Shamrock given $2,500 fine, license revoked for Bellator 149 failed drug test

August 11, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that Ken Shamrock has agreed to a $2,500 fine in a settlement with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  In addition, his license to fight in Texas is now revoked.

The settlement is a part of the post-fight drug test failure by Shamrock from February’s Bellator 149.  Shamrock’s pre-fight urine test came up positive for synthetic opiod methadone and the steroid nandrolone.  The Texas commission initially offered a settlement of a $3,000 fine and license revocation.

Shamrock claimed that the positive test was caused by medication.  But, he decided to settle the case instead of having a contested hearing on the matter.  Per Junkie, the settlement agreement was signed on July 11.  He will be available to apply for another license in Texas in March 4, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

The process in Texas took some time as the event took place in February.  Of course, it appeared that Shamrock thought about mounting a defense to the positive test results.  You might recall Kimbo Slice was found to have tested positive as well.  The question is whether the 52-year-old Shamrock will seek to apply for a license in March 2017, fight overseas or retire altogether.

Professional Fighters Association announces intent to help UFC fighters

August 11, 2016

The announcement of an association geared toward UFC athletes may be another step to a collective effort for fighters to organize.  The Professional Fighters Association (PFA) announced its formation on Thursday.

According to a press release put out by the PFA, its goal is to organize fighters “so that they may collectively bargain their terms and conditions of employment to the National Labor Relations Act.”  The release states that the PFA will be governed by fighters.

The PFA web site is run by veteran sports agent Jeff Borris, labor lawyer Lucas Middlebrook (who you might recall represented Nick Diaz against the Nevada State Athletic Commission last year) and economist Andrew Zimbalist.  The web site has quotes from leaders of other sports players unions praising the start of the PFA for UFC fighters.

MMA Junkie reported that a New York law firm is attempting to recruit fighters for talks about organizing.  With the UFC now legal in New York, it appears that there is an opportunity sought by attorneys to help organize the fighters.

Payout Perspective:

The PFA joins MMAFA as well as other groups out there seeking to organize MMA fighters.  It will be interesting to see how much traction it will receive as well as how much the UFC (and the new owners) may seek to oppose something like this.  Certainly, the disparity outlined by the PFA (fighters receive 15% of UFC revenue versus an almost across the board 50/50 split in leagues) regarding fighter pay might attract fighters to see what PFA could do.

USADA clears bantamweight after positive drug test

August 9, 2016

UFC bantamweight Ning Guangyou did not receive a sanction for a positive drug test.  Guangyou tested positive for trace amounts of clenbuterol but USADA deemed that he ingested it without fault or negligence.

According to the USADA report, the positive test is a result of an out-of-competition test back in May.  Clenbuterol was found in his sample.  It is an anabolic agent prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  However, as the report states, “the illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete.”

After review of Guangyou’s whereabouts, dietary habits and the lab reports, it was deemed that it was likely that he consumed contaminated meat in China.

The UFC issued a statement on its web site, a portion of it reads:

In late July, UFC was made aware of USADA’s investigation into the source of the prohibited substance clenbuterol in an out of competition sample collected from Ning Guangyou. Given it was initially unclear as to the timing of the resolution of the investigation, UFC made the decision to move Guangyou’s scheduled bout against Marlon Vera on August 20, 2016 at UFC 202 to UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Condit in Vancouver, BC on August 27, 2016.

Payout Perspective:

The good news is that this case was determined ahead of Guangyou’s fight so he did not lose out on a payday when there was a possibility that he may not be at fault.  The investigation shows that USADA is making an effort to ensure that positive tests reflect infractions rather than no-fault positive tests.  We have seen this with the finding of Meldonium in tests from UFC fighters.  From a business perspective, the investigations as well as the increase in tests this year will mean more investment into the UFC Anti-Doping policy.

UFC Fight Night 92 draw 863,000, Prelims 662,000

August 9, 2016

UFC Fight Night 92 drew 863,000 viewers Saturday night on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 662,000 viewers.

UPDATED:  The peak for the main card was 1,023,000 from 10:45-11:00pm ET.  This would mean that it viewership peaked pretty early.

The main card featured Alex Caceres and Yair Rodriguez in an entertaining fight in which Rodriguez pulled out the victory.  The event aired from 10:00pm to 1:27am ET.  It scored 428,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The prelims aired from 8-10pm ET.  The prelims also drew 325,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

The post-fight show on FS1 drew 229,000 viewers and 120,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

UFC FIght Night through 192

Payout Perspective:

The event fared better than UFC Fight Night 91 which drew 609,000 and 311,000 (Prelims) respectively.  Of course, that was on a Wednesday night this past July.  Saturday’s event did go up against the first weekend of the Summer Olympics from Rio.  The 863,000 for the main card is lower than June’s Saturday night Fight Night (964,000).  However, the prelims fared well as it scored the highest viewership since UFC Fight Night 85 (766,000) in March.

Report looks at costs, logistics of expedited UFC anti-doping results

August 7, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that USADA test results could be expedited which would allow for UFC officials to know ahead of the event whether or not a fighter fails a drug test.  Of course, the expedited results would come at a premium.

While the Brock Lesnar test results were received within industry standards, it would seem clear that the results could have been expedited if requested.

Expedited results could cost as low as $35 per sample but reach a maximum of $450 depending when the lab results are performed.  Per the article, requesting expedited results does not necessarily mean that they will come back in an expedited time.

