April 7, 2017
There was some controversy surrounding this morning’s UFC 210 weigh-ins. The first dealt with the controversy over Daniel Cormier’s weigh-in and the second involved whether female fighter Pearl Gonzalez could fight.
Cormier missed weight the first time on the scale by 1.2 pounds. While most believed that you had one shot at the scale, the commission rule allows for a two hour window for the fighter to make weight. Cormier needed less than that. Notably, he put his hands on the towel in front of him while he was on the scale which many say is an old weigh-in trick to get lighter as you lean on the scale. Also of note, Anthony Johnson weighed in 1.2 pounds less than the 205 weight limit right after Cormier second weigh-in attempt.
Here’s that NYSAC rule: pic.twitter.com/tnelYgrToK
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 7, 2017
At a post-weigh-ins media session, Gonzalez disclosed the breast implant surgery on her medical form but was only told about the rule against breast implants until after the weigh-ins. The UFC was able to get the commission in touch with her doctor to get her cleared.
This is from the NYSAC rules, re: fighters with breast implants. pic.twitter.com/0SbkM3EkgI
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 7, 2017
Here is a statement I was provided by the NYSAC regarding Pearl Gonzalez pic.twitter.com/AaY6OlBOgG
— John Pollock (@iamjohnpollock) April 7, 2017
The confusion over Gonzalez seems like it should have been determined earlier. It is her debut in the UFC but one would think that they would have discussed this either earlier in the week or when she signed with the UFC. The Cormier confusion is another issue. It does seem that people are turning an eye from Cormier losing 1.2 pounds so quickly. These two incidents seem to show that New York is still working through the process of regulating MMA. With its third event in the state since MMA was made legal, there appears to be more of a need to coordinate matters.
April 6, 2017
The up and down career of UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum has taken another blow as USADA has informed him of a potential violation stemming from marijuana metabolites above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL from an in-competition test.
The UFC statement reads in part:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Kelvin Gastelum of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11, 2017.
Gastelum defeated Vitor Belfort on March 11, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil. Gastelum was scheduled to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in June. It’s likely that this fight is off since he must go on provisional suspension per the anti-doping rules.
It’s clear from most people that I have heard from that this should not be a violation. While marijuana is not necessarily banned, registering over 180 ng/mL from a test is a violation. It appears that there may not be an easy alibi for Gastelum. We will see how USADA handles this in terms of whether there are mitigating circumstances (he’d have to show he bears no fault or negligence for marijuana in his system or a reduction based on degree of fault) for Gastelum’s use. If not, he’s facing a 1-year suspension.
For Gastelum, this is a terrible setback for a career in which he’s battled weight but seemed to have found his stride at 185.
April 5, 2017
USADA announced that Justin Ledet accepted a four-month sanction after testing positive for a prohibited substance from a contaminated supplement per its UFC Anti-Doping web site.
The sanction is retroactive to January 12, 2017, when the out-of-competition test was taken. Ledet
Ledet, 29, tested positive for 5α-androst-1-ene-3α-ol-17-one, a metabolite of 1-testosterone and 1-androstenedione, following an out-of-competition test conducted on January 12, 2017. 1-testosterone and 1-androstenedione are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and 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, Ledet provided USADA with an open container of a dietary supplement product he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection, which he had also declared on his sample collection paperwork and researched before using. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, preliminary testing conducted on the contents of the open container indicated that it contained the anabolic agent 1-androstenedione. The presence of an undisclosed prohibited substance in a product is regarded as contamination.
A couple days earlier Lyman Good received a 6 month sanction for a tainted vitamin. It appears that Ledet received 2 months shorter due to the fact that he was able to produce the dietary supplement and declared it on his collection paperwork. The short suspension, which ends, this month reflects the fact that it pays to disclose the information and keep track of everything that goes in your body.
April 5, 2017
Bellator 175 on Friday night drew 1.4 million viewers for the main event featuring King Mo Lawal and Rampage Jackson according to a Spike TV release. The main event peaked at 1.6 million viewers.
According to Sports TV Ratings, the overall event drew 907,000 viewers. The DVR +3 ratings drew 1 million viewers and a 0.9 rating with Men 18-49.
