Bellator signs former UFC TUF winner Roy Nelson

May 27, 2017

MMA Fighting has confirmed with several sources that Roy Nelson has signed with Bellator.  The heavyweight joins the growing list of former UFC fighters signing as free agents with the Viacom-owned company.

Nelson spent 8 years with the UFC.  He was 9-10 in the UFC and was a TUF contestant.  Notably, he was the first fighter to face Kimbo Slice and defeated him and an exhibition bout on the show.  Nelson went on to win Season 10 of TUF.

At 40, Nelson is on the tail-end of his career and ended 1-2 in his last three fights for the UFC.

Nelson will bring his UFC resume and knockout power to Bellator.  Whether he will be considered a contender for the Bellator Heavyweight title is something we shall see.

Payout Perspective:

With Derrick Lewis saying on The MMA Hour this week that he just signed a new contract for the UFC for “six figures,” maybe this is where the company found the money for the raise.  Nelson’s last reported show money was $100,000 to show which made him one of the higher paid fighters on the roster.  The decision not to re-sign him made sense for the UFC and also was a good business decision from Bellator’s perspective.  Assuming Nelson can still get in condition to put in 3 rounds with the potential for a KO, Bellator should be happy.

Casey’s UFC 211 drug test flagged by Texas

May 26, 2017

UFC women’s strawweight fighter Cortney Case tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in an in-competition drug screen at UFC 211 on May 13th.  The test does not mean she took a banned substance as Texas can cite a fighter for elevated T:E levels.

Per MMA Fighting, Casey had a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ration of 5.4:1.  Per Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) rules anything over a 4:1 ratio is flagged.  The report also notes that she is under suspension for three months on the American Boxing Commission database which results from a failed drug test in Texas.

Payout Perspective:

The sample from Casey will be further tested via isotope-ratio mass spectrometry to determine if the elevated levels came from testosterone.  If that is the case, Casey would be disciplined.  Again, we are left here to look at the disclosure forms prior to the fight.  Casey did not disclose any substance that might elevate her T:E levels which might have mitigated the fighting.  Since nothing was disclosed, a finding via the isotope test of testosterone would mean a suspension.

USADA has not been in contacts with TDLR regarding the test since there has not been a potential anti-doping policy violation at this time.  We once again see the potential conflicts between the promoter, its third-party administrator and commissions.  Here, Casey will likely be fined and possibly suspended by Texas.  Unless there is a banned substance, she may not be suspended at all.

TUF 25 Episode 6 draws 380,000 viewers

May 25, 2017

The Ultimate Fighter 25 episode 6 drew 380,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night per Nielsen and via ShowBuzz Daily.

The episode drew 0.15 viewers in the Adult 18-49 demo.  The fight of the episode featured Ramsey Nijem versus Julian Lane.  Nijem stopped Lane despite almost being choked out on two occasions.  It featured another dustup between TJ and Cody as well as Justin Buchholz and Duane Ludwig.

While not previously reported by this site, last week’s DVR adjusted rating for Episode 5 grew to 510,000 viewers.  The DVR numbers improved from last fall’s episode 5.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings from this week make it the highest-rated episode of the season.  To think that 380,000 is the highest rated episode this season in comparison to ratings a couple years ago reflects how much the show is more geared for DVR numbers rather than live ratings.

Cyborg cited for misdemeanor after Magana confrontation

May 23, 2017

MMA Junkie reports that Cristiane Justino has been cited by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police for misdemeanor battery as a result of confrontation with Angela Magana on Sunday.

Both fighters were in attendance at the UFC fighter summit.  Magana indicated that she wanted to press charges.  The information was from an incident report from Junkie reporting.  The Clark County District Attorney’s Office will be sent the report and determine whether to prosecute Justino.

