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« | Home | »

UFC’s 16 fighter cuts & the proliferation of testosterone usage

By Zach Arnold | February 20, 2013

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Jon Fitch was one of 16 fighters cut by the UFC on Wednesday. There’s plenty of outrageousness outrage online about the news. The reaction has largely been predictable.

So, let’s focus on the issue from a different angle and that’s the shamelessness of MMA fighters using testosterone in order to extend their careers so they aren’t the next ones on the cut list.

Everyone was blathering palaver in response to Dana White’s comments from past week about his disgust with fighters using testosterone. It’s just another smokescreen from UFC management and really just a carry over from Dana’s media strategy of buying time, buying more time, and buying even more time before actually facing reality head-on and doing something about the problem. Remember, it was nine months ago when Dana said in an interview that the issue of drug usage in UFC is not as big as it’s being made out to be.

Three questions arise from this weekend’s comments:

1) Why is UFC reversing course publicly now after they created the environment for testosterone usage in the first place?

Someone has to be nudging them and that party must be someone with financial clout. Perhaps Fox executives? Otherwise, there’s no reason for UFC to care about any sort of consequences from testosterone usage fallout. Perhaps the lawyers finally got in their ear and said that the issue is a ticking time bomb for liability?

2) Why should fighters end their shamelessness in using testosterone if the UFC’s doctors and UFC-friendly commission doctors go along for the joy ride?

If you’re Vitor Belfort, Rampage Jackson, Frank Mir, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Nate Marquardt, and a slew of other fighters, why stop using testosterone now if UFC’s guy Dr. Jeff Davidson or a guy like Dr. Tim Treanor (Keith Kizer’s guy which comes from the same commission that Marc Ratner comes from) is handing out the hall passes? These guys see the cuts happening all the time. They don’t want to be on that list.

3) If UFC really cares about the issue, why don’t they follow the one path that would create some anxiety over the issue with fighters — stop booking them for shows?

Last weekend, Dana White is throwing a PR fit about testosterone and the suckers in the media push his tripe as if he’s really all-caring about the topic. A week after his comments, you have UFC in Anaheim with Dan Henderson in the semi-main event. Then you have Chael Sonnen getting pushed on FX (via The Ultimate Fighter) to promote a bout against Jon Jones. You have Vitor Belfort antagonizing anyone who criticizes him for using testosterone for fights and Luke Rockhold has to deal with this circus for their upcoming match.

There’s a simple solution for minimizing the shamelessness — simply stop booking the fighters in top slots. The counter-argument to this is that the fighters will simply keep using testosterone and not admit to it in public. I don’t buy the sympathy ploy.

A final thought

Remember the whole debacle between Rampage Jackson and Fighters Only magazine last February when he was preaching to the masses about his testosterone usage? I said at the time that the testosterone issue would catch up to UFC in a bad way and that it would start sucking up the oxygen in the media. It’s a legitimate and serious topic, especially when you see everyone in baseball freaking out about their players getting caught going to a wannabe unlicensed mark doctor in Tony Bosch in South Florida.

Everyone knows what the end game will be with testosterone issue — there will be a fight involving a guy on testosterone and the other guy not on it. The guy using testosterone will seriously hurt his opponent, perhaps permanent brain damage or paralysis or even a death in the cage. Outlets like Outside the Lines will smell blood in the water and rip UFC to shreds for creating an environment in which testosterone hall passes are being dished out.

And if UFC needs to see what the future looks like on this issue? Look at WWE. Even they figured out that giving out testosterone hall passes is a scam. Of course, we had Chris Benoit with his brain damage & massive testosterone usage to contribute to the pressure during that media circus.

As today’s cuts by the UFC demonstrates, fighters will do anything to extend their careers. The UFC has been all too happy to give out the permission slips for testosterone usage to muscular guys fighting a cage who are talking tough out of one side of their mouth and crying hypogonadism out the other side. If hypogonadism is such an epidemic in Mixed Martial Arts, how come it isn’t in an epidemic in a sport like the NFL? The UFC wants everyone to treat their operation as a real sport. They want Fox to promote them as a real sport. And yet, what kind of a sport are you pushing when so many of your top athletes are claiming they can’t naturally produce testosterone and need to take a dosage of the base chemical of anabolic steroids in order to function as a human being to compete?

Right now, MMA’s credibility as a sport when it comes to drug usage is on the same level as horse racing and cycling. Lip service isn’t going to fix the problem. Neither are bogus promises of claiming to test testosterone users globally during their training camps while also proclaiming out the other side of your mouth that you can’t drug test every athlete under contract because it’s too expensive and unreliable. The UFC has their hand caught in the cookie jar here and they still aren’t sure what kind of strategy to use to handle the testosterone mess they’ve created and enabled in the sport.

Addendum: Keith Kizer suspends boxer Mickey Bey for elevated levels of testosterone. We now have a system in Nevada where Kizer & his doctor (Tim Trainor) are giving out testosterone hall passes to fighters who ask for them while suspending fighters for elevated T/E ratios who don’t have hall passes. If you’re going to give out permission slips for guys to use the base chemical of anabolic steroids (testosterone), don’t you think you lose the moral & ethical ground by going after fighters w/o hall passes who test positive for testosterone?

