UFC Injuries Reportedly Dragging Zuffa to a 40-Percent Profit Drop

November 20, 2014
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The 2014 financial outlook for UFC parent company Zuffa LLC is not looking good.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services issued a revised profit outlook for Zuffa LLC on Wednesday, saying that the company could be facing a 40-percent drop in profits for the year, which could also lead S&P to once again downgrade Zuffa’s corporate debt rating.

S&P already lowered Zuffa’s corporate debt rating in early October and had previously forecast a 30-percent drop in profits for the year, which includes earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

“A negative rating action could occur if we are not confident that Zuffa’s operations are recovering meaningfully by the first quarter of 2015,” S&P said in its Thursday statement.

SEE ALSO: Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum Likely to Land in Mexico in June

CainVelasquezDSC_6388UFN14 750x370The revised projection was due in large part to Cain Velasquez withdrawing from UFC 180 in Mexico, S&P analyst Emile Courtney told Bloomberg. That followed the cancellation of UFC 176 after Jose Aldo had to withdraw due to injury, as well as December events featuring Jon Jones and Chris Weidman being revised due to injury. Another key factor in the lower profits was international expansion costs.

S&P expects UFC profits to return to 2013 levels in 2015 based largely upon the anticipated return of several key fighters.

VIDEO: UFC “The Time is Now” Launch Press Conference

The UFC has already pulled out the stops to try and bolster 2015 with an early public relations push entitled “The Time is Now.” Several of the promotion’s big hitters are scheduled to fight in the first two months of the year, including Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, Conor McGregor, Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, and Ronda Rousey.

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  • Arxangel1

    This is the best news ever. This is no longer a sport of true gladiators. Cheaters everywhere. PED abusers, guys constantly failing to make weight in their quest to bully a smaller guy, none of the fighters will fight unless they are 100% healthy. Ask any NFL player if he is 100% healthy for each game that last 60 minutes, as opposed to 15. Speaking of 15 minutes, the majority of all fights going to decision. Dana White raised the sport up and now is running it into the ground.

    • Mike mckinney

      Wait a second are you trying to suggest that the “cheating and ped’s” are a new occurrence?
      You might be right, guys probably didn’t do ped’s when they were not testing for it…

      • Arxangel1

        New occurrence? No. Just my first time writing about it.

    • Seth

      Yeah…its Dana’s fault that fighters are more more willing to go for decision than finish. Its Dana’s fault they don’t want to fight injured. It’s also Dana’s fault they are taking PEDs.

      While we are at it – global warming is most likely Dana’s fault too. Damn you, Dana! You are ruining our planet!

      • LOLOl

        Actually he is right. It is dana fault sort of. I admit dana tried to give out award for fighters who finish but i feel like he is a crappy person. He seem to blow off steam at the worst of moments.. when a fighter tries and loses he still complain about them not doing well.. he does that ALL THE TIME. He is suppose to be unbiased and as a professional of his business just shut the hell up because if the fight already happen and the result.. is unchangeable what the hell can he do?… nothing. If he want to prevent problems.. i think its impossible.. People are human beings we are flawed even as fighters.

        As a “Boss” He could of spoke one on one with the fighters instead he blew up on tv and make an ass of himself. Talking low about his fighters and saying bullshit stuff… i don’t understand him yelling at a fighter that didn’t succeed … who he should yell at are the fighters being BORING AS HELL. Or just wrestlers in general.. in my opinion the rules for striking is so limited is not ultimate fighting when the wrestlers are able to do whatever they want. While the strikers are limited to doing kicks from the BOTTOM. on an opponent that is sitting on top of him. You can’t knee him in the face when he put his “Hand on the floor” Which is used so much and abused by wrestlers or other fighters. (You can’t get hit back in the head i understand that one but what if that fighter getting his butt kicked and purposely put his head into danger? what will happen to him?) Excess eye poking and kicking in the nuts is to common also.. accident happen i guess.

        Personally i think the best rule that should be implemented into the ufc rule set is the ability to stop wrestlers or any fighter in for a takedown which get reverse into a spawl position.. the defending fighter should be able to do a knee to the head (Yet knee to shoulder is allowed) Kicks should be allowed to the opponent that tried to do the takedown.. is fair right? This will cause wrestlers to think twice about doing takedown over and over again.

