By Zach Arnold | February 14, 2014
“Thank God this is over.”
You never know what you’ll hear on a hot mic at a marathon public meeting but the California State Athletic Commission has had some rather lengthy marathon sessions in the past. They would probably be well-served in the future to hold meetings every 45 days if they can budget for it because it seems as if a significant portion of each agenda gets tabled down the road for future meetings. California has more events than any other state and that, in turn, means more agenda items to address and focus on.
One of the big issues of note from Monday’s meeting was the situation regarding California events getting poached by other states. California already struggles to attract A-level events due to the state income tax and city events tax in places like Los Angeles, which discourages money marks from putting up cash for site fees to attract big events. John Carvelli, the dental HMO lobbyist who Governor Jerry Brown re-appointed to CSAC, was elected Vice Chairman. Carvelli is the Governor’s point man now at CSAC and knows the road map of Sacramento politics.
Carvelli noted that he would attempt to get meetings soon with the state’s Franchise Tax Board to explore business options that could attract bigger fights to the state of California. He specifically noted New York (primarily the Barclays Center) poaching events and that other states (like Texas) are taking a bite out of high-end show activity.
“This has taken on a great deal more significance (in) that California needs to remain competitive.”
And you couldn’t find a better example of promoters struggling with California’s regulatory machine than Brett Roberts, Southern California MMA promoter.
By Zach Arnold | February 9, 2014
On Monday in Los Angeles at CSAC’s meeting, they will be voting on Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemon’s new guidelines regarding Therapeutic Use Exemptions when it comes to fighters using testosterone. The juxtaposition of this proposal next to the statement from the Association of Ringside Physicians, which includes CSAC’s top two Southern California doctors (Dr. Paul Wallace & Dr. Eddie Ayoub) coming out against TUEs for testosterone in combat sports is quite interesting.
Here is the text of the new CSAC policy being voted on Monday. Here is the original document dump containing the new testosterone policy.
By Zach Arnold | February 7, 2014
Mugshot from Broward County, Florida Sheriff’s office
Arrest number 501400892.
By Zach Arnold | February 6, 2014
Ringside doc taking a pic of Ko'd fighter. Wtf is going on here? pic.twitter.com/zmoQVjwQvm
— Greg Savage (@TheSavageTruth) February 7, 2014
One of the big issues right now in the California fight scene is regulation of events that are taking place on tribal land. Some of the venues (like Fantasy Springs in Indio, Chumash in Santa Ynez, Pechanga in Temecula, Morongo in Cabazon) allow the California State Athletic Commission to regulate boxing & MMA events. Other venues, like Tachi Palace in Lemoore, have had an on-again, off-again relationship with CSAC.
Obviously, the two issues at play here are money and safety. There been multiple occasions where tribal venues take a pass on having CSAC regulation and instead hire some CSAC athletic inspectors, doctors, and other officials to work the shows. This is often a source of consternation for the Sacramento front office, especially if said officials decide to work an unsanctioned show the same night as a sanctioned event.
On Thursday night, Greg Savage of Sherdog was at a Tachi fight event in Lemoore and posted a picture of a doctor taking a photo of a knocked out fighter getting placed on a stretcher board. Perhaps the doctor has a genuine reason for taking the photograph as far as legal & medical records are concerned. Or the doctor could have taken the photo for his own personal reasons. You can’t judge intent here but the picture certainly is interesting to look at.
Last time I was here the doc stopped a fight from cage side. He did it again, had time keeper blow horn at 4:16 of round 3.
— Greg Savage (@TheSavageTruth) February 7, 2014
Pretty lame. And yes, he was the guy who was taking pics earlier.
— Greg Savage (@TheSavageTruth) February 7, 2014
I suspect the front office in Sacramento would like to know the name of the doctor and, if licensed with CSAC, would like to question him at their next commission meeting.
By Zach Arnold | February 6, 2014
Next Monday at the California State Athletic Commission’s meeting in Los Angeles, a number of new rules & regulations will be voted on to start the bureaucratic process of implementation that must take place in Sacramento through the Office of Administrative Law.
The wave of new regulations includes a provision for Andy Foster to use BJJ blue belts & purple belts as MMA judges/officials; a new testosterone policy by Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons; and a new policy regarding distribution of money from the boxer’s pension fund.
However, the main event in the wave of new regulations is a new transgender policy that will undoubtedly gain a lot of media attention. How it is enforced in the future is something that a lot of people will be paying close attention to. Will the commission notify male/female fighters ahead of time if their opponent is a transgender fighter?
Here is the text of the proposed transgender policy that will be voted on Monday. We’ve copied the text here for reading & discussion purposes.