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 90 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

90 Responses to “UFC’s 16 fighter cuts & the proliferation of testosterone usage”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Right now, juicing is looking like a better option that not juicing, especially coming off of a loss. Losing 2 out of 3 fights will get you cut nowadays.

    The UFC is just that cutthroat and some folks from the smaller organizations with padded resumes simply do not belong, and that is being shown.

    Fitch was a boring fighter. were he more exciting, he would not have been cut.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Fitch was cut because he was boring, was 1-2-1 in his last 4, did not put one behind in the seats, and was getting paid over $120,000 for a win.

    From Mike Chiappetta:

    “I remember talking to a UFC executive back in late 2010, who told me that Fitch was expendable as soon as he was no longer relevant in the title picture because of the money he made.”

    I personally think they should have waited for him to lose once more before cutting him, but that is how the cookie crumbles. He is obviously on the tail end of his career. He isn’t looking the same as he did 3 or 4 years ago.

    As for the drug “problems”….

    The UFC cannot have a policy where they automatically cut guys who use because:

    1) No sports league has a 1 and done policy. Most have 3 strikes and you are out.

    2) Competition. If they had this policy, it would help out competitors. Get rid of competition, and they would have much more leeway to fire guys who do drugs….

    As for drug’s being an issue in MMA…. Outside of the small little internet circles, it isn’t even on the sports radar with the media or fans.

    As for the rest of the cuts…. I like a lot of them. Both Welterweight and Lightweight are over 80 fighters deep right now. I don’t care how the 80th ranked fighter in the world is doing. They need to get rid of a lot of guys like Jacob Volkmann who have sub .500 records who have no chance at getting to the top. Clear that spot out for a better Bantamweight, Flyweight, or Female….. Or a young prospect who might at least have a chance to become something better.

    As of right now, they have the right number of fighters at Heavy, L. Heavy, Middle, and Feather….. I could easily see 60 or so fighters cut from Welter & Light without blinking too much of an eye.

    • nottheface says:

      “They need to get rid of a lot of guys like Jacob Volkmann who have sub .500 records who have no chance at getting to the top.”

      Correction, Volkmann was 6-4 if you include welterweight and 6-2 at LW.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Yes. Sub .500 means around .500…. He had a .600 winning percentage. In the ballpark.

        Volkmann is a perfect example of what strength of schedule is all about. I have seen a lot of people say: “But he was 6-2 in the Lightweight Division.” This is true. But look at it further…. Of his 6 wins at Lightweight…. 5 of those guys no longer fight in the UFC.

        He was being used as a gatekeeper for entry into the UFC. Then he went 1-2…. Plus his mouth was a huge liability…. And he got canned. Not a shock.

        People have to stop spouting off records for the sake of records. The quality of the opponents is what matters.

        The only guy on the entire list who was a bad cut was Jon Fitch. And from what guys in the know are saying, the money he was making was part of that decision. And that happens in sports all of the time. An athletes current skills don’t warrant his contract amount and things go south from there.

        • nottheface says:

          I’m not making a big fuss over the Volkmann decision. I thought he should have got one more fight,but he definitely had a lot of demerits on his record. But saying hes sub .500 which actually means he’s below .500 makes it seem much more clear cut than it really is.

          As for Fitch, not only do I think cutting a fighter ranked on your own ranking system is a poor decision, but if it’s because of his contract it’s also being cheap. He’s a making $66k/$66k which is a drop in the bucket for a guy they’ve used to headline two show and co-headline a couple of others.

        • Jay B. says:

          No kiddin, sub .500 means below .500. There is no dancing around the number.

          Hard to believe you wont accept that fact. Volkmann won some and lost some. The cut list was meant to not only deliver a message but to create some media that UFC needs because its been pretty dull and uninteresting.

        • Zheroen says:

          Sub means BELOW. Not near, or just above, BELOW. This isn’t even disputable.

          World English Dictionary
          sub-

          —prefix
          1. situated under or beneath: subterranean
          2. secondary in rank; subordinate: subeditor
          3. falling short of; less than or imperfectly: subarctic; subhuman

          You can’t even get the basics of the English language correct, why should anyone listen to you on anything?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Oh no…. The grammar police are hear. Nobody is right 100% of the time… I guess “sub” .500 didn’t mean what I thought it meant. Oh well….

          That still has nothing to do with Volkmann getting cut. At I stated above, he was a gatekeeper for fighters even being in the UFC. Then he lost 2 out of his last 3 and had a mouth that was so foul he got a visit from the Secret Service. Not worth having on the roster. That is really simple to see….

        • Fluyid says:

          “The grammar police are hear.”

          I believe that you meant to write, “here.”

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I did that one on purpose….

        • edub says:

          Sure you did.

