Having cable while vacationing at my parents’ place is awesome. It means I get to spend the day watching Law & Order reruns and Olympic Lesbianball instead of posting on Fightlinker. I also got to catch Randy Couture on The Adam Carolla show pimping Scorpion King 2 – available next week on DVD or right now on torrents. Amazingly enough the conversation wandered from his shitty B flick to his fight career. You know, that thing people actually care about? The reason he’s famous? Yeah, that thing.
Anyways, Randy spat out a few quick numbers regarding what he felt a fight with Fedor could do: 700k in PPV sales and 6 to 10 million per fighter. That seemed kinda high to me, but me no good with the numbers so I needs help. Fortunately Pramit Mohapatra enforces the stereotype of brown people being good at math and breaks this shit down:
At $50 a pop, 700,000 PPV buys gives us $35 million in PPV revenue. Give the PPV broadcaster half and the promotion ends up with $17.5 million.
Now, UFC 87 (with an announced attendance in the neighborhood of 15,000) made a reported live gate of $2.2 million. Let’s be generous and say that Randy-Fedor garners a live gate of $3 million.
That gives the promotion a revenue of $20.5 million. Remember, this is revenue and not profit. In other words, we haven’t considered the cost of producing the event, marketing costs, the cost of renting the arena, and — as we’ve learned this week — taxes. We also haven’t considered the pay for undercard fighters. Or, the cut the promotion itself will take off the top.
Even without all of these costs factored in, Couture’s estimate of a $12-20 million total payout for both him and Fedor seems very unrealistic.
And remember, these are only the up front costs. Paying out Randy and Fedor like that would completely bend the MMA pay scale over and wreck it worse than a gonzo pornstar’s butthole. I wasn’t really hopeful for the whole Randy/Fedor fight in the UFC before but now I just consider it useless gum flapping to keep interest up. Randy is fucking crazy thinking they can squeeze that kinda money out of the UFC.
While Alicia Sacramone didn’t exactly bring her A game at the Olympics last night, she can take solace in the fact that she has a pretty wicked left hook. By the way, where’s all the sports psychologists and doctors talking about those gymnast kids doing dangerous shit that wrecks their bodies? Watching these kids running around with their wrists and knees and feet all splinted up just blows me away. They might as well just replace the vault with a competition where someone hits these chicks in the ankle with a fucking hammer.
Now, I’m a natural criticizer. I love to complain. But I hate it when you make it so easy for me, Kenny. I like you as a fighter (you’ve got great discipline, and you’ve got that warrior spirit shit that every hack announcer loves to throw around), but I gotta tell, you looked like an ass the other day.
You came into the Heurta fight with a game plan: avoid his aggression, be aloof, and don’t let him control the fight. The game plan totally worked. You managed to convince the judges that you won that fight. It must feel pretty great. But I know deep down, you know you didn’t win. It’s why you don’t give a shit about this not translating into a title fight.
Don’t get me wrong Kenny boy; you didn’t lose. At no time did you look like you were in danger. You avoided Huerta’s endless superman punches, and every time he looked like he was closing in, you fucking danced out of the way. If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn that a “Freaky Friday” like scenario had played out between you and Machida.
It’s one thing not to be in any danger. It’s another to have a fight where no one comes even close to being finished. At the end of the second round, you almost remembered who you are, and you were trading fiercely with Heurta. It was begining to be exciting, but a litte voice in your head made you stop. And then it was back to dancing.
I know what you’re thinking: you don’t have to take a million blows to the face to win a fight. That’s true. I watched the GSP vs Fitch fight with rapt attention after seeing yours. Here was a good example of someone engaging and controlling the fight without taking too much damage (I’m talking about Georges here, of course). GSP kept it exciting, and was in Fitch’s face the whole time. That is an example of a great fighter being able to take minimal damage without having to run around like a scared little bitch.
Now, I’m only saying this for your own good, buddy. I’m writing this because I want to see you leave a legacy you can be proud of. The future will not be bright if you keep pulling the shit you did the other night, my friend. This, I promise you.