By Zach Arnold | February 4, 2014
— Steve Tetreault (@STetreaultDC) February 4, 2014
The puppetmaster, Sig Rogich, put on a show for the media writers who either didn’t know or didn’t want to talk about the motives behind the UFC/boxing Lou Ruvo brain study press conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.
Nevada’s most powerful political fixer, top UFC political fixer, and close political ally of Harry Reid & John McCain orchestrated a slick diversion to push the alleged generosity of fight promoters who have donated cash to the Cleveland Clinic to study brain damage amongst hundreds of fighters.
And, as I noted last Friday, it was a public relations tactic to try to justify why the Ali Act shouldn’t be amended for MMA and why promoters & athletic commissions shouldn’t be sued in the future for concussion-related or testosterone-related lawsuits.
Saturday: UFC president bemoans a dearth of KOs at UFC 169. Tuesday: UFC CEO appears at press conference to decry head trauma.
— Jeff Wagenheim SI (@jeffwagenheim) February 4, 2014
On Tuesday, John McCain didn’t even pretend to hold back on the motive of the press conference. The man who pushed the Ali Act to cover boxing says that MMA regulation should be a states rights issue. Fox Sports:
MMA is not all the way there yet. A reporter asked McCain on Tuesday if he wants to regulate “extreme fighting” on a federal level, which nearly made Fertitta grimace.
“That was kind of a bummer — any time I hear ‘cage’ or ‘extreme fighting’ or something like that,” Fertitta said. “But compared to what it used to be? That’s nothing. I’ll take that all day long.”
McCain’s answer to the question was political in nature.
“You want to be very careful not to encroach on the state’s abilities to do this regulation,” McCain said.
Lorenzo grimaced because the reporter probably saw through the political palaver of McCain. The man touting federal regulation for boxing is not touting it for MMA, a sport that he supposedly isn’t a fan of?
The point of the presser was to give people in combat sports political cover from federal oversight of all combat sports by using the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic brain study as a shield. The puppetmaster Sig Rogich strikes again.
- Tuesday’s presser was labeled a bi-partisan political effort given that Harry Reid & John McCain were involved. Rogich happens to be close to both men. That closeness will ensure that there’s no political momentum to amend the Ali Act to cover MMA.
- Rogich & Lorenzo helped Harry Reid in his senate re-election campaign against Sharron Angle.
- Rogich helped run parts of John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign.
- Rogich, former Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman, is close with Marc Ratner and with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Rogich has sway with the direction of NSAC, next door to the Attorney General’s office.
- Rogich, along with Bob Arum’s wife Lovee, are on the board of directors for the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic center.
- Rogich & Lorenzo even appeared together in Carson City for an ill-fated meeting in front of the Gaming Control Board to vouch for Tim Poster, a disgraced business partner of Tom Breitling (who is in charge of Ultimate Gaming for the Fertitta family empire).
- Rogich is the founder of the World Series of Fighting, the unofficial UFC bastard child that, one could argue, is helping as a stalking horse promotion to attract fighters who may have otherwise signed with Bellator.
Someone ought to make sure that the next time Teddy Atlas sounds off about extensive federal regulation needed in combat sports, he can thank Sig Rogich and the parties he represents for not accomplishing such regulatory oversight.
In various conversations I’ve had with MMA writers this past weekend, not one writer recognized the name Sig Rogich or even knew of his background despite the months worth of articles I’ve written on him (you can read them here). Rogich is the most powerful political fixer for the UFC in both Nevada and Washington D.C. Rogich has political power that can be used in dangerous ways. It’s time for the press to do their job and start dirt-digging on the man who is basically orchestrating political favors for a lot of well-monied individuals. If the press continues to treat Rogich with kid gloves, that will be slimy behavior on display.
By Zach Arnold | February 4, 2014
I’ve had the opportunity to work with several different young writers, some in high school and some in college, on suggestions and interviews for term papers on the topic of anabolic steroid usage in combat sports. The universal conclusion amongst these young writers is that the permission slips for fighters to use anabolic steroids is a scam.
One writer in particular, Joshua Rothstein (e-mail here to contact) in New York City, recently finished a term paper on this very topic and I think it deserves a read from everyone.
By Zach Arnold | February 1, 2014
Event: UFC 169 in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center
TV: Fox Sports 1/PPV
- Welterweights: Neil Magny defeated Gasan Umalatov after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Rashid Magomedov defeated Tony Martin after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Middleweights: Clint Hester defeated Andy Enz after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Al Iaquinta defeated Kevin Lee after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Middleweights: Nick Catone defeated Tom Watson after 3R by split decision. One judge scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Catone.
