Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Josh Gross

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Sherdog (News)

Sherdog (Articles)


Liver Kick

Fightsport Asia

Caged In

MMA Junkie

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow



MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

Infinite MMA

MMA Convert


Fight Medicine



MMA Frenzy



Kevin Iole

Yahoo MMA Blog

MMA Betting

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

MMA Chronicle

David Williams

Audio Corner


MMA Dude Bro

Sherdog Radio

Joe Ferraro

The Fightworks Podcast

Eddie Goldman

Pro MMA Radio

MMA Torch

Video Corner

Fight Hub

The Fight Nerd

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

Site Meter

Verdict on first UFC double-header: insufferably long

By Zach Arnold | May 31, 2014

Results from the main fights on Saturday…

Berlin card at O2 World Arena (8,000 in attendance)

Sao Paulo card at Ibirapuera Arena (sparsely attended at beginning, quiet at the end):

Fabio Maldonaldo looked like he wanted no part being in the cage with Stipe Miocic and it showed. Very soft as a small heavyweight and the second he got tagged by Miocic, he was backtracking. A clean right and Maldonaldo was done.

Antonio Carlos Junior won his TUF Heavyweight fight and the yellow “Team Wanderlei” shirt was the only reference to Wanderlei at all during the program tonight. Chael Sonnen was in the audience. Mixed reaction, at best, from the tired and fatigued Brazilian crowd.

Demian Maia had full mount for the majority of his fight and did nothing with it.

The UFC sent the wrong mat canvas to their Berlin event. They’re running so many shows, nobody can keep track of what is going on. Perfect symbolism.

Today was the first time that I saw advertising on TV for UFC 164 (the mystery Vancouver PPV headlined in two weeks by Demetrious Johnson). I feel very badly for DJ in terms of the promotional end of the stick. I have serious doubts that this card can draw over 125,000 PPV buys. That is extremely low for UFC but I think it is an entirely possible scenario.

The UFC and Bellator will be going head-to-head on Friday night in early September in Connecticut. UFC FS1 event from Foxwoods and Bellator at their strong-hold in Mohegan Sun. The Mohegan Sun events genuinely bring the best energy of all the Bellator crowds. If UFC is going to run more cards head-to-head against Bellator, that will be quite a statement of paranoia.

The boxing two-step with Felix Sturm losing and Carl Froch beating George Groves was more interesting to watch.

Topics: Brazil, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 9 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

The minor shake-up at DCA & impending 2015 shake-up at California State Athletic Commission

By Zach Arnold | May 30, 2014

Another day, more turmoil.

Yesterday came word that figurehead Denise Brown, a Sacramento lifer, was on her way out via retirement at the Department of Consumer Affairs. DCA is the monstrous government behemoth that controls many agencies in California. She was able to pad her retirement benefits by hanging around for a few years. And now her hatchet-man, Awet Kidane, is taking over.

Awet Kidane, 38, of Elk Grove, has been appointed director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs effective July 3, 2014, following the retirement of director Denise Brown. Kidane has served as chief deputy director at the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 2012. He was chief of staff for California State Assemblymember Steven Bradford from 2009 to 2012 and senior advisor to California State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass from 2008 to 2009. Kidane served as a legislative consultant for the California State Assembly from 2003 to 2009, where he was an associate consultant from 2002 to 2003. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $148,836. Kidane is a Democrat.

Tracy Rhine, 42, of El Dorado, has been appointed chief deputy director at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, where she has served as deputy director of legislative and policy review since 2012. Rhine served in multiple positions at the California Board of Behavioral Sciences from 2008 to 2012, including assistant executive officer and legislative analyst. She was a consultant for the California State Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection from 2005 to 2008 and consultant for the California State Assembly Speaker’s Office of Member Services from 2002 to 2005. Rhine was a graduate research assistant in Governor Gray Davis’ Office of Innovation in 2002. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $132,528. Rhine is a Democrat.

In the grand scheme of things, not a lot will change at the Athletic Commission as a result of Kidane getting promoted. He was already doing a lot of the dirty work for Denise Brown. The only difference is Kidane is now the face of DCA. He’s the target. The dossier on him is that he hates bad press. Really hates it. One way he can avoid bad press is by doing his job professionally and that includes cleaning up the festering mess of problems at the Athletic Commission.

