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Tag: BodogFight

IFL and Bodog on Brink of Extinction; UFC Keeps Stacking That Paper

(The Fertitta brothers, preparing to order something expensive.)

The poor get poorer while the rich land on the cover of Forbes: Financial stability was a recurring theme in MMA this week, as two prominent leagues face death while another cemented its place at the top. First the bad news…

— The IFL filed their 10k SEC report on Tuesday, and things are looking grim. Since the league was founded in January 2006, it has suffered losses of $31 million. Last year’s revenues weren’t nearly enough the make up for the $15.9 million it spent on events; notably, the IFL only took in $498,000 in sponsorship revenue and $117,544 in branded merchandise sales in 2007. At this rate, the company won’t be able to survive past the third quarter of the 2008 fiscal year, and due to their continued losses, the IFL’s auditors have included a paragraph in their financial statements questioning their financial viability, which will make it even harder for the IFL to secure the additional financing it needs to sustain operations. As the report says, “If revenues grow slower than we anticipate, or if operating expenses exceed our expectations or cannot be adjusted accordingly, we may not achieve profitability and the value of your investment could decline significantly.”

An earlier rumor that BodogFight was near death gained more traction yesterday with MMAWeekly’s report that the Bodog subsidiary may be ceasing operations next week. The company lost a reported $38 million in 2007, and hasn’t announced any more events since it sponsored a Las Vegas Tuff-N-Uff show in February. From the article:

Asked if the company was folding, one executive who declined to be named told, “I can neither confirm or deny that.”

When asked what Bodog Fight was currently working on, the executive responded, “I’m sitting in an empty office.”

Of course, in the land of the Octagon, it’s all champagne and caviar…


BodogFight May Be Going Tits Up

(Will the Bodog Girls have to go back to their IT jobs?)

MMAPayout passes along the rumor that BodogFight is on its last legs, after losing a reported $38 million last year:

Most of the company’s employees have been let go, there are no events planned (although they are sponsoring some smaller events), there is no new TV deal, and a recently proposed small budget (with the idea of slowly rebuilding) by Jeff Osborne was turned down.

Does it seem suspicious to you that every fight club Fedor Emelianenko has been involved in has gone out of business? Think about it…

RINGS — dead!
PRIDE — dead!
M-1 Global — dead!
Bodog — dead! (maybe!)

Dear lord, the man destroys everything he touches! Although to be fair, the fact that BodogFight couldn’t hold events in the U.S., maintain a regular events schedule, land a deal with a big-name cable channel, or maintain good relationships with its fighters could have also contributed to its fate. Anyway, we doubt that many of you are huge BF fans, so this isn’t much of a tragedy. But hey, those Bodog Girls are somethin’, am I right?


Exclusive Interview: Bodog Matchmaker Eric Nicholl

(The Bodog Girls: “ridiculously gorgeous.”)

Though he’s only thirty years old, Eric Nicholl calls the shots as matchmaker for BodogFIGHT‘s Vancouver-based operation. It’s a job that demands his attention 24/7 — Nicholl has to juggle phone calls, e-mails, meetings, fighters’ demands, contracts, and a host of other details on a daily basis — but he makes it look easy. Fresh off of a well-deserved vacation, Eric took a moment to chat with us about matchmaking, Bodog’s much-jeered payouts, Matt Lindland‘s gripe, and who his choice is to play him on the big screen.

CagePotato: How did you get the Bodog job?
Eric Nicholl: It’s kind of a unique situation. The company that really does all the marketing and advertising is Riptown Media, and I had transitioned from operations about 3 ½ years ago into marketing/PR for BodogFIGHT. So I was basically the initial person that was going through doing the media interviews. And it kind of developed from there. With mixed martial arts, I’ve got seven years of kickboxing underneath my belt and I wrestled in high school. And I also attended university on a full football scholarship. Contact sports and hand-to-hand combat has always been a passion for me. Basically, BodogFIGHT totally evolved. I kind of got to come along with it. I got to work alongside some really key people in the industry, like Miguel Iturrate, our original matchmaker. I studied under him since the beginning of August, 2006.

Describe what you do, in a nutshell.
Not only do I focus on matchmaking, but I also look at fighter relations. I look at scouting, single fight, multi-fight contracts, purse negotiations. I look at sponsorship proposals. My day, I come in, I’ll fire up my computer and I’ll just scan through the list of guys getting a hold of my e-mail and they want to be fighters. ‘What do I have to do?’ I’ve kind of taken the approach that I’m going to reply to every single one of these guys. If they reply back, fantastic. If they actually fill out the bio stuff that I need, if they have some amateur fights, I want to see video of it. I want to see what their style is, how finely tuned their skills are. I want to see what they look like in a ring, on a canvas. I’d say out of about a hundred people that actually reply back to me, I’ll get five or six that will actually complete the bio form that I need from them. Once it gets to there, I’d say maybe two out of a hundred will actually make it to the cut, where I can say, “Okay, great, you’re an up-and-comer, I can match you against another up-and-comer and let’s see if you guys can make the cut.” It’s a swift process.

Tape is critical. Typically what I’ll do (everyday), I’ll catch up on my e-mail, I’ll go through the forums, all the message boards, all the sites, just to see what’s going on to stay up on all the news as I possibly can. If there’s nothing super important, typically I’ll have meetings — planning for different events, who we want to work with. The people we want to work with — the different organizations — is a key factor. It’s a small niche industry and I want to surround myself with the most positive people.

