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, April 30, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC News Round-Up: Tito Ortiz, Brandon Vera, Mirko Cro Cop, Drug Test Failures, Knee Strikes, and More
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
In addition to discussing the UFC's deal with HBO and his plans for Pride, UFC president Dana White also discussed numerous other issues during a media teleconference last week.
A reporter asked White about Tito Ortiz' recent statement that he would still be willing to fight White in an exhibition boxing match if the right contractual terms were reached. White said, "Why would I pay him to fight me? He wanted the fight."
When the reporter continued, asking White whether or not Ortiz is aware that the Nevada State Athletic Commission said that they don't want to hear about the fight again, White responded, "Tito's not aware of anything. He's living in a f---ing bubble. He's out there making himself look like a jackass right now. He ought to shut his face and focus on Rashad Evans."
A reporter mentioned that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board might be interested in legalizing knees to the head on the ground in MMA, and asked if White thinks the Nevada State Athletic Commission would follow suit if that were to happen. White said, "Probably, because it was New Jersey that didn't want knees to the head before." White has previously stated on multiple occasions that he would personally like to see knees to the head on the ground legalized in MMA.
White also said that Brandon Vera will be fighting on a UFC card in the near future, that the Spike TV program Inside the UFC (which was previously placed on indefinite hiatus) will be returning at some point, and that ESPN will not only be covering UFC events from now on, but may also broadcast live UFC events in the future.
Regarding the UFC's show in the United Kingdom, White said that because there is no athletic commission in the U.K. that regulates MMA events, UFC vice president Marc Ratner would be regulating and overseeing UFC 70. Ratner is the former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
A reporter asked about all of the recent drug test failures in the UFC, specifically mentioning Diego Sanchez' positive test for marijuana and Melvin Guillard's positive test for cocaine, and White said that it always sucks whenever any UFC fighter tests positive for anything. When the reporter asked if the UFC would consider instituting random drug testing of its own, in addition to the athletic commission drug testing that always takes place on the day of the events, White did not directly address the question.
Instead, he said that all of the fighters on The Ultimate Fighter have to pass a drug test before they can be on the show, and some of the other fighters are drug-tested by the athletic commissions, but he concluded, "I don't know what else I can do."
Prior to Mirko Cro Cop's loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70, Cro Cop also spoke to the media. When asked which fighters he would like to fight other than Gonzaga and Randy Couture, he said that he would like to fight Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the very near future.
Cro Cop said that his term in the Croatian Parliament ends in six or seven months, and he will not be seeking a second term.
He will instead return to the Special Forces police unit in Croatia, which he says will not affect his MMA career. Cro Cop said that it has been an honor to serve in Parliament, but that he enjoys fighting more than he enjoys politics.
When asked about the possibility of fighting Chuck Liddell at some point in the future, Cro Cop said that he is not able to make the 205-pound weight limit, but he would welcome a fight with Chuck Liddell or anyone else if the fight was contested in the heavyweight division.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ratings for Ultimate Fighter 5 Continue to Decline in Week Three
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Episode Three of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.2 on Thursday, April 19th. There has been a downward trend since the beginning of this season, as Episode One drew a 1.4 overall rating, Episode Two drew a 1.3 overall rating, and Episode Three drew a 1.2 overall rating.
A week's worth of commercials on Spike TV hyping that Episode Three would contain one of the best fights in the history of The Ultimate Fighter was apparently not enough to entice more viewers to tune into the show. The actual fight between Nate Diaz and Robert Emerson drew a 1.3 rating, making it the least-watched fight of this season to date.
In addition to the overall rating decreasing from the previous week, Episode Three of TUF 5 also saw decreases in the demographics most coveted by advertisers. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode 3 drew a 1.7 rating, down from the previous week's mark of 2.0. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Three drew a 1.5 rating, down from the previous week's mark of 1.7. It was still the highest-rated show of the day on cable television in the latter demographic.
An overall rating of 1.2 is still an excellent rating for cable, but it's not significantly above Spike TV's primetime average of 1.0. More importantly, it is significantly lower than the overall rating that the show's sponsors were told to expect, as the Wrestling Observer has reported that advertisers were told to expect a 1.7 overall rating for the season premiere. If the overall ratings of TUF 5 were to sink any lower than 1.0, the series would actually be dragging down Spike TV's primetime average at that point, but it seems unlikely that the ratings will decrease to that extent in the coming weeks.
At this point, if TUF 5's ratings hold steady at this level or increase in the upcoming weeks, it may or may not end up being the lowest-rated season of TUF to date. However, the numbers are now at a point where if the ratings decrease any further in the upcoming weeks, TUF 5 will beat out TUF 4 as the lowest-rated season of TUF to date.
The fourth season of TUF averaged a 1.2 overall rating, compared to 1.7 for TUF 3, and 1.2 for Episode Three of the current season.
The Ultimate Fighter 4 averaged a 2.0 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, compared to 2.9 for TUF 3, and 1.7 for Episode Three of the current season.
The fourth season of TUF averaged a 1.6 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, compared to 2.2 for TUF 3, and 1.5 for Episode Three of the current season.
Episode Three of TUF 5 was almost out-drawn by its pro wrestling lead-in, TNA Impact, which has had stagnant ratings for several months. The episode of TNA Impact that aired on April 12th at 9:00 PM drew a 1.1 overall rating, just 0.1 lower than TUF's 1.2 overall rating. However, the demographic ratings aren't even close, as TNA drew a 0.9 in the two demographics most coveted by advertisers, compared to 1.7 and 1.5 for TUF.
Even the sinking ratings of TUF are still higher than the highest ratings that the IFL has drawn on MyNetworkTV. The most-watched episodes of IFL Battleground have averaged 1.1 million viewers, while Episode 3 of TUF 5 averaged 1.6 million viewers.
Airing head-to-head on network television with Episode 3 of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on Thursday, April 12th, the CBS drama "Shark" came out on top in the 10:00 PM hour. A new episode of "Shark" drew an 8.5 overall rating, once again beating out a new episode of NBC's "ER," which drew a 6.1 overall rating.
