Junior dos Santos flagged by USADA, claims it was from contaminated product

August 18, 2017

Junior dos Santos was notified by USADA of a potential violation of the UFC anti-doping policy and he has been taken off UFC 215.  JDS was to fight heavyweight up and comer Francis Ngannou.

JDS denies taking PEDs and released a statement to MMA Junkie through his rep Ana Claudia Guedes.

Junior tested positive for a substance called Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a diuretic and is banned by USADA due to its use as a masking agent. We do not know where this substance came from. Junior has had his blood and urine randomnly (sic) tested many times and has never once tested positive for a banned substance.

We requested testing of his B sample today. Most times, the B sample will show the identical results as the A sample. Therefore, we are already working on analyzing his nutritional supplements and medications to determine whether anything might have been contaminated. Jeff Novitzky and Donna Marcolini of the UFC have provided the guidance for this process, and we are grateful to them for their professionalism and competence.

Junior remains committed to and supportive of USADA drug testing – even if he is bearing an unfortunate consequence of it. He spoke personally with Francis Ngannou and apologized for the unintended consequence to him. Junior thanks Francis for the sympathy, understanding, and respect that transpired during their call, and very much looks forward to resolving this situation so that he and Francis can set up a new date to face one another.

Payout Perspective:

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion is in the unenviable situation of finding a purported contaminated product that contained the banned substance.  As we just wrote about Guido Cannetti receiving a 10-month suspension for a contaminated substance, JDS claims that the illicit substance found in his sample is from a something he has no knowledge of its origin.  Cannetti’s fight with USADA took a long time and one can only wonder how long such a process would take for JDS.  Notably, Tom Lawlor effectively retired from MMA and turned to pro wrestling due to a flagged USADA test.  Similarly, Lawlor claimed he did not know how the banned substance got into his system even after an extensive review of his intake.  On the other end, in December 2016, Cristiano Justino was flagged by USADA, but despite facing a 1 year suspension, she was able to work with USADA officials and was able to compete in the UFC in July 2017.  In Cyborg’s case, she was able to trace the origins of the banned substance, worked with her physician and USADA and did not face a year away.  Although it is early, JDS must determine the contaminated product he may have taken which caused the positive test.

Cannetti given 10-month sanction by USADA for contaminated product

August 18, 2017

Argentinian Guido Cannetti has accepted a 10-month sanction after testing positive for multiple prohibited substances from a contaminated supplement according to a USADA release.

The 37 year old tested positive for ostarine, the stanozolol metabolites 16β-hydroxystanozolol and 4β-hydroxystanozolol, as well as hydrochlorothiazide and chlorothiazide, following an out-of-competition test conducted on October 5, 2016.  Ostarine and stanozolol are prohibited substances in the class of Anabolic Agents, while hydrochlorothiazide and chlorothiazide are prohibited substances in the class of Diuretics of Masking Agents per USADA’s release on Friday.

Cannetti provided USADA officials with opened and sealed containers of dietary supplements that he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection and the he declare on his doping control form.  After testing the provided supplements with a WADA-accredited lab, it concluded that they contained the prohibited substances despite not being listed on the supplement label.

Cannetti’s last fight in the UFC was in August 2015 when he defeated Hugo Viana at UFC 190 in Brazil.  To give some context on how long ago this was, Ronda Rousey defeated Bethe Corriea in the main event.

Payout Perspective:

Almost 2 years after his last fight in the UFC, Cannetti is served a 10-month sanction.  It would seem that taking a 2 year suspension would have taken less time.  Still, Cannetti’s reduced suspension due to a contaminated supplement reflects the issues with the results management process and fighters being educated on what they put in their bodies.  Certainly, the fact that the supplement did not disclose the prohibited substance was contained in the product makes it difficult to assess blame to Cannetti.  However, in the end, it is the fighter that is responsible for what goes in his or her body.

Espinoza responds about McGregor-Malignaggi clips

August 18, 2017

Paulie Malignaggi has become a lighting rod for promoting the McGregor-Mayweather fight.  Whether it was strategically planned or organically occurred, the boxer and Showtime analyst has made himself a bridge to both sides.

Notably, during a conference call on Thursday, Showtime Exec Stephen Espinoza addressed the sparring footage between Malignaggi and Conor McGregor.  According to McGregor, he knocked down Malignaggi.  The boxer disputes this assertion saying that photos of him on the canvas during the sparring session did not tell the story.  Malignaggi says he was pushed down.

