Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Pride 33 and UFC 67 Attendance Breakdown
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Pride 33: The Second Coming was a moderate success from a live box office standpoint, with numbers that were almost identical to those of Pride: The Real Deal.
Pride 33 drew a paid attendance of 8,334, which was up slightly from The Real Deal's mark of 8,079 in paid attendance. Both events took place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
However, with ticket prices down slightly, the live gate was down from $2,056,044 for The Real Deal to $2,033,098 for The Second Coming. As it currently stands, The Real Deal drew the eighth largest live gate of any MMA event in Nevada to date, and The Second Coming drew the ninth largest live gate of any MMA event in Nevada to date. The UFC holds the top seven spots in Nevada's record books.
The number of people in attendance who had free "comp" tickets went up from 4,042 at The Real Deal to 4,577 at The Second Coming.
The total number of fans in attendance increased from 12,121 at The Real Deal to 12,911 for The Second Coming.
As is usually the case, there are the attendance numbers that the promotion claims publicly during or after the event, and then there are the actual, legitimate attendance numbers.
In the case of Pride 33: The Second Coming, Pride announced that the total attendance was 13,180, which is slightly higher than the legitimate total attendance figure of 12,911.
While The Second Coming performed slightly better at the live box office than The Real Deal, both events paled in comparison to the live event business that the UFC consistently generates in Las Vegas.
Just three weeks prior to Pride's Second Coming, UFC 67 took place in Las Vegas. While the UFC lamented the fact that the event did not fill the 11,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center at the post-fight press conference, the event still handily out-drew Pride: The Second Coming.
While Pride: The Second Coming generated $2,033,098 in ticket sales, UFC 67 generated $2,767,130 in ticket sales.
The UFC's higher live gate figure was caused not only by higher ticket prices, but also by the fact that UFC 67 had a slightly higher paid attendance figure, with 8,700 fans paying to attend UFC 67 (compared to 8,334 for The Second Coming).
UFC 67 also had 1,527 fans in attendance who had free "comp" tickets, making the total attendance 10,227, which is slightly lower than the UFC's publicly announced figure of 10,787.
The UFC has held eleven live PPV events since the beginning of 2006, and eight of those events were able to exceed Pride: The Second Coming's live gate of $2,033,098.
The only UFC PPV events from the past year that Pride: The Second Coming out-drew at the live box office were UFC 58 (which took place in Las Vegas and drew a live gate of $1,758,450); UFC 63 (which took place in Anaheim and drew a live gate of $1,582,370); and UFC 64 (which took place in Las Vegas and drew a live gate of $1,790,490).
Monday, February 26, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Pride Fighter Salaries for The Second Coming
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for Pride 33: The Second Coming, which took place on Saturday, February 24th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The following figures are from the fighter salary information that Dream Stage Entertainment was required by law to submit to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Although MMA fighters are not unionized, the fighters' salaries are still public record in the United States, just as with every other major sport in the US.
The question of, "How much do Pride's fighters make when they fight in Japan?" still remains unanswered, but the fighter salaries for this event do provide a great deal of insight into this question.
Given that Pride's Japan-based shows often fill the 35,000-seat Saitama Super Arena, it's likely that the salaries for the USA event were smaller than the salaries for a show in Japan, but it's unlikely that the two sets of numbers would be drastically different from one another.
Just as with UFC fighter salaries, any undisclosed bonuses that Pride also pays its fighters, but does not disclose to the athletic commissions, are not reflected in the figures below.
As with UFC salaries, we're listing "Main Event Fighters," "Main Card Fighters," and "Preliminary Fighters." All non-main-event fighter for this card are listed below as "Main Card Fighters" because there were no preliminary bouts on this card. None of the fights were taped before the show went on the air, so there were no "Preliminary Fighters."
Though our listings still note which fighters won their fights and which fighters lost, there were no winners' bonuses on this card. In addition, next to each fighter's name is the number of fights that he has had in Pride.
Main Event Fighters
-Wanderlei Silva: $150,000 (28th fight in Pride; lost to Dan Henderson in main event)
-Dan Henderson: $50,000 (18th fight in Pride; defeated Wanderlei Silva in main event)
Main Card Fighters
-Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: $50,000 (13th fight in Pride; defeated Alistair Overeem)
-Takanori Gomi: $20,000 (15th fight in Pride; lost to Nick Diaz)
-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: $20,000 (10th fight in Pride; lost to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou)
-Nick Diaz: $15,000 (1st fight in Pride; defeated Takanori Gomi)
-Joachim Hansen: $15,000 (6th fight in Pride; defeated Jason Ireland)
-Hayato Sakurai: $10,000 (11th fight in Pride; defeated Mac Danzig)
-Frank Trigg: $10,000 (2nd fight in Pride; defeated Kazuo Misaki)
-Kazuo Misaki: $10,000 (8th fight in Pride; lost to Frank Trigg)
-Sergei Kharitonov: $10,000 (11th fight in Pride; defeated Mike Russow)
-Alistair Overeem: $10,000 (14th fight in Pride; lost to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua)
-Travis Wiuff: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; lost to James Lee)
-Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira)
-Mac Danzig: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; lost to Hayato Sakurai)
-Jason Ireland: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; lost to Joachim Hansen)
-Mike Russow: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; lost to Sergei Kharitonov)
-James Lee: $10,000 (1st fight in Pride; defeated Travis Wiuff)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $430,000
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- In-Depth Coverage: NSAC Hearings for Randleman, Yvel, Alves, Toughill, and Carvalho
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Mixed martial arts fighters Kevin Randleman, Thiago Alves, and Aaron Carvalho have each been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a result of their positive tests for banned substances following their recent MMA bouts in the state of Nevada; while Gilbert Yvel has been denied a fighters' license and Erin Toughill has been granted a conditional fighters' license in Nevada.
