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Daily Update: UFC Sold, Brock Lesnar payday, CTE, TNA

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UFC SOLD TO WME-IMG

Almost all the talk today is about the UFC sale to WME-IMG.  Time will tell how this changes the company.  All fighters were given a memo today announcing the new ownership partners, and noting that Lorenzo Fertitta was stepping down from his role as Chairman and CEO.  The Fertittas and Dana White will remain minority shareholders.  WME-IMG did not want any of the details of how the new ownership is structured to be released, so exactly what type of deal White cut in selling but still remaining with some stock is unknown.  

I don't expect major changes right away, but new ownership is going to have new ideas and a new direction.  The first big move will be to hire a new CEO, and find out what his goals are.  It should be noted that WME-IMG head Ari Emanuel has worked with UFC for years and is close with White and Fertitta.  It was noted that the PBR tour, which WME-IMG purchased, has increased TV viewership 20 percent this season under the same ownership group. [Listen to Bryan and Dave discuss the sale]

Given that WWE and UFC are similar companies when it comes to structure, revenue streams, and producing events and television, it opens up the thoughts of whether Vince McMahon would do a similar cashout, particularly since if he did, he'd likely get a deal similar to White where he could run the company and retain the stock. 

John De Mol Jr., the Dutch media tycoon, who is a minority owner of WWE is said to have an open offer if they would like to sell.  Vince recently sold some of his stock and is at around 48 percent ownership right now, but with the family, still owns the controlling interest.

Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw, the UFC sale and taking questions.  If you've got any questions in particular about the UFC sale, they'll get priority to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday's UFC 200, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Raw will be live on Monday from Detroit.  We're looking for reports on dark matches and Superstars matches and anything else not evident on the live show to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

A lot has been announced including the return of Vince McMahon, who is going to give a review on Shane and Stephanie McMahon and perhaps announce the COO's running Raw and Smackdown with the draft next week.  Announced are Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke, Rusev vs. Zack Ryder for the U.S. title and a Battle Royal to determine the top contender for the IC title.

Smackdown, the final taped episode of the show, will be done on Tuesday night in Grand Rapids, MI.

TNA Impact has an almost live show out of Orlando headlined by Bobby Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards with the TNA & X titles both at stake on the Destination X show.  It's the final episode of Impact on Tuesday.

TNA will also be taping Wednesday in Orlando so we'll be looking for reports on that show.   

Wednesday is crazy no television with a live UFC show, Ultima Lucha Dos, Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on NXT and the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament.  

We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 200, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com.

We're also looking for reports on Saturday night's WWE show in Toronto and today's shows in London, ONT (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, A.J. Styles, Sami Zayn, Usos, Cesaro, Charlotte, Natalya, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, The Miz, Sheamus, Apollo Crews) and Fort Wayne, IN (Big Show, Kane, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman Erick Rowan, Dudleys, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Enzo, Cass, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch).

Raw will be live tonight from Detroit. A lot has been announced including the return of Vince McMahon, who is going to give a review on Shane and Stephanie McMahon and perhaps announce the COO's running Raw and Smackdown with the draft next week. Announced are Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke, Rusev vs. Zack Ryder for the U.S. title and a Battle Royal to determine the top contender for the IC title.

Smackdown, the final taped episode of the show, will be filmed tomorrow night in Grand Rapids, MI.

It's the final episode of Impact on Tuesday. It's the almost live show out of Orlando headlined by Bobby Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards with the TNA & X titles both at stake on the Destination X show. TNA will also be taping Wednesday in Orlando so we'll be looking for reports on that show.   

Wednesday is a crazy night of television with a live UFC show, Ultima Lucha Dos, Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on NXT and the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament.  

THE ROUNDUP

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READ IT HERE: Figure Four Weekly 7/4/2016: Jimmy Snuka to appear at Wrestlecon - Jimmy Snuka, who was found too incompetent to stand trial for murder charges, is signing autographs at Wrestlecon 2017.

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Wrestling Observer Newsletter

READ IT HERE:  July 11, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Preview for massive UFC weekend, including UFC 200, plus tons of news - A full preview of UFC's massive weekend including UFC 200, plus tons of news and notes.

The lead story is the biggest week in UFC history and an update on UFC sales talk, all in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. There is also a look at the WWE brand split from a business standpoint and update changes since the original plans were made, cover the return of Shinsuke Nakamura to Japan as a WWE star, Final Deletion and a history of pro wrestling on July 4th.

