Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Maybe The UFC Should Book Ronda Rousey For Its Chinese Return

After domestically taking in roughly $37-million, 'The Expendables 3' is poised to easily beat that number in China, according to 'The Hollywood Reporter,' with nearly $34-million in its opening week.

Next year's schedule seems to be quite open. Time to strike while the iron's hot.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DYNAMIC DUO! WWE’S JIM ROSS AND CHAEL SONNEN TEAM UP TO CALL BATTLEGROUNDS MMA ONE NIGHT, EIGHT-MAN WELTERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

LIVE ON PPV FROM TULSA, OKLA. ON OCT. 3

TULSA, OK (Sept. 4, 2014) – Two consummate performers in WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and recently retired UFC superstar Chael Sonnen have teamed up to form what is bound to be one of the most memorable commentary teams in sports entertainment history, and will call the world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action on the LIVE pay-per-view telecast of BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ from BOK Center in Tulsa, Oka. on Friday, October 3.

Headlined by the first one-night, eight-man tournament in Tulsa since UFC 4 in 1994, BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ will award its welterweight (170 pounds) winner a grand prize of $50,000.

BattleGrounds MMA ‘O.N.E.’ will be distributed at a price point of $19.95 in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing, beginning at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on October 3 on both cable and satellite pay-per-view carriers iN DEMAND, DirecTV, DISH and Avail-TVN in the United States and Bell TV in Canada. A pre-show will begin at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

“As a longtime fan of MMA, to be asked to call the fights for the BattleGrounds MMA event is amazingly exciting for me,” said Ross, a 2007 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. From commentator to referee to executive and even occasional wrestler, Ross has played a multitude of roles for the world’s leading professional wrestling league.

“I've broadcast NFL and XFL games,” continued Ross, “FOX Sports boxing and WWE action, but MMA is a new adventure and one that I'm enormously excited about contributing to. To launch this phase of my broadcasting career in my home state, and with Chael Sonnen at cageside makes it an ideal opportunity and a bucket list experience.

“This is going to be a TV event that any MMA fan won’t want to miss,” said Sonnen, who recently retired from the sport that he competed in as a professional since 1997. A three-time UFC championship challenger, Sonnen fought his last 11 career bouts inside The Octagon and enjoyed a stint as an analyst for FOX Sports Network. “I am thrilled to be working with a legend like Jim Ross and, together, we are going to make the BattleGrounds MMA event one of the most exciting extravaganzas in combat sports history.”

Slated for action in the single-elimination tournament is submission ace Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-4) of Spokane, Wash.; two-time, one-night tournament winner Brock Larson (37-8) of Brainerd, Minn.; hard-hitting brawler Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti (24-11) of St. Louis, Mo.; Urijah Faber protégé David “Bulletproof” Mitchell (14-4) of Lower Lake, Calif.; Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (16-9) of Atlanta, Ga.; and Trey “That Just Happened?” Houston (11-2) of Bixby, Okla.

Dennis “Superman” Hallman and Chris Honeycutt, originally slated for action in the tournament, will be replaced by two competitors to be announced soon. Additional bouts for the telecast as well as a preliminary bout card will also be announced soon.

Tickets for the event, priced from $65, can be purchased online at www.bokcenter.com as well as at Arby’s Box Office at the BOK Center, all ticket outlets, or by calling 1-800-7-BOKCTR.

Doors at BOK Center open at 6 p.m. CST on Oct. 3. The first preliminary bout will begin at 7:15 p.m.

About BattleGrounds MMA

BattleGrounds MMA (www.battlegroundsone.com) is a world championship professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion designed to place combative sports athletes on a major stage in the most challenging and exciting format possible: one-night, single-elimination tournaments that reveal the toughest competitors in their respective weight divisions. Launched by Olympic wrestling legend Kenny Monday and Bryan O’Rourke in 2012 as a regional organization in Tulsa, OK to unearth promising new talent in one of MMA’s biggest hotbeds, the promotion is quickly capturing the hearts of fans nationwide as it brings about an exciting new era in the world’s fastest growing sport.

