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 Fight Night 133 draws 754,000 viewers and prelims drew 572,000

July 17, 2018

UFC Fight Night 133 drew 754,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Saturday on FS1 drew 572,000 viewers.

The main card which featured the return of Junior dos Santos in a unanimous decision victory over Blagoy Ivanov drew 383,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.46 household share. The 2 hour prelims drew 264,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.33 in household share.  The prelims featured a fight between bantamweights Eddie Wineland and Alejandro Perez.  Perez won via unanimous decision.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings on a night where boxing was on ESPN and ESPN + with the latter streaming the return of Manny Pacquiao.  The ratings are the best Fight Night event since UFC Fight Night 129 in May.  Last year’s Fight Night card post-International Fight Week PPV drew 402,000 for an event in Scotland.  The Boise card reported a sell-out and the ratings were very good on a night with a choice of combat sports to watch.

UFC Fight Night 133 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 14, 2018

UFC Fight Night 133 took place in Boise, Idaho on Saturday night and drew a sold out crowd at the Centurylink Arena.

The event drew 5,648 in attendance for a gate of $591,575.  It was the first time that the UFC was in Boise and the state of Idaho.

The bonuses went to Chad Mendes, Niko Price, Raoni Barcelos and Kurt Holobaugh.  Barcelos and Holobaugh earned the Fight of the Night while Mendes and Price earned Performance bonuses.

The UFC announced the numbers post-event.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance and gate are pretty standard for Fight Night events considering the UFC tries to do them in smaller arenas in smaller per capita cities.  The Boise event was well-attended considering the small venue.  Notably, Mendes returned from a two-year suspension from USADA and did well in taking out Myles Jury.

Adesanya tops TUF 27 Finale salaries

July 12, 2018

The Nevada Athletic Commission disclosed the salaries from last Friday’s TUF 27 Finale.  With his win, Israel Adesanya earned the most on the card.

Via MMA Fighting:

Israel Adesanya ($56,000 + $56,000 = $112,000) def. Brad Tavares ($56,000)
Mike Trizano ($15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000) def. Joe Giannetti ($15,000)
Brad Katona ($15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000) def. Jay Cucciniello ($15,000)
Alex Caceres ($42,000 + $42,000 = $84,000) def. Martin Bravo ($25,000)
Roxanne Modafferi ($25,000 + $25,000 = $50,000) def. Barb Honchak ($10,000)
Alessio Di Chirico ($18,000 + $18,000 = $36,000) def. Julian Marquez ($12,000)

Montana De La Rosa ($12,000 + $12,000 = $24,000) def. Rachael Ostovich ($12,000)
Luis Pena ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Richie Smullen ($10,000)
John Gunther ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Allan Zuniga ($10,000)
Bryce Mitchell ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Tyler Diamond ($10,000)Steven Peterson ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Matt Bessette ($12,000)
Gerald Meerschaert ($18,000 + $18,000 = $36,000) def. Oskar Piechota ($14,000)

Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust lawsuit file opposition in light of U.S. Supreme Court ruling

July 12, 2018

Earlier this week, the plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit have filed a response in opposition to Zuffa’s motion seeking to file supplemental authority to support its Motion to Exclude Plaintiffs’ expert Dr. Hal Singer.

Zuffa is seeking to include the recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Ohio v. American Express in support of its Motion to Exclude which was filed at the beginning of May.  The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion on June 25, 2018.

Zuffa filed a motion requesting the opportunity to file supplemental authority on July 5th.  It explains the reason why it would like the Court to consider the case:

The Supreme Court decided Ohio v. American Express Co., — S. Ct. –, 2018 WL 3096305 on June 25, 2018. As explained in Zuffa’s proposed Notice of Supplemental Authority, this decision clarified that in light of the procompetitive benefits of certain vertical restraints, a plaintiff must define a relevant market to evaluate the anticompetitive effect of an alleged vertical restraint even when using direct evidence. Id. *8 n.7. Plaintiffs argue in their Opposition to the Singer Daubert motion that defining a relevant market is unnecessary when evidence of direct effects on compensation is presented. Accordingly, Amex will inform this Court’s decision on whether to grant Zuffa’s Motion to Exclude the testimony of Dr. Singer in light of this new development in the law that affects the currently pending motion. Plaintiffs are not prejudiced by this filing, as this additional legal authority was unavailable prior to the Daubert briefing, Plaintiffs will receive timely notice through this filing, and Zuffa has not delayed in presenting this authority to the Court or Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs argue in their opposition brief that Dr. Singer has defined the relevant markets and applies them to his opinion.

Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to Zuffa’s Motion to File Supplemental Authority by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Dr. Singer was retained by the Plaintiffs as an expert economist to opine, in part, that the compensation of all proposed class members is adversely affected by the UFC’s anticompetitive practices.  He also to identify the relevant markets in which this occurs.

The Supreme Court case is detailed here. In a 5-4 decision in favor of American Express, the Court determined that Amex’s anti-steering policies did not violate antitrust law.  The case specifically involves policies set by some credit card banks that prevented merchants from steering customers to use cards from other issuers with lower transaction fees, forcing merchants to pay higher transaction fees to the banks.  The case was based on the relationship between antitrust law and two-sided markets.  Thus, you might infer the parallels with the UFC case where the issue of the defining markets are being challenged.

The court in the UFC lawsuit may or may not take the AmEx case into consideration but Zuffa had a right to file the motion and the Plaintiffs had an opportunity to advise why it did not apply in this case.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Early reports for UFC 226 for PPV slightly under 400K

July 11, 2018

Dave Meltzer reports that early estimates of this past Saturday’s UFC 226 are slightly under 400,000 PPV buys.  Unless this number makes a drastic rise, the numbers reflect the lack of drawing power for the heavyweight main event.

Despite the fact that UFC 226 lost the Max Holloway-Brian Ortega fight, it’s hard to think that the fight for the lightweight title would have increased these prognostications much more.  Based on the mediocre prelims ratings of 668,000, it appears that despite a very good gate, the PPV viewership did not feel compelled to watch.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect an uncomfortable trend of big fights not turning up PPV numbers.  Cormier has not proven to be a draw on his own.  The only times he’s produced numbers was fights against Jon Jones.  Similarly, Stipe Miocic has not produced as a PPV star and the only time one of his PPVs did well (450K buys), it was mainly due in part to the curiosity of CM Punk.  The good news is that the rumors of Conor McGregor returning later this year and Brock Lesnar’s return in early 2019 should help build for at least two big PPVs.  But, the promotion of the “Superfight” between two champs did not seem to work from a PPV standpoint this time around.

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.

TUF 27 Finale main card draws just 499,000 viewers

July 9, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter 27 drew 499,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 drew a nearly identical 493,000 viewers.

The main card numbers make it the lowest-rated TUF Finale to date.

The TUF 27 main event featured Brad Tavares taking on Israel Adesanya.  The Nigerian-born fighter dominated the fight and won via unanimous decision.  The prelims featured Montana De La Rosa as she submitted Rachael Ostovich via rear naked choke.

Both the main card and prelims drew 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

It’s rare that you don’t see a UFC event lose much interest from prelims going into the main card.  Yet, this event did just that…almost.  The ratings this year improved in DVR viewership but we see that the decreased viewing this season led to the lowest-rated main card of all time for the TUF Franchise.

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.

TUF 27 Finale attendance, gate and bonuses

July 7, 2018

UFC reports the TUF Finale 27 attendance, gate and bonuses.

The numbers were disclosed post-event.  The bonuses went out to Israel Adesanya, Luis Pena, Alex Caceres and Martin Bravo.  Each earned $50,000 bonuses.  Caceres and Bravo earned Fight of the Night while Adesanya and Pena drew Performance Bonuses.  Adesanya scored the rare feat of earning a performance bonuses without a stoppage.

TUF 27 was a sell-out of 2,123 as it is gravitating to a smaller venue each year.  The intimate gathering at the Pearl Theatre in Vegas drew a gate of $293,615.50.

Payout Perspective:

As happens with FS1 televised events, the pacing of the fights was very slow.  The fights were ok with the TUF winners being crowned and Adesanya putting on a great performance against Brad Tavares.

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