In this week's issue, there is more information on UFC's record numbers they are hoping to beat, the role of Brock Lesnar, the difference between Lesnar in UFC in 2008 and 2016, price changes, the prior record gate, Lesnar vs. Hunt, wrestlers vs. strikers as they age, what happens if Lesnar wins, what WWE did get from UFC, advertising Lesnar to the WWE audience, looking at the different fights and the card.

The WWE draft, the changes in the WWE audience, doing additional PPV and the economics of it, what should be looked at to determine if the brand split has worked and why the moves have been made, is covered. Plus, more on the WWE tour this past week going to Hawaii for the first time in six years, and Shinsuke Nakamura returning to Japan as the star of the tour.

What Stephanie McMahon said about Lesnar and his response, Stephanie McMahon honored, Hideo Itami's return, update on Jerry Lawler, A.J. Styles, Hiroshi Tanahashi talks Styles and his ring psychology, Battleground, new programs planned, Dr. Chris Amann vs. C.M. Punk lawsuit update, Nike opposing WWE in trademark case, and another group of names WWE has shown some interest in, all covered in this week's Observer.

A big history piece on pro wrestling on July 4th, dating back 136 years, including one of the most legendary matches from 100 years ago, and the big July 4th events of the 80s. Why July 4th hasn't had a lot of major shows, but there have been some major historical events on the day as well as why for more than three decades no super shows were held on the day, is covered. The last year's of the regional era and the beginning of the national era with the WWF vs. Jim Crockett Promotions, and much more in this week's issue.

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READ IT HERE: May 31, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Death of Owen Hart - The life and death of Owen Hart, details on WWF Over the Edge, plus tons of news.

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour threw around a figure of $10 million as to what Brock Lesnar may end up with off Saturday's fight.  The actual figure is unknown due to it being based on a cut of the PPV revenue and we don't know the PPV number.  With a $2.5 million guarantee, if this PPV does record business, he is likely to receive the highest purse in UFC history and make significantly more in one night than he does for a full year in WWE.  That may explain why he was so adamant about doing it. As of the last word, Lesnar has not made a decision on returning but if he can make similar money, one would expect him to come back.  If he has any inclination of wanting to prove to be the best, given his age, he'll have to make his move now.

There is a huge story on WWE attempting to subpoena Dr. Bennett Omalu with the idea of discrediting him and the idea that Chris Benoit had CTE.  It noted that Chris Nowinski is caught in the middle, because he's involved with the WWE funding his organization but made his name in the sports world through Benoit having CTE case.  Nowinski and Omalu had a very public falling out which is all described in this Boston Globe article.  

The lineup for TNA Destination X, which will air almost live tomorow night on Pop TV:

  • Bobby Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards with both the TNA and X division titles at stake
  • Sienna vs. Marti Bell vs. Gail Kim vs. Jade for the TNA knockouts title
  • A ladder match for an upcoming X title shot with Rockstar Spud, Braxton Sutter, Mandrews, Andrew Everett, Trevor Lee and DJZ
  • Drew Galloway vs. Ethan Carter III street fight
  • Plus Matt Hardy will talk the fallout of Final Deletion.

