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Fighting

UFC 254 only 'FIFTH biggest pay-per-view event in 2020'

UFC 254 only ‘FIFTH biggest pay-per-view event in 2020 with 675,000 buys’ for Khabib’s win over Justin Gaethje as promotion takes hit after moving away from primetime TV slot in US

  • UFC president Dana White had said the event was ‘trending off the charts’  
  • But the 675,000 buys for UFC 254 do not come close to biggest card of the year 
  • Kamaru Usman’s title defence against Jorge Masvidal did 1.3million buys 
  • But Khabib vs Gaethje was shown at 2:00pm in US, meaning lower numbers   

UFC 254 was only the ‘fifth best pay-per-view card of the year after generating 675,000 buys’ despite Dana White saying it was ‘trending off the charts’ last week. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory over Justin Gaethje and subsequent retirement was the landmark moment of the year for the promotion from a sporting perspective but it seems they have paid the price for changing the timings. 

The fight was broadcast at 2:00pm in the United States, moved back from a prime time slot to cater to Khabib’s fans in Europe. 

Dana White was optimistic about UFC 254’s pay-per-view potential but he will be disappointed

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s huge fight with Justin Gaethje was not on primetime in the US

TOP FIVE UFC PAY-PER-VIEW CARD IN 2020:  

Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal – 1.3million buys

Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone – 1million buys

Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa – 700,000 buys 

Justin Gaethje vs Tony Ferguson – 700,000 buys

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje – 675,000 buys  

 

Having an early to mid afternoon time meant the event was in direct competition with college American football in the US and the numbers predictably took a hit. 

Last week, White had told TMZ: ‘This thing is trending off the charts for us right now.

‘So, today is Tuesday and on Monday, this thing was trending to be the biggest fight we have ever had. Not Thursday, not Friday, Monday.

‘Will the trend hold? One of the things that is a big negative for us is that it is not in primetime at home and it is hard to message that to people.’

And his fears were confirmed, according to the Sports Business Journal, who report that UFC 254 delivered 675,000 pay-per-view buys with 500,000 of those from the US and an average of 343,000 viewers for the pre-lims. 

The record number for pay-per-view buys in UFC history was the UFC 229 grudge match between Conor McGregor and Khabib which drew 2.4million. 

And having worked tirelessly to secure a contingency plan while the coronavirus crisis rages on, the UFC have performed well with a number of other cards this year. 

Jorge Masvidal’s short notice defeat by Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title on Fight Island is the most successful pay-per-view event of the year so far with 1.3m buys. 

Then comes McGregor’s return against Donald Cerrone in January, which generated 1m before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. 

The Russian’s fight with Gaethje was the biggest of the year in sporting terms for the UFC 

Israel Adesanya’s title defence against Paulo Costa picked up 700,000, the same number as Gaethje’s interim title fight with Tony Ferguson. 

Khabib’s retirement has been huge news since UFC 254 but the UFC will be disappointed not to have cashed in to the extent they might have with a prime time slot.  

The promotion are anticipated to have eight more events this year with the next pay-per-view card taking place on November 21 as flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Alex Perez and women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defends her belt against Jennifer Maia.  




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Soccer

Southampton only top-flight club NOT to join FA's new diversity code

Southampton revealed to be the only Premier League club NOT to sign up for the FA’s new equality drive in which clubs pledge to meet diversity targets, including 25 per cent of coaching recruits coming from Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage backgrounds

  • The FA have today launched a new code to increase diversity in English football
  • Southampton are the only Premier League club not to sign up to the FA’s code
  • It is understood Southampton did not feel they were afforded ample time to consider whether joining up to the code would be a worthwhile decision
  • Saints have already made advances in trying to create a more diverse workforce

Southampton are the only Premier League club not to have signed up to the Football Association’s historic Leadership Diversity Code.

English football’s governing body – driven by the chair of their inclusion advisory board Paul Elliott, have today launched their drive to increase diversity and inclusion across English football.

Over 40 clubs across the Premier League, English Football League, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have signed up to the code – but Southampton are the only men’s top-flight club not to have joined.

Southampton have not signed up to Football Association’s historic Leadership Diversity Code

The drive – led by Paul Elliott – aims at increasing diversity and inclusion across English football

In a statement, a Southampton spokesman said: ‘In 2020 Southampton FC achieved the Premier League’s Advanced Equality Standard at the first time of asking, the only club to have achieved this to date.

