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Posts tagged boxing

Boxing / UFC

Dana White Says UFC Could Begin Promoting Boxing

On the same podcast that Dana White said that the future of the UFC’s broadcast rights could be on a digital platform, the President of the UFC also said that one day boxing could be under the umbrella of the UFC.

Rumors first began that Dana White was going to expand into boxing last summer.  While promoting Mayweather-McGregor, White wore a shirt that said “Zuffa Boxing.”  White said that he has no plans to leave the UFC because it is his passion.  He also says that he is still under contract and can’t leave per the rules in the contract for WME-IMG acquiring the UFC.

Ringside Analysis

Dana White is a former amateur boxer, boxing trainer, and boxing fan.  When he partnered with the Fertitta brothers to take over the UFC and push it to its $4 billion sale he thought he could make a fight promotion company that avoided the mistakes boxing did.  He has already begun to obtain a promoter’s license.

Some believe that this is a sign that White and the UFC think that the market is softening on MMA and it is time to expand into something that is going to be more lucrative.  I view the expansion into boxing as a way to promote fighters in forms of martial arts they have mastered and also into new revenue streams.  While MMA may be a more long-term mainstream sport, the UFC could also expand into niches like boxing or muay thai.  Mayweather-McGregor has shown that there is a strong desire for cross-over competition if the personalities are right.  In a way, the UFC could really be moving back to its roots of matching wrestlers with kung fu masters.

The UFC is expanding into its first fight in mainland China at the end of this month, is looking for a big increase in revenue for their next broadcast rights, and are getting more international sponsors than they have before.  What the UFC is today could be a fraction of what it is in the next 10 years.

Boxing / Ratings

Ward-Kovalev Earns 160K PPV Buys

When Andre Ward took on Sergei Kovalev, boxing fans saw two of the pound-for-pound best put their world titles on the line.  It was the classic matchup between a power puncher and a boxing technician.  Andre Ward won a narrow, unanimous decision.  The only notable PPV program that had fewer PPV buys than Ward-Kovalev was Crawford-Postol, which earned in the 50k-60k range.

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Boxing / Finance / Regulations / Sports Law / UFC

Transparency Leads To Higher Fighter Pay

John S. Nash at Bloody Elbow did a great write-up titled “Why do boxers make more than MMA fighters?”  The very thorough article interviews multiple managers, fighters, and business figures in the combat sport landscape.

Fights like Mayweather-Pacquiao, where both fighters made a few hundred million dollars, can skew the data.  MMA fighters have a much higher floor pricing, with many UFC prelim fighters making $10,000 compared to boxers who sometimes only make $1,500.  The median payout for boxing and MMA fighters still favored boxers:

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Boxing / Ratings

Errol Spence Jr.’s PBC Network Ratings Soar To New Record

Errol Spence Jr.’s fight against Leonard Bundu set a new ratings record for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).  According Nielsen Media Research there was an average of 4.8 million viewers over the course of the single hour of programming.  Viewership for the fight peaked at 6.34 million viewers making it the highest-rated fight in PBC history.

The PBC, led by Al Haymon, has prepared for a long-term investment in the sport.  They have a four-year plan that they are in the second year of.  That plan includes buying their own time spots on television, meaning that Al Haymon and the PBC specifically chose to follow the gold medal basketball game in the Rio Olympics on network television.

Promoter Lou DiBella said:

“Six million watching a fight is great for boxing… Millions of people were watching the basketball game and saw the electric crowd, and then when the game was over, they were taken to the fight in Coney Island to another electric crowd, and they stayed with it, and they saw a great performance from Spence. That’s a great sign for boxing. For a young superstar in the making like Spence, that’s great for him also. It’s great for the whole sport.”

Spence is a former Olympian and undefeated welterweight with a record of 21-0, eighteen by coming of way by knockout.  Bundu had never been knocked down before and he was eventually knocked out in the sixth-round.  The victory makes Errol Spence Jr. the IBF mandatory challenger for current champion Kell Brook.  Kell Brook’s next fight is against Gennady Golovkin and there are some speculations that Brook will not return to welterweight after the Golovkin fight.

Ringside Analysis:

Buying television time after the Rio Olympic gold medal basketball game turned out to be a very smart decision.  There is a risk present when following any huge tentpole program of paying a lot of money for a spot that most people will turn away from.  However, the investment paid off big in this case.

The Olympics bring out a part of the United States that may not watch sports regularly and were only watching because it was the Olympics and Team USA was playing.  The ratings show that a lot of viewers, both sports fans and some non-sports fans, stayed on the channel for the PBC program that was only scheduled to last an hour.

Haymon’s long-term strategy might be paying off now, especially with a fighter like Errol Spence Jr. who has developed a brand on network and free television.  We will have to watch to see whether the ratings are a sign that the winds are changing or if these ratings are just an Olympic bump.


Rio Olympic Boxing First Without Head Guards

Men’s amateur boxing at the Rio Olympics will be the have the first matches without head guards since 1984.  In 1984 some of the boxing matches appeared to be somewhat brutal and increased the perceived violence in the sport.  As a result, head guards were added to all amateur boxing matches at the Summer Olympics.  Leading up to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio the International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted to remove head guards from competition.  The AIBA argued that the head guards were not preventing the scenarios that they were designed to stop and might encourage more dangerous fighting.

