POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: UFC antitrust hearings underway in Las Vegas

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/08/27/pollocks-news-update-ufc-antitrust-hearings-underway-in-las-vegas/

Photo courtesy: UFC


**Monday’ edition of Rewind-A-Raw is available for download, as well as the video version. Wai Ting and I reviewed Raw from New Orleans and went over all the elements from the show. Plus, news of the day included Jon Moxley being replaced by PAC at All Out, AEW going to Charlotte in November, a six-man tag added to Saturday’s show, Ronda Rousey added to the cast of Total Divas, the Super J-Cup, Young Lion Cup & more.

**Wai Ting and I return tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown for a review of tonight’s show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As always, we will do our POST Wrestling prize pack giveaway with all members of the POST Wrestling Cafe eligible to win.

**The Double Shot returns Wednesday night as Wai Ting and I review episodes three and four of the latest season of GLOW on Netflix. This show will be available for members of the POST Wrestling Cafe.

**This Sunday, Benno will be joining Martin Bushby and Jamesie for a special edition of the British Wrestling Experience reviewing the NJPW Royal Quest and NXT UK TakeOver shows.


**The SmackDown and 205 Live tapings will be taking place from the Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The promo centered around the Roman Reigns story continuing following the reveal of Erick Rowan’s twin last week. They have announced the following matches for tonight:
*Buddy Murphy vs. Ali in the King of the Ring tournament
*Shelton Benjamin vs. Chad Gable in the King of the Ring of the tournament

**The WWE has posted an interview with Cesaro, who will be going to Cardiff this Saturday for the NXT UK TakeOver card. It was not made clear if he would be wrestling a match but ended the interview by stating he would ‘take a hands-on approach’. The card currently lists five matches from the Motorpoint Arena.

**The NXT UK card has a major advantage over New Japan’s Royal Quest card given that the latter is only available on Fite TV with a $24.99 price tag. It isn’t just the dollar figure but the principle that New Japan has the means through its streaming service that an event of this level is expected to be part of what they signed up for and this feels like New Japan not investing in the means to present this show live on its in-house service. I would imagine a strong amount of New Japan World subscribers have access to the WWE Network and New Japan is sending those people to WWE’s platform that day.

If I was WWE and Cesaro is wrestling, I would announce the match ahead of time to solidify those fringe fans making the decision to watch their show and not skipping it. You’re already talking about a dedicated audience that is seeking out more wrestling on a day that AEW is going to own with “All Out” later that night. For most, four-plus hours on Saturday night is enough with New Japan hoping people will spend $25 for an additional four hours earlier. The real “quest” will be for paying consumers that need to see the show live and with a cheaper alternative in NXT UK, although one with less buzz, it’s a strong “ask” of the audience.

**WWE has officially added a rematch between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton to the Clash of Champions card on September 15th in Charlotte, North Carolina.

**Daniel Bryan spoke to Superluchas ahead of the WWE’s event in Colombia this past weekend. Bryan was asked about several Luchadors coming to WWE and cited Negro Casas and Blue Panther among his favorites, but believes they are too old for WWE with both in their late ’50s. Of the current generation, he mentioned Rush, Bandido, and Dragon Lee as ones that could succeed in the company but also brought up that the WWE already has Gran Metalik and used his name to plug 205 Live. It’s funny because Gran Metalik would be the cautionary tale you would use when mentioning other Lucha talent coming to WWE and where they could end up.

**All Elite Wrestling has announced that Cracker Barrel will be the presenting sponsor of the three-way match at All Out involving Joey Janela, Darby Allin, and Jimmy Havoc. The match will be billed as a ‘Cracker Barrel Clash’.

**Dave Meltzer reported on Monday that the broadcast team for All Out will consist of Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez with Alex Marvez conducting backstage interviews. AEW has not announced Mendez yet, but it was teased on social media that he has signed with the group.

