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Morning Report: Rampage Jackson teases potential return to MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

To put it lightly, yesterday was a bit of a roller coaster day for Winnipeg-based MMA fans. Any fight fanatics who forked over their paychecks with the promise of seeing a stacked event -- a card so filled to the brim with names and legends that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua wasn't even the among its top attractions -- instead got to briefly consider the possibility of Chael Sonnen saving their night, before winding up with tickets to see a co-main event that featured Stipe Miocic.

Injuries happen and there's only so much the UFC can do. But damn, first Calgary gets a raw deal with UFC 149, now Winnipeg follows suit with UFC 161. And if you're among the few hapless Canadians who bought tickets for both events, you should probably invest in a few hundred lucky rabbit's feet. I'm not saying you're unlucky, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

But with that said, we don't discriminate over here at the Morning Report, so instead of drowning your sorrows in your morning's work, let's take a ride and brighten that day up. From Rampage Jackson's latest potential move, to a guy who digs Nick and Nate Diaz so much that he wrote a totally radical song about them, there's plenty to see today, so let's get to it.



Jackson update. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rampage Jackson teased a potential return to MMA, tweeting, "It's gonna feel good putting this chain back on...Big news coming real soon." Jackson's tweet was quickly retweeted by ONE FC CEO Victor Cui, who added that he was looking forward to seeing Jackson next month. Cui later deleted his tweet.

Shogun out. According a report from Brazilian outlet Globo, UFC officials tapped Chael Sonnen as a last-second replacement to fight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 161. The booking ultimately proved to be untrue, however, as UFC officials later announced Rua's removal from the card.

The MMA Hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour are back in your life with another packed show, featuring 'Mayhem' Miller in studio, Chris Weidman and Gian Villante in studio, and Brendan Schaub.

Machida vs. Davis. UFC officials are targeting a battle of top-10 light heavyweights between Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and Phil Davis for the fight card of UFC 163, which takes place August 3 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cooper out, Cornelius in. BJJ player Bill Cooper was cut from the fight card of Metamoris II for "failing to complete pre-competition requirements and for conduct unbefitting a Metamoris competitor," event officials announced on Facebook. Keenan Cornelius has been tapped as a replacement to fight Victor Estima.



Georges St-Pierre made a career out of taking opponents to the mat. Now, because of the magic of editing, you can see the evolution of every single one of those takedowns. Fascinating stuff.

(HT: Reddit)


I've said it about a billion times by now, but these two guys need their own show, pronto.


Seven years ago, at Pride Critical Countdown Absolute, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum went to war in the quarterfinals of the legendary 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix. They'll settle the score this weekend, but first take a blast to the past and relive their first meeting.


Fair warning, this guy really likes Nick and Nate Diaz.


The lesson, as always: never touch gloves in Malaysia. (For the lazy, fights starts at 0:55.)

















Announced yesterday (Monday, June 3, 2013):

  • UFC 161: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (21-7) scratched from card
  • UFC 161: Ryan Jimmo (17-2) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-9, 1 NC) upgraded to main card
  • UFC 163: Lyoto Machida (19-3) vs. Phil Davis (11-1)



Today's Fanpost of the Day is an intriguing examination, courtesy of Decado: UFC Revenue & Fighter Pay Study


After interviewing John Cholish I found myself wondering exactly how much of the UFC's revenue actually goes to the fighters. As far as I could see, there was no definitive information out there, so I decided to try to collate it. You can see my methodology at the bottom of the article. Here are the results:

Incoming Event Revenue

Total UFC Gate income for 2011: approx $58.2m
Average Gate: $2.1m
Total UFC PPV income for 2011: approx $202m.
Average PPV income: $7.5m


Total announced UFC fighter salaries for 2011: approx $23,642,000
Average Announced Salary Payout per event: approx $875,000
Average Percentage of announced salaries to top 4 fighters on card*: 57.5%
Average Paid out to bottom 18 fighters: $371,875. $20,000 per fighter.
Total announced UFC bonuses for 2011: $7,321,000
Total estimated PPV points pay out for 2011: approx $8,000,000
Total estimated "discretionary bonus"** : $6m
Percentage of total event income (PPV+Gate) Paid to fighters: 17%
Percentage of total income (event+misc) Paid to fighters: 9.5%
Amount of total Salary + PPV Points paid out to top 10% of fighters: $26.29m
Percentage of total Salary + PPV Points paid out to top 10% of fighters***: 83%


Total live event revenue was approx: $260m
Total estimated revenue was approx: $475m
Total paid out to fighters (salary+PPV+Bonuses): $44.9m

*Not including PPV points, bonuses etc.
**based on average of $10,000 for every fighter, after every fight
***Not including any bonus payments.

Summary & Thoughts

As of 2011 the UFC was paying roughly 9.5% off its overall revenue to the fighters in total. This seems low for such an athlete-driven venture to me, and it seems unlikely that the UFCs expenses run more than 50% of its revenue, given the comments in the Standard & Poor's report about profitability[1].

From my calculations if they paid every guy a minimum of 20/20 it would increase their salary expenses by under $7million per year. 30/30 would be under $12 million per year. One average Pay-per-view brings in roughly that much.

This would allow fighters joining the UFC to train full time without having to worry about the roof over their head or feeding their family. As things stand after taxes a fighter joining the UFC and losing will be guaranteed about $4,000. This $4,000 needs to cover his living expenses for the last 3 months, as well as all of his training, and flights and hotel rooms for 2 of his corner men if he wants to have 3 corner men like his opponent. That's a pretty untenable situation. If the fighter wins, they will have a guarantee of about $9,000 to cover those same expenses.

Assuming a good training camp costs $2,000 for 3 months, and flights/hotels for 2 cornermen costs another $1,000, that leaves $6,000 to live on. If a fighter fights 3 times in a year and goes 2-1, they would be guaranteed roughly $22,000 before expenses, and about $13,000 after expenses. If the UFC matches the fighters "show" money for every fight, that puts on the fighter on about $25,000 per year.

If the starting pay was upped to $20/20 that same fighter would be guaranteed about $75,000 for going 2-1. After expenses he would have roughly $64,000 to live on for the year. The UFC's sliding scale would change to accommodate this, and if we assume the fighters got a raise of 3/3 after every fight, it would cost the UFC approx 2% of their revenue (total) to cover this for the entire roster..

What about things the UFC is doing well? It often pays out more than it makes on non-PPV cards, especially with "of the night" bonuses. These bonuses are very generous and should be applauded. In addition it seems that almost every fighter on most cards will receive a locker room bonus of at least a few thousand dollars. Again, good thing.

The UFC also seems to be becoming more liberal about PPV bonuses - 29 fighters was almost 10% of the roster at the time. Allowing so many fighters to share in the revenue is a good step forward.

Hopefully having this information will make it easier for everyone to discuss the issue and come to their own conclusions. My methodology is below, along with potential flaws in the study and a source list. An event by event breakdown of the numbers is available on MMA Sentinel[4], along with links to sources.

More after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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