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Ex-Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer back in the boxing business with Ringstar Promotions

Ex-Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer back in the boxing business with Ringstar Promotions


Boxing body votes to let pros fight at Rio

Boxing body votes to let pros fight at Rio


Bill In US Congress To Expand Muhammad Ali Act To MMA

Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, has sponsored a bill into the House of Representatives would expand the Muhammad Ali Act, which currently only applies to boxing, to MMA.

Under the proposed amendment to the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 all combat fighters would be protected.  The law requires that a manager and promoter be separate to theoretically protect boxers from exploitative practices and conflicts of interests.  Government intervention was required to protect boxers because there is no centralized governing body for the sport.

MMA fighters have been without the protection of this act because the act explicitly only covers boxers.  The UFC signs fighters as contract workers, making the fighters unable to unionize.  Also, the UFC is a private company so has no obligation to share the financial information of the organization, making the percentage of fighter pay to revenue gained a mystery.

Ringside Analysis:

Many say that the proposed law will result in weakening the centralized power of Bellator MMA and the UFC, which has enabled MMA to explode by correcting many of the deficiencies inherent in the boxing business.  The same detractors of the bill claim that the NBA and NFL have flourished because of being a central power.  However, the difference between the NBA and, for example, UFC is that the NBA has a player’s association as does the NFL and any other huge sports organization.

Unfortunately, the UFC and the MMA world is paying for the sins of boxing.  People are largely distrustful of promotional and managerial companies because of the past examples that show exploitation is not only common but most likely inevitable.

As the UFC and other MMA groups get more powerful there does need to be some securities in place to protect the fighters themselves.  If the UFC is going to make a strong push into the “mainstream” then casual fans have to be able to trust that there are no exploitative practices happening between a promotion company and fighter.

Lastly, the more revenue that the fighters can get, which will only increase with more financial transparency between the fighters and the promotional company, the better athletes will begin fighting and will result in a better product.


Bob Arum and Al Haymon Settle Lawsuit

Top Rank’s Bob Arum has settled his lawsuit with Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).  Last Wednesday the two parties came to a settlement that will remain confidential as written in the settlement and the case has been dismissed.

Bob Arum sued Al Haymon in July of 2015 arguing that the PBC violated the Muhammad Ali act, California State Business Regulations, and violated antitrust laws by being monopolistic.

Golden Boy Promotions is also suing the PBC but in a separate lawsuit, which is in discovery.  Discovery would lead to financial information being opened as well as trade secrets.

Ringside Analysis:

It is not a secret that the PBC has been losing money but the company has already invest at least $500 million into the venture with the help of Waddell & Reed, a Kansas based investment firm.

With this lawsuit coming to a close I expect the case with Golden Boy Promotions to be settled soon.  By settling the case can’t get in front of a court, which could result in a terrible loss for the company.  


RUMOR: Floyd Mayweather Exploring Possibility of Fighting Conor McGregor

In the last week rumors began to swirl that Mayweather and McGregor might fight each other.  It seems that every week there is a new rumor about Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement.

Allegedly, Mayweather became angry after McGregor said that he would knock Mayweather out in 30 seconds.  McGregor’s comments were the result of Mayweather saying that when black people talk trash they draw scorn from fans while white fighters who talk trash are revered and put on a pedestal.  

McGregor is under an exclusive contact with the UFC that prohibits him from competing in other combat sports, including boxing.  For this fight to occur it’s ultimately up to the UFC as to whether McGregor would be eligible.  

Ringside Analysis:

There are a few requirements that would need to be met for Floyd Mayweather to come out of retirement, which I don’t believe he will do.  Based on brand names alone, even though fans of the fight game know this would be a blowout Mayweather win, would probably top $1 million PPV buys.

First, Mayweather would need to be paid.  I think if he comes out of retirement at all he would earn nine figures as a base payment before PPV points.  With McGregor’s personality the buildup to the fight would be huge and would draw significant attention from casual sports fans.

Second, it would be a boxing match and not a MMA fight.  This really goes without saying but there’s no way that Mayweather enters an MMA contest and it is very likely that McGregor’s confidence would carry him to volunteering to fight Mayweather in the ring.

Third, he would fight somebody he knows he would beat.  I believe Floyd would easily beat anybody near his weight class not named Gennady Golovkin, and that’s only because GGG is significantly higher in weight.  In my opinion Floyd Mayweather would handle McGregor.  Mayweather has significantly more experience, is overwhelmingly more skillful, and his ring IQ far surpasses what McGregor’s is.  

Again, the UFC would have to give permission for Conor McGregor to go outside the agreed upon terms in his contract and fight Mayweather.  It is most likely in the UFC’s best interests to not let McGregor fight because a clear loss would most likely kill McGregor’s brand value even when he goes back to MMA fights.

I strongly doubt this fight will happen, but, if it does, the weeks leading up to the fight would be fantastic with the two fighters’ personalities and showmanship.