About the BOK Center:

The BOK Center is Tulsa’s state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that opened in fall 2008. The 19,199-seat arena is home to the WNBA Tulsa Shock and the CHL Tulsa Oilers. The BOK Center was designed to host major concerts, family shows, ice shows, and other world class entertainment. Owned by the City Of Tulsa, the BOK Center is part of Vision 2025, a project to grow economic and community infrastructure for future generations. In 2011, the BOK Center won the prestigious International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Venue Excellence Award.

About SMG

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 14.4 million square feet of exhibition space and over 1.75 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s Reliant Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions, catering and special events division, SAVOR, currently servicing more than 100 accounts worldwide. For more information visit www.smgworld.com.

SOURCE: Witz End Communications, Inc.

Monday, August 25, 2014

MMA Legend Launches Website

"Legend" is often an often overused word, but it definitely applies to Ken Shamrock, whose website (complete with an Easter egg, which allows access to exclusive content) is now live.

Visit ... or don't.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I'm No Attorney, But I Can't See This One Getting Very Far ...

Check out the following press release (courtesy of Robbins Arroyo LLP):

The Law Office of Robbins Arroyo LLP Announces that It Has Filed a Class Action Lawsuit Against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

July 25, 2014 (San Diego, CA & West Lafayette, IN) Shareholder rights law firm Robbins Arroyo LLP announces that it has filed a federal securities class action lawsuit on July 25, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (the “Court”), on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“WWE” or the “Company”) (NYSE: WWE) securities between October 31, 2013 and May 16, 2014, inclusive (the “Class Period”), against the Company and certain of its officers and directors for, among other things, violations of section 10(b) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint seeks relief on behalf of the named plaintiffs and all other similarly situated shareholders of WWE during the Class Period. The named plaintiffs are represented by Robbins Arroyo LLP.

WWE Is Accused of Making False and Misleading Statements Concerning the Company’s Ability to Double the Value of Its U.S. Television License Agreement

The complaint arises out of false and misleading statements regarding the ability of the Company to transform its earning profile through, among other things, the negotiation of a lucrative long-term television deal. The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, certain of WWE’s officers issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s ability to command a premium fee in upcoming negotiations to renew its television license agreement. Specifically, defendants caused WWE to issue false and misleading statements in public filings, press releases, and conference calls where they publicized their ability to renew their television license agreement at double the value in upcoming negotiations. These statements downplayed the fact that advertisers pay less to reach WWE viewers than traditional sports or other shows on the USA Network and the negative impact on the television license negotiations resulting from the Company’s launch of its WWE Network.

WWE’s Stock Price Drops on News of the New Television License Agreement Value

On May 15, 2014, after the market closed, the Company issued a press release that it had reached a multi-year deal with NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment increasing the value of the U.S. television license agreement by $57 million, or 50%. Upon this announcement, on May 16, 2014, WWE stock dropped over 43%, from $19.93 to close at $11.27. The omitted and/or misrepresented information is believed to be material to potential WWE shareholders’ ability to make an informed decision whether to purchase WWE stock.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired WWE stock during the Class Period and wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than sixty days from July 25, 2014. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact attorney Darnell R. Donahue of Robbins Arroyo LLP at 800-350-6003, via the shareholder information form on our website, or by e-mail at info@robbinsarroyo.com. Any member of the Class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent Class member.

Robbins Arroyo LLP, a nationally recognized leader in the area of shareholder rights litigation, represents individual and institutional investors in securities class action lawsuits and shareholder derivative actions. Robbins Arroyo LLP has helped its clients realize more than $1 billion of value for themselves and the companies in which they have invested. Past results do not guarantee similar outcomes. For more information about the firm, please go to http://www.robbinsarroyo.com.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Suggest It Was Colonel Mustard, In The Conservatory, With The Wrench

It's hard to believe, but it's been nearly two-years since Dana White publicly tried to blame Jon Jones and Greg Jackson (instead of card overkill) for the cancellation of UFC 151.

