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  • Monday Morning Analyst: Michael Chiesa-Kevin Lee stoppage, Bellator NYC review

    On this episode of the podcast, we go over the results from UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Lee with a particular focus on referee Mario Yamasaki's stoppage of the main event. We'll also dig into Bellator NYC's craziness.



  • Bellator 180 averaged 901,000 viewers

    Spike and Bellator announced Monday that the prelims for the company's biggest endeavor in history on Saturday night from Madison Square Garden averaged 901,000 viewers.

    Spike called it a "very strong start," although the number was actually combined viewership between Spike and CMT, which both aired the show simultaneously. A breakdown of the numbers from each channel was not available at press time.

    Almost all the promotion was geared toward the show airing live on Spike. Without knowing the breakdown, it's hard to make a comparison since no other Bellator event aired on two English language major cable stations at the same time.

    The 901,000 is almost exactly what UFC is averaging for pay-per-view prelims. UFC's 2017 average for its prelims this year is 902,000, but that's on one channel, not two. If those numbers were Spike’s exclusive numbers, that would have to be considered good.

    The television main event, where Ryan Bader captured the Bellator lightheavyweight title in a split decision over Phil Davis averaged 1.1million viewers between the two channels.

    Bellator went to great expense on the show, with three championship fights, plus the cost of doing television and pay-per-view in Madison Square Garden, the most expensive arena in the country to run in.

    Spike noted that Bellator was the No. 1 trend on Twitter in the U.S. throughout the pay-per-view portion of the show. It was No. 1 worldwide for much of the show. They also noted that Bellator 180, the television version, reached No. 2 at one point during the telecast, and that 20 different items from the show trended on Twitter.

    However, historically, there is no strong correlation between Twitter numbers and either television ratings or pay-per-view numbers.

    The best predictor of pay-per-view numbers historically has been Google searches, which topped 200,000 on Saturday night, which made it the second-most searched for item in the U.S. on Saturday. However, the recent UFC pay-per-view shows have been doing closer to 500,000.

    Bellator's previous pay-per-view, in 2014, did a little more than 100,000 buys. Scott Coker, when this show was first announced, said he was hoping for 200,000 buys from this show. No preliminary numbers are available at this point.



  • Derrick Lewis decides against retirement: ‘It was just heat of the moment’

    Derrick Lewis isn’t done fighting after all.

    The popular UFC heavyweight announced Monday on The MMA Hour that he has decided against retirement in the aftermath of his UFC Fight Night 110 loss to Mark Hunt. Lewis said he hopes to return to the Octagon by late 2017, and that his biggest hurdle at the moment is simply figuring out the severity of the back injury that he says badly hampered him during the Hunt fight.

    “We’re just hoping that we don’t have to get surgery, because I thought about it a little bit, and it’s not going to be my last fight,” Lewis said on The MMA Hour. “I’m going to try to get back in there as soon as I can, and we’ll find out Wednesday, see what’s going on and if it’s not too serious. Hopefully I can get back in there before the end of the year.”

    Lewis said he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his back on Wednesday. Once those results come back, his immediate future will be a little clearer.

    The injury is one that Lewis says has plagued him since 2011 and is an issue that pops up at the beginning of every fight camp. But the Hunt fight was different, Lewis said, and he went into the contest dealing with so much pain that he even told his wife ahead of time that UFC Fight Night 110 may be his last hurrah.

    “Like two days before, my back was just real sore,” Lewis said. “It was real sore and I knew — I was just hoping that I could work through it. I got a massage the day before and it just made everything even worse. And as the fight went on, it was just getting sorer and sorer.

    “That was the second time it ever happened in a fight. The first time, I still won in the third round. I knocked the guy out in the third round whenever that happened the first time. And it happened again in the Mark Hunt fight, and it was like, damn, I couldn’t move at all. The best thing I could do was just stand there and just take it, because it couldn’t move anymore.”

    Lewis said things got so bad during the Hunt bout that “The Black Beast” felt like he “couldn’t throw a punch, because I couldn’t rotate my hips.” Lewis ultimately ended up losing to Hunt via standing TKO in fourth round, snapping the six-fight win streak that propelled Lewis into the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Lewis admitted Monday that by the time of the stoppage, he was actually “hoping” referee Marc Goddard would intervene because of how badly his back was crippling him and how limited Lewis felt.