        • GET RID OF SHEILDS says:

          Using the excuse that most of Volkmanns wins are no longer in the UFC doesn’t hold much weight as ALMOST all Bispings wins are not even fighting anymore. Bisping is the biggest can crusher in MMA and he basically has one legit top 15 win over Brian”one dimentional” Stann and somehow Bisping is ranked 4th.
          I don’t liek Volkmanns style anymore than next guy but I think it was his mouth more than anything that got his a’ss canned

  3. Robert Poole says:

    “The UFC cannot have a policy where they automatically cut guys who use because:

    1) No sports league has a 1 and done policy. Most have 3 strikes and you are out.”

    Far be it UFC to actually be a trendsetter and show that the welfare of the health of their fighters trumps precedent from other sports who have pretty much all screwed up when it comes to their handling of PEDs.

  4. The Judge says:

    Perception over reality.
    Fitch’s last two fights were fight of the night caliber both from casual and hardcore fans’ perspective. Somebody raved about him in the bar during each of his last 3 matches, a statement I can make about no other fighter, and this was very obviously not members of the website-surfing, Ariel interview-watching crowd (“I saw this bearded guy fight a Hawaiian last time. He is goooood!”) He went exactly one below .500 over the last four fights, and that was only because he got robbed into a draw against Penn. Yet because he is not viewed as a flashy fighter, UFC does not look as cheap when they cut him as it would for most other fighters the same caliber.
    Cut all the faberweights and the quality of fights will improve.

    • RST says:

      “Fitch’s last two fights were fight of the night caliber both from casual and hardcore fans’ perspective.”

      danajoel DOESN’T LIKE FITCH

      UFC is not as much of a sport at the moment,
      as it is emporer danajoel’s personal ego arena

  5. nottheface says:

    Show’s how much the UFC cares about their new ratings when they cut their #9 WW. Of course, now that he’s no longer in the UFC, he won’t even be ranked so who’s going to even notice?

    And while his pay that got him dropped – although the image rights, fighting style, and talking about his pay probably didn’t help -when you consider the fact that he headlined 2 shows and appeared on 7 ppv main cards, the UFC more than made their money back,

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    http://thaboxingvoice.com/vada-testing-holding-up-donaire-rigondeaux/10241

    So, Kizer’s krew in Nevada is suspending Mickey Bey for elevated levels of testosterone for a post-fight drug test.

    And yet Kizer’s doctor, Tim Trainor (who isn’t an endocrinologist), is giving out hall passes to fighters for testosterone usage.

    How about we come up with a new policy for state athletic commissions: If you’re giving out hall passes for testosterone usage, then you give up the right to suspend fighters who test positive for testosterone in standard urine tests.

    What we have now are commissions creating an environment for sanctioned doping (testosterone usage) while being sanctimonious and going after fighters who have elevated levels of testosterone in their system based on urine drug tests. This is incredible.

  7. The Judge says:

    How exactly do UFC contracts work? Using what the term normally means, the guy gets X fights over an X period of time and gets paid X per fight. However, if you can be cut at any time, at company’s will, this turns the contract into a “we will pay when and if we feel like it” system, where the fighter is not really guaranteed anything. Such a system seems rather disadvantageous to the contractee (fighter/athlete) and doesn’t give him much reason to be excited about signing one.

    • 45 Hudle says:

      Baseball has the other problem. Take Alex Rodriguez for example. They should be able to cut him based on his lack of ability to play and all the steroid issues around him. But they cannot. Now they are stuck paying $25 Million a year to a liar, cheat, and a guy who cannot play.

      There is no perfect system. The strength the fighters do have is in their name value. If Zuffa can still make money off of them…. they will stay.

      Even if there was a fighters union… i would hate to see the UFC be unable to cut non-worthy fighters. Need to keep things fluid…

      • Steve4192 says:

        Even in baseball, which has the strongest union and most athlete-friendly contracts out there, guaranteed contracts are not universal.

        Guaranteed contracts don’t enter into the equation until a player hits his free agent eligibility, which take SIX YEARS. Minor league contracts are not guaranteed. Pre-arbitration MLB players are only guaranteed the MLB minimum as long as they are on a MLB roster. The second they get sent down to the minors, their salary goes back to the pittance that MLB teams pay to minor leaguers. Post-arbitration (but pre-free agency) players are not guaranteed anything either. Their team can elect not to offer them arbitration and send them packing if they deem their salary to be out of whack with their performance.

        Fitch was the only one of the guys in the recent UFC cuts who would have been protected by a MLB-style contract. The rest of them would be just as fucked in MLB as they are in the UFC.

        • nottheface says:

          There is one very big difference, in MLB or any of the other major team sports, if you’re dropped from a team there are 29 other teams to sell your wares to. In MMA, there really is only one major league team in the UFC, one NPB level league team in Bellator. So you’re a little more fucked getting cut in MMA then you would in other sports..

        • The Judge says:

          So my question is, Steve, how exactly is it a contract? That is, what is the fighter promised in exchange for UFC’s exclusive rights for his fights? How is it not essentially a fight-to-fight deal, and not even that, since they are able to cut him any day?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          nottheface,

          There are a few organizations with TV contracts Jon Fitch can go to. Bellator, WFOF, and the handful of shows on AXS. And then there are companies like ONE FC overseas that could be in the running as well.