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

The UFC, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and Wanderlei Silva’s future

By Zach Arnold | May 28, 2014

Over the past couple of months, Chael Sonnen went through a Nevada hearing to get cleared to fight because he’s over the age of 35. This is standard operating procedure. Dan Henderson did the same thing. Mysteriously, Wanderlei Silva did not. His name has not been on any Nevada meeting agendas.

Nevada will have a meeting on June 17th. Here’s the kicker: Vitor Belfort will have a license hearing that day to replace Wanderlei Silva as Chael Sonnen’s opponent for the July UFC event in Las Vegas. And yet the same commission & promoter is not allowing Wanderlei Silva to get paperwork prepared before that same June 17th meeting?

Remember the context here for the UFC event in July: Chris Weidman was supposed to fight Vitor Belfort in May. Then came the avalanche of negative press coverage (listen to our recent interview with Josh Gross on this topic) about the testosterone plague in UFC and the reversal on testosterone passes. Lyoto Machida is named as the replacement for Belfort to fight Weidman in May. Weidman injures his knee and the fight is pushed to July. Vitor lost his title shot and had a drug testing issue with Nevada. He wasn’t licensed.

Six months after that licensing issue, here comes Vitor back to Nevada to fight on a card where he originally was going to get a title shot against Weidman. Instead, Vitor will now fight Chael Sonnen in the ultimate testosterone death match at 205 pounds. And Wanderlei Silva, who needed to be approved to fight Sonnen because he’s over 35, won’t be approved by the same commission that is about to approve Vitor?

On FS1 Pravda (UFC Tonight), Chael Sonnen “broke” the news of opponent change. Sonnen claimed that Wanderlei Silva ran away from taking a Nevada drug test at his “gym” and that Wanderlei’s UFC career is finished. Sonnen vs. Vitor will be a #1 challenger’s match to face the winner of Weidman/Machida.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 12 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Seven fight stories we’re watching that might interest you

By Zach Arnold | May 28, 2014

1. The fallout from The Desert Sun’s articles on Angel Osuna & the California State Athletic Commission

If you missed the requisite reading material, start here. Then go here. Then read our response.

The Desert Sun is part of the Gannett media family. They have tentacles to other newspapers in California and the rest of the country. Enterprising newspaper editors looking for a human interest/health & safety story that is compelling will pick up on the articles. The backlash against Consumer Affairs management is justified.

There is a reason to amend the Business & Professions Code to assist event promoters in buying an additional, catastrophic insurance policy with a $50,000 deductible to help protect financially-vulnerable fighters who will be forced to declare bankruptcy when they can’t pay mounting medical bills due to a serious injury.

An alternative solution, if cheaper for promoters than purchasing catastrophic insurance policies, could involve linking up fighters to California’s quasi-public State Compensation Insurance Fund.

Awet Kidane at Consumer Affairs has a choice. He can be a hero by lobbying for a new catastrophic insurance requirement or he can be a political goat.

2. Cole Miller is one of many fighters who do not want to fight in California again.

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Bellator, Boxing, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Taxpayers stuck with massive medical bills due to inadequate fighter insurance in California

By Zach Arnold | May 26, 2014

To read our previous articles on the California State Athletic Commission, CLICK HERE.

December 13th, 2013 is proving to be one of the uglier days in the history of the California State Athletic Commission.

In the afternoon of Friday the 13th, a document dump on the Athletic Commission’s web site site revealed a temporary suspension for boxing manager/trainer Rodrigo Mosquera. Mosquera, along with one of his fighters, was suspended due to altered gloves being confiscated at a September boxing show promoted by Ed Holmes/All Star Boxing at Quiet Cannon in Montebello. On the same day that the temporary suspension was announced, athletic inspectors working the Golden Boy boxing event at Fantasy Springs (resort & casino) in Indio, California renewed Mosquera’s license. Mosquera would stay active until his meeting in front of the Athletic Commission last February. To top it off, Executive Officer Andy Foster recommended that Mosquera be given time served and continue his licensed duties. The Athletic Commission then proceeded to throw the book at Mosquera (and rightfully so).

At that same December 13th event at Fantasy Springs, boxer Angel Osuna was on his way to winning a 10 round fight. However, a freak accident involving a slip to the timekeeper’s table caused a subdural hematoma. Osuna was taken to a local hospital and underwent a craniotomy. He suffered some strokes. He has brain damage. Osuna also owes over a million dollars in medical bills.

