USADA arbitrator reduces Jon Jones suspension, will be back in UFC by October

September 19, 2018

USADA has handed Jon Jones a 15-month suspension for his failed drug test at UFC 214 in July 2017.  The arbitration decision means that Jones will be eligible to fight in the UFC this October.

Jones was represented at his hearing by experienced doping attorney Paul Greene.  He was also represented by Peter S. Christensen of Las Vegas.  Notably, Howard Jacobs was Jones’ attorney at his first arbitration hearing and at the California State Athletic Commission hearing regarding his second failed USADA test earlier this year.  The arbitrator was Richard McLaren.

Final Redacted Award Jones … by on Scribd

Unlike other arbitration hearings, the parties entered into a Joint Stipulated Factual Resolution and Arbitration Agreement.

Despite the fact that Jones was facing the potential of a four-year suspension for his second infraction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the arbitrator reduced his suspension by 30 months based on Jones’ cooperation with USADA in attempting to determine the cause for his failed drug test.  McLaren could have reduced it down to 12 months but determined that Jones could have done other things to mitigate his risk.

The arbitrator determined that based on the UFC Anti-Doping Violations rules that it need not determine the source of the finding to determine fault.  Therefore, regardless of how the illicit substance ended up in Jones’ system, it is not necessary to how it was ingested for them to determine fault.  But here, the arbitrator determined that Jones’ liability to be minimal.  Although, the arbitrator does suggest that Jones could have done more to prevent the violation, he does not think the infraction aided him in his performance.  “There was absolutely no intention to use Prohibited Substances on the part of the Athlete [Jones],” wrote the arbitrator.

The arbitrator noted that Jones seemed contrite for his wrongdoing.

There is the possibility that the CSAC still may rule on a suspension for Jones.  It has revoked his license and fined him $205,000.  But, it would seem that any further suspension of time from eligibility

Payout Perspective:

A week ago USADA felt compelled to address rumors that it was being paid off to reinstate Jon Jones.  Perhaps now we know the reasons behind the statement.  The ruling seems to be made in a vacuum when looking at the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and Jones’ prior arbitration hearing.  The decision seemed to neglect his prior indiscretions, his mistakes admitted in the first arbitration and his California State Athletic Commission hearing where he readily admitted that his management team falsified documents on his behalf so that he would not have to do the educational component of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  All that being said, Jones had a viable case but the facts seemed to be against him knowing he had a prohibited substance in his system and this was his second drug test failure which would connote a four-year suspension.

Overall, I don’t think UFC fans mind that Jon Jones is coming back sooner than later to the octagon.  Its just the matter that the policy seemed to bend over backward and then look away from the way it adhered to its policy with other fighters.  Its true that Jones will be suspended 15 months before coming back to the UFC, but this was his second strike and with a history of reckless disregard for the rules this shows flexibility for athletes that can produce the company revenue.

Fabricio Werdum given 2-year suspension by USADA for use of trenbolone

September 11, 2018

USADA announced that UFC Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum was given a 2-year suspension due to a positive test of a prohibited substance.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion tested positive for trenbolone and its metabolite epitrenbolone following an out-of-competition urine test on April 25, 2018.

As his first offense, Werdum was given a 2-year period of ineligibility.  It is the standard sanction for a non-Specified Substance.  Trenbolone is an androgen and anabolic steroid of the nandrolone group.  The use of the prohibited substance allows for rapidly building muscle.

The 41-year-old’s suspension began on May 22, 2018 and will be able to return to the UFC on May 22, 2020.

Payout Perspective:

The penalty almost forces Werdum into retirement from action as he will be 43 years old when he is eligible to return.  Obviously, with 44-year-old Mark Hunt fighting this week, it’s not out of the question for Werdum to return after suspension but his age will definitely be a factor.  It’s surprising that Werdum did not appeal the decision or seek some sort of mitigating factor which one may conclude that he was guilty of the infraction.

With USADA suspension almost over, UFC releases Tom Lawlor

August 13, 2018

The UFC has released Tom Lawlor from his UFC contract.  Lawlor, who is serving a 2-year UFC Anti-Doping Policy drug suspension is currently working as a pro wrestler.

