Three PFL fighters in playoffs fail NAC drug tests

November 21, 2019

ESPN reports that Glaico Franca, Luis Rafael Laurentino and Ramsey Nijem failed drug tests and could be disciplined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  All 3 participated in the PFL playoffs.

Franca and Laurentino tested positive for the banned steroid stnozolol and Nijem tested positive for marijuana.  The fighters had their temporary suspensions extended by the NSAC at its monthly meeting and are expected to have full disciplinary hearings December 18th.

Fortunately for the organization, none of the athletes flagged advanced to the New Year’s Eve Finale for the promotion in New York.

Franca and Laurentino believe that supplements that they took may have been contaminated leading to the drug test failure.  Franca reached the PFL welterweight semifinals on October 11th in Las Vegas before losing to David Michaud.  Laurentino lost in the PFL featherweight quarterfinals to Jeremy Kennedy on October 17 and Nijem lost to Natan Schulte in the PFL lightweight quarterfinals.

Payout Perspective:

This is one of the potential issues with a tournament format for the PFL – the potential of a fighter failing a drug test.  Regardless of whether it’s the fighter’s fault or a tainted supplement as Franca and Laurentino claim, the investigation regarding the testing failure would detour the tournament.  Fortunately, these three would not have impacted the final for $1 million on December 31st.

PFL finalist Pineda fails NAC drug test

November 14, 2019

MMA Junkie reports that PFL featherweight finalist Daniel Pineda has failed a Nevada Athletic Commission-administered-test.  The news could knock Pineda out of a chance for $1 million in the final against Lance Palmer on December 31st.

At this point, the NAC and the promotion have not made an official statement although Junkie reached out to Pineda’s manager who issued the following statement:

“Right now we’re in the process of researching what could have led to a positive test.  We plan on appealing the decision once all information is gathered.”

Pineda was an injury replacement in the PFL Playoffs for Damon Jackson.  Pineda won two fights in the same night to make the final which is set for December 31st at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Payout Perspective:

 It’s unlikely that Pineda will be given the Nate Diaz treatment when it comes to the adjudication of this drug test.  Hopefully, the NAC will be mindful that this could be a tainted supplement scenario although its likely too soon to speculate.  But, since we are, Pineda could be deprived of a chance to fight for $1 million although the test may prove to be a tainted supplement.  The PFL has yet to make a statement which likely means they are trying to work on possible alternatives to Pineda fighting and/or helping to clarify the test.

Aspen Ladd loses CSAC appeal as TKO upheld

October 15, 2019

UFC women’s bantamweight had her appeal of her sudden first round KO by Germaine de Randamie denied by the California State Athletic Commission. Ladd attempted to change the loss to a no-contest based on referee Herb Dean’s quick stoppage.

The fight was the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Sacramento this past July.  Ladd, a local to the area, was stopped in the first munite of the fight by a de Randamie punch.  The previously unbeaten Ladd was floored but before she could attempt a defense, Herb Dean called an end to the fight.

Ladd’s manager filed an appeal to the fight claiming that Dean was out of position to make the call that her fighter was in peril.  In further correspondence with the commission, Ladd claimed that the fight was stopped prematurely because she was a woman and if the fight involved men, it would have continued.  Originally, Ladd’s manager filled out the Appeal Form provided by the State of California checking a box that there was collusion involving the referee.  But, it was later changed to another box citing a violation of a rule or regulation.

The referee of the match-up, longtime veteran Herb Dean, stated he did not stop the fight based on gender.

Dean has been criticized for stopping matches too late and/or too soon.  Nevertheless, it appears that this was another judgment call made by Dean.

The below was his official statement sent in to the commission prior to Tuesday’s hearing:

In addition, de Randamie sent her own statement which, as one might expect, supported Dean’s decision to stop the fight.

The Commission entertained the gender discrimination claim citing that it would be a violation of anti-discrimination laws if this were the case.