‘This achievement was the culmination of a five year Equality and Diversity journey, which includes setting and monitoring recruitment targets amongst a number of other E&D initiatives forming our action plan.

‘Southampton FC are wholly supportive of the Football Leadership Diversity code objectives. We are aware that the Premier League are revising their Equality Standard to bring the two closer together.

‘At this time the club consider it most appropriate course of action to wait and understand how a revised Premier League Equality Standard and the Football Leadership Diversity Code will work together and complement each other before revising our recruitment targets and already established processes.

‘We have had productive and encouraging discussions with Paul Elliott on this topic and will continue to work closely with him on this.’

It is understood Southampton did not feel they were afforded ample time to consider whether joining up to the code would be a worthwhile decision given the advances they have already undertaken internally in trying to create a more diverse workforce and were, understandably, reluctant to do so just as mere token gesture.

But the clubs who have signed will be tasked with meeting the following targets:

The Saints – who have made advances in creating a more diverse workforce – felt they were not given ample time to consider joining up to the code and are only top-flight side not to do so

The clubs who have signed up will be tasked with meeting targets, including that 25 per cent of new coaching arrivals at mens professional teams will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage

  • That 15 percent of new hires into senior leadership and team operations roles will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage (or a target set by the club based on local demographics) and that 30 percent of new hires will be female.
  • That 25 percent of new coaching arrivals at mens professional clubs will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage, while 10 percent of new senior coaching hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage.
  • At women’s professional clubs, at least 50 percent of new hires will be female and 15 percent of new hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage.

Clubs will also be asked to implement specific recruitment practices including ensuring shortlists for interviews will have at least one male and one female Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage candidate, if applicants meeting the job specifications apply.

Elliott added: ‘Many clubs are already doing good work in this area and we have been pleased to see football stand together this year to challenge the injustice we are seeing in society.

‘However, positive and tangible action is required to drive change and take the next step. We believe the introduction of the Football Leadership Diversity Code will signal a long-term change for the English game.

‘The number and stature of clubs that have already agreed to join us on this journey proves that together, with clear goals, transparency and a desire for action, we can shape a better future together. We hope more clubs join us as we move forward.’




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Gareth Bale 'was the ONLY Real Madrid player to REJECT a pay-cut'

Gareth Bale ‘was the ONLY Real Madrid player to REJECT a pay-cut’ to his £500,000-a-week wages at the height of the coronavirus pandemic… with rest of the dressing room ‘accepting 10% cut without hesitation’

  • Gareth Bale was the only Real Madrid player to refuse to take a pay cut this year
  • The club asked the players and staff to take a 10 per cent cut due to coronavirus
  • Welsh star was unwilling to forfeit 10 per cent of his £500,000-a-week salary
  • Those that did accept a pay cut helped the club save a total of 50million euros 

Gareth Bale was reportedly the only Real Madrid player that refused to take a pay cut earlier this year as the club struggled with the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the club losing revenue due to the suspension of football, the staff and players were asked to accept a 10 per cent cut to their annual salaries, with that rising to 20 per cent if the league was unable to continue.

It is believed that the entire first-team were in agreement over the wage reduction, except Bale. The Welshman was advised by his representatives to refuse the cut on his mammoth £500,000-a-week wages.

Gareth Bale was the only Real Madrid player to refuse to take a pay cut amid the pandemic

Sergio Ramos was responsible for liaising between Real Madrid chiefs and the squad but it was Zinedine Zidane who helped the players recognise the importance of helping the club, according the Cadena Ser via Marca.  

Bale, who had a difficult relationship with Zidane and the club’s fans, is reported to have been the only Madrid player who wanted to keep getting paid his full salary.

The players and staff who did forfeit 10 per cent of their wages helped the club save just under 50million euros (£45m). 

Zinedine Zidane had helped the other players recognise the importance of helping the club

Bale, who earns £500,000-a-week, was unwilling to part ways with 10 per cent of that cash

Bale, who became the most expensive footballer in history upon signing for Real Madrid seven years ago, was pocketing £24million a year at Madrid – and would have saved the club £50,000 a week if he agreed to the reduction. 

The Welsh forward has always been a controversial figure in the Spanish capital and following a turbulent time at Real Madrid, Bale was finally offloaded as he returned to Tottenham in the summer. 

Bale will likely make his second debut with Spurs against their London rivals West Ham on Sunday.




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