Well, it now appears that White will need a new scapegoat, after it was announced that UFC 176 has suffered the same fate.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MMA Star First To Make Cover Of Wheaties Box?

Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, UFC Lightweight champion, could make history ... with your help.

I find it all a bit complicated, but you've basically got to register for the 'Wheaties NEXT Challenge,' select one of five athletes, and log your workouts (which count as votes). Winner, whomever he or she may be, graces a Wheaties cover in the early part of 2015.

Contest, which started today, runs through August 31.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good News/Bad News ...

It seems WWE announcer Josh Matthews has been released from his contract ... That's the bad news.

The good news, however, is that, behind-the-scenes, Matthews was well-liked and widely regarded as a hard worker. Combine that with TNA's star-fucker reputation, and I'm sure he'll show up on their programming faster than you can say, "Tough Enough."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CARD UPDATE: BELLATOR 118

Revel Ovation Hall
Revel Beach, New Jersey
Friday, May 2, 2014
Prelims: Live on spike.com @ 7 PM ET
Televised: Spike TV @ 9 PM ET


PRELIMS
* Anthony Morrison vs. ??? - lightweight

TELEVISED
* Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren - Bantamweight title
* ??? vs. ??? - finals of featherweight tournament
* Phil Baroni vs. ??? - middleweight(?)

Note: Lineup is subject to change

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CARD UPDATE: BELLATOR 118

Revel Ovation Hall
Revel Beach, New Jersey
Friday, May 2, 2014
Prelims: Live on spike.com @ 7 PM ET
Televised: Spike TV @ 9 PM ET


PRELIMS
* ??? vs. ??? - finals of featherweight tournament

TELEVISED
* Joe Warren vs. ??? - Bantamweight title

Note: Lineup is subject to change

Friday, February 7, 2014

No Surprise! UFC Releases Thiago Silva, Attempting To Keep Ovince Saint Preux On UFC 171 Lineup

The UFC has now confirmed my earlier report (and educated guess) on the status of Thiago Silva, and are presently looking for a replacement to fight Ovince Saint Preux on five-weeks notice.

I'll keep you posted.

UFC's Thiago Silva Arrested After Standoff With Police, Removed From UFC 171

Thiago Silva, whose UFC past already included a pair of drug-related suspensions, was arrested last night in Oakland Park, Florida.

According to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, Silva showed up at the Pablo Popovitch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center and began issuing threats. He then went home and refused entry to authorities. A SWAT team was eventually called and were able to arrest Silva without further incident. Charges include aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest without violence.

Numerous reports say this has something to do with a possible affair between Popovitch and Silva's wife (who, I believe, trains at Popovitch's school).

The UFC has released only a brief statement - "This evening, we were made aware of a situation involving Thiago Silva. We are in the process of gathering the facts and have no further comment at this time" - but I can confirm Silva has already been pulled from his March 15 fight with Ovince Saint Preux (if not entirely released from his contract). No word on if Saint Preux will still be on the card.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Programming Alert: Mick Foley On Tonight's Edition Of 'Gotham Comedy Live'

I can't remember the last time I posted one of these, but if you've never seen one of Mick Foley's stand-up routines (I, myself, have only seen clips), tonight's your chance.

According to AXS TV, they have a "live and uncensored" hour (starting at 10 PM ET) of Foley and four other comedians (and I thought pro wrestling was often overbooked!)

I'm no Mick Foley, and since I wouldn't want to quit my day job, I'll refrain (no matter how tempting the urge may be) from making any "Batman" jokes.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Senators Reid And McCain Join Boxing, MMA Executives To Support Professional Fighters Study At Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health

Bellator MMA, Golden Boy Promotions, Top Rank Boxing and Ultimate Fighting Championship

Leaders Support Study Dedicated to Understanding Effects of Repeated Head Trauma in Fighters

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 -- Though fierce competitors in the ring, four professional fighting organizations have put aside their long-standing rivalries to ensure research continues in a landmark study for professional fighters at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

Boxing entities Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Boxing and mixed martial arts programs Ultimate Fighting Championship and Viacom's Bellator MMA and GLORY kickboxing have collaboratively committed $600,000 to help continue Cleveland Clinic's Professional Fighters Brain Health Study.

Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and John McCain (R-AZ) showed their support for the study by joining executives from Cleveland Clinic and the fighting organizations at the announcement. Sen. Reid was an amateur boxer in his youth, and Sen. McCain boxed at the U.S. Naval Academy and has been involved in legislation related to boxing since the mid-1990s. In 2012, the Senators together introduced legislation that created the United States Boxing Commission to oversee boxing matches around the country, administer and enforce federal laws on boxing, and fight conflicts of interest within the sport.

"As a former boxer, I know first-hand the toll that a fighter's body takes when he or she is in the ring," said Sen. Reid. "I want to thank Cleveland Clinic and the leaders of the four fighting organizations for bringing awareness to this important issue facing professional sports today."

The four sporting powerhouses came together to assist in funding the study, which is now in its third year at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. The study, which launched in April 2011, is focused on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in those exposed to head trauma, as well as determining which individuals may be more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders. While it is still in the early stages, researchers are confident the findings will benefit the safety and health of professional fighters. This information could also be applied to other athletes, members of the military and civilians who may experience head trauma.

"I appreciate the fact that top boxing and mixed martial-arts organizations have joined together to directly support the Cleveland Clinic's Professional Fighters Brain Health Study," said Sen. McCain. "The willingness of these organizations to support research into the effects of contact sports on brain health indicates their willingness to take very seriously the welfare of their boxers and fighters and demonstrates that they recognize how crucial fighter safety is to the long-term viability of their sports. I am hopeful that their funding for this study will advance our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of brain trauma and support similar research efforts going well beyond the ring."

"This gift is significant on many levels, but to see these organizations come together to continue this important work confirms that what we're doing at the center is important to the future of fighting," said Larry Ruvo, Chairman of Keep Memory Alive and Senior Managing Director of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada.

To date, the study has enrolled nearly 400 active and retired fighters with the goal of evaluating 625 by its completion. Participation is completely voluntary, and fighters in the study receive free, ongoing assessments of their brain health and brain function, including MRI scans. Individual tests will be repeated annually for at least four years.

"Cleveland Clinic initiated this pioneering study in hopes of answering some key questions about the impact of head trauma, and the professional fighter community has welcomed our effort from the start," said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic. "We're committed to continuing this important research, and it is inspiring to see so many others in our side of the ring."

Studies suggest a percentage of professional fighters have a higher risk of developing long-term conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), depression and other neurological and neuropsychiatric problems, often at a young age. Currently, there is no way to determine if a fighter has sustained cumulative brain damage from head trauma; the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is working toward identifying risk factors in these individuals.

Researchers measure changes in brain volume, nerve fiber injury and connectivity, and blood flow via MRI scans. Any changes seen on the participant's MRI will be correlated with their performance on assessments of cognition, behavior, balance and speech. For fighters who demonstrate a relationship between MRI findings and clinical decline, researchers hope to determine whether there are other factors such as genetics, lifestyle characteristics or the amount or type of exposure to head trauma that make them more susceptible to injury.

Preliminary results from the study have already been published or presented at a number of national meetings. Among the promising findings, the study detected changes in the volume of specific brain regions. The connections between certain areas of the brain were detected by MRI scanning in some individuals within as little as a one-year period, suggesting that MRI measures may turn out to be a useful method of tracking brain changes over time in those exposed to head trauma.

Moreover, the study found that exposure to head trauma – using the Composite Index, a formula that includes number of fights, years of fighting and fights per year – correlates with brain volume and cognitive performance. Those with a higher score on the Composite Index are more likely to score lower on cognitive testing. Pending validation over time, this may be a screening tool to identify fighters at higher risk of brain injury.

"We have made great progress in the study so far, and we are continuing to work toward understanding why certain individuals sustain long-term brain injury from repeated head trauma and how we can detect changes early to protect those individuals," said Charles Bernick, M.D., Associate Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and principle investigator on the study. "With the support of the fighting community, our goal is to use this information to improve safety in these sports for generations to come."