But the problem with Ladd’s claim as it was presented to the Commission was that it was just anecdotal.  Meaning, she can argue that women fights are stopped quicker than male fights but without valid data proving this theory, its just conjecture.  While the vote was 3-2 in upholding the TKO loss (Ladd’s only blemish), the decision by Dean to stop the fight is a judgment call and unless there was compelling evidence that there was a stoppage based on her gender, there was no evidence suggesting Ladd’s claims were true.  Moreover, there was no rule or regulation cited which would point to evidence that a rule or regulation was not followed.  Simply put, while it may have been a bad referee call, Dean made his decision.  The job of a referee is hard because they are criticized for letting fights go on too long allowing a hurt fighter to suffer unnecessary damage and then, like in this case, they don’t let a fight continue.  In this instance, its likely the right call was made to uphold the appeal.

Pac-Thurman attendance, gate, comps and payouts (Pac pays a lot for tickets)

July 25, 2019

The Nevada Athletic Commission disclosed the payouts, attendance and gate for the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman fight.

The event this past Saturday sold 11,436 tickets with another 1,675 comped.  The gate drew $6,260,275.

The commission also disclosed the payouts from the event.  Manny Pacquiao received $10M (although likely more) for his fight with Keith Thurman who received $2.5M (although likely more).  Pacquiao received an approved advance of $2 million but also paid $4.22M in federal taxes.  He paid $150,000 in sanction fees.  Also under incidentals, he paid $340,952.02 in flights and $200,000 in hotels.  His share was $1,789,047.33.

The pay is as follows:

Omar Figueroa, Jr.:  $300,000

Yordenis Ugas:   $300,000


Sergey Lipinets:  $250,000

Jay-Ar Inson:  $10,000(late fill-in was said to be receiving more)


Luis Nery:  $150,000

Juan Payano:  $25,000


Caleb Plant:  $750,000

Michael Lee:  $250,000


Efe Ajagba:  $15,000

Ali Eren Demirezen:  $10,000


Austin Dulay:  $10,000

Justin Pauldo:  $10,000


Abel Ramos:  $10,000

James Williams:  $10,000


Genesis Libranza;  $3,000

Carlos Maldonado:  $9,000


John Dato:  $6,000

Juan Antonio Lopez, Jr.:  $5,000


Emanuel Medina:  $8,000

Peter Dobson:  $8,000

Payout Perspective:

Notable that on a card where 1,675 were comped, Pacquiao still paid $1.3M for tickets.  Of the reported $10M, he netted $1.7M.  He is receiving more than the reported amount but it is still an astronomical amount to pay.  The lowest paid fighter on the card, Libranza made just $3K in a KO win over someone who made three times as much as him, Carlos Maldonado.  The 25-year-old Filipino is 19-1.

Nevada Athletic Commission reports Pacquiao to make $10M, Thurman $2.5M

July 20, 2019

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the purses for the Pacquiao-Thurman fight taking place tonight in Las Vegas.  Despite the reported purses revealed by the Nevada Athletic Commission, the consensus is that both main event fighters will be receiving substantially more.

Via Rafael per NAC:

Manny Pacquiao: $10 million

Keith Thurman: $2.5 million


Omar Figueroa, Jr.:  $300,000

Yordenis Ugas:  $300,000


Sergey Lipinets: $250,000

Jayar Inson: $10,000 (as a late replacement, he will receive ‘thousands more’)


Luis Nery: $150,000

Juan Carlos Payano:  $25,000


Caleb Plant:  $750,000

Mike Lee:  $250,000


Efe Ajagba:  $15,000

Ali Eren Demirezen:  $15,000

Nevada Athletic Commission discloses Alvarez-Jacobs payouts

May 5, 2019

The Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs fight took place on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Alvarez defeated Jacobs via unanimous decision.

Jacobs had to pay a $250,000 per pound fine for being over 170 pounds at the morning weight check.  Both fighters made the contractual weight of 160 pounds.  Jacobs came in at 173.6 pounds.  Thus, he had to pay $1 million in fines (rounding up from 173.6 to 174) This put a dent into his over $10 million guarantee for the fight.

Canelo made $35 million according to the Nevada Athletic Commission.  Jacobs official pay was $2.5 million although he was guaranteed over $10 million per his DAZN deal.  Fighters Vergil Ortiz, Jr. made $75,000 while his opponent Mauricio Herrera earned $75,000.

