Dana White's $26,000,000 gamble on UFC on FOX 2

source: f4wonline.com

UFC President Dana White gambles famously. From dropping 20k to Snoop Dogg on a Lakers vs. Celtics bet, to winning 200k playing Blackjack at Caeser's in a recent profile, White loves to gamble. he says it is relaxing.

In the latest edition of his Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer breaks down the $26,000,000 gamble White is taking at UFC on FOX 2.

Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping are going to be responsible on 1/28 for making Dana White look like a genius, or a gambler who took a needless risk on a trifecta play when UFC has its second prime time show on FOX.

The show is headlined by Evans vs. Phil Davis in a five-round fight and will also have Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz and Bisping vs. Demian Maia in three-round fights.

The winners of Evans vs. Davis and Sonnen vs. Munoz are scheduled to receive the next title shot at the light heavyweight and middleweight titles respectively.

The biggest question is why Sonnen is facing Munoz, if Bisping is also fighting on this show.  Bisping's interest level has peaked from Ultimate Fighter and his win over Jason Miller, plus people hate his guts at a huge level which is a major positive in selling a television fight. Plus, it's a no lose unless the fight sucks, and with those two, it probably wouldn't. And whoever wins can be built up for a major match with Anderson Silva.

While Bisping probably wouldn't draw on PPV like Sonnen for a match with Silva, he's still the second best option in the division (unless Dan Henderson moves down and even that is debatable) and could still challenge Silva viably for a major stadium show in either Brazil or the U.K. and draw on PPV based on the idea that Americans want to see Silva shut him up and the British will support their fighter going for a world title.

 If Evans and Sonnen win, particularly if they both look impressive in doing so, and the show can do a 3.0 rating, you've accomplished every goal you can for a network show. If Bisping wins as well, then you've got another potential big money fight for later in the year. You have a huge audience seeing the two challengers win to set up title matches on PPV. It's the perfect use of television given Zuffa's current marketplace.

But the risk is Evans and/or Sonnen could lose. Davis, the 2009 NCAA champion is a better wrestler than Evans in a sport where the better wrestler always has a chance.

Right now UFC is in a position where most PPVs are going to do 225,000 to 310,000 buys. The only exceptions on the horizon are Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, Junior Dos Santos' next title defense, whether it be with Alistair Overeem or Brock Lesnar, Jon Jones vs. Evans and Anderson Silva vs. Sonnen.

Jones vs. Davis, unless Davis has a great showing and wows people at a level he never has before, is not going to do much out of that range. Silva vs. Munoz won't either, particularly when both have been training partners and nobody will believe Munoz can beat him. Silva vs. Maia if Maia beats Bisping won't get made unless it's the last of last resorts as their prior match was one of the worst title matches in UFC history and nobody will believe Maia has a chance.

Munoz is actually the higher caliber wrestler by credentials, being a former NCAA champion, who beat Sonnen when both were in college. Munoz, while not having crisp stand-up, hits really hard and his ground and pound is some of the most brutal in the sport. It is a fight he can win.

One person in the promotion estimated that if Davis, Munoz and Maia win, you could estimate 1.2 million buys which is about $26 million in lost revenue for 2012, which tells you the stakes of these gambles. If I had to estimate right now, and these are estimates on the conservative side, I'd say:
Jones vs. Evans at 750,000;
Jones vs. Davis at 350,000;
Silva vs. Sonnen at 800,000;
Silva vs. Maia at 350,000;
Silva vs. Bisping at 650,000; and,
Silva vs. Maia, low.

Evans vs. Quinton Jackson or Sonnen vs. Bisping which would be ideal situations because the risk would be minimal no matter what the result was. But evidently UFC had deadlines and couldn't wait and went with the best hand they could play at the time they had to play it.