For the first time in the history of "ER" on Thursday nights, a new episode of the series actually came in third place in its timeslot, losing not only to "Shark" but also to ABC's "October Road," which drew a 6.7 overall rating. Though "ER" was already renewed through May 2008 about two years ago, it's hard to imagine the series continuing past that point.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter 5's Ratings Slip to 1.3 in Week Two
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The second episode of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.3 on Thursday, April 12th. This is down slightly from the season premiere's 1.4 overall rating, which was the lowest overall rating for any TUF season premiere to date.
The silver lining for the UFC and Spike TV is that despite the decrease in the overall rating, the show's rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic actually went up slightly. Episode Two drew a 2.0 rating in this demographic, up from the season premiere's 1.9 rating in this demographic. This is still down significantly from TUF 3's average rating of 2.9 in this demo, but at least now it's on par with TUF 4's average of 2.0 in the demo.
In the week prior to Episode Two, it seemed as though all of this episode's proverbial eggs were being put into one promotional basket: The tease that one or more fights would break out in the house during Episode Two. The ads for the episode were heavily focused on the heated arguing and near-fighting in the house.
This gambit did not pay off in terms of overall viewership. One of the major reasons is that this kind of behavior, and the producers' eagerness to make an entire episode revolve around it and then focus heavily on it promotionally, serves to actually TUF less of a unique show.
There's only one reality show on television that people can watch if they want to see professional fighters battle it out in MMA competition for a UFC contract (or several UFC contracts). On the other hand, there have been literally dozens of reality shows that people can watch if they want to see people get into heated arguments with each other in a house and subsequently get into scuffles or near-scuffles in the house. Every time there's a fight or tease of a fight in the TUF house instead of in the Octagon, it makes TUF seem more like "just another reality TV show," as opposed to "the reality TV show where they have an MMA fight at the end of each episode."
The actual fight between Manny Gamburyan and Noah Thomas drew a 1.4 rating, as compared to the 1.5 rating that was drawn by the Episode One fight between Cole Miller and Alan Berube.
Compared to the first four seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, the current season is drawing higher ratings than TUF 4's averages at this point, but lower ratings than all of the other seasons. The first season of TUF averaged a 1.6 overall rating, TUF 2 averaged a 1.4 overall rating, TUF 3 averaged a 1.7 overall rating, and TUF 4 averaged a 1.2 overall rating. The first two episodes of the current season have drawn overall ratings of 1.4 and 1.3, respectively. If the ratings hold steady and do not drop any further, TUF 5 would not be the lowest-rated season to date.
Airing before The Ultimate Fighter on April 12th, the pro wrestling show TNA Impact drew a 1.1 overall rating. Airing after The Ultimate Fighter on April 12th, the Ortiz-White special drew a 1.2 overall rating. Much like Austin-McMahon before it, Ortiz-White was able to pique viewers' interest.
Airing head-to-head on network television with the second episode of TUF 5 from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a new episode of CBS' freshman drama "Shark" dominated a new episode of veteran NBA drama "ER," as "Shark" drew a 9.5 overall rating and "ER" drew a 6.3 overall rating. The continued losses for "ER" are getting increasingly embarrassing for NBC, but it's not surprising for "ER" to lose when its lead-in audience is literally one-tenth the size of the lead-in audience for "Shark" ("CSI" out-drew NBC's comedy block by the ridiculous margin of 13.4 to 3.4).
ABC came in third place in the 10:00 PM hour, averaging a 5.8 overall rating for the hour-long series premiere of its new comedy, "Notes from the Underbelly." Fox does not air national programming after 10:00 PM.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC President Discusses Plans for Pride, Plus Fedor, Shogun, Wanderlei, and More
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White spoke in great detail during a pre-UFC 70 teleconference about his plans for the Pride Fighting Championships organization, which was recently purchased by UFC principal owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta.
The most striking aspect of White's answers to reporters' questions was the way in which he spoke of Pride as a company essentially owned-and-operated by the UFC. Any pretense from the initial buy-out announcement that White would not have anything to do with Pride (or would not be running Pride) was long gone, as was any pretense that Pride and the new company Pride FC Worldwide would not be controlled by Zuffa.
White set the tone for this early on in the conference call when he talked about how busy he is: "I'm working on that [the first round of the Pride Lightweight Grand Prix]. There's only so much I can do at once. We own the UFC, Pride, and WEC, so it's a lot of work."
White also said, "I'm working on a major TV deal for Pride in the U.S. and in Japan." When asked about the Pride USA office, he said that all of the Pride employees will be keeping their jobs but added, "I'm going to be the one going out and signing deals for Pride."
White's comments about Pride stand in stark contrast to the statements made by DSE executives when the announcement was made that UFC co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta were buying Pride. At the time, DSE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara said, "Lorenzo believes that Pride should maintain its luster, and he will make sure that Pride. is here to stay. I trust and believe in Lorenzo... but please don't misunderstand the situation. This is not a speech about the UFC purchasing Pride. The UFC will forever stay as a competitor to Pride, because the UFC is operated by Zuffa Entertainment and Mr. Dana White."
White also contradicted statements made just in the past week by DSE executives about Pride's upcoming Lightweight Grand Prix. When asked if it's true that there will be one or more UFC fighters in the Pride Lightweight Grand Prix, White said that it is absolutely not true.
At the press conference last week in Japan where it was announced that the first round of Pride's Lightweight Grand Prix would not be taking place on May 20th as originally scheduled, DSE president Sakakibara said, “I’m sure that the UFC will send us one of the very best lightweight fighters of the UFC. That’s what Lorenzo promised me. I’m sure that Lorenzo will prove his commitment.”
Also, while DSE announced in Japan this week that the first round of the Grand Prix would take place on July 16th in Nagoya, Japan, White said, "We don't have a date for the Lightweight Grand Prix yet." White said that it's still being determined when they'll be ready to run their first Pride event.
When a reporter asked if it's true that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will be fighting in the UFC just as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will be, White said that Shogun will stay in Pride and added, "All of the guys who are in Pride will stay in Pride." White said that there will be no Pride fighters in the UFC before the big UFC vs. Pride "Super Bowl" event, which he said will be taking place this year.
When asked about the recent statements from Shogun's camp that Shogun has a contract for two fights in Pride and two fights in the UFC, White said, "I don't know where that's coming from, but it's not true."
When a reporter asked about Wanderlei Silva's status as a free agent, White said that Silva is not a free agent and that he has four fights remaining on his Pride contract.