Per the Spike TV release, Bellator programming on Spike TV is averaging 993,000 viewers which is a 26% increase over 2016.
The ratings are better than I had expected. 1.4 million for King Mo-Rampage is very good considering the lack of any spark for this event. It does show that Rampage is still an interesting fighter despite being on the other side of his career. Will he continue it in the UFC?
April 2, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that UFC welterweight Lyman Good will receive a six-month suspension due to a tainted product in an out-or-competition test.
According to Good’s attorney, the banned substance was in a tainted vitamin. No official announcement has been issued by USADA as of this date.
Good was taken off the UFC 205 card this past November due to an out-of-competition test from October 24, 2016. The suspension is retroactive to October 24th and thus he should be available to fight for the promotion later this month.
The suspension is in line with Tim Means and Yoel Romero as they were both able to trace back a supplement that they took which contained the banned substance. On the other side, Tom Lawlor was unable to pinpoint the source of the banned substance that was in his failed test and is serving a two-year suspension.
March 30, 2017
UFC Flyweight Matheus Nicolau received a one-year suspension from USADA . The Brazilian fighter tested positive for the banned substance anastrozole.
Nicolau was flagged by USADA for an anti-doping violation in November 2014 and was forced to withdraw from UFC Fight Night 100. The flagged test was a result of an out-of-competition test taken on October 13, 2016. Nicolau’s suspension is retroactive to the date of his flagged test.
Anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor and its intended use is to treat breast cancer in women. The substance lowers estrogen hormone levels and is sometimes used as a kickstart for testosterone production. This would infer that he utilized the drug for some type of performance enhancing drug.
At just 24 years old, a year suspension should not sting Nicolau’s career. But, the circumstances surrounding the year suspension still hurts as he claims that there were only traces of the banned substances which could not provide any performance enhancing effects. Thus, he believes it to be from a contaminated supplement although he was not able to pinpoint it. Perhaps that’s the reason for the one year suspension while most others carry a mandatory two.
March 27, 2017
Attorneys for Nate Quarry have filed its Opposition Brief to Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment to dismiss Quarry’s claims in the antitrust lawsuit filed in Nevada. Quarry’s lawyers argue that while his last contract was in 2010, the harm to Quarry arose out of Zuffa’s scheme as a whole.
Quarry’s attorneys note that the former UFc fighter was “injured” during the limitations period – the four-year period between December 16, 2010 to December 16, 2014. Among the claims is that he has not been paid from Zuffa during the period and continues to receive no payment from Zuffa’s “ongoing use of his image and likeness.” Quarry notes that the use occurs through the use of his fights (including a bout while he was not with the UFC) on UFC Fight Pass and a highlight with Quarry’s likeness is in the video montage of the UFC PPVs.
While the UFC argues that the “express terms” of Quarry’s contract with the UFC show that his claims are time-barred by a statute of limitations. However, Quarry argues that he can show evidence of affirmative “overt acts” taken by Zuffa with the use of his likeness/image still on Fight Pass. Quarry’s attorneys state that fighters are not compensated for the use of their likeness/image on UFC Fight Pass and this is furtherance of the antitrust claims filed by Plaintiffs.
In addition, they cite posters autographed by Quarry from his title fight at UFC 56 on sale on the UFC web site store for $999.999 and $1,149.99. He has not received compensation for these posters
Also of note, Quarry notes a document produced by Zuffa in discovery which allegedly accounts for uses of his image or likeness within the limitations period.
In opposing Zuffa’s argument that Quarry cannot show a continued violation of antitrust laws because of his own “receipt of benefits,” Quarry lawyers cite the Ed O’Bannon and Bill Russell cases brought against the NCAA for use of their images and likenesses. Quarry’s lawyers note that the court rejected arguments that scholarship agreements by O’Bannon and Russell occurred much more than four years before their lawsuits were filed. Quarry’s tie this ruling as similar to Quarry’s contract with the UFC and the continued use of his image and likeness on Fight Pass. Notably, Boies Schiller, Zuffa’s attorneys here, was one of the firms representing the plaintiffs against the NCAA.
The basic argument here is that Zuffa claims that Quarry’s lawsuit is barred by a 4 year statute of limitations since his contract with the UFC was in 2010. However, Quarry argues that Zuffa is still using his likeness/image through UFC Fight Pass and selling his autograph on the UFC web site. It is ironic that Zuffa’s attorneys have been on both side of this argument and will be interested to see how they respond.
