Mookie & Crookie Show: John Nash talks DAZN, Bellator, UFC, PFL finance
Episode 10 discussion: Bloody Elbow’s John Nash sits in to break down the business side of the top boxing and MMA promotions and deals.
Welcome to the Mookie & Crookie Show, a spinoff of The Level Change Podcast that goes a little more in-depth on major combat sports news, as well as takes a humorous look at the crazy world of combat sports social media. The show is hosted by Mookie Alexander and Stephie Haynes and airs every Monday.
Here is a summary of the topics discussed or questions asked, complete with the time stamps for when each interview or special segment begins. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as we enjoyed recording it.
Bellator MMA has signed several notable former UFC fighters in free agency, but their television ratings on Paramount Network have noticeably declined over the past couple of years. Some shows aren’t even breaking 300,000 viewers, and they’re not hitting top-50 cable programming. Yet they’re planning to expand into Europe and run more shows than ever before. What is the state of their finances, and is any of the panic over their future overblown? – 3:21
With ESPN getting PFL rights for the next couple of years, it seems as if PFL is trying to become more of a major player in the MMA world, perhaps even threaten Bellator. Do you see this deal as a potential game-changer for PFL with increased visibility or is ESPN just looking to build its combat sports portfolio with cheap supporting content? – 6:44
DAZN have a deal with Bellator that includes some cards exclusive to the streaming service. They’re also spending a shitload of money on boxers, with Canelo Alvarez being the prime example. Supposedly they’re spending north of $200 million a year on boxing, and they don’t have much else on the table for the US market. How sustainable is this spending and what would it take for them to become a profitable venture here? – 10:41
It’s not just DAZN throwing out lots of money towards boxers who don’t have exclusive network deals. You also have PBC, and ESPN/Top Rank all vying for any champions and top names they can get. MMA free agency doesn’t look remotely like this, and there’s no way any of them is getting Canelo money or GGG money or Tyson Fury money. Can you explain to our listeners what makes the boxing side of free agency so different from its MMA counterparts? – 17:42
We’re seeing the rise of streaming services with DAZN and ESPN+ as destinations for MMA and boxing fans to get their monthly fix, but we’re also seeing the UFC stick with its 12 PPVs per year, and we have boxing PPVs like Spence vs. Garcia cost $75 even though neither one of them is a draw. How long do you think the PPV model and the monthly subscription service models can co-exist? – 22:50
So far, so good for the UFC on ESPN. They added over 500,000 new subscribers to ESPN+ on their first event, and their ratings for ESPN televised cards have been outstanding. There’s been a huge marketing push for UFC events, and its visibility seems higher than ever. What’s your early assessment of how well this partnership has played out thus far? – 34:28
Contest announcement – 45:10
You can check out the entire show here. Remember, if you’re looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we’re under the Bloody Elbow Presents name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie Haynes, Mookie Alexander, and our show account Mookie & Crookie Show.
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*Intro/Outro podcast music has been provided by OxBow, starring Eugene S Robinson.