Another day, another conversation with Jeff Lacy's manager, Joey Gilbert, regarding Lacy's planned boxing match with Nick Diaz. Gilbert contacted me wanting to clear up some of what he said in our last conversation.
"I don't know the exact amount that Nick Diaz is getting for this fight. What I do know is that Jeff took a small percentage less than Nick because he wanted the fight so badly." When I asked him if he could disclose Lacy's purse, Gilbert answered "Jeff will be making $150,000. Knowing that Jeff was only taking slightly less of the purse than Nick and knowing that Diaz was unlikely to take less than he did in his last MMA bout, I think it is easy to put the pieces together on roughly what his purse will be."
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Allow me to speak for a bit on the business aspect of this fight. As I wrote yesterday, right now it looks like this fight is going the independent pay-per-view route. That would mean a show without the backing of HBO or Showtime. Now, it appears they're still hopeful that the fight will get picked up by Showtime given Diaz and Lacy both being "Showtime guys."
Without Showtime, the next best hope would be that Integrated Sports comes to the rescue. The PPV distributor of such must-see events as Zab Judah v. Kaizer Mabuza and Tomasz Adamek's bouts with Vinny Maddalone and Kevin McBride. Judah/Mabuza was a bout which Main Event Promotions won the purse bid to with a 50/50 split of a $50,000 purse (and what seemed to be a little agreed-upon gate and PPV money for Judah). These are not huge money fights, they're just bouts which need distribution and a little bit of a promotional push. They can also be pretty shameless in their attempts to sell a fight, but do have a general understanding of marketing to a specific audience (such as marketing to the Polish community for Adamek's bouts).
These are bouts where it's entirely realistic that they're hoping for 4,000 - 10,000 total buys. They do this by usually attaching a lower price tag of $30 for their PPV broadcasts. This is a good thing in terms of maybe being the final move that may convince someone to hit the "buy" button on their remote, but a bad thing in terms of almost cutting the revenue from each buy in half. At $30 a pop you're talking about needing probably close to 20,000 buys to come close to covering the purses of both men, possibly more depending on the take from the distributor and the cable companies. It also basically suffocates the chances of putting another decent name fighter on the card in hopes of grabbing some extra buys that way as the money is just not going to be there.
To put that in perspective, a recent HBO PPV between Erik Morales and Marcos Maidana, two well known and highly respected names in the boxing community drew less than 50,000 buys. Morales was on his last legs heading in, but still represented one of the biggest Mexican boxing stars of the last ten years and considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, and that fight simply did not sell. I have trouble thinking that a bout between Jeff Lacy, clinging to what's left of his career, and Nick Diaz, a man who has never been the central man in selling a PPV in his home sport, is going to do half of what Morales/Maidana was able to do.
Worst case scenario here is that Showtime doesn't make the save and Integrated Sports doesn't get involved. In that case you're looking at a very grim scenario with completely unassisted independent PPV. That could spell a disaster and lead to huge losses.