February 23, 2017
On Wednesday, Bellator filed a Motion to Quash a Subpoena served on it by the UFC in its antitrust lawsuit filed in Nevada. MMA Payout has obtained the documents related to the motion to quash.
Bellator is not a party to the lawsuit. There is no date set for the hearing. Since the pleading was filed in California, it’s not known at this point whether Zuffa will make Bellator file in Nevada or make an appearance in California.
The motion essentially is a court order relieving Bellator of its duties under the UFC-issued subpoena.
The requests are outlined by Bellator in its motion. It made attempts to compromise by providing certain information but the UFC would not do it.
The filing includes a Declaration of Scott Coker. In the 8 page Declaration he states that the reasons why Bellator cannot provide the requested information to Zuffa.
Notably, he states that providing athlete contract information, competitors would be able to anticipate Bellator’s recruitment strategies. Also, “[d]isclosure of Bellator’s fighter contracts to the Plaintiffs…and to other MMA athletes would place Bellator at a grave competitive disadvantage in its negotiations with athletes. With comprehensive knowledge of Bellator’s existing deals, price points, negotiating tactics, and business development priorities, athletes and their management would have more leverage to drive their own desired deal terms and precipitate disputes among athletes already under contract.”
This is the general dealing in discovery fights. The subpoena request is broad, the one producing the documents wants to limit, while the requester always wants more information. The Motion to Quash is the relief that Bellator has to avoid the subpoena in order to not be in violation. From Bellator’s perspective, it does not want to release the information as the UFC and other competing organizations can use it in the future. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
February 22, 2017
Bellator has sued Zuffa in federal court in California to prevent the UFC from obtaining key financial and contract information on fighters in its possession. The Viacom-owned company is seeking to quash the subpoenas served by the UFC to obtain information that is part of the antitrust lawsuit it is involved with former fighters.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District for the Central District of California. The antitrust lawsuit’s current venue is in Nevada federal court.
Bellator claims that it has already “produced in excess of two thousand pages of responsive documents” related to the lawsuit. It argues that the UFC’s request for additional information seeks confidential information, seek trade secret and other sensitive information.
This was an obvious result from the discovery in this lawsuit. It was clear that the UFC or Plaintiffs would request information on contracts and finances from its biggest competitor. It was also clear that Bellator would not provide this information. It does appear that Bellator has complied to a certain extent. The UFC will likely say that some (maybe most) of the information provided by Bellator was irrelevant and a document dump and it has not provided the information provided in its subpoena requests. With Bellator intervening, the process for the Le plaintiffs to go to trial will take much longer due to the fight over documents.
MMA Payout will have more in the next day.
February 18, 2017
Matt Mitrione is out of Bellator 172 with a sickness just hours before the start of the main card. Bellator has indicated it will look to reschedule the fight at a later date.
The new main event is Josh Thomson and Patricky Freire.
There was much anticipation for this fight as the legend of Fedor is something that old school fans and new casual fans were interested in. The cancellation derails momentum for this event and potential big ratings for tonight.
Although Bellator scrambled to find a replacement, one can imagine how hard it would be to find a replacement just hours before the fight.
Bellator had been banking on this event and the pre-fight shoulder fighting was unique and entertaining. See below. Comedian Adam Carolla narrated this video vignette with many guest appearances.
February 17, 2017
USADA has granted Cris “Cyborg” Justino a retroactive exemption after a December 2016 out-of-competition test discovered a banned diuretic in her system.
Justino will now be next in line to face newly crowned featherweight division champ Germaine de Randamie.
The drug which Justino’s test was flagged for spironolactone, which was to treat fertility issues according to the Brazilian fighter.
I am extremely happy that USADA took the time to carefully review the detailed TUE application that I submitted,… https://t.co/QsjnvedqYP
— #UFCRIO (@criscyborg) February 17, 2017
From the USADA release:
Upon notice of her positive test, Justino immediately identified a medication prescribed by her physician for the treatment of a common endocrine disorder as the source of the prohibited substance detected in her sample. She also participated in multiple interviews with USADA’s investigative team and consented to USADA interviewing her physician as well.
After a thorough investigation of the circumstances that preceded her positive test, which included a comprehensive review of Justino’s documented medical history, USADA accepted Justino’s explanation that her use of Spironolactone began in late September, following her bout at UFC Fight Night Brasilia, and was in accordance with her physician’s recommendation for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition. Nonetheless, because Spironolactone is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA advised Justino that her use of the medication without a valid TUE violated the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Accordingly, Justino applied for a TUE to authorize her use of the medication, with retroactive effect.
Justino could have faced a 2-year suspension.