March 27, 2017
A day after Brock Lesnar was officially served the lawsuit filed by Mark Hunt, his attorneys have filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. Howard Jacobs, the California attorney specializing in drug testing and represented Lesnar in his case against USADA, is also representing him in this lawsuit.
Lesnar has joined the UFC and Dana White’s Motion to Dismiss which was filed last month and provided its own briefing specific to Lesnar’s case. The first matter Lesnar’s motion argued was that Hunt’s RICO violations were not sufficient to stand against Lesnar.
Specifically, it joins the UFC/White’s argument regarding the perceived missteps by Hunt in stating that he lacks “standing” – essentially the legal right, to pursue a Civil RICO Claim. Here, Lesnar highlights that Hunt’s damages are speculative at best. He also identifies that Hunt does not show the requisite steps needed to uphold a Civil RICO claim. Essentially, there is no “pattern of racketeering activity” by an “enterprise.”
Lesnar’s attorneys state that Hunt’s claim is “so incredibly deficient” as to the WWE superstar that “it is difficult to know where to event begin.”
The motion argues that Hunt’s complaint as to the RICO violation does not show an existence of a RICO conspiracy. Basically, Lesnar contends that you cannot simply allege a conspiracy violating the RICO statute just because there are multiple allegations.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 27, 2017
Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss was obviously premeditated prior to service on the WWE sports entertainer. The motion details the deficiencies that may likely halt the lawsuit before it begins with respect to the Civil RICO claims. The motion identifies for the court the issues it has with claiming that there was a conspiracy set forth by the UFC, White and to his extent, Lesnar. If nothing else, we might see the court dismissing the Civil RICO claim as to Lesnar. MMA Payout will have more on this. Stay tuned.
March 24, 2017
ESPN reports that Michael McDonald has signed with Bellator. The Bantamweight was granted his release from the UFC despite having fights left on his contract. He stated that he felt like he could trust the UFC’s motives.
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto earlier this week, he detailed the reasons why he turned down a fight with the UFC. He has been outspoken about not going into debt to train for a fight. He stated he needed $10,000 to put on a training camp.
In the interview with Okamoto, McDonald stated that he was making more money woodworking than fighting. McDonald made approximately $53,000 from his last fight in July 2016. McDonald stated that he talked to the UFC’s Sean Shelby as to why he could not take a fight. The negotiations were prolonged and Sean Shelby offered McDonald $10,000 more for win and show (so $20,000 total assuming a win) than his current contract but he’d have to take a fight within two months. If he could not do so, his salary remained the same. McDonald, who had not been training, stated that he could not take the fight at that point so there was no real help being given to Mayday. He eventually received his release.
McDonald now goes to Bellator where you’d think he’ll be a part of the June 2014 card in New York.
The release and immediate signing shows that Bellator is taking advantage of the UFC letting fighters walk or not matching their contracts once they become free agents. McDonald is only 26 and with a 17-4 pro record can still be heading into his prime as a fighter. You have to think that McDonald is getting more money to head to Bellator which is good news for the fighter since it sounded like he was just getting by with work. Certainly, for a fighter, maximizing his earning potential for the short time that you are in the business is important.
March 23, 2017
Brock Lesnar has been personally served in the Mark Hunt lawsuit according to court papers filed today. The UFC heavyweight filed the lawsuit in January in Nevada.
Earlier this week, Hunt’s attorneys filed its opposition brief in the UFC and Dana White’s Motion to Dismiss. Lesnar had not yet been served according to a footnote in the brief. The attorneys for Hunt had been working to serve Lesnar but had been unsuccessful.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 23, 2017
Since Lesnar is a Canadian citizen and he was unwilling to accept service voluntarily, Hunt had to serve him pursuant to the protocol of the Hague convention. While this might sound daunting, it shouldn’t be.
One would have to think that Lesnar join the Motion to Dismiss brought by the UFC and White. Although this Lesnar’s claims differ from the UFC and White, expect the current WWE star’s attorney to proclaim the lawsuit as without merit. MMA Payout will have more on this in the coming weeks.