        Also i feel like i’m against fighters on top position doing elbows on the their opponent? So wait a wrestler or any type of fighter that is able to take another down into that position are able to do it? And its illegal for a PERSON ON THEIR BACK. To do a upkick? How is that even fair lol.

        I feel like someone is going to bring up the bull excuse saying this is “MMA” So wrestling have to be in there but honestly ask yourself? Are you REALLY going to accept another guy laying on top of another guy for 3-5 mins straight to get the victory.. no. Personally i like a rule from pride when a person lay on another and STALLING they get a yellow card.. get maximum of cards can get you dq or lose a point.. That makes more sense. It pushes the other fighter to stop doing wrestling that causes 0 damage.Lately i felt like it was more of “Who can lay on top of another… WINS” The causuals would get to disgusted by it.. the hardcore enjoy it the other half find it boring.. i mean i understand the rules.. I tried wrestling class so I KNOW how hard it is and how dedicated the fighters are into wrestling but it doesn’t work that well with a combat sport specific with so many dam rules.

        If ufc don’t realized this yet but most people are brutal.. people like knockout and submission and get annoyed if it goes to decision.. if it a good fight with both fighters battling it out toe to toe then yes decision don’t matter.

      • Arxangel1

        It is Dana’s fault. He has created no incentive for finishing fights. In fact, why would a business owner prefer the escalated deterioration of his stable of fighters? Dana wants to make his money and preserve his fighters. Logical business move, yet dwindling fan interest swill show that to be a bad move. If you take some time to educate yourself, you will learn that Dana White has direct interaction with MMA, and I haven’t seen any studies on his interaction or impact with global warming. You might need to revisit your education.

        • Seth

          You should revisit library, pick up dictionary and look up word “sarcasm”, then you can visit internet again.

    • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

      True, the PED’s thing shouldve been squashed with a zero tolerance policy from the beginning. People get mad at Rodger Goodell saying he saw the Ray Rice tape but Dana has gone YEARS of turning a blind eye to PED’s. And YES the 15 minute descisions are poision to new viewers, no one watches fights and gets hyped about a 10-9 round cause there was slightly more octagon control than the other guy. Ive said for years that the judging rules that favor the stalling wrestlers will be the worst part of MMA’s viewership. “He did nothing but he got a takedown with 10 seconds left, so exciting!!” – Sincerely No one.

      • Seth

        Well…they adapted scoring system from boxing, so that never could really work in MMA…

        • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

          that has nothing to do with anything

          • Seth

            that has A LOT to do with that. MMA is completly different sport from boixing, so judging fights with boxing system simply can NOT work .-.

  • Arxangel1

    Also, anyone who follows the UFC knows that almost none of the fights that were advertised at “The Time is Now” event will actually come off.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    I t was definitely a rough year for Dana. It’s a tough spot to be in when you sell tickets and can’t deliver what you committed to sell. A great example is the Bones Cormier fight in September. MMA fans who don’t understand the risk involved in building up the UFC from a defunct and bankrupt organization to what it is now will never appreciate what it means to be an entrepreneur. Better luck next year. I think Dana needs to establish a clear policy for injuries and title holders, title fights stop being interrupted by injuries.

  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    Dana seems to think people still are so excited to see mma that they will pay $59.99 once or twice a month on ppv. The fact is mma isn’t the same novelty it was 5 years ago, and a fight like Tito vs Bonnar gets 2 million views because “it’s a free card” – Dana White. Plus the fact UFC is on 5 different channels now, Dish subscirbers have to upgrade their package to get Fox SPorts 1 (which I never did so now i watch it on FX2 in standard def. LAME) , and on top of it Dana wants you to spend $10 a month on stupid FIght Pass to sit in front of your laptop and watch more watered down fights. The fact is the product is watered down and the PPV model will be the death of the UFC if they cant figure out a way to get UFC on free tv.

    • dunnypop

      I agree… it’s being watered down… but the injuries are so ridiculous as well.