Lawlor accepted a 2-year suspension after he failed a test for Ostarine on October 10, 2016.  Despite an exhaustive look into what may have caused the test, Lawlor decided not to make a formal appeal.

Lawlor will be off of suspension on October 10, 2018.  However, since he’s been away from MMA, he’s embarked on a pro wrestling career to keep him busy.

According to the report on F4Wonline.com, where Lawlor also is a co-host of a weekly show, he had asked for his release when being suspended but the company refused until today.

In addition to news of Lawlor being released, the UFC released Gleison Tibau.  He was the second UFC athlete to be put on provisional suspension as a result of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps if there is any good news for Lawlor is that he’s been able to focus on his wrestling career and travel the country doing shows and making an income.  It might be the best situation if he wanted to be a UFC champion, but it elevated his name in the world of pro wrestling.  We will see if Lawlor will seek out Bellator or another promotion to continue his MMA career.

Ferreira files lawsuit against supplement makers and supplier for allegedly causing USADA suspension

July 29, 2018

Carlos Diego Ferreira Neves has filed a lawsuit against supplement vendors, manufacturers and suppliers which resulted in the lightweight being suspended for 17 months.

The lawsuit filed last month In the District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas states that Defendants spiked “360 Lean, a “dietary nutritional supplement” with ostarine while also misleadingly adding a prohibited substance known as 7-Keto® DHEA, causing Plaintiff to suffer severe injuries after being banned from the UFC.”

Ferreira notes that the label of 360Lean did not accurately list 7-Keto® DHEA and later changed its description in subsequent batches. The lawsuit states, “[R]epresenting that the supplement contained, 7-Keto®, without indicating the product contained a hormone was wholly deceptive, misleading, and fraudulent.”

7-Keto® DHEA and Ostarine are banned substances and 360Lean was placed on the USADA High Risk List in Februar 2017 “after testing of Lot Number 9004637 revealed the presence of 7-Keto® DHEA and ostarine.

In September 2016, a sealed unopened bottle of 360Lean was sent to a WADA accredited lab where Plaintiff discovered that he had unknowingly and through no fault of his own ingested ostarine from the product 360Lean.  Ferreira was charged with a UFC Anti-Doping Violation in November 2016.

Ferreira is suing Zinpro and Impact Labs as the developers, manufacturers, marketers and distributors of 360Lean.  Vitamin Shack & Shakes sold the 360Lean product.

The lawsuit states a variety of causes of action including negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warrantied and fraud against Zinpro Corporation and Impact Labs.  Ferreira also claims that the Defendants are guilty under the theory of strict liability for products liability.

Ferreira First Amended Petition by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The store where Ferreira purchased 360Lean has filed a cross-claim against the Zinpro and Impact Labs for allegedly misleading consumers with its label.

Payout Perspective:

This is the fourth lawsuit since the UFC Anti-Doping policy was implemented where a fighter has sued a supplement maker, manufacture and distributor.  Josh Barnett, Yoel Romero and Lyman Good also filed lawsuits against supplement makers and the places where they purchased the alleged tainted goods which caused them to receive suspensions as a result of the findings.

In products liability cases (lawsuits where the claim is that a product is defective), there is a higher standard on the manufacturer or seller to ensure that the user is not harmed.  In this instance, one could argue Ferreira was not harmed in the sense of physical injury.  He was harmed since he had to ensure he did not ingest a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The question will be whether the Defendants knowingly misled consumers with the amendment of its description on the label.  This will make a very interesting case as it continues.  MMA Payout will continue to follow.

He says he’s not, but should Anderson Silva sue USADA?

July 25, 2018

On Ariel Helwani’s show this past Monday, Anderson Silva stated that he would not take legal action after USADA determined that his failed drug test came from a compounding pharmacy.  But, a legal action could facilitate a change to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The former middleweight champ said he has lost 4 sponsors as a result of his absence from the Octagon.