The question as to why the footage, which the UFC released to media, has not been used by Showtime for its “All Access” shoulder programming.  An episode showed Malignaggi preparing for a sparring session with McGregor but the cameras did not show the actual session.

Dana White told reporters on Tuesday that he sent footage of the knockdown to Showtime but the network decided not to use it.

Espinoza stated that White was “misinformed” because Showtime worked directly with the McGregor camp.  He clarified the information White sent to Showtime as “a few short clips.” Espinoza explained that the footage received seemed spliced together and was informed that they could only use it if it was shown in its entirety and not edited by Showtime.  Espinoza said that the clips were not used “because it was pretty redundant repetitive stuff.”

White said he has nothing against Malignaggi and stated it was best for his health that he left the camp.  In his opinion, McGregor unanimously won the sparring session he witnessed against the boxer.

Payout Perspective:

It’s hard not to think that the UFC-Showtime partnership will dissolve and lawsuits will be filed after this fight.  White has had a contentious relationship with Showtime in the past back when it produced Strikeforce events.  The relative smooth sailing in negotiating the fight seemed to infer that the two sides could have a working relationship.  But, it appears that the sparring sessions may have opened some old wounds.  The UFC sees Showtime as perhaps protecting its analyst, Malignaggi.  By the way, he’ll be the one on the PPV telecast calling this fight.  For Malignaggi to spar with McGregor seemed like a bad idea from the start and its stirring controversy.  But, I go back and forth as to whether this is good or bad in promoting this fight.  It also could be that Malignaggi is looking out for himself and perhaps setting up a future matchup with McGregor.

UFC newcomer notified of potential USADA violation

August 18, 2017

Nick Roehrick was notified of a potential UFC anti-doping violation following an out-of-competition taken on August 8th.  Roehrick made his UFC debut in a light heavyweight loss to Jarod Cannonier at the TUF 25 Finale in July.

Roehrick had taken the fight with Cannonier on short notice.  Prior to that, he fought on the regional circuit.

The UFC provided a statement on the notification from USADA.

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Nick Roehrick of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on August 8, 2017.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Roehnick. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward

Payout Perspective:

The 30-year-old faces a 2 year suspension from the UFC.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Roehrick since he just made his debut but the test occurred a month after his fight.  We will see what the response is and whether he will attempt to appeal.

Report indicates former UFC fighter indicted for match-fixing

August 14, 2017

According to a Korean news outlet, former UFC lightweight Tae Hyun Bang has been indicted accused of match-fixing.  Korean prosecutors have filed charges against the MMA fighter stemming from a fight in 2016 in South Korea.

Bang is accused of taking a bribe of almost $88,000 if he lost his fight to Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79 in November 2015.  However, according to a swing in betting lines, UFC officials warned Bang prior to the fight of match-fixing.  Bang won via split decision and according to the report, he changed his mind in fixing the fight.  Bang was the favorite at the time of the fight but a last minute swing in odds made him into a massive underdog.

According to MMA Junkie, Bang received death threats from organized crime figures that had bet on him losing the fight to Kuntz.  Junkie also notes that Bang denied knowledge of match-fixing.

This is not the first time in recent memory that the UFC has been the subject to possible match fixing.  In Sydney, Australia at UFC 193 in November 2015, there were concerns of corruption on the card.  Recall, this was the Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey main event.  There were concerns by gambling authorities of “irregularities.”

Payout Perspective:

There is no timeline on Bang’s legal issues in South Korea.  However, gambling and the UFC are tied together considering the use of betting lines when discussing and previewing fights.  It’s likely fixing fights will not occur on main events where everyone is looking at the betting lines.  Rather, it would happen with smaller, less scrutinized bouts where most are not eyeing the betting.  Key to this is the fact that the fighters are likely not making money and a lucrative bribe would be considered more than a fighter making more than the minimum 10K and 10K.  It will be interesting to see if the UFC attempts to monitor match-fixing more in the future.

Sponsors gear up for Summerslam this Sunday

August 14, 2017

The biggest WWE event of the summer occurs this Sunday as Summerslam will take place on Sunday, August 19th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The  Sports Business Journal reports on the sponsors that are using the event as an activation for its brand.

