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UFC Adelaide: Assault and battery on Mark Hunt

By Zach Arnold | May 9, 2015

UFC’s event in Australia may have been internet-only viewing but those who watched it found themselves saying they wanted to take a shower after watching the fight.

Stipe Miocic violently battered Mark Hunt with over 350 blows in a heavyweight fight. Look at Hunt’s face:

As Brent Brookhouse astutely pointed out, we have UFC fighters on the receiving end of these kinds of beatings while getting locked into Reebok sponsorship deals that may pay $5,000 or less.

This latest beating for Hunt in the UFC cage comes after the last pummeling he endured in Australia 17 months ago from Bigfoot Silva. Silva would fail a drug test after that fight. After gaining some political traction for MMA regulation in Australia, tonight’s scenario was a worst-case scenario for the portrayal of the company’s image in Australia.

It got worse. Here’s UFC fighter Robert Whittaker:

Is that a first?

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

If Nevada’s athletic commission is a raging inferno, then Texas is a flaming turd

By Zach Arnold | May 9, 2015

On Friday, Bill Brady resigned from the Nevada State Athletic Commission board. As bad as athletic commissions like Texas and New York have been, I gave them slight praise for turning things around.

And then Saturday afternoon’s Al Haymon card in Hidalgo, Texas reasserted Texas as the worst major athletic commission in the United States.

On paper, a middle-of-the-road main event featuring Omar Figueroa Jr. and Ricky Burns turned into a nice little fight that was dominated & marred by the discretionary & unjustifiably risky antics of long-time referee Laurence Cole.

Ricky Burns had a clear strategy — smother Figueroa and make him fight out of the proverbial phone booth. Figueroa drove his head into Burns, which made him more vulnerable to getting hit in the back of the head. Coles repeatedly warned Burns for punching Figueroa in the back of the head.

It’s one thing to warn a fighter. It’s another to physically alter his behavior and place the fighter in a precarious position. During multiple active clinches between Figueroa & Burns, Cole physically yanked one of the arms of Ricky Burns. Not only did he repeatedly yank one of Burns’ arms, he did so without separating the two fighters. He yanked a fighter’s arm while during active punching. It was incredibly disruptive & dangerous. Burns could have gotten seriously injured. Much credit should be given to the CBS announcing team led by Mauro Ranallo in calling out Cole for his in-ring behavior.

Referees instruct fighters before bouts to protect themselves at all times. How can a fighter protect himself at all times when the referee is repeatedly yanking on one of his arms during live action?

The good news is that Cole didn’t work the bigger fight in Texas on Saturday night, which was Canelo Alvarez demolishing James Kirkland. However, Cole was assigned a main event on an Al Haymon CBS show for a fight that impacted two men at different points in their careers.

For many years, Cole’s father Dickie ran the athletic commission under the Department of Licensing & Regulation umbrella. Not only did Laurence Cole get top referee bookings, he also actively sold & continues to sell event insurance policies to promoters running boxing, kickboxing, and MMA events in the state of Texas.

Laurence Cole Insurance Agency at Cole is listed on the Farmers website as an insurance agent in Dallas.

If the athletic commission in Texas wants to demonstrate that they are serious about cleaning up the mess that Dickie Cole made, they would call a board meeting to start the process of stripping Laurence Cole of his referee license. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. His in-ring actions on Saturday afternoon in Hidalgo, Texas could have potentially led to an injury and a fat lawsuit against the state of Texas.

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

Bill Brady’s resignation from Nevada State Athletic Commission cements agency’s crisis point

By Zach Arnold | May 8, 2015

Things were supposed to get better for the Nevada State Athletic Commission after tone-deaf, loved-to-hear-his-own-voice Executive Director Keith Kizer resigned in order to get a pay raise to work in the AG’s office on Gaming Commission matters.

Instead, a dumpster fire has turned into a raging inferno with Bob Bennett as Executive Director and Andre Agassi’s lawyer, Francisco Aguilar, as the commission’s front man/Chairman for public relations.