The Desert Sun, which is the newspaper of Palm Springs, had a lengthy article on Osuna’s injuries and the role of the Athletic Commission. It is a gut-wrenching article to read. For the casual fight fan who doesn’t know the inner workings of Sacramento, it is heartbreaking and dispiriting to read. For those of us who know how things work at Consumer Affairs in Sacramento, the article is infuriating to read. The newspaper is so disgusted with what is happening in Sacramento that they published a second front-page article (on Monday) laying out the many ways the Athletic Commission has failed the fighters. None of the information is particularly new to Fight Opinion readers, but the readers of the Desert Sun are in for a big surprise.

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

You won’t have to write any more “Renan Barao can’t draw as UFC champion” articles

By Zach Arnold | May 24, 2014

Event: UFC 173 on Saturday, May 24th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Fox Sports 1/PPV

We will now see the re-match between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson on August 30th in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Will we see TJ Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz next?

Dana White says that Vitor Belfort wasn’t and isn’t a drug cheater.

Next week is the start of UFC double-headers, a beginning of a trend for the promotion in 2014.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Fight Opinion Radio: Josh Gross (@yay_yee) on media honesty, MMA drug usage, oversaturation

By Zach Arnold | May 23, 2014

Download the show


Subscribe automatically to Fight Opinion Radio:

Time length of this week’s show: 37 minutes (17 MB MP3)

Show preview

Josh Gross (on Twitter @yay_yee) has seen it all as an MMA writer spanning two decades. He, along with Mike Fish, wrote the ESPN story on testosterone usage in MMA that broke open the multi-year anabolic steroid scandal with athletic commissions and UFC. We talked with Josh about the fallout & criticism he received from writing that article along with the ever-changing media attitudes towards Mixed Martial Arts. A recent syrupy Washington Post article summarized the current state of affairs. Josh brings candor & honesty to the table in regards to discussing the current state of affairs with integrity & honesty in the current MMA media scene.

In addition, Judge Jeff & yours truly has a lengthy breakdown of a recent article by friend-of-the-show John Nash at Bloody Elbow titled Managers express concerns over Bellator’s sticky contracts. Bellator has a taken a beaten in the press over their alleged contracts of adhesion. There was even the famous Reddit MMA article about a $400 pay day and selling tickets. The press has not been very positive for Bellator on this front.

However, there is an angle to the Bellator contract situation that has not been discussed: the role of California. On our program this week, we break down the missing angle that no one is focusing on. Bellator is now a California company under Spike/Viacom ownership. They are a licensed promoter. If any California-based fighter is licensed with the Athletic Commission, they could avoid going to court with Bellator by asking for arbitration. However, there’s a lot of questions and moving parts to analyze if a fighter decides to go that route. We break it all down and make it simple for you to understand.

Contact us

Get a hold of us by messaging Judge Jeff on Twitter (@whaledog) and Zach on Twitter (@fightopinion).

Our e-mail address:

Special thanks

To Zack Nelson for his past & present support of Fight Opinion Radio. Solid gold character.

Topics: Bellator, Fight Opinion Radio, Jeff Thaler, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold, podcasts | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

The story on Andy Foster/California approving an over-50 female fighter versus a 300 pounder; Byars wins unanimous decision

By Zach Arnold | May 22, 2014

YFrog image by Francisco Salazar – click to enlarge

This Friday night at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California, Ed Holmes under the All-Star Boxing banner will be promoting a fight between two unique female fighters.

Keela Byrd Byars, supposedly in her mid-to-late 50s, has allegedly been lobbying promoter Ed Holmes to book her on one of his fight cards for about a year. Initially, she wanted to fight former world champion Martha Salazar. That was rejected. Byars eventually was approved for a license from the California State Athletic Commission a couple of months ago. However, Chairman John Frierson stated that the commission would only sanction fights involving properly matched opponents.

According to Athletic Commission documentation, Andy Foster issued Byars a temporary license and stated that he would personally approve her opponent. John Frierson, Mary Lehman (former boxer), and John Carvelli approved the temporary license. The only one who voted no was Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons.

Byars is in her 50s and, according to a source at Thursday’s weigh-ins, is in the low 200s for weight. The opponent she will be facing on Friday night in Montebello will be Bridgette Davis, a boxer who supposedly is in her 40s and weighed in the upper 290s on Thursday. Neither fighter currently has a profile on Boxrec.