          Fitch will be taking a paycut, but there are still options for him to compete.

        • nottheface says:

          “there really is only one major league team in the UFC, one NPB level league team in Bellator.”

          TV deal or not, signing with WSOF is really not comparable to being cut by the Red Sox and then signing with the Twins.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I don’t know about that….

          Cyborg just signed with Invicta.

          Josh Barnett turned down a UFC Contract and it is assumed he has another contract on the table. My guess is WSOF but who knows….

          King Mo signed with Bellator.

          Quinton Jackson willing is going into the free agent market and away from the UFC.

          Jon Fitch will be fine.

          And actually… Based on the salary differences between some teams…. I would say going from a Top 5 spending team vs. a Worst 5 spending team isn’t that much different from going from the UFC to another organization. The New York Yankees spend 3.5 times as much on payroll as the San Diego Padres….

        • nottheface says:

          So are you arguing that Bellator, One FC, & WSOF are also major league teams along with the UFC? Because I would at best say they’re NPB. And just because good players occassional sign with the Nippon Baseball League doesn’t make it comparable to MLB.

          As for your San Diego to Yankees comparison, I would say a big difference is that both teams are still in the major leagues, and the players for both are operating under the same collective bargaining agreement. Neither is true when discussing fighters going from the UFC to the WSOF.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Those leagues are certainly not at the UFC level. They cannot match fighters making a cut of the PPV (unless they do funny matching math like Bellator is doing with Alvarez).

          But in terms of getting a few fighters with a bigger paycheck (like a Jon Fitch) they are most certainly capable of it. Not saying it makes financial sense, but they can do it.

  8. The Judge says:

    I am not complaining about the system. I am asking the question, to make sure I understand the situation correctly. See, it’s like my goal is to obtain knowledge, rather than defend or attack any side, regardless of what it says or does.

    And no, they shouldn’t. The idea of a contract is that you are guaranteed employment over the duration of the contract in exchange for the other side having the exclusive rights to your labor over said duration. If you don’t want to pay Jon Jones when he is 50, don’t sign him to a thirty-year contract. Otherwise, you take the risk.

    • 45 Hudle says:

      But if during that time you cant perform your obligations why should they be paid?

      Just like if a fighter doesnt fight for a year he doesnt get paid. That makes sense….

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The system as it is now is nearly perfect. The only element that needs to be added….

        As I have said before I am for a UFC Fighter’s Union. If this union existed, I do not think they should have the power to say which fighters should stay or go.

        But what they should have is an APPEAL PROCESS. Basically a chance for the fighters to get a second chance without getting the ax. Now, this could work in many different ways.

        1) Fighter gets back in with same contract.

        2) Fighter gets back in with a pay level that is more appropriate.

        3) Terms are agreed upon that fighter can back into the UFC if he wins X number of fights outside of the UFC.

        Of the 16 fighters let go, I would say perhaps 5 of them would probably even qualify for such an appeals process. And of those, probably only 1 or 2 should be let back in. But at least it would give the fighters some added leverage.

        But the idea to limit who the UFC can fire can go down a road most fans probably wouldn’t want.

        And you couldn’t even implement a “lose 2″ or “lose 3″ in a row requirement due to the vast difference in competition level even within the UFC.

        • The Judge says:

          Well, the very idea of a contract, to me, is that you shouldn’t be able to get the ax until your contract runs out. If a fighter can be cut at any time, at the promotion’s whim, then how is he under contract, what is the promotion’s obligation to him? Not saying there is anything wrong with the system, I am trying to understand how it works.

          Because the way the legal system works, both parties have to promise something of value to each other.
          Let’s say me and you agree to a widget-selling contract. You will buy 3 thousand widgets from me in the next 3 years. You get a promise of widgets, I get a promise of a 3000 widget order. But if you can cancel/stop buying widgets at any time, you are under no obligation to me, we don’t really have a contract, you are just buying widgets from me as you feel like it.

          (I am not a lawyer, so I know I am simplifying things)

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Welcome to our laws. The companies hold all of the power. Go to a few European Countries, and it is much harder to fire people.

          But there are restrictions on when a fighter can be terminated. If he won his last fight he can not be terminated. If he was injured after his last win he can not be terminated.

        • The Judge says:

          I am not sure at all that you know what the actual laws are. And the comparison to that type of employment is not valid: the unionized contracted worker in France is collecting a daily paycheck, the UFC fighter is not getting paid, but is still somehow under contract?

          “But there are restrictions on when a fighter can be terminated. If he won his last fight he can not be terminated. If he was injured after his last win he can not be terminated.”

          Your source for either of these provisions existing in most UFC contracts?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Brandon Vera lost to Thiago Silva and was cut by the UFC. Silva pissed hot and the fight was changed to a no contest. The UFC was forced to bring back Vera due to the change in result.

          So yes, it has been shown that they cannot get rid of a fighter after a loss.