The event will be co-presented by KFC and Cricket Wireless.  Also, eSports property Rocket League makes its first appearance at Summerslam.  The property had been present on WWE broadcasts and recent PPVs.

In addition, DiGiorno pizza and video game maker 2K will be returning as sponsors for the event.

Dolph Ziggler will be in a commercial for Cricket Wireless which will premiere during the event which will air on national TV thereafter.  It will also host an anti-bullying campaign.  KFC will do more of an integration with the event as it will be woven into skits during Summerslam featuring the KFC Colonel.

Rocket League, which will be the presenting sponsor for the WWE’s NXT Takeover brand the night before will host a tournament featuring WWE performers on the day of Summerslam.

DiGiorno will launch a new product which will be featured across WWE social platforms.

For video game players, 2K will launch WWE2K18 on Friday in Manhattan at event featuring several WWE performers.

The article notes that the WWE has seen a 25% increase in partnership revenue this year.

Payout Perspective:
The allure of partnering with the WWE for this event is its robust social media presence and its crossover appeal.  These brands recognize the demos of the WWE and are willing to work with them (and vice versa) more than just plastering logos on the broadcast.  Notably, KFC’s use of WWE performers in a skit during Summerslam.  The partnerships reflect the WWE’s continued efforts to increase revenues through partnerships.

Mayweather-McGregor may use 8 ounce gloves

August 10, 2017

The Nevada State Athletic Commission will be looking into changing the glove size for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight at its next meeting on August 16th.  Mayweather has requested that the glove size be changed from the typical 10-ounce gloves for the 147-pound weight division to 8 ounce gloves.

In MMA, the glove weight is four ounces.

In a report on BoxingScene.com, Association of Boxing Commission rules dictate that boxers must wear 8 ounce gloves contested at the 147 pound weight limited and lower.  Above the 147 pound require boxers to wear the 8 ounce gloves.

Mayweather went on social media to make it known that he is making the request for the change.

Don’t believe what you hear in the media. Don’t believe what you hear on blog sites. If it’s not coming directly from me, then it’s not true. I’m telling McGregor, “Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves”. McGregor can fight in any brand he prefers or chooses. I’ll be wearing 8 oz Grant gloves. Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate. Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see. @grantworldwide @mayweatherpromotions

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

According to the report, the parties may have a right to submit a waiver before the commission to use the 8 ounce gloves and explain the reasons why.  The commission will then vote on the waiver.  However, it appears that this has rarely, if ever, has happened.

This is not the first time Mayweather has sparred with his opponent over gloves.  He disputed the use of Everlast gloves by Marcos Maidana in their first fight in 2014.

Payout Perspective:

At first, it seemed like a ploy with Floyd knowing that the contract stated it was 147 pounds.  But now – it still seems like a plea for fans to watch the fight.  The public relations aspect here is that Floyd wants to make it clear that Conor McGregor has a chance of beating him.  The smaller gloves are supposed to be advantageous for the MMA fighter.  With most analysts acknowledging that McGregor has little, if any chance, the parties are thinking of something to make it seem more competitive.  The 8 ounce gloves provide some semblance of leveling a playing field with the opportunity for McGregor to knock Floyd out.  I would assume this happens as the commission will likely allow the sides to proceed so long as each party agrees.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night draws 728,000 viewers

August 8, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 728,000 according to Nielsen.  The event featured Vasyl Lomachenko as he handily took care of Miguel Marriaga.

There was an overlap with the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies which may have skewed the ratings.  Still, the main event went up against UFC Fight Night’s main event of Pettis-Moreno.

The ratings are less than Top Rank’s debut last month with Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn.  The event drew 3.1 million viewers and peaked with 4.4 million viewers.  Saturday night’s event was much less than that.

On Friday night ESPN presented Golden Boy drew 415,000 viewers and 0.13 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.

Payout Perspective:

One has to think this is a disappointing rating for Top Rank as the UFC, with a weaker card, outdrew the debut of Lomachenko on cable TV.  It’s hard to explain why UFC Fight Night did better than someone that is considered one of boxing’s best at this time.  Perhaps the run-up for Mayweather-McGregor or combat sports fans are conditioned to watch UFC Saturdays, but boxing did not draw Saturday night.

UFC Fight Night 114 draws 859,000 viewers, Prelims score 633,000

August 8, 2017

UFC Fight Night 114 on FS1 Saturday night drew 859,000 viewers per Nielsen .  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 633,000.

