Week in MMA & Boxing #7 - 9-10-15
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
September 4 - September 10, 2015
Mayweather used banned IVs
Accoring to a report on SB Nation, Floyd Mayweather Jr received banned intravenous vitamin injections (IVs) the day before his May 2 megafight against Manny Pacquiao. The report says that Floyd failed to comply with World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency did not then issue a therapeutic use exception to Mayweather for the IVs until almost three weeks after the contest.
The report revealed that Mayweather was discovered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to have received an intravenous vitamin injection the day before his May fight against Pacquiao, when employees of USADA had arrived to give Mayweather a random drug test at his home after the fight’s weigh-in on Friday May 1.
The officials “found evidence of an IV being administered” to the boxer at the time. Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett confirmed in the report that USADA did not declare to the NSAC that Mayweather was receiving an injection.
According to Mayweather’s medical team, the fighter was given two different vitamin mixes -saline and vitamins- both of which were to treat dehydration. While the injections themselves did not include any banned substances, and Mayweather has never tested for any banned substance in his 19-year professional career, IVs are banned under WADA guidelines because they can be used to “dilute or mask the presence of another substance,” Hauser's report disclosed.
Mayweather's team had not applied for the TUE until 18 days after the fight against Pacquiao, 19 days after his test, according to Hauser's report. May weather went on to defeat Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
USADA chose not to notify the NSAC about the procedure until May 21, when USADA sent a letter to Bob Bennett, the NSAC director and NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar, with a copy to Top Rank (Pacquiao's promoter), informing them that a retrospective therapeutic use exemption (TUE) had been granted.
Mayweather vs Berto Hype
There has been a lot of press written on how poor ticket sales have been for Mayweather-Berto in Las Vegas this weekend. Many have said there is no sense of hype in town whatsoever, although that could change since we’re still a few days out and media for fight week just got started Tuesday afternoon with the fighter arrivals at the MGM Grand hotel lobby.
Ticketmaster shows there are more than 2,100 seats available -- and that doesn't even count the tickets that are typically held by the promoters.
That's despite the fact that the face value of this fight -- ranging from $125 to $1,500 -- is significantly lower than the prices for Mayweather's fight in May against Manny Pacquiao.
Late last week, as ticket sales halted, MGM Hotels started offering more aggressive deals to those who have frequently stayed at their properties. One offer was $1,000 for a two-night stay at the MGM Grand that included two Mayweather-Berto tickets.
The lack of interest in Mayweather's opponent is understandable. Berto has lost three of his last six fights, and many don't believe that this, Mayweather's 49th fight, will be his last because another win after this would allow him to pass Rocky Marciano's record of 49-0.
UFC fighting against Unionization
In the battle regarding unionization of UFC athletes, Kirk Hendrick, the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer this past week sent another letter to talent warning them against joining the possible union that may be forming soon.
I know if I was a fighter, my gut reaction to this would be to join the union, so writing this letter, could backfire. The percentage of UFC revenue that actually goes to the fighters is only known by a few people in charge at UFC.
The closest comparison is WWE, but even that isn’t quite the same thing because WWE has maybe 150 people under contract and UFC has closer to 600, and both organizations bring in a similar level of revenue.
But UFC profits are much higher than that of WWE, so they can afford to pay talent more. UFC, with its reliance on attractions rather than the brand name being much higher, the value of a top tier fighter is more than that of WWE, so the few true drawing cards should, and do, make more than WWE performers.
The question becomes what is fair for the owners to profit vs. what is fair for the athletes. When it comes to UFC, that’s not a simple question becomes UFC has something like $27 million in needs to profit just to break even due to the interest on their various loans. They beat that number handily, even in 2014 when PPV was in the toilet.
Unions have been effective and positive for team sports, but an individual sport is different. Not to say unionization would be a bad idea for fighters. It would be a good idea, but I wouldn’t trust my lot with people who not only don’t care about the business, but have greatly harmed it already, and really, are still only looking to harm it for power play reasons.