Per Junkie, a charge of misdemeanor assault carries a potential penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Payout Perspective:

We will see if the DA decides to prosecute this case.  It seems like a very small incident that is not worth the time of the attorney’s office.  Despite the fact that Magana wants to “press charges,” that’s not how it works.  Of course, if she wants to file a civil suit for battery she could.  She could also sue the UFC and the JW Marriott for not providing a safe environment and premises liability.  Don’t know if that happens but you can follow the lawsuit that boxer Dominic Brezeale filed against the Wilder brothers and the Mariott.

UFC Athlete Retreat did not go as expected

May 21, 2017

The UFC Fighter Retreat was held in Las Vegas this past weekend and a couple altercations occurred based on social media posts.  First, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Angela Magana were involved in a confrontation in which Cyborg allegedly hit Magana.  Secondly, Kajan Johnson was removed from ta UFC discussion on the Reebok sponsorship.

According to Cyborg’s twitter account, a confrontation occurred:

confronted Angela Magana for her numerous derogatory social media posts and things got heated.

— #UFC214 #LetsGoChamp (@criscyborg) May 21, 2017

According to Ariel Helwani’s report, words between the two were exchanged and Cyborg punched Magana.  The two were separated thereafter.

In another unplanned incident for the UFC this weekend, UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson was reportedly removed from a session on the Reebok policy.  Per his twitter account, Johnson noted he was speaking up during a session about the official outfitter of the UFC.

It appears that he was able to come to an amicable solution with the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Anyone remember when Matt Mitrione and Tito Ortiz almost came to blows at a UFC retreat. Well, it appears that Cyborg threw a punch at Magan although it’s not known if there will be a criminal charge pending. As for Johnson, his last tweet above appears to me that cooler heads have prevailed and what was a spirited discussion on the Reebok issue has calmed down. Obviously, this weekend was to be a chance for the new ownership to officially meet its fighters and perhaps paint a picture for the future of the company. We will see how the UFC addresses these new dustups.

McGregor applies for Nevada boxing license

May 20, 2017

Further moving the ball toward all of our disappointment, Conor McGregor has applied for a Nevada boxing license.  This past week, Dana White announced that a deal with Conor McGregor was done with the UFC and now Mayweather just has to agree.

MMA Junkie reported the UFC lightweight champion has applied for the boxing license.  Earlier this year, a settlement was brokered with the commission with respect to a fine and subsequent judicial review by McGregor stemming from his pre-fight press conference melee with Nate Diaz.  The settlement allowed McGregor to apply for the license.

It will be of no surprise to anyone that his license will be approved by the commission as soon as possible to start the motion to the possibility of a fight with Mayweather in Las Vegas.

Payout Perspective:

This is just my opinion but all of this week’s maneuvers by the UFC and McGregor is more optics than actual movement toward a fight.  Kevin Iole made the point that most of us already know.  This is far from happening.  Even with the news of White-McGregor coming to terms, they still have to have the “A” side, which includes Al Haymon, to agree to the UFC’s contract.  Do we think that happens?  If Mayweather got 60-40 from Pacquiao, you expect him getting a bigger cut from this fight.  Assuming 70-30, that 30 would be split between UFC and McGregor.  Also, look for Mayweather to look for leverage on each and every revenue point in the contract.  This would be from gate to PPV cut to international rights to distributors to what type of gloves, etc.

So, the news of a license for McGregor is just window dressing to give the appearance that the UFC is ready for the fight and will place the blame/pressure on Mayweather.

Court delays hearing on outstanding fact discovery issues in UFC Antitrust case

May 18, 2017

A hearing that was set for Thursday to discuss outstanding issues in the UFC Antitrust case has been continued until June 1st.

The hearing was requested to determine outstanding discovery issues.  The fact discovery deadline was May 1, 2017.  However, Plaintiffs argued that the UFC had not turned over certain documents that would facilitate the depositions of Dana White and others.  It also indicated that it had yet to receive non-party information from outside parties.   The UFC claimed that Plaintiffs were reopening fact discovery.  It did concede to a 30 day continuation of fact discovery.

A portion of the Order from Pacer reads:

IT IS ORDERED that the [52] Ex Parte Motion to Continue Hearing is GRANTED, and the hearing currently scheduled for May 18, 2017, at 1:45 p.m. is VACATED and CONTINUED.