Bill Brady, who had been on the commission board during it’s most tumultuous time period before Aguilar and casino/marijuana permit guy Anthony Marnell came aboard, resigned on Friday. He told the truth by stating that his heart wasn’t into working on the Commission panel any more. According to Brady, the fallout from the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather fight was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The corrosion of the image of the Nevada State Athletic Commission is almost irreversible at this point given the political entities involved in meddling and strong-arming the regulators. Look at what has happened since Marc Ratner’s departure:

The timing of Bill Brady’s resignation tells you everything you need to know about the state of regulatory affairs in Nevada. The image of the Athletic Commission is at an all-time low. It’s a circus. While Texas and New York are (slowly) trying to dig out of the immensely deep holes they have dug for themselves, Nevada continues to sink further into chaos. The Pacquiao fight last Saturday night only highlighted how concerning the problems are to the masses. The Athletic Commission got exposed in the bright lights.

The commission’s profits are as high as its image of integrity is as low amongst the fans, fighters, and promoters.

Bill Brady had nothing to personally do with the many regulatory failures of the Athletic Commission. He just had the common sense to be the first one to walk away after what happened last Saturday night.

It will be interesting to see if the 2016 Senatorial opponent to Governor Brian Sandoval uses the athletic commission as a campaign issue. Sandoval deserves all the criticism for allowing what has happened with the Athletic Commission under his watch.

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

If ABC & Golden Boy claim Al Haymon is violating the Ali & Sherman Acts, why not cite RICO?

By Zach Arnold | May 7, 2015

You’ve read the Association of Boxing Commissions letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

You’ve read the various causes of actions listed in Golden Boy’s federal lawsuit against Al Haymon.

Both ABC & Golden Boy accuse Al Haymon & associates of violating the Muhammad Ali Act. ABC accuses Haymon of violating his fiduciary responsibility as a boxing manager to his various fighters because he also supposedly acts as a promoter through the PBC series. Golden Boy’s lawsuit alleges Haymon & company of violating the Sherman & Clayton Antitrust Acts. Both ABC & Golden Boy accuse Haymon and his business associates of conspiring in an illegal scheme with others in order to create a monopoly in the boxing industry by supposedly violating the Ali Act.

Which begs the following question: why didn’t ABC or Golden Boy, in their letter and legal complaints, bring up RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) as a cause of action if they’re alleging that Haymon & associates are supposedly involved in an illegal business/scheme?

By its legal definition, racketeering involves an organized group of individuals conspiring & engaging in an illegal business or scheme.

If ABC & Golden Boy have evidence that Al Haymon & associates are engaged in an conspiracy to commit an illegal business or scheme via violations of the Ali Act, why aren’t they citing the RICO statute as a potential cause of action?

To level charges publicly against Haymon that he is somehow violating the Ali, Sherman, & Clayton Acts, ABC & Golden Boy better have hard evidence to prove their case in a court of law. In civil court, only a preponderance of the evidence is needed to win. So why are the lawyers on behalf of ABC & Golden Boy confident enough to claim that Haymon is supposedly violating various federal acts via an illegal scheme but not confident enough to accuse Haymon & his business associates of racketeering?

18 U.S.C. Chapter 96 deals with RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations). In order to cite RICO as a cause of action, one must prove that the individuals being sued are involved in a criminal enterprise that has allegedly committed two or more specific violations within a 10 year time period. There is a list of various crimes that fall under the RICO statute, which provides both criminal & civil remedies.

Given the various legal claims made by both ABC & Golden Boy, there are two Code sections that stand out for hypothetical discussion:

18 U.S. Code § 1952 – Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises

18 U.S. Code § 1957 – Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity

In order to satisfy one of the requirements of “unlawful activity” for 1952, section 1957 applies. As defined by Findlaw, 1957 states the following:

(a) Whoever, in any of the circumstances set forth in subsection (d), knowingly engages or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000 and is derived from specified unlawful activity, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(1) the term “monetary transaction” means the deposit, withdrawal, transfer, or exchange, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of funds or a monetary instrument (as defined in section 1956(c)(5) of this title) by, through, or to a financial institution (as defined in section 1956 of this title), including any transaction that would be a financial transaction under section 1956(c)(4)(B) of this title, but such term does not include any transaction necessary to preserve a person’s right to representation as guaranteed by the sixth amendment to the Constitution; (2) the term “criminally derived property” means any property constituting, or derived from, proceeds obtained from a criminal offense; and (3) the terms “specified unlawful activity” and “proceeds” shall have the meaning given those terms in section 1956 of this title.

Golden Boy and ABC both allege that Haymon & associates have made money illegally by supposedly violating the Ali Act.

18 U.S. Code § 1962 – Prohibited activities breaks down the racketeering issue in plain English. Take note of sections B & C.

