Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Monday, January 29, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- WEC's Joe Pearson Tests Positive for Marijuana Ingredient
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Joe Pearson, who fought for the WEC Featherweight Title at the first Zuffa-owned WEC event on January 20th, has tested positive for a metabolite form of the active ingredient in marijuana, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The active ingredient in marijuana is Delta-9-THC, and Pearson tested positive for Delta-9-THC's major metabolite, Delta-9-THC Carboxylic Acid. THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana.

Pearson is the ninth MMA fighter to fail a drug test in the state of Nevada since the beginning of 2006.

With Pearson's test for recreational drugs coming back positive, two of the four fighters in WEC title bouts on the January 20th event have now tested positive for a banned substance.

Last week, when the test results came back for performance-enhancing drugs, WEC Lightweight Title challenger Kit Cope was found to have tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Boldenone. Cope lost his January 20th fight to Rob McCullough, while Pearson lost his fight to Urijah Faber.

The six fighters who were drug tested at the WEC event on January 20th were Pearson, Cope, Faber, McCullough, Rich Crunkilton, and Mike Joy. Faber, McCullough, Crunkilton, and Joy passed all of their drug tests.

Competitors in MMA, boxing, and kickboxing who have been suspended for positive marijuana tests in the state of Nevada in the past have included Samson Po'uha, Sean McCully, Jason Guida, and Carter Williams. Though there is no standard punishment for a drug test failure in Nevada, previous fighters have generally been suspended six months for their first offense (and twelve months for their second offense in the case of Po'uha).

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the steroid test for any given fighter costs $154.50, the drug screen (which also tests for recreational drugs) costs $78.90, and the stimulant test costs $45.00, so the total cost of drug testing one fighter is $278.40.

The NSAC spent a total of $1,670.40 on drug testing for the first Zuffa-owned WEC event, which was also the first WEC event in Nevada. The total cost of drug testing every fighter on the card would have been $5,011.20. With 664 tickets sold, the WEC event had a live gate of $100,155.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Handles Brutal Knockout Poorly
by Ivan Trembow

The UFC showed a lack of class in its handling of the brutal knockout of Sean Salmon on the UFC Fight Night card on Thursday night, just as was the case when Tra Telligman and Terry Martin when they were both unconscious for an extended period of time after being knocked out in separate UFC bouts in 2005.

If you didn't see it, Salmon was knocked out cold by a high kick from Rashad Evans in the main event of the UFC Fight Night broadcast on Spike TV. He was unconscious for several minutes, and the UFC never acknowledged or updated viewers on his condition. (UPDATE: We now know, not from the UFC but from the web site of one of Salmon's sponsors, that Salmon is scheduled to be released from the hospital later tonight and thankfully it looks like he's going to be okay.)

As was the case with Telligman and Martin, there was no on-air acknowledgement by the UFC that Salmon was unconscious for a significant period of time, nor were there any general updates on his condition. In fact, the commentators were still yelling about what a "beautiful knockout" it was 30 seconds after it happened, when Salmon was still completely limp and it was clear that there was a potentially serious situation unfolding.

After the event, numerous people on message boards were asking questions like, "Is he okay?" and even, "Is he dead?" You literally would not know from the UFC broadcast itself whether Salmon was dead or alive when the show went off the air, which left a lot of people wondering about his condition.

Name any other sport where someone has a potentially serious injury and the response is to not acknowledge it or update the viewers on the injury.

It would be the equivalent of an NFL player going down from a big hit and not moving for several minutes, and the camera on the television broadcast cuts to a crowd shot or commercial break, and then the injured NFL player is never acknowledged again during the broadcast.

That’s exactly what happened in the UFC when Telligman and Martin were knocked out (and in both of those cases, they had hours to offer any kind of update or acknowledgement to the PPV viewers), and that’s exactly what happened tonight. It was classless and it’s not something that you’re going to see in other sports.

If you're the UFC, you don’t have to say, “He’s okay!” You don’t have to put the camera on him non-stop and “play up the spectacle” of it. That’s not what I was suggesting at all. What I was suggesting is that they acknowledge the fact that someone is unconscious and that the fighters’ safety is the most important thing, and that whether Sean Salmon ends up being okay or not is ultimately more important than the fact that Rashad Evans just scored a highlight reel KO. It would take maybe two sentences and it would make a world of difference in terms of the image that the UFC is portraying.

