Brent Brookhouse at Bloody Elbow spoke with Jeff Lacy's manager Joey Gilbert about money and television for the proposed boxing bout between faded former boxing titlist Jeff Lacy and Strikeforce/UFC MMA star Nick Diaz. Yesterday, Lacy signed a contract for the fight.
Diaz made $175K for his last fight with Strikeforce, and is looking at a similar payday here. More on that in a moment.
When I asked for information on the purses the fighters would be paid, Gilbert managed to surprise me. "Nick Diaz will be making at least the $175,000 he made in his last MMA bout, possibly slightly more." Another interesting development in terms of the payouts followed when Gilbert said "Jeff Lacy is actually making slightly less than Diaz." He then went on to explain that Lacy was willing to take less than the 50/50 split that we discussed the last time we spoke because he wanted to make sure they got the deal done.
As for television:
Some argued that Showtime would pour money into the fight because they wanted an MMA fighter they could cross-promote with boxing. But this was clearly not a Showtime project, as Gilbert explains "Right now we're ready to go with an independent pay-per-view, but Showtime would be crazy not to pick this up. Jeff Lacy made his name on Showtime and Nick Diaz is a champion in mixed martial arts and a Showtime fighter."
Now, let's discuss both.
Money-wise, if they don't get Showtime backing here (or HBO, I guess, though that's incredibly less likely), that $175K and whatever Lacy makes is going to be steep. But I don't fault Gilbert or anyone for looking to make this fight happen with solid paydays. Lacy isn't getting younger or better in this life and was never a real box office attraction anyway, and Diaz, while a well-known name in MMA, is barely a blip on the radar as some kind of sports star or anything. In other words, this isn't exactly the years-ago proposed fight of Roy Jones Jr vs Anderson Silva.
TV-wise, I hope they do get on Showtime. For one thing I'd like to see it, and even though I'm a pushover, I just can't see myself buying this fight on pay-per-view, especially assuming how tight the budget would be for anything worthwhile on an undercard. If they do have to go the PPV route, hopefully they're looking at Integrated Sports, who have put on plenty of PPV fights over the years targeted at very specific audiences. It's not like their most recent effort (Adamek vs McBride) was ever going to be a blockbuster. Integrated, for their level of shows, are very good at targeting the desired audience.