The other salaries as disclosed by the NAC are as follows:

Joseph Diaz, Jr. $100,000

Freddy Fonseca $10,000

Lamont Roach $75,000

Jonathan Oquendo $50,000

Sadam Ali $150,000

Anthony Young $45,000

John Ryder $100,000

Bilal Akkawy $30,000

Payout Perspective:

Although Jacobs lost money on the contractual day of fight weigh-in one has to think he knew he’d lose money in order to win the fight – which would lead to a windfall of future big paydays.  We may receive some sort of indication on the viewership for the DAZN event but since it’s a digital platform, it will be hard to see viewership/buy rates unless disclosed by the company.


NAC issues statement on Jon Jones drug tests

March 2, 2019

Two of Jon Jones’ latest drug tests have turned up positive for the same banned substance as in the past.  In response, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has issued a statement.

“Mr. Jones has been cooperative with the NSAC and has submitted to multiple drug tests conducted by the NSAC, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).”

On back-to-back days, there were findings of DHCMT M3 detected 40 pg/mLm.  However, there were also tests that provided no adverse findings.

The statement was done in anticipation of questions regarding Jon Jones’ testing.

Notably, there was no fight press conference for the UFC 235 fighters.  Likely, in anticipation of questions concerning Jones’ drug tests.  This past December, Jones took heat from a reporter about his failed drug tests.  From the UFC perspective, the decision not to conduct a press conference for press week likely helped the company control the story.

Jeff Novitsky took questions about it during the full media scrum on Friday.  In response to the NSAC statement, Novitsky indicated that it “would not affect the fight.”

“Based on the amount of testing that he’s have had over the last two months, these recent low level positives are the best evidence of what these experts are telling us,” said Novitsky.  He indicated that this would mean that there would be no re-administration of the banned substance and no performance enhancing benefit.

He then went on to lay out the case that for their assertion that Jones is not taking PEDs and the banned substances that have been found are not new and are not providing benefit.

19-02-28 Jon Jones Statement by on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Maybe the best job this week the UFC has done was to mute the Jon Jones drug doping story.  With Jones complying with the requests to test with USADA and VADA on a weekly (if not daily) basis as fight day neared, its clear that the positive tests for a banned substance are hard to explain.  But, one thing seems to be clear.  Everyone is doing there best to clear Jones’ name.  Jones was not put on provisional suspension under the terms of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and none of the protocol under the policy is being implemented.  Likely, due to the uncommon occurrence that is happening.  The question still remains how and why Jones is failing some drug tests.

Canelo agrees to NAC suspension for drug test failure

April 18, 2018

At Wednesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission disciplinary hearing, Canelo Alvarez entered into an Adjudication Agreement agreeing to a six month suspension of his boxing license for failing two drug tests with the presence of the banned substance Clenbuterol.

MMA Payout has obtained a copy of the Adjudication Agreement from the NAC via public records request:

Saul Alvarez – Adjudication Agreement – Signed by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The six-month suspension seems fair considering Alvarez denies wrongdoing but decided not to defend his claims.  The suspension, convenient or not, allows Alvarez to return to the ring in September right around the time of Mexican Independence Day weekend – a traditional boxing PPV date.  The Agreement includes a paragraph citing that Alvarez denies intentionally taking Clenbuterol and another indicating he believes the cause was due to contaminated meat.  Regardless, this gives Alvarez the spring off to get ready for September.  Will there still be bad blood between Alvarez and the commission if/when he’s allowed to concern?  Or, will Golden Boy put it past them when their fighter comes back (and decides the venue of the event) considering the amount of money they’ll make when Canelo finally gets in the ring with GGG.

UFC 216: Payout Perspective

October 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 216 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ferguson submits Lee

It was not a good week for Kevin Lee.  Not only did he have issues with cutting weight which kept everyone in suspense on Friday.  It appeared that he had a staph infection on Saturday night.  Joe Rogan noticed a mark on Lee’s left pec immediately.  Lee acknowledged the infection which makes one wonder how the commission allowed Lee to fight.