In Salmon's case, there may not have been enough time to update viewers on his condition in the few minutes before they went off the air. The UFC would deserve and would receive the benefit of the doubt in this situation if it weren't for their previous actions when Tra Telligman was unconscious for an extended period of time due to a Tim Sylvia high kick, or when Terry Martin was unconscious for an extended period of time due to a flying knee from James Irvin. In Telligman’s case, they even kept going with the post-fight interview without skipping a beat as Telligman was in a neck immobilizer and being taken out of the cage on a stretcher in the background of the camera shot.

Again, even if there was literally no new information to give before they went off the air, they could read two sentences about how fighter safety is the most important thing in the UFC, and that there is a great team of doctors helping Salmon right now, and that there will be updates on the UFC web site later tonight as they learn more about his condition. (Yes, that would have been a plug for their web site, but when it’s a legitimate news story, it’s no different than ABC News saying, “We’ll have more on this developing story throughout the night on our web site.")

That would have been the decent thing to do. It wouldn't be "shining a light on the negative aspects of the sport," because the fact is that viewers could see with their own eyes, whether the UFC acknowledged it or not, that there was a team of doctors in the background trying to help a fighter who was still not moving. All the lack of acknowledgment did was make the UFC look bad for not acknowledging it.

A brutal knockout, in and of itself, does not make the sport of mixed martial arts "look bad." Brutal knockouts are going to happen in any combat sport, though MMA has a far better safety record than boxing. Serious injuries like those that could have been suffered by Salmon are going to happen in any contact sport, though MMA has a far better safety record than football. What makes the sport of MMA look bad is when a fighter has been knocked unconscious for several minutes and the promotion in three separate cases doesn't even acknowledge the unconscious fighters' condition.

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Monday, January 22, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salary Breakdown for First Zuffa-Owned WEC Event
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for the WEC event that took place this past Saturday night, January 20th, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was the WEC's first in Las Vegas and also the WEC's first since being purchased by Zuffa, the same company that owns the UFC.

The following figures are based on the fighter salary information that Zuffa and the WEC are required by law to submit to the state athletic commissions, including the winners' bonuses.

Although MMA fighters do not have collective bargaining or a union, the fighters' salaries are still public record, just as with every other major sport in the United States. Any undisclosed bonuses that Zuffa and the WEC also pay its fighters, but do not disclose to the athletic commissions (specifically, PPV bonuses for the top PPV main event fighters, which would not apply since this event was not on PPV), are not included in the figures below.

In the listings below, "Title Match & Main Event Fighters" are defined as fighters who compete in the main event of a show and/or compete in a title fight on a show. "Preliminary Match Fights" are fights that are taped before a show goes on the air, and since this show hasn't aired on TV or PPV, all of the non-main event fights are defined as "Main Card Fights."

Highlights from this event will air this summer on one of the WEC's hour-long highlight shows on the Versus Network, which is available in approximately 70 million U.S. households.

Title Match & Main Event Fighters
-Rob McCullough: $20,000 (defeated Kit Cope)
-Urijah Faber: $10,000 (defeated Joe Pearson)
-Kit Cope: $5,000 (lost to Rob McCullough)
-Joe Pearson: $4,000 (lost to Urijah Faber)

Main Card Fighters
-John Alessio: $10,000 (defeated Brian Gassaway)
-Rich Crunkilton: $10,000 (defeated Mike Joy)
-Alex Karalexis: $8,000 (defeated Olaf Alfonso)
-Logan Clark: $8,000 (defeated Blas Avena)
-Carlos Condit: $8,000 (defeated Kyle Jensen)
-Antonio Banuelos: $6,000 (defeated Mike French)
-Brian Gassaway: $4,000 (lost to John Alessio)
-Brendan Seguin: $4,000 (defeated Fernando Gonzalez)
-Olaf Alfonso: $4,000 (lost to Alex Karalexis)
-Mike French: $3,000 (lost to Antonio Banuelos)
-Fernando Gonzalez: $3,000 (lost to Brendan Seguin)
-Kyle Jensen: $3,000 (lost to Carlos Condit)
-Blas Avena: $2,500 (lost to Logan Clark)
-Mike Joy: $2,000 (lost to Rich Crunkilton)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $114,500

