August 11, 2015
MMA Fighting reports that Anderson Silva will claim that “sexual performance” medication was the cause for positive drug tests before and after UFC 183.
Silva and his attorneys will put on their defense on Thursday when Silva goes before the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Despite the positive drug tests, Silva claims that he did not knowingly take any kind of steroids. He will claim that he took sexual performance medication was part of the reason for the inaccurate drug tests. Specifically, he claims that the use of the sexual performance drug caused the finding of Drostanolone Metabolite.
Silva’s legal team is requesting no punishment for Silva.
It will be interesting to see whether Silva’s strategy will work. The defense can be seen as embarrassing and credible simply because it is so extraordinarily private. His explanation does not account for the pre-fight questionnaire which addresses the types of supplements a fighter has taken. Since this is the first we have heard of Silva’s defense, we might assume the sex enhancement drug was not on the pre-fight questionnaire. Of course, if you recall the Manny Pacquiao situation prior to the Mayweather fight, this can be easily explained away. We shall see whether the commission buys the argument or takes a hard line with Silva.
August 5, 2015
MMA Fighting reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission have temporarily suspended Rousimar Palhares and Jake Shields after their fight at WSOF 22 this past Saturday. Additionally, WSOF has stripped Palhares of the WSOF welterweight title and suspended him indefinitely.
The news of Palhares’ punishment from WSOF was issued on Tuesday.
Via WSOF press release:
“After taking the time to review the footage from Saturday’s bout between Rousimar Palhares and Jake Shields in its entirety, we decided that stripping Rousimar of his title and issuing him a suspension until this issue is resolved, was necessary,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.
Palhares and Shields were temporarily suspended by the NSAC due to Palhares’ eye gouging of Shields’ eyes as well as holding on to his submission for too long. Shields is being suspended for hitting Palhares after the match was over. He also is being suspended for “disparaging remarks” made to the fight’s referee Steve Mazzagatti after the fight.
The fighters will have a quick turnaround to defend themselves as the matters will be discussed at the August 13th NSAC meeting with disciplinary hearings likely occurring in September.
It’s a messy situation for the NSAC to address. Clearly Palhares’ past actions may affect the potential punishment in the present situation. Shields’ actions may be understandable when you consider Palhares may have held onto the submission too long which could have caused long-term injury to Shields. His remarks to Mazzagatti were a result of not stepping in sooner even though he knew of Palhares’ past. We shall see what the NSAC decides to do with each. Also, we shall see if the WSOF issues a suspension longer than the commission for Palhares or if it suspends him so long as the commission advises. For better or worse, Palhares is sort of a draw now considering his reputation.
June 25, 2015
A bill to legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York has failed to reach an Assembly vote once again this year. Despite a concerted effort to attempt to push the bill through, which included revamping the bill to attempt to appease legislators, it appears that it will not make it to a vote on what is the last day of an extended legislative session in Albany.
Jim Genia relayed the bad news. Genia among other New York MMA supporters gave up to the minute details on the sausage making in Albany and relayed the news to MMA fans that hoped to see the UFC in Madison Square Garden this December.
This year seemed different in Albany due to the removal of Speaker Sheldon Silver and a more MMA-receptive speaker in Carl Heastie. But once again, the MMA bill was not brought before the Assembly for vote despite an extended session which many thought would produce one.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, the sponsor of the MMA bill, indicated that it needed 76 votes in the Democratic conference for a bill to come to the floor. Prior to the revamp of the MMA bill a couple weeks ago, they had 70.
MMA Payout will have more on this as more information comes out but this is a definite blow for MMA and the UFC. Many believed that this would be the year that MMA would become legal in the state. But, politics once again rears its ugly head. As for options, we must wait another year in Albany but the Zuffa lawsuit against New York continues. Its appeal of the dismissed lawsuit claiming the bill prohibiting MMA in the state is unconstitutional is in the Second Circuit and Zuffa’s briefing is due by August 4th.
June 24, 2015
Alexander Shlemenko was suspended three years and fined $10,000 by the California State Athletic Commission as it is the harshest penalty against an MMA fighter since it began regulating the sport. In addition, Shlemenko’s win against Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 has been overturned.
The commission voted unanimously by a 7-0 vote in favor of the penalty. Although Shlemenko’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, argued that there was a lack of a “B” sample and a possible violation for not splitting the urine sample. The commission did not agree with Jacobs’ arguments.
But the commission did not agree. The fact that Manhoef was knocked out by Shlemenko may have played a role in his penalty. Of course, Shlemenko’s tests were another reason. Per MMA Junkie, the tests revealed the steroid oxandrolone and oxandrolone metabolites as well as a testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 50-1 in Shlemenko’s post-fight urine test (the commission’s limit is 4-1).
It is not known if Shlemenko will appeal but if he does not, at 31 years old, it’s unlikely we’ll see him fight again.
UPDATED: According to Combat Sport Law’s Erik Magraken, Shlemenko will seek judicial review of the commission ruling. I would expect that this will happen more if commission’s seek to dole out these stiff penalties. Realistically, what does Shlemenko have to lose? His career is likely over if he accepts the punishment.
One would think that if Shlemenko has a compelling case, his attorney could still appeal the commission decision by seeking a judicial review in a California Superior Court. The heavy-handed penalty reflects a newfound position by athletic commissions in light of the UFC’s stance on PEDs. There is an argument that the penalty is unjust but the commission can point to the glaring test results and the T/E ratio to justify its suspension. Moreover, the TKO victory might have persuaded commissioners to allow the penalty as one commissioner put it that Shlemenko could have killed Manhoef. We shall see if this decision will be appealed.