WWE

  • Randy Orton is in Orlando training for his comeback.
  • Survivor Series tickets for 11/20 in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre go on sale to the public on Friday.  They will sell out quickly since there is a lot of local buzz about the first WWE PPV show in a strong wrestling market in many years.   
  • A note regarding Paul Heyman, who is currently in the U.K. doing a speaking tour so he will not be on Raw tonight, his Looking4Larry Agency this past week was doing a lot more than just publicizing the bikini contest this past week at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  His agency is the Viral Marketing Agency for the Hard Rock, branding the casino, the clubs, the restaurants as well as the pool which had the bikini contest.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Jim Ross and Imperial Wrestling are presenting OklaMania on Sunday in Oklahoma City with an autograph show and wrestling card.  Among those appearing are  Sting, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Jim Ross, Matt Sydal, Roderick Strong, Dalton Castle, Moose, Jim Duggan, Jeff Jarrett, Karen Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, War Machine, MVP, Abyss, Ethan Carter III, Angelina Love, Donovan Dijak, Mickie James and Amber Gallows.  Hardys vs. War Machine is the main event.  The convention is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the live card at 6 p.m.
  • They also are running an event on 7/16 in Shawnee, OK with Kevin Nash, Billy Gunn, Sean Waltman, Jeff & Karen Jarrett, MVP, Mickie James, Sydal, Abyss, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson and Cornette among others.
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs.. Jeff Cobb has been added to the 8/12 Revolution Pro show in London at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
  • There were at least 12 shots fired into the Platinum Athletic Fitness gym in South Melbourne, Australia at about 5:30 a.m.  The shots broke a large window and roller doors and smashed mirrors.  Police don't know the motive.  The pro wrestling tie is that the gym which opened about a month ago, is where former WWE star Orlando Jordan now works.
  • Tammy Sytch talks to Bill Apter about her new book.
  • Dwayne Johnson sent in a video message for the Taz Show on CBS Radio today.
  • Bruno Sammartino was one of the people riding in a major Pittsburgh parade over the weekend.
  • UPW from Saturday night in Rochester, NY:  Cheech b Carter Mason, The Eh Team b Tygerslayer 08, Lionel Night b Preston Myles, Jason Savior over Victor Lord and Jordan Falco, Ethan Page b Nick Ando, Dick Justice won six-way over Kobe Durst, Anarchy Ashe Aubrey, Marc Hauss, Space Monkey and Cloudy, Ian Decay b Rough Rider, HC Loc b Chris Cayden, Wet  Bandits & Jeremy Jensen b Interstate Educational System & Rob Sweet, Maximo Suave won over Mattick and Hellcat (thanks to Todd Brantley)
  • NECW World Womens' Wrestling from Saturday night in Brockton, MA:  Texis b Christina MArie, Mistress Belmont d Davienne, Tequila Rose b Helen Vale, Todo Loco b Chris Escobar in a men's match, Vanity Vixsin b MJ Jenkins, Alexxis Nevaeah b Sonya Strong, Nikki Valentine vs. Vanity Vixsin vs. Mistress Belmont vs. Davieene was a no contest which ended up with Valentine being stripped of her WWWC championship due to repeated outside interference.  Next show will be the Iron Maiden 8 women's tournament on 8/13.
  • Jason "Mayhem" Miller was arrested at 2 a.m. on Sunday after an incident at the Saddle Ranch Chop House.  According to police, Miller had gotten into an argument with some women and was in the process of assaulting them when security took him down and handcuffed him.  Police arrived and as they were taking him in, he allegedly spit one of them.  He was hospitalized first due to a facial wound before being booked on suspicion of assault and battery, assault on a police officer and public intoxication.  He was released last night.
  • Southern States Wrestling from Saturday night in Gray, TN:  Joe Briggs over Liam Cross and Phillip Lawson, Misty James b Melody Madrox to win women's title, Krunch The Equalizer & JD Hogg b Bobo Brown & Simon Christopher, Iron Cross b Joe Briggs, John Noble & Ray Idol b Beau James & Scott Sterling to win the tag team titles, Misty James won men and women's Battle Royal.  