      I have fight pass… it’s cool, but I’d pay $20 a month for it if we could somehow get PPV’s… or next day PPV replays or something.

      • Seth

        PPV providers would really hurt UFC if they do that. Look what happened to WWE when they decide to put PPVs on their digital platform. PPV providers doesn’t like the idea of losing money-bringing content, so UFC can’t really do that.

    • DecemberToDismember

      I gotta say i enjoy reading your comments on mma subject. It exactly how i feel and most of the fans shouldn’t have to stand for it. The abuse the company did to us…. I’m tired of seeing fighters pull out and another fighter taking it place When the fight is suppose to happen.. never happens. Jones vs comier, Jones vs dan henderson, Pettis vs aldo… People would feel cheated paying for that much and is not even the fight you want to happen… give a partial refund! or put it for free. Then the lackluster when the fight happen. I can’t see the ufc improving when most of the fighters are unbearable to wrestlers or fighters not wanting to give it their all. As a fan i appreciate what they do because i can’t do them but as athlete we are hoping to see them at their best.. not half assed. If this was free i don’t think it would matter to much but we are paying crap load of money for it. Which i stopped and most of my friends aren’t that hardcore anymore because its a snoozefest. I personally enjoy boxing and kickboxing more but is such a sad state to see MMA at its current condition. I’m hoping this 40% profit drop is a wake up call for them

      • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

        I look forward to the GLory kickboxing more than UFC events now.

      • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

        well you got it right if you agree with me

  • shakejunt

    people take whatever chance they can to take stabs at zuffa. the business will be fine and the fights will go on. quit crying.

  • TRT-rex

    maybe they should actually do free fights, instead of saying they free when in reality they are not! There are only 12 free fights the UFC ever did, on Fox. Everything else is on cable channels that you have to pay a couple hundred a month to have. If they want to connect with the people and reach the average viewer, or the young poor kid whose parents can’t afford the extra cable expense, put more fights on Fox. That is what Dana said when he signed with Fox, “gonna move away from PPV platform in future”. But that was all bs to get us to pay more! Not everyone is stupid and the UFC needs to figure out how to connect if they want to see growth!

    • Seth

      Actually those “cable” cards are free, from UFC standpoint. So they don’t lie. You don’t have to pay UFC for those events. Now, as far as cable networks – they are free to do anything they want with it. It’s not UFC fault those aren’t really free. UFC is able to put those without charging fans for it, because cable network pay them for rights to view them – this way they gain content which fans want to see, so they have to buy acces to that cable network. But at the end of the day – UFC puts those events without directly charging fans for it. That’s why they are called free by UFCs marketing. Cant blame UFC for it, blame greedy cable networks.

      • TRT-rex

        So as I said above, they aren’t rwally free. And the UFC could make them free by putting them on fox. Instead of marketing them as free when they are not. So thanks for your pointless comments . And it is a lie when it’s “free from there standpoint” but not free from the viewers standpoint. Free is free, not a montly payment to your cable provider. That’s called cable, which isn’t free. They should market them as”free for those of you that pay for cable”.

        • Seth

          First, its not THEIR decision what will end up on Fox. They have certain number of shows they can put on Fox in their deal. And its not THEIR fault that cable networks are charging you for that. What are they suppose to do? Tell them to not charge you? UFC doesnt tell you “Hey, pay 20$ or you wont watch this show”. They did their part and they don’t charge for that show. So from UFC’s pov – its free. Those are two different things, that you refuse to understand.

          • TRT-rex

            So technically they still aren’t free. Sorry I’m a realist Dana. I understand what your saying. But the arent free, plain and simple

          • Seth

            All Im saying is that’s not UFC fault you have to pay for them, UFC has no control over that and you don’t pay UFC for it.

          • TRT-rex

            Ok. Let’s agree to disagree. I understand the logistics of it all. But when the UFC started this deal the promoted it like we were gonna see fights oN FOX. Not a couple on FOX but 90% of them on fox sports 1 and 2, which are upper tier sports channels that you have to pay extra, on top of you regular bill, to watch. So it may not be the “UFCs fault” but they aren’t free. And the UFC makes more $, when they get higher views on these premium channels.

