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Strikeforce Deathwatch: Rockhold vs. Jardine Live Gate Totals a Meager $68,805

(This is when we’d normally tell you to keep your chin up, Keith, but that seems to be what got you here in the first place.) 

Perhaps this might not come as a shocking revelation to most of the Potato Nation, but Strikeforce is in some bad shape. Like, Bubba on the beaches of Vietnam kind of shape. Let’s put it this way, if we were gambling men, and someone were taking bets on its probable death, we’d bet everything we own on death.

What are we jawing on about? Well, the Nevada State Athletic Commission just released its figures for “Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine” today, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 7th, and the live gate for the event totaled LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT ROBBIE LAWLER WAS PAID TO FIGHT. As ridiculous as it may seem, Lawler did manage to knock out Aldan Amagov with the power of his testicles alone, so the somewhat exuberant compensation he received seems fair in this case. But boy does it not look good for Strikeforce.

Hauling in an abysmal 68,805 dollars, “Rockhold vs. Jardine” achieved a final attendance of just under 2000 (1992) with only 927 tickets sold. The other 1,065 tickets were comped, and 727 tickets remained unsold. The total fighter purse for this event was an even $566,000.

To look at this through an even dirtier windowpane, along with Robbie Lawler, Luke Rockhold and a juiced up Muhammed Lawal also cleared more than the live gate. Hell, Tyrone Woodley made nearly that much to take a fifteen minute nap on Jordan Mein. Again, it’s not necessarily mind-blowing, but those are Challengers numbers, people. Blame it on the UFC snatching up all their champions and the lack of big name fights as a result, or do what we do, and blame everything on the combination of Mauro Ranallo and Frank Shamrock. In either case, nothing short of a heart transplant is going to save this old man; all we can do now is offer him a hospital bed at a discount price, so to speak. Forget the Ronda Rousey death pool, chances are Strikeforce won’t even be around long enough to promote that match-up. We give ‘em 6-8 months, how bout you?

Speaking of shitty numbers, the UFC 142 Prelims, which were the first to air on FX last Saturday, only pulled in 880,000 viewers, which was lower than any “Prelim” episode to air on SpikeTV in the special’s history. UFC 141, on the other hand, managed to reel in over 1.8 million viewers, despite the fact that both FX and Spike are delivered to roughly the same number of homes (around 100 million). Though this can be partially attributed to the fact that most casual fans have yet to become aware of the transition in networks, the numbers are still disappointing to say the least. Let’s hope the UFC’s full event debut on FX this Friday brings in some more/new fans, because we do not need to go back to watching three hours worth of fights on Facebook. Sorry, Jimy.

And hey, speaking of the UFC on FX, make sure to join us Friday night for our liveblog of the event, which will feature more than it’s fair share of whiskey fueld rants courtesy of yours truly. See you there.