The collaborative gift announced today from the fighting organizations, combined with funds from the Helen and Augustine P. Rapone Research Fund at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, will provide the necessary support to continue the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study for another year.

For more information on this trial and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, call 855-LOU-RUVO (1-855-568-7886), visit www.clevelandclinic.org/fighterstudy or email brainhealth@ccf.org.

About the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them. The physicians and staff at the Center for Brain Health continuously work towards the development of early diagnosis and the advancement of knowledge concerning mild cognitive disorders, which could one day delay or prevent their onset. Patients receive expert diagnosis and treatment at the Center for Brain Health, which offers a multidisciplinary patient-focused approach to diagnosis and treatment, promoting collaboration across all care providers, offering patients a complete continuum of care and infusing education and research into all that it does. The facility, designed by Frank Gehry, houses clinical space, a diagnostic center, neuroimaging rooms, physician offices, laboratories devoted to clinical research and the Keep Memory Alive Event Center. For more information, visit http://www.clevelandclinic.org/brainhealth.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. More than 3,000 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. The Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals, more than 75 Northern Ohio outpatient locations, including 16 full-service Family Health Centers, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and, currently under construction, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2012, there were 5.1 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.

Additional Comments from Executives and Fighters:

Todd duBoef, President, Top Rank: "Many of our Las Vegas families have been at the forefront in supporting The Cleveland Clinic, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health's mission since its inception because of the direct impact Alzheimer's Disease had on us," said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. "Now that their study has extended into the sport of boxing, Top Rank is dedicated to doing everything it can in helping to fund its research of this critical study. The future of boxing is in protecting and improving the health and safety of fighters at the earliest stages of their careers. We are proud of our founding partnership with the Lou Ruvo Center and will continue our ongoing support to this fantastic program and the institution."

Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO, Ultimate Fighting Championship: "Nothing is more important to the UFC than the health and safety of our athletes. As the world's premier MMA organization we have consistently lived up to that commitment to our fighters and we always will. UFC was the first – and remains the only – combat sports organization to provide our athletes with accident insurance coverage for training-related injuries. Today's announcement is a 'no brainer' for us, as we continue our commitment to athlete safety. We are proud to join with these other prominent promoters – our colleague and competitors – to support the Cleveland Clinic's brain health study. We are encouraged by the early results of the study and we look forward to the final findings of the Lou Ruvo Center's research, knowing that they will benefit our athletes, as well as athletes from many other sports. Finally, the support shown by Senators Reid and McCain, and many of their colleagues, cannot go unnoticed. They have been true leaders and we thank them on behalf of the UFC, our athletes and our fans."

Kevin Kay, President, Spike TV (Bellator/Glory): "The Bellator MMA and Glory kickboxing fighters that we feature on Spike TV are some of the most dedicated and fearless athletes in combat sports. We owe it to these fighters to make sure we are doing everything we can to insure their safety. Viacom and Spike TV are proud to partner with the Cleveland Clinic and the other major combat sports organizations in the goal of advancing research to improve treatments for brain injury."

Richard Schaefer, Chief Executive Officer, Golden Boy Enterprises: "As the leading promoter in boxing we are happy to support this important study and honored to be involved with the Cleveland Clinic and such a distinguished group of fight promoters. I am happy to see that the fight community has united in this important effort."

Bernard Hopkins, IBF light heavyweight champion: "Boxing isn't like other sports; it's not a game. And the sooner we, as fighters, can detect when there's a problem that needs to be addressed, then we can act accordingly. The Cleveland Clinic is making history with this study and I encourage all fighters to get involved and be informed. Take control of your career, your health and your life."

SOURCE: Cleveland Clinic

Thursday, January 30, 2014

BSkyB Secures WWE For Five More Years

LONDON, Jan 30, 2014 -- WWE® (NYSE:WWE) and BSkyB (LSE:BSY.L) have extended their partnership for five more years to exclusively broadcast WWE’s weekly flagship programming to more than 15.5 million homes in the U.K. and Ireland through 2019. This new agreement carries WWE and BSkyB’s partnership into a milestone 30th year.