June 22, 2015
It appears that there will finally be a vote in the New York State Assembly on a bill to legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York on Tuesday. The legislative session in Albany has extended its session and the MMA bill should be addressed before the legislators close out 2015.
According to veteran MMA Journalist Jim Genia, the Assembly should vote on the matter Tuesday as the legislature is off on Monday.
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle indicated that he was hopeful that a vote would occur this week. It is believed that there are enough votes for the MMA bill to pass. The bill was revamped earlier this month to appease some with concerns over safety issues. The bill would regulate both amateur and professional MMA in the state.
We are getting closer and closer to the possibility of the UFC promoting fights in New York State. If the bill passes the Assembly, it would go to the governor for signature. Governor Andrew Cuomo could veto the bill although all indications would seem to point to the governor signing it. In its lobbying efforts earlier this session, the UFC’s Ronda Rousey personally visited Governor Cuomo to talk to him about the bill to legalize MMA in the state.
June 17, 2015
Newsday reports that an amended bill seeking to legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York passed the Senate last night by a vote of 49-13 which is up from 47-14 when it passed last March. The final goal is for a vote in the Assembly before the legislative session ends in Albany this week.
While the session officially ends Wednesday, it is anticipated that the legislative session will be “extended a day or two.”
The bill still needs 76 votes in the Assembly in order pass and be sent to the governor for signature. Jim Genia (a recommended follow if interested on updates) indicated that prior to amendments to the bill, it had 70 votes.
It’s going down to the wire and we shall see if the amendments to the MMA bill mustered enough votes to pass the Assembly. If it does, the governor may veto the bill but indications seem to be that he would not. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
June 10, 2015
A revamped MMA Bill has been offered up by the bill’s sponsor Joseph Morelle in hopes of facilitating a vote in the New York State Assembly. It’s quite possible that its revisions may make it possible for a vote and passage before the legislative session ends June 17th.
The bill includes additional health and safety measures which could preclude smaller MMA promotions from holding events in New York. However, the provisions should not be a problem for Zuffa or Viacom-owned Bellator.
Among the amendments to this bill, it includes:
- Minimum insurance of at least $50K for all pro combat sports promoters. There is also a provision requiring a $1M insurance policy for competition injuries resulting in major brain injuries. The legislative language indicates that there must be “an identifiable, casual (sic) link” between the fighters’s participation and the injury.
- All combat sporting events (pro or amateur) will pay an 8.5% tax on gross gate receipts and a 3% tax on broadcasting rights sold including internet broadcasts.
- The bill indicates that the New York State Athletic Commission will have jurisdiction over amateur combat sports. This eliminates underground MMA in the state and it will sanction all amateur MMA.
- The Commission will have jurisdiction over all combat sports including professional wrestling, martial arts and kickboxing.
As we head down the stretch, we shall see if the MMA Bill will get the remaining votes it needs to pass and become law. If the bill is passed, MMA will be legal in the state of New York 180 days from when it becomes law. The bill appears to address some concerns of those that have its reservations about the violent nature of the sport. It does hurt small-time promoters that cannot provide the financial guarantees the new law will require. We will know in a week whether this bill will be put up to a vote and whether it passes.
For more background on the fight for MMA in New York, check out our interview with veteran MMA journalist Jim Genia.
June 9, 2015
MMA Payout presents The Interview, Episode 2, with veteran MMA Journalist Jim Genia discussing the status of the fight to legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York.
Please note that this interview was done on Monday afternoon right before the news of a revamped MMA Bill was made public. With the New York State Assembly ending June 17th, we are going down to the wire for a vote to legalize MMA in the state.
June 5, 2015
In the waning days of the 2015 New York State Assembly, the bill seeking to legalize MMA in the state is being revamped in hopes of passage according to the Press & Sun Bulletin in Albany.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle expects to expand the MMA bill to include other legalized combative sports as well as safety regulations for all events. The proposed change would include a health insurance program funded through promoters that would cover medical bills for participants who suffer major injuries while competing in New York.
Amendments to the existing MMA bill might include a study to determine the impact of the sport in relation to brain injuries and new regulations for amateur fighting contests.
A spokesperson for the UFC appears to support the movement that is going on in the legislature at this point.
The legislative session ends June 17.
UPDATED: Below are proposed legislation from years passed which reflect changes that MMA supporters may seek. While we do not have the current changes, this is a glance of what we might see.
The fight for New York MMA continues and we are seeing lawmakers in support of the sport doing everything possible to get a vote on the bill – something that has not happened when Sheldon Silver served as Assembly Speaker. The concern for those fans of MMA in New York, is with the broadening of the bill to include other sports we will see advocates for boxing and other combat sports wanting to voice their views on the law. Also, if the bill were to include additional costs (i.e., health insurance, commissioning a study), how would that affect smaller promotions that may want to hold fights within the state. We shall see if a vote occurs by June 17th.
May 21, 2015
Silva’s attorney, Ross Goodman, was pleased with the court’s ruling that Silva’s punishment was overturned but no happy with its ruling that it had jurisdiction over Silva. With the court ruling, Monday, Silva would have to go back before the commission to determine his punishment for fleeing a drug test last year.
Silva argues that the commission had no right to drug test him since he was not licensed at the time. The commission counters that it has oversight over combat sports within the state and thus had the right to test Silva.
The appeal to the Supreme Court for the state of Nevada is a calculated risk but worth it. The district court ruled in Silva’s favor but he still must go before the commission to be punished. If Silva wins on appeal with a finding that the commission never had jurisdiction, his name is cleared. It would also spur an amendment to the laws in Nevada. Silva has a good chance with his appeal to the Supreme Court as the commission’s argument sought a very broad interpretation of the laws of the state. Reading the laws plainly, one could see Silva winning the appeal. We will see what happens.