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...
Report: Leben vs. SImpson Now At TUF 11 Finale, Not UFC 114
UFC appears to be doing some upcoming card-shuffling as there's a report that Chris Leben vs. Aaron Simpson, originally planned for UFC 114, is now being moved to the TUF 11 Finale. That would push the fight back about 3 weeks. The fight likely would be on the TV portion of the TUF 11 Finale.
UFC 112 Video Blog with Frankie Edgar: Heading out to Abu Dhabi
In this first UFC 112 video blog top lightweight contender Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar spends his last day out in his home of Toms River, New Jersey where he prepares himself to fly out to the United Arab Emirates and into Abu Dhabi where the UFC 112 event will take place as Edgar is seen getting a haircut, spending time with his son. Edgar will take on lightweight champion BJ Penn in the co-main event of the evening this Saturday night from Concert Arena in Yas Island.
Does Maia Have A Chance?
The Spider carries a perfect 10-0 octagon record with him to his middleweight title defense this Saturday at UFC 112. He also has a 25-4 record overall, with 15 of his fights coming by way of KO/TKO. Silva has not lost an MMA fight in nearly five years, and many, including UFC President Dana White, rank him as the top pound for pound fighter in the world.
Spike Announces UFC Counterprogramming For 4/17
To probably nobody's surprise, Spike & UFC are once again scheduling counter-programming opposite Strikeforce, this time for SF's 4/17 event on CBS. Spike announced today that they will air a replay of UFC 110 from Australia opposite SF on 4/17 at 9 PM ET. That's the same time SF airs on CBS with 3 title fights.
Alves-Fitch 2 Rebooked For UFC 115
The Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch rematch originally set for UFC 111 has now been rebooked for UFC 115. UFC president Dana White announced the fight via Twitter overnight. While the long-awaited rematch was expected to be a feature bout last month at UFC 111, Alves was forced off the card due to a failed CT scan and subsequent brain surgery.
UFC president Dana White suggests teammate vs. teammate fights will be required
The days of Ultimate Fighting Championships competitors saying they won't fight their teammates may be over.
Following the recently concluded UFC 111 event, main-card winner Jon Fitch and UFC president Dana White had a brief exchange about the topic in which the promoter chided the welterweight contender for saying he won't fight teammate and fellow title hopeful Josh Koscheck.
After the formal press setting, White made a more definitive statement.
"It's over man," White said. "This whole 'we won't fight each other' thing is over. How long can they go on when they have two of the top guys in the division and they won't fight each other?
Is WEC Worth the PPV Price Tag?
On April 24th, 2010 the WEC will broadcast their most stacked card to date. The card will feature two title bouts as well as a possible featherweight number one contender fight between Mike Brown and Manny Gamburyan.
The increase in card quality is not the only change from the usual WEC programing.
Instead of the normal free basic cable broadcast WEC 48 will set you back $44.95 for a standard PPV buy.
Penn Considering Move To 170 Following UFC 112
Each time B.J. Penn prepares to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight belt, the question arises: with a win, will he return to the welterweight division where he once held the title?
Penn takes on Frankie Edgar in the co-main event of UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10, and if the Hawaiian comes away with the win, a move to the 170-pound division is something he’s considering.
“If everything goes well on April 10, I definitely would consider moving up to 170. Not that I’m – not that it’s 100-percent guaranteed,” Penn said recently.
“If I do make that move I’m going to move slow. I’m not going to try to rush anything,” he added. “Maybe I would think about it more as testing the waters. I’d talk to Dana and see if he would want me to vacate the belt, but maybe try do something like Anderson (Silva) is doing, test the waters, see how everything is going and see how everything plays out.”
RENZO GRACIE ON GSP'S INABILITY TO FINISH HARDY
Prior to his UFC 111 title defense against Dan Hardy, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre spent two weeks in Manhattan working at the Renzo Gracie Academy to help sharpen his skills in preparation for the fight.
St-Pierre has worked with Renzo Gracie black belt John Danaher for several fights now, and always credits the work he does with them for his incredible ground acumen. Much of that skill showed on Saturday night when St-Pierre wrenched Hardy's arm in two different submissions that nearly finished the fight.
AFTER UFC 111 WIN, PELLEGRINO FOCUSES ON GOLD
With four wins in a row, it would be difficult to deny Kurt Pellegrino has developed into a legitimate title contender.
Since returning to his native New Jersey and hooking up with fellow UFC lightweight Kenny Florian, Pellegrino has flourished and now has his sights set on goals he once thought unobtainable.
Shortly after his recent win at UFC 111, Pellegrino told MMAWeekly.com, “I had set my goals in the middle. I just told people I wanted to fight in the UFC. I believed that was the highest I could set my goals, and I have to reset everything.
Thiago Alves targeting UFC 114 return; still wants Jon Fitch rematch
We prefer 114, but not for sure yet. Nothing is set in stone. Thiago wants to get into the cage as soon as possible. If UFC 114 means fighting someone [other than Fitch] then he’ll fight someone else ... He wants to fight anybody that is willing to fight him, as soon as possible. UFC 114 is the target date, but if he has no choice then he’s going to do UFC 115."
UFN 21: 1.6 Million Viewers
Spike TV executives today announced that Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 21 drew an average of 1.6 million viewers over the broadcast, peaking at 2 million for the Kenny Florian-Takanori Gomi main event. It won the program's timeslots in men 18-34 & men 18-49, but the average audience was down very slightly from UFN 20, which averaged 1.7 million viewers.
Dan Hardy: I May Have Lost Saturday Night But I Wasn't Beaten
And no, he was not impressed with GSP's performance either. In fact, Hardy, who was in North Carolina visiting teammates Ross Pearson & Andre Winner ahead of UFN 21, said "[St-Pierre] just convinced me that he can keep me on the floor for 25 minutes." "When I fight him again, I'll be able to step into the octagon with a lot more confidence," he said. "Not that I didn't go into this fight with confidence, but I'm convinced now I can beat him. With a couple more months of training and a bit of work in a couple of areas, I can get the job done.
"I may have lost on Saturday night, but I wasn't beaten." He believes that if he keeps winning, he'll get his rematch within a year.
Paul Buentello not officially cut from UFC, but camp anticipates release
Paul Buentello (27-12 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has not received his official UFC release, but his representative is preparing for the worst.
"We've had discussions with the UFC about moving forward with Paul," Ellis Pacheco, Buentello's manager and lawyer, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today. "Have we received any paperwork? No."
Buentello dropped his second consecutive UFC fight when he met Cheick Kongo at UFC on Versus 1 in March.
In a one-sided affair, Kongo dominated the fight on the ground before Buentello submitted unexpectedly in the third round. His cornerman, Trevor Wittman, later confirmed the former heavyweight contender had suffered a dislocated finger in the fight's first round and was unable to continue due to the pain of the injury.
"It was very frustrating because of how well Paul had done in training camp with takedown defense and wrestling," Pacheco said. "He had lost 26 pounds for the fight."
The UFC's official Web site still lists Buentello on its heavyweight roster.
Wittman said medical personnel shot Buentello's hand with Novocaine backstage to help deal with the pain from the dislocated finger.
Afterward, Buentello said he wanted to quit fighting.
"I told him to not make any rash decisions," Wittman told MMAjunkie.com. "He was like, 'Oh, the UFC's going to cut me.' Honestly, from my perspective – and I try to keep it as real as I can because I love Paul, and I think he's a great fighter – I think he's got to have more dimensions at this high level of the game."
But Pacheco said a likely scenario for Buentello's future involves taking a few fights outside the UFC and to return at a later date.
"Do they want to drop Paul? No," Pacheco said. "But he's got two [losses], so it's possible that he might have to fight a few times outside the UFC and pick up a couple of wins and come back.
"I got a very nice email from (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) saying if they have to do that, they'd very much like to have Paul back."
Retirement does not appear to be on the table, at least for now.
Buentello fought Andrei Arlovski for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 55 and lost via knockout. Despite a subsequent win over Gilbert Aldana at UFC 57, he was released from the promotion in 2006 and fought for Strikeforce and Affliction before re-signing with the UFC in the wake of Affliction's collapse this past August. He suffered a loss to Stefan Struve in December and is now 0-2 since his return.
TUF 12 Tryouts Draw 300+...And Jason Guida
Yes, that Jason Guida. The older brother of popular UFC fighter Clay Guida, who was a contestant on TUF 8 but kicked off before his first fight due to not making weight, was one of over 300 who showed up at today's TUF 12 open trouts in North Carolina. Other notable names who showed up included recent WEC fighter Mike Budnik & PRIDE veteran Charles Bennett. TUF 12 will feature Lightweights & Light Heavyweights.
UFC Cuts Paul Buentello
The Paul Buentello Taco Shop is once again out of business. The heavyweight has reportedly been cut by UFC following his most recent fight, a submission loss to Cheick Kongo, which has Buentello on the Losing Streak Of Doom-2 in a row. Strikeforce is considered an unlikely destination, he turned down a 6-figure deal for a Fedor fight in September '09 and "didn't really fit" in their plans at the time.
UFC Fight Night 21 bonuses: Florian, Nelson, Pearson, Siver earn $30K awards
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kenny Florian, Roy Nelson, Ross Pearson and Denis Siver each earned $30,000 bonuses for their performances at Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 21 event.
Florian earned the "Submission of the Night" award, Nelson picked up the "Knockout of the Night" bonus, and Ross Pearson and Dennis Siver each earned "Fight of the Night honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and amounts in the night's post-fight press conference.
UFC Fight Night 21 took place at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., and aired on Spike TV as a lead-in for the "The Ultimate Fighter 11" season debut.
Florian picked up his award after submitting former PRIDE Fighting Championship lightweight title-holder and Japanese superstar Takanori Gomi via third-round rear-naked choke. Florian used crisp striking through two rounds to set up the takedown and fight-ending choke in the third.
Nelson, meanwhile, made his case for heavyweight title contention by blasting 6-foot-10 Stefan Struve with a pair of brutal overhand rights in the co-main event. "The Ultimate Fighter 10" winner then followed the towering Dutch fighter to the mat and unloaded a barrage of punches to force the KO stoppage just 39 seconds into the heavyweight fight.
Pearson and Siver, meanwhile, opened the night's broadcast with a high-energy three-rounder . While the competitors kept a nice pace to the fight, Pearson left little doubt he deserved the victory and ultimately picked up the unanimous-decision win via scores of 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
UFC 115 to remain in Vancouver, event not heading to Cincinnati
UFC 115 is a go for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Less than 24 hours after the promotion gave the city until the end of business today to resolve concerns over the legal liability of holding an event in the city, Vancouver officials have given the June 12 show the green light.
The Canadian Press first reported the event as a go-ahead. MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the plans with sources close to the event.
Sources close to the situation today told the Vancouver Sun that city officials reached an agreement to hold the event during a three-hour emergency council meeting late Tuesday night.
The impasse centered on the council's concern that a fighter or party could sue the city if an injury or mishap took place during an event.
Marc Ratner, vice president of UFC regulatory affairs, on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com that he was not giving up on Vancouver as UFC 115's destination after reports surfaced that the regulatory snafu had forced the promotion to consider moving the show to Cincinnati, Ohio.
"We're certainly working hand in hand with the mayor's office and the city council, and hopefully we have what they want," Ratner said. "The fight is still going forward as we speak."
UFC 115 will be the fourth event to be held on Canadian soil and the first event held in the Canadian province of British Columbia...
Coach: Alves’ Procedure Successful
Former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves underwent a successful medical procedure to mend a malformation in the left hemisphere of his brain Wednesday in New York City, according to his American Top Team coach Ricardo Liborio.