Nevada Athletic Commission files complaints against Diaz, McGregor

September 21, 2016

MMA Junkie has obtained the NSAC complaints against Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor as it relates to the dustup between the two and Diaz’s camp at the UFC 203 pre-fight press conference.

As you may recall, the press conference ended abruptly after McGregor showed up late and Diaz left soon thereafter.  Verbal exchanges were made and water bottles were thrown.  The NSAC has filed complaints against the two.

The complaints, which mirror one another, cite NAC 467.885 which governs discipline for licensed fighters within the state.  It also cites NRS 467.158 which gives the commission the power to penalize a licensed fighter up to $250,000 for “disciplinary action [that] does not relate to a contest or exhibition of unarmed combat…”  Since this was a press conference, the commission would use this rule to govern the altercation.  It also cites NRS 467.110 which allows the commission to suspend or revoke the license of a fighter.

Payout Perspective:

Look for these two complaints to be settled and/or a stiff fine for both Diaz and McGregor.  Do not look for a suspension of any kind.  In reality, the commission will not want to suspend either fighter unless its known they will not fight in the state for the next 6 months or so.  While there is a need to penalize the two, it’s clear that the commission will not want to harm itself by suspending two of the top grossing fighters for the UFC.

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.

MMA is legal in New York, but boxing promoters are affected by new rules

September 1, 2016

Today, September 1st, will be the first day that one can apply for a New York promoter’s license to hold a combat sports event in the state.  With the legalization of MMA in New York, a proviso requiring a raise in insurance rates has caused some promoters to give pause about holding events in the state.  Mainly boxing promoters are speaking out about the new rules.

The bill which legalized MMA included a raise in insurance rates for all combat sports from $10,000 to $50,000 for general medical coverage and added a $1 million insurance policy in the case a fighter suffers a traumatic brain injury.

According to Jim Genia, there are multiple quotes floating around but the cost for a promoter would be approximately $750 per fighter up front.

Boxing promoters have indicated that they can’t afford the $1 million insurance bond and will go outside the state.  According to a WSJ article, Lou DiBella and Joe DeGuardia have spoken out about how this would hurt smaller boxing shows held in the state.

On Wednesday, the New York State Athletic Commission approved rules and regulations governing combat sports including the raise in insurance rates.  It named Anthony Giardina its interim Executive Director after a shakeup this past summer.

Payout Perspective:

While big events, such as the debut of the UFC in Madison Square Garden this November will likely be unaffected, the effect of the rule suggests smaller promotions which do not have ancillary revenue (i.e., PPV, merchandise, television rights fees, etc.) could no longer hold events in New York.  The health insurance rise in rates stem from the efforts of those concerned with the health risks of combat sports athletes.  The inclusion of the insurance policy may have been a concession when trying to pass the bill this past spring.  Likely, the insurance was also considered after the New York Office of the Inspect General released a scathing report on how the commission handled the November 2013 post-fight incident of boxer Magomed Abdusalamov.  The boxer had to take a taxi to the hospital after his fight amid multiple failures by the commission.  He remains in need of around the clock care after he suffered a stroke.  A lawsuit filed by Abdusalamov’s family against the commission is pending.

Hendo’s $800K tops UFC 199 salaries

June 7, 2016

UFC 199 salaries were disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission. Dan Henderson topped the list of fighters earning $800,000.

Via MMA Junkie:

Michael Bisping: $250,000 (no win bonus)
def. Luke Rockhold: $250,000

Dominick Cruz: $350,000 (no win bonus)
def. Urijah Faber: $160,000

Max Holloway: $150,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)
def. Ricardo Lamas: $53,000

Dan Henderson: $800,000 (includes $200,000 win bonus)
def. Hector Lombard: $53,000

Dustin Poirier: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
def. Bobby Green: $24,000

Brian Ortega: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Clay Guida: $55,000

Beneil Dariush: $62,000 (includes $31,000 win bonus)
def. James Vick: $23,000

Jessica Andrade: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Jessica Penne: $20,000

Alex Caceres: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Cole Miller: $33,000

Sean Strickland: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Breese: $19,000

Luis Henrique da Silva: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Jonathan Wilson: $12,000

Kevin Casey: $15,000
vs. Elvis Mutapcic: $16,000

Polo Reyes: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

Reyes and Kim, the two lowest, reported paid fighters earned a Fight of the Night bonus.  Henderson’s $800,000 ($600,000 show, $200,000 win) is one of the highest-reported salaries for a UFC fighters.  His last official reported purse was at UFC 173 where he made $100,000 in a loss to Daniel Cormier.  Including the Cormier fight, he has gone 2-3 since then.  Aside from Conor McGregor’s purported salary, Anderson Silva has made $600K/$200K.  Also, Dominick Cruz earned $350,000 which is a considerable boost from winning the title this past January.  At UFC Fight Night 81, Cruz earned $110,000 ($55K/$55K).