        • The Judge says:

          Shows no such thing. The articles I find don’t say anything about UFC being now LEGALLY OBLIGATED to bring Vera back, only that they chose to do so, after it turned out he lost to an opponent on steroids.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          It is common knowledge that the UFC cannot fire somebody after a win. Sorry if those articles don’t state the exact clause in Vera’s contract, but that is the reason.

          It is also the reason the UFC originally fired Jon Fitch for not signing the video game contract. It happened after his loss to GSP so they could do it.

          Some of the information in this article might be slightly dated because the contracts have been changed since the Couture problems a few years back. But the reasons for getting rid of a fighter are basically the same….

          http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Inside-the-Standard-Zuffa-Contract-9734

          “At all times Zuffa retains the right to accelerate the term of the contract and therefore terminate the company’s obligations if certain conditions are met. Among these conditions: fighter loses any MMA fight; fighter fails to participate in the minimum number of fights for any reason other than injury; fighter breaches the contract; any of the various representations or warranties made by the fighter in the contract are false or no longer true; fighter’s license is suspended or revoked by any athletic commission.”

        • The Judge says:

          Thanks for the info. That answers nearly all the questions I had. A contract with UFC, therefore, means to the fighter that he will continue to get fights for the remainder of his contract, as long as he does not lose. Loss=right to cut.

          You see what I meant, though? If you can be fired at any time and are not getting paid, then you don’t have a contract, per se.

          I am surprised we don’t hear more “Oh my god, I won and I saved my job” freak-out interviews, though. I mean, this turns UFC into an Ultimate Fighter-like scenario, except you don’t even get to stay in a nice house for a few more weeks in case of a loss. :)

        • 45 Huddle says:

          But the UFC can’t cut probably the Top 100 guys or so. They are either potential future contenders or fighters with enough name value that they are needed.

          So while they have the option to fire anybody after a loss, they really don’t have that ability if they want to make a profit in the long term.

          The rest of the guys are certainly expendable.

          Personally I like the fact that they are clearing house. I would rather see 30 Lightweights go and fill those spots with higher ranked guys in the lower weight divisions.

          The UFC have become extremely deluted. 80 freaking fights at Welter & Light? Come on!! It is horrible. Give me the Top 30 guys at Heavy, Light Heavy, Bantam, & Fly…. And then give me the Top 50 at Middle, Welter, Light, & Feather. That is all I care to see.

        • The Judge says:

          “But the UFC can’t cut probably the Top 100 guys or so.”

          Oh no, they can. They just won’t, or don’t want to, and in some cases (repeated test failures, lack of excitement, bad relationship with the promotion) they will.

          “So while they have the option to fire anybody after a loss, they really don’t have that ability if they want to make a profit in the long term.”

          You are confusing two things–whether they have the legal ability to do so and whether it would be a smart way of doing business. The former ability they do have (though I am sure some of the more lucrative contracts also include
          certain failsafes), the latter they do not. Though they could probably cut at least one top-5/top-8 fighter in each division, without suffering too much of a business loss.

          “The rest of the guys are certainly expendable.”

          The 100 number is fairly arbitrary. Try mentally running down the number of UFC fighters that you want to watch and it might be a few more, run down the number of actual draws might be considerably less. But otherwise we agree, fighters below a certain number ranking-wise will not be missed by fans.

          “Personally I like the fact that they are clearing house.”

          You seem to be making a case more for redistribution between divisions than a reduction in total number of fighters. Given a choice between more money in UFC’s pocket or more fighters making a living in the world of MMA, I will choose the latter everytime.

          As far as divsions, I feel like every time I turn on their fights lately, it’s leather, bantam and feather. Given that there are only four or five flyweights worth watching and only about 8-9 in the two divisions immediately above it, does really make sense to keep a full division? So we get to watch trash, while it’s heavyweights and light heavyweights that’s consistently put on the better matches (with welterweights close behind). I would rather they kept a few guys, but instead of airing the midcard-level, kept those in minor leagues until somebody establishes a reputation high enough to be brought in for a PPV fight (Hector Lombard-type scenario). As for lightweights, there is a lot of talent at the top, which they can sort out, especially if Edgar and Pettis stay there, it’s a logjam so I don’t mind those getting a slightly bigger share at the moment.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Dana White is saying they are still going to cut 100 more fighters. They just have too many fighters signed right now for the number of fights they can put on.

          It will trim the fat. And then when they do have the ability to increase their roster again, I hope they do it in the other weight divisions that are more sparse….

        • The Judge says:

          I don’t like the idea of cutting a certain number of fighters. That speaks more of money pinching than trimming the fat.
          If this is the max numbers of fighters they can support, chances of them having a hiring spree in the future is unlikely.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          It isn’t money pinching. They just don’t want cards with 15 fights on them.

        • The Judge says:

          It is obviously about saving money, Dana has just said so himself.
          The main reason you don’t want a 15-match card is it costs you more to put on.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The reason you don’t put 15 fights on has more to do with the live experience being too long. It is typically already like a 6 hour show. How much longer can they make it?