ABC is asking the US Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation into Al Haymon’s business activities. Golden Boy is pursuing civil remedies. In regards to civil remedies available for RICO causes of actions, read 18 U.S. Code § 1964 – Civil remedies:

(a) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of section 1962 of this chapter by issuing appropriate orders, including, but not limited to:

  • ordering any person to divest himself of any interest, direct or indirect, in any enterprise;
  • imposing reasonable restrictions on the future activities or investments of any person, including, but not limited to, prohibiting any person from engaging in the same type of endeavor as the enterprise engaged in, the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce;
  • or ordering dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise, making due provision for the rights of innocent persons.

(c) Any person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, except that no person may rely upon any conduct that would have been actionable as fraud in the purchase or sale of securities to establish a violation of section 1962. The exception contained in the preceding sentence does not apply to an action against any person that is criminally convicted in connection with the fraud, in which case the statute of limitations shall start to run on the date on which the conviction becomes final.

(d) A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the United States in any criminal proceeding brought by the United States under this chapter shall estop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in any subsequent civil proceeding brought by the United States.

If both ABC & Golden Boy are going to accuse the Haymon Defendants of running an illegal business/scheme which allegedly involves violating the Muhammad Ali Act in order to create a monopoly in boxing, then why aren’t they citing RICO as a cause of action?

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

A look at Golden Boy’s Sherman Antitrust & Clayton Act lawsuit against Al Haymon

By Zach Arnold | May 7, 2015

On our site, we posted the letter that the Association of Boxing Commissions sent to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleging that Al Haymon is violating the Muhammad Ali Act.

On Tuesday, Golden Boy filed suit against Al Haymon and his business partners in Los Angeles federal court. The lawsuit alleges that Al Haymon is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, and the Muhammad Ali Act.

Most of the initial text in the lawsuit filing mirrors the claims that ABC made in their letter to Loretta Lynch. So, we will focus on the various causes of action that Golden Boy, through attorney Bert Fields, has filed in their complaint against Haymon.

One item from the background claims in the complaint, however, is worth highlighting:

Plaintiffs are informed and believe and, on that ground, allege that defendants Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. and Waddell & Reed, Inc. (collectively “Waddell”) are Delaware corporations in the business of supplying venture capital to businesses through controlled entities. Waddell financed and aided the Haymon Defendants through Ivy Asset Strategy Fund, WRA Asset Strategy and Ivy Funds VIP Asset Strategy (the “Waddell Funds”). These are investment funds established, owned and controlled by Waddell and their investors. Ryan Caldwell (“Caldwell”) is manager of the Waddell Funds (the Waddell Funds, Caldwell and Waddell are sometimes called the “Waddell Defendants” in this Complaint). The Waddell Defendants have provided more than four hundred million dollars to finance the unlawful activities of the Haymon Defendants alleged hereinbelow and have also advised, aided and abetted the Haymon Defendants in carrying out such activities and have conspired with them to do so.

Before the events on which this action is based, defendants sought to eliminate competition in the business of promoting Championship-Caliber Boxers by acquiring total ownership of Golden Boy and sidelining De La Hoya as a competitor. To that end, Waddell offered to purchase 100% of the equity interest in Golden Boy through another Waddell controlled fund, but conditioned its offer on obtaining an onerous and lengthy non-competition agreement from De La Hoya. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and, on that ground, allege that, in fact, the intended buyers of Golden Boy were the Haymon Defendants, that Waddell was to finance the acquisition of Golden Boy with the Waddell controlled fund as the nominal buyer, and that the involvement of the Haymon Defendants was to be concealed, since their acquisition of Golden Boy, a major promoter, would violate the law and perhaps expose defendants’ scheme to monopolize the promotion business. Defendants’ proposed acquisition of Golden Boy was not completed, because De La Hoya refused to accept the onerous, anti-competitive restrictions on his boxing related activities demanded by the proposed buyers.

With that noted from the Complaint, let’s take a look at the causes of actions listed in the court filing.

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | No Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Association of Boxing Commissions letter lays out a plan on how to go after Al Haymon

By Zach Arnold | May 6, 2015

A letter from ABC President Tim Lueckenhoff and Vice President Jim Erickson to current US Attorney General Loretta Lynch lays out an argument that individuals with legal standing could use to sue Al Haymon in regards to alleged violations of the Muhammad Ali Act.