Randleman's license as a fighter has been outright revoked for providing fake urine during a drug test; Alves has been suspended for eight months due to a positive test for a banned diuretic; and Carvalho has been suspended for six months due to a positive test for the active ingredient in marijuana.
Randleman and Toughill appeared before the NSAC in person, while Alves, Yvel, and Carvalho participated via teleconference.
In Randleman's case, it's not clear when or if he will be allowed to fight again. The absolute earliest that he will be able to apply to get his license back will be one year from the date of his last fight, so that would be October 21, 2007. Even after that date, Randleman will have to personally appear in front of the NSAC and provide medical evidence that he is completely healthy before he can fight again. On top of the aforementioned suspensions, Randleman has been fined $5,000 and Alves has been fined $5,500.
Also today, Gilbert Yvel was denied a fighters' license in Nevada due to his previous actions in MMA bouts, which include punching and kicking a referee during a 2004 fight in Europe and also getting disqualified in two previous fights. While Yvel was calm throughout the hearing, there were several heated moments stemming from the fact that Yvel seemed to be oblivious to the fact that the NSAC did not understand his justifications for his actions. The NSAC appeared to become increasingly frustrated with Yvel's explanations during the proceedings, and Yvel was eventually denied his request for a license to fight on Pride's February 24th card.
In addition, Erin Toughill was granted her request for a fighters' license. Toughill's request required a special hearing because she previously fought while under an NSAC medical suspension. In 2006, Toughill was TKO'ed during a boxing match in Nevada, and she fought on an MMA card in California while under NSAC medical suspension. The NSAC agreed to grant her a license on the condition that it would only be for one fight, and then the NSAC will re-evaluate her case on medical grounds.
In another matter that was before the NSAC today, Kit Cope and Joe Pearson were temporarily suspended, pending disciplinary hearings at a later date. Following their fights on the first Zuffa-owned WEC event in January, Cope tested positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone and Pearson tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana.
Drug testing at mixed martial arts events in the United States is handled by state athletic commissions, not by the MMA promotions such as Pride or the UFC. As with all NSAC drug-related suspensions, the suspended fighters must submit a urine sample after the suspension has expired and the sample has to come back negative for all banned substances before the fighter can fight again.
For as long as a particular fighter is suspended in the state of Nevada, companies that are licensed to promote events in the state of Nevada are strongly discouraged from using that fighter anywhere in the world, which includes Pride and K-1 events in Japan. On this subject, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer previously said to MMAWeekly, "I would expect a licensed promoter to respect any and all NSAC suspensions."
Kevin Randleman's Hearing
Kevin Randleman fought on the Pride card on October 21st of last year, losing to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua by submission, and his post-fight urine sample did not contain any human hormones. As a result, the NSAC alleged that Randleman provided a fake urine sample, which is regarded as being just as much of a violation as actually failing a drug test, if not more of a violation.
After an emotional disciplinary hearing, during which Randleman and his representatives admitted that Randleman provided fake urine, his fighters' license was revoked. It's not clear when or if he will be able to fight again, and the absolute earliest that he will be able to apply to get his license back will be one year from the date of his last fight (which took place on October 21, 2006). The NSAC ruled that even after that date, Randleman will have to appear in front of the commission and provide medical evidence that he is completely healthy if he to be granted a fighters' license ever again.
Randleman's hearing started as his representative, Jim Gallo, discussed the recurring lung infection that has plagued Randleman for the past 16 months. The lung infection has required eleven surgeries and increasingly strong antibiotic treatments. The NSAC was provided with photos from the surgery that Randleman had just two months before his October 21st fight in an effort to rid his body of the infection. Gallo said that due to the recurring infection, Randleman was on prescription painkillers and antibiotics at the time of the Pride event, and that Randleman was subsequently hospitalized for seven days in January due to "his body shutting down" from complications stemming from the same infection.
Gallo said, "Mr. Randleman was a fighter in poor health who misled this commission so that he could fight and make money for himself and his family. He takes responsibility for his actions." Gallo also asked that the NSAC change its procedures so that fighters are provided with a list of banned substances six to eight weeks before an event takes place, as Randleman was only given a banned substances list one day before the event and "that's when he panicked" upon seeing some of his medications on the list.
Gallo concluded his statements by saying that he was aware of the talk that Randleman's license should be revoked, but Gallo felt that a suspension of 10 to 12 months would be more appropriate.
Randleman then spoke in front of the members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Randleman said, "I'm extremely sorry for the deception... I had eleven surgeries in 16 months, and it was very rough on me. My intention was not to deceive." At that point, NSAC Commissioner John Bailey interrupted and said, "Your intention was to deceive. Instead of disclosing everything to us, you said, 'I'm going to deceive these people so that they will let me fight.' Is that correct?"
Randleman responded: "That is correct, sir... I was wrong. I was very wrong. I should have come to you and said, 'Ladies, gentlemen, I have a problem here... but all I wanted to do was fight."
