POLLOCK’S MMA UPDATE: ESPN+ grows to 8.5 million subscribers

ESPN+ grows its subscriber base, Zabit vs. Yair fight is off, UFC PI's head of operations going to WWE, several UFC suspensions & more.


**One of the bright spots of Disney’s earnings report from Tuesday was the health of its streaming platforms. During the quarter, ESPN+ increased by 7.9 million subscribers to 8.5 million. You would have to attribute a lot of that growth to the UFC being one of the few sports properties running over the past few months, which included the huge UFC 249 event from May with Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson and last month’s UFC 251 card with Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal and two other title fights. Disney’s other streaming services also saw increases led by Disney+ that added 24 million subscribers this past quarter with 50 million subscribers total. Hulu added 3.4 million subscribers leading to a total of 101.5 million between the three services.

**When speaking with the media on Tuesday night, UFC president Dana White confirmed that the featherweight fight between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez is off their Fight Night event on Saturday, August 29th. ESPN spoke to manager Abraham Kawa, who confirmed that his client Rodriguez had suffered an ankle injury and was out of the fight.

**White said he made the decision to sign Dustin Jacoby at the moment as he was being interviewed by Laura Sanko after the fight. Jacoby dominated the first two rounds against Ty Flores, and both were tired in the third round. I still thought Jacoby won all three rounds and wasn’t in danger. Jacoby previously fought for the UFC in 2011-12, losing fights to Clifford Starks and Chris Camozzi.

**The star of the show was Uros Medic, who stopped Mikey Gonzalez and White raved about him. We have a full report on the season four premiere of Dana White’s Contender Series on the site.

**At Wednesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission hearing, three UFC fighters had their temporary suspensions extended. Tim Elliott, Jamahal Hill, and Luis Pena each tested positive for marijuana in their pre-fight screenings ahead of their most recent fights in the state and will have hearings next month. Elliott’s test was from his May 30th fight against Brandon Royval, although he came back and fought in Abu Dhabi back on July 16th. Hill was part of the same card on May 30th against Klidson Abreu and Pena’s was from his July 27th fight against Khama Worthy.

**The Luis Pena story is interesting as MMA Junkie noted the pre-fight drug test was administered on July 24th and the fight took place three days. In Nevada, marijuana is only prohibited in-competition (twelve hours before the fight), which would not apply to the period three days earlier. Erik Magraken at Combat Sports Law has a story on this issue.

**ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that James Kimball, who was the head of operations of the UFC’s Performance Institute is leaving the promotion to join the WWE. Raimondi reports that Kimball will be taking a senior business operations role at WWE and will be based in Stamford, Connecticut. MMA Junkie adds that the UFC’s vice president of performance Duncan French will be taking over Kimball’s role and oversee the Performance Institutes in Las Vegas and Shanghai.

**A Sunday night replay of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card on ESPN2 did a 0.21 rating with 321,000 viewers and 108,000 in the 18-49 demographic. The card aired exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. on Saturday night headlined by Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan.

**Marc Goddard has been assigned to the UFC 252 main event between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. The judges for the fight will be Derek Cleary, Sal D’Amato, and Junichiro Kamijo.

**The PFL has launched an app unlocking hundreds of hours of content of users. The app is available for free on Apple TV, Roku, Android, and iOS devices with the goal of raising money through advertising and sponsorships on the app. The PFL is unlocking their full fight library along with shoulder programming from their in-house PFL Studios division.

**Bellator returns on Friday night for their second week in Uncasville, Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The following main card fights will air on the Paramount Network and stream on DAZN at 10 pm Eastern:
*Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson
*Timothy Johnson vs. Matt Mitrione
*Myles Jury vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
*Curtis Millender vs. Sabah Homasi

**Bellator confirmed to MMA Junkie that two fights are off Friday’s event. Joel Bauman had to withdraw from his fight with Taylor Johnson and Ahmed Samir Hefny also withdrew from a fight with Christian Edwards. Bellator told MMA Junkie the two were off due to “undisclosed reasons” and that Johnson and Edwards would be compensated despite not fighting. There will be six fights on the prelims airing at 6:45 pm Eastern including Adam Borics fighting Mike Hamel and AJ Agazarm vs. Cris Lencioni.

**The UFC is back at the UFC APEX on Saturday with twelve fights set for a card airing on ESPN+ in the United States. The main event is a heavyweight fight with Derrick Lewis taking on Aleksei Oleinik and both men coming off back-to-back wins. It isn’t like either is fighting for a title fight given the logjam at the top of the division with Francis Ngannou awaiting the winner of the UFC 252 winner along with Curtis Blaydes on a four-fight winning streak. It’s a very important night for Chris Weidman, who is returning to middleweight after one fight at light heavyweight and takes on Omari Akhmedov. Weidman is 1-5 since losing the middleweight title to Luke Rockhold in December 2015 and another loss would be a major blow for Weidman’s career. Here is the full card for Saturday night:

MAIN CARD (9 pm Eastern on ESPN+)

*Derrick Lewis (23-7) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (59-13-1)
*Omari Akhmedov (20-4-1) vs. Chris Weidman (14-5)
*Maki Pitolo (13-5) vs. Darren Stewart (11-5)
*Yana Kunitskaya (12-5) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1)
*Scott Holtzman (14-3) vs. Beneil Dariush (18-4-1)

*Tim Means (29-12-1) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-2)
*Nasrat Haqparast (11-3) vs. Alex Munoz (6-0)
*Andrew Sanchez (11-5) vs. Wellington Turman (16-3)
*Gavin Tucker (11-1) vs. Justin Jaynes (16-4)
*Peter Barrett (11-3) vs. Youssef Zalal (9-2)
*Irwin Rivera (9-5) vs. Ali Alqaisi (8-3)
*Joaquin Buckley (10-2) vs. Kevin Holland (17-5) – Holland has been re-booked after his fight against Trevin Giles fell apart moments before they were to walk out this past Saturday when Giles fainted backstage

REWIND-A-WAI #67: WWF Capital Carnage 1998

John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF Capital Carnage 1998, a UK-only PPV from London, England headlined by a Fatal Four-Way match featuring Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Mankind vs. Kane.
REWIND-A-RAW 8/3/20: Raw Underground, Rock-XFL, TNT-Dynamite

John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss WWE Raw featuring the return of Shane McMahon with Raw Underground, Montez Ford is poisoned, and we chat all the latest news including the sale of the XFL.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/31/20: WWE Q2, Mark Rollerball Rocco, SmackDown
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown featuring Bayley vs. Nikki Cross for the SD Women’s Championship and AJ Styles vs. Gran Metalik for the Intercontinental Championship.
WWE Q2 2020 Earnings Report & Analysis w/ Brandon Thurston

Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics joins John Pollock to discuss and analyze WWE’s second-quarter earnings report and subsequent call with media analysts on its performance this quarter.

Browse the POST Wrestling Store

Subscribe to POST Wrestling

POST Wrestling Forum

Support our Patreon – The POST Wrestling Café

Follow us
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

About John Pollock 5663 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.