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RwilsonR- January 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm
Thanks Mofo. Just the way I see things, and certainly don't expect everyone to agree.
XENO, you're a crazy sumbitch, but I've never disliked you. Well, maybe the Dan Miller baby thing pushed some of us too far. I certainly don't agree with your Slice Productions analogy, but you're welcome to it. Hell, even Danga has some crazy opinions, and we all love him around here. Right? ......Right? ........You guys?
XENOPHON- January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm
You know I do really like you. Aside from all the shit slung here, I find all you guys so dam adorable. Even if cringing at my name we all have much more in common than one might expect - simpletons.
Niceties brushed aside for "no more tears" your run above was valid on every part. I realize you approach this from the founders perspective. No bragging, I have done similar and also look at it top down and bottom up. You get it too.
Instead of worrying about the few million that Zuffa did have to barrow from the Arab, or the $40 million in lines of credit they maxed out - they made it big mostly using other peoples money.
Its the way its done. Nothing wrong with that, and I see you've glombed onto that as being important.
I dislike paying through the nose to watch 6 minutes of good action, and 3 hours of fluff. Its those 6 minutes (spread over 6 each - 15 minute fights) that is the real business.
All the fluff - the commentating, pre-fight hype, odds-making, lights, cameras, toys, games, re-runs, and music is merely dressing. Strange how the public get so sucked into it, so easily.
Looking at Kimbos Backyard Brawls, he did just as good at broadcasting on Youtube the same 6 minutes of action. He did a equivalent job requiring only a handheld camera, a secluded lot, and one guy officiating.
So I have to ask you about Kimbos productions. Was it the $40 million in credit, the Arab kicking in his millions, the lights, camera, music, or announcer that provided Kimbo with his 6 minutes of action?
I am going to say NO. It was the fighters. I am fairly sure Kimbos no name fighters could have also gotten paid the same $3k ZUFFA pays their own no-name fighters like they did with Masvidal.
What I don't get is all the love with Zuffa. Their business is nothing without the men entering the cage. Kimbo did the same in a back lot. In less than 10 years...Zuffa figured out how to take a no-name right off the street, put him on TV for 10 episodes, and then in less that 3-4 PPV fights have a new champion.
There is no malice with what I saying, but the difference between Fertittas, White, and Kimbo Slice really comes down to a mere $2 million in start up fees. The cost of ownership and the cost of contract templates from a lawyer the promotion forces each brawler to sign.
That is why we are here today talking about Zuffa Fights, and not Slice Fights. The $2 million you are so found of is really peanuts.
Kimbo may want to rethink his business now that he has the $2 million to put on fights the proper way.
The fighters on the other hand, the same you never attach value to - may now want to think about what contracts they sign or at least get wise enough to demand representation. Even the public justice systems gives poor dumb bastard a free public defender.
The thought of fame Wilson, it has blinded many poor men. The UFC is nothing more than a house of cards built upon the shoulders of these dumb bastards shoulders. Its easy to defend the people holding the cards Wilson. I too could tow that party line, but then we would all be saying the same thing - and doing nothing.
Until that changes, you and and I will likely be at opposite sides of the spectrum. Call it two simpletons locked in a Polemic difference of opinions.
Mofo- January 19, 2012 at 11:47 am
Wilson - I guess I'm just a bit too socialist to agree personally, but you make a totally valid case. Well put. That comment was a better article than most of what's been on CP lately.
I vote THAT comment of the week! There's plenty of spicy one liners around here, let's give a nod to some serious discussion.
RwilsonR- January 19, 2012 at 10:55 am
^ Sorry for the length, XENO, but since I was addressing you directly, I didn't think you of all people would have a problem with length.
RwilsonR- January 19, 2012 at 10:53 am