    After the bout, Lewis surprised many observers by announcing that he was considering walking away from MMA. However, he said Monday that the post-fight declaration was “just heat of the moment,” a product of the difficult and painful journey he made to UFC Fight Night 110. And that realization became clearer to him in the days after the loss, when heavyweight rivals Francis Ngannou and Travis Browne took to social media to trash talk Lewis’ performance.

    “Whenever the booty-scratcher (Ngannou) started talking sh*t, and Travis Browne waking up from the dead, talking sh*t,” Lewis said.

    “That guy (Ngannou) is not impressed with nobody, so it’s normal for him to say anything stupid. ... Travis Browne don’t know what’s he thinking. Travis, he’s out there, man. That guy has been knocked out so many times, he’s been rocked so many times, he don’t know what to say. He’s just trying to stay relevant.”

    “He better be worrying about [his fight at UFC 213] and not worried about me. It’s already done and over with between me and him.”

    Lewis said he hopes to return by November this year, and he already has his eyes set on settling things with Ngannou, if the UFC is up for it.

    “If I can, I’d get him next,” Lewis said. “If not, that’s fine. I’ll give anyone hell, but right now that’d be a good one.”

    In the interim, Lewis said he plans to take the summer off to heal his injured back and generally rest after maintaining the most active schedule of any UFC heavyweight since his 2014 arrival to the company. Over the last 20 months alone, Lewis has fought seven times — an average of once every few months — and he says the non-stop fight preparation has negatively impacted his life at home.

    “That’s one of the reasons why I said I wanted to retire,” Lewis admitted, “because whenever I go into a fight, I’m already thinking about some evil type stuff, and it was really affecting my household. So I was like, I just need some time off a little bit, try to work on my relationship with my family and stuff like that. And just by fighting all the time like that, it just put me in a bad mood all the time. And it just felt that stepping away for a little bit would be the best thing to do.”

    As for the Hunt fight, Lewis simply chalks the loss up as a product of the game. While the result may have set back his title hopes, the 32-year-old heavyweight knows he still has plenty of time to achieve what he wants to do in the sport.

    “It was still a good fight though. It was something that I expected, a tough fight. I didn’t want an easy fight, I wanted a tough fight, so I got what I wanted,” Lewis said.

    “It’s just a learning lesson. Like a lot of people have said, it’s not a bad loss to lose to Mark Hunt, so it’s really like a learning lesson. I know what I need to do to get prepared for my next battle.”



  • Bellator signs undefeated former All-America wrestler Logan Storley

    Bellator has added another hot prospect to its roster.

    Welterweight Logan Storley has signed with Bellator and will make his debut on July 14 at Bellator 181, where he’ll meet Kemmyelle Haley. FloCombat initially report the news of the signing on Monday.

    The 24-year-old from South Dakota, who is based in Las Vegas, has a 5-0 professional record. All of his fights, which came under the LFA/RFA banner, have been KO/TKO finishes, and he’s only once gone to the second round.

    Storley appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour to discuss his decision.

    “I’m excited, you know?” Storley said. “I’ve kind of had this planned and we knew after the last fight that we were ready to move on and go to a bigger stage and Bellator is the decision that we made. So, we have a fight scheduled and it’s time to go out there and perform.”

    Storley was a four-time All-American wrestler at the University of Minnesota.



  • UFC scraps August pay-per-view event

    The UFC never really officially announced an August pay-per-view event, set to be UFC 215. And now it’s gone for good.

    In a statement posted to UFC.com on Monday, the UFC said that the “originally planned” August PPV has been “removed from the schedule.” UFC 215 will now be Sept. 9 in Edmonton, an event that was initially dubbed UFC 216. A headliner for that card has not yet been announced.

    There were rumblings that the Aug. 18 card would have been in Seattle and headlined by Demetrious Johnson’s potentially record-breaking title defense, against either T.J. Dillashaw or Ray Borg. ESPN reported last week that Dillashaw is no longer focused on going down to flyweight and concentrating now on a future bantamweight title fight with Cody Garbrandt.

    The cancellation of the August event comes as little surprise, since the boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was announced for just one week later, on Aug. 26, earlier this month.

    The UFC is not an official promoter of Mayweather vs. McGregor, but is assisting in the marketing, including a UFC Embedded that will run that week. McGregor is, of course, the UFC lightweight champion making his pro boxing debut against the 49-0 Mayweather.

    Earlier this year, the UFC cancelled a scheduled pay-per-view in January that was set to take place in Anaheim, Calif., and moved it to July 29. That is now UFC 214, headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title.







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