**New Japan has released a list of performers that are scheduled for the Fighting Spirit Unleased tour in the U.S. next month. The promotion will run shows in Lowell, Massachusetts on September 27th, the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on September 28th, and the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on September 29th. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada, Shingo Takagi, Bushi, Jay White, Guerrillas of Destiny, and KENTA will work all three events. IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada has been announced for the shows in Lowell and New York.

**This Saturday’s CM Punk sit-down interview at Starrcast will be available on several pay-per-view providers. DirecTV and InDemand will be carrying the interview at 1 pm Eastern this Saturday, as will Fite TV. The sit-down interview will be running at the same time as New Japan’s Royal Quest card, which also streams on Fite.

**El Hijo del Vikingo who has received tremendous buzz this year, will be out at least six weeks due to a torn MCL. The injury was sustained on a show this past weekend and as a result, he will miss the AAA card at the Hulu Theatre in New York on September 15th. Vikingo and Laredo Kid had one of the best matches of the year this past June for AAA, which greatly enhanced their demand. Dave Meltzer reported the nature of the injury and the time table was consistent with what we were told. It is unknown if he will be available in time for the AAA card at the Forum in Inglewood, California on October 13th.

**SLAM Wrestling has a fascinating story on George Rugg, a curator at Notre Dame University in Indiana and the man that ran the Pfefer Collection. He presided over countless artifacts and documents connected to promoter Jack Pfefer, who was one of the most notorious promoters of his era. Pfefer was highly influential but found himself on the outside looking in after a pact that left him without power. In response, Pfefer went public in 1932 regarding the worked nature of professional wrestling but continued to work in the industry. He died in September 1974 at the age of 79.

**Sinclair Broadcasting has posted a job listing seeking out a Digital Content Marketing Manager for Ring of Honor. The listing states:

“Reporting to the General Manager, the Digital Content Marketing Manager is responsible for overseeing the company’s overall marketing and advertising programs, communication, sponsorship/license sales, and public relations programs, primarily on, but not limited to digital platforms. The Digital Content Marketing Manager must ensure the continued growth of company revenue verticals by facilitating new and current marketing strategies”.

**Here is the updated card for the Clash of Champions event on Sunday, September 15th at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina:
*Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal title
*Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton for the WWE title
*Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s title
*King of the Ring finals
*Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode for the Raw tag titles

**A tag match with LA Park & El Hijo de LA Park vs. Septimo Dragon & Magnus has been added to the War Chamber event on Saturday, September 7th at the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas.

**According to DEFY Wrestling, they drew 804 fans to the Temple Theatre in Tacoma last Friday, which was the night after New Japan’s Super J-Cup card in the same venue that drew 1,012. On the DEFY card on Saturday, SCHAFF defeated Artemis Spencer to win the DEFY title, Jushin Thunder Liger, Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin defeated Brian Pillman Jr., Mike Santiago & Ethan HB (which will likely be the only time Liger and Pillman Jr. ever share the ring together), Oasis and Brian Cook fought to a no-contest when El Phantasmo attacked them, Juice Robinson defeated Ravenous Randy Myers, Josef Samael & Jacob Fatu defeated Drexl & Dr. Kliever, Dragon Lee beat Douglas James, Rocky Romero beat Clark Connors, and Cody Chhun defeated Matt Cross, Guillermo Rosas & Judas Icarus.

**DEFY will run their next event on September 27th in Seattle at Washington Hall.

**MLW CEO Court Bauer speaks to beIN Sports about breaking into the industry in the ‘90s through the Wild Samoans.

**The WWE stock closed at $73.94 on Tuesday.


**Hearings began on Monday in Las Vegas regarding the antitrust lawsuit filed against the Zuffa. Paul Gift from Forbes is among the reporters on the scene covering the hearings with MMA Payout, The Athletic, and Bloody Elbow among the outlets sending reporters. On the first day, UFC’s financials in relation to the revenue paid out to fighters were among the subjects. During the period in question (December 16, 2010 – June 30, 2017), the UFC paid out approximately 19.5% of their revenue to the fighters and had been around 19-20% since 2011. In comparison, Strikeforce paid out 63% over its final years (the company was purchased by Zuffa in 2011 and shut down in 2013) and Bellator’s payout rate was 44.7% during the period. The hearings will continue throughout the week.