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Saturday, January 20, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Nick Diaz Signs with Pride In Addition to Showtime-Backed Elite XC
by Ivan Trembow and Ken Pishna
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Nick Diaz has signed a two-fight contract with Pride and will make his Pride debut on the promotion's February 24th event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Diaz will be cutting to lightweight for his fight at Pride 33 on February 24th, and he expects to face a top-level opponent. Pride previously announced the participation of two lightweights on the Pride 33 card: Takanori Gomi and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, who are the #1 and #2 Lightweights in the MMAWeekly Rankings.

Though it's not known who Diaz will be fighting, Gomi and Sakurai are two of the many possibilities. If Diaz does fight Gomi, it will not be for Gomi's Pride Lightweight Title, as Pride previously announced that Gomi's fight at Pride 33 will be a non-title fight.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Diaz signed with the Showtime-backed Elite Xtreme Combat, for which he is expected to make his debut in May. Diaz' contracts with Pride and EXC do not conflict with each other, as EXC has no problem with non-exclusive contracts, and Pride entered its negotiations with Diaz knowing that he was already under contract with EXC.

Regardless of who Diaz fights at Pride 33, he will be fighting at Pride's lightweight limit of 160 pounds. The lightweight limit for MMA in the United States is usually 155 pounds, but promotions like Pride also have the option of holding fights at "catch weights" such as 160 pounds.

The 23-year-old Diaz normally fights at 170 pounds and is currently the #9-ranked 170-pound fighter in the MMAWeekly Rankings.

Diaz is a UFC veteran who won the last two fights on his UFC contract at UFC 62 and UFC 65, respectively. Diaz had been scheduled to face Thomas "Wildman" Denny on the Gracie Fighting Championships event on January 20th, but the event was postponed.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Video Games and Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Reaches New Video Game Deal with THQ
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new edition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in video game form, but that will be changing in the not-too-distant future, as the UFC has struck a deal with video game publisher THQ.

In a story first reported by entertainment trade journal Variety, THQ has signed a five-year contract with Zuffa to be the exclusive publisher of UFC video games through the end of 2011 for "all console and portable platforms, as well as wireless devices."

While no specific game platforms have been announced for the first UFC game from THQ, the primary platforms for UFC games in the future would seem likely to be the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, though modified versions of UFC games could also be released for the less powerful and younger-skewing Nintendo Wii.

Drastically altered versions of the games could also be released for portable systems such as the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP in order to maximize revenue and help offset the higher development costs of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.

THQ is not a company that develops video games itself; THQ is a game publisher that hires game developers to create games. THQ funds and supervises the development of these games, and THQ is then responsible for marketing the finished products.

The quality of future UFC video games will be heavily dependent on which developer(s) THQ has contracted to develop the games. In an interview with IGN, THQ executive Kelly Flock refused to answer when he was asked to name the developer of the game.

THQ is also the publisher of WWE video games, and the fact that WWE and UFC games will now be released by the same game publisher has upset the management of WWE, which has seen its domestic pay-per-view buyrates collapse in the same year that the UFC's PPV buyrates skyrocketed.

In early 2005, the UFC started airing on the same cable network as WWE (Spike TV), and when WWE's contract with Spike TV came up for renewal later in 2005, Spike TV made the choice to break off all renewal negotiations with WWE, which then returned to USA Network for significantly lower rights fees than it had been receiving from Spike TV.

THQ's Flock said in an interview with Variety, "We see WWE as an entertainment brand, while UFC is a true sports brand." The WWE games that have been published by THQ had been fairly well received from a critical standpoint for years, but have received decidedly mixed reviews over the past few years.

THQ previously published "Pride FC" for the PlayStation 2, a game that is widely regarded as the best MMA game to date. As for UFC-branded video games, the first effort on the Sega Dreamcast was well-received, but the last several UFC games from publishers such as Crave Entertainment, TDK Mediactive, and Global Star Software (a brand of Take-Two Interactive) were almost universally panned by critics.

Video games based on MMA are inherently difficult to create due to the complexity of the sport and the fact that fights can end in any number of different ways, which makes it hard for developers to create an entertaining, but still true-to-life gameplay experience.