Silva’s statement of losing sponsors could be a claim for damages in a lawsuit against USADA and Zuffa.   Based on the USADA ruling, it absolves Silva of wrongdoing in the matter as he ingested a contaminated supplement.  He unknowingly took a supplement from a pharmacy that made the supplement in-house rather than receiving it from the actual manufacturer.  The issue of “compounding pharmacies” has come up with several tests that were flagged by USADA.  This includes Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.  All have been reinstated after an investigation revealed the source of the failed test.

In a lawsuit, the broader problem is that Silva would likely have to bring an action against USADA and the UFC for its policy.  Since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC is the organization that unilaterally (very important) implemented the policy, you would need to sue them.  Certainly, a daunting task for any fighter considering the lawsuits pending regarding Mark Hunt and the ex-UFC athletes in the antitrust lawsuit.

But, Silva would have been a great plaintiff to disrupt the current state of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Granted, his UFC 183 NAC drug test failure was embarrassing to his legacy, but he has maintained a popularity with most MMA fans.  Stepping in on short notice to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 was legendary because it was clear that he was not in shape to go in and fight but did it to help the company.

So, why sue the company that he has been a part of for years?

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy has flaws and there is no way that they can be amended since contracted athletes have no leverage to influence policy.  Project Spearhead among other entities have attempted to organize but those efforts are still pending.

A lawsuit which would include USADA and Zuffa would bring attention to the perceived unfair policy developed by the organization.  While the intent of the policy is for the greater good of the sport in that it prevents the use of performance enhancing drugs, athletes have complained about the testing measures and the collection process.  Josh Barnett, who successfully defended himself at arbitration over a failed drug test, left the UFC due to the lack of trust he had in the process.  Despite the fact athletes may absolve themselves of wrongdoing, athletes are immediately put on a provisional suspension pending adjudication which takes a lengthy amount of time to complete.

Moreover, the standard for which athletes must prove their innocence is a huge obstacle considering that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy operates on a presumption that the athlete is responsible for anything he or she ingests.  Thus, the issue of compounding pharmacy or taking a tainted supplement already makes the athlete culpable.

A lawsuit is a long, arduous process that costs a lot of money.  Silva is 43 and would like to fight before his time is up.  So, not filing a lawsuit is prudent to finish his career in the UFC.  But, his legacy could be more than this if he were to take legal action.  It would be likely that a lawsuit would necessitate a response short of a trial. Meaning, the USADA and Zuffa would want to solve the issue prior to judicial resolution.  The loss of sponsors, assuming they were due to in-ring inaction rather than another issue, may be a viable claim for lost wages due to an unfair system.

Legal action is not always the way to resolve disputes, but at the present time if athletes want a change to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, filing a complaint might be the way to do it.

UFC welterweight notified of potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation

July 20, 2018

The UFC has announced that USADA has informed Muslim Salikhov of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation from an out-of-competition sample collected on June 7, 2018 in Russia.

Salikhov was 1-1 in the UFC with his last fight at UFC on Fox 29, a win over fellow welterweight Ricky Rainey.  The 34-year-old Dagestani product has an overall record of 14-2.

Payout Perspective:

It’s still too early to know if this is a case of being caught or if the welterweight will claim that he took a contaminated product or something else.  One would think that Salikhov would be a part of the UFC show in Russia this September but that will now have to wait.

USADA confirms Anderson Silva took contaminated supplements

July 18, 2018

Anderson Silva will be ready to return to the UFC this fall after USADA confirms that the former UFC champ took contaminated supplements.

Silva’s suspension was limited to one-year after it was determined that the supplement taken was contaminated due to a compounding pharmacy.

Via USADA release:

Silva tested positive for the methyltestosterone metabolites 17α-methyl-5β-androstan-3α,17β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α,17β-diol, as well as hydrochlorothiazide, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on October 26, 2017. Methyltestosterone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents, while hydrochlorothiazide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents. Both of these substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following notification of his positive test, Silva provided USADA with an open container of a compounded dietary supplement product he was using at the time of his positive test. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, testing conducted by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of methyltestosterone and hydrochlorothiazide in the product. Thereafter, in the course of its broader investigation into Brazilian compounding pharmacies, USADA independently sourced numerous supplement products from the same compounding pharmacy that prepared Silva’s contaminated supplement. The analysis of those products by the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed that they were similarly contaminated with prohibited substances, including multiple anabolic agents and diuretics.