If they can't get ratings on 1/28, then there are issues. If they need championship fights with marquee names to draw prime time ratings, at the least they will risk the viability of doing numbers with the 225,000 to 310,000 level fights over the long haul. If they have to put their best possible fights forward, say a Dos Santos vs. Lesnar fight if that materializes, then they teach the audience the big fight is on FOX and PPV is secondary, and that will kill PPV.

It's imperative TV is the building block for PPV until that time or at least until there are revenue streams that can pick up the slack if PPV falters, and TV not being one of them.

If PPV falls like it did over the past few years with WWE, it would require major cost cutting, and the fighters, particularly the headliners, would earn substantially less. They still have the international market potential, which has kept WWE healthy over the past decade as domestic interest as declined, but exporting isn't as easy. Pro wrestling has existed all over the world in some form for decades. MMA is still a new sport without widespread appeal, and while there is the universal appeal of guys fighting and an inherent excitement level of the sport, it also takes more of an education process in new markets.

Read entire article... (subscription)

Related MMA gear from the UG Store


Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Only $79.99

Century Official UFC Fight Gloves

Century Official UFC Fight Gloves

Only $59.99


tags: UFC   Dana White   

Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

sevr1 site profile image  

12/14/11 6:44 PM by sevr1

Two things. 1. I like how you cut out the second half of my post to try to make it say what you wanted it to, rather than what I intended. 2. Petruzeli got a whole lot more attention after beating Kimbo, including another shot in the UFC, so you actually helped me to better support my "minimizes the risk" idea. Thanks!  

JimmersonzGlove site profile image  

12/14/11 2:56 AM by JimmersonzGlove

Just like how Seth Petruzeli became as big of a star as Kimbo by beating him.

ShakaFerreira site profile image  

12/14/11 1:43 AM by ShakaFerreira

Cool story bro.

savage animal site profile image  

12/14/11 1:11 AM by savage animal

at LHW, if Rashad wins, he gets the shot, if not, Hendoat MW, if Chael wins, he gets the shot, if not, they're hoping that Bisping will win and they can give him s shot, Munoz will get a shot if he wins and Bisping does not, Maia wins? no rematch.This all seems apparent to me.I agree they are taking a gamble risking both Sonnen & Bisping to lose, same with Rashad fighting anyone but Hendo, but they are looking at it as not eliminating contenders, while creating 2 contenders in each weightclass.

sevr1 site profile image  

12/13/11 11:48 PM by sevr1

 Very true!

sevr1 site profile image  

12/13/11 11:46 PM by sevr1

 I actually minimizes the risk. If the "wrong" guy wins in front of a huge audience on Fox, it allows these new casual fans to be interested in them. Then, when they buy the PPVs, it minimizes losses by having a higher number than they may have initially pulled. I think it'd be a better bet to do this even if all the "wrong" guys win, rather than make the "right" guys inactive for so long that all fans, new and old, forget that they care at all. Plus, Bisping is like a backup plan for Munoz/Sonnen if the winner is too injured. Plus, the bigger money guys could all very likely win and win big, making even more cash.

ProteinPower site profile image  

12/13/11 8:14 PM by ProteinPower

Underground news strikes again and all the mods come to the rescue. WHAT A SURPRISE!

rbl site profile image  

12/13/11 8:10 PM by rbl

It's still there... That lead paragraph is really something special, don't change it. Just add a little eggnog symbol like the ones for iPhone and android.

Ronin Burgundy site profile image  

12/13/11 7:02 PM by Ronin Burgundy

I think there is a silver lining if Munoz wins... UFC's own version of the thrilla in Manila.

molsonmuscle360 site profile image  

12/13/11 6:40 PM by molsonmuscle360

Fucking article is bush league. I can just imagine the shit storm if Rampage got another shot at Rashad before Davis had his chance or if Munoz just got left on the wayside so Bisping could get a #1 contender fight coming off of fighting Mayhem.The only thing I would possibly change in all this is maybe having Hendo fight Rashad for the shot instead of Rashad fighting Davis. Sonnen/Munoz and Bisping/Maia are perfect fights for the standings in the MW division though.