoughts on various topics from music to alcoholism to his meeting with Kelly.
Sherdog.com: Have you ever been rocked or knocked down during training or ever reconsidered fighting?
Davis: Nope. I've never been knocked out ever in my life. A lot of people look at my boxing record and it says TKO on there -- they think it was from a knockout. It wasn't. It was from a cut. I've never been knocked out in sparring or anything. I've never ever once reconsidered fighting. I've always wanted to be a fighter.
Sherdog.com: You spent a lot of time in boxing. What are some of those old-time memories?
Davis: One that just popped into my head: We were all in the gym one time, and there was this guy that was supposed to come in and spar with Dana Rosenblatt, who was an undefeated Jewish boxer at the time -- and there weren't a whole lot of Jewish boxers period, you know? So bringing this kid in, he was 5-0, and so they come walking in and he's got like this entourage and they’re screaming out, "Mikey D! 5-0 Mikey D!" All cheery as hell. The kid comes in and gets his stuff on. They start sparring. Dana hit him so hard with a body shot that the guy s--t himself.
There's just s--t pouring out of this guy's trunks. He ends up crawling out of the ring, and they rush him to the bathroom and he was so embarrassed, he didn't come back into the gym to get his stuff. He left right out of the side door, and they came in and gathered his stuff and they left. Never saw the kid again. I don't even know what ever happened with his career. I never followed him. I probably should have; it'd be funny to hear if he did any well at all.
You know, we had lots of different stories like that. A guy came in and was kicking a bag, and back then … you don't kick bags at a boxing school. My coach said, "Don't kick the bag!" The guy kind of looked at him -- he was a bodybuilder, the guy was all beefed up -- and he starts hitting the bag again, kicked it again and my trainer walked over to him and just smashed him right in the face. The guy actually broke down and started crying. Big muscle-bound guy broke down and started crying, looked at my coach and made an apology. We just have so many crazy stories about back then when I was boxing. It was just a different time. It was 15 years ago. You know the stories of scumbag promoters and stuff like that. There's good memories and bad memories.
M-1 Exclusive! Gegard Mousasi: "Fedor inspired me"
We caught up with the DREAM middleweight Grand Prix winner & champion. In this exclusive interview Gerard tells about his emotions before & after the GP Finals, starring in a movie alongside Fedor and how it feels like training with the best heavyweight in the world. Further he reveals future plans, bureaucratic origin of his name, hints at moving up the class and much more.
Heavyweight Antoni Hardonk vs. newcomer Mark Burch at UFC 92
UFC heavyweight Antoni Hardonk (7-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will go for his third consecutive UFC victory when he meets UFC newcomer Mark Burch (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 92, an event that takes place Dec. 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Sources close to Hardonk told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the bout earlier today.
The fight is expected to air on the un-aired preliminary card of the pay-per-view event.
Hardonk, a former kickboxer, made his octagon debut at UFC 65 and defeated Sherman Pendergarst via first-round TKO. The 32-year-old Dutchman then suffered back-to-back losses to Justin McCully and Frank Mir before recently scoring TKO victories over Colin Robinson (in just 17 seconds) and Eddie Sanchez.
He'll now meet Burch, a BodogFIGHT veteran who's undefeated in his past four fights. The Indiana native has fought twice this year -- both times in the Hoosier state -- with first-round TKOs over Chris Hanni (0-1) and Alex Rozman (0-6). Prior to those victories, he posted wins over the likes of Yoshiki Takahashi (28-24-3) and stand-out Xtreme Couture grappler Jay White.
Six of Burch's nine fights have come via knockout.
UFC Signs Japanese TV Deal
The UFC is headed back to Japanese TV sets via a new two-year deal with the Japanese subscription-based broadcaster WOWOW. They’ll be broadcasting all UFC pay-per-views starting with this Saturday’s UFC 89 from England on a tape delay. From the press release:
“The Japanese market has always been important to the UFC, and we want to bring MMA and all of its biggest stars back to Japan,” said Dana White, UFC President. “We are thrilled to be back with WOWOW.”
“WOWOW is extremely pleased to announce that UFC is back on WOWOW, starting with the UFC 89 event in Birmingham, UK,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Omura, Chief Producer, WOWOW. “The UFC will telecast in High Definition on WOWOW’s popular “Timely-on-Air” format, a limited delay broadcast adjusting the airtime to a time that will be convenient for the sports fans in Japan. After airing over 50 UFC shows from 2001 to 2007, we are excited to once again provide our subscribers with the most prominent mixed martial arts program in the world.”
UFC Back To Ohio In March
It seems that when Arnold goes to Ohio, UFC is right behind. When the Arnold EXPO goes to Ohio March 6-9, UFC is expected to return to Columbus on March 7.
Strikeforce nears deal for launch of live fights on NBC
Strikeforce is in advanced discussions with NBC to bring live fights to the Peacock Network.
The popular West Coast promotion struck a paid programming deal with NBC earlier this year, featuring 30-minute, weekly shows with fights from past Strikeforce events. Extending that agreement to live, primetime shows would be a major boast for Strikeforce as it looks to generate additional exposure for its brand and expand nationally.
"It's been signed off on at many levels (at NBC) already, and I think we're at the final stages," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "By the first quarter of '09, we'll probably have some fights going on. We would need that time frame any way to book the right fights and do it properly."
Serious talks between Strikeforce and the network have been ongoing for the past couple of months, and Coker says the dialogue is continuing. Approval at the senior most programming levels at NBC is the only hurdle left to clear to bring live MMA to a second U.S. broadcast network.