February 20, 2017
The event took place at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The event drew 8,123 for a live gate of $575,832 U.S. dollars.
The bonuses went to Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne for Fight of the Night while the performance bonuses went to Paul Felder and Thiago “Marreta” Santos. Each earned $50,000.
The event was a little below capacity for the arena but based on reports the Canadian fans were happy that the UFC came to town. No real issues with the bonuses. Santos stoppage was the better stoppage in my opinion.
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 16, 2017
Conor McGregor is featured on the cover of the latest GQ magazine. In the interview, he talks about Floyd Mayweather and the continued rumors of their proposed fight.
The interview talked about Mayweather, the possibility of an MMA fighter union and his impending fatherhood.
Notably, GQ featured Cody Garbrandt last week and now has McGregor on the cover this week.
One has to think that the new exposure in GQ is aided by WME-IMG. The McGregor features sure feels like additional marketing for a proposed fight while he is on paternity leave. Otherwise, there’s no reason for the feature at this time.
February 16, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that Conor McGregor requests a rehearing of his NAC disciplinary case. In an unprecedented move, the NAC plans on putting McGregor’s request up for a vote at the March 22nd meeting. Notably, NAC executive director and chairman Anthony Marnell recommend the request be granted.
According to a statement released by the NAC on Tuesday, McGregor met with Marnell and Bennett.
In October, the NAC determined McGregor’s original fine to be $75,000 plus 50 hours community service and a public service announcement that would be $75,000 in value.
Since then, McGregor has filed for a judicial review of the NAC ruling in Clark County Superior Court.
As we all know, McGregor is aiming for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. With the intent that the matchup happens in Las Vegas, McGregor would have to obtain a license. However, the disciplinary fine precludes McGregor from receiving the boxing license.
A rehearing is a clear indication that the NAC wants to reduce the disciplinary charges for McGregor. Moreover, they want to grant him a license so, if a fight with Mayweather actually occurs, it can happen in Vegas. This rehearing is not how due process should occur as the appeal should go to the court. But, if McGregor agrees to dismiss the judicial review in lieu of settling the case at the NAC, I’m sure that could happen.
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
Brock Lesnar has retired from the UFC according to multiple reports and first reported at MMA Fighting. Lesnar notified the company on Tuesday.
Lesnar was serving a 1 year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and USADA. If he returns to MMA, he will have to serve the rest of the suspension.
The suspension was issued after Lesnar settled with the NSAC and USADA issued a 1 year suspension for failing an out-of-competition test and an in-competition test for UFC 200 this past July.
In addition to the suspension, he was fined $250,000 which is 10% of his reported $2.5 million purse for his win over Mark Hunt. Currently, Hunt has filed a lawsuit against Lesnar, Dana White and the UFC.
Lesnar is scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania on April 2nd.
With Lesnar retiring for the second time (his first was after his loss to Cain Velasquez after UFC 121) in the UFC, it means that he will no longer be tested by USADA and included in the UFC Anti-Doping Program. We shall see if Lesnar will decide to return but if he does its likely he will be tested heavily by USADA and given no waiver.
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
The U.S. Magistrate in the Hunt v. Zuffa, LLC, et al. case has granted Mark Hunt’s request to seal documents in his lawsuit. The ruling means that the general public will not be able to view certain documents.
The purpose of the seal according to plaintiff as noted in the order was to “allow him [Hunt] to proceed with this action while not violating the confidentiality agreement.”
When Hunt filed his lawsuit, certain exhibits attached were not included as he was requesting to file them under seal. He claims that he signed a confidentiality agreement and filing the documents without a request to seal might be a violation of the agreement.
What the order means is that the public will not be able to see certain contracts Hunt entered into with Zuffa, LLC. This is unfortunate for the public as it would show what type of contract Hunt signed to fight Lesnar as well as other agreements he had with the company.
February 12, 2017
Justino tested positive for the banned substance spironolactone although she claims that a doctor had prescribed it to her. Thus, the reason for the retroactive TUE.
According to the UFC Anti-Doping Program:
USADA will consider late filed or applications for retroactive TUEs; however, the Athlete does so at his or her own risk as USADA makes no guarantee regarding the processing of a TUE under such circumstances. Furthermore, in such instances, the Athlete may be charged up to the full cost for processing the TUE application where such filing, in the determination of USADA, is not attributed to factors outside the Athlete’s control.
Justino’s attorney is Howard Jacobs. He was the attorney that represented Jon Jones in his USADA appeal and subsequent arbitration. Jacobs also represented Brock Lesnar. USADA has requested additional information for Justino’s condition which required the prescribed banned substance.
As we know, the new women’s division is specifically for Cyborg and one would think that she will be granted this retroactive TUE despite the “at his or her own risk” language from USADA. It really makes no difference whether or not the “full cost” for processing the TUE application is assessed to Cyborg as she is much more important to the organization than the simple cost of an application.