**John Nash at Bloody Elbow is also in Las Vegas covering the hearings and provided additional financial notes in his coverage. Eric Cramer is the lead attorney for the Plaintiff’s and presented several documents outlining the percentage of UFC event revenue and UFC pay-per-view revenue that was distributed to the fighters. Finally, there was information provided regarding the total amount and percentage of revenue that went to the fighters from an internal UFC document in 2016:

(NOTE: 2016-2019 are projections that were made at the time)

2012: $71 million – 16%
2013: $91 million – 18%
2014: $72 million – 16%
2015: $113 million – 19%
2016: $135 million – 19% (this is the year that Zuffa was sold to WME IMG)
2017: $147 million – 20%
2018: $160 million – 20%
2019: $196 million – 20%

**Despite a show that featured fourteen finishes in as many fights, Bellator 235 only averaged 285,000 viewers for Saturday’s card on the Paramount Network. It was their second-lowest average of 2019 on the network trailing the Bellator 218 card in March that averaged 255,000 for a show headlined by Emmanuel Sanchez and Georgi Karakhanyan. This past weekend’s show featured a heavyweight rematch between Sergei Kharitonov and Matt Mitrione. To compare, their first fight in February, albeit a 15-second fight, the card did 365,000 viewers.

While the deal with DAZN has been a lucrative one for Bellator, there is no argument that it’s diminished their visibility when running shows on the Paramount Network. Their shows are simulcast on DAZN, so if you are one of the people spending money on the service it makes little sense to watch on Paramount. That said, the first Paramount card this year did 697,000 for Ryan Bader vs. Fedor Emelianenko and nothing has come close to that figure. For the year, Bellator is averaging 371,125 viewers on Paramount with eight shows, so far.

**The season-finale of Dana White’s Contender Series takes place tonight at 8 pm Eastern from the UFC Apex with the following fights streaming on Fight Pass:
*Dusko Todorovic (8-0) vs. Teddy Ash (14-4)
*Impa Kasanganay (5-0) vs. Kailan Hill (5-0)
*Sang Hoon Yoo (5-0) vs. Peter Barrett (10-3)
*Dustin Joynson (5-0) vs. Ben Sosoli (7-2)
*Dylan Lockard (6-1) vs. T.J. Brown (13-6)

**ESPN was the first to report to that former title challenger Darren Till is moving up to middleweight for his next fight. Till, who is coming off losses to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal, will fight Kelvin Gastelum on November 2nd at the UFC 244 card at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Gastelum is coming off the leading contender for ‘Fight of the Year’ when he was defeated by Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 this past April in a fight for the interim middleweight title.

**ONE Championship will run their first live card on TNT on Saturday, October 12th at 11 pm Eastern. They are running a show from Tokyo, Japan and it will take place Sunday morning in Japan, so it can air live in the United States. The card will take place from Sumo Hall and features Angela Lee defending the ONE Atomweight title against Xiong Jingnan, Demetrious Johnson vs. Danny Kingad in the final of the Flyweight Grand Prix, and Eddie Alvarez vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the final of the Lightweight Grand Prix. Given that the fight card will air after AEW has launched on the same network, it will be interesting to see how much TNT markets to the professional wrestling audience on the first two episodes of AEW, if at all.

**Invicta FC is holding a one-night, eight-woman flyweight tournament on Friday, September 6th with their Phoenix Series show. Cheri Muraski and Marilia Santos are out of the tournament and will be replaced by Shanna Young and Victoria Leonardo. They will join the field of eight that includes DeAnna Bennett, Milana Dudieva, Maiji Suotama, Daiana Torquato, Liz Tracy, and Miranda Maverick. The card will stream on UFC Fight Pass that night at 8 pm Eastern with Laura Sanko and Jimmy Smith calling the event.

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