When asked about the status of Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko, who recently stated that he is not under contract to Pride, White said that Fedor is indeed under contract to Pride, but added, "It's a non-exclusive contract, and I don't do non-exclusive contracts."
White said that he is trying to sign Fedor to an exclusive contract and that if Fedor were to sign a similar non-exclusive contract with any other MMA promotion in the meantime, "We would absolutely slap an injunction on that." An "injunction" in this case would be a temporary restraining order seeking to legally prohibit Fedor from fighting in any other MMA promotion.
White was asked about the problem of so many Pride fighters, such as Fedor, being under non-exclusive contracts. White responded, "Yeah, it's a problem. I'm working on it. It's a big problem, but believe me, I'll fix it."
Several of the reporters did not seem to be aware of White's previous statements that the UFC and Pride would have the same rules. When asked about the differences between the UFC's rules and Pride's rules in the future, White said, "It'll all be the same."
One of the reporters on the teleconference said that he feels the color commentary on the April 8th Pride event was "horrendous" due to the "constant shilling for Pride" and asked if White will be making changes to ensure that the Pride broadcasts will be "more professional" in the future. White responded, "Absolutely," and said that he "agrees 100 percent" with what the reporter said. When asked specifically if color commentator Frank Trigg will continue to be part of the Pride announcing team, White said, "No, he won't. We're looking for some new announcers."
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Zuffa-Owned WEC to Make Live Cable TV Debut on June 3
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
World Extreme Cagefighting is scheduled to make its debut on live cable television on June 3rd, according to the Versus Network's web site. The Versus Network and WEC previously announced a partnership that would start in June, and now the specific date and other details have been pinned down.
The first live WEC fight card is scheduled to air on the Versus Network on Sunday, June 3rd from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Versus' web site lists the next two live WEC broadcasts as taking place on Sunday, August 5th and Wednesday, September 5th.
While any of these dates could change, the June 3rd date is solid enough that the WEC has formally requested the date with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The WEC has run two events since being purchased by the Fertittas, who also own Pride and the UFC, and an additional WEC event is scheduled for May 12th. Footage from these events will serve as the basis for a series of WEC highlight shows that will air on Versus, not unlike UFC Unleashed on Spike TV.
All of the WEC's live events since the Fertitta purchase have taken place at the WEC's unofficial new "home base" venue, The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As previously reported by MMAWeekly, the WEC's deal with Versus Network is for three live fight specials (each of which will be two hours in length), and six highlight shows at one hour apiece. The total committment from Versus at this point is for 12 hours of WEC programming, plus replays.
The six new episodes of WEC highlight shows are scheduled to premiere on Versus at the following dates and times: Sunday, June 3rd at 8:00 PM (leading into the first live fight special); Wednesday, June 6th at 9:00 PM; Wednesday, June 13th at 9:00 PM; Sunday, August 5th at 8:00 PM (leading into the second live fight special); Wednesday, August 8th at 9:00 PM; and Wednesday, August 15th at 9:00 PM.
The Versus Network, formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network, is available in approximately 70 million U.S. households. This is not at the level of cable networks such as Spike TV, which is available in over 90 million households, but the Versus Network does have a far wider reach than premium networks like HBO (30 million households) and Showtime (15 million households). Versus had been in advanced negotiations for a TV deal with the IFL prior the Fertittas' purchase of the WEC.
Given the low ratings that the NHL has drawn on the Versus Network, it would not be unrealistic for one to expect that the WEC could approach or even surpass the NHL's viewership levels right out of the gate. If that were to happen, it would be a mere formality for Versus to order more episodes of the WEC's live and pre-taped programming.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL Battleground Ratings Down Slightly
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Episode Four of IFL Battleground on MyNetworkTV drew an overall rating of 0.7 on Monday, April 9th. The show drew its smallest average audience to date, just 977,000 viewers, while also drawing its highest ratings to date in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
The four original episodes of IFL Battleground that have aired thus far have drawn overall ratings of 0.8, 0.7, 0.8, and 0.7. Although an improvement, this is not drastically different than MyNetworkTV's average of 0.5 overall on Monday nights in February before the IFL debuted on the network.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, which is the specific demographic that the IFL was brought in to draw for the struggling network, the first four episodes of IFL Battleground have drawn ratings of 0.7, 0.6, 0.8, and 0.8. This is a drastic increase from MyNetworkTV's previous average rating in the demographic, which was a paltry 0.2. With 18 episodes out of Battleground's 22-episode order yet to air, there is still plenty of time for potential ratings increases or decreases, depending on whether the show keeps its audience coming back for more each week.
Four days earlier in the same time slot (8:00 PM to 10:00 PM), albeit on a different night of the week, the live premiere of UFC Fight Night 9 drew an average of 1.6 million viewers on Spike TV, compared to 977,000 viewers for Episode Four of IFL Battleground.
In an attempt to further increase its ratings in April and especially in the May sweeps period, MyNetworkTV has ordered nine prime time specials to air in late April and May, including "Hawaiian Tropic International Beauty Pageant," "Ujena Bikini Jam," "Body Doubles: International Twins Search," "America's Trashiest Weddings," "Britney Spears: A Pop Idol Exposed" (no relation to the preceding special), "The Hooters Dream Girl Challenge," "Anna Nicole Smith: Centerfold Revisited," "Night of a Million Laughs: Comics Unleashed," and "Eddie Murphy: 25th Anniversary of 'Delirious.'"
The ratings success or failure of these specials, as well as IFL Battleground, could play a significant role in Fox's decision on whether to bring back MyNetworkTV for a second season this fall. If MyNetworkTV does come back in the fall, it is almost certain that the network would be interested in bringing back IFL Battleground for a second season.
Airing head-to-head with IFL Battleground on April 9th from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, a 90-minute installment of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" was the most-watched show on television, as it drew a 12.2 overall rating for an episode that included a guest appearance by UFC fighter Randy Couture. Following Dancing with the Stars on ABC was a 90-minute installment of "The Bachelor," the first 30 minutes of which drew a 6.7 overall rating head-to-head with the IFL.