All indications looked as though this was going to happen. Dana White made public statements about Cyborg possibly returning soon. Fortunately, she can come back immediately. Look for her to face de Randamie for the featherweight title. Of course, if she is unable to go due to her hand injury, the UFC will have to find a suitable opponent in the feather weight division.
February 15, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that Georges St. Pierre has agreed to a new contract with the UFC.
GSP, the former UFC welterweight champion, has been out of action since UFC 167.
Last year, GSP proclaimed himself a “free agent” after an impasse on a new contract with the new owners of the UFC. GSP’s attorney, Jim Quinn, stated that the existing contract St Pierre had with the UFC was terminated although the UFC disagreed. Legal action seemed almost a given.
Notably, GSP was one of several fighters at a news conference late last year to announce the formation of MMAAA, an effort to organize MMA fighters.
No word at this point if St Pierre will continue those efforts after signing with the UFC.
If you listened to The MMA Hour on Monday, Michael Bisping indicated that GSP may be his next opponent. Now, this makes sense upon learning word of the signing. GSP has business acumen and he knew that if he wanted to fight he’d want to sign with the UFC. The company needs another top draw with the prolonged absence of Conor McGregor and the uncertain future of Ronda Rousey. The report indicates that GSP is looking to fight in the third quarter of the year. However, one might think that if a fight with Bisping can be made for July’s International Fight Week that would be the best case scenario.
February 14, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition we take a look at the UFC’s second PPV in New York. This time at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
New champ of new women’s division
Germaine de Randamie narrowly defeated Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s Featherweight Division. The decision did not go without controversy as de Randamie won 47-48 but was not deducted a point after two clear shots after the bell. Joe Rogan was apoplectic that the referee did not deduct one point on the second shot after the bell.
Regardless, the title goes to de Randamie. She has offered up a rematch with Holm due to controversy but one would think that Cyborg gets the next shot if she is given a retroactive TUE.
Silva turns back the clock, Brunson
Anderson Silva showed he still has it with a victory over Derek Brunson. Perhaps Silva won via show but Brunson seemed too tentative. It was a very emotional scene for Silva post-fight as he has come to terms with his role as a fighter that will not compete for a title.
The Barclay’s Center was a sellout for UFC 208 with 15,628 fans for a live gate of $2,275,10. It was the highst grossing sporting event in arena history.
There were only 3 bonus winners since there was only one finish. Dusin Poirier and Jim Miller won for Fight of the Night while Jacare earned a Performance Bonus for stopping Tim Boetsch.
In tying in a sponsor, the UFC tweeted out the winners and included a link to Netflix’s new realtiy show Ultimate Beastmaster. It sounds like American Ninja Warrior.
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2017
Notably, Anderson Silva co-hosts the Brazilian version of Ultimate Beastmaster.
Promotion of the Fight
Holly Holm appeared on “Live with Kelly” to promote the event.
— UFC (@ufc) February 8, 2017
There was no sponsor for the Embedded series this time around and perhaps sponsors knew that this was going to be a dud this time around.
The usual sponsors were in the cage including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Budweiser, Halo Wars 2, the movie Fist Fight, Netflix’s The Ultimate Beastmaster and Monster Energy had the center.
Also, Microsoft’s Halo Wars 2 had the fighter prep point.
The movie Fist Fight starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube was featured during UFC 208. They also included a tweet associated with the event.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) February 12, 2017
Odds and ends
It was the first time, in a long time that a PPV did not have Mike Goldberg as Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier joined Joe Rogan. The three still need seasoning. If it was up to me, I would like Dominick Cruz in place of Cormier.
New walkout song for The Spider. Hard not to associate him with DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” But, the song that replaced it was performed by his son Kalyl.
— Dana White (@danawhite) February 11, 2017
Dana White went on Instagram during UFC 208.
Jacare Souza should get the next shot at Bisping. Period.
Tony Parker, whose San Antonio Spurs played the New York Knicks on Sunday. The Spurs lost.
UFC 208 drew over 200,000 google searches on Friday. Anderson Silva drew 50,000 on Saturday. Likely, the searches for Silva occurred after news that he had won. So, it’s likely those aren’t due to wanting to buy the PPV.
It’s hard to think that this will be a big buy rate. None of the fights were compelling from a causal viewer standpoint. UFC 206 had over 200K google searches this past December and I think that 208 will do a similar buy rate. Look for this event to do between 150,000 to 175,000 buys.
February 13, 2017
A jury in New York took just 32 minutes to determine that boxer Alexander Povetkin took meldonium after the substance was banned on January 1, 2016 per ESPN.