BSkyB will continue to carry WWE’s Raw® and SmackDown® programs and will add WWE Main Event® to its lineup. All programming will air in high definition on Sky Sports with additional programming available on Sky 1. All 12 WWE pay-per-views will also be available on Sky Sports Box Office including the annual pop-culture extravaganza WrestleMania®.

“WWE is brilliant entertainment, and I am delighted to once again extend our relationship with them,” said Barney Francis, Managing Director, Sky Sports. “WWE is hugely popular with our viewers, and now, they can continue to watch all the big events and weekly programmes with us.”

“We’re proud of our 30-year partnership with BSkyB, the leader in delivering the best in sports and entertainment,” said Gerrit Meier, Executive Vice President, International, WWE. “This partnership is a testament to the passion our fans have for WWE content and the long-term growth potential for our brand worldwide.”

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 150 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE:WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

About Sky

Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.

Sky is the UK’s biggest investor in television content, investing more than £2.5 billion a year in channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky News. Around two-thirds of Sky’s content spend is invested in the UK and Sky is the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programmes. More than 30 million people watch Sky content each week.

Alongside its commitment to offering customers a greater choice of high-quality content, Sky is a leading innovator. Customers enjoy total control and flexibility over their favourite TV through Sky+, watch TV on the move through Sky Go, and enjoy the best quality TV experience at home through High Definition and 3D.

Sky distributes its content broadly over several platforms, including satellite, cable, IPTV, mobile and WiFi. NOW TV, Sky’s second consumer brand, builds on the company’s leadership in internet TV. Sky is also the UK's fastest-growing home communications company and favourite ‘triple-play’ provider of TV, broadband and home phone.

Sky believes in making a wider contribution to the communities in which it operates by taking positive action on the environment, supporting grassroots sports and increasing access to, and participation in, the arts. Sky employs 24,000 people, has annual revenues of £7.2 billion and is estimated to support a £5.9 billion contribution to UK GDP. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (BSY).

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to entering into, maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television and pay-per-view programming and our new network distribution agreements; the need for continually developing creative and entertaining programming; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent McMahon; the conditions of the markets in which we compete and acceptance of the Company's brands, media and merchandise within those markets; our exposure to bad debt risk; uncertainties relating to regulatory and litigation matters; risks resulting from the highly competitive nature of our markets; uncertainties associated with international markets; the importance of protecting our intellectual property and complying with the intellectual property rights of others; risks associated with producing and travelling to and from our large live events, both domestically and internationally; the risk of accidents or injuries during our physically demanding events; risks relating to our film business; risks relating to increasing content production for distribution on various platforms, including the network; risks relating to new businesses generally and risks specific to the new network; risks relating to our computer systems and online operations; risks relating to the large number of shares of common stock controlled by members of the McMahon family and the possibility of the sale of their stock by the McMahons or the perception of the possibility of such sales; the relatively small public float of our stock; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends, general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.

SOURCE: WWE

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ATEME And Zixi Provide Technology To Stream Live "Ultimate Fighting Championship" Events Over The Internet

High-Quality Video Streaming Supports Multiple Production Workflows Over IP Regardless of Limited Connectivity or Unpredictable Bandwidth

PARIS, Jan. 21, 2014 -- ATEME, a global leader in advanced video compression solutions for the broadcast industry, today announced that, through its partnership with Zixi, LLC, the company has delivered the technology necessary to stream high-quality video over the Internet for Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) events.

NEWS FACTS:

The UFC's plan to produce approximately 50 six-hour live fight events across the world, results in production challenges: Many locations and venues have limited IP connectivity, making it difficult to deliver an efficient means of video distribution.

The UFC selects best-of-breed contribution solution: UFC looked to technology partners, ATEME and Zixi, to provide a solution that utilizes Internet connectivity for the distribution of video content and new ways to support multiple production workflows over IP.

Successful proof-of-concept results in reliable connectivity: Based on the success of the initial proof-of-concept, a small rack now travels around the globe, to every fight, to supplement global satellite feeds with video-over-IP delivery.

