Nevada clarifies Conor’s fine

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

McGregor fined $150,000 by Nevada

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

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.

Nevada issues 3-year ban for Wanderlei Silva

February 17, 2016

The Nevada State Athletic Commission issued a 3-year suspension of former UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva on Wednesday.  Silva’s suspension is retroactive to May 24, 2014, the date that he evaded a drug test in lead up to his fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175.

In addition to the suspension Silva will have to submit a clean drug test upon applying for a new license.  There was no fine since a fight at UFC 175 never materialized.  Previously, Silva was fined $70,000 and banned him for life.  Silva filed a lawsuit seeking judicial review of the original NAC ruling.

Silva appealed the judicial review (despite the court reversing and remanding the NAC punishment) citing that the NAC did not have jurisdiction of Silva since he was an unlicensed fighter at the time that he evaded the drug test.

Payout Perspective:

The ruling could provide closure for Silva who will likely continue to fight.  But, with the ruling from the NAC, Silva’s attorney may reinstate his appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court.  A precursor to the legal court action was the NAC ruling.  Even if Silva accepts the 3-year ban, it does not mean the 39 year old will have to wait to fight.  He could fight overseas outside of the jurisdiction of the NAC.  We shall see if there will be an appeal.

NAC passes settlement agreement with Nick Diaz

January 12, 2016

The Nevada State Athletic Commission passed a proposed settlement agreement with UFC contracted fighter Nick Diaz at the commission’s monthly hearing on Tuesday.

Pat Lundvall, who was the main driver during the contentious Nick Diaz hearing, seconded the motion for the passage of the proposed settlement.  The settlement was passed without any discussion or public announcement as to the terms.  MMA Junkie obtained the settlement agreement after speaking with NSAC Chairman Bob Bennett.

The Settlement Agreement obtained by MMA Junkie indicates that Diaz’s initial penalty was reduced to 18 months (retroactive to his last fight January 31, 2015) and a $100,000 fine.  He will need to pay the fine by August 1, 2016 (the date in which he may be allowed to fight in Nevada) or at least December 1, 2016, whichever comes first.  He will also need to provide a negative urine sample, “in-competition and out-of-competition, 30, 15, and 3 days before his next contest in Nevada…”

The UFC’s legal counsel on various issues, Campbell and Williams, represented Diaz in negotiating the settlement with the NAC.

Payout Perspective:

It was very interesting that the settlement was passed swiftly and without much talk.  It was not until after did we hear of the terms of the settlement.  You may infer what you may from this outcome.  While Diaz could have made a point by continuing on with a potential lawsuit, we’re not here to spend other people’s money.  Further, if the point is to get him back to fighting, getting tied up in litigation is not in the best interests of Diaz.  On a sidenote, it is interesting in the settlement agreement that it states that Diaz “wrongly invoked the Fifth Amendment” in response to the Commission questions.  We shall see how soon Diaz will be back with the UFC.

Proposed settlement in works for Nick Diaz-NAC

January 7, 2016

MMA Fighting reports that there is a proposed settlement in the works between the Nevada Athletic Commission and Nick Diaz.  The agenda posted on the NAC web site lists Diaz for the January 12 meeting.

The action item on the NAC’s agenda is a “Hearing on motion for reconsideration and proposed settlement agreement against mixed martial artist Nick Diaz, for possible action.”  Although it is not guaranteed that the NAC will act on the item, it’s clear that the NAC and Diaz’s attorneys at Campbell and Williams (the firm also has UFC as a client) have been working to attempt to resolve the dispute.  As you recall, the NAC issued a 5 year, $165,000 fine on Diaz for a third drug test failure for marijuana.

In addition, the re-hearing of Wanderlei Silva may take place on the same day. Interesting enough, Silva is being sued by the UFC.  The UFC’s attorneys:  Campbell and Williams.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that the parties are attempting to resolve the matter without a judicial review of Diaz’s punishment.  For Diaz’s attorney to file suit seeking judicial review, there must be an official written decision from the NAC.  As far as we know, the NAC has yet to do this.  This would seem to infer that the parties would like to settle prior to the threat of litigation.  Similarly, Wanderlei Silva’s appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court was dismissed due to the fact there was not an official ruling by the NAC over a court reversal of Silva’s penalty.  We will see if the commission rules next week.

W. Silva’s NSAC hearing continued once again

November 30, 2015

The Nevada State Athletic Commission continued the disciplinary hearing of former UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva after Silva’s attorney presented a consent decree which the Attorney General stated it had yet to review.  The hearing stems from last year’s NSAC punishment that was subsequently overturned by a state court this past May.