Coming in second place on the night was CBS, which struggled with the first half of its comedy block, as "How I Met Your Mother" drew a 5.0 overall rating and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" drew a 4.8 overall rating, but rebounded strongly with the second half of its comedy block, as "Two and a Half Men" drew an 8.4 overall rating and "King of Queens" drew an 8.6 overall rating. Coming in third place was Fox with a repeat of "House" (4.9 overall rating) and a new episode of "24" (7.2 overall rating). Coming in last place among the Big Four networks was NBC, as a new episode of "Deal or No Deal" drew a 6.8 overall rating and the premiere of "Thank God You're Here" drew a 5.8 overall rating in its first hour.
On Monday, April 2nd, the IFL chose to air a repeat episode of Battleground instead of a new episode, due to the fact that it had to go head-to-head with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Finals on CBS. As it turned out, the Tournament Finals broadcast was the night's #1 show in the young adult male demographic, but it suffered a rare defeat in the overall ratings, with an 11.4 overall rating compared to Dancing with the Stars' 11.9 overall rating. The repeat airing of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7 overall rating on April 2nd, which is the same rating that a new episode of the series drew on April 9th.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Fighter Melvin Guillard Tests Positive for Cocaine
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Lightweight UFC fighter and former Ultimate Fighter contestant Melvin Guillard tested positive for a major metabolite of cocaine following his main event bout with Joe Stevenson at UFC Fight Night 9, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The NSAC's drug testing results show that Guillard's urinalysis was found to contain cocaine metabolite Benzoylegonine in an amount equal to or greater than 150 ng/ml. When reached for comment by MMAWeekly's Damon Martin, Guillard's manager had no comment at this time.
Guillard is the first MMA fighter to test positive for cocaine in the state of Nevada. In neighboring California, only one fighter, Ricco Rodriguez, has tested positive for cocaine.
The six fighters on the card who were drug-tested were Guillard, Stevenson, Antoni Hardonk, Justin McCully, Nate Mohr, and Kurt Pellegrino. All of those fighters tested negative for all banned substances, except for Guillard.
The other twelve fighters on the card were not drug-tested. The NSAC spent a total of $1,670 on drug testing for UFC Fight Night 9, while the total cost of drug testing every single fighter on the card would have been $5,011.
In addition, all of the drug tests that were administered at WEC 26 in Las Vegas late last month have come back negative for all banned substances.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission tested eight of the twenty fighters who competed on the card. The eight fighters who were drug tested were Urijah Faber, Dominic Cruz, Carlos Condit, John Alessio, Chase Beebe, Eddie Wineland, Alex Serdyukov, and Scott Norton.
All eight of those fighters' urine samples did not contain any banned substances, including steroids, stimulants, and recreational drugs. The remaining twelve fighters on the card were not drug tested.
The event took place on March 24th and was the WEC's second show since being purchased by the Fertittas, who also own the UFC and Pride
The drug test results from WEC 26 are a notable improvement from WEC 25, where two of the six drug-tested fighters failed their drug tests.
Although, Urijah Faber, Rob McCullough, Rich Crunkilton, and Mike Joy all passed their drug tests at WEC 25, Kit Cope tested positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone (frequently used by veterinarians to rehabilitate injured horses) and was later suspended by the NSAC for nine months; while Joe Pearson tested positive for Delta 9 THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and was later suspended by the NSAC for six months.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Fight Night 9 Draws Series-Low Ratings
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night 9 drew an overall rating of 1.2 on Thursday, April 5th, making it the lowest-rated installment to date of UFC Fight Night on Spike TV.
The telecast also drew the lowest ratings ever for a live UFC event on Spike TV in the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males.
The event was not the lowest-rated live UFC fight card in the company's history on Spike TV, as the November 11, 2006 live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 4 drew a 1.1 overall rating.
UFC Fight Night 9 Ratings vs. UFC Fight Night 8 Ratings
The trend of declining UFC Fight Night ratings appeared to be turning around with the 1.7 overall rating that was drawn by UFC Fight Night 8 on January 25, 2007, but this may have just been an abberation, based on the much lower rating for UFC Fight Night 9.
Both UFN 8 and UFN 9 aired on Thursday nights from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and both received similar levels of promotional build-up on Spike TV. However, UFN 9 drew significantly lower numbers than UFN 8 in terms of overall rating (1.7 to 1.2), the rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (2.3 to 1.6), and the rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic (2.0 to 1.5).
As far as how exactly this happened, the increases and decreases over the course of these two broadcasts indicate that both started out with a fairly low viewership level, as is almost always the case with live UFC broadcasts on Spike TV. The key difference is that UFN 8 was able to significantly increase its ratings over the course of the two-hour broadcast, while UFN 9 was not.
While both broadcasts opened up with a similar rating for the first 15 minutes (1.2 for UFC Fight Night 8, compared to 1.0 for UFC Fight Night 9), the ratings for UFN 8 increased drastically during the broadcast, peaking with a 2.1 rating for the Heath Herring vs. Jake O'Brien fight. On the other hand, nothing on UFN 9 was able to draw a rating higher than 1.4.
Increases and Decreases in Viewership During the UFN 9 Broadcast
The first fight on the UFC Fight Night 9 broadcast was Kenny Florian vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima, which drew a 1.1 overall rating, not atypical for the opening fight on a live UFC broadcast.
As with UFC Fight Night 8, the second fight on UFN 8 was a heavyweight fight that lasted the entire 15-minute time limit. However, while Heath Herring vs. Jake O'Brien drew a 2.1 rating in January, Justin McCully vs. Antoni Hardonk drew a 1.2 rating in April.
The next fight that aired on the UFN 9 broadcast was the preliminary fight between Kurt Pellegrino and Nate Mohr. Pellegrino vs. Mohr drew a 1.4 rating, and that's where the rating would stay for the remainder of the broadcast. Joe Stevenson's 27-second submission win over Melvin Guillard in the main event was too short for its rating to be determined, but the minutes before and after the actual fight drew a 1.4 rating, the same as the Pellegrino-Mohr fight.
UFC Fight Night 9's Ratings vs. UFC's Average Ratings
In total, there were 13 live UFC fight specials on Spike TV prior to UFC Fight Night 9, from the first one in April 2005 all the way through UFC Fight Night 8 in January 2007. The average ratings of those 13 broadcasts are significantly higher than the ratings that were drawn by UFN 9.