Johnson Wins again
Demetrious Johnson is probably the most technically sound fighter in the UFC, he’s nearly cleaned out his entire division, and is chasing Anderson Silva’s record for most successful title defenses in history.
Johnson retained his flyweight title, defeating John Dodson for the second time in the main event of UFC 191, on 9/5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The only man ever to hold the flyweight belt made his seventh successful title defense, a mark that trails three streaks that are now over, Silva with ten, GSP with nine and Jones with eight (since he was stripped of the title without losing it).
There has been talk of Johnson moving up and challenging for the bantamweight title. Johnson fought at bantamweight before the flyweight division was created, and was successful enough to earn a title shot at Dominick Cruz. But he’s much smaller than most bantamweights, and when the subject was brought up, he reportedly said he’d move up and challenge for $2.5 million, a ridiculous figure given the fight would not draw big.
For a PPV show in Las Vegas, this had the least interest in live show tickets. The announced numbers at the MGM Grand Garden Arena were 10,873 in the building with a gate of $1,362,700. It was well known ahead of time that the advance was the weakest in recent memory and getting free tickets wasn’t that difficult.
The crowd behaved like a papered crowd, arriving later than usual with the building empty for the underneath fights, and many people leaving as the main event went on. After it ended, there was a mad rush for the exits, with few staying to wait for the decision and the post-fight interview, as it was very clear who won the fight.
Andrei Arlovski won his sixth straight fight, a lackluster decision over Frank Mir on scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. But there was no winner in a fight that the crowd heavily booed. There had been criticism of UFC not giving Arlovski a title shot at Fabricio Werdum, since he had momentum coming off his win over Travis Browne in one of the year’s best fights. But even though winning, now, nobody is clamoring for him to get the shot.
Arlovski outlanded Mir in all three rounds, although the second was close and Mir got a takedown in that round. MMA Decisions listed that 75% of the main media scorers had it for Arlovski. But Arlovski knew that it wasn’t about who won, but how he looked, and was despondent and apologetic when the fight was over, knowing he hurt his chances of getting a title shot based on the performance.
Anthony Johnson knocked out Jimi Manuwa and will likely retain his No. 1 contender status behind Daniel Cormier. But he’s not getting a title shot soon after being choked out by Cormier in his previous fight. His best hope is for Alexander Gustafsson to beat Cormier. Since Johnson knocked out Gustafsson earlier this year, if Jones isn’t back, Johnson would almost surely get the next shot. If Cormier wins, he’s going to have to sit and wait because he won’t be getting anyone who is on the verge of a title shot.
Overall, the show was forgettable.
Cruz gets title Shot
UFC president Dana White announced that bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw would defend the title against former champion Dominick Cruz on Sunday, January 17, 2016, in Boston's TD Garden.
The show will be on Fox Sports 1, and will be the second ever title fight in that network's history. After being ravaged with injuries for three years due to a torn ACL and groin, the 30-year-old Cruz (20-1) was stripped of the title after several comeback attempts were postponed. He returned in September 2014 and steamrolled Takeya Mizugaki in 61 seconds at UFC 178, but found himself on the injured list yet again with a torn ACL in his other knee.
McGregor wants to move up
Conor McGregor this past week said that if he beats Jose Aldo, he’s looking to move up to take the lightweight title. He said the only thing that would keep him at featherweight would be if Frankie Edgar puts on a great performance and beats Chad Mendes and then Edgar would have earned a shot. Some of this could be with the IV ban, as his getting back up from making 145 will be more difficult.
McGregor also said that he asked to fight Urijah Faber on the 10/24 show in Dublin, saying it’s a payday and an easy win, but UFC didn’t want him fighting before the Aldo fight. That show, with a Joe Duffy vs. Dustin Poirier main event, sold out nearly 10,000 seats in 60 seconds
They held the “Go Big” press conference on 9/4, which turned into the McGregor show since he set up potential fights with Mendes (who lost the promo battle in less time than he lost the stand-up), Edgar (through no help of Edgar), Dos Anjos (where he gave the line that when you sign to fight him you make life changing money and your wife likes it so much it becomes red panty night) and Cerrone (who fared the best going head-to-head with him).