Supports multiple production "cloud-based" workflows: This groundbreaking technology produces high-quality compression that allows the UFC to use any feed from its production truck and create distinct workflows to distribute video around the world. Additionally, the software has provided the UFC with the tools to develop a series of "cloud-based" workflows that include the live capture of events, statistics logging and live streaming.

Las Vegas UFC event demonstrates highly innovative application: The first successful trial of the technology took place in Las Vegas during the George St. Pierre/Hendricks fight on November 16, 2013 and is now in continuous use for all events.

SUPPORTING QUOTES:

Christy King, VP technology R&D, Zuffa, LLC, said: "We had significant challenges in delivering multiple formats of video with limited connectivity and unpredictable bandwidth. The Zixi/ATEME solution is an innovative approach that provides reliable video feeds for our staff, media partners and worldwide fans. The solution is a low-cost, high-quality video experience."

Eric Bolten, VP strategic account development at Zixi, LLC, said: "The integration of our streaming technology into ATEME's Kyrion encoders and decoders delivers an enhanced quality of service over the 'Open Internet'. The power of combining our streaming technology with ATEME's world-class video quality is demonstrated in the successful launch by Zuffa/UFC."

About ATEME:

ATEME is a world leading provider of HEVC / H.265, MPEG-4 / H.264 and MPEG-2 bandwidth efficient compression technology. ATEME encoding solutions are deployed widely for broadcast contribution links, distribution, multi-screen live streaming, OTT and VOD applications. More information is available at www.ateme.com.

SOURCE: ATEME

Saturday, January 18, 2014

WWE® STUDIOS, RELATIVITY AND BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS PARTNER ON INTREPID PICTURES’ OCULUS

STAMFORD, Conn., Jan 18, 2014 -- WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE), Relativity and Blumhouse Productions announced today a partnership in connection to the release of Intrepid Pictures’ Oculus, the Mike Flanagan-directed supernatural horror film starring Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Not Another Happy Ending), Brenton Thwaites (the upcoming Maleficent, The Giver), Rory Cochrane (Argo, Parkland) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Riddick). WWE Studios will leverage its extensive multi-platform reach to help promote the film that debuted at the Midnight Madness section of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Oculus was developed and produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans of Intrepid Pictures, who co-financed with MICA Entertainment and is set for a wide theatrical release on April 11, 2014.

Oculus was directed by Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Ghosts of Hamilton Street), and produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans (Safe House, The Strangers, The Raven). Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter, Limitless), Tucker Tooley (The Fighter, Limitless), Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), Michael Luisi (The Call, Dead Man Down), Anil Kurian (Sahara, The Raven), D. Scott Lumpkin (Safe Haven), Peter Schlessel (Drive, Looper) and Dale Johnson (Stuck in Love) serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard based on the short film Oculus: The Man With The Plan, written by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Seidman.

Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force­­ unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim’s innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again…

"WWE Studios is thrilled to be getting into business for the first time with Relativity and partnering again with Blumhouse on the release of such a superbly crafted, heart-pounding thriller as Oculus," said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios.

Bradley Buchanan, SVP of Business Affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of WWE Studios.

