Introducing MMA Biz-Buzz: Analyzing the Business Side of MMA

Nate DoubleAnalyst IMarch 26, 2009

I've decided to try something new and write a weekly column about the business side of MMA.  I'll be focusing on the current stories and events for every promotion.  The topics will range from fighter salary reports to the implications of network television's clout on MMA cards, etc.

First up for analysis is Roy Jones Jr's March Badness event.  If you don't know, March Badness was a hybrid boxing-MMA card featuring Roy Jones Jr as the boxing headliner.  Ex-WWE superstar Bobby Lashley, UFC veteran fighter Jeff Monson, and former IFL heavyweight champ Roy Nelson anchored the MMA portion of the card.

Whether or not a hybrid card will become a regular thing remains to be seen, however I think Mr. Jones and company may have found this event to be a financial success.

While finalized pay-per-view numbers have not yet been released the estimate was that March Badness did approximately 150,000 buys at $29.95 a piece.  Gross revenue from PPV orders was therefore $4,492,500 which we'll call $4.5M for the sake of easy math.

If PPV takes 50% of the till from the get go we cut Jones & Co's take to $2.25M.  The fighter salaries for the night equaled $217,000 not including Jone's pay or Bobby Lashley's PPV percentage.  To keep the math simple the event made $2M after fighter salaries and this doesn't include any of the gate revenues.

Even if the cost of Lashley's PPV percentage, ancillary personnel, arena rental, insurance, and miscellaneous expenses equalled $1M, Jone's promotion company (Jones) pockets a cool million for lending his name to the card and putting in five rounds of work.

Now $1M isn't much when compared to the UFC's take on it's 600,000+ PPV buy shows, or Jones' past main event earnings but it might be enough for Jones to consider holding another event, or for other smaller promoters to follow suit.

If small starter promotions can find a few fighters with name recognition and one big name to headline the card there's money to be made.