February 26, 2017
PBC on Fox drew 1.76 million viewers Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings. It finished third out of three sports on the networks on Saturday night.
The NHL on NBC drew 2.02 million viewers and the NBA on ABC drew 2.34 million viewers Saturday night. ABC drew the most in the adult 18-49 demo on Saturday night as it featured the Chicago Bulls-Cleveland Cavaliers in prime time.
The PBC event featured Deontay Wilder and Gerald Washington. It drew a 0.5 in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share for its 2 hour time block. Wilder KO’d Washington.
Last January, PBC on Fox drew 2.24 million viewers and finished behind Bulls-Cavs on ABC and US Figure Skating on NBC.
PBC on Fox this past July drew 1.45 million viewers.
A rough night for PBC but it does improve from July’s showing. PBC went up against two other sporting events on the networks and finished third. Notably, UFC on Fox is doing much better than PBC events which have yet to catch on.
February 25, 2017
UFC light heavyweight Gian Villante was issued a retroactive therapeutic use exemption by USADA which clears him of a potential anti-doping violation.
Via USADA release:
Villante, 31, declared the use of a Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) inhaler during an out-of-competition urine test conducted on January 18, 2017, and subsequently tested positive for vilanterol. Vilanterol is a prohibited substance in the category of Beta-2 Agonists and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Following his disclosure, USADA advised Villante that absent a valid TUE, the use of the inhaler was prohibited under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Thereafter, Villante submitted a TUE application documenting that his physician prescribed a 14-day course of the inhaler to treat conditions associated with airflow restriction and asthma.
Notably, the same day that Villante was granted the TUE exemption, Tom Lawlor, who beat Villante, agreed to a two-year suspension.
Villante’s reasons for the retroactive TUE is the purpose of the retroactive exemption. From the story, it sounds as though he did what he was supposed to do in declaring the use of the prohibited substance and followed up with the physician prescription and application for the retroactive TUE. Obviously, the best practice may have been to contact USADA ahead of time for the exemption rather than apply retroactively.
February 25, 2017
UFC’s Tom Lawlor has accepted a two-year suspension from USADA after a positive out-of-competition test for the banned substance ostarine. Lawlor will be out until October 10, 2018.
The out of competition test took place on October 10, 2016.
Lawlor, 33, did not make a formal attempt to appeal the flagged test which put him on provisional suspension.
Via the USADA release:
Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 and Enobosarm, is a non-FDA approved selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) which is illegally sold in the United States and globally as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. Nonetheless, ostarine has been found as a declared and undeclared ingredient in many dietary supplements sold in the United States, which has prompted the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warning letters to specific dietary supplement manufacturers stating that ostarine is an unapproved new drug and that selling the drug is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
Lawlor responded to the two year suspension on twitter with his lab results:
Anyone that knows how to analyze lab results, go ahead and have some fun=) Career ending levels of ostarine! pic.twitter.com/JgIH8qONLb
— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) February 25, 2017
It’s a tough suspension for the popular 33-year-old although it seems that he may be embarking on a pro wrestling career. Without a formal appeal, it might seem that despite the levels found in his test were low, the probability of a successful appeal was as low.
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 22, 2017
UFC Fight Night 105 drew an average of 907,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday night per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims which preceded the event drew 760,000 viewers.
The main card featured Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne in the main event. Lewis earned the victory with a stoppage of Browne. The 2 hour prelims event featured four fights including Carla Esparza and Randa Markos.
The main card drew 435,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo while the prelims drew 330,000.
The FS1 fight card had stiff competition on Sunday night as it went up against the NBA All-Star game which aired on both TNT (drawing over 6.5M viewers) and TBS (over 1.2M viewers0. The 907K is not far off from last month’s Sunday night event featuring BJ Penn. That event, UFC Fight Night 103, drew 1.090 million viewers with the prelims garnering 824,000. Not a bad showing considering the competition on Sunday night.
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 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.