Expedited results were not requested for any fighter at UFC 200.  This would include Brock Lesnar who tested positive twice for banned substances.

Andy Foster is quoted in the article.  He thinks that requesting expedited results for out-of-competition testing would be a benefit.

Payout Perspective:

It would seem logical that in order to protect the safety of its fighters, the UFC would request expedited results despite the costs involved.  While the article notes that it Is not definitive that results would come in time prior to an event, there is that opportunity to prevent someone on PEDs not to fight someone not on PEDs.  With USADA ramping up testing of UFC contracted fighters, it does not seem like expedited requests across the board.  But, it would be important for the UFC to look into expedited requests for championship fights and the main card fighters.  While this may get expensive, if they are truly invested in the health and safety of its fighters, it’s a worthy cost.

UFC Fight Night 92 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 6, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC Fight Night 92 from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The event drew 6,689 fans for a live gate of $481,033.  The numbers were provided to MMA Junkie post-fight by the UFC.  The arena, home to the Utah Jazz, houses 20,000.  It did better than the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Fight Night last month and UFC Fight Night 88 in Las Vegas (4,193, $359,000) this past Memorial Day weekend.

In addition, the $50,000 bonuses went to Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres for Fight of the Night.  Marcin Tybura and Teruto Ishihara earned Performance of the Night bonuses.

Payout Perspective:

The event bested Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s attendance and gate in terms of Fight Night attendance in new cities this year.  There was much of a draw for the MMA fans so the allure of a UFC-branded event was the pull to attend.

Moraes tops WSOF 32 salaries

August 3, 2016

MMA Fighting reports the salaries from WSOF 32 this past Saturday in Everett, Washington.  WSOF headliner Marlon Moraes topped the salaries with $180,000.

The salaries were disclosed by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Via MMA Fighting:

Marlon Moraes ($90,000 + $90,000 = $180,000) def. Josh Hill ($10,000)
Lance Palmer ($28,000 + $28,000 = $56,000) def. Alexandre Almeida ($12,000)
Caros Fodor* ($18,000 + $15,000 = $33,000) def. Phoenix Jones* ($12,000)
Louis Taylor ($6,000 + $6,000 = $12,000) def. Phil Hawes ($5,000)

Hakeem Dawodu ($6,000 + $6,000 = $12,000) def. Marat Magomedov ($3,000)
Rex Harris ($3,000 + $3,000 = $6,000) def. Nicolai Salchow ($3,000)
Andrews Nakahara ($4,000 + $4,000 = $8,000) def. Travis Doerge ($1,500)
Matt Kovacs ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Bill Widler ($1,500)
Brett Malone ($750 + $750 = $1,500) def. Patrick Benson ($750)
Matt Coble ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Colt Hausauer ($700)
Tycen Lynn ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Justin Hugo ($1,000)
Joe Elzea ($1,000 + $1,000 = $2,000) def. Marcos Lopez ($1,000)

*Fodor received 20-percent of Jones’ purses due to Jones missing weight

Payout Perspective:

The payouts reflect the issue with pay among fighters.  Moraes, who the WSOF will want to keep to help attract fans is at the top of the company pay scale making $90K/$90K.  Two fighters (Benson and Hausauer) made $750 and $700 respectively.  It was Benson’s second pro fight.  It was Hausauer’s eighth pro fight although the first with a major organization.  I am not sure what to make of these payouts.  Either WSOF does not have the capital to pay all of its fighters or we should not consider WSOF a major MMA organization.

Nate Diaz appears on Kimmel

August 3, 2016

The promotion for UFC 202 is continuing its mainstream hype as Nate Diaz appeared on a skit on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Diaz’s appearance in the skit comes on the heels of an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show on TBS, “Conan.”  Dana White also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel to discuss the UFC.

Payout Persepective:

The sanitized, PG-rated Diaz is interesting to watch.  Diaz has done a good job with his new media obligations.  We get it, he’s not great with the words, but he’s still out there promoting the fight.  Despite the UFC appearing on the Fox Network we have seen ABC willing to promote the UFC on Good Morning America and now Jimmy Kimmel Live.

WSOF 32: 250,000 viewers

August 2, 2016

World Series of Fighting 32 drew an average of 250,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network per Sports TV Ratings.  The event reflects a 50% increase in viewership from WSOF 31.

The event featured the Fodor brothers in a main event that had to be uncomfortable for some.  Regardless, it was the best rating in a year.  WSOF 22 last August drew 254,000 viewers.

WSOF 32

Payout Perspetive:

To put the numbers in perspective in comparison to WSOF 31 in June.  That event was a Friday night card opposite Bellator on Spike TV.  Per Sport TV Ratings, the event drew 103,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

UFC 201 Prelims on FS2 draw 331,000

August 2, 2016

The UFC 201 Prelims on Fox Sports 2 drew 331,000 viewers according to Fox Sports PR.  The ratings represent a 9% increase over the last full PPV prelims on FS2.

According to Fox Sports, it was the 6th most-watched show ever on FS2.  You may recall, that the UFC 200 Prelims started on FS2 and for the 31 minutes on the network, it was the most-watched show ever on FS2.  In the main fight of the prelims, Nikita Krylov stopped Ed Herman in a light heavyweight matchup.

Per Sports TV Ratings, the event drew 173,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Modest numbers for this PPV lead-up which should tell you that it’s likely that the PPV buy rate is likely low (i.e. sub 300K buys) as well.  These are pretty good numbers for FS2 programming, but we are used to comparing its ratings with what we the numbers we normally see on FS1.

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