The letter, dated April 28th of 2015, reads as follows:

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

The Association of Boxing Commissions (“ABC”) is an association composed of boxing Commissions located in the United States and Canada. It is a non-profit organization formed to, inter alia, encourage adherence to and enforcement of applicable federal laws regarding boxing and foster standardized reporting of results and uniformity of supervision of the sports which the member Commissions govern. It is charged by the Muhammad Ali Act (15 U.S.C. 6301 et. seq.) with promulgating uniform regulatory guidelines for boxing (e.g. 15 U.S.C. 6303, 15 U.S.C. 6307a and 6307b) handling suspension appeals within certain circumstances (15 U.S.C. 6306 (b) (2)).

The ABC has received complaints regarding the activities of an individual named Alvin Haymon and various companies associated with him. We think it (is) appropriate to refer this matter ot the Attorney General for investigation and enforcement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 6309.

[Haymon appears to work through at least two companies, Haymon Sports LLC and Al Haymon Development Inc.]

It appears that numerous provisions of the Muhammad Ali Act are being broken, and most importantly, 15 U.S.C. 6308(b) which is designed to create a firewall between promoters and managers. 15 U.S.C. 6308(b) reads as follows:

(b) Firewall between promoters and managers

(1) In general, it is unlawful for (a) a promoter to have a direct or indirect financial interest in the management of a boxer; or (b) a manager — (i) to have a direct or indirect financial interest in the promotion of a boxer; or (ii) to be employed by or receive compensation or other benefits from a promoter, except for amounts received as consideration under the manager’s contract with the boxer.

(2) Exceptions, Paragraph (1) — (a) does not prohibit a boxer from acting as his own promoter or manager; and (b) only applies to boxers participating in a boxing match of 10 rounds or more.

15 U.S.C. 6301(5) defines manager as follows:

“The term “manager” means a person who receives compensation for service as an agent or representative of a boxer.”

Mr. Haymon, through various companies which he controls, claims to have in excess of 150 boxers under contract. Copies of agent’s and of managerial contracts are annexed as Exhibits “A” and “B” to this letter with Exhibit “C” being only a signature page. In a 2015 recent filing for his manager’s license he claimed to have agreements with some 43 fighters. Exhibit “D”. That number is now claimed to exceed 150.

Mr. Haymon, again through companies which he controls, has gained substantial financing from investment groups and, through his companies, has entered into “time buy” cards with numerous television networks including NBC, CBS, ESPN, and Spike. A “time buy” is where a promoter purchases time from a television network rather than the traditional telecast method where a network pays a rights fee to a promoter to purchase rights to telecast an event.

According to press releases, these contracts are directly between the networks and Haymon controlled companies, again with the funding supplied by investment groups. While Haymon hires certain promoters to run the local aspect of the show, the television contracts run through the Haymon controlled entities, purses for the major fighters on the card are set by Haymon controlled entities, the production format is set by the Haymon controlled entities. The series of events is called PBC (short for Premier Boxing Champions) and the announcements state that PBC is control by “Haymon Sports.”

15 U.S.C. 6301 (9) defines “Promoter” as follows:

“The term “promoter” means the person primarily responsible for organization, promoting, and producing a professional boxing match.”

As the funding for the PBC series comes exclusively from Haymon controlled entities, the purses are set by Haymon controlled entities, the selection of the main event fighters is controlled by Haymon controlled entities and the format is controlled by Haymon controlled entities. There are event copies of checks for purses from Haymon Sports LLC which have been posted online. See Exhibit “E”. It is clear that he, operating through his entities, operates as a promoter as well.

It appears that this model is a direct violation of the Firewall provision of the Muhammad Ali Act. The role of manager (who has a fiduciary responsibility to the fighter) and the role of a promoter (who does not and who has in this case a fiduciary responsibility to investors), is completely incompatible. At the time the Muhammad Ali Act was being drafted testimony was given as to the need for a firewall between promoters and managers. See e.g. Testimony of Jim Thomas before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection (a Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce), September 9, 2004 (U.S. Government Printing Office), p. 13; Testimony of Patrick C. English before the Senate Committee on Consumer, Science, and Transportation, March 24, 1998; Testimony of Patrick C. English, before National Association of Attorney’s General Task Force on Boxing, January 20, 1999 pgs. 303-304, 334-335; 34 Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts, 422 (2001); Testimony of Joseph Spinelli before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, August 12, 1994 (U.S. Gov’t Printing Office); Corruption in Professional Boxing – Inadequate State Regulations, Minority Staff of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, March 10, 1993 (p. 23), the Senate report on the Muhammad Ali Act could not be more clear:

“It remains essential that … the manager serve and protect the interests of the boxer. They should not be serving the financial interests of the promoter … It is not plausible for a boxer to receive proper representation if the manager is also on the payroll of a promoter. This is an obvious conflict of interest … A manager must be determined advocate for the boxer’s interests and not be influenced by financial inducements from a promoter.” S. Rpt. No 106-83 at 9 (U.S. Gov’t Printing Office).