The UFC's average overall rating for its first 13 live fight specials on Spike TV was 1.7, while UFN 9 drew a 1.2 overall rating. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, the UFC's average-to-date was 2.3 heading into this event, and UFN 9 drew a 1.5 rating in this demographic. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the UFC's average-to-date was 2.9 heading into this event, and UFN 9 drew a 1.6 rating in this demographic.
The rating of 1.6 in the core demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males is a long way from the UFC's prior average of 2.9, but it still out-drew the NBA game that aired head-to-head on TNT. In addition, the UFC's smallest audience for a UFC Fight Night broadcast (1.6 million total viewers) is still larger than the IFL's biggest audience for an IFL Battleground broadcast (1.1 million total viewers).
Head-to-Head Network Competition; Plus Other Spike TV Ratings from April 5th
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night 9 on Thursday, April 5th from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, a new episode of "Survivor: Fuji" on CBS drew an 8.0 overall rating. While it was enough to win the timeslot, the 8.0 rating is significantly lower than the ratings that Survivor was drawing just a couple of seasons ago. A new episode of the Fox trivia show "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" came in second place with a 6.0 overall rating, while a repeat of "Ugly Betty" on ABC drew a 4.4 overall rating. NBC's combination of "The Office" and "30 Rock" averaged a 4.1 overall rating in the hour.
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night 9 in the 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM hour, "CSI" on CBS beat out "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC, primarily due to the fact that Grey's Anatomy was a repeat. A new episode of "CSI" drew a 12.9 overall rating, making it the most-watched show on television that night, while a repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" drew a 5.8 overall rating. NBC's combination of "30 Rock" and "Scrubs" averaged a 3.4 overall rating. Two off-night repeat airings of "Family Guy" on Fox averaged a 3.1 overall rating.
A new episode of UFC Unleashed served as UFC Fight Night's lead-in on Spike TV, airing from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM and drawing an overall rating of 0.8.
Following the two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night was the one-hour broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter 5's premiere, which drew a 1.4 rating. As detailed in a separate article that was published yesterday, this is tied with the TUF 1 premiere for the lowest-rated season premiere in the history of the series.
Leading out of the UFC programming block was a new episode of the pro wrestling show TNA Impact, whch aired from 11:00 PM to 12:00 AM and drew an overall rating of 0.9.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salary Breakdown for UFC Fight Night 9
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for UFC Fight Night 9, which took place last night 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, "Main Event Fighters" are defined as fighters who compete in the main event of 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 Ultimate Fighter seasons because those fights are officially classified as exhibitions.
Main Event Fighters
-Joe Stevenson: $32,000 (5th fight in UFC; defeated Melvin Guillard)
-Melvin Guillard: $7,000 (5th fight in UFC; lost to Joe Stevenson)
Main Card Fighters
-Kenny Florian: $16,000 (6th fight in UFC; defeated Dokonjonosuke Mishima)
-Dokonjonosuke Mishima: $8,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Kenny Florian)
-Antoni Hardonk: $6,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Justin McCully)
-Justin McCully: $6,000 (1st fight in UFC; defeated Antoni Hardonk)
-Drew Fickett: $20,000 (7th fight in UFC; defeated Keita Nakamura)
-Rich Clementi: $12,000 (4th fight in UFC; lost to Roan Carneiro)
-Kurt Pellegrino: $12,000 (3rd fight in UFC; defeated Nate Mohr)
-Kuniyoshi Hironaka: $12,000 (2nd fight in UFC; defeated Forrest Petz)
-Wilson Gouveia: $12,000 (3rd fight in UFC; defeated Seth Petruzelli)
-Thiago Tavares: $6,000 (1st fight in UFC; defeated Naoyuki Kotani)
-Roan Carneiro: $6,000 (1st fight in UFC; defeated Rich Clementi)
-Seth Petruzelli: $5,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Wilson Gouveia)
-Keita Nakamura: $4,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Drew Fickett)
-Forrest Petz: $4,000 (3rd fight in UFC; lost to Kuniyoshi Hironaka)
-Naoyuki Kotani: $3,000 (1st fight in UFC; lost to Thiago Tavares)
-Nate Mohr: $3,000 (1st fight in UFC; lost to Kurt Pellegrino)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $174,000
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter 5 Ties Series Low with Premiere Rating
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 5, which aired on Spike TV on April 5th, drew an overall rating of 1.4. This puts the TUF 5 premiere in a tie with the premiere of the very first season of The Ultimate Fighter for the lowest-rated premiere episode in series history, as the TUF 1 premiere also drew a 1.4 overall rating.
The majority of the episode drew a 1.3 rating, but the show-closing fight between Cole Miller and Alan Berube drew a 1.5 rating, increasing the average for the hour.
The pertinent question now is whether or not TUF 5's ratings will decrease as the season progresses, as was the case with TUF 4. It would still be a successful show if it can draw a 1.4 overall rating every week. However, if the ratings were to decrease over the course of the season to the extent that TUF 4's ratings decreased, the show would fall well below the series' ratings expectations and it would be an alarming sign.
The UFC and Spike TV appear to be under the impression that it was the pull-apart quasi-brawls that drew the series-high ratings for TUF 3, as the promotion for this season of TUF in general (and the next episode in particular) is focused heavily on the tease of one or more fights breaking out in the house.
Say what you will about the negative light in which this portrays MMA and its competitors, but they may very well be correct in their belief that it will draw strong ratings. We'll find out in the coming weeks.
TUF 5 Ratings vs. Previous TUF Ratings
On the whole, The Ultimate Fighter 3 (which premiered in April 2006) was the most-watched season to date, and TUF 4 (which premiered in August 2006) was the least-watched season to date. The UFC has publicly dismissed TUF 4's lower ratings on multiple occasions by blaming the lower numbers on having to go head-to-head with the NFL, but that makes no sense because TUF 4 only went head-to-head with a regular season NFL game on one occasion.
The second season of TUF, on the other hand, went head-to-head with regular season Monday Night Football games airing on ABC for all but three episodes of its regular season, and yet TUF 2 drew higher ratings than TUF 4.
Based on the premiere ratings, it appears to be extremely unlikely that TUF 5 is going to be challenging TUF 3 for the mantle of most-watched TUF season. As for whether it will challenge TUF 4's position as the least-watched TUF season, that remains to be seen, but it doesn't look promising based on the season premiere's ratings.