          The vast majority of the fighters who got cut were making on the low end of the payscale. So to say it was money based just isn’t true.

          Jon Fitch is probably the one exception. They are losing money everytime he fights for his specific fight.

      • The Judge says:

        How is the fighter not able to perform his obligations? What obligation, specified in his contract, is he violating? “Being a world-class fighter” is not something any contract states or any court would validate. You can have a “must have a belt” or “be ranked in top 10″ or even “have a winning record” but I doubt any contract states any of that, either.

        If a fighter doesn’t fight for a year he doesn’t get paid. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is if the promotion is able to not book the fighter in any fights and refuse payment based on that. Let’s say Johnny Hendricks has one fight left on his contract. Should they be able not to put him into this fight and therefore not pay him and have him under their contract forever? I doubt that that’s how these contracts work.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I think all of the UFC contracts have both a number of fights and the time period in them.

          It is designed so fighters can’t avoid fights for a year and sign with somebody else.

          Which is what a lot of these contracts restrictions are about. Keeping talent away from signing easily with another company. It forces fighters to completely finish up their contracts before moving on.

          The other leagues don’t have to worry about these problems…

        • The Judge says:

          That makes sense and is perfectly fair. However, I am talking about the opposite restriction, the obligation on the promotion to provide a fighter with X fights in X years. If I am Zuffa and I sign a fighter to such a contract, how am I then able to not provide him with that many fights? Say, cut him after X-2? That is, in theory, the right I give up in exchange for him giving up the right to seek fights with anybody else until X in X is up.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I don’t know what to tell you, but that is how the contract works. And it is perfectly legal.

          It is a performance based contract. You have to be successful in order to stay.

          As stated above, a MLB Team has the rights to a younger player for like 6 years. That player has no rights to go play for somebody else during this time. And the team can cut them at any time.

          Just the way the world works.

        • The Judge says:

          The situation I describe is not a performance based contract. In a performance-based contract, the fighter would be guaranteed another fight, as long as he wins.

          A MMA contract, which says the company can’t cut you (and in fact, guarantees you the next fight) as long as you keep winning, is perfectly fair. This is just the first I hear of such a clause.

      • Jay B. says:

        No Huddle, its alot easier to be fired in netherlands or Germany than it is in the US..not sure where you got that myth from.

    • frankp316 says:

      A UFC contract is the same as a WWE contract. The fighter is an exclusive employee of the UFC AND an independent contractor. this means they can’t work anywhere else and they can be cut at any time. The contracts are obviously favourable to the UFC. They can do whatever they want. The obvious solution to this is a union but that is very unlikely to happen as fighters like independence. And as we have seen with player unions in the NHL and NBA, there are headaches that come with unions.

      • nottheface says:

        actaully as long as they are independent contractors they can’t unionize. It’s illegal for them to collectively bargain, and the UFC (or WWE) can take actions against those who try without worry of any legal consequences.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Based on the legal definitions of independent contractors…. UFC Fighters really do fall under that category.

          WWE Wrestlers not so much….

        • The Judge says:

          The other difference is WWE fighters. NBA players or even lab technicians are not paid per fight, game or task completed. They get paid a daily, annual or hourly rate. The company in exchange for that gets the right to use of this employee as long as they are paying them the rate. A UFC fighter, who doesn’t get fights, is not getting paid. He is apparently not even guaranteed to get paid eventually, since the company can decide tomorrow they would rather cut him than give him the remaining fights.
          In such a system, I could sign every fighter to a contract tomorrow, pay them nothing and retain their exclusive rights for eternity, or until their contract expires.
          We must be missing something here.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          NBA Players Start their preseason in October and the playoffs end in late June.

          They get only a few months off for the entire year. These guys have almost no other earning potential outside of sponsorships.

          A MMA Fighter has to report to work for only a few days a year. Typically on average for 3 fights and they have to be there a few days before in order to get medicals and weigh-ins.

          An MMA Fighter, due to the scheduling, can hold seminars and make money on the side due to their name value (not even including sponsors).

          So a UFC contract does not stop them from making money anywhere else. It stops them from competing in another organization. They can still have a full time job or do MMA related stuff to make even more money on the side.

          And they can’t sign every single fighter up because typically they are responsible for providing them a certain number of fighters within a given time period. If they didn’t, they would be in breech of their own contracts….

        • The Judge says:

          By that standard, a NFL player only has to report to work 16 days a year. 20 at most, if he is lucky and they make the playoffs.

          Today’s top level fighter has to spend most of his not fight days training, doing media appearances (those are mandatory, see Nick Diaz), doing more training and resting from exhausting training.

          This is no longer UFC 3 where Keith Hackney could jump in on a short notice as a break from being a plumber. Fighting at this level is now a full-time job.

          Even assuming you have enough spare time to make a living otherwise (and I don’t know that many fighters could make a living doing seminars and through sponsorships, especially the latter if they don’t have heavy TV presence), the point was not that they are deprived of a chance to make a living or that fighters should get a daily wage. The point was that NBA fighter or WWE wrestler is compensated for his exclusivity.

