The Friday Five: May 10th, 2019

1. DAZN/Meek Mill Partner For 40 Days: Joshua Ruiz Jr.

Following their initial effort with LeBron James and UNINTERRUPTED, DAZN will partner with Roc Nation and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill for a new edition of 40 Days.

The second set of 40 Days will feature an inside look at Anthony Joshua’s June 1st United States debut at Madison Square Garden against Andy Ruiz Jr.

“DAZN has created a program that explores a fighter’s heart and soul,” stated Meek Mill. “They tell the story of what makes a true champion. I love being part of a project that tells of their grit, sacrifices and dedication outside the gym. It’s those things that show true character and should be lauded just as much as the knockouts in the ring.”

The series will focus on Joshua, the current unified world heavyweight champion, and Ruiz is last minute replacement for currently suspend Jarrell Miller, looking towards their heavyweight title fight airing on DAZN.

“I cannot wait to be part of the latest edition of DAZN’s 40 DAYS series,” stated Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Fans will get exclusive access to the preparation of the best heavyweight in the world looking to make a massive impact in America, and the dangerous Mexican that can shock the world and become a national hero.”

2. Patricio Pitbull Wants Canelo Fight


Patricio Freire’s ambition and drive are some of the reasons the “Pitbull” brother is the Bellator featherweight champion.

Freire looks to become Bellator’s second double champion on May 11th when he takes on Michael Chandler for the lightweight title in the main event of Bellator 221.

While Freire wants Chandler’s “head” more than he wants the Bellator 155 pound title, the featherweight champion plans on going to Bellator partner DAZN for a bit more of an ambitious move.

While Freire may be playing with Marc Raimondi of ESPN, DAZN does broadcast Bellator and Golden Boy Promotions events, and may be a way for the platform to garner a crossover audience for the Viacom owned MMA brand.

3. Hearn Sees Joshua-Wilder Possible This Fall

Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Eddie Hearn says he isn’t abandoning plans and continuing to push for a heavyweight undisputed title fight between WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO champion Anthony Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder, with hopes the bout could take place in November or December this year.

For such a fight to remain intact, Wilder will need to dispose of Dominic Breazeale in a title defense next weekend, while Joshua will first have to get past Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1. Even then, the fight may not take place because of all the previous failed negotiations between both sides, and Hearn blames Wilder and his team.

“It’s the only fight to make next for both guys, but everything we’re hearing out of their camp is not really giving us much encouragement that this is the fight that is going to happen,” Hearn said.

Despite the frustrations with Wilder’s side, Hearn says there are plans for Joshua’s next challenger, assumed things go as planned on June 1. These other options include former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, whose heavyweight debut was recently put on hold due to injury, as well as Dillian Whyte, who has been pushing for mandatory status for a world title for a year now and has had previous failed negotiations with Joshua.

“It’s frustrating because Joshua wants all the big fights, but what can you do? You can just keep winning,” Hearn said. “We saw Usyk got injured yesterday and he’s out of May 25th, but he will be the mandatory and that’s a fight that could happen in December. Maybe the Dillian Whyte fight happens in December. He’s got to beat Oscar Rivas first.

 

4. Canelo Jacobs Gets 1.2 Million Viewers

Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Canelo Alvarez’ return to DAZN would yield a big night for the subscription service, as the Perform Group announced over 700,000 concurrent viewers for his win over Daniel Jacobs.

In a press release sent out on Wednesday, Alvarez-Jacobs would see 1.2 million viewers across countries with DAZN access, with 600,000 of them coming from the United States.

DAZN would see just under half of the audience that Alvarez had in his series with Gennady Golovkin, as both fights would have 1.3 and 1.1 million buys in 2017 and 18.

 

5. UFC 236 Gets Less Than 100K Buys

The UFC’s first pay-per-view event under ESPN+ appears to have troubling results, as the promotion reportedly received less than 100,000 buys for the event, according to veteran MMA and pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.

In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer notes that “there is talk that [UFC 236] did well under half of the 200,000 number that would be what one would have predicted the show to do had it been a television PPV.”

If accurate, this reported number would put the event alongside May 2018’s UFC 224 — which had 85,000 buys — among the lowest-bought UFC pay-per-view events within the last 15 years. The event saw Dustin Poirier defeat Max Holloway to become the interim UFC lightweight champion and Israel Adesanya outwork Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim UFC middleweight title.

The main factor of the low buyrate appears to be confusion in regards to ordering through ESPN+. Customers were required to buy the event on a desktop or laptop to gain the ability to watch the event — even if a customer wanted to watch the event on a tablet, Smart TV or gaming console.

Even UFC fighters including Michael Bisping, Katlyn Chookagian and Megan Anderson have expressed confusion one way or another with the ESPN app.

Beginning with this weekend’s UFC 237, fans will be able to purchase the event through ESPN+ on any platform. However, fans will still be required to purchase one year of ESPN+ for the event if they aren’t a customer of the streaming-based platform already.

UFC 237 will be headlined by UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas defending her championship against Jessica Andrade.

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