Ohio Institutes Cruiserweight Division On Trial Basis
A progressive state known for their longtime support of mixed martial arts, Ohio has taken another step to level the playing field in amateur mixed martial arts. Ohio will institute a cruiserweight division on a provisional basis on May 1. The new weight class, which will be 206-225 pounds, will be under a trial basis in amateur MMA, but the state has no plans of instituting the new division for professionals just yet.
UFC Theater Partnership Pays Dividends
UFC 111 marked the debut of the organization on the big screen as it partnered with NCM Fathom to broadcast the PPV live and in high definition across 309 theaters in the United States. We won’t receive any word on the success of the in-theater event for at least another week, but MMAPayout.com has learned that the extent to which NCM Fathom helped to promote UFC 111 within its theaters – something that highlights the value of partnerships like this one for the UFC.
In partnering with Fathom, the UFC reached audiences in 775 theaters (7,500+ screens) with a digital trailer running on the in-theater ad network and lobby entertainment network for a total of 31 million in-theater impressions. Movie-goers also saw posters in their local theaters as well as larger-than-life standees in 309 theaters that featured Georges St-Pierre and Dan Hardy in an 8-foot standee.
Fathom also developed a toolkit for fans to interact with the brand and each other over social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The kit enabled fans to view online trailers, download virtual badges, find links to UFC content and pages, and to sign up for web/newsletters.
On the PR side, Fathom also arranged to have several UFC and WEC personalities – approximately 20 in total – attend the event at their local movie theaters for a meet & greet session that involved pictures and autographs prior to the event viewing itself.
Even if the results are somewhat modest in terms of the number of people that attended the live screening, the UFC has still come out far ahead on this deal. The company has found yet another distribution medium that offers a unique and captivating experience for fans. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also tapped into another advertising avenue that reaches a slightly different demographic than what they’d typically get from Spike or Versus...
Dana White Finalist for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People List
The gate holding mixed martial arts back from mainstream acceptance continues to creak open. As a further sign, UFC President Dana White is on the short list of contenders for Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Though the poll just went live on Thursday morning, White was ranked in the top 10 of votes, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama, entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey and billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, among others.
The list focuses on leaders, artists, innovators and icons with a global impact. In 2007, Time 100 list managing editor Richard Strengel explained that the Time 100 was not a list of the hottest, most popular or most powerful people, but rather the most influential, saying, "Influence is hard to measure, and what we look for is people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in."
Rashad Evans and Houston Alexander seeking 'Vengeance' in November 2010
Hollywood, CA (USA) - Mixed martial arts stars "Suga" Rashad Evans and Houston "The Assassin" Alexander are set to make their big screen debuts in Danny Trejo's Vengeance, an upcoming film expected for a late 2010 release. Directed by Gil Medina (Vengeance, Vengeance II, Ambition), the film stars Hollywood Legend Danny Trejo (Predators 2010, Machete, 50's Gun), Jason Mewes (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), 50 Cent (Get Rich or Die Tryin', Righteous Kill), Noel G (Training Day), recording artist Tech9ne and former WWE star "Diamond" Dallas Page.
In the film, Jack (Trejo) is a retired undercover vice cop whose world is suddenly torn apart by the murder of his wife and daughter. After serving a prison term for a crime he didn't commit, Jack returns to the streets with a vengeance against crimes, and takes to vigilantism. Evans (K.O.) and Alexander (Strong Arm) both play Jack's partners from prison known as the Gorilla Family.
UFC Primetime Episode 3: 613,000 Viewers
MMAPayout.com has learned that the third episode of UFC Primtime: GSP vs. Hardy drew an average audience of 613,000 viewers on Wednesday night.
Episode 1: 1,000,000
Episode 2: 506,000 (-50%)
Episode 3: 613,000 (+22%)
There are many theories as to why there was a 50% drop in viewership between 1 and 2. Some panicked because they thought it was a sign of disinterest in the fight, others were more reserved in thinking it was likely just a result of tough competition due to March Madness and St. Paddy’s Day.
Why did the ratings increase? It’s possible that some of those lost to MM or St. Paddy’s during episode two, returned for episode three. However, I’m also inclined to think that the third episode benefited from a host of media coverage during fight week. Jon Jones and UFC on Versus, GSP and his endorsements, Dana White with Q&As, ESPN and MMA Live, THQ’s video game parties, etc.
DirecTV and Versus strike deal just in time for UFC on Versus 1
Versus, home to World Extreme Cagefighting and now the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was dropped from the satellite-cable company's lineup on Sept. 1, 2009, after a dispute over carrier fees.
DirecTV boasts approximately 18 million subscribers and – thanks to some exclusive offerings such as the NFL Sunday Ticket – is popular with sports fans.
Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, though Versus has already been reinstated on the channel lineup.
"We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers," DirecTV executive Derek Chang stated.
