Li Jingliang avoids USADA punishment after flagged test

September 2, 2016

UFC welterweight Li Jingliang will avoid punishment from USADA despite testing positive for trace amount of clenbuterol.  USADA determined that the prohibited substance was ingested without fault or negligence.

The flagged test occurred on May 18, 2016, prior to his fight at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.  Jingliang defeated Anton Zafir in his bout.

Per the UFC-USADA Anti-doping web site: “Clenbuterol is an Anabolic Agent prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.”  Tainted meat appears to be a possible culprit as it relates to the finding in tests.

According to USADA officials, after an investigation, it has concluded that the Clenbuterol finding is likely due to consuming contaminated meat in China.

Jingliang will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.

While the NSAC could feasible discipline Jingliang, I would surmise that based on this finding it is unlikely.

Report confirms matchmaker Joe Silva leaving UFC

August 31, 2016

Longtime UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will be leaving his post for the company at year’s end.  Multiple sources confirmed the news.

On the heels of a $4 billion sale to WME-IMG, Silva likely leaves the UFC on good terms.  MMA Junkie noted that Sean Shelby will likely takeover Silva’s duties.

The UFC has not confirmed Silva’s impending departure.

Payout Perspective:

The inference drawn here is that Silva is likely cashing out after the sale.  Silva has been the Vice President of Talent Relations since the company was taken over by Zuffa.  We shall see if there will be any more departures as a result of the UFC sale.

UFC on Fox 21 ratings produce lowest ratings ever

August 30, 2016

UFC on Fox main card this past Saturday drew less than the actual overnights as it scored 1,983,000 viewers with a 1.2 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share.  The ratings were hampered due to some major markets including Detroit and Las Vegas showing the sign on tape delay or on another station.

The overnight rating of 2.22 million viewers was skewed due to some major markets airing NFL preseason games during the time slot.  In addition, the short main event may have hurt the overall number due to the fact that most UFC on Fox shows do their best in the overrun.

The peak viewership for the event was 2,207,000 viewers from 9:15-9:30pm ET.  This was during the Pettis-Oliveira fight.

The UFC on Fox Prelims drew a 0.7 ratings with a 2 share for 1.122 million viewers.  It delivered a 0.6 rating among men 18-34 with 189,000 viewers.  The prelims preceded the main card from 6-8pm ET on Fox.

UFC on Fox 21

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,220,000 1,983,000

Payout Perspective:

The preemption of the UFC on Fox show in some major markets due to NFL preseason may mean that we will not see another UFC on Fox show in late August.  Its the first time that the ratings have gone down from overnights as the lack of an overrun plus the preemption due to football caused the drop.

Henderson tops Bellator 160 payouts

August 29, 2016

MMA Fighting reports the salaries from Friday’s Bellator 160.  Benson Henderson was the top paid fighter making $75,000 as disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.

Via MMA Fighting:

Benson Henderson ($75,000 + no win bonus = $75,000) def. Patricio Freire ($50,000)
Derek Anderson ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Saad Award ($18,000)
Georgi Karakhanyan ($17,000 + $17,000 = $34,000) def. Bubba Jenkins ($14,000)
A.J. McKee ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Cody Walker ($8,000)

David Duran ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Kyle Estrada ($1,500)
Steve Ramirez ($1,750 + $1,750 = $3,500) def. Ron Henderson ($2,000)
Joey Davis ($5,000 + no win bonus = $5,000) def. Keith Cutrone ($1,500)
Gabriel Green ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Alex Trinidad ($1,500)
Andy Murad ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Johnny Cisneros ($2,000)
Jake Roberts ($5,000 + $5,000 = $10,000) def. Stephen Martinez ($2,500)
Chinzo Machida ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Mario Navarro Jr. ($2,500)
Jacob Rosales ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Mike Segura ($1,500)

Payout Perspective:

Henderson’s last reported UFC payout was in January 2015 when he made $48,000 in a loss to Donald Cerrone.  He did make more as the lightweight champion.  At UFC 164, when he lost his belt to Anthony Pettis, he made $110,000.  The $75,000 with no win bonus is a likely step up from his UFC pay at the time he left in November 2015.