Silva’s attorney Ross Goodman had appealed the state court decision which, in part, remanded the Silva’s case back to the NSAC.

Goodman had filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, but the appeal was dismissed due to a jurisdictional issue.  Essentially, the district court that overturned Silva’s suspension and fine ordered that the case go back before the NSAC for rehearing for appropriate discipline.  Thus, without it going back before the commission, the judgment is not final and cannot be appealed to the state Supreme Court.  The parties dismissed the appeal as reflected below.

W Silva Appeal Dismissing Appeal and Cross Appeal by JASONCRUZ206

Silva’s attorney would like the appeal the judgment but needs the NSAC to render a decision on Silva’s matter to fulfill the order by the district court.  In the alternative, Goodman presented an order which, according to MMA Junkie, states that Silva did not commit any wrongdoing when he did not submit to a drug test in leading up to UFC 175.

The next athletic commission hearing is December 17th.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to this legal wrangling, Silva is being sued by the UFC for defamation.  It will be interesting to see how much this case will extend as we are over a year into this.  Silva’s attorney still contend that he was not subject to NSAC jurisdiction which makes whatever the commission rules seemingly mute as they will likely appeal.  Of course, it does seem that Silva’s counsel will make an attempt to resolve the matter short of an appeal.  This would be the most cost-efficient way to handle it if the commission is willing.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.


Nevada State Athletic Commission and Nick Diaz in settlement talks

October 28, 2015

MMA Fighting reports that representatives for Nick Diaz and the Nevada State Athletic Commission are discussion a potential settlement of his fine and punishment issued last month.

Sources told MMA Fighting that with settlement talks ongoing, Diaz could be back in the Octagon by 2016.  Amy Dardashtian also indicated that the best case scenario is that he is in the Octagon as early as this summer.

Last month, the commission issued a 5 year suspension and fined Diaz $165,000 for failing a drug test for marijuana at UFC 183.  The contentious hearing drew the ire of many fans which felt that Diaz was wrongly prosecuted and unfairly penalized.  Diaz’s lawyers stated that they would file a lawsuit against the NSAC seeking judicial review.  Notably, the NSAC never issued a written finding of Diaz’s suspension and fine per NSAC rules.  Only after the written order is issued and sent to Diaz’s representations could his lawyers file suit.

Interesting enough, Las Vegas law firm Campbell & Williams stepped in on the fighter’s behalf per a twitter post by Diaz.

Campbell & Williams represents the UFC in a variety of matters.  It is the law firm that is representing the UFC in the Wanderlei Silva defamation case.

Payout Perspective:

Clearly, the local influence of Campbell & Williams must have facilitated settlement talks.  Further, the fact that no written order was issued meant that no legal action would be pursued.  I would have to check the NSAC rules to see if there was a time limit for which they needed to issue an order.  Perhaps the NSAC did not figure that the Diaz penalty would have caused such a stir within the MMA community.  But, in the end, we should probably see the sides settle with the proviso that Diaz is able to participate in the Octagon sooner than later.

Martin picked to fill vacancy on NSAC

October 9, 2015

Since the Nick Diaz decision came down last month, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has been under scrutiny.  However, under the radar was the announcement that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval appointed attorney Michon Martin to the vacancy on the NSAC.

Martin fills the vacancy of Bill Brady who resigned this past May.  Brady’s term ends October 31, 2016.

Martin served as general counsel in the Governor’s Office since 2013 before leaving to work as general counsel for Resorts World Las Vegas this past August.  While with Governor’s Office she advised and managed regulatory, transportation, resources and federal agency issues.

She was also the Chief Deputy Attorney General with the Nevada AG.  Prior to that she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco D.A.’s office.  She went to UC Davis and law school at the University of San Francisco.

Payout Perspective:

As it relates to the world of combat sports, Martin’s history as a district attorney will help when evaluating cases and investigating matters.  One would surmise that she would look at matters from a prosecutor’s point of view.  Moreover, we assume her litigation experience would make her more apt to weigh the evidence in cases like that of Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva when determining suitable punishments.  She will get her first chance at the end of the month when Wanderlei Silva’s case returns on remand from judicial review.  The commission will get the opportunity to administer a more appropriate punishment to Silva.  Of course, with Silva’s appeal to the state Supreme Court, who knows if the punishment will stand.

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