Governor Cuomo signs NY MMA Bill into law; UFC announces event at MSG November 12th

April 14, 2016

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the MMA bill into law making professional mixed martial arts legal in the state.  As a result, the UFC announced a “major Pay-Per-View event at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 12.”

The UFC also announced another event in upstate New York to occur by the end of this year.

UFC in NY

Via UFC press release:

UFC will be adding another live event in Upstate New York before the end of the year. The organization has pledged four events per year for the first three years after passage of the bill. The events will be held in Upstate cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany, in addition to Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.

Today’s bill signing and event date announcements cement mixed martial arts’ incredible future in the state of New York, and reaffirm UFC’s commitment to a market that is home to many top stars including former UFC champions Jon Jones, Chris Weidman and Rashad Evans, and countless other title contenders.

“I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, Senator Joe Griffo and the many other leaders in the state of New York for legalizing and regulating the sport of mixed martial arts,” said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. “Our commitment to bringing incredible live events to New York starts immediately, as we’ve planned a major Pay-Per-View event at Madison Square Garden on November 12. It’s going to be a historic, monumental moment for this sport and our passionate fans when the Octagon finally arrives in New York.”

“Today marks a great day for both MMA fans and New York,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, Marquee Events and Operations, The Madison Square Garden Company. “We think it’s only fitting that the first UFC event is taking place at The World’s Most Famous Arena and look forward to these world-class athletes becoming part of The Garden’s storied history.”

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, the New York State Athletic Commission, who will oversee MMA in the state, will be up to speed by September 1, 2016.  Essentially, this is when the law will come into effect as explained by Jim Genia.  Although no names have been pinned to the November 12 debut in New York, you can expect New York natives Jon Jones and Chris Weidman to be prime candidates for the event at Madison Square Garden.  Also, Ronda Rousey is rumored to be back in the octagon around this time so that would make sense as well.  Certainly, Bellator and WSOF will be working to have events in New York as well.

NY Times op-ed asks Governor Cuomo to veto MMA Bill

April 6, 2016

Despite the fact that the New York Assembly passed legislation to legalize MMA in the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the bill into law.  Thus, the New York Times published an op-ed piece calling for the governor to veto the MMA bill.

The opinion piece by Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute is a valid but antiquated argument about the reasons not to legalize MMA in the state.  The op-ed highlights the issue of health and safety as a reason to continue the ban on the sport.  The writer argues that the legalization of MMA in the state will “cause more traumatic brain injuries among vulnerable young people.”  To double down to emphasize the risk, the writer gives a worst case scenario that these injures could result in “lifetime disabilities.”

The editorial goes on to do what everyone does when they don’t want to address a controversial issue. Put it off for a later date.  The op-ed states that there needs to be more time to study the issue.  And while there is an acknowledgment that the NFL has similar issues with head injury, it is better organized as opposed to MMA’s “gig economy.”

Payout Perspective:

There are (at least) two sides to every issue.  While the anti-MMA editorial in the NY Times calls for Governor Cuomo to veto the legislation based on health and safety reasons.  The fact is that unregulated MMA goes on in New York and there are legally run MMA gyms already in the state.  The article does not address this.  While it is valid to say that MMA fighters are susceptible to head injuries, it’s scare tactics to infer that the sport may lead to “lifetime disabilities.”

It’s clear that the op-ed is against combat sports and believes that banning the sport would benefit the state.  The reasons are similar to those that are not familiar with the sport and see as much more violence than sport.  Does the op-ed hold any persuasion with the Governor?

WSOF set to acquire NY-based MMA World Expo

April 1, 2016

The World Series of Fighting has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire the New York City-based MMA World Expo.  The organization said that it plans to stage a series of bouts at the Javits Center in Manhattan this December.

Via WSOF press release:

“This is a very exciting and momentous time for our great sport, so we could not be more thrilled to take significant steps towards becoming owners of the MMA World Expo, which has been consistently delivering an incredible fan experience for the last six years and which will make for a great home for live World Series of Fighting action at a landmark location in Manhattan,” said World Series of Fighting CEO Carlos Silva.