A Versus executive echoed that sentiment while playing up the cable station's upcoming UFC on Versus 1 event, which airs this coming Sunday (March 21) live from Broomfield, Colo.
"We're excited that we were able to come to a fair agreement that puts Versus back in millions of homes with DirecTV in time for our busy spring programming schedule," Versus president Jamie Davis stated. "We look forward to super-serving these fans with NHL regular-season and playoff coverage, our first live UFC event and much more."
One Year After The Passing Of "Mask", The Family Still Waits For Justice
Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Jr., founder of the popular multi-million dollar MMA clothing line and television show TapouT, was killed on the morning of March 11, 2009, when his Ferrari collided with a Porsche driven by Jeffrey David Kirby of Costa Mesa. One year later, the Lewis family still waits for justice. While most of the mixed martial arts community has been able to accept Mask's passing while pressing forward in honor of his memory, his sister Carla Lewis continues to face it on a daily basis as the trial of Kirby, now scheduled for April 2, 2010, continues to drag on. Kirby had been charged with vehicular manslaughter and is facing a possible sentence of more than 19 years if convicted. However, like most court cases, lengthy delays are no longer the exception and have instead become the rule. "For the past year Charles' attorney and myself have repeatedly come before the Judge, wanting our case sent to trial," Lewis said. "Kirby has changed his attorney several times and has not appeared, at least twice. The last court date had in attendance several family members and friends who had traveled a great distance, just to be told we have to come back. It is quite frustrating, to say the least."
One Year Later, "Mask" Leaves Positive Imprint With Those Who Knew Him
Be better than you think you can be. Don't quit two minutes before the miracle. Believe. Charles "Mask" Lewis, the co-founder of TapouT, passed away a year ago today in a car accident and continues to motivate friends and loved ones with the messages that were central to his life. Those who knew him remember his buoyant spirit, drive for excellence, and generosity. More than that, they feel the imprint his positive energy has left in a fast-moving and ever-changing world.
Marcus Jones announced as second of four bonus characters for "UFC Undisputed 2010"
Video game retailer GameStop announced this week that former professional footballer Marcus Jones (4-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is the second of four playable bonus characters in the forthcoming "UFC Undisputed 2010" title.
Jones joins James McSweeney as the only two officially announced bonus characters. The remaining two will be revealed one per day on March 9 and March 16.
Customers can secure access to these bonus characters by pre-ordering the game with GameStop either in-store or online. According to the company's website, "a code and instructions to unlock the GameStop exclusive fighters will come packaged with your game."
The retailer engaged in a similar program with the THQ's debut UFC-related title, "UFC 2009 Undisputed," when Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero were offered up as incentives to reserve the game early. The two fighters were then eligible for all consumers to download 90 days after the initial release date.
The critically acclaimed title went on to sell 3.5 million units and won the "Best Individual Sports Game" at the 2009 VGA Awards, beating out the likes of "Fight Night Round 4," "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10," and "Wii Sports Resort."
Available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3, "UFC Undisputed 2010" is set for a May 25 release.
"'UFC 2009 Undisputed' opened the door for us to further share the UFC brand with videogame and fight fans around the world, and we cannot wait to return this spring with the release of 'UFC Undisputed 2010,'" UFC president Dana White stated in the official announcement of the new game.
Jones, a first-round draft pick in the 1996 NFL draft, began his MMA career in late 2007. The green but well-rounded fighter advanced to the semifinals of "The Ultimate Fighter 10" after a submission victory over Mike Wessel and a TKO win over Darrill Schoonover.
A seven-year member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones was knocked out of the competition in the semis by Brendan Schaub in one of the season's most entertaining bouts. Following the loss, Jones said he planned to walk away from the sport, but he returned for the season's live finale, only to suffer a second-round TKO loss to Matt Mitrione
Strikeforce Fighters to Appear on 'NCIS: L.A.'
Synergy was the word of the day when Strikeforce lightweight champion Gil Melendez, former titleholders Josh Thomson and Cung Le, and others joined the cast of CBS’s “NCIS: Los Angeles,” shooting this week in Hollywood, Calif.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” stars Chris O’Donnell and L.L. Cool J as agents with the Navy’s crime investigative service. In this episode, Cool J goes undercover as an MMA fighter to investigate the death of a Marine tied to the sport.
Strikeforce fighters Dan Henderson, Frank Shamrock and K.J. Noons also guest-starred as themselves, assisting Cool J for his cage debut against Eric Christian Olsen (“Fired Up!” “Dumb and Dumberer.”) Referee “Big” John McCarthy “officiated” the former rap star’s emphatic turn in the cage.
The episode airs on Tuesday, April 6 at 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on CBS, while Strikeforce returns to CBS’s “Saturday Night Fights” on April 17.
BJ Penn Unlikely Source of Info for Hawaii Tsunami News Coverage
As the world watched the terrible news of another horrific earthquake -- this one epicentered in central Chile, and waited for news of a follow-up tsunami expected to hit Hawaii, UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn and his website BJPenn.com became a legitimate news outlet for information.