Haymon and related companies make no attempt to hide that they operate in the dual capacities of Promoter and manager. It was the Vice President of Operations “Haymon Boxing” which sat on the dais and participated in the announcement of the PBC series on NBC. No other promoter was present. Frankly Haymon seems to be floating this breach of the Firewall provision of the Muhammad Ali Act. By virtue of the management contracts which require that no boxer may enter into any fight contract without his permission, Haymon can ensure and has ensured that his fighters will fight only for his series — the PBC series.

By way of illustration, recently there was a PBC show in California. The ostensible promoter was an entity called TB Goossen. All promotional advertising for the show reflect that it was a PBC show and according to news reports every single featured boxer (of which there were six) were signed to Haymon management or advisory contracts. However, no contracts were filed reflecting Haymon’s involvement either as a manager or promoter. This is an apparent violation of 15 U.S.C. 6307 e (1) which requires that a promoter file “a copy of any agreement in writing to which the promoter is a party with any boxer participating in the match.” The purses for the four main fighters on the card were reported as $1,900,000. The typical Haymon contract provides that he will receive 15% of the fighter’s purse, in this case that would be $285,000. Yet there was no disclosure to the Commission as would be required under 15 U.S.C. 6309 e (3) (A) requiring that the Commission be informed of “all fees, charges and expenses that will be assessed through the promoter, including any portion of the boxer’s purse that the promoter will receive…” Thus 15 U.S.C. 6307 e (3) (A) appears to have been directly violated.

It also appears that 15 U.S.C. 6307 b (1) (A) and (B) is being violated. As best as we can ascertain, in order to appear in a bout on Haymon’s PBC series fighters must be under contract to Haymon. Those contracts have terms in excess of 12 months. See Exhibits “A” and “B”. A coercive contract is a “contract provision which grants any rights between a boxer and a promoter … if the boxer is required to grant such rights … as a condition precedent to the boxer’s participation in a professional boxing match against another boxer who is under contract to the promoter.” 15 U.S.C. 6307 b (a) (B). Such contracts, if they exceed in months are, according to the Muhammad Ali Act “in restraint of trade” and “contrary to public policy.” 15 U.S.C. 6307 (1) (A).

Further, it appears that 15 U.S.C. 6308 (c) is being violated. This takes a bit of explanation.

A “sanctioning organization” is defined as:

“an organization that sanctions professional boxing matches in the United States –

a) between boxers of different States or

b) that are advertised, otherwise promoted, or broadcast (including closed circuit television) in interstate commerce.” 15 U.S.C. 6301 (14)”

One of the express purposes of the Muhammad Ali Act was to regulate “the sanctioning organizations which have proliferated in the boxing industry” which “have not established credible and objective criteria to rate professional boxers and operate with virtually no industry or public oversight. PL 106-210 section 2, May 26, 2000, 114 Stat. 321.

However, it is obvious that the PBC is following the model used by MMA promoters which are not covered by the Muhammad Ali Act, to wit, having their own “in house” champions.

Managers working with the PBC have publicly that this is the model, and reportedly title belts are being made.

15 U.S.C. 6308 (c) prohibits any “officer or employee of a sanctioning organization” from receiving “any compensation, gifts, or benefit, directly or indirectly from a promoter, boxer or manager. Here, just as with the UFC or Bellator the promoter is is the sanctioning organization. Obviously things of benefit are being granted. For instance:

1) The Promoter pays for all costs associated with the sanctioning of PBC bouts.

2) The boxer is granting a benefit by signing with Haymon since Haymon gets the manager’s/advisor’s fee, promotional benefits, and controls who will fight for the PBC title.

While this step has not officially occurred, according to credible reports plans are underway that it occur in the near future, certainly a legitimate area for injunctive relief pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 6309 (a).

The ABC has no resources or authority to investigate further or to take action with respect to this. However, we can and do request that there is a “reasonable cause to believe” that Haymon is “engaged in a violation of this chapter.” [15 U.S.C. 6301 et. seq] and that 15 U.