The commission was upset not only with the fake urine test, but also with the fact that Randleman did not fully disclose his medical condition prior to the fight. On this subject, Bailey said during the hearing, "When we had Joe Mesi [a boxer who has suffered bleeding in the brain] in front of us, our mindset was that sometimes we have to protect fighters from themselves... You were not healthy in this case. You were not healthy, and you did not make the right judgment. You cannot really provide us any assurance that if there were a fight next week, just hypothetically if there were a fight next week, that you would not try to fight next week, irrespective of the fact that your health is bad. We have to protect you when you can't protect yourself. You have demonstrated that you can't protect yourself and that you will deceive us instead of protecting yourself. You could have gotten killed in that ring."
Randleman said, "I'm not going to run and fight in Russia or Brazil or anywhere else. I'm going to sit at home and take the responsibility of whatever the punishment is for all those people who came before me and all those who will come after me."
Commission chairman Dr. Tony Alamo expressed concern that with Randleman having a serious lung infection going into the fight, he could have theoretically passed the infection along to his opponent, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, if both of them had sustained open cuts during the fight. Fortunately, neither fighter was cut during the fight.
Alamo also said, "I am moved by what you have said. We understand that you did not lie to us so that you could... I'm just one person, but what I believe here is that you did not lie to us so that you could take a performance-enhancing drug that could hurt someone else. But we need to protect you from yourself. Your deception was not just with the urine, but also with the pre-fight medicals. If you had told the doctors about your medical condition, you would not have been cleared to fight."
Randleman said that he has been drug tested in the past when he fought for the UFC and always passed his tests. When he was asked whether he used a product called the Whizzinator to fake his urine test, Randleman said he did not. When asked what he did use, Randleman said that he bought a bottle of fake urine from a company called Diversity.
Alamo said the only case that the NSAC has for a basis of comparison is that of Sean McCully, who provided fake urine for a drug test in 2004. In McCully's case, the NSAC revoked his license. Alamo said that even though he believes Randleman regrets his actions, the NSAC also has to set the precedent that Randleman's actions were unacceptable.
At that point, an emotional Randleman said, "You're right, sir. You guys have to set an example for anyone who comes after me who tries to do the same thing... I had 16 months of pure hell. Whatever your ruling is, I am going to honor it and not go and run and fight someone else... I was just thinking [before the fight], 'I can't let everybody down. I can't let my organization down.'"
The commission ultimately decided to revoke Randleman's license and fine him $5,000. Randleman will have to personally appear in front of the NSAC and provide medical evidence that he is completely healthy before he can fight again.
In recent months, the NSAC has changed its procedures to require that all drug-tested fighters must submit their urine sample in front of the inspectors. Dr. Tony Alamo said that in order to prevent something like this from happening again, "The inspectors now have to visually see the urine leaving the genitalia and going into the cup."
Thiago Alves' Hearing
Thiago Alves tested positive for the banned diuretic Spironolactone after he defeated Tony DeSouza at UFC 66 on December 30th. Diuretics are banned not only because they can be used to help fighters cut dangerous amounts of weight in short periods of time (which many fighters routinely do even without the use of diuretics), but also because they can be used to flush other banned substances out of a fighter's body before a drug test.
Alves' manager, Dan Lambert, said to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, "We acknowledge that Thiago took the diuretic." Lambert claimed, "Thiago did not knowingly break the rules of the commission" because he did not know that the use of diuretics is banned. "We're not trying to play games with anybody here, but we have over 40 fighters on our team, and none of them knew about the ban on diuretics. If you read the Internet forums, it seems as though a lot of people, fighters and fans alike, were not aware of the ban on diuretics," Lambert said.
Alves said, "I didn't know. I'm really, really sorry. I knew about steroids [being banned], I didn't know about the diuretics [being banned]... This is my life. This is all I do. I need to fight to survive, not just for me but for my family in Brazil." Alves said that he took the diuretic on the Thursday before the event, which would have been about 48 hours before the fight.
The commissioners did not seem to believe that Alves and Lambert were unaware of the fact that diuretics are banned. They mentioned that it has been well documented in lots of sports that diuretics are banned, and specifically that diuretics are banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). It was very interesting to hear the NSAC mention USADA due to the fact that the NSAC and other state athletic commissions have yet to implement USADA's standard punishment for any athlete who tests positive for a banned substance (which is a two-year suspension for a first-time offender and a lifetime ban for a second offense).
The commissioners brought up the question on the pre-fight paperwork that asked if Alves had taken any medications prior to the fight, which had been marked "no." Alves was asked, "Would you agree that it was misleading for you to have checked the 'no' box?" Alves said, "Yes."
The NSAC said that past offenders of the diuretics policy have been suspended for approximately eight months, at which point the commissioners agreed to suspend Alves for eight months from the date of the fight and also fine him $5,000.
Since Alves had a banned substance in his system when he won his fight against Tony DeSouza, many fans have asked if the official result of the fight will be changed.
The official policy used to be that the result of the fight would stay the same, no matter what banned substances were found in the winning fighter's system.
That rule has been changed in the past two years. Now, if a fighter wins a fight and tests positive for steroids, stimulants, or other performance-enhancing drugs in their post-fight drug test, the official result is changed to a no-contest. However, this has not been applied to diuretics, and MMAWeekly has confirmed with the NSAC that the official result of the Alves-DeSouza fight will not be changed.