When asked by IGN about the degree of difficulty in such a project, Flock acknowledged, "We're well aware of this difficulty to made this game work out, especially the mechanics, and Zuffa, LLC was also aware of this when they picked us to publish their game."

THQ has been mum on the details regarding its first UFC game. The Variety and IGN articles said that the game would include online multi-player functionality (which is a given for any sports game) and would feature "current and former UFC fighters."

The specific fighter line-up could be a key factor, as previous UFC games were missing some notable fighters who wanted to be paid fees or royalties for their video game appearances in the same way that athletes in any other sport are paid when they appear in video games. In football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and other sports, this is handled through the Player's Association of each respective sport.

THQ's Flock also said that he envisions new releases once per year after the first UFC game has been released, as he said to IGN, "UFC lends itself to an annual update, so we expect to have annual iterations of the game with new features, updated and upgraded graphics and gameplay, the whole deal."

No titles or release dates have been announced, though the Variety article said that the first game would likely be released in late 2007 or in 2008.

However, given the fact that the deal between Zuffa and THQ was just signed in late 2006 and that a new gameplay engine is presumably being created for the game, a late 2007 release date would seem to be very unlikely. A one-year development cycle would be unusually short and seemingly rushed for the first generation of a new game franchise running on a new gameplay engine.

Beyond the core gameplay itself and the features that are standard for any sports or fighting game, fans of previous MMA video games will also be interested to know what innovations the game will offer in its "Season" or "Career" modes, how deep the simulation aspects of the game will be, and how many fighters the game will include. It's conceivable that the game could feature dozens of fighters, given the massive size of the UFC's real-life roster.

THQ's biggest motivation for signing a deal with the UFC is obvious. A top-selling video game can generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue or more, and the UFC's popularity has exploded over the past two years.

THQ's Flock said to IGN, "The popularity of the UFC has really kicked into gear. It's amazingly popular right now. We saw the numbers, how it was taking off, how our demographic was interested, and we felt like it was time to bring it back to the interactive arena. The response from people [who] know about it all think this is a great move."

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Sunday, January 14, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- HBO Boxing's Jim Lampley Arrested for Domestic Abuse
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Longtime HBO Boxing play-by-play announcer Jim Lampley was arrested late last week and charged with domestic abuse. The 57-year-old Lampley now faces a felony charge of domestic abuse/corporal injury and two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order and dissuading a witness.

San Diego County Sheriff's Captain Glenn Revell told the Associated Press, "The circumstances are that there was an altercation between Mr. Lampley and a 28-year-old female with whom he reportedly has a dating relationship."

The woman in question is 28-year-old Candice Sanders, who won the Miss California USA pageant in 2003. Sanders alleges multiple cases of assault and further claimed that Lampley was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the most recent incident, which was allegedly witnessed by Lampley's 14-year-old son.

Lampley was released from police custody after posting $35,000 in bail. Lampley's public relations representative, Howard Bragman, released a statement in which Lampley said, "I am innocent of the charge of domestic abuse that has been leveled against me and will vigorously defend myself. I'm confident that the process will prove that I'm not guilty of this charge. I thank my friends and family for their support during this difficult time, and ask for the understanding and patience from the media until my legal situation allows me to discuss this in more depth."

Lampley drew the ire of MMA fans last summer when he said on Jim Rome's radio show that UFC events are nothing more than bar fights and that MMA fighters are "not athletes." Lampley also said at the time that any of the top fighters from the UFC or K-1 would lose very quickly to a top boxer, and that the UFC "will never be bigger than boxing."

HBO has not yet made any public comment on Lampley's status as HBO Boxing's play-by-play announcer. The next HBO broadcast on which Lampley would be an announcer is scheduled for January 20th.


Thursday, January 11, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Biggest Event of 2006: UFC vs. Boxing vs. WWE
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

With the UFC's business exploding in every category over the past twelve months, many people have asked how the UFC's current level of business compares with that of boxing and pro wrestling, which are two of the UFC's primary competitors.

To examine this issue, we're going to take a look at the two most relevant statistics for the largest shows of the year in each of the three aforementioned respective genres: Live gate revenue and pay-per-view revenue.