        • Mike mckinney

          I get what you’re trying to say, but it’s just not right. By your logic the fox fights are not free either. You have to pay for a tv and an antanna.
          The only way the ufc could actually show you a free fight is if they brought the fighters to your front yard and held the fights there… But of course you might have to pay a gardener to fix your lawn after.

  • jay

    its not injuries … they put together a ppv with 5 fights … it used to be 4 fights that you not only know who the fighters are, but you have seen all 8 fight before and are excited for the matchups. Now they take a main event (which is usually a very good fight), a co main event which is marketable fighter vs. an almost unknown and 3 other fights, I will label with the term, “unrelatable,” that will not sell PPVs/ Either the fighters arent know, the fans dont care about these guys, etc. The reason for the decline in PPV sales: what once was now the fight before the co main event, used to be a real solid fight, is put as the “main event” of the prelim show (ie: cruz vs mizugati, and Faber vs. the last guy he choked) Than, they have a “fight pass” event in Cambodia the next week which has a main event like Bisping vs. Rockhold that also used to be the 3rd or 4th fight of the ppv night. This fight pass is crap, it is lowering the values of both PPVs and TV specials. I know it will be hard to ditch, especially cause fights in Australia would start at 10am here or whatever, but that $10 per month is not worth the $ they are losing in PPVs. It also takes the main event fighter of that fight pass show and makes his worth more $ because he is a main eventer. Finally, though it may be better for casual fans, replacing jake shields with a guy who is 9-0 with 8 KOs and 1 sub does not help PPV buys because he has no name value and people finding his entertainment sunday afternoon after the fact doesnt help PPV sales from the night before. IMO, they should lengthen the amount of fights per PPV, and do a weekly 2 hour show, like monday night raw, with mostly fighters who have no recognition value and a main event, one mid-level fighter in terms of recognition, like a Jake Ellenberger, coming off a few losses to fight a lower recognized guy rising the ranks with 2 wins. Friday night, in places that aren’t huge, but always sell out, or a place like Vegas that has the foot traffic to sell out every night. Take it off Foxsports and put it on FX, increase the size of the bonus, but decrease the overal expenditure and have “fight of the month on FX” instead of per event. Also place highly skilled, but less entertaining fights like Shields or Fitch on this show until they have risen so high through the ranks that they have to fight a top 5 guy in a eliminator or title fight. this way they arent poached, get paid the same and dont kill PPV sales

  • Seth

    All I see is a rant about the rules…which UFC HAS NO CONTROL OVER. It was ACs putting rules together. How many times you’ve heard Dana or other UFC-related people b****ing about stupid rules? UFC could change the rules – but then it will get harder when they come to play with ACs. If – for example – they say stomps are legal within UFC – who knows if NSAC will sanction them? You remember how tough it was to make MMA legal back in the days? They had to let ACs to come up with rules, so they could put on events, get TV deals and PPVs. They don’t have as much freedom as they would love to have.

    Lets say they allow stomps, soccer kicks – and whatever else stupid, blood-thirsty idiots that call themselves “fans” want to see in the UFC. Ok. Cool, you get what you wanted…but what about sponsors? Would they still be up for a deal to sponsor something like that? Would Fox want to sign their name under product like that? All you have to do nowdays to make people riot is call someone idiot on the air to get tons of problems. I agree with stuff like “three points stance”, because that rule is being abused WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much, but its not really upto UFC to change it. Without sponsors, TVs and PPV providers on board – UFC would die quickly. So they have to think about that in the first place.