Aaron Carvalho's Hearing
Aaron Carvalho tested positive for marijuana after his December 29th loss to Gilbert Sims on the Tuff-N-Uff fight card in Las Vegas. Carvalho was very forthright and straightforward in his testimony, as he said, "I admit to it. I was hanging out with some people about a week before the fight and we were smoking." Carvalho said that he hasn't used marijuana since then and that doesn't smoke marijuana regularly, but he did use it about a week before his December 29th fight.
In deciding Carvalho's punishment, the commissioners brought up the NSAC's most recent marijuana-related suspension, noting that K-1 fighter Carter Williams was suspended for six months after he tested positive for marijuana following the K-1 USA event in August 2006 The commissioners decided that Carvalho would also be suspended for six months from the date of the fight.
In addition to the fact that it's illegal, fighters are also tested for marijuana for competitive and safety reasons. On the subject of marijuana, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer tells MMAWeekly, "The main issue with marijuana is it slows the reflexes, putting the fighter at much greater risk. We would not let a fighter compete who is coming off arm surgery and has not fully recovered his reflexes, or who is under the influence of alcohol because of the same issue. Additionally, it may also deaden some pain. That could hurt the fighter... he may not tap out when he should and he suffers broken bones or torn ligaments as a result... or that could unfairly help him if he can trade punches more easily with his opponent."
Other state athletic commissions have more lenient policies when it comes to marijuana or drugs in general. One recent example would be the state of California and Ricco Rodriguez. The Wrestling Observer cites the California State Athletic Commission in reporting that Rodriguez tested positive for both marijuana and cocaine after his November 17th victory over Imani Lee on an MMA show in Bakersfield, California, but he was only given a six-month suspension for the two offenses.
Gilbert Yvel's Hearing
Pride Fighting Championships previously submitted the match-up of Sergei Kharitonov vs. Gilbert Yvel to the Nevada State Athletic Commission for approval as part of the February 24th line-up, but the NSAC would not approve the fight without a special hearing due to the fact that Yvel has been disqualified on three separate occasions in his MMA career, most recently when he brutally attacked the referee during a 2004 fight in Europe.
Yvel was asked to explain his actions in each of his three disqualifications. Yvel remained calm and polite throughout the hearing, but he also seemed to be oblivious to the fact that the NSAC did not understand his justifications for his actions.
In regards to his first DQ loss, which took place in 1998 when Yvel bit his opponent, Yvel said that he was "really young and had a really bad temper" at that time. Yvel said, "My opponent, he gave me a headbutt, and I told the referee, but the referee was like, 'Nothing is happening.' And then he did it again with the headbutt, and that was what caused my reaction, to bite him."
Yvel's second disqualification loss was in a 2001 fight against Don Frye, during which Yvel repeatedly eye-gouged Frye. Regarding this incident, Yvel explained, "Don Frye is a very, very strong man, and he was pushing all his body strength against me. I just put my fingers against his nose to push him away from me, and I wasn't really paying attention to what place my fingers were, and my finger slipped on to his eye. It was in the heat of the moment and I can tell you it was not my intention to put my finger in his eye."
The most infamous incident was in 2004 when Yvel got into an argument with the referee during a fight in Europe and proceeded to punch the referee in the face and then kick him. The commissioners were familiar with the incident and seemed disgusted by it: "This commission has all seen the video of the punching and kicking of the referee... I've never in my life seen somebody do what you did. What was going through your mind?"
Yvel gave a very long response, which was interrupted several times as the commissioners tried to get him to talk about the pivotal moment where he decided to attack the referee. The following are just excerpts from the full response: "In that fight, I fought almost for free... the referee was the trainer of my opponent, the promoter of the event, and he kept us waiting for four hours to pick us up at the airport [before the event], and then at the gym he kept us waiting for three more hours. We were just waiting and waiting..."
This was one of the several occasions when the commissioners seemed to be very frustrated, as they interrupted Yvel and said, "I want you to tell me what went through your mind when the referee broke up the fighters and you felt the need to hit the referee in the face and then return back and kick him. What were you thinking?"
Yvel said "sorry" and was polite at all times during the hearing, but he seemed to be oblivious to the commissioners' frustration. Yvel continued, "In the bout, I punched my opponent really hard and he didn't want to fight anymore. He didn't want to fight anymore and we almost fell out of the ring! He was ready to walk away from the fight, he wanted out of the fight, but the referee was trying to pull him back into the fight, and he said, 'Stop, don't move.' And when the referee says, 'Stop, don't move,' then you're supposed to go to the center of the ring in the same position. But he didn't do that, he put us in the center of the ring standing up. He put us standing up instead of on the ground, and that's not right. The referee put me in a bad position and my opponent in a good position by doing that, and the referee was screaming at me, and he was pulling at me. He was screaming and pulling, screaming and pulling, and at that moment, I am there to fight..."
At this point, the commissioners interrupted again, sounding fed up and saying, "Mr. Yvel, Mr. Yvel, you've got 30 seconds. The floor is yours for 30 more seconds." At that point, Yvel finished up by saying, "And at that moment, I got mad and I hit the referee and I kicked him. Yeah."
With Yvel having explained all of his problems with the referee, the commissioners unanimously agreed to deny his application for a fighters' license. This is not like a suspension where the fighter can't fight anywhere in the world for a certain period of time; Yvel simply can't fight in Nevada because he is not being given a license to fight in Nevada.
