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Another view of the PRIDE Acquisition

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Sam Caplan has some interesting commentary on my "Dana White Blew It" post.

In particular he makes some good points in defense of the PRIDE acquistion. First off, they likely didn't pay nearly as much as was reported:

First, the numbers reported by the Associated Press in regard to the purchase price ($65-70 million) may not be entirely accurate. We'll probably never know the actual number because Zuffa is a private company and Dana White is not talking. I asked him during a CBSSports.com interview several months back about the number that was reported and White was quick to state that the number didn't come from the UFC. I have my doubts about that because if it didn't come from the UFC then it means the only other place it could have came from was PRIDE.

The actual agreed upon figured that was reported by the AP has been rumored to be a lot less. In fact, because the completion process dragged on so long (the deal was not finalized when it was announced on March 27) it's possible that the final sale price was even lower.

That's good but doesn't really impact my central contention which was that Zuffa bought a pig in a poke when they bought PRIDE. There's no way that video library is worth what they paid and since it didn't include any fighter contracts, you'd have to add the cost of signing highly paid fighters like Cro Cop, Big Nog, (heck even Marcus Aurelio got $30,000/$30,000) to the acquisition cost.

He also contends that Zuffa's acquisition was primarily defensive in nature, aimed at preventing EliteXC or another competitor (Sam names the IFL) from acquiring PRIDE. Honestly, I think they should've let Gary Shaw buy the damn thing, the resulting fiasco would've sunk EliteXC.

Sam makes some very good points though about the wisdom of Zuffa's other two acquisitions in the last 18 months -- the WFA and the WEC.

The WEC became an attractive option because so many networks were interested in televising MMA. The UFC was already committed to Spike, and while Zuffa had freedom to solicit other TV deals for the UFC, there were some limitations. It was believed that rather than let a competing promotion get valuable television exposure that it would be wise to establish a second brand that could accept one of the available television deals.

In regard to the WFA, the main selling point for Zuffa in acquiring select assets from the promotion was to acquire the contract of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

EliteXC, which entered into a television contract with Showtime after Zuffa pulled the UFC off the table so that they could pursue a deal with HBO, was looking to secure Jackson as its franchise attraction.

Zuffa, which tried to sell Showtime on doing a deal with the WEC after they pulled the UFC off the table, didn't want EliteXC to have Jackson as a key player on Showtime.

Sam's right that those were very good plays by Zuffa. But he neglects to mention that the money and opportunity cost of buying PRIDE have prevented the UFC from making anyother defensive acquisitions. Meanwhile EliteXC has snapped up King of the Cage, ICON, Cage Rage, etc. If the Strikeforce/EliteXC relationship hadn't collapsed, Gary Shaw would really be building a steamroller.