In comparing those three seasons, the trend is not a positive one. In terms of the overall rating, the TUF 3 premiere drew a 2.0 rating, the TUF 4 premiere drew a 1.7 rating, and the TUF 5 premiere last week drew a 1.4 rating.
In the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the TUF 3 premiere drew a 3.7 rating, the TUF 4 premiere drew a 2.8 rating, and the TUF 5 premiere drew a 1.9 rating.
In the second most coveted advertising demographic for Spike TV and the UFC, 18-to-49-year-old males, the TUF 3 premiere drew a 2.7 rating, the TUF 4 premiere drew a 2.2 rating, and the TUF 5 premiere drew a 1.8 rating.
As you can see, the ratings trends for TUF in the key demographics have taken a complete U-turn over the past 12 months, decreasing rapidly instead of increasing rapidly, as they were at this time last year. However, these are still excellent ratings in the key demographics. The TUF 5 premiere was still the #1 show on cable in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic on April 5th, and even the UFC's decreased ratings on Spike TV are higher than anything that the IFL is drawing on MyNetworkTV.
The two-hour live broadcast of UFC Fight Night that served as TUF 5's lead-in drew a 1.2 overall rating, making it the lowest-rated live fight special in the UFC's history on Spike TV. We will have a separate report on UFC Fight Night's ratings tomorrow.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head on network television with the premiere of TUF 5 on April 5th from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, CBS led the pack with a new episode the drama series "Shark," which drew a 10.0 overall rating. ABC came in second place with a new episode of the drama "October Road," which drew a 5.2 overall rating and may be headed towards cancellation if its ratings don't turn around.
NBC came in a distant third place in the hour with a new episode of the comedy "Andy Barker, P.I." airing at 10:00 PM and drawing an overall rating of 2.6 (the series was shortly thereafter removed from NBC's Thursday night line-up, effective immediately). At 10:30 PM, NBC aired a repeat of "My Name is Earl," and the 2.6 overall rating that it drew is not atypical for a repeat airing of a comedy series. Fox does not air national programming in the 10:00 PM hour.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL Battleground Ratings Steady in Week Three
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The third installment of IFL Battleground on MyNetworkTV drew an overall rating of 0.8 on Monday, March 26th. The previous week's episode drew an overall rating of 0.7, while the series premiere two weeks earlier drew an overall rating of 0.8.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the show drew a rating of 0.8, which is the series' highest rating yet and also broke all of MyNetworkTV's records for 18-to-34-year-old male viewership.
The premiere of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7 rating in this demographic, and the second episode drew a 0.6 rating in this demographic.
Prior to the IFL's debut, MyNetworkTV averaged an anemic 0.2 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
IFL Pleased with Battleground's Ratings
The IFL has been pleased with Battleground's ratings thus far. Gareb Shamus, the co-founder of the IFL, tells MMAWeekly, "Our show is setting all kinds of records for [MyNetworkTV]. Their network has really been an all-female network. We're not only keeping the women, but we're increasing the number of males dramatically, especially 18 to 34 year olds."
Shamus continued, "[MyNetworkTV] needs to create 'tent-pole' shows that they can build around. That's what [IFL Battleground] is. Fox understands that they can't turn a network around overnight. They don't see us as a short-term play. They see us as long-term."
IFL Ratings vs. UFC Ratings
In the IFL's first three weeks with a consistent, national television timeslot, IFL Battleground has averaged 1.1 million viewers, 1.0 million viewers, and 1.1 million viewers, respectively.
In the UFC's first three weeks with a consistent, national television timeslot back in January 2006, the first three episodes of The Ultimate Fighter averaged 1.7 million viewers, 1.7 million viewers, and 1.8 million viewers, respectively.
Of course, The Ultimate Fighter had WWE Raw as its lead-in for those episodes, which was a big advantage for the UFC.
On the other hand, the IFL has a big advantage of its own in the sense that IFL Battleground airs on a broadcast TV network that is available in approximately 110 million U.S. households, whereas The Ultimate Fighter airs on a cable network that is available in approximately 90 million U.S. households.
The latest repeat airing of UFC Unleashed on Spike TV, which aired on March 27th from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM, drew an average of approximately 900,000 viewers, compared to 1.1 million viewers for the episode of IFL Battleground that aired one night earlier on MyNetworkTV. The most recent live installment of UFC Fight Night, which aired on January 25th, drew an average of approximately 2.3 million viewers.
IFL Ratings vs. Previous MyNetworkTV Ratings
Compared to the dramas that aired on MyNetworkTV on Monday nights in February 2007, IFL Battleground has drawn 60% higher overall ratings and 250% higher ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. However, the significance of this is tempered by the fact that MyNetworkTV has struggled so much since it launched last September.
Based on everything we know about the situation and everything that has been reported in television industry trade journals, MyNetworkTV may or may not be in existence a year from now if the network's ratings don't improve in the coming weeks and months.
Compared to what the same stations that are now MyNetworkTV affiliates were drawing last year when they were UPN or WB affiliates, the ratings for MyNetworkTV's programming hasn't stacked up. The WB and UPN ended up merging to form The CW Network in part because both UPN and The WB were losing large amounts of money and were not sustainable over the long run with the ratings that they were drawing.
The struggles of MyNetworkTV are certainly not the IFL's fault, as IFL Battleground has been the lone bright spot on the network's line-up and has significantly increased the network's 18-to-34-year-old male averages.
If anything, the IFL is currently providing MyNetworkTV with the best chance it has to turn around its fortunes as a network. However, just the fact that the IFL's ratings are good by MyNetworkTV's standards isn't all that much of an accomplishment. While any number of other fledgling sports leagues would do anything to get the broadcast TV exposure that the IFL is getting, that doesn't change the fact that this particular broadcast network is struggling to survive.
IFL Ratings vs. UPN, WB, and CW Ratings
A more pertinent comparison would be the IFL's current ratings on MyNetworkTV (0.8 overall this week) vs. the ratings that the now-defunct/merged UPN & WB were drawing one year ago.
On the nearest Monday one year ago (March 27, 2006), The WB aired a new two-hour episode of Everwood, which averaged a 2.3 overall rating. On the same night, UPN averaged a 2.2 overall rating with a comedy block featuring One on One, All of Us, Girlfriends, and Half & Half.