The athletic inspector who did the weigh-ins on Thursday was Raul Oseguera, considered the #2 inspector (behind Mark Relyea) in Southern California.

According to boxing writer Francisco Salazar, the fight between Byars and Davis will be an attempt to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Update: Over-50 Keela Byrd Byars beat 300-pounder Bridgette Davis by unanimous decision in 4-rounder tonight in Montebello. Raul Caiz Jr. was the referee. The athletic inspectors who worked the show included Raul Osegueda, Fight Opinion critic Joe Ulrey, Joe Borrielli, and Larry Ervin.

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

Dana White’s final act with Keith Kizer & Steve Mazzagatti on The Ultimate Fighter

By Zach Arnold | May 21, 2014

UFC hyped up a major controversy for Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter series featuring BJ Penn & Frankie Edgar as coaches. It proved to be the final act for both Keith Kizer & Steve Mazzagatti in Nevada. After this incident, changes were promptly made to the Athletic Commission.

The show featured a Middleweight fight between Edgar fighter Ian Stephens and Penn fighter Roger Zapata. Dana White spent the last half of the show trashing Stephens as a lay-and-pray, human wet blanket with no intent to finish an opponent with effective submissions. He went out of his way to bury Stephens. Very Dana-like but still curious behavior.

Stephens and Zapata went to a draw after two rounds. Zapata was nailing Stephens with elbows to the head throughout the fight and Mazzagatti got on his case about it. They went to a third round to determine a winner. Mazzagatti took a point away from Zapata for an illegal elbow. Dana blew his gasket and started ranting & raving about how to properly officiate that kind of situation by giving a warning first. At the end of the third round, two of the judges had scored the round a 9-9 round but one judge scored it a 10-8 round in favor of Stephens.

When Mazzagatti announced the winner of the fight, he raised Zapata’s hand and called him “Ian Zapata.” Everyone went crazy. Mazzagatti tried a do-over and said “Roger Zapata” but the UFC editors made sure to leave the mistake in. White blew a gasket and said it was impossible for the judges to give Zapata the win given that he lost a point in the third round. Dana claims that since only one judge declared a winner after the third round that the judges were asked to pick an overall winner (PRIDE-style) and they picked Zapata. This situation reminded me of the odd scenario ESPN was pushing in Nevada during the early stages of their Boxcino tournaments where there was a proposed situation involving fans, via Facebook, being able to pick a winner in the 7th round of a fight if judges could not pick a tie-breaking winner.

Dana went on his usual rant about not leaving a decision in the hands of judges. He basically berated Mazzagatti and Kizer the same way he threw a fit over Ariel Helwani asking Chuck Liddell about his desire to fight Jon Jones.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

How quickly will WWE return to PPV? What does it mean for UFC?

By Zach Arnold | May 21, 2014

The UFC rushed to launch Fight Pass before Vince McMahon could announce the launch of the WWE Network. And WWE proceeded to make that announcement in the UFC’s backyard.

At the time of the announcement, estimable writers like Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report (now the #2 sports site on the Internet) said that the launch of the WWE Network was the equivalent of shooting PPV in the head and leaving it for dead. My opinion was that the WWE Network would certainly be revolutionary and could perhaps help keep WWE’s business going in the future. At the same time, I never believed that PPV was a dying concept. As long as you have compelling stars, you can draw on PPV. And PPV still means something. Appointment-viewing content still means something. PPV still carries a level of unique interest. Both Dave Meltzer and Mauro Ranallo (on Fight Opinion Radio) also agreed with those sentiments.

Three months after the launch of the WWE Network, the only numbers released publicly so far indicate a little under 700,000 promised subscribers. How many of them being paid subscribers versus deadbeats is yet to be determined. At a Monday conference call, Vince McMahon & George Barrios said they would release new subscription numbers next quarter.

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: MMA, Media, Pro-Wrestling, UFC, WWE, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Viacom, Bellator PPV debut delivers some bizarrely intriguing moments with a yo-yo consistency

By Zach Arnold | May 17, 2014

First, a run-down of the main fight results from the card:

Onto some thoughts from the show:

1. Very rough pacing of fights for the first 90 minutes. They went over the 3 hour time window.

2. Why did Bellator run the show on MS soil rather than Tennessee soil where: a) there’s no state income tax; b) Jeff Mullen and company are quality regulators? Who knows.