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy states that there may be a reduction in a sanction if an athlete’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product.  USADA took into consideration that this was Silva’s second doping violation with the first coming from the Nevada Athletic Consideration in 2015 after his fight with Nick Diaz at UFC 183.

Silva is able to return on November 10, 2018.  He is the fourth UFC fighter to have been flagged for a banned substance and then suspended only for the resolution being the issue with the pharmacy.

Payout Perspective:

This is another case where it seems unfair that the athlete has to be subject to suspension due to third party fault.  Fortunately for Silva, he retained a container of the dietary supplement.  This was also While it is the ultimate responsibility of the athlete to determine what they ingest, compounding pharmacies seem to give pause to this rule.  Junior dos Santos returned to action Saturday after suspension due to ingesting a supplement from a compounding pharmacy.  At 43, Silva’s time in the UFC is limited and serving a suspension due to unforeseen circumstances seems unfair for the athlete.

UFC 226: Payout Perspective

July 11, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 226 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier is a Champ x2

Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.  Cormier becomes just the second fighter (behind Conor McGregor) to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.  The former Olympian described post-fight that video study showed Stipe drops his hands coming out of the clinch and that is exactly how Cormier dropped Stipe with a short shot to the chin.

The bigger news came when Brock Lesnar came into the Octagon after the fight and shoved Cormier.  He then cut a promo on the heavyweight division and he weak it was.

Lesnar has been put back into USADA testing program and should be available by the end of the year.  Cormier, who has already announced his retirement plans on a handful of fights left despite just earning the title.  We shall see if one of those is his arch-nemesis Jon Jones.

Lewis-Ngannou turn in Worst Match of Year Candidate

This fight should have been one round.  Not because there was heavy-slugging and someone would have been knocked out, but because it was such a boring fight.  What most thought would be a back and forth home-run hitting fight, turned into one of the lowest striking fights in the history of the UFC.

Derrick Lewis came out as the “winner” although he stated he hurt his back during the fight.  Ngannou was buried post-fight by Dana White who claimed that the guy that was deemed a future superstar had an ego.

With Brock Lesnar coming in, Lewis will have to wait in line for a title shot.  More likely he’ll have to go through Curtis Blaydes before he gets a shot post-Lesnar fight.

Max Holloway pulls out of fight with Brian Ortega

Max Holloway was forced to pull out of his fight with Brian Ortega due to “concussion-like” symptoms.  Holloway’s team decided it best he not fight despite going through media obligations.  Ortega took it in stride but declined a fight against Jeremy Stephens as a replacement.  While Dana White was not pleased with missing a fight, Ortega had trained for Holloway and not Stephens.  A loss by Ortega would be a disaster for his title plans.  Remember Luke Rockhold did not have to take the fight with Yoel Romero when he missed weight.  He did and lost.

Attendance and Gate

Despite the loss of one title fight, it didn’t seem to damper the attendance.

Prior to the Holloway-Ortega fight being scrapped SeatGeek reported tickets on the secondary market being the highest since UFC 205 when the company had its first show in New York.

Bonuses

Daniel Cormier, Anthony Pettis, Khalil Rountree and Paulo Costa all received $50,000 bonuses.

Payouts

The Nevada Athletic Commission list of disclosed the full list of payouts prior to the event.  Stipe Miocic earned the most with $750,000 followed by Daniel Cormier’s $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The Embedded series seemed to have a focus on Ortega-Holloway from the outset and had to refocus and it appeared that there was a pause between episodes 3 and 4 so that they could do extra filming for Cormier, Miocic, Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Lewis and Ngannou.

Toyo Tires was active leading up to this event as it had a new commercial with former rivals T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz starring and former UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin in a starring role.

The company also ran a marketing campaign with Brian Ortega ads.

Metro PCS ran a social media campaign using Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in promoting their SuperFight.

