This Week in MMA & Boxing #4 - August 20, 2015
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
August 14 - August 20, 2015
Anderson Silva Suspended
Anderson Silva suffered such a one-sided beating that the most inept of MMA judges wouldn’t have scored it for him.
Silva and lawyer Michael Alonso were attempting to plead their case before the Nevada State Athletic Commission and explain why Silva shouldn’t be punished while testing positive for four different banned substances in two different tests in January.
Silva tested positive for anabolic steroids Drostanolone and Andostane in a test on 1/9, some 22 days before his fight with Nick Diaz in Las Vegas. However, due to what turned out to be some fortunate delays for the commission and the UFC financially, the results of the test didn’t come in until after the fight, which did about 600,000 buys, making it the years’ most successful event that didn’t feature a championship fight.
On the day of the show itself, on 1/31, Silva tested positive again for Drostanolone, as well as Temazepam and Oxazepam, anti-anxiety and sleep aids. Temazepam and Oxazepam would be legal for use with a prescription, which he did have, but fighters need to list all drugs they are taking in their pre-fight questionnaire, and Silva never listed he was taking either substance.
His defense was that his sample on 1/31 was taken to a second lab, and in that lab, the Drostanolone didn’t show up. But that may be that one lab had more sophisticated equipment than the other. There was no challenge or second test taken on the 1/9 sample, past the point Alonso said he thought if they took that to the second lab, it probably would have also come out clean. Such a defense isn’t going to do you much good.
Anthony Marnell of the Nevada commission is heavily anti-steroid, and has enough knowledge of their use in sports. He noted that they could have put the Drostanolone in the substance being checked to begin with, and wasn’t buying anything said.
They had nobody that would document why he tested positive for Androstane, only that they believed it was also from a tainted supplement, but couldn’t find it.
Silva, who had never been drug tested other than the night of a show in his entire career, claimed that he stopped using the Cialis-like drug on 1/8. However, Drostanolone usually can only be detected for about one week, so his testing positive on 1/31 made no sense. Silva then said he must have used it again closer to the fight.
Silva claimed that the other two drugs he took the night before the fight, because he couldn’t sleep. His prescription was from a couple of months earlier when he suffered well documented back problems in training. That injury was heavily reported at the time. He said he didn’t list them on the questionnaire because he hadn’t been using them at the time he filled the form out.
The hearing lasted roughly two hours of Silva being pounded on, and when it was over, it was clear his attempt at a defense was a waste of time. If he had just admitted use, he would have gotten a shorter suspension, as a boxer who did just that right before Silva inexplicably was only suspended for seven months. And he would not have been subject to becoming the source of every flaccid and soft joke you could imagine.
Because Silva failed tests before both Nevada and the UFC greatly stiffened their penalties for drug test failures–in Nevada, a first steroid failure is now three years, while everywhere else it’s two years, he was punished based on the old guidelines.
Silva was suspended for one year from the point of the latest failed test, which would be mean until January 30, 2016. He was also fined $380,000. That fine consisted of his $200,000 win bonus being forfeited because the result of the fight, which Silva won via decision, was changed to a no contest. He was also fined 30 percent of his $600,000 guarantee, which was $180,000. Silva is believed to have actually earned closer to $5 million for the fight.
UFC 193 set for Australia
The UFC is taking a big gamble with a stadium show after all, just not in the United States.
The company announced on 8/19 that UFC 193, will take place at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, on 11/15.
Four matches have been announced for the show thus far, which are Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit for the welterweight title, Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Bigfoot Silva in a rematch of one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history (which took place on December 7, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia, a five-round draw which was later overturned in the case of Silva to a no contest due to having elevated levels of testosterone), Michael Bisping vs. Robert Whittaker of Sydney, Jake Matthews of Melbourne vs. Akbarh Arreola.
December PPV Loaded
The Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold middleweight title fight was officially announced for the 12/12 show in Las Vegas, where it will be the No. 2 fight underneath Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor.
The combination of those two fights should make it the biggest show of the year. It should be noted that with the Ronda Rousey fight now likely to be in January, that there will be only one more 500,000+ show this year as opposed to two. Also added to that show is Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero, which would be for the No. 1 contendership at middleweight.
This is double smart booking. If Weidman or Rockhold gets hurt, then either Souza or Romero could move to the main event and they’ll be in fight shape. If nobody gets hurt, then it’s also perfect booking because the fans will see both middleweight fights, and whoever wins, most likely it’ll be a far larger than usual UFC viewership that will immediately want to see the fight that is organically built.
Next Heavyweight Title Fight
The company announced that Fabricio Werdum’s first title defense would be against Cain Velasquez, but no date has been announced for the fight.
I’m surprised at that match but when they made Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir, it pretty much left the title match for either Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Fedor Emelianenko or Stipe Miocic.
I’d have gone with Werdum vs. Arlovski and Velazquez vs. Emelianenko, or Werdum vs. Emelianenko and Velasquez against either Arlovski or Miocic. But if there’s no Emelianenko in the picture, and it comes down to Werdum against Velasquez or Miocic, Velasquez is clearly the bigger draw of the two and they are going to pick the guy they feel moves the needle the most.