It was a good fight but it looked like Lee had tired in the third and was eventually submitted.  Ferguson should go on to face Conor McGregor if he decides to return to fight.  If not, could we see another setup with Khabib.

DJ makes history with title defense

Demetrious Johnson did it again with another successful title defense of his UFC Flyweight title and another 5th round stoppage.  Johnson had a sensational suplex into an armbar transition to tap out Ray Borg.  It was the 11th title defense which set a record.  DJ stands alone in the UFC Flyweight division.

Despite the remarkable accomplishment Johnson was the co-main event and not the main fight on the show.  This was a subtle sign that despite the remarkable accomplishment, Johnson is not a top of the card draw as he should be.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

This was the lowest attendance and gate for a UFC PPV held at the T-Mobile Arena.  The figures announced post-fight totaled just 10,638 for a gate of $677,999.50.  Of 7 events at the T-Mobile, it was 6th in terms of attendance and gate.  Only this summer’s TUF 25 Finale drew less and that’s due to the fact that there are events on back to back nights.

The bonuses went to Demetrious Johnson, John Moraga, , Bobby Green, Lando Vannatta.  Johnson and Moraga earned the Performances of the Night while Green and Vannatta earned Fight of the Night for their draw.


Tony Ferguson was the highest paid fighter of the night earning $500,000 while Demetrious Johnson drew $340,000.  Both Kevin Lee and Ray Borg earned the most of their career with their pay on Saturday.

Via MMA Junkie:


Tony Ferguson: $500,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)
def. Kevin Lee: $250,000

Demetrious Johnson: $370,000 (no win bonus)
def. Ray Borg: $100,000

Fabricio Werdum: $400,000 (includes $125,000 win bonus)
def. Walt Harris: $28,000

Mara Romero Borella: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Kalindra Faria: $12,000

Beneil Dariush: $48,000*
vs. Evan Dunham: $40,000*

Cody Stamann: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Duquesnoy: $23,000

Bobby Green: $24,000*
vs. Lando Vannata: $25,000*

Poliana Botelho: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Pearl Gonzalez: $10,000

Matt Schnell: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Marco Beltran: $14,000

John Moraga: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Magomed Bibulatov: $17,000

Brad Tavares: $74,000 (includes $37,000 win bonus)
def. Thales Leites: $57,000

The official Nevada Commission’s pay sheet had Godbeer receiving his show money.  Notably, the Nik Lentz-Will Brooks fight was scrapped due to an illness which hospitalized Lentz.  Although the Nevada Commission may not have paid Brooks, a social media post infers that he was still compensated.

The commission did not have purse payments for Lentz, Brooks and Derrick Lewis.

Promotion of the Fight

With the horrible events that happened the Sunday before the fight the event hype was muted for obvious reasons.  Dana White did not have any fight hype on his twitter timeline until Wednesday.  The Embedded episodes that usually kick off the week were held until that Wednesday.  With this event being a hard sell even before the tragedy, the lack of last minute buzz certainly did not help the buys for this event.


Although not exactly related to this event, it was announced this week that longtime sponsor Bud Light would be replaced in the U.S. by Modelo Especial staring in 2018.

We are starting to see a lot subtler sponsor promotion on the Embedded series as we see the fighters getting their Reebok gear and visiting the UFC Performance Institute.

Aside from Budweiser, Toyo Tires, Metro PCS, Performance Inspired, Harvey Davidson, 7 Eleven and Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  One may have noticed that 7 Eleven had its own signage post whereas in past events it shared one with Monster Energy.  It also had the prep point.  The twitter hashtag Vegas Strong was also in the Octagon.

Odds and ends

It was a different opening for the UFC 216 PPV as Dana White invited over 1,500 first responders to the event and brought some of the survivors of the devastating shooting to the octagon.  Everlast, from House of Pain fame, also sang “America the Beautiful.”  There were cold openings for both the Exclusive Fight Pass Prelims and the Prelims on FX.

The festivities were strained by Dana White’s public scorn for Jason Aldean.  He claimed that Aldean did not want to perform (Aldean was the performer on stage during the shooting).  But, he showed up on Saturday Night Live the same night.  Let it go Dana.  It’s petty to mess up a nice night by getting mad at this.