This leaves Yvel's original opponent for Pride's February 24th card, Sergei Kharitonov, without an opponent. Pride had previously proposed a fight between Kazuyuki Fujita and Wes Sims for the February 24th card, but the NSAC rejected it for competitive reasons (Sims vs. Mark Hunt was also rejected for competitive reasons). With Kharitonov's fight not being approved and Fujita's fight not being approved, it would seem to be logical that Kharitonov would fight Fujita, but that is not the case.
The NSAC has confirmed to MMAWeekly that Fujita will not be fighting Kharitonov or anyone else on the card, as the deadline has passed and Pride has still not sent all of Fujita's medical information to the NSAC.
It is not known whom Kharitonov will be fighting (if anyone), but it won't be Fujita. As a safety measure, the medical information of all fighters who are at least 35 years old (Fujita is 36) must be submitted at least a week before a show. Pride has missed this deadline for Fujita, so he will be ineligible to compete on the card. The NSAC just got Dan Henderson's medical information from Pride today (Henderson is 35 years old).
Erin Toughill's Hearing
Female mixed martial arts competitor Erin Toughill, who was recently featured on the MSNBC show Warrior Nation, appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to request a fighters' license. Toughill's application required a special hearing instead of getting a standard approval because last year Toughill fought while she was under an NSAC medical suspension.
Toughill was TKO'ed in a boxing match in the state of Nevada on August 31, 2006. Due to punishment sustained in the fight, the NSAC medically suspended Toughill for 30 days. However, Toughill fought two weeks later on an MMA show in California while she was still under medical suspension.
Toughill said that all she can say in her own defense is that the MMA fight in California was on an Indian Reservation and she thought it was not under commission regulations. An emotional Toughill also said that her father passed away shortly before the MMA bout in California, and that the MMA bout was the best way for her to cope with her loss at the time.
The commissioners said that sometimes they have to protect fighters from themselves and that she should not have been fighting anywhere, in any sport (boxing or MMA), while under medical suspension. The commissioners voted to grant Toughill a conditional, one-fight license to fight in the state of Nevada. After that one fight in Nevada, then the NSAC will re-evaluate her case on medical grounds. Toughill is able to fight anywhere else in the meantime; her application for a fighters' license today was specifically for the state of Nevada.
Drug Testing Costs; Other Recent Drug Testing Results
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the total cost of drug testing one fighter for performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants, recreational drugs, and all other banned substances is $278.40.
The seven Pride fighters who were drug tested and passed their tests at the Pride USA event last October were Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Coleman, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson, Phil Baroni, and Yosuke Nishijima. Vitor Belfort and Pawel Nastula failed their drug tests, and in December they were both suspended for nine months from the date of the event. The other six fighters on the Pride card were not drug tested.
The NSAC spent a total of $2,784 on drug testing for Pride: The Real Deal, while the total cost of drug testing every single fighter on the card would have been $4,454. The event drew $2,056,444 in ticket sales.
At UFC 66, there were six fighters who were drug tested: Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, Forrest Griffin, Tony DeSouza, and Thiago Alves. All of those fighters passed their drug tests, with the exception of Alves. The other twelve fighters on the card were not drug tested. The NSAC spent a total of $1,670 on drug testing for UFC 66, while the total cost of drug testing every single fighter on the card would have been $5,011. The event drew $5,397,300 in ticket sales.
At UFC 67, there were eight fighters who were drug tested: Anderson Silva, Travis Lutter, Mirko Cro Cop, Eddie Sanchez, Quinton Jackson, Marvin Eastman, Ryoto Machida, and Sam Hoger. All eight of those fighters passed their drug tests. The other ten fighters on the card were not drug tested. The NSAC spent a total of $2,227 on drug testing for UFC 66, while the total cost of drug testing every single fighter on the card would have been $5,011. The event drew $2,767,130 in ticket sales.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Pro Wrestling--- TNA Wrestling Completely Ruined by Vince Russo's Incompetence
by Ivan Trembow
Review of TNA Wrestling: Against All Odds
Rating (out of 10): 2.0
Best Match: None in particular
Worst Match: Team 3D vs. Homicide & Hernandez
Well, it's official. The incompetence of TNA Wrestling head writer Vince Russo has not only ruined TNA's weekly TV show, but based on the Against All Odds pay-per-view on Sunday night, Russo's incompetence has also ruined TNA's monthly PPVs.
Even with the horrible TV shows of the past few months with three-minute-long matches and endless amounts of terrible skits straight out of 1999, at least I could look forward to seeing a few of TNA's stars have a good wrestling match or two on PPV every month. Well, that's no longer the case.
Where were TNA's three best in-ring workers? Samoa Joe was a damned "ringside enforcer," AJ Styles was in a chain match, and Christopher Daniels wasn't on the show at all.
So, we didn't get much in the way of quality wrestling (watching an addict push himself closer and closer to the edge of the cliff does not count), but we did get plenty of horrible skits, overbooked matches, and just plain stupid finshes.
Russo's incompetence almost makes Stephanie McMahon look competent by comparison, which is a very difficult thing to do. It's nothing short of amazing (and sad) that Jarrett, Russo, and Co. have managed to manipulate TNA President Dixie Carter into thinking that Russo is anything but the absolute worst of pro wrestling bookers.
But hold on, I can't wait for the scaffold match next month! (Actually, yes I can.) I guess I'm going to have to try to buy more Ring of Honor DVDs in the future if this is the kind of garbage that TNA is going to be producing.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL Gets Weekly Fox Sports Net Timeslot in Addition to Weekly Slot on MyNetworkTV
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The IFL has announced the details surrounding the second part of its television schedule for the 2007 season. In addition to the previously announced weekly timeslot on the network television station MyNetworkTV, the IFL will also have a weekly timeslot on Fox Sports Net.