About WWE Studios

WWE Studios produces a diverse slate of feature films for theatrical release, home entertainment and digital platforms through distribution partnerships with global entertainment companies. The WWE’s film division led by President, Michael Luisi, is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA and continues to create content for audiences of all ages. Films recently produced by WWE Studios include The Call with Halle Berry and WWE Superstar David Otunga®, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett®, The Marine 3: Homefront with WWE Superstar The Miz® in the third follow-up in the explosive Marine adventures, 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, the second installment in the action franchise, starring WWE Superstar Randy Orton®, No One Lives co-produced with Pathé Films and released theatrically by Anchor Bay Films starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay™, and Christmas Bounty, an action comedy starring WWE Superstar The Miz and Francia Raisa, which premiered on ABC Family during “The Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas” and released on Blu-Ray/DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Upcoming films for WWE Studios include Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery which pairs WWE Superstars with Scooby and the gang releasing direct to home March 25, 2014 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; Leprechaun: Origins directed by Zach Lipovsky starring WWE Superstar Hornswoggle® will be distributed by Lionsgate in August 2014; See No Evil 2 starring WWE Superstar Kane® directed by the Soska Sisters will also be distributed by Lionsgate in October 2014; The Fall Guy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson releasing in 2015, and The Flintstones another Warner Brothers Animation feature releasing in early 2015 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment which joins Fred, Barney and the whole Bedrock gang with stone age versions of WWE Superstars and Divas.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE:WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 150 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE:WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television and pay-per-view programming distribution agreements; the need for continually developing creative and entertaining programming; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent McMahon; the conditions of the markets in which we compete and acceptance of the Company's brands, media and merchandise within those markets; our exposure to bad debt risk; uncertainties relating to regulatory and litigation matters; risks resulting from the highly competitive nature of our markets; uncertainties associated with international markets; the importance of protecting our intellectual property and complying with the intellectual property rights of others; risks associated with producing and travelling to and from our large live events, both domestically and internationally; the risk of accidents or injuries during our physically demanding events; risks relating to our film business; risks relating to increasing content production for distribution on various platforms, including the potential creation of a WWE Network; risks relating to our computer systems and online operations; risks relating to the large number of shares of common stock controlled by members of the McMahon family and the possibility of the sale of their stock by the McMahons or the perception of the possibility of such sales; the relatively small public float of our stock; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends, general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.

About Relativity

Relativity is a next-generation media company engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including film production; financing and distribution; television; sports management; music publishing; and digital media. Ryan Kavanaugh is the company’s Founder and CEO.

Relativity Studios has produced, distributed or structured financing for nearly 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box office revenue and earning 60 Oscar® nominations. Recent films include: Safe Haven, Act of Valor and Immortals, the latter two opening number one at the box office in their debut. Relativity’s other films include the eight-time Oscar® nominee The Social Network as well as Limitless and two-time Oscar® winner The Fighter. Upcoming films include 3 Days to Kill, starring Kevin Costner, Earth to Echo, Oculus and author Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me.

Relativity Television is one of the country’s largest suppliers of unscripted television and has recently expanded to produce scripted series. Relativity Sports is the industry’s fastest growing sports agency, providing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes with services ranging from contract negotiation to custom film and television content production.

For more information, please visit relativitymedia.com.

About Blumhouse Productions

Blumhouse Productions, founded by Jason Blum, is a multi-media production company that has pioneered a new model of studio filmmaking- producing high-quality micro-budget films for wide release. Since its launch, Blumhouse has produced more than 30 feature films including the highly profitable Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Sinister franchises, all of which significantly out-grossed their budgets on opening weekend. Blumhouse's The Purge, its first production under its first-look deal with Universal Pictures, opened to more than $34 million on its opening weekend with a budget of just $3 million. Insidious: Chapter Two from FilmDistrict, grossed $41.05 million on its opening weekend with just a $5m budget. Blumhouse's upcoming micro-budget wide releases include Oculus for Relativity, Jessabelle for Lionsgate, The Next Chapter of The Purge for Universal and Paranormal Activity 5 for Paramount. In addition, Blumhouse is working on both scripted and non-scripted television projects. Blumhouse executive produced Stranded for SyFy and The River for ABC, and is also working on projects with HBO and MTV.

About Intrepid Pictures

Founded in 2004 by Trevor Macy, Intrepid Pictures is a feature film production and co-financing company with a mandate to produce horror, thriller, action, and comedy. Intrepid has produced eleven pictures to date, including the $82 million worldwide box office hit "The Strangers". Intrepid Pictures also produced and co-financed Summit Entertainments action film, "The Cold Light of Day" starring Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and Henry Cavill; "The Raven," starring John Cusack and directed by James McTeigue. Additionally, Intrepid developed and executive produced Universal Pictures project “Safe House,” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, directed by Daniel Espinoza.

SOURCE: WWE