Derrick Lewis and Fabricio Werdum were taken off last minute with Walt Harris taking the fight against Werdum.  The good news is that Godbeer was paid despite being taken off the card.  Brooks was not although his social media account infers he may have been compensated by the UFC.

Prelims were on FX this time around to compensate for College Football on FS1.  It drew just 653,000 viewers Saturday night.

The commission had some explaining to do with the one hour allowance for Kevin Lee to cut the pound he was over.  Apparently, the rules allow it for championship fights.

There was also the issue of how the UFC Anti-Doping Policy allowed exemptions to Kalindra Faria and Mara Romero Borella.  Yet, it took Andrea Lee off the card due to her prior issues with drug testing.

It appeared as though the upper bowl of the T-Mobile Arena was cordoned off which reflects the attendance was low for the event.  Ticketmaster had seats available up until Friday (and likely Saturday) of the event with the get-in price going for $55.

The UFC sold Vegas Strong T-shirts with 100% of the proceeds going to victims of the shooting on October 1st.

The PPV ended before 10:00pm on the west coast and the broadcast crew was forced to stretch instead of trying to fill in a fight from earlier in the evening.  It did provide some comedy as Daniel Cormier had problems with his headset cords.

There were over 500,000 searches for UFC 216 on Saturday.


This will be one of the lower-purchased PPVs of 2017.  While Lee and Ferguson is a good fight, it is not one you’d pay $60 to see as the main event.  Johnson is one of the greatest fighters ever, but fans do not want to pay to watch him fight.  While it was a good night of fights, its hard seeing this event doing more than 170,000 PPV buys.

New Jersey Athletic Commission writes open letter to ABC

May 25, 2017

The state of New Jersey Athletic Commission, sent a letter to the American Boxing Commissions (ABC) requesting that it reconsider the rules regarding a downed fighter and kidney strike rule amendments.  New Jersey wrote the letter to urge all athletic commission to one rule set for the sport.

The open letter dated May 22, 2017 was written with the anticipating that it would be discussed at the upcoming 2017 ABC annual convention in Connecticut in late July.

“Other major sports are implementing changes to make the sport safer while the ABC has rushed through changes that could increase danger,” the letter states.

New Jersey claims that there are at least four different sets of rules regarding a downed fighter and cite three instances in the UFC (Means-Oliveira at UFC 207, Weidman-Mousasi at UFC 210 and Alvarez-Poirier at UFC 212) where there has been confusion on what rules were being used.

The letter states that the 2016 ABC convention presentation on these matters “opened the floodgates to multiple disjointed rule sets in play dependent upon venue.”  The letter claims that the two rule changes were rushed to passage by the ABC as they “were not distributed to the membership for advance review as past rule changes had been,” according to the letter.  New Jersey claims that is was not made aware of the rule changes until they were alerted to them by a media member moments prior to the convention start.

As for the downed fighter rule the four interpretations per New Jersey’s letter is as follows:

  1. Prior rule (still rule in at least 20 jurisdictions): Anything but the soles of a fighter’s feet on the mat made that fighter a grounded opponent, which allows for a competitor to just place a finger on the mat to be considered a grounded opponent.
  2. ABC recommendation: A referee that believed that a fighter was “gaming the system” and “playing the rules” could be considered a standing fighter “even if a finger or hand was touching at the time of the strike’s contact.”
  3. At least three jurisdictions: One full hand down to define downed fighters.
  4. Herb Dean stated that he analyzes whether the downed opponent is “supporting weight.”

Kidney strikes are being questioned by Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The reason being that kidney strikes are prohibited in other combat sports and the query is why they are allowed in MMA.

Payout Perspective:

The letter makes it sound like that ABC and the commissions will have things to discuss in late July.  The conference takes place at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.  With the amount of confusion that occurred in the three UFC events identified in the letter, one has to think that the rule with a downed opponent should be clarified.  As pointed out by New Jersey, there should be some uniformity in the rules to avoid confusion.  Even though the ABC does not have authority over commissions, they are a great influence in producing the unified rules.