One-hour IFL broadcasts will air on Fox Sports Net every Friday night at 11:00 PM local time starting on February 23rd, with each of the IFL's 2007 events airing in the order in which they take place. This will continue throughout March and April, leading up to Friday, April 13th at 11:00 PM, when FSN will air an IFL event that will air on a tape delay of just a few hours.
The April 13th event will take place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, after originally being scheduled for Lakeland, Florida and later considered for the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada (which is going to be the "home base" of sorts for the Zuffa-owned WEC events).
This will still leave the IFL with 16 remaining hours of FSN programming in 2007, as FSN's commitment to the IFL in 2007 is for 22 hour-long episodes (up significantly from FSN's 2006 commitment of 13 hours).
While it's far from an ideal timeslot, Fridays at 11:00 PM local time was specifically chosen because Friday is the least likely night for FSN affiliates to preempt FSN's national programming for local sports coverage.
In 2006, the IFL aired on FSN with a Sunday at 6:00 PM timeslot, but many FSN affiliates routinely air regional sports coverage on Sundays, so the IFL was preempted in many markets.
With the timeslot of Fridays at 11:00 PM timeslot, the IFL will be preempted by less local FSN affiliates, and will also be able to have a consistent weekly timeslot.
In the case of the February 23rd season premiere, it is scheduled to air on that date at 11:00 PM local time on every single FSN affiliate in the United States other than the two Comcast SportsNet co-branded affiliates (Comcast Philadelphia and Comcast Mid-Atlantic), which will have replays on a different day.
The weekly hour-long show on Fox Sports Net starting on February 23rd is in addition to the previously announced deal with upstart network television station MyNetworkTV, which is available in over 95% of U.S. households. The IFL's two-hour weekly show on MyNetworkTV will air every Monday night starting on March 12th from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM local time, with a weekly replay on Saturday nights from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM local time. MyNetworkTV's commitment to the IFL in 2007 is for 22 episodes, which adds up to 44 hours of original programming.
While nothing of the sort has been announced as of yet, it would come as a surprise to no one if Zuffa were to announce at some point in the coming weeks or months that replays of UFC programming are going to start airing on Spike TV more frequently on Monday and/or Friday nights, head-to-head with the IFL's new shows.
The reason that this would not be a surprise is because it has become the norm. Zuffa aired a multi-hour Best of UFC marathon on Spike TV head-to-head with the World Fighting Alliance's ill-fated pay-per-view on July 22, 2006. When Pride ran its first event in the U.S. on October 21, 2006, Zuffa ran another UFC marathon on Spike TV.
When EliteXC had its first event last Saturday night on Showtime, Zuffa not only aired a UFC marathon on Spike TV to go head-to-head with the live premiere of EliteXC, but they actually aired a second UFC marathon on Spike TV to go head-to-head with the West Coast feed of EliteXC on Showtime.
Based on all of this, it would actually be a surprise if the UFC didn't go head-to-head with the IFL at some point.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Pride Event from Japan to Air on U.S. Pay-Per-View Live for First Time
by Scott Petersen and Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Multiple sources have confirmed to MMAWeekly that Pride is planning to make its next pay-per-view event from Japan available in the United States on live pay-per-view for the first time in the promotion's history.
In the past, Pride's events in Japan have always aired on a tape-delayed basis on United States pay-per-view outlets. While this tape delay has been as short as 18 hours in many cases, it has also been a full week in other cases, or even a full month in the case of a few Bushido events.
Even when the tape delay was only 18 hours, many MMA fans wished that they could watch the events live and couldn't resist the temptation to read the results online before the U.S. pay-per-view debut.
Now, starting with the event that will be held in Japan on April 8th, Pride is planning on making its events available for live viewing on U.S. pay-per-view outlets. The events will still have numerous replays for fans who don't want to stay up late to watch the events live.
This is not unlike what HBO does with major boxing events that take place in Europe. For example, HBO will air the upcoming Wladimir Klitshcko boxing match from Germany live in the United States at 5:00 PM Eastern Time (which is 2:00 PM Pacific Time) and will then replay the fight in the U.S. in primetime with a 10:00 PM Eastern and Pacific start time.
Part of Pride's motivation for doing this stems from the fact that they lose money every time a fan watches an illegal Pride video online instead of buying the PPV.
However, the primary motivation for doing this is that Pride wants to cater to the U.S. market as much as possible, and offering its Japanese events on live U.S. pay-per-view is a big step in that direction.
Sunday, April 8th in Japanese time is actually in the latenight hours of Saturday, April 7th in U.S. time. Regardless of what the PPV timeslot ends up being, Pride is planning to make the start time of the live event in Japan coincide with the PPV timeslot that it gets in the United States so that the event can air live on U.S. pay-per-view.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salaries for UFC 67
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for UFC 67, which took place this past Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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 PPV main event fighters), are not included in the figures below. Also not reflected below are the taxes that the fighters have to pay.
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.
Due to the fact that he failed to make weight for his fight against Anderson Silva, Travis Lutter was fined 10% of his pay. Since his pay was $20,000, the fine was $2,000. Of that amount, $1,000 went to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and $1,000 went to Anderson Silva for agreeing to fight Lutter even though Lutter hadn't made weight. These amounts are reflected in the salaries listed below for Silva and Lutter.