Penn, who incorporates frequent video blogs as part of his website, live streamed video footage of Hilo Bay on his website throughout the day. His videos were picked up by CNN and Fox News and broadcast to a worldwide viewing audience, and Penn was also interviewed by CNN regarding conditions in his area.
Though the tsunami was first expected to hit at 11 am local time, the islands had not suffered any damage as of one hour later, though there were reports of receding shorelines, an early sign of an impending tsunami strike.
The 31-year-old Penn -- a two-time UFC champion in two different weight classes -- lives in Hilo and is considered one of Hawaii's most famous athletes. He's always been among the more tech-savvy athletes in MMA, promoting his website in interviews dating back to his early days in the UFC.
He recently released an iPhone app that was a bestseller, and just a few days ago launched what he calls the "Penn Global Broadcasting Network" on his site, offering 90 channels of content.
"It's the biggest news in the world and it's coming from our iPhones," a member of Penn's entourage could be heard saying while shooting video of the bay.
Tim Sylvia vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski
Like a 59 car pile up plus a train and helicopter up on the highway.You know you should not look but how can you not when something this awsome comes along.
A matchup between former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia and five-time “World’s Strongest Man” Mariusz Pudzianowski is scheduled to headline an April 23 event in Worcester, Massachusetts near Boston, according to the Boston Herald.
The card, co-promoted by Eric “Butterbean” Esch and Korean-based promotion Moosin, is also slated to include UFC veterans Rich Clementi, Yves Edwards, and Houston Alexander
Report: Bully Beatdown Gets 3rd Season
MMA fighter Jason Miller's reality series "Bully Beatdown", which has been airing on the cable network MTV, has reportedly been renewed for a 3rd season by the network. While details about the third season are scarce, the source said Miller returns as the show's host and that the pro-fighter-vs.-bully format will remain largely the same. During each 30-minute episode of the show, which debuted in March 2009, a bully victim contacts Miller, a professional MMA fighter currently under contract to Strikeforce, for help. An MMA fighter then competes against the bully, who receives cash prizes (up to $10,000) for surviving a round of grappling and a round of kickboxing with the pro. MTV has aired 16 "Bully Beatdown" episodes over two seasons, which ran from March to April and August to October of 2009. The show has been a solid performer in the men 12-34 demo, an age range that MTV primarily targets.
Barnett CSAC Appeal Delayed Yet Again
Josh Barnett's appeal to the CSAC of a failed drug test last year-take 4-scheduled for today was delayed for a 4th time because Barnett no-showed. The reason was that Barnett was in Japan to work a pro wrestling event today and wouldn't return to the US in time for the hearing. A final ruling on his appeal is now expected on April 20.
THQ VP: There’s Nothing In EA Sports MMA To Entice You To Buy It
EA, which is a very well known company and who makes big sports games, they couldn’t get our license. They were not fans of the UFC, they were not fans of mixed-martial arts–and they decided to change their business plan and became a “me-too” company and create a “me too” fighter. They couldn’t get what they really wanted, so they tried to create a game that would compete with us. We have a lot of respect for them, but there’s nothing in that game that would entice me or anyone I know that’s an MMA fan to buy it. If you want stars, the best organization, the best graphics, you’re going to stick with what you bought last year because this year’s game is even better. And the fact that we didn’t cheat or cut corners in 2010, I think our fans are going to be very happy.
—THQ Executive VP Don Gold, in an interview with , claiming EA Sports MMA can’t compete with UFC Undisputed 2010
Brian Foster Talks UFC 110 & Childhood
Brian Foster “Ready for Lytle and Australia”
PDG: You had lost your debut with the UFC but most recently beat someone close to the top ten rankings. How do you feel so far with your experiences with the promotion?
Brian Foster: In the first fight I had a lot of jitters – which is understandable, but I should have performed in the first fight like I did in the second. Had it not been for the nerves I probably would have. I knew coming into the second fight with Larson that it was get it or go – if I didn't get it they would have probably ended my contract and I wouldn't have fought for the UFC anymore. It is the biggest organization in the world and I'm happy and thankful to be a part of it.
Are State Athletic Commissions Failing Fans of MMA and Boxing?
Drug testing in professional sports has been a hot topic among fans for years. Following the implication of many professional baseball players in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the scrutiny from the general public, the federal government, and fans of each and every sport has been on the rise. Most fans feel that throwing money at the problem could eventually bring a halt to the steroid era, but there are others who believe it will only diminish the product, a product that is supposed to be consumed as entertainment.
Lift The Ban Watch: New York To Try Legalizing MMA Again?
It appears MMA legalization will get another chance in New York this upcoming year, as the state budget proposal from NY governor David Patterson reportedly includes a proposal to legalize MMA in the state. The state of New York is currently $7 billion in the hole, and the belief is that major MMA events could bring in between $10 million-$15 million per event.