Dos Santos looks to be facing Alistair Overeem next and Dos Santos is actually the guy I figured would logically get the next shot, since he beat Werdum in a minute, but that was also many years ago.
The Velasquez title shot is real controversial because even though Velasquez is the No. 1 contender and has been the dominant heavyweight in the company since late 2010, he was submitted cleanly by Werdum. I’d have gone with Arlovski, because with him it’s a timing thing, in that he is coming off a spectacular fight and has the sentiment thing going for him.
I guess there is a question if he’d be ready on the date they want the next title fight and he has to beat Frank Mir on 9/5, but stylistically, that’s a fight he should win. If he does win in impressive fashion and doesn’t get hurt, they can always change their mind. When you look at things like name recognition and drawing power, Velasquez is ahead of the pack of challengers (granted, none are big draws) and he is ranked No. 1, so from a rankings and name value standpoint, he would seem to make the most business sense.
Both he and Arlovski have stories, with Arlovski being the guy whose prime was ten years ago and was written off as any significant fighter years back, who is making a resurgence at 36, so he’s got that story. Velasquez lost due to his own fault, in the sense he didn’t go to Mexico early enough to get acclimated to the altitude, but if the question is who are the two best heavyweights right now in the world, most would still answer Velasquez and Werdum.
If you look at factors that usually determine who would draw the best, Velasquez is actually way in front, but if you go by feel, it doesn’t feel like he should get a shot unless he wins one fight.
Fight Night on Sunday
This week’s show will be on a Sunday instead of Saturday, and run head-to-head with SummerSlam. It’ll be on FS 1.
It starts with Fight Pass fights at 6 p.m. Eastern time with Shane Campbell vs. Elias Silverio and Chris Beal vs. Chris Kelades.
FS 1 runs from 7 p.m. to about midnight, with Frankie Perez vs. Sam Stout, Nikita Krylov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima, Felipe Arantes vs. Yves Jabouin, Misha Cirkunov vs. Daniel Jolly, Valerie Letourneau vs. Maryna Moroz, Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Tony Sims, Chad Laprise vs. Francisco Trinaldo, Patrick Cote vs. Josh Burkman, Neil Magny vs. Erick Silva and Charles Oliveira vs. Max Holloway.
The main event isn’t a big-time marquee fight, but on paper, it’s a fight that should provide a lot of action.
Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort III
Glover Teixeira vs. Patrick Cummins is being talked about for the 11/7 show in Sao Paulo, and UFC later confirmed the fight. Tom Lawlor returns on that show to face Fabio Maldonado, which looks to be third from the top on the show behind the Teixeira fight and the Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort III main event.
Television ratings have increased 33 percent and average paid attendance is up 67 percent this past year, since Scott Coker took over for Bjorn Rebney.
The plan seems to be to use San Jose, St. Louis and the Mohegan Sun Casino as the regular markets for big shows and Scott Coker expects to set the company attendance record for 9/19. He’s predicting 13,000 paid for that show, which is probably double the company’s all-time record.
Coker also said that his long-term goal with Bellator is to make it like Pride, but better, with the backing of Viacom. Coker for years worked for K-1 and attended their biggest shows and that’s his vision of the ultimate show with all the special effects and big entrances. It’s a good idea because if you’re the No. 2 group, presenting a show different from No. 1 is the way to go. Going forward, the idea is to brand Bellator’s biggest show of the year as “Dynamite,” taken from the name K-1 used for its for its New Years Eve shows from 2003 to 2010. The San Jose show will be the first “Dynamite” card.
The top matches on the final major show of the year, on 11/6 in St. Louis at the Scottrade Center, will be Patricio Pitbull Freire vs. Daniel Straus, Will Brooks vs. Marcin Held for the lightweight title, plus Bobby Lashley and Michael Chandler on the undercard. This will be the third meeting between Freire and Straus, as Freire won via decision in 2011, and via choke in January.
Canelo vs Cotto
Middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and former unified junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez meet in a hugely anticipated showdown on Nov. 21 (HBO PPV) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but before the big fight, they will take to the road for a four-city international promotional tour next week (as if this match needs the hype!).
Each stop is free and open to the public. Exact locations and times have yet to be announced, but the tour will kick off Monday in Los Angeles. The second stop will be on Tuesday in Mexico City, the third will be Wednesday in New York, and the final event will be in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Cotto’s hometown, on Thursday.
Roy Jones Jr. Still Going
On Sunday night, Jones Jr. knocked out Eric Watkins in the sixth round of their match at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut with his patented left hook.
Jones Jr. has ventured into the promotional world, but still wants to get back inside the ring, and already has two more fights lined up. But with a record of 62-8 he has little left to prove.
A prime Roy Jones Jr. was as good as it gets. Had he retired after the first Tarver fight, his record would have been 50-1 and his place among the top five modern all-time greats would have been well justified. Fast hands and a seldom-seen sense of reflexes defined Jones. And he was one of the best talkers ever.
Since that fateful Tarver fight in 2004, Roy has gone 13-6, and his reflexes and tremendous athleticism have disappeared. But since his brutal KO at the hands of Denis Lebedev (the brutality being intensified by referee Steve Smoger recalcitrance) in May 2011, Roy has gone 8-0 with his last five coming by way of stoppage.