Title Match & Main Event Fighters
-Anderson Silva: $71,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Travis Lutter)
-Travis Lutter: $18,000 (5th UFC fight; lost to Anderson Silva)
Main Card Fighters
-Mirko Cro Cop: $350,000 flat fee (1st UFC fight; defeated Eddie Sanchez)
-Quinton Jackson: $170,000 (1st UFC fight; defeated Marvin Eastman)
-Eddie Sanchez: $30,000 flat fee (2nd UFC fight; lost to Mirko Cro Cop)
-Marvin Eastman: $30,000 (3rd UFC fight; lost to Quinton Jackson)
-Patrick Cote: $20,000 (5th UFC fight; defeated Scott Smith)
-Scott Smith: $12,000 (3rd UFC fight; lost to Patrick Cote)
-Roger Huerta: $12,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated John Halverson)
-John Halverson: $3,000 (1st UFC fight; lost to Roger Huerta)
Preliminary Match Fighters
-Lyoto Machida: $36,000 (1st UFC fight; defeated Sam Hoger)
-Jorge Rivera: $12,000 (7th UFC fight; lost to Terry Martin)
-Tyson Griffin: $9,000 (2nd UFC fight; lost to Frank Edgar)
-Terry Martin: $8,000 (3rd UFC fight; defeated Jorge Rivera)
-Sam Hoger: $7,000 (4th UFC fight; lost to Lyoto Machida)
-Frank Edgar: $6,000 (1st UFC fight; defeated Tyson Griffin)
-Dustin Hazelett: $6,000 (2nd UFC fight; defeated Diego Saraiva)
-Diego Saraiva: $3,000 (1st UFC fight; lost to Dustin Hazelett)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $803,000
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Pulls Chuck Liddell from Appearance at Local MMA Show
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The UFC has pulled Chuck Liddell from a personal appearance at a local MMA show in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.
A report in the Times-Union by reporter Bart Hubbuch says that Liddell had agreed to be the host or "master of ceremonies" for the Ultimate Warrior Challenge event in Jacksonville and was doing so on a volunteer basis.
However, the UFC pulled Liddell from the event due to concerns that the event would be mistaken for a UFC event as a result of local advertisements which said that "top UFC pros" would be making appearances at the event.
Local promoter S. Marcello Foran said, "They're very, very touchy at the UFC. They're very protective of what they've built, and Chuck is the crown jewel. I basically have to do what they tell me to do."
According to the Florida Times-Union, the UFC initially threatened to sue the local promoters unless the event was cancelled altogether. Foran said, "Once I gave the UFC confidence that there would be no more confusion about anything, they gave me the OK but said they couldn't allow Chuck to be [here]," Foran said.
You can read the full story from the Florida Times-Union at this URL: http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/020207/spo_7735798.shtml
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Fight Night 8 Draws Solid Ratings; Pros vs. Joes Draws Strong Premiere Ratings
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night 8 on Spike TV drew an overall rating of 1.7 on Thursday, January 25th. The overall rating and the specific demographic ratings were close to the UFC's averages for live fight specials on Spike TV, and they were also up from the ratings that were drawn by the previous UFC Fight Night special on December 13th.
Comparisons to UFN 7 and UFC's Averages-to-Date
Compared to the two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night 7 on December 13th, UFC Fight Night 8 was a big success from a ratings standpoint.
UFN 7 drew a 1.3 overall rating, while UFN 8 drew a 1.7 overall rating. UFN 7 drew a 2.0 rating in the key demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, while UFN 8 drew a 2.3 rating in this demographic. In the broader 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, UFN 7 drew a 1.6 rating and UFN 8 drew a 2.0 rating.
Compared to the UFC's averages for the first twelve live fight specials that it aired on Spike TV (from April 2005 to December 2006), UFC Fight Night 8 was on par in terms of overall viewership and slightly below average in the key demographics.
The UFC's first twelve live fight specials on Spike TV drew an average overall rating of 1.7, which is identical to the overall rating that was drawn by the company's thirteenth live fight special, UFN 8. However, UFN 8's rating of 2.3 in the coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic falls short of the prior UFC average of 2.9 in that demographic. Also, UFN 8's rating of 2.0 in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic falls short of the prior UFC average of 2.3 in that demographic.
Jake O'Brien vs. Heath Herring Out-Draws Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon
The surprise of the night was that the biggest ratings draw was not the main event match-up of Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon. The biggest draw of the night was the fight between Heath Herring and Jake O'Brien, which was the first live UFC fight since last October to break the 2.0 barrier in the ratings.
The lowest-rated fight of the evening was the fight that opened the live TV broadcast. This is almost always the case because a large percentage of the people who watch a live UFC special over the course of its two-hour duration are people who were not aware that the event was going to be taking place until after it started. Word of mouth and viewers stumbling upon the broadcast while flipping channels both play a big role in the ratings for every live UFC special, as evidenced by the fact that the ratings always start out low when not as many people are aware that there's a live UFC special airing on Spike TV.
In the opening fight of the broadcast, Hermes Franca defeated Spencer Fisher by TKO, and the fight drew a 1.5 overall rating, which is actually a higher rating than most UFC "opening fights" draw on Spike TV.
The biggest jump of the night for UFN's ratings came for the next fight, Jake O'Brien's unanimous decision victory over Heath Herring. That fight drew a 2.1 overall rating, creating more of an audience increase from the previous fight than the audience growth on the entire UFN 7 broadcast in December. During that broadcast, the largest audience growth was from 1.1 to 1.4.