  • I actually don’t feel a bit sorry for them, this is exactly the result they have generated on their own….. Fighters would be a bit more loyal to the UFC if they weren’t such ambitious with their profit…… At one point, I used to buy every UFC PPV event CUS they were worth the money but that stopped in 2011 for me……… They try to sell garbage at the same price? Expect garbage profit……just my opinion, I’m no interpreneur like Dana white…

  • Digiaddict

    ive been telling people for years this was going to happen and got the ufc fan boy flame for it. the writing was on the wall.

    the ufc hasnt really had the stellar ppv numbers dana white used to claim they had. search for how the top boxing promoters called dana white out for lying about ppv numbers and also offered to pay for an auditor to prove their claims. after that surprisingly the ppv numbers looked mediocre at best.

    if you look at who the best ppv promoters in the world are, the ones who were doing this on a major scale when dana was teaching jazzercize. they keep saying the ufc can not sustain this “sams club” type of ppv sellings. they survive purely by the volume of ppvs now.

    its hard for some of you guys to understand b/c you never watched ppv fights before this so you really have no clue. if you only started ordering ppv fights after the ufc then your late to the ppv biz.

  • Greg Nutson

    Good thing Dana White has insulted any person critical of him, now he can eat his ass

  • L

    Dana went full circle and became just like all the boxing promoters he was supposedly so different from…
    The UFC business model of having 6 unknown fighters on every card (simply so that they can provide entertainment at bargain basement prices) is losing the sport its fans.

    Then there is the issue of Performance Enhancing drugs, and the link they have to increased injuries… But thats not whats happening, huh, Dana?

  • Daily

    I’ve all but stopped watching the UFC. A lot of the good fighters are gone, and a lot of the compelling fights went with them. The big names and “superstars” have all moved on or retired, and no one has really replaced them. People like Anderson Silva, GSP, BJ Penn, even Matt Hughes, the Nogueiras, etc are gone. Fighters of the same caliber, ability, stature have not replaced them.

    Some of it is due to pushing out just about all relevant competition to the organization. Fighters do not have places to build up names, rivalries, anticipation. Now there are so many fighters trying to build themselves up on main cards. I have no interest in watching that, let alone PAYING for it. I remember when PRIDE was competition, and then when Scott’s organization was competition. Now there is a big void.

    ZUFFA shot themselves in the foot by being too controlling and way exceeding their grasp. Too many shows, expanding way too fast. I just don’t see how it could sustain itself in that matter.

    • Freddie

      Well said. The UFC is boring and I’ve given up myself…

    • Maxamillion Mansionhouse III

      My man! Finally a comment from someone who knows about mma instead of all these fanboys who jump all over you if you say negative but true things about the UFC.

      The UFC has added way too many weight classes and this has watered-down a lot of whats going on also. Are there still exciting fights? Yes but think about how many top 10 fighters there are now to keep track of…..now think about the ones not in the top 10 and trying to make them seem relevant when a top 10 isn’t fighting. That’s a ton of fighters to try to build up ppv buys behind…too many for their own good.

      How does the UFC make these fighters relevant? By straight up lying!

      How many times have they said something to the effect of “This guy is new but is the greatest striker in the division”? Try every ppv they say this about every fight! They now use obscure stats to back this up. “CB Dollaway is 4th in takedowns in his division’s entire history!” Rogan will blurt out…. Mike Goldberg will say “Just like that the fight is over” once more because he still doesn’t understand the sport of mma. They should’ve brought in Bas Rutten and Steven Quadros.

      They really screwed up by not bringing in Fedor and giving him what he wanted. He was the top dog and they wanted to stuff him into a box with contract restrictions. I’m glad he never stepped foot in the Octogon. The top dog always gets what he wants in every other sport but no…White couldn’t make it work and missed out on how insane he could’ve made the UFC with Fedor.

      Look at what PRIDE did! Look at those matchups! The UFC ran through those top fighters when he bought them out talking trash on almost every one of them. Then cut them all at some point, paying them next to nothing in the end.

      Non-championship belt fights going 5 rounds has watered-down the importance of belt fights for the most part. Those should be reserved for belt fights but because there’s so many fighters now they did this to make fights look more important than they really are now.

      Dana’s mouth about race and “getting more than just white people in our crowds at our shows”…while letting in Cain with his racist tattoo. Letting in sub-par fighters because they are mexican, asian and black because he wants those people’s money instead of putting on the best fighters that deserve to be there.

      They cut the ppv down to only a few fights….it used to be 8 fights!!!

      The UFC has really gotten in their own way really bad.
      I’m still a die-hard fan of mma but I haven’t paid to see a UFC since 2009 when all of this really started to get bad.