UFC on Fox 21 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 27, 2016

UFC on Fox 21 drew 10,533 for a gate of $995,624 Canadian dollar which equates to $765,482 US dollars.  The event saw all bonuses going to fighters on the main card.

UFC on Fox 21 bonuses went to Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, Paige VanZant and Demian Maia.  Lauzon and Miller earned Fight of the Night while VanZant and Maia earned Performance bonuses for their work in stopping their opponents.

Of course, Anthony Pettis could have earned a bonus for his guillotine choke stoppage of Charles Oliviera.  It was the other fight on the card.

The numbers were announced post-fight by UFC executive Tom Wright.

Of the 4 events at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, it ranks fourth among the four.  We note that the first 3 were PPV events.

  1. UFC 115: Liddell v. Franklin – 17,669 ($4,221,787)
  2. UFC 131: Dos Santos v. Carwin – 14,685 ($2,800,000)
  3. UFC 174: Johnson v. Bagautinov – 13,506 ($1,140,000)
  4. UFC on Fox 21: Maia v. Condit – 10,533 ($995,624)

Payout Perspective:

The attendance was considerably down as compared to the other events at Rogers Center.  However, the main card produced some great fights.  The ratings will depend on how many people were interested in seeing Paige VanZant fight after returning from her stint on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.  You might recall last month’s Fox show pulled surprisingly good numbers on the strength of Holly Holm.  Could PVZ do the same for this card to help bolster ratings?

Hunter pulled from UFC on Fox fight due to potential USADA violation

August 27, 2016

For the second straight UFC on Fox show in a row, a UFC fighter has been pulled from a scheduled fight.  This time USADA has flagged Adam Hunter due to a potential UFC Anti-Doping violation due to an out-of-competition sample on August 11, 2016.

This time USADA has flagged Adam Hunter due to a potential UFC Anti-Doping violation due to an out-of-competition sample on August 11, 2016.

Hunter was scheduled to fight Ryan Janes on Saturday at UFC on Fox 21 in Vancouver.

The UFC issued a statement on the situation, a portion of it is below:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Adam Hunter of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on August 11, 2016.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.

However, because Hunter was scheduled to compete against Ryan Janes this coming Saturday, August 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia, there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card.

The statement also indicated that Janes will receive his show money for the cancelled bout and will work to reschedule Janes in the future.

Hunter, who was to debut for the UFC on Saturday, posted a response to the removal on his Facebook page:

Payout Perspective:

Another case of unfortunate timing for the UFC as it has to scrubbed this fight the day before the fights.  Certainly, there has to be a better way to deal with these tests since Janes had to train and cut weight and now loses out on a chance on fighting and earning his win bonus.  It would be nice in these types of situations that fighter that did not do anything wrong (or is suspected of wrongdoing) is not penalized and is given their win bonus since the pulled fighter presumably caused the bout not to happen.

Report: UFC 202 trending to 1.2M to 1.5M PPV buys

August 26, 2016

UFC 202 is trending to be one of the top PPV buys in the history of the company as Dave Meltzer is reporting that the estimated buys are ranging from 1.2 million to 1.5 million buys.

UFC 202 featured the Conor-Nate II with McGregor taking the majority decision in an epic 5-round battle.

The estimated buy rates show that Conor McGregor is the new PPV king.

In addition, Meltzer reports that the internet sales via the UFC web site were up for the event which reflects a strong buy trend for this PPV.

While reports that ticket sales were lagging which resulted in a drop in prices, it still drew the 5th largest gate in company history with $7,629,010.

Recent McGregor PPV buy rates:

UFC 189: 825,000

UFC 194: 1,200,000

UFC 196: ~1,100,000

Payout Perspective:

As Meltzer points out, all the indicators reflect a strong PPV buy rate.  The UFC Prelims drew 1.3 million PPV buys.  Google trends registered 5 million searches for UFC 202 on Saturday.  With UFC 202 doing over 1 million PPV buys, that would make 3 events (UFC 196, UFC 200 and UFC 202) going over 1 million PPV buys.  A pretty good year without event factoring in the New York debut in November.  It also confirms that Conor McGregor (and to an extent Nate Diaz) are PPV draws.