Do you interact with other organizations’ matchmakers a lot?
All the time. The bigger camps all around the world…Brazil, the UK…again, these are like promoters/matchmakers, they kind of do everything. I also work very tightly with our commissioner and that’s Jeff Osbourne. I don’t think his word is gospel, but I certainly have a tremendous amount of respect for what he has to say. There are different philosophies that I find amongst these other matchmakers — some people are sport purists, other people are all entertainment value. I find that the right mix of personality of someone that can see the value of the sport as a sport — because it is — but also the value of the sport as an entertainment outlet. At the end of the day, you need to have people watching the show.

What happens when, say, an injury or something leaves you without a fighter just days from an event? Where do you look for a replacement?
Again, that has a lot to do with networking. If someone goes down, I will rely on a local promoter that I’ve made contacts with. And there are certain groups in various regions that have guys who train very hard. A specific example is Eben Oroz — I called him when we did our TV shoot in Vancouver in August of this past summer and it was to fight “DJ.taiki” (Daiki Hata). On four days notice. Daiki is a phenomenal fighter, he’s world-renowned and he (Eben) took the fight last minute. And he stepped in and won a great fight and an incredible upset.

It’s really setting up your network as to who you draw from — and at the end of the day, depending on the level of the fighter, I have probably a thousand bios of fighters all set up by the weight class and I’ll look at them. If there’s a guy that maybe deserves a shot, that’s on the cusp, let’s get him in the ring, let’s give him a shot.

The hours you keep must be crazy.
I have my Blackberry. I work 24 hours a day, every day of the week. One of the reasons for that is I’ve got people in Russia, I have people in Brazil, the U.K., we have fighters in Australia, Japan, so my phone rings all hours of the day…and I’ll answer it.


Action-Packed MMA Weekend: The Non-UFC Version

(The Nogueira brothers: Like lookin’ in a mirror.)

Lots of MMA action this weekend and we’re not just talking about UFC: 81 Breaking Point. Let’s start with tonight.

Hardcore Championship Fighting: Destiny
Tonight’s event features Antonio Rogerio Nogueira against Todd Gouwenberg, a 7-2 journeyman who is riding a four fight win streak. The event will air on The Score, a not-so-high-profile Canadian sports network. Should be an adjustment for “Little Nog” since he’s been used to fighting under some pretty bright lights. The Western Canadian organization is fighting for recognition and Rogerio was a great score, but someone like Gouwenberg is not the type of talent he should have to step down to fight. Also on the HCF card are some other fighters you’ll recognize – and some you’ve never heard of:

-Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos v Gegard Mousasi
-Thomas Schulte v Garett Davis
-David Loiseau v Jason Day
-Brendan Seguin v Derrick Noble
-Damir Mirenic v Mike Pyle
-Andrew Buckland v Dan Chambers
-Myles Merola v Ariel Sexton
-Tim Hague v Miodrag Petkovic
-Nabil Khatib v Lucas Rota
-Fabian Cortez v Juan Barrantes

BodogFIGHT: Nick Thompson vs. John Troyer
The main event tonight will feature Nick “The Goat” Thompson vs. John Troyer, hence the title. This one goes down in Vegas and will see Troyer in the biggest fight of his young career. This welterweight title fight is also notable because it will apparently be The Goat’s last bout for BodogFIGHT. Losing a character like Nick Thompson will certainly be a blow to Bodog, especially for an organization that is already hurting for fans.


Bodog CEO attempts moronic publicity stunt, still stands to lose $49 million

Back in August, Bodog — one of the world’s largest online gambling companies and owner of the BodogFights series — was ordered to pay $49 million in damages and forfeit its domain name after failing to respond to claims that their downloadable software infringes on a patent held by 1st Technology LLC. (I know, pretty boring so far.) Bodog CEO Calvin Ayre called the suit an “extortion attempt,” partly due to the fact that he isn’t able to personally respond to the charges in Las Vegas. (Bodog is based in Antigua, and the U.S. Department of Justice has a habit of arresting online gambling executives; 1st Technology may be counting on Ayre to settle out of court rather than risk arrest by traveling to Nevada. I know, still kind of boring.)

Anyway, it was reported today that Ayre has challenged 1st Technology CEO Scott Lewis to a three-round BodogFight rules MMA bout, with Ayre offering $1 million in prize money to get Lewis in the ring. If you’re wondering what kind of man would respond to a lawsuit by challenging the plaintiff to a fight, or if you’re wondering whether Ayre deserves to lose $49 million over a simple patent infringement claim that’s yet to be proven, the answer to both questions can be answered by this picture of Calvin Ayre:


[hint: a jerkoff, and yes]

What’s really troublesome about Calvin’s sad publicity stunt is that Scott Lewis would have to defeat Ayre 49 times to collect the total judgment. It should also be mentioned that one of the features currently on Bodog’s new site is Bif Naked Bride, an “8-Webisode Bodog TV Exclusive” that follows the pop-punk artist Bif Naked — remember that song “Moment of Weakness” from like 1998? No? — as she gets married to some dork. Wow. It’s not exactly subject matter I would normally associate with poker, or MMA, or the Internet for that matter. But if this is what it takes to get tattooed 30-something lesbians interested in gambling, maybe Calvin Ayre is smarter than we think. You don’t see George Maloof going after that market!