The closest network to MyNetworkTV in the current TV landscape is the offspring of The WB and UPN: The CW Network. Both MyNetworkTV and The CW Network are broadcast networks in the sense that they are available in over 95% of U.S. households, regardless of whether or not those households have cable television. On the same night that IFL Battleground drew a 0.8 overall rating on MyNetworkTV (March 26, 2007), The CW Network averaged a 1.8 overall rating with a comedy block featuring Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us, Girlfriends, and The Game.
Head-to-Head Competition on the Big Four Networks
Shows on the Big Four broadcast networks that aired head-to-head with the March 26th installment of IFL Battleground included ABC's Dancing with the Stars, which drew a massive 12.4 overall rating for the first half of a two-hour episode. Also airing from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM was the first half of a two-hour Deal or No Deal on NBC, which drew a 7.0 overall rating. A new episode of Prison Break drew a 5.2 overall rating on Fox, while the last-place finisher among the Big Four networks was CBS, whose repeats of How I Met Your Mother and The New Adventures of Old Christine both drew 4.0 overall ratings.
Airing head-to-head with IFL Battleground in the 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM hour, the ratings for Dancing with the Stars on ABC increased even further, as the show drew a 13.6 overall rating in this hour. The second half of NBC's Deal or No Deal beat out Fox's 24 for second place by the narrow margin of 7.6 to 7.2. Bringing up the rear among the Big Four networks in this hour was CBS, as a repeat of the most-watched comedy on television, Two and a Half Men, drew a 6.6 overall rating, and a repeat of freshman comedy Rules of Engagement drew a 5.3 overall rating.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Numerous MMA Fighters Fail Drug Tests in California
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Welterweight UFC star Diego Sanchez is far from the only fighter to have a positive drug test in California that was not publicly disclosed at the time. MMAWeekly has obtained documentation indicating that nearly two-dozen MMA fighters have failed drug tests in the state of California over the past year without the drug test failures being publicly disclosed at the time.
Sanchez tested positive for marijuana following his December 13th victory over Joe Riggs in the main event of UFC Fight Night 7, but it wasn't until a March 22nd report by Carlos Arias of the Orange County Register that Sanchez' drug test failure was publicly announced or disclosed.
When asked why the UFC did not acknowledge Sanchez' drug test failure on its web site, as it has for all other UFC drug test failures over the past year, the UFC did not respond.
When asked why the California State Athletic Commission did not previously disclose or announce Sanchez' positive drug test, CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia said to MMAWeekly, "No one made any requests for public records on it." Garcia also said that the CSAC would make information about any positive drug tests in the future readily available to media outlets.
The California State Athletic Commission has now provided MMAWeekly with a complete list of every MMA fighter who has tested positive for any banned substance in the state of California since the first legal MMA events were held in California in March 2006. Many of these drug test failures have not previously been publicly disclosed in any media outlet.
Legally, this information is public record; there is no right to privacy or confidentiality for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance. If a fighter takes a banned substance and tests positive for it, he or she can expect to be fined or suspended, and for the drug test failure to be publicly disclosed.
In addition to 31 professional boxers in the same time period, 23 mixed martial artists tested positive for banned substances in the past year, and the complete list of these fighters can be found below.
Over the past year in the state of California, the punishments have been a three-month suspension and $500 fine for any fighter who tests positive for marijuana; or a six-month suspension and $1,000 fine for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance other than marijuana (or a combination of marijuana and other banned substances). These punishments escalate for repeat offenders.
In a neighboring state, Nevada, drug-related suspensions are taken on a case-by-case basis, but in general the suspensions have been six months for any fighter who tests positive for marijuana; or eight to twelve months for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance other than marijuana.
There are many fighters who don't fight more often than once every three months under normal circumstances, so a three-month suspension for these fighters may or may not change their fighting schedule in any tangible way.
You may notice in the list below that not a single fighter tested positive for steroids over the past year in California. This is because there has been no steroid testing in California over the past year. This will change in April 2007, according to CSAC head Garcia, who said, "No steroid policy has ever been in place in California. Obviously, I was not satisfied by this." Starting in April, a total of approximately 25 fighters per month will be tested for steroids in California, and any fighter who tests positive for steroids will be suspended for six months and fined $2,500.
The list below is in chronological order, with each item containing the date and name of the event, the name of the fighter who tested positive for a banned substance, the substance(s) for which the fighter tested positive, brief notes on the substance(s) if warranted, and the length of the fighter's suspension (which is consistently three months for marijuana and six months for anything other than marijuana).
California State Athletic Commission Positive Drug Tests for MMA Fighters
-March 10, 2006: Strikeforce; Cesar Gracie tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-May 13, 2006: International Cage Fighting Organization; Tim McKenzie tested positive for Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months
-June 3, 2006: Extreme Wars 3; Anthony Ruiz tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-June 9, 2006: Strikeforce Revenge; Harris Sarmiento tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-June 15, 2006: WEC 21; Joe Hurley tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-June 15, 2006: WEC 21; Ryan Healy tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-June 17, 2006: Invincible- Fists of Fury; Randal Limond tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-July 1, 2006: Gladiator Challenge 51; Emmanuel Newton tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-July 15, 2006: Total Combat 15; Shawn Bias tested positive for Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months
-July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Bas Rutten tested positive for Hydrocodone (prescription painkiller), Morphine (prescription painkiller), and Diphenhydramine (antihistamine with common brand name Benadryl); suspended for 6 months
-July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Lodune Sincaid tested positive for Cannabinoids/Marijuana Metabolite; suspended for 3 months
-August 12, 2006: Warrior Cup; Chuck Booz tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-August 18, 2006: Pangea Fights 2; Aaron Brink tested positive for Cannabinoids (substances found in cannabis) and Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months
-August 19, 2006: California Xtreme Fighting 3; Mike Penalber tested positive for Amphetamine; suspended for 6 months
-August 19, 2006: Total Fighting Alliance; Jesse Romero tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-September 30, 2006: Chaos in the Cage; Paul Mince tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-September 30, 2006: Xtreme International Kombat; Ty Montgomery tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-October 26, 2006: Valor Fighting; Jamiah Williamson tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-November 4, 2006: Cage Combat Fighting Championships; Joe Hurley tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 6 months as a repeat offender
-November 4, 2006: Total Combat 18; Shad Smith tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-November 17, 2006: Beatdown in Bakersfield; Ricco Rodriguez tested positive for Benzoylecgonine (major metabolite of cocaine) and Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 6 months
-December 13, 2006: UFC Fight Night 7; Diego Sanchez tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
-February 17, 2007: Cage Combat Fighting Championships; Nate Loughran tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salary Breakdown for Second Zuffa-Owned WEC Event
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for WEC 26, which took place on March 24th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was the WEC's second since being purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa.
