Pay Andrei Arlovski $500,000 Lose 100,000 Viewers

Nelson vs Arlovski Dave Meltzer reports on the TV ratings for EliteXC Heat and its not bad:

Based on the fast nationals ratings, the show did a 2.65 rating and 4.31 million viewers from 9-11 p.m. (which aired live everywhere except the West Coast). That doesn’t factor in the 11-11:20 p.m. segment featuring the 14-second Kimbo Slice loss to Seth Petruzelli, which based on metered market data was the most watched part of the show and should slightly increase the final average.

“It was a great number as far as I was concerned,” said CBS senior vice president of program operations Kelly Kahl. “The people saying it’s the end of Elite XC and the end of Elite XC on broadcast television are misinformed.”


Based on the data available, the Carano vs. Kelly Kobold fight was the hit of the night, adding 950,000 viewers from the previous segment. That makes Carano two-for-two as the top ratings mover. Carano’s fight with Kaitlin Young on May 31 added 1,020,000 viewers.

But there was one glaring exception, Affliction star Andrei Arlvoski:

The disappointment of the night was Andrei Arlovski. The former UFC heavyweight champion’s fight with Roy Nelson, the last IFL heavyweight champ, lost 110,000 viewers from the Carano fight.

I have to say, between using all of their ad time on the broadcast to promote EDOR RETURNS and booking their best known name Arlovski against Roy Nelson -- a less than telegenic grappler who is none-the-less very dangerous -- Affliction really wasted the $580,000+ they spent to get on the CBS card.

I know Arlovski vs Josh Barnett would have cost much more (almost double probably) but I can't help but feel like it would've been a fight that would've added viewers, not lost them.

I'm no Dana White apologist, but damn his competitors keep making him look good. Dana booked Andrei vs dangerous but boring grappler Jake O'Brien to damage his career and he put it on the undercard. Affliction books an even more damaging opponent and puts it on CBS. This is not how you build your star.

UPDATE: This comment made it clear that I didn't quite make my point:

Granted, the Arlovski fight was a little bit of a joke in the sense that Arlovski deserves a better opponet than this guy, but you have to admit that if people tuned out after the carano fight, they’re just not fans of the sport.

1) Arlovski vs Nelson was actually a great fight from a competitive perspective. Nelson was meta-ranked at #16 in the world last month. Aside from #4 Josh Barnett, he was far and away the toughest opponent for #3 Arlovski that Affliction could have booked. However the fact that a Bloody Elbow reader thinks Nelson was "a little bit of a joke" means that the casual fan DEFINITELY didn't recognize how serious a challenge Nelson is for any heavyweight.

2) Of course the people who tuned out aren't fans of the sport -- they're FIRST TIME VIEWERS OF MMA! -- the job of the CBS show is to make new fans for the sport, not turn them away.

UPDATE 2: Remember Affliction paid for this fight, not EliteXC. This was the only fight on the card that Affliction put on, they had all their eggs in this basket. That and the endless EDOR RETURNS commercials that really made no sense to anyone who didn't already know all about Fedor.

UPDATE 3: My man Luke Thomas disagrees, from his Sherdog article on winners and losers from Saturday's fights, he lists Affliction at #5 on the winners:

5. Affliction

Their clothes are gaudy and almost universally worn by everyone not living the fast life, but Saturday was a good night for the brand and its entertainment ventures. Affliction’s decision to allow Arlovski to fight on the EliteXC card in exchange for incredibly heavy marketing and Affliction brand saturation was a complete no-brainer. The upside is considerable: The clothing line was heavily marketed to the key advertising demographic, the entertainment end of Affliction’s efforts were on display to same said audience and the quintessential imagery of the key star of Affliction’s MMA ventures -- one Fedor Emelianenko -- was on continuous loop during commercial breaks. Whether Affliction’s presence during the EliteXC broadcast ultimately makes a difference for its next co-promoted effort with Golden Boy is anyone’s guess, but the choice to make the push during Saturday’s broadcast is purely academic.


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