          “And they can’t sign every single fighter up because typically they are responsible for providing them a certain number of fighters within a given time period.”

          Not if they can “cut them any time they want to”. But now it seems like they can’t.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          UFC Fighters are typically competing 2 times a year now. That is 6 months off from fighting a year. That is more free time then any of the athletes in the main sports.

        • The Judge says:

          More like 2 to 3, with 1 more inevitably delayed/postponed/cancelled due to injury.

          There is nothing to prevent UFC from booking them more often if, in fact, it’s possible for fighters to compete that often at top level.

          But once again, sorry, you missed the point, which was that UFC guys don’t get paid for being employed, they get paid for work done, which is the difference between them and WWE, NFL, even many plumbers, etc. Not that one way is better than the other, just that the situation is different.

    • The Judge says:

      It is obviously about saving money, Dana has just said so himself.

      Why would you not want a 15-match card, if it doesn’t cost you any extra?

  9. Chris says:

    Zach,

    You called it.

    The UFC’s and Keith Kizer’s stance on TRT has been a joke. And giving fighters a “hall pass” describes the situation perfectly. Cheating is fine, but they want the fighters to be smart enough to do it legally. This way they can absolve themselves of any responsibility and keep the negative press to a minimum.

    They don’t care about the issue, and they are not going to stop booking these guys until something really serious happens. Like one TRT user seriously injuring a fighter that’s clean. Of course that won’t be the situation with Henderson v. Machida, since both guys are receiving TRT love from Nevada and the UFC.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    http://www.mmafighting.com/2013/2/21/4015644/dana-white-explains-why-he-released-jon-fitch

    He is certainly trying to get Bellator to pick up Jon Fitch….

  11. david m says:

    I have oft criticized Fitch for being boring as fuck, but 1)he is a great fighter with an impeccable record, 2) he is a name fighter. He isn’t a draw, but he is someone that is respected by even casual+ fans (those who are not hardcore, but watch PPVs semi-regularly), and he really elevated Maia in getting smoked.

    That being said, I can’t knock UFC for cutting a guy who is nowhere near the title who is getting paid 6 figures. Tough call, but not the end of the world. I hope to see Askren smoke Fitch in Bellator by year’s end. Askren, if he can start finishing dudes, could be a real ace for Bellator–he is undefeated, an Olympian, in his prime, and with a skill set that would give anyone at 170 a rough night.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Bjork just said they will not be signing Jon Fitch. Something about already having a good tournament coming up…

      WSOF perhaps?

      • david m says:

        I don’t know anything about WSOF except that Ray Sefo is involved. Maybe the Yakuza will get back into the fight game in Japan. Perhaps Monte Cox is still promoting Extreme Challenge? Not many options for fighters anymore, which is what happens when one organization buys/destroys/blackmails most of them out of business.

        • Steve4192 says:

          Who has the UFC put out of business?

          Certainly not Pride, which imploded due to Yakuza scandal. Nor EliteXC, which bet it’s future on Kimbo Slice and crumbled when the Smoothie King knocked his ass out. Not Strikeforce either, whose investors bailed on Scott Coker when he kept coming back to them for more capital to pay his bills. The IFL? Nope. Bodog? Nope. DREAM? Nope.

          The only company where the UFC played a major role in putting them out of business was Affliction. Zuffa definitely fucked with them by scheduling a free event at the last minute opposite one of their PPVs and throwing their weight around in Las Vegas to force them to change venues for their ill-fated third show (which Josh Barnett torpedoed by melting a specimen cup).

        • Chuck says:

          Well, considering that Zuffa bought Strikeforce then shuttered it. So, yeah, Zuffa did kill off SF.

  12. Chuck says:

    I understand why most of these guys got released (not particularly stoked by it though)…..but how is Yoshihiro Akiyama still under contract? He is 1-4 in the UFC, only victory being his first fight (a disputed decision over Alan Belcher). How about Leonard Garcia? He is 0-4 in his last four, 1-5 in his last six. Or Nam Phan, who not only lost his last fight but is 2-4 in his last six. Or Rick Story, who is 1-3 in his last four? Or George Roop, who is not only 1-3 in his last four, but also has a just above .500 record at 12-9-1. Many dudes who are more deserving of a cutting than Jon Fitch or even Che Mills (whose last three fights were a loss to Rory MacDonald, a win over Duane Ludwig, and a loss to Matt Riddle).

    • Jay B. says:

      Just one of those mind boggling mysteries that no writer would or will ask Dana out of fear of being blacklisted. They probably went by potential of a “good fight”, Akiyama has been interesting but he cant hang in the UFC.

  13. Chuck says:

    King Mo just got knocked the EFF out by Emmanuel Newton in the first round via spinning back fist. I predicted Newton to win, but not that quickly. I bet TNA, Bellator, and Viacom are PISSED! Especially TNA. They were the ones that were banking on Mo’s success in Bellator. Not just the fact that Mo lost, but that he lost quickly and crushingly.

    It’s almost like the Kimbo Slice situation all over again.