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 TV or PPV 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
-Carlos Condit: $20,000 (defeated John Alessio)
-Urijah Faber: $14,000 (defeated Dominick Cruz)
-John Alessio: $9,000 (lost to Carlos Condit)
-Chase Beebe: $6,000 (defeated Eddie Wineland)
-Dominick Cruz: $3,000 (lost to Urijah Faber)
-Eddie Wineland: $3,000 (lost to Chase Beebe)
Main Card Fighters
-Brock Larson: $12,000 (defeated Erik Apple)
-Alex Serdyukov: $10,000 (defeated Scott Norton)
-Charlie Valencia: $8,000 (defeated Antonio Banuelos)
-Micah Miller: $6,000 (defeated Jesse Moreng)
-Cub Swanson: $6,000 (defeated Tommy Lee)
-Brian Stann: $6,000 (defeated Steve Cantwell)
-Tiki Ghosn: $5,000 (lost to Dave Terrel)
-Antonio Banuelos: $4,000 (lost to Charlie Valencia)
-Dave Terrel: $4,000 (defeated Tiki Ghosn)
-Tommy Lee: $3,000 (lost to Cub Swanson)
-Steve Cantwell: $3,000 (lost to Brian Stann)
-Erik Apple: $3,000 (lost to Brock Larson)
-Jesse Moreng: $2,000 (lost to Micah Miller)
-Scott Norton: $2,000 (lost to Alex Serdyukov)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $129,000
Monday, April 02, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- More on Fertittas' Pride Buy-Out, Plus Two More Fights Announced
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Two more fights have been announced for Pride 34: Kamikaze, which will take place on April 8th and will be the final Pride event held by Dream Stage Entertainment before the company's operations are turned over to a company owned by UFC majority owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta.
Veteran heavyweight Kazuyuki Fujita will face former UFC fighter Jeff Monson, and MMA legend Don Frye will face 185-pound Pride veteran Ikuhisa Minowa.
Don Frye, who exploded onto the MMA scene by winning the UFC 8 tournament in 1996, has had health problems with his neck and spine in recent years, but has continued to fight nonetheless and amassed an MMA record of 3-0-1 in 2006. The 41-year-old Frye is no longer under contract to fight for K-1 Hero's, thus enabling him to fight for Pride.
It's possible that Frye's contract to fight in Pride will only be a one-time deal since it's the last Pride show promoted by DSE. Frye is the coach of the Tucson Scorpions in the fledgling International Fight League (IFL), and Zuffa has made it clear in the past that it's not going to use any fighters who are coaches in the IFL.
This has been Zuffa's unofficial policy for the UFC itself, and UFC co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta may or may not have the same unofficial policy when their newly formed company, Pride FC Worldwide, assumes control of Pride's day-to-day operations after the April 8th event.
Leaving the IFL altogether would seemingly not be an option for Frye, as all of the coaches in the IFL have ownership stakes in the company that cannot be sold for a certain number of years.
Frye's opponent will be 31-year-old Ikuhisa Minowa, who has a career MMA record of 35-25-8. Minowa's MMA record in 2006 was 5-2, but several of his wins came in "freak show fights" where he was vastly outweighed by his lesser skilled opponent, including wins over Eric "Butterbean" Esch, Paulo "Giant" Silva, and Mike Plotcheck (aka, Bart Gunn in WWE).
While Frye is not a super-heavyweight like the aforementioned fighters, he is still going to outweigh Minowa by 30 to 50 pounds, which is the kind of size mismatch that will presumably not be allowed once Pride is run by the same people who own the UFC.
Since returning from K-1 Hero's to Pride in 2006, Fujita has gone 2-1, with a loss to Wanderlei Silva and victories over James Thompson and Eldari Kurtanidze.
Monson is a former UFC fighter who asked to be released from his UFC contract after his one-sided decision loss to Tim Sylvia last November, so that he could pursue opportunities in the BodogFight promotion. Monson was originally scheduled to face Fedor Emelianenko on BodogFight's April 14th pay-per-view event in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was later scheduled to face Fedor's brother, Aleksander Emelianenko, and then Roman Zentsov. Instead, Monson will be facing Fujita at Pride 34.
In addition to Frye vs. Minowa and Fujita vs. Monson, it was also reaffirmed today that Ricardo Arona will be fighting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on the April 8th card, and Shinya Aoki will be fighting Brian Lo-A-Njoe.
Wanderlei Silva is also tentatively scheduled to compete on the April 8th card (his opponent has not been announced), pending the approval of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Silva is medically suspended by the NSAC until April 11th as a result of his knockout loss to Dan Henderson at Pride 33.
When previously reached for comment on this issue by MMAWeekly, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said, "If Mr. Silva is cleared by a doctor there [in Japan], our doctor will look at the medical records and determine whether to lift the suspension three days early." If he is unable to get this clearance, Silva will not be fighting on the April 8th card.
After the April 8th card in Japan, the next planned show with the Pride brand name is scheduled to take place in Japan on May 20th, as the first round of a 16-man Lightweight Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on that date.
This had been scheduled to be a 160-pound tournament, but Pride is no longer scheduled to have a 160-pound weight class under the ownership of the Fertittas. With White saying in the Las Vegas Review Journal that Pride will have the same weight classes at the UFC, this means that Pride's 2006 Grand Prix would have to be changed to a 170-pound Grand Prix or a 155-pound Grand Prix.
The Fertitta-owned Pride also plans to run a few shows per year in the United States, possibly as soon as June, but these plans are complicated by former Pride USA president Ed Fishman's lawsuit against Dream Stage. With Fishman being the exclusive U.S. promoter of Pride events, the Fertitta-owned Pride may or may not be legally able to run shows in the United States until Fishman's lawsuit has worked its way through the court system, or until a financial settlement with Fishman can be reached.