There’s also something else you should know. It’s a topic everyone is avoiding, but it’s one i feel must be brought to life. The “Elusive” and “Technical” side you displayed, and is on permanent display from the likes of Machida, is not the future of MMA. The problem is twofold. First, most fans of the sport are bored as hell when it comes to that shit. They don’t pride themselves on recognizing the “technical” marvel of avoiding a fight. They just see it for what it is: pussy fighting. It isn’t marketable, and it’s a growing PR disaster for the sport.
Second, it doesn’t reflect some of the key elements of scoring: octagon control and aggression. Most judges haven’t been paying enough attention to it yet, but I’ll bet you soon they will. They have no choice but to, otherwise, this “win by evading” shit will be the beginning of the end for a sport that prides itself on excitement and, let’s face it, brutality.
If you want to take on the best, you need to be the best. If you think anyone was impressed by you eking out a decision, and doing barely enough to win, then you need to seriously quit smoking crack.
Originally when Tito announced a groundbreaking deal to fight with Affliction that was later denied by everyone in the promotion, I figured people were just lying for business or political reasons. But now it’s becoming very clear that there’s a much dumber answer: Tito probably just expected Affliction to sign whatever he wanted, but now they won’t.
As of yet, few details on the negotiation exist, but Atencio initially said the dollar signs associated with the record-breaking contract are the major sticking point.
“We’ve got a contract, and it’s just not feasible,” Atencio said.
It’s not surprising that Tito is probably expecting boxing money rather than MMA money. And it’s not exactly his fault that he expects he can get it … everyone is still laughing at that 800k Tim Sylvia made on the first Affliction show. I swear, that shit will drag behind Affliction like a boulder on a chain attached to their twig n’ berries until it eventually drowns them. No one with half a name is gonna want to be making less than what Timmy got to lose now, and Tito is probably expecting a shitload more plus equity in the company – the t-shirt company if he’s smart. Mind you he’s not, but he is a greedly little bastard, so you never know.
Sure, Lesnar is simply following in the well-worn path of Tank and Tito (and to a lesser extent Frank Shamrock) as far as generating a name and selling PPVs is concerned. The WWE is like an MBA program in baby faces v heels. And it certainly helps that Brock both understands his role and doesn’t need to stretch his acting abilities. If he has any trouble getting into character he can just stare into the mirror and contemplate the cock on his chest. But Tank, Tito, and Shamrock were pre-TUF era fighters when the UFC was losing money hand-over-fist and its lowbrowness got it banned in most states.
All of the current mainstream acceptance along with its corollary money and fame can go away very quickly. It’s been ten years since Pro-Wrestling was huge enough that The Rock could cross over. It’s been about three since Texas Hold ‘Em was hot. The public is fickle, and MMA is not the first combat sport to try and break boxing’s stranglehold on the public’s imagination. (Remember the PKA? Not so much.)
The difference between celebrating the joys of victory and mocking the agony of your opponent’s defeat may seem like a fine line. But it certainly wasn’t to Tank Abbott’s crew in UFC 45 when Cabbage taunted their patron, creating the UFC’s first bench-clearing brawl and appalling even Joe Rogen. How many more times can someone like Scott Jansen’s brother head butt Phil Baroni after a fight without the casual CBS-type viewer assuming that MMA fighters are not the highly trained athletes that they are but actually “animals” (an accusation I’ve heard many times since I’ve started covering this sport)?
Lesnar’s victory was sufficiently one-sided that Herring’s demoralized entourage held back. But I doubt this will be the case in the future, especially if he fights a Brazilian. (Think Coleman v Rua.) A skilled heel instinctively knows where that fine line is between provocation and parole. In his younger days Ali certainly did. We’ll see about Lesnar.
In the short term, the UFC would do well to keep a tight lasso on their current crazy horseback mountain rider. Gary Shaw’s EliteXC kept pushing for Tyson-bites-Holyfield moments and look where it got him and his network program.
Athletes pretending to be classy and care about disadvantaged children and the troops overseas when all they really want is more money and more groupies is as boringly hypocritical in MMA as it is in the NFL, the MBA, or the NBA. But it’s how the game is played in America. There is plenty of time to fly the true colors and keep it real when/if MMA secures a permanent rotation on Sports Center.
PS Given that this is my first Fightlinker opinion piece, I fell compelled to add: “Shit, Fuck, Piss, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.” Happy?