Motion Hearing set for 6/1/2017, at 9:30 AM in LV Courtroom 3B before Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen.

Payout Perspective:

It looks like the Court would like the parties to “meet and confer” on their outstanding issues themselves and come up with a plan.  The deposition of Dana White is notable as Plaintiffs are seeking text messages from several phones in possession of White.  While the UFC claims to have turned over these records, Plaintiffs have stated that there are more texts not produced.  It does look like that we are in a holding pattern until there is some resolution of discovery issues.

Bisping in court battle with former manager/gym

May 18, 2017

Michael Bisping is embroiled in a lawsuit in the UK with his old gym, Wolfslair.  A trial is ongoing in which his former gym and managers claim the welterweight champion owes them 270,000 pounds (or approximately $350,000).

The UK’s Daily Mail reported that Anthony McGann, owner of the Wolfslair Gym and Bisping’s former manager claims the fighter owes them for management fees dating back 10 years.  Bisping denies the claim and states he never signed a renewed contract with McGann in 2012.

Bisping signed a deal with McGann and the Wolfslair MMA Gym in 2005 but severed ties with them in 2012 claiming they were “violent people.”  He moved to the U.S. to train and found new management. McGann is seeking management fees from the years he was aligned with the gym.

In Court, Bisping denied signing a contract that was presented to him during testimony.  He claimed that it was his signature but the document was not the same.

The contract stated that McGann would receive a 20% commission from the representation of Bisping.

At the time of this writing, a decision has yet to be rendered.

Payout Perspective:

This is another example of why there is a need for an Ali Act in MMA.  I am not familiar with the laws in the UK, but it’s clear that either Bisping did not know what he was signing and that McGann may have taken advantage of him.  20% is a pretty steep commission, if the contract dictated that is what he had to pay.  On the other hand, you have cases like Ronda Rousey and former manager Darin Harvey.  Harvey may have had good intentions, at some point, and advanced costs to Rousey, and never received payment back.  We will see how this plays out.  If it is truly $350,000 in fees I don’t see why Bisping does not attempt to settle the case unless it’s a principal of the matter issue.   Sorry $350,000 so settlement may be out of question.

Owners to hold UFC Fighter Retreat this weekend in Vegas

May 17, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that the UFC’s new owners are holding a retreat this weekend in Vegas for all contracted UFC fighters.  Travel expenses to Vegas will be paid by the company.

The retreat will be held at the new UFC offices in Las Vegas and will kick off with a grand opening of the UFC Performance Institute.  This weekend’s UFC Athlete Retreat will also include “experts across sports, entertainment and business” speaking to the fighters.  The retreat will be a chance for the co-CEO’s Ari Emanuela nd Patrick Whitesell to formally meet the fighters.

According to MMA Fighting,  fighters were sent an email with the invitation.  Fighters with conflicting schedules are exempt from attendance.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not known if attendance is mandatory for those with conflicting schedules.  You may recall this was the issue with Al Iaquinta.  The retreat offers the fighters a chance to see the new campus and the UFC training facility.  Also, it gives the new owners a formal opportunity to address the fighters and quell fighter discontent which has seemingly been on the rise since the sale.

Canelo-Chavez replay draw 769,000 on HBO

May 17, 2017

The replay of the Canelo Alvarez- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight drew 769,000 viewers this past Saturday night on HBO per ShowBuzz Daily.

Canelo’s May fight against Amir Khan drew 767,000 for the replay on HBO.  He drew 459,000 HBO subscribers for his September 2016 fight against Liam Smith.  His 2015 fight with Miguel Cotto drew 901,000 subscribers for its replay.

Payout Perspective:
The lower ratings probably did not impact the PPV buys as it is reported that it will be over 1 million buys for the Cinco De Mayo weekend fight.  The ratings might be lower than the Cotto fight for the simple fact that news got around that the fight was a walkover.  In addition, it was on a night with UFC 211 on that night.

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