The 9-person jury, which included a chemist, made the decision on Monday after a 3 day trial in which both boxers attended.
Despite the verdict, there might be an appeal. A letter dated February 12, 2017 by World of Boxing’s attorneys cited “gross and extensive misconduct” during the trial. The letter was filed prior to Monday’s jury verdict we presume.
If there is no appeal, it appears that Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella will receive a portion of the money still in escrow. Wilder was due $4.5 million to fight Povetkin while there was a $715,000 bonus for the winner. The attorney for Wilder and DiBella believes that the judge will release the funds.
While its early, one would have to expect a Motion for New Trial and/or an appeal from World of Boxing based on the letter from their attorneys. Still, the basic theory of the case by Wilder was that there were 4 VADA drug tests in April. The first 3 did not show any traces of meldonium but the fourth one did. Thus, he must have taken the banned substance after the third test. World of Boxing argues that despite the negative tests, Povetkin had meldonium in his system from 2015 and it just was not picked up by the tests.
We will now see how much more legal fees World of Boxing will want to invest in this case. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
February 10, 2017
This week Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin went to trial to determine whose fault it was that cancelled their fight in Russia this past May.
The sole issue to be decided at trial is whether Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the date that it was banned by WADA.
The trial is a battle of the experts with each side arguing about the admissibility of testimony and evidence. The science of determining Meldonium in the system is key. Povetkin admits to taking Meldonium in 2015 as prescribed by a physician. However, he denies taking it after 2016. WADA banned the substance on January 1, 2016.
Four VADA tests by Povetkin leading up to their anticipated fight in April 2017 occurred. Povetkin’s VADA tests on April 7, 8 and 11, 2017 came up negative. However, an April 27, 2017 test showed Meldonium. World of Boxing claims that the Meldonium are traces from his 2015 use.
Trial began this past Monday.
Per a pretrial order dated January 31, 2017, the parties included specifics related to trial including experts. The experts were to have submitted reports, the basis of their testimony, prior to the start of trial. The Wilder legal team retained Anthony Butch, Ph.D. to testify about the testing of banned substances and the result of Povetkin’s tests as it relates to detection of Meldonium. Essentially, Povetkin’s test results reveal he took Meldonium some time between April 11 and his last VADA test of April 27, 2016. They also named Daniel Eichner, Ph.D. as a possible expert to testify regarding the positive test results. He was added after World of Boxing added Dr. Douwe de Boer.
The World of Boxing team included several experts regarding the detection of Meldonium with the conclusion that Povetkin did not take the drug post-January 1, 2016. This included Dr. Boris Simkhovich and Dr. de Boer. Notably, Dr. de Boer was a late addition to the expert list and submitted a report which Wilder’s attorneys opposed.
On Thursday night, attorneys for Deontay Wilder requested to call Dr. Anthony Butch as a “very brief rebuttal witness” as it relates to World of Boxing’s expert, Dr. de Boer. The claim to use Dr. Butch is that Dr. de Boer disclosed an “entirely new theory of the case” during his trial testimony. Additionally, Wilder’s attorneys wanted to call Dr. Boris Simkhovich as a rebuttal witness. However, Dr. Simkohovich was a designated expert of World of Boxing but was not called by the World of Boxing when they put on its case.
The new revelation addresses, according to Wilder’s attorneys, the reasons why Povetkin’s April 7, 8 and 11, 2016 urine samples had no detection of Meldonium but there was detection of Meldonium in his April 27, 2016 test: ion suppression.
Dr. de Boer was a late add as an expert by Wilder’s legal team. The presiding magistrate, Judge Gabriel Gorenstein allowed Dr. de Boer to testify however he would have to submit to a deposition prior to trial as well as having an expert rebut the report.
The testimony from Dr. de Boer suggests due to ion suppression, Meldonium was not detected in the first three tests of April because the method of analyzing (mass spectrometer) did not pick up the Meldonium due to a competing molecule suppressing the Meldonium molecules. But, the April 27th test contained residual Meldonium which it was able to pick up.
The claim is that Dr. de Boer’s theory is based on the late production of Dr. Butch’s raw data. Despite submitting to a deposition, Dr. de Boer was precluded from answering questions about the report at his deposition per instruction from the Magistrate as the two sides butted heads over the issue.
They also wanted to call Dr. Simkhovich as a witness as Wilder’s side believed that his testimony was contrary to that of Dr. de Boer’s testimony which would seemingly show a flaw in World of Boxing’s case.