Television ratings information is not available for boxing on HBO or Showtime, and it has proven largely irrelevant in the case of WWE, which regularly produces TV shows with double or quadruple the UFC's TV ratings while also producing monthly pay-per-views with less than half of the UFC's domestic PPV buys.

The boxing event with the biggest live gate in 2006 was the May 6th fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Ricardo Mayorga, which generated $7,636,000 in gross ticket receipts.

Even with UFC 66 drawing the UFC's biggest live gate in history, its live gate total of $5,397,300 is still over two million dollars short of boxing's high mark in 2006.

However, if the UFC's own publicly stated predictions are accurate, UFC 66 will generate more PPV revenue than De la Hoya vs. Mayorga.

The fight between De la Hoya and Mayorga drew 925,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States at $49.95 per buy, which generated gross PPV revenue of $46.20 million.

The UFC has publicly and repeatedly predicted that UFC 66 will draw 1.2 million PPV buys, and with a price of $39.95, the gross PPV revenue would be $47.94 million.

The previous all-time record for UFC PPVs was set this past July by UFC 61, which drew approximately 775,000 buys and generated approximately $30.96 million in revenue.

In boxing, the all-time record for pay-per-view buys was set in 2002 by Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis, which drew 2.0 million pay-per-view buys. That event is followed closely in the record books by the 1997 fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, which drew 1.99 million PPV buys.

The all-time record for a non-heavyweight boxing PPV was set in 1999 when Oscar de la Hoya's fight against Felix Trinidad drew 1.4 million PPV buys. De la Hoya's upcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., which is scheduled to take place on May 5th, has a strong chance of breaking the 1.4 million record for a non-heavyweight boxing PPV.

With the decline in its domestic business in recent years, World Wrestling Entertainment is no longer in the same league as the UFC or big-name boxing match-ups when it comes to live gate sales or PPV revenue for the largest events.

The biggest WWE event of 2006 was WrestleMania, which took place on April 2nd and drew a live gate of just $2.5 million. In addition, WWE now claims that WrestleMania drew 636,000 PPV buys in the United States (an increase from WWE's previously claimed figure of 560,000).

If WWE's latest figure of 636,000 buys is accurate, that would equal PPV revenue of $31.77 million for the event, which would be $14.43 million short of the PPV revenue that was generated by De la Hoya vs. Mayorga, and $16.17 million short of Zuffa's projections for UFC 66.

Live Gate Sales (United States)
1. Boxing's Biggest Event of 2006: $7,636,000 (De la Hoya vs. Mayorga)

2. MMA's Biggest Event of 2006: $5,397,300 (UFC 66)

3. Pro Wrestling's Biggest Event of 2006: $2,500,000 (WWE WrestleMania)

Pay-Per-View Revenue (United States)
1. MMA's Biggest Event of 2006: $47.94 million (UFC 66, according to Zuffa's publicly stated projections)

2. Boxing's Biggest Event of 2006: $46.20 million (De la Hoya vs. Mayorga)

3. Pro Wrestling's Biggest Event of 2006: $31.77 million (WWE WrestleMania, according to WWE's latest claimed figures)

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC, Pride, and IFL Dates Revealed
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

MMAWeekly has learned the scheduled dates of several upcoming mixed martial arts events that have not yet been publicly announced.

As previously announced, Pride's next show in the United States will take place on February 24th, but Pride has also requested the venue of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for a third U.S. show on April 28th.

Meanwhile, Spike TV has confirmed that the live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5 (featuring BJ Penn vs. Jens Pulver) will take place on June 23rd.

Also, while not confirmed by Spike TV, MMAWeekly has learned that the next UFC Fight Night broadcast after the January 25th event is scheduled to take place on March 13th, and the next one after that will take place on April 5th as the lead-in to the season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 5.

In addition, the previously open date in June on the IFL's previously announced 2007 season schedule now appears to have been filled, as the IFL has formally requested the date of June 17th for an event at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

Finally, though it was reported on MMAWeekly several months ago, it has now been officially confirmed that UFC 68 will be taking place on March 3rd at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The show is actually being referred to as "UFC 68: Ohio 1." There will already be a lot of visitors in the Columbus area on that weekend due to the Arnold Classic bodybuilding event, and many of those visitors may also purchase tickets to the UFC event.