The truth is, it's tough for any of us to ever know the real numbers. I guess you and I approach things from a different assumption, though, XENO. I think you are looking at what the fighters aren't making versus what Zuffa may be raking in. That difference is no doubt significant, and 99% of fighters aren't going to ever make what Dana White wipes his ass with daily.
I just approach it differently. I think that the Fertittas and Dana White took the risk. They are the ones who invested their money and their time in buying the UFC and turning it around. They are the ones who still paid guys to fight even when the sport made no money, and they were $40 mil in the hole. Fighters back then werent saying, "Oh, I know this sport isn't making any money, so no need to pay me out of your pocket." Zuffa could have lost big because they risked big, and that was a distinct possibility for a lot of years. So now when their hard work and big risk has actually paid off, now all those people who didn't take that risk with them, who didn't step up and do it themselves, all want a bigger piece of that success. And the truth is, they are getting a bigger piece of that success as more of them have jobs doing what they love and their overall pay has increased significantly. But should they be entitled to the same level of reward as the guys who took the risk and built this thing? Absolutely not!
I also think if the market for these fighters skills was so great, there would be a lot of competitors who could easily lure people away. Yet the lure of MMA was fools' gold for all others who tried to enter. There have been a lot who have tried and found the market did have room for a competitor. Barrier of entry wasn't the issue. Demand, quality of product, and brand recognition was. Fighters will be paid what the market bears for their skills, and the rest of the profit should go to the stakeholders of the company to do with as they see fit. It is their company, not the employees' company.
So I see the UFC as a huge success story, and none of these fighters would be employed if it weren't for the guys behind Zuffa. If you take away the reward structure for success and give it to those without the ingenuity or risk taking ability, then you will never see success stories in the first place.
And those successes trickle down to lots of extraneous jobs, as well. Including Josh Gross' job criticizing the very company that has mainstreamed this sport enough for him to have a job where he criticizes them all day.
XENOPHON- January 19, 2012 at 8:49 am
Great break down.
I am sure the true numbers lay somewhere in between. Your numbers are clear, but I believe that whatever the numbers are, its closer to the larger end.
The extra $900 million is the money that FOX gave ZUFFA. True its likely spread over something like 7 plus years.
What do you do professionally Wilson?
Mofo- January 19, 2012 at 8:45 am
So now that's TWO "death watches" that are moronic and ignore the facts in a sad attempt to recapture the Ben Fowlkes sassy attitude. But Ben doesn't ignore facts, he delivers new ones.
The real death watch is on CP, with articles like these streaming out.
Mofo- January 19, 2012 at 8:43 am
@Danga - Awesome, another ditzy sensationalist pile of hyperbole that ignores the obvious facts in an attempt to be sassy and spicy. Guess you didn't read my other comment: we aren't idiots. As people already pointed out, Showtime JUST SIGNED A NEW DEAL with Strikeforce, so OF COURSE SF isn't about to die. You idiot.
MRuss, Ben, why don't you have a chat with Danga and ask him to use his brain? Seems like you've lowered the bar yourselves.
XENOPHON- January 19, 2012 at 8:41 am
@Motivated Penn - Didn't know you are a Norge. Got a general purpose question for you bro. What does it cost you a month to watch MMA on cable/satellite?
In the US, near the Orange Coast I spend $50 bucks for cable TV, large chuck of nearly every channel (minus any add on premier sports packages or foreign language content) it's another $50 bucks for top tier high speed internet access. So $150 for 3 TV's per month. $150 per month
On the ranch, its Direct TV, with just Showtime for a premier channels - and 3 TV's. That's $90 bucks a month. For internet I have a bullshit slow DSL at $24 bucks a month, and then a 4G card for dedicated to school and Cage Potato which runs me $50 bucks a month. $165 per month.
My point is the $55 bucks the UFC is way out of whack. So please if you will take a minute and share for me how this works in Norway, would you?
KeithHackneyWindmillPalmStrike- January 19, 2012 at 5:24 am
Love the Dirty Work reference

