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Volume 24 No. 159

Leagues and Governing Bodies

UFC co-Chair Lorenzo Fertitta said that his organization’s fighters “are paid handsomely, and said there are several fighters on his roster who make eight figures in purse and bonus money a year,” according to Kevin Iole of YAHOO SPORTS. ESPN on Sunday ran a piece on “Outside The Lines” about pay disparities between fighters, and Fertitta “blasted ESPN for what he called ‘disingenuous’ and ‘agenda-driven reporting’ on the piece." Fertitta, who was “angered by what he felt was an unfair representation of his pay structure by ESPN,” said that “the reason his elite talent isn’t making what the top boxers do is because the revenues are vastly different between the sports.” Though there is a “public perception that the UFC has far outpaced boxing in terms of pay-per-view sales, Fertitta said it’s not the case, at least not in terms of pay-per-view sales and revenue per fight.” Fertitta said, “The numbers that a Pacquiao or Mayweather fight will do, relative to ours, are not even close. When you talk about it, first of all, their (pay-per-view) price point is higher. You’re talking about them doing 1.2, 1.5 million buys. The reality is, we’ve done that one time. Beyond that, we have a tremendous success story, but a lot of our fights are doing 300,000, 400,000. Our gates aren’t $12 million. You see what our gates are: Sometimes, they’re $2 million.” Iole noted another difference is the UFC “has more than 500 employees based in offices in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Toronto, London and Beijing.” Boxing, by comparison, is “run by a series of independent promoters, many of whom only have one or two employees.” Fertitta said that since the company became profitable in ‘05, the “growth in fighter pay year-over-year has doubled the growth of revenue year-over-year” (, 1/19).

GAME PLAN: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Metzer noted despite UFC postponing its upcoming March 24 card at Montreal's Bell Centre, but plan is “still to run 14 pay-per-view shows, with the new date for Montreal being an added event on the schedule.” The UFC schedule “will go silent from a pay-per-view event on February 25 in Saitama, Japan, until an April 21 show at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta -- a seeming eternity for a company used to doing pay-per-view events every few weeks.” Although the Canadiens currently sit 12th in the NHL Eastern Conference, Metzer noted due to the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bell Centre “had to keep all Saturday nights in April and May open.” UFC Canadian Dir of Operations Tom Wright said that the company is “still planning on doing three major pay-per-view shows this year from Canada: the Montreal show; an August show in a venue not yet finalised; and another trip to Toronto.” Wright: “We want to go back to Montreal. How could you not want to?” (, 1/18).

STEP BY STEP: In Detroit, Matt Bishop reports the UFC “took another step in the ongoing battle with performance-enhancing drugs this week by enacting a policy where all new UFC and Strikeforce signees will be subject to a pre-contract drug screening.” This step is in addition to “testing regularly done by the state athletic commissions, many of which test fighters both before and after a bout.” The policy is effective as of Jan. 1 and is “a positive step, but testing done at assigned times is mainly looked at as a joke” (DETROIT NEWS, 1/20).’s Jeff Carlisle wrote David Beckman’s decision to stay with the MLS Galaxy and re-sign “with the league marks a validation of sorts.” Whether this “translates into other foreign stars coming to MLS remains to be seen,” but the fact that Beckham “ultimately decided to stay, when his actions at times have practically screamed that he wanted to be somewhere else, is a valuable endorsement, one that observers around the world are bound to notice.” Carlisle: “Without question, MLS doesn't need to be saved by Beckham. It never did. But his return is another milepost in the league's evolution” (, 1/19). Beckham said that “when he landed in North America in 2007 his goal was to raise the game of soccer to the level of more popular sports.” He said that five years later, soccer is “gaining momentum on this continent.” He added that with his family “happy in Los Angeles and more of his sporting missionary work to do … it only made sense to stay” (TORONTO STAR, 1/20).

ALL IN FAVOR? YAHOO SPORTS’ Nicholas Cotsonika reported the NHL and NHLPA are “close to an agreement on the hockey-related revenue the union has disputed, though nothing is signed yet.” It is “a good sign when the two sides agree on anything ahead of collective bargaining, but it’s an especially good sign when they agree on something involving money” (, 1/19).

SAVE THE DATE: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that Houston “will have an IndyCar street course race ‘very soon.’" In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes the “announcement of the 16th race for 2012, which likely will be Milwaukee, is expected Feb. 13 at IndyCar's ‘State of the Series’ presentation at a yet-to-be- determined Indianapolis location” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/20).