October 23, 2016
MMA Fighting reports that Pat Lundvall’s appointment on the Nevada Athletic Commission will end at the end of October. Lundvall has served for a total of 9 years for the commission.
Lundvall, an attorney in Nevada, has been in a central figure in some of the more recent discipline hearings before the commission. Most recently, she was a factor in the discipline hearing involving Conor McGregor. Instead of accepting a recommendation from the state attorney general of a $25,000 fine and community service, Lundvall motioned for a $150,000 penalty which included the value of a public service announcement (PSA)which McGregor was ordered to film.
After initial reports that the fine was for $150,000, it was clarified that the amount was $75,000 and the value of the PSA was $75,000.
Lundvall was also a central commissioner in the hearing of Nick Diaz in which he was assessed a 5 year ban which was eventually reduced.
Lundvall’s departure will be met with a sigh of relief by some within the MMA community as some of the decisions spearheaded by Lundvall seemed punitive and without much rationale behind them. The Diaz punishment comes to mind. Even McGregor’s punishment seemed out of ordinary and it appeared that it was done to show the commission’s muscle rather than anything else.
October 17, 2016
MMA Fighting reports that Nevada’s Athletic Commission’s executive director Bob Bennett has clarified the fine assessed to Conor McGregor from his bottle-throwing incident. He states that the fine is $75,000 and not the $150,000 as previously reported.
Despite the fact that the $150,000 number was indicated at an open hearing of the commission, Bennett clarified that the fine was $75,000 and the value of a public-service announcement McGregor must do for the commission is valued at $75,000.
McGregor reportedly made $3 million from UFC 202 not counting undisclosed bonuses or PPV points.
The state attorney general originally recommended a $25,000 fine, 25 hours of community service and media training. The commissioners believed that amount was not enough.
McGregor was not a fan of the $150,000 fine stating that he would not fight in Nevada in the foreseeable future.
The backtracking to clarify the fine and then blame media seems like a mishandling of the situation by the NSAC and a way to reduce the fine without drawing an appeal. The $75,000 value seems like it was pulled out of the air without any evidence that a PSA would cost this much.
October 10, 2016
ESPN reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has fined Conor McGregor $150,000 for his part of a water bottle-throwing incident at the pre-fight press conference leading up to UFC 202.
The commission decided to fine McGregor 5% of his fight purse and the funds will be disbursed between the state’s general fund and an anti-bullying campaign proposed by McGregor and his attorney at the hearing. In addition to the fine, McGregor is to do PSAs to benefit children. The Featherweight champion attended the hearing via phone.
The attorney general’s recommendation was to fine McGregor $25,000, community service and media training. But that was not enough for the commission. Their original proposal was to fine McGregor 10% of his fight purse, which would have amounted to $300,000. However, the commission deemed it too hefty a fine. Instead, it came to $150,000 plus the community service.
The arrival of the punishment seemed to be something done on the fly and without much logical reasoning behind it. While the AG recommendation seemed too low to them, they felt that they needed to exact more out of McGregor which was 6 times the recommended amount. Certainly, they could have suspended McGregor from fighting in the state to send a message. But, they realize that he’s set records in the state for attendance and gate in Nevada and that would be detrimental to the state. Although McGregor can appeal the punishment by appealing in court, it seems unlikely.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.”
UFC returning to New York on Nov. 12 at MSG https://t.co/o0GYRgRc9F
— Steven Greenberg (@GreenbergPR) April 14, 2016
The UFC also announced another event in upstate New York to occur by the end of this year.
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.”
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.