- Flyweights: Chris Cariaso defeated Danny Martinez after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Alan Patrick defeated John Makdessi after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Abel Trujillo defeated Jamie Varner in R2 in 2′32 by KO.
- Flyweights: Ali Bagautinov defeated John Lineker after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Heavyweights: Alistair Overeem defeated Frank Mir after 3R by unanimous decision.
- UFC Featherweight title match: Jose Aldo defeated Ricardo Lamas after 5R by unanimous decision.
- UFC Bantamweight title match: Renan Barao defeated Urijah Faber in R1 in 3′42 by TKO.
Good job to the judge that scored the Al Iaquinta/Kevin Lee fight 28-27, giving Iaquinta a 10-8 first round and Lee a 10-8 second round with Iaquinta finishing 10-9 in R3 for the win.
UFC & Fox should be embarrassed for prodding Mike Goldberg & Joe Rogan into pushing Rosie O’Donnell & Demi Lovato tweets about UFC 169.
By Zach Arnold | January 31, 2014
Last October, we wrote an article about the initial study results regarding brain damage in MMA fighters that the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic center in Las Vegas discovered. In short, there is a difference between boxers & MMA fighters as far as what kind of brain damage is suffered. The kind of brain damage MMA fighters are suffering from will have a more immediate impact on speech & cognitive abilities. Given the four ounce gloves currently being used, this should surprise no one.
While the work being done at the Lou Ruvo center is a positive development, it’s also a heavily politicized development. And when it comes to state or federal politics, this is an area MMA writers almost never touch because of fear or a lack of caring.
By Zach Arnold | January 30, 2014
Last November, California-based boxing manager/trainer/second Rodrigo Mosquera was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after a two-month investigation (spear-headed by Mark Relyea). The investigation centered around a boxer named Ricardo Rodriguez allegedly using altered Cleto Reyes gloves. Mosquera worked as a manager/second the night Rodriguez fought on an All-Star Boxing show in Quiet Cannon last September.
As a result of the investigation, both Mosquera and Rodriguez received indefinite suspension letters from Andy Foster of CSAC. Mosquera’s manager’s license was suspended. Rodriguez’s fighter license was suspended.
The news of these suspensions was revealed publicly in a December 13th Friday afternoon document dump. That same night, Golden Boy promoted a show at Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California. Rodrigo Mosquera appeared at the show and was issued a new seconds license by CSAC athletic inspectors. What this would indicate is that, at the time of Mosquera’s suspension for the supposedly altered gloves last September, he only had a manager’s license that was active and not a second’s license. So, he paid for a new second’s license at the Golden Boy show after knowing he was indefinitely suspended by the Athletic Commission… and got the license.
Mosquera was given a second’s license at the December Golden Boy show and worked a Fox Sports 1 television fight as the lead corner man for fighter Francisco Vargas.
Both Rodrigo Mosquera & Ricardo Rodriguez were scheduled to appear in front of the Athletic Commission at their December 16th, 2013 meeting in Sacramento. Instead, their appearances were pushed back for CSAC’s February meeting. The indefinite suspension was still in place.
Which brings us to Golden Boy’s Barclays Center event on Thursday, January 30th, in Brooklyn. Mosquera’s top fighter, Gary Russell Jr., fought fighter Miguel Tamayo. Yet another television appearance for Rodrigo Mosquera. Mosquera was front-and-center on television in the corner of Russell as a second & working as the lead corner man during rounds.
When Fox Sports 1 listed Mosquera’s name, they used the tagline “RODRIGO MASCERA.”
Mosquera, who was indefinitely suspended by the California State Athletic Commission, has worked two television fights for Golden Boy since the suspension last November. This means Mosquera himself, Golden Boy as a promoter, New York state as an athletic commission, and Fox Sports 1 all are ignoring Andy Foster’s suspension of Mosquera for allegedly altering a fighter’s gloves for a show last September in the state of California.
The next California State Athletic Commission meeting is on Monday, February 10th in Los Angeles. If CSAC doesn’t strip Mosquera of his manager & seconds licenses and ban him from ever doing business in the state again, then whatever willful ignorance there is to enforce California’s suspension of Mosquera in other states will fall right on Sacramento’s lap.
By Zach Arnold | January 30, 2014
Information from The Sacramento Bee.