You can always find the latest information on scheduled dates and rumored line-ups for upcoming MMA events in MMAWeekly's Rumors section, and you can find the specific TV or PPV listings for any particular event in our MMA Television Guide.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC 66 Breaks Records; UFC Business Year-in-Review
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Last weekend's UFC 66 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada generated $5,397,300 in gross ticket sales, which is more than any other event in UFC history.

Prior to UFC 66, there had been three events in UFC history that drew more than $3 million in gross ticket sales: UFC 57 (headlined by Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture), UFC 61 (Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock; and Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski), and UFC 62 (Liddell vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral).

The live gate figure of $5,397,300 that was announced by Zuffa after UFC 66 is indeed the legitimate live gate figure. However, Zuffa's claim that the building was sold out with 14,607 fans in attendance is not accurate.

The actual number of fans in attendance, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was 13,761. Of the 13,761 fans in attendance, 12,191 of those fans paid for their tickets, while the remaining 1,570 people in attendance had free "comp" tickets.

The UFC's all-time record for highest paid attendance is still held by UFC 59, for which 13,060 tickets were sold. In addition, the UFC record for the highest total attendance still belongs to UFC 60, which had a total of 14,765 fans in attendance (although 4,418 of those fans had free "comp" tickets).

Nonetheless, the amount of the live gate is far more important from a business standpoint than the number of fans in attendance, and UFC 66 simply blows away every other UFC event in history when it comes to gross ticket sales. The event that previously held the all-time record was UFC 57 (with gross ticket sales of $3,382,400), and UFC 66 surpassed that mark by more than $2 million.

UFC 65 Live Gate Info
Just over a month prior to UFC 66, a fight between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre headlined UFC 65 in Sacramento, California. The event drew a live gate of $2,138,020, making it the ninth highest-grossing UFC event in history (including UFC 66).

Both events took place in California and both events featured a Matt Hughes fight in the main event, but UFC 65 (with Hughes vs. St. Pierre) drew approximately $550,000 more in gross ticket sales than UFC 63 (with Hughes vs. BJ Penn).

However, the public claims that 15,350 fans were in attendance at UFC 65 are false. The legitimate total attendance was 14,666, with 12,362 of those fans paying for their tickets and the other 2,304 fans receiving free "comp" tickets.

UFC Business Year-in-Review
Heading into 2006, the UFC had drawn live gates of $2 million or more on just two occasions in its history (UFC 52 with Liddell vs. Couture, and UFC 54 with Liddell vs. Jeremy Horn).

In the year 2006 alone, the UFC surpassed the $2 million mark in ticket sales with seven different events, three of which also surpassed the $3 million mark, and one of which also surpassed the $5 million mark.

Chuck Liddell has been in the main event in five of the nine events in UFC history that have drawn live gates of $2 million or more. The only two fighters who come close to Liddell's record are Tito Ortiz and Matt Hughes, each of whom have been in the main event in three of the UFC's nine events that have had ticket sales of more than $2 million.

In addition, Chuck Liddell has been in the main event in three of the four events in UFC history that have drawn live gates of $3 million or more, and he fought three different fighters in those three events (Randy Couture, Renato Sobral, and Tito Ortiz). Ortiz has been in two of the top four events, with Liddell and Ken Shamrock as his opponents.

The UFC held a total of ten pay-per-view events in 2006, and without taking pay-per-view revenue into account, those ten events generated $27,532,225 in ticket sales. The revenue in ticket sales, while impressive, is dwarfed by the skyrocketing PPV revenue.

Using the most conservative possible estimates for the UFC PPV events that took place in late 2006, the gross PPV revenue that was generated by the UFC's ten PPV events in 2006 surpassed $200 million. The total may actually be well over $200 million, depending on how well UFC 64, UFC 65, and UFC 66 performed at the PPV box office.

Using Zuffa's own public predictions of 1.2 million buys for UFC 66, that would mean that UFC 66 alone generated approximately $47.94 million in pay-per-view revenue.

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Friday, January 05, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Reaches Deal for Weekly Syndicated TV Show
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

The UFC is expanding into the syndicated television market and has reached a deal with Trifecta Entertainment & Media to launch a weekly syndicated TV show in the fall of 2007.