Did Drake reference Max Holloway in “8 out of 10” on his new album?  I didn’t think so.  The UFC paid homage to the Scorpion album with an Instagram post hyping the main event.

Next Saturday's OFFICIAL tracklist. 🦂 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on


Ratings (all on FS1)

UFC Weigh-Ins – 239K

UFC Pre-Show – 254K

UFC Prelims – 668K (peaked at 800K in the 9:45-10:00pm ET quarter hr)

UFC Post Show – 155K

Sponsorships

UFC sponsors Harley Davidson, Metro PCS, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy, EA’s UFC 3 and Modelo in the center of the Octagon. It also had signage for EA UFC’s latest version of its video game and the first glimpses of the logo for the company’s 25th Anniversary show in November.

There was an extended promotion for the latest version of EA’s UFC 3 with Tito Ortiz and Kimbo Slice.

Kamaru Usman introduced the promoted movie for this event, Denzel Washington’s

Odds and ends

It was International Fight Week which included the induction of individuals (and a fight) into the Hall of Fame.  Headlining the list was Ronda Rousey.  It also gave us a Chuck-Tito faceoff for a fight that appears to be happening in 2018 or 2019.

Despite an International Fight Week curse of headlining matches scratched, UFC 226 came through with several great main card performances from Khalil Rountree, Anthony Pettis and Daniel Cormier.  Also, the Mike Perry-Paul Felder fight was an entertaining bloodbath with Felder fighting at least 2 rounds with a broken arm or hand.

Dominick Cruz covering the fights during media leadup and as analyst on the PPV broadcast is great.

Chiesa missed weight but wore a Shawn Kemp jersey so he gets some press here.

We are underway in Vegas! #TUF27 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on

Conclusion

This was the biggest UFC event to date and with the 25th Anniversary Show being announced in November and a possible Cormier-Lesnar fight to end in December the latter half of 2018 could be exciting. The loss of Holloway-Ortega did not hurt the gate, but it may have hurt the PPV. Despite being one of the best ever, Cormier has yet to prove he is a PPV draw without Jon Jones. So, this event likely does above average but still nowhere near Conor/Ronda levels. Look for estimates between 450,000 to 500,000.

Lesnar return to Octagon will happen in 2019

July 9, 2018

MMA Junkie reports USADA’s confirmation that Brock Lesnar entered the USADA testing pool on July 3, 2018.  This means that the earliest Lesnar could return to the Octagon would be January 8, 2019 according to USADA.

There was speculation that Lesnar would be ready by the UFC 25th Anniversary Show in New York in November or the UFC’s year-end show on December 29th.  However, it looks like the actual date per USADA is January 8, 2019 based on the six months and four days time per USADA indicated in a statement to MMA Junkie.  Lesnar needs to be in the pool for random drug testing per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. N

Lesnar’s last appearance in the Octagon occurred at UFC 200 in July 2016.  Of course, he tested positive for a banned substance and was subsequently suspended by the NAC and USADA.  But, Lesnar claimed to have retired from the UFC thus USADA taking him out of the testing pool.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion returned to the WWE where he has been since the summer of 2016.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC usually ends with a big PPV in December in Vegas and its too early for an announcement yet of the company’s plan as to when Lesnar-Cormier would happen.  It would upset the last couple PPV events of 2018 but spring into 2019 with a huge PPV.  One would have thought that all parties would have timed this better.  But, it may have been another issue with WWE as to negotiating terms for using Lesnar.  Regardless, whenever it happens, its good news for the UFC.

UFC welterweight flagged by USADA

July 4, 2018

Bradley Scott was placed on provisional suspension by USADA after an in-competition sample was flagged on May 27, 2018.  Scott lost to Carlo Pedrsoli, Jr. at UFC Fight Night 130 on the same date.

Scott has been with the UFC since 2012 and has gone 3-5 during his stint with the company.

The UFC issued its standard statement about the finding:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed athlete Bradley Scott of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected on May 27, 2018.

Payout Perspective:

The welterweight has been on a two-fight slide since a win in March 2017.  We will see if the 29-year-old tested for and whether he will attempt to challenge, mitigate or accept the penalty.

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