In anticipation of New York legalizing professional mixed martial arts in the state, WSOF opened a satellite office in midtown Manhattan late last year.

Payout Perspective:

The acquisition makes sense considering that MMA in New York is now legal.  It could have been something that the company had been eyeing for a while.  The Expo is an event that WSOF could build around as one of the organization’s “big” events of the year.  We will see how the execution plays out.

New York Assembly passes MMA bill

March 22, 2016

The New York State Assembly passed legislation that would legalize mixed martial arts in the state.  The bill now needs the signature of the governor for New York to be the final state to legalize MMA.

The passage comes after years and years of lobbying efforts, two lawsuits and an appeal that was set to occur next month.

The legislation came to the State Assembly for vote and after over 2 hours of assembly members having their chance to speak, the bill passed.

The green in the twitter picture indicates “Yes” votes.

The UFC issued a press release immediately after passage and will hold a press conference at 4:30pm PT Tuesday.

From the UFC press release:

UFC® Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Fertitta applauded the overwhelming, bipartisan New York State Assembly passage of legislation to legalize and regulate professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in New York. The passage of A.2604-C, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and 72 other Assembly sponsors, means the bill has now passed both houses and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his approval.

Lorenzo Fertitta thanked all in Albany that helped in the effort.

“This has been a long time coming and on behalf of our New York UFC athletes and fans, I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Morelle and all the Members of the Assembly – Democrats and Republicans – who voted for this bill.”

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps the UFC press conference will reveal a date for the UFC to head to New York.  Bellator and other promotions will be able to hold events in New York as well.  The UFC indicated that it would hold an event in the state by the fall but maybe that could be moved forward depending on when the state will be able to establish its protocols for regulating MMA.

UFC issues statement on potential NY vote

March 17, 2016

The UFC has issued a statement in light of the anticipated vote in the New York State Assembly on legalizing mixed martial arts in the state.

The statement on UFC.com is from UFC Vice President of Global Business Development and Government Relations Michael J. Britt.

“We want to thank Speaker Heastie and of course we also need to thank Majority Leader Morelle, who has worked tirelessly to educate his colleagues and build support on both sides of the aisle, but particularly among Assembly Democrats.  Our thanks, as well, go to those legislators in both houses and both parties who have supported this effort over the years.

“This is a big step forward for MMA, the athletes and the huge fan base the sport enjoys in New York, however, there are still more steps before New York finally crosses the hurdle to legalize professional MMA.  We look forward to working with the chairs of the committees and all Assembly members to provide them with any information they may need as they address the bill to legalize and regulate MMA.”

Payout Perspective:

Cautious optimism from the UFC as we’ve heard many times the efforts to legalize MMA in the state would happen only to be disappointed in the end.  We shall see what transpires next week and whether or not there will be opposition.

Vote on MMA Bill in NY Assembly next week

March 16, 2016

Newsday reports that there will be a vote in the New York State Assembly on the possibility of legalizing mixed martial arts in the state.  The vote could possibly bring an end to a long battle to legalize the sport in the state.

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie indicated that the vote should occur next week.  Allowing such a vote likely means that there is a sufficient amount of votes for passage.  After the measure passes, it will only need the governor’s signature to enact the bill.  In all likelihood Governor Andrew Cuomo should sign off on a bill that crosses his desk.  His office included MMA revenue in an executive budget proposal earlier this year.

According to the Newsday article, the bill to legalize MMA in the state needs a simple majority of 76 votes to pass.

Once passage occurs, the New York State Athletic Commission will have 120 days to adopt guidelines and regulations for use as the sanctioning body.

The UFC reserved a date this fall for an event under the assumption that MMA would be legal in New York either through passage of legislation or via an injunction related to a lawsuit filed this past September.  In addition, there is an appeal related to its November 2011 lawsuit against the state to overturn the current law prohibiting MMA in the state.  Oral argument on the appeal is set to be heard before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals next month.

Payout Perspective:

There is a bit of apprehension from many that have heard that MMA will be legal in the state and then it does not happen.  From all reports, a vote in the Assembly should finally put the rest the fight to legalize the sport in the state.  Of course, we have not heard from the opposition which includes, in part, the Culinary Union.  We shall see if they will make one final push to oppose the bill or have they just given up on the effort.

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