Hosted by UFC color commentator and Inside the UFC host Joe Rogan, the new show will be called UFC Wired and will air in syndication on local TV networks throughout the United States starting at the beginning of the 2007-2008 TV season.

The format of the hour-long weekly series is tentatively planned to be a mixture of UFC Unleashed and Inside the UFC. Advertising will be sold in the weekend syndication market, meaning that the show will air on Saturday or Sunday, depending on your local market.

UFC Wired will be the first syndicated show that Trifecta Entertainment & Media has distributed since the company was founded in 2005 by former MGM Entertainment President Hank Cohen.

Cohen said in a press release, "When we formed Trifecta, we agreed it was a priority to identify a high-profile property before launching our syndication business and, without a doubt, UFC Wired is that property."

Trifecta's initial committment to UFC Wired is a 22-episode order.

Given the weak ratings of the current crop of first-run syndicated weekly TV shows in the young male demographics that form the UFC's target audience, it's conceivable that UFC Wired could become one of the highest-rated weekly syndicated shows on all of television in the young male demographics. The current leaders in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic among first-run, non-scripted weekly syndicated shows are Maximum Exposure, The Chris Matthews Show, and Ebert & Roeper.

The UFC's expansion into the syndicated TV market comes on the heels of several other expansion initiatives, which include buying the WEC, buying selected assets of the WFA, and reportedly entering into negotiations to buy Pride Fighting Championships (although Pride has publicly denied those reports). The news also comes mere weeks after the launch of a new, magazine-style weekly series on Spike TV called Inside the UFC.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salaries for UFC 66 & UFC Fight Night 7
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for UFC 66 and UFC Fight Night 7. UFC 66 took place on December 30th in Las Vegas, Nevada; while UFC Fight Night 7 took place on December 13th in San Diego, California.

The following figures are based on the fighter salary information that the UFC is required by law to submit to the state athletic commissions, including the winners' bonuses.

Although MMA fighters do not have collective bargaining or a union, the fighters' salaries are still public record, just as with every other major sport in the United States. Any undisclosed bonuses that the UFC also pays its fighters, but does not disclose to the athletic commissions (specifically, PPV bonuses for the top PPV main event fighters), are not included in the figures below.

In the listings below, "Title Match & Main Event Fighters" are defined as fighters who compete in the main event of a show and/or compete in a title fight on a show. "Main Card Fighters" are defined as fighters whose fights appear on the main card, but not in title fights or in the main event. "Preliminary Match Fighters" are defined as fighters whose matches take place before the live broadcast goes on the air, regardless of whether or not those matches end up airing on the PPV broadcast.

In addition, next to each fighter's name is the number of UFC fights that he has had, not counting fights that took place during TUF seasons because they are officially classified as exhibition fights.

UFC Fight Night 7 Salaries
Event took place on December 13, 2006

Main Event Fighters
-Diego Sanchez: $32,000 (6th UFC fight; defeated Joe Riggs)
-Joe Riggs: $14,000 (8th UFC fight; lost to Diego Sanchez)

Main Card Fighters
-Karo Parisyan: $24,000 (8th UFC fight; defeated Drew Fickett)
-Josh Koscheck: $14,000 (7th UFC fight; defeated Jeff Joslin)
-Marcus Davis: $10,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Shonie Carter)
-Shonie Carter: $10,000 (6th UFC fight; lost to Marcus Davis)
-Drew Fickett: $10,000 (6th UFC fight; lost to Karo Parisyan)
-Jeff Joslin: $3,000 (1st UFC fight; lost to Josh Koscheck)

Preliminary Match Fighters
-Brock Larson: $8,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Keita Nakamura)
-David Heath: $8,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Vitor Valimaki)
-Luigi Fioravanti: $8,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Dave Menne)
-Alan Belcher: $6,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Jorge Santiago)
-Dave Menne: $5,000 (6th UFC fight; lost to Luigi Fioravanti)
-Jorge Santiago: $4,000 (3rd UFC fight; lost to Alan Belcher)
-Keita Nakamura: $4,000 (1st UFC fight; lost to Brock Larson)
-Vitor Valimaki: $3,000 (1st UFC fight; lost to David Heath)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $163,000