Despite the fact the main and prelim card had mainly up and coming fighters, the ratings were strong up against live boxing on ESPN.  The FS1 main card featured Sergio Pettis taking on Brandon Moreno.  Pettis won a decision.

The prefight show on FS1 drew 208,000 and the postfight show drew 327,000 viewers for a 60 minute recap on FS1 which immediately followed the main card.

For those wondering, UFC Fight Night 111 was a Fight Pass Only event.

Payout Perspective: 

Notably, UFC Fight Night 114 did better than Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which drew 728,000 viewers.  With the opportunity for combat sports fans to watch one of the best boxers in the sport today, Vasyl Lomachenko, more wanted to watch Pettis-Moreno.  An interesting win considering ESPN is hoping to garner more fans to the network by partnering with Golden Boy and Top Rank.

Hume-OneFC and Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit file briefs regarding subpoenas

August 7, 2017

Attorneys representing Matt Hume and Group One Holdings PTE LTD., the holding company for OneFC has filed a response to Plaintiffs Motion to Compel the Deposition of Matt Hume.  Plaintiffs have also filed its response to Hume’s Motion to Quash or Modify its Subpoena to Hume, a OneFC executive.

Hume is an officer in the Asian-based MMA promotion, OneFC.

Hume’s attorneys argue that Plaintiffs in the Antitrust lawsuit are trying to pull an end around into improperly attempting to obtain OneFC’s “confidential and proprietary business information.”  They argue that Group One is a Singaporean company that is not subject to jurisdiction in the United States.  Hume’s attorney assert that it the Plaintiffs seek to obtain documents from the company, it “must follow the procedures adopted by the Hague Convention.”  Moreover, they claim that Hume does not have access to the financial information sought by Plaintiffs.  This process does not have a specific timeframe as to when letters of request must receive a response but it is understood (within the context of European regulation) that it is 90 days.  Yet, there does not seem to be a hard and fast rule.  The average time according to one procedure manual is that it is 6 months to a year for a response which creates problems with US discovery schedules.

Opposition to Subpoena Filed by Hume by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Hume argues that Mr. Hume’s deposition, if taken, cannot be used to obtain Group One’s confidential information.  The concern is that a “fishing expedition” would take place in which the Plaintiffs would be able to ask Hume, under oath, specific financial, business and confidential information about OneFC without using the proper channels to obtain the information.  Hume’s attorneys conceded that if a deposition were to take place, the Court should prohibit inquiry into Group One’s competitively-sensitive business information.  It also opposed any fees needed to be paid by Hume or OneFC as a result of this motion.  Plaintiffs claimed in excess of $21,000 for having to file the motion to compel.

Plaintiffs oppose Matt Hume and One FC’s Motion to Quash or Modify the Subpoena. Plaintiffs cite a declaration Hume submitted on behalf of Zuffa in the Antitrust Lawsuit which states “Group One Holdings compete with Zuffa to sign professional MMA fighters” and “One Championship is not a minor league or feeder league for the UFC.” Based on the fact that Hume’s title at OneFC is that of “Vice President,” Plaintiffs suggest he should have access to business documents – a statement Hume’s attorneys deny.

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion to Quash Hume Subpoena by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Despite the Nevada Court’s stating that OneFC should submit to the subpoena, Hume’s attorneys claim that it is misrepresenting the Court’s statements. Notably, a minute order stated that Plaintiffs could issue a subpoena to OneFC but Hume’s attorney stated that it would not accept service citing that it must abide by The Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad.

In addition, Hume’s attorneys are opposing a motion to transfer this issue to the District Court of Nevada. You might recall that the District Court of Los Angeles transferred a discovery dispute to Nevada involving Bellator.

Payout Perspective:

The dispute is not a sexy substantive issue but an important procedurally issue if Plaintiffs believe that OneFC’s information is helpful for their case. Despite the Nevada Court granting the right for Plaintiffs to issue a subpoena, it does not give specifics in its order. As attorneys for Hume and OneFC, they saw the issue with the order and the fact that to ascertain the information from its foreign client, it must go through a process and not through Hume. The motion to transfer the case to Nevada makes sense for Plaintiffs but Hume’s attorneys will try to keep it in Washington state where they might receive a more favorable ruling. MMA Payout will keep you posted.

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