UFC announced Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau for the strawweight title for 11/15 in Melbourne. They sat Jedrzejczyk and Rousey together and are smartly putting them on the same show. The idea is the people who are buying a Rousey show is the audience that would probably be more willing to accept Jedrzejczyk as a star, so that’s the audience to expose her in front of
Fabricio Werdum doesn’t want to defend the heavyweight title until March. Right now it looks like Cain Velasquez as the challenger but a lot can happen between now and the end of the year when such a fight would take place. I think that’s the perfect shot at Velasquez vs. Fedor if they sign Fedor, and then the winner gets Werdum, which would, either way, mean the challenger would earn the title shot.
December 12th show grows
UFC added several more fights to 12/12, which is one of the most loaded show in years. Urijah Faber returns to bantamweight to face Frankie Saenz. Saenz has seven wins in a row, including one against Iuri Alcantara. A key featherweight fight is Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens, with a Holloway win almost guaranteeing his next fight against one of the big four (Aldo, McGregor, Mendes and Edgar).
Also added was Gunnar Nelson vs. Demian Maia in a battle of two of the best BJJ practitioners in the sport. Also on the show will be Leonardo Santos vs. Kevin Lee and Magomed Mustafaev vs. Joe Proctor
PBC: Austin Trout
Premier Boxing Champions debuted their weekly series on Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday, September 8th with a main event of Austin Trout knocking out Joey Hernandez in the sixth round at middleweight. The broadcast began at 9pm ET and also featured a co-main event with Jorge Lara going to a technical draw with Jesus Rojas at featherweight.
Trout, 29, outclassed Hernandez, 30, in every round before scoring the knockout with a series of body punches in the sixth. Hernandez was getting frustrated early in the fight. In the fourth round, he actually tossed Trout with a pro wrestling bodyslam, which resulted in point deduction.
The score at the time of the knockout was 50-44 for Trout on all three cards.
Trout improved to 30-2 (17 KOs). His two losses were both in 2013 by unanimous decision to Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, respectively. Trout also holds a unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto in 2012. Hernandez fell to 24-4-1 (14 KOs).
PBC TV Deals
Fox was the last major network (besides The CW) not to be working with PBC in some capacity, as NBC and CBS have both broadcast multiple PBC shows and ABC has aired PBC on ESPN. It is unknown whether Fox’s deal with PBC includes broadcasts on the Fox Network, or if the deal pertains only to FS1. PBC’s deal with Fox includes 21 shows running through June 2016. The broadcasts are simulcast on Fox Deportes.
Nothing has been announced regarding PBC airing on Big Fox. With UFC as Fox’s broadcasting partner, it will be interesting the effect that PBC airing on FS1 has on UFC’s contract renewal negotiations with Fox in a couple of years (assuming any effect at all). I had figured Fox sat out of making a deal with PBC when all the other networks were lining up to work with Al Haymon because Fox already had UFC. They also aired Golden Boy, but they never drew great ratings on FS1.
PBC replaced Golden Boy as the boxing content provider for FS1. It was a major blow to Golden Boy, since their FS1 shows were the main way the promotion exposed rising stars to a wider audience. Golden Boy had their final boxing card on FS1 on June 30th, although they’ve continued to air “Golden Boy Classics” on Fox Deportes.
The new PBC on FS1 series is being packaged as “Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays”. This is not to be confused with Spike’s “Friday Night Lights Out” or TruTV’s “Friday Night Knockout”.
The list of channels that have aired PBC boxing now include NBC, CBS, Spike, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Bounce TV, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports. At some point PBC will probably also air on ABC. Showtime also airs cards that are de facto PBC cards, although they aren’t officially promoted as such.