    • Bellator Fan says:

      Slice had no ability to make a comeback. Mo can build himself in TNA then come back and string together wins with his wrestling ability alone.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      This is certainly a huge blow to Viacom.

      But it was predictable…. Not that King Mo would lose…. I had him winning the tournament and title. But if he did lose, the entire thing could come crumbling down. It was a very risky move.

      This is why the two do not mix…

    • The Gaijin says:

      WELP!

      King Mo got exactly what he deserved for fighting like such a cocky prick – it was Overeem-esque – keeping his hands down and bobbing and weaving and showing no respect for Newton.

      It’s always the ones you don’t see that hurt you the most.

    • Jay B. says:

      Not really, Mo has ability. Newton got a luck shot. If they were to fight again…highly doubt Newton would win.

      Mo was cocky and fighting his lazy typical style. He paid the price and now he has to rebuild.

      TNA cant even sell him as a tough guy anymore (well I guess they could make him a Brock Lesnar lite)

  14. Gwesd says:

    I am curious how California is letting Dan Henderson fight there when there is no TRT therapy usage allowed. The last time he fought was a one time exception and was not going to be allowed until there were able to write rules and regulations concerning testosterone usage.

  15. david m says:

    I am so looking forward to seeing Machida embarrass Henderson. Aside from the H Bomb (or as I call it, the Low T Laser) right hand, Dan has no chance. Lyoto is going to be about 4 steps ahead of him, both mentally and physically, until Dan ends up getting dropped and finished.

  16. Bellator Fan says:

    Bellator 90 was the best night of fights (of any promotion) thus far in 2013

  17. 45 Huddle says:

    When are they organizations going to realize that when you constantly bet on the house, eventually you will lose? Saw it was EliteXC, Strikeforce, and now Bellator.

    Even the UFC is slightly guilty of it with the promotion of Ronda Rousey…. Although her example isn’t as bad because she does seem to be the real deal. But the female division could still all crumble down if she loses on Saturday…

    This is just another example of how the tournament format is hurting Bellator more then helping them. They missed out on Alvarez/Huerta, Chandler/Alvarez 2, and now King Mo in a title fight. Have to strike when the iron is hot….

  18. RST says:

    ” the shamelessness of MMA fighters using testosterone in order to extend their careers”

    It seems to me that its a vain effort to conduct and guide ones-self by a moral code while in a business that is increasingly guided and formed by a moral-less leadership

    When danajoel will trash you publicly for not taking a short-notice fight that endangers your career, fire you if you lose that fight, stall you in a contract so that you cant earn a living if you want to leave,
    REWARDING TRT CHEATS WITH TITLE SHOTS AND TV SHOWS,
    etc, etc

    Playing by anything less then the same grotesque rules is only putting yourself at a disadvantage

    If danajoel wants to be the leader,
    which he clearly does,
    then he needs to lead by example

    And its nobody elses fault when he presents a bad example

    • RST says:

      Or another way to look at is that they’re not only fighting the man across from them in the cage,
      but they’re also fighting danajoel and zuffa

  19. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator once again did not break the Top 100 shows on Cable Television in the key 18-49 demographic.

    I believe that is now 3 of the 6 weeks they have failed to break into the Top 100. Not a good sign….

    It also means King Mo did not get fans to come back… Which might not be a bad thing for his career after that bad KO loss….

    • 45 Huddle says:

      737,000 was the actual number for Bellator….

      • Jay B. says:

        Or King Mo fans left the minute he got knocked out. Breakdown probably will show when they came to watch the fights and when it peaked.

        Thank you for showing us the numbers, still goes against what you said for your predictable trending predictions.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          My first few weeks predictions were spot on. I was thinking it was going to end up in the high 600’s…. Instead it ended up in the low 700’s…. Not that far off really.

          The overall numbers are a concern for Bellator. The fact that they can’t get the younger fans to watch is really the thing that will kill them.

        • RST says:

          King Mo getting KO’d proves that Bellator is realistic,
          as apposed to propped up flamderson stuff

        • Jay B. says:

          Well 45, like I said…peak of viewers probably occurred during Mo fight and after knocked out, viewership started trending down.

    • RST says:

      45 is a demographic,
      enthusiast!

  20. edub says:

    King Mo looked terrible. Not technique or game plan wise (although those sucked too), but just his body.

    Really might have been something to the roids. Not surprising.

    • Jay B. says:

      Roids may have caused him to peak and decline already. Happy trails Mo. Guess its time for him to start over at zero, feeding him cans isnt likely to happen either.

  21. The Gaijin says:

    Can’t wait to watch Rousey open up a can of SQUASH tonight…this Carmouche fight is a joke – she’s 0-2 against fighters with resumes/skills close to approaching Rousey’s. There are plenty plenty plenty of other women fighters out there (even some under Zuffa contract) that would have leapt to get the UFC main event exposure and THIS is who they chose? S-Q-U-A-S-H.

    This is EliteXC-esque plain and simple. They are showcasing who they hope to be the golden goose draw of women’s mma. That’s all fine and dandy, but to pretend otherwise is simply ignorance.

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