In addition, we might want to take note of the purchases on the UFC web site to watch the PPVs.  Although no discounts this time around, the company is offering a percentage off UFC 203’s PPV for filling out an email survey.  Promos like this are helping lure fans to the UFC site to purchase the events instead of the cable and satellite distributors.

Sullivan given provisional suspension by USADA

August 25, 2016

A month after being pulled from his fight at UFC on Fox 20 for disclosing information to USADA, George Sullivan has been handed a provisional suspension by USADA for a potential violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The UFC issued a statement on Sullivan.  A portion of which reads:

“UFC was made aware today by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, that it has informed George Sullivan of a potential anti-doping violation and provisional suspension based on his declaration of a prohibited substance. UFC previously announced that Sullivan voluntarily disclosed this information to USADA and, out of an abundance of caution, Sullivan was removed by UFC from his scheduled bout on July 23, 2016, in Chicago. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Sullivan’s declaration of the use can be taken into consideration by USADA during the results management and adjudication process.

Sullivan spoke out about being removed from the UFC on Fox 20 card in July:

Payout Perspective:

This is tough for Sullivan as he’s been in limbo for over a month and now gets the news of this provisional suspension.  Based on the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Sullivan will have an opportunity for a hearing on the matter.  But, it appears that his only excuse (per the USADA Anti-Doping Policy) would be to show that he used a contaminated product.  Sullivan disclosed information from what we gather was he pre-fight questionnaire at UFC on Fox 20 which drew concerns from USADA.  We will see what Sullivan will use to defend the purported violation.


Rory MacDonald signs with Bellator

August 24, 2016

Former UFC middleweight Rory MacDonald has signed with Bellator according to FloCombat.  MacDonald’s last fight in the UFC was a June Fight Night loss to Stephen Thompson.

Regardless of the outcome of the last fight on his contract, MacDonald wanted to test the free agency market per multiple reports.  According to MMA Fighting, the UFC did not match the offer by Bellator and allowed MacDonald to head to the Viacom-owned Bellator.

Per MMA Fighting, he is eyeing a Bellator debut in the first quarter of 2017.

Payout Perspective:

MacDonald’s last official disclosed payout was $59,000 at UFC 189 which was a loss to Robbie Lawler.  One would think that he improved greatly on his salary otherwise one would think that the UFC would match it.  MacDonald will find some interesting opponents in the Bellator middleweight division as he joins Benson Henderson as another former UFC fighter joining the organization.  At 27, he is still young although you might say that the Lawler fight really took a lot out of him.  He should be able to ascend to the top of the division sooner than later.

USADA investing post-fight Nate Diaz vaping

August 24, 2016

USADA is investigating Nate Diaz after he was using a vape pen after his fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 202.  During his post-fight press conference he admitted to smoking CBD or cannibidiol oil.

Diaz, who was vaping while on the dais, stated that it helps with the recovery process.  As noted by MMA Fighting Cannabinoids are banned in-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code over a certain threshold and USADA uses WADA’s prohibited substance list.  In competition is considered the six hours before and after a fight.  Diaz’s use came within the timeframe after the fight.

USADA has stated that it is aware of the situation per a USADA spokesperson.

Per the UFC anti-doping policy, it’s a prohibited substance in-competition and a fighter could face a suspension of up to one year.  Whether or not an infraction will be levied is dependent on the results of Diaz’s post-fight drug test.

Payout Perspective:

This story shall be continued until the results of the drug tests from USADA come back.  Obviously, if Diaz test is flagged, we will know the reason.  If it is not, and the amount of CBD he used was less than the amount considered to be positive (150 ng/ml), we have an interesting issue as to what USADA and the UFC may do to Diaz.  They could just warn him or perhaps they would do more.  One would think that USADA and the UFC probably do not want fighters openly using a vape pen smoking CBD.

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