Attorneys for World of Boxing argue that Wilder’s problems are his own as the Court gave Wilder an option of deposing Dr. de Boer on Feb 1 or 2 or postpone the trial. Wilder opted to go to trial and depose Dr. de Boer. They also argue that Dr. de Boer’s report and data were provided to Wilder’s side prior to the deposition and they could have asked questions about it. They also argue that Dr. Simkhovich cannot be used as a witness as he was not called by World of Boxing and would be inadmissible.
The legal fights over inclusion of expert testimony occurs a lot and certainly each side wants to preserve their right to an appeal if needed. The credibility of the experts will be key and the efforts to rebut testimony is a way for the legal teams to get the last say before a jury.
February 6, 2017
World of Boxing has submitted a rebuttal expert to address the additional “raw data” supplied by the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory.
The report is from Biochemist Dr. Douwe de Boer. Dr. de Boer reviewed the information including the rebuttal expert report from Wilder’s expert. Importantly, it includes review of Povetkin’s VADA urine drug tests from April 8,9, 10 and 27th.
The sole issue at trial is whether Alexander Povetkin took Meldonium post-January 1, 2016. Wilder claims he did. Povetkin argues that the finding of Meldonium occurred in 2015 prior to the WADA ban.
The anticipated theory of the case is that the negative drug tests of April 8-10 and the positive drug test of April 27th for Meldonium show that Povetkin took the drug after his April 10 test.
However, Dr. de Boer concludes that “the so-called “negative” results for Meldonium in some of the urine samples collected does not mean that no Meldonium is present.” He asserts that a possible concentration was “sometimes below” the limit to detect it. He claims that some of the samples were “not negative,” but merely “not adverse.” He concludes that based on the low values “of a logical pharmacokinetic profile, its unlikely Povetkin took Meldonium post-April 11.
So, it will be a battle of experts at trial. Dr. de Boer suggests that Povetkin had Meldonium in his system from his physician prescribed use prior to the WADA ban. But, the tests that revealed it to be negative actually had Meldonium in them. Thus, Povetkin’s expert argues that there would be no inconsistency in the tests as the Meldonium that showed up in the April 27 test was not new. We should see how this theory plays out this week.
February 4, 2017
Meldonium is the key issue when attorneys for boxer Deontay Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella square off against Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing. In the latest filings, Wilder’s attorneys claim that Povetkin’s side withheld a damaging email it sent to VADA regarding Povetkin’s testing.
Now, Wilder’s attorneys are seeking to introduce the evidence to reveal that in production of documents an email was withheld.
The crux of the issue that will go to trial next week is whether Alexander Povetkin took Meldonium after the official WADA ban on the substance January 1, 2016. Wilder’s attorneys claim Povetkin took the banned substance after January 1 thus the reason the heavyweight pulled out of an anticipated fight in Russian in May 2016. Povetkin’s claim is that he took the drug prior to January 1, 2016 as prescribed by his physician and prior to the ban. They plan to introduce evidence and testimony that Meldonium can take time to leave the system.
One of the big issues will be a series of VADA drug tests on Povetkin. Tests in April 2016 reveal Povetkin had negative tests from April 7, 8 and 11 but a latter test on April 27 detected Meldonium.
Wilder’s attorney provided the court with a supplemental expert report which analyzed raw data from the tests. Povetkin’s attorneys are fighting to include a rebuttal expert report which suggests that the raw data analyzed shows that Povetkin may have had Meldonium in his system during the April 7, 8 and 11 tests.
The anticipated working theory is that Wilder will argue that the negative tests in early April plus the April 27 test show that Povetkin took the drug post April 11, 2016.
Povetkin rebuts this theory with the argument that the negative tests actually show the possibility that the fighter had Meldonium in his system at the time.
Perhaps damaging the Povetkin side is the withheld email which is purportedly from a representative of the World of Boxing, Dmitry Ivanov, to VADA’s Margaret Goodman which reads:
I would like to discuss with you about tests. In Spain it were t[h]ree times tests. It is too much. ***Recently I wrote about our best time table for.
Cause you know it will be very important fight in our career and we need have the best preparation and limit tests in order not to negative result.
We are really can’t have a tests every other days.
Hope you understand me in this issue. * * * Help to us make preparation in the good regime. * * *
p.s. I am sorry about my English. Hope you understand me right.
Wilder’s attorney claim that this email shows that World of Boxing is trying to conceal something by requesting that Povetkin’s drug tests are limited.
Povetkin’s attorneys have yet to respond.
If there is such thing as a hot document, Wilder believes that this is one that fits its theory of the case “like a glove” as it wrote to the court on Thursday of last week. It’s likely we’ll see the introduction of more dueling expert reports and rebuttals. How much will the court allow before the trial starts will be up to the court.