The front office
- Andrew L Foster – Executive Officer, $82,903.86
- Sophia Cornejo – Assistant Executive Officer, $63,908.94
- Vern Hines (DCA) – Auditor, $69,741.92
- Christopher G Raymond – SSA (Staff Services Analyst), $39,651.08
- Rebecca G Huey – SSA (Staff Services Analyst), $24,040.48
- Heather Jackson – Office technician, $34,036.48
- Mark D Judish – Office technician, $26,588.90
- Doreathea Johnson – Deputy director of DCA legal affairs, $135,231.60
- Kristin M Daily – Deputy AG IV, $123,905.72 (attorney assigned to Sarah Waklee lawsuit
- Karen B Chappelle – Supervising deputy AG, $130,162.97
- Spencer L Walker – Attorney, class III: $112,571.84
- Michael R Santiago – Attorney, class III: $100,266.23
- Elisabeth A Frater – Deputy AG III, $99,366.11 (attorney assigned to Dwayne Woodard lawsuit)
By Zach Arnold | January 28, 2014
— MMAjunkie MMA (@MMAjunkie) January 28, 2014
Dana White pulled a page out of the Bob Arum playbook and did the media rounds in Los Angeles on Monday despite not having a local fight to promote.
Amazingly, the questions/talking points with all those who had access to Dana were very similar… almost in sync with each other. Funny how that works. Everyone made sure to ask Dana for his thoughts about Roy Nelson applying for the Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director job.
(Didn’t NSAC members claim they would keep the status of applicants silent until the interviewing process?)
Everyone asked Dana about his new boxing reality TV show. Everyone asked Dana about why boxing is so greedy but he’s not because he’s giving away “big fights” like Ben Henderson vs. Josh Thomson away on free TV, as Sportsnation allowed him to say. Max Kellerman even admitted on television that he had been in private negotiations to work for Zuffa. Charissa Thompson on Fox Sports continued the lapdog press tour.
Which makes the UFC’s media strategy on the testosterone (anabolic steroids) scam in combat sports all the more confounding. They are flailing away horribly and cannot keep a straight answer on the matter. They care about the subject enough to address it but don’t care enough to actually have a cohesive answer to address the problem at hand. It’s the worst of both worlds, really, and it’s very uncharacteristic for Zuffa (which maintains a monolithic media-treating strategy).
By Zach Arnold | January 26, 2014
Dana White on NSAC possibly turning down Vitor for TRT: "It just doesn't make sense though. Why would Nevada turn down Vitor for TRT?" #ufc
— MMA Supremacy (@MMASupremacy) January 27, 2014
When Sig Rogich & Lorenzo Fertitta are the political mover-and-shakers in Nevada politics, you do what they tell you to do if you want to maintain your status as a player. Unless, of course, your name is Tim Poster and not even Lorenzo can save your hide with the gaming regulators.
When we posted the job application for the Executive Director slot at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, one thing was very clear: the litmus test for who gets the job will be heavily dependent on their stance on the issue of giving out permission slips to fighters for the usage of testosterone (anabolic steroids). And that litmus test begins with Vitor Belfort.
Whatever the UFC wants, the UFC is going to get.
Erik Magraken: Illegal PED’s And Science Based Suspensions In MMA
Whether it’s Andy Foster (California State Athletic Commission), Mike Mazzulli (Mohegan Sun), Jeff Mullen (Tennessee), George Dodd (former CSAC boss), or whomever the Nevada fixers deem fit to take over the Executive Director slot… one thing is very clear. Whoever gets the job will have to be compliant on the testosterone issue. The genie is out of the bottle and the UFC has been the most influential force regarding their support of fighters who have used testosterone.
On Monday, the Association of Ringside Physicians in boxing & MMA will announce their official position against the proliferation of testosterone permission slips in combat sports.
The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare. Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport. Consequently, the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy.
What makes this announcement so interesting is who is on this committee. Dr. Eddie Ayoub & Dr. Paul Wallace, CSAC’s top two doctors, are associated with this anti-testosterone statement. California’s stance on testosterone has been soft since Chael Sonnen started his shenanigans years ago on the matter. Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons attempted to push through a testosterone policy in April of 2012 but was stopped by Consumer Affairs after they rejected the overture. Part of that process included a statement from yours truly on the matter. Lemons has been pissed since that rejection and now has been trying to ram through a new testosterone policy which means the doors will once again be open in the future for fighters to use testosterone in California.
Fox Sports doesn’t like talking about their steroid marriage with UFC but sooner or later they’re going to have to address the matter at hand. They didn’t want to when Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa were hitting homeruns because they had a financial interest at stake. They didn’t exactly come out with a pro-GSP spin on his drug testing comments about the UFC. However, Vitor Belfort is one win away from a UFC title and the testosterone elephant will no longer be avoidable for Fox Sports. They own this issue now along with the UFC. This is their mess & their legacy.
Update (1/27 at 8:30 PM EST): The shell game continues for Zuffa, as Dana White backtracks a bit on the testosterone issue. Take note that there’s no mention about the shows UFC self-regulates and allows testosterone usage on.