'Looks like there's gonna be a brawl, you playing something good?'
'Hell yeah! Rolling Stones, Street Fightin' Man, G Sevvvvuuunnnnn!!'
'You just hit G-8'
'If you like pina coladas'

Motivated Penn- January 19, 2012 at 12:35 am
As a hardcore Norwegian MMA fan, and I realize that doesn't give me some kind of 'expert' credentials, I think 1/4 sounds like a very high estimate.
Don't underestimate the time zone issue with marketing American events to Europe and elsewhere. There is no way in hell I will ever pay 55$ to watch MMA events in the middle of the night. Prelims at 02:00 and mains at lie 05:00. "come to my place guys, we'll enjoy some awesome fights. Remember to set your larms and bring coffee."
Not so much an issue for other non-US americans though, lattiudal continent...
RwilsonR- January 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm
Yeah, XENO, you've defeated me again by simple arithmetic. $100 million per PPV x 12 per year = $1.2 billion. Plus $900 million from some obscure logic and voila... $2+ billion in revenues annually! Wow, Dana White is an even better business man than I ever gave him credit for.
But just for kicks, let's have a little more fun with simple math...
Since we're assuming numbers ($100 million per PPV?), let's try to assume more accurately. Average buy rates for recent UFC PPVs have been around 600,000. Let's assume everyone is paying the HD rate of $55. That equals $33 million per event. A good contract with cable companies and satellite providers is a 50/50 split. So $16.5 million per event. Let's assume a pretty high live gate of $3 million. Throw in a couple hundred thousand in merchandise sales at big PPV shows... hell, let's be generous and spot them a half-mil of those, which is way more than actual. So an even $20 mil per show. Now, audiences outside North America are still developing markets for the UFC and not nearly as lucrative when the UFC is not in those specific countries. About 1/4 the revenues earned in North America seems reasonable, so another $5 mil. Now, I'll spot you a few extra shows, since they do more than one per month on average. I think 16 shows. So $25 million x 16 = $400 million.
Not bad earnings, but not in the billions. Not sure where your extra $900 million is coming from, but I imagine it is the same place as the rest of your numbers.
XENOPHON- January 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm
How much does a Strike Force Ticket cost? Let's see. 68,805 dollars for only 927 tickets sold is about $70 bones per pop.
The total fighter purse for this event was an even $566,000, so someone shit up the balance of $497,195.
Even if Strike Force put on 12 televised events a year using the total fighters purse of say $600,000 as a base line, it would cost $7 million a year to cover the salaries and bonuses.
Outside of Showtime I don't know how many channels carry Strike Force, but that is not very much money - but it might be high based on old contracts before the merger.
Also, being near the holidays didn't help but one has to wonder if ZUFFA did all they could to NOT PROMOTE the fight on purpose. Possibly there is a true up that takes place with Showtime? Who might know? WHeres that fucking O'Chan when you need his ass?
When the parent company rakes in $100 million per PPV, don't for a minute believe that they don't or can't use the write-offs.
And RWilson....since you wanted to dish me over ZUFFA being a Billion dollar company. Please do some simple multiplication and tell us all how much 12 x $100 million per pop is?
If you can manage that, then add in the $900 million (spread over 7-9 years) from FOX and all the other odds and whistles you can think of.
Bet you find that ZUFFA is making closer to $2 billion per year after losses and write downs are factored in.
Another thing is entertainment has special tax provisions and lop holes in case dancers, actors, or MMA stars get injured.
Then on top of that, surely each brand name is heavily insured in case of injury, no-show, failure to make weight, and I will bet you can even get a policy for failures to pass the piss test.
Sorry KFLO, no insurance policies for being a naturally ugly Peruvian. But I am sure there are policies for a fighter who fails to perform - 3 times up at that plate.
ccman- January 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm
As bad as this sounds I broke down a 'big' show financials just hitting high points and they lost there ass a long time ago. I remember it since it was the only time mruss agreed with me. They were failing on their own. Zuffa bought a show time contract, some fight film, and a couple of contracts. Strike force sold while they actually could. They started dying the second they thought they were national.
Kimbo Lesnar- January 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm
A "Forrest Gump" reference?!?! Holy crap, Danga. You suck so bad. "TheWarsawExpress" nailed the facts...
DangadaDang- January 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm
Well Taco, I think you might owe me a new computer, because I just spit Pinot Noir all over mine.
Fried Taco- January 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm
@R955 - wait, doesn't bush league = women's MMA?
RwilsonR- January 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm
So, when fighters are paid more than the revenues of the event out of Zuffa's pocket, should we expect that they reimburse Zuffa to get back up to the 50/50 revenue split that other sports leagues have?
R955- January 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm
We all knew this was coming, why should it come as a surprise? Nothing against Jardine, but a title shot? really? who did not know he was going to lose, even the commentators seemed not to be able to come up with a reasonable amount to say about why Jardine was fighting for a title. Just for the record, I HATE the way Mauro Renello, or whatever his name is sounds, this is not WWE stop trying to hype it already, its over the top, sounds like a pop music DJ! I don't mean to disrespect the guy, its just over the top, and not necassary. I feel better now. Ok now back to Strikeforce, make it a womens only MMA show, or a bush league with women also, and if you win a tournament in your weight division you get an invite to the UFC, a feeder series if you will. And keep women's MMA alive! May be a stupid idea, but what else are they gonna do? they are stripping all the talent from the promotion. There are very few great fighters left there, Gilbert Melendez, maybe Rockhold, I don't know he looked pretty good in his last two fights, but Jacare might be good, but I feel he would be outside the top 15 in the UFC and Jardine has already been bounced, so I would like to see him fight someone a little tougher.
Get Off Me- January 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm
Like Art Gibs said, it's all about Showtime.
Article title should be "Showtime Don't Fail Me Now".
I remember when the original SF deathwatch popped up, I had a simple question which never got answered "When is the showtime deal expired?".
Truth is, Showtime is SF, it fucking floored Dana that Showtime resigned, despite his best efforts to take SF talent and leave Showtime with dog shit scraps.
If the new Showtime deal is > 6-8 months, which it definitely is, Danga I would not put money on your guess.
It's simple, Showtime deal expires and does not get renegotiated, SF is done.
TheWarsawExpress- January 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm
CP Article Writing Formula
1. Paraphrase/rephrase articles from mmafighting 5 hours after they break.
2. Add 3-8 youtube links
3.Rhonda Rousey
4. Annoyingly impossible captcha

Jk...good job.
As Good As Anyone- January 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm
To be fair, Robbie's testicles demanded DOUBLE live gate money after knocking out "AH MY GAD" Amagov.
Art Gibs- January 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm
You should mention that we can assume Strikeforce also gets licensing fees from Showtime. That's probably their biggest source of revenue. It's misleading if you don't say that.
Fried Taco- January 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm
I'd be pissed if I had paid to see this and found out over half of the people in attendance had gotten in free. But not pissed enough to take off my CP shirt.
NomadRip- January 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm
What am I missing about Luke Rockhold? I've hardly ever even heard of him, and have now seen him fight twice. Both times he looked outstanding and I have been wondering why nobody outside of Strikforce fans (of which there are obviously not even enough to compensate Lawler's nuts to fight) has even heard of him.