SUMMER EVENTS CALENDAR

  • July 13 - UFC Fight Night in Sioux Falls, SD. Michael McDonald vs John Lineker
  • July 15 - NWA Texoma in Sherman, TX headlined by Rob Conway & Matt Riviera defending the NWA world tag team titles plus Greg Valentine making an appearance.
  • July 16 - In Your Face Wrestling Presents: “Malicious Intent” - Polish Community Center, 225 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NYwww.iyfwrestling.com
  • July 16 - Bellator 158 : London featuring Paul Daley vs Douglas Lima, Michael Venom Page, Linton Vassell and Matt Mitrione
  • July 16 -  Evolve in Woodside, Queens at La Boom with an iPPV in the afternoon (so it will be over before the WWE event in Madison Square Garden starts) with Zack Sabre Jr. vs. TJ Perkins, Johnny Gargano vs. Cedric Alexander, Roderick Strong vs. Matt Riddle, Drew Galloway vs. Drew Gulak and Timothy Thatcher defends the Evolve title against Marty Scurll.
  • July 17 - Evolve in Melrose, MA with Thatcher vs. TJP, Galloway vs. Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Alexander, Sabre Jr. vs. Tony Nese and Scurll vs Riddle.
  • July 17 - Lucha by the Water ft Blue Demon Jr! - Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2G8, 3-6 pm. Tickets here.
  • July 17 - Premier Wrestling at the IFDES Lodge and Portuguese Hall in Gilroy, CA with Joe Graves vs. Gabriel Gallo for the Premier. Tickets at www.premierwrestle.com.
  • July 17 - Total Combat Wrestling in Genova Italy at 5 p.m.
  • July 17 - NWX New Beginnings on 7/17 at St. Catharines, ONT at the CWF Wrestling School at 20 Hartzel Rd.
  • July 22 - Ignite Wrestling in Fort Pierce, FL at the National Guard Armory on a show with Lince Dorado, Mr. 450 Hammet, Lio Rush, Martin Stone, Los Ben Dejos, and more
  • July 22 - The Lou Thesz Hall of Fame weekend show in Waterloo, IA, featuring Ricochet vs. Sami Callihan, Wes Brisco, B. Brian Blair, Jessika Havok, Tessa Blanchard, a steel cage match and more - This is the weekend Dave Meltzer will be honored.
  • July 22 - Bellator 159 from Mulvane, KS. Darrion Caldwell vs Joe Taimanglo. Melvin Guillard vs David “Caveman” Rickells
  • July 22 - National Fighting Championships in Kennesaw, GA at the Electric Cowboy with Chazz Walton (6-0 vs. Warren Smith (5-4) for the Georgia lightweight title.
  • July 22 - Absolute Intense Wrestling in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel features Dutch Mantell, plus Ethan Page vs. Josh Prohibition vs. Josh Alexander for the Absolute title, Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae vs. Ethan Carter III & Karlee Perez (Catrina in Lucha Underground), Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Louis Lyndon, Skayde Jr. & Steve Pain & Gringo Loko vs. DJZ & Laredo Kid & Bandolero, Ray Rowe vs. Tim Donst plus B.J. Whitmer and Cedric Alexander.
  • July 23 – Live Pro Wrestling, Glengarry Sports Palace, 170 McDonald Blvd. Alexandria, Ontario
  • July 23 - Battle Arts will be taping television on at Santino Marella's Battle Arts Academy in Mississauaga, ONT.  The taping begins at 7 p.m.
  • July 23 - UFC on FOX from Chicago - Holly Holm vs Valentina Shevchenko.          
  • July 23 - Chikara Pro announced a doubleheader event at Toronto’s Franklin Horner Community Center.
  • July 23 - AAW  in Merrionnette Park, IL, with Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr., Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll; Tommaso Ciampa; Fenix; Johnny Gargano, and plenty more. Here’s what you missed on their last show.  
  • July 23 - Masters of Ring Entertainment in Wilmington, NC, as part of Pro Wrestling Fan Expo 3 will feature Jeff Jarrett vs. ECIII vs. James Storm, announced by Jarrett in this video.
  • July 23 - NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 7/23 in Elizabethton, TN at the Evolution Sports Gym.
  • Merritton Community Centre 7 Park Ave St. Catharines, ON
  • July 24 - Crossfire Wrestling - Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Avenue St. Catharines ON, for our 5 year Anniversary show "BRING THE HEAT V"
  • July 24 - PWEclipse - Summer Surrender, Oshawa, Ontario
  • July 24 - Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. headlines for Lucha Libre New York at Club LaBoom in Queens, NY
  • July 29 - Pro Wrestling Phoenix in Omaha at the Waiting Room Lounge features Sonjay Dutt vs. Hype Gotti.
  • July 30 - WSOF 32: Moraes vs. Hill 2 - Live on NBCSN from Everett, Washington. Also featuring Ben “Phoenix Jones” Fodor vs Caros Fodor in a brother vs brother fight
  • July 30 - Smash Wrestling - Oshawa Music Hall, 39 King St E, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 1B2
  • July 31 - BATTLEWAR 36; Les Foufounes Électriques, 87 Sainte-Catherine Street East Montreal, QC
  • August 6 - Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt Carmel with Crazy Mary Dobson, Allysin "Sienna" Kay, Veda Scott, Shayna Baszler, Annie Social, Kelly Klein, Heidi Lovelace, Lufisto, Nicole Savoy and more.
  • August 12 - Zack Sabre Jr. vs.. Jeff Cobb has been added to the Revolution Pro show in London at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
  • August 13 - NWA Mid South Wrestling in Dyresburg, TN at the Herb Welch Wrestle Plex headlined by Matt Riviera vs. Jeremy Moore.
  • August 19 - The Hardys, Drew Galloway, Ethan Carter III and Mickie James appear for House of Glory Wrestling in Jamaica, NY.  That's the Friday before SummerSlam.
  • Aug 21 - Chavo Guerrero Jr. will appear for Smash Wrestling on in Pickering, Ontario at Super Showdown lV.