3. Frank Shamrock has natural charisma. Just not as an interviewer.

4. Interesting to see how many people on social media are celebrating the “demise” of Alexander Shlemenko & Michael Chandler. They’re also mocking Bjorn Rebney and Bellator. Long term damages, perhaps, but Tito Ortiz winning is very valuable for the Viacom suits. When I wrote my Sherdog article on how people treat Tito Ortiz as a punchline, the point of the article was to note that a lot of the criticism leveled against him was overly harsh. His career trajectory was the same as Chuck Liddell after their second match but Tito, like Chuck, wasn’t afraid to fight tough guys and embarrass himself in the process. Chuck’s celebrated for delivering punchlines while fans took glee in treating Tito as a punchline.

Don’t believe me when I say people think of Tito as a chicken and a punchline? Even Bjorn Rebney thought Tito would back out of the Shlemenko fight.

The win over Shlemenko sets up Tito vs. Rampage and that’s what the Viacom suits wanted to happen on PPV in the first place. Unless they play off the Mississippi score-cards and do Mo/Rampage (again).

5. The Bellator PPV did well in terms of social media traffic, snark and all.

6. Bjorn Rebney said he didn’t know attendance and live gate figures for the event. He also defended the score cards of the Mississippi judges. The announced attendance at the Inglewood Forum for Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Mike Alvarado was 12,090.

Topics: Bellator, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Will WWE fight the California State Athletic Commission over taxation of Wrestlemania?

By Zach Arnold | May 15, 2014

Whenever the document dumps for future California State Athletic Commission meetings are released, I’m a sucker for pouring over the pages and looking at the fine print. There’s always a news story to be found.

The document dump for Friday’s CSAC meeting in Los Angeles is no exception. I want you to take a look at page 35.

In the dullest typewriter font, there is a breakdown of gate taxes that CSAC levies on boxing, kickboxing, MMA, muay thai, and pro-wrestling events. Section 18824 of the state’s Business and Professions Code spells out the following:

(2) A fee of 5 percent, exclusive of any federal taxes paid thereon, of the amount paid for admission to the contest or wrestling exhibition, except that for any one contest, the fee shall not exceed the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). The commission shall report to the Legislature on the fiscal impact of the one-hundred-thousand-dollar ($100,000) limit on fees collected by the commission for admissions revenues during its next sunset review.

According to CSAC’s numbers for their July 2013-June 2014 Fiscal Year, here are the gate taxation numbers so far from live events:

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Fight Opinion Radio: Herb Dean answers your questions on MMA officiating & fan criticism

By Zach Arnold | May 12, 2014

Herb Dean is a winner in life and on Twitter (@HerbDeanMMA)

Download the show


Subscribe automatically to Fight Opinion Radio:

Time length of this week’s show: 39 minutes (18 MB MP3)

Show preview

Herb Dean (official web site here) just finished his yearly referee training camp & worked the main event of the UFC Cincinnati fight between Matt Brown & Erick Silva. The man has a lot going on right now, but he stopped by Fight Opinion Radio to address many questions that fans would ask a famous MMA referee if they had the chance to do so.

How does a referee in an ultrahazardous sport avoid getting severely injured? Big John McCarthy is on the mend after suffering a knee injury from working at UFC’s Orlando card last month. It’s a surprise referees don’t get injured more often during fights.

Does being a former or current MMA fighter automatically make you a better referee? How do you read the poker-faces of fighters who often hide injuries? What is a worse dilemma for a referee: an early stoppage or a late stoppage? What kind of tape study is involved in preparing to officiate a big fight?

How do you avoid suffering from the rabbit ears caused by fan & writer criticism(s)? How do you deal with fighters who try to influence stoppages by egging on referees to stop fights? Why are the standards between referees for standing up fighters for inactivity on the ground so wildly different? How does a famous MMA referee avoid the pitfalls from potential conflicts of interests? How do you avoid playing favorites?

Pretty much everything we could ask, we asked Herb. And it was a great interview. Worth a listen… even for our number one listener.

Contact us

Get a hold of us by messaging Judge Jeff on Twitter (@whaledog) and Zach on Twitter (@fightopinion).

Our e-mail address:

Special thanks

To Zack Nelson for his past & present support of Fight Opinion Radio. A mad genius.

Topics: Fight Opinion Radio, Jeff Thaler, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold, podcasts | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

« Previous Entries Next Entries »