The viewership level decreased slightly after the O'Brien vs. Herring fight, and it never reached the 2.0 level again. Ed Herman's submission victory over Chris Price drew a 1.8 overall rating, and then the main event fight between Rashad Evans and Sean Salmon was responsible for moderate ratings growth, as it drew a 1.9 overall rating.
While it was somewhat surprising for Evans vs. Salmon to have not drawn the highest rating of the broadcast, the fight still drew a high enough rating to be the second most watched fight on the last three UFC live specials (behind only O'Brien vs. Herring).
Pros vs. Joes Draws Strong Ratings for Season Premiere
The January edition of UFC Fight Night was specifically scheduled to take place on Thursday the 25th in order to serve as a steady lead-in for another show on Spike TV, which has been the case in some form or another for every single live UFC fight special on Spike TV since UFN 4.
In this case, the show being promoted was the second season premiere of Pros vs. Joes, and the show came through by actually out-drawing the UFC Fight Night special that served as its lead-in. It was only the second time that a non-UFC show has out-drawn its live UFC lead-in, with the first show being Blade: The Series last June.
Pros vs. Joes drew an overall rating of 1.9, building on UFN's overall rating of 1.7. Pros vs. Joes also drew a 2.6 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, building on UFN's 2.0 rating in this demographic. Most impressively of all, Pros vs. Joes drew a 3.3 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, building on UFN's rating of 2.3 in this demographic.
Compared to the launch of Blade: The Series following a UFC Fight Night special last June, Pros vs. Joes lost slightly when it comes to the overall rating (1.9 to 2.0), but Pros vs. Joes handily out-drew Blade: The Series' premiere in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (3.3 to 2.6) and in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic (2.6 to 2.2).
Of course, as with any TV series (and any individual season of any TV series), the question is whether or not Pros vs. Joes can maintain ratings that are close to this level over the long haul.
The strong first week ratings won't mean all that much if the ratings fall off drastically in subsequent weeks and the series ends up being cancelled, which is what happened to Blade: The Series. Blade went from drawing a 2.0 overall rating in its first week to averaging a 0.9 overall rating in its remaining weeks, and it experienced similarly drastic drop-offs in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (from 2.6 down to 1.0) and in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic (from 2.2 down to 0.9).
Other Spike TV Ratings from January 25th
Airing from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM and leading into the UFC Fight Night special on Spike TV was a new episode of UFC Unleashed, which drew an overall rating of 0.6. The last time that a new episode of UFC Unleashed aired at 7:00 PM, it drew an overall rating of 0.9 back on August 17th (the night of TUF 4's premiere).
After the two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night and the one-hour broadcast of Pros vs. Joes, the Spike TV original series Afro Samurai aired from 11:00 PM to 11:30 PM and drew an overall rating of 0.7, which was actually an increase from the series' previous average of 0.5.
Airing from 11:30 PM to 12:00 AM, Wild World of Spike drew an overall rating of 0.5, which was up slightly from its previous average of 0.4. Needless to say, the ratings that have been drawn by Afro Samurai and Wild World of Spike have left a lot to be desired, and the low ratings can't be blamed on the late timeslot because TNA Impact was able to consistently draw ratings of 0.8 or higher in the same timeframe (11:00 PM to 12:00 AM).
The latest episode of Inside the UFC aired on Spike TV from 12:00 AM to 12:30 AM, and it drew an overall rating of 0.4. The ratings for Inside the UFC have decreased ever since Spike TV took away its UFC lead-in.
In the five-week period when Inside the UFC had repeats of UFC Unleashed and one new episode of UFC All Access as its lead-ins, the series was averaging a 0.6 overall rating, which was actually considered a fairly good rating for a show that airs at midnight. In the four weeks since then, with lead-ins of Afro Samurai and Wild World of Spike, the series has drawn overall ratings in the 0.3 to 0.4 range.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night 8 on Thursday, January 25th from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, a repeat of CSI Miami on CBS led the pack with an overall rating of 8.1, while a repeat of the ABC series Ugly Betty drew a 6.9 overall rating. NBC's repeats of My Name is Earl and The Office drew overall ratings of 5.3 and 4.8, respectively, which are fairly strong ratings for repeats of comedy shows.
Bringing up the rear was Fox, which managed to draw only a 3.5 overall rating for a repeat of 'Til Death and a 3.2 overall rating for a new episode of The War at Home. Neither series is going to be on the air for very long if they keep drawing ratings in that range. The War at Home's ratings have fallen off drastically ever since Fox moved the series from Sunday nights and put it head-to-head with The Office and Ugly Betty on Thursday nights.
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night in the 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM hour, a new episode of Grey's Anatomy on ABC out-drew a new episode of CSI on CBS, which was shocking when it first happened last fall but is now considered commonplace. Grey's Anatomy drew a 14.0 overall rating, while CSI drew a 13.1 overall rating.
In the meantime, NBC's repeats of Scrubs and 30 Rock drew overall ratings of 3.2 and 2.5, respectively. Despite its critical acclaim, 30 Rock is probably not going to get renewed for a second season unless its ratings increase in the coming months. Fox again came in last place with a 2.5 overall rating for a new episode of The OC. That is exactly the kind of number that caused Fox to make the decision to end The OC, which was drawing more than double its current audience just two years ago.