UFC 66 Fighter Salaries
Event took place on December 30, 2006

Title Match and Main Event Fighters
-Chuck Liddell: $250,000 (17th UFC fight; defeated Tito Ortiz)
-Tito Ortiz: $210,000 (19th UFC fight; lost to Chuck Liddell)

Main Card Fighters
-Andrei Arlovski: $145,000 (12th UFC fight; defeated Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz)
-Michael Bisping: $24,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Eric Schafer)
-Forrest Griffin: $16,000 (6th UFC fight; lost to Keith Jardine)
-Keith Jardine: $14,000 (5th UFC fight; defeated Forrest Griffin)
-Jason MacDonald: $10,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Chris Leben)
-Chris Leben: $7,000 (8th UFC fight; lost to Jason MacDonald)
-Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz: $5,000 (4th UFC fight; lost to Andrei Arlovski)
-Eric Schafer: $4,000 (2nd UFC fight; lost to Michael Bisping)

Preliminary Match Fighters
-Thiago Alves: $22,000 (6th UFC fight; defeated Tony DeSouza)
-Gabriel Gonzaga: $18,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Carmelo Marrero)
-Yushin Okami: $16,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Rory Singer)
-Tony DeSouza: $7,000 (5th UFC fight; lost to Thiago Alves)
-Christian Wellisch: $6,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Anthony Perosh)
-Rory Singer: $5,000 (3rd UFC fight; lost to Yushin Okami)
-Carmelo Marrero: $5,000 (2nd UFC fight; lost to Gabriel Gonzaga)
-Anthony Perosh: $3,000 (2nd UFC fight; lost to Christian Wellisch)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $767,000

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Monday, January 01, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Confirms Signing of Mirko Cro Cop; A Look at the Heavyweight & Light Heavyweight Title Pictures
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

As previously reported by MMAWeekly.com's Ken Pishna, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has signed with the UFC, and this news was officially confirmed at the UFC 66 event on Saturday night.

Cro Cop will make his UFC debut against Eddie Sanchez at UFC 67 on February 3rd. Cro Cop is the #2 Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings, behind only Fedor Emelianenko.

A commercial for UFC 67 aired several times during the UFC 66 pay-per-view broadcast and also on the big screens at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cro Cop's name got somewhat of a lukewarm reaction from the live crowd in Las Vegas, indicating that many of the UFC fans in attendance do not know who he is.

The expectation of this kind of response from casual MMA fans is primary reason for not giving Cro Cop an immediate title shot in the UFC. If Cro Cop has one fight in the UFC and beats Sanchez, far more UFC fans will be familiar with and interested in Cro Cop headed into a potential UFC Heavyweight Title match.

Brandon Vera had been scheduled to get the next shot at UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia, but that fight will only happen if Vera signs a multi-fight contract extension with the UFC (Vera currently has one fight left on his UFC contract).

Vera recently made an appearance at the introductory press conference of the Showtime-backed Elite XC promotion, where he told the Los Angeles Times that he wants his next contract to be with "whoever wants to take care of me the best."

The commercial for UFC 67 also prominently featured Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, the #8 Light Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings. Jackson will be making his UFC debut at UFC 67 against Marvin Eastman.

The next shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Title had been tentatively slated to go to Forrest Griffin if he defeated Keith Jardine at UFC 66, but Griffin's loss to Jardine throws a monkey wrench into those plans.

With Jardine defeating Griffin by TKO, the next shot at Chuck Liddell's UFC Light Heavyweight Title would seem to be most likely to belong to Jackson if he is able to beat Eastman on February 3rd, but it could also conceivably go to Jardine.

After his second TKO loss to Liddell, Tito Ortiz would not appear to be in the UFC Light Heavyweight Title picture for now. However, a rematch between Ortiz and Griffin would still be highly marketable, and Ortiz has already laid the marketing groundwork in recent days and weeks for a potential fight against Renato "Babalu" Sobral, whom Ortiz has repeatedly referred to as a "B-level fighter."

The UFC has also confirmed previous MMAWeekly.com reports that Heath Herring has signed with the UFC and will be fighting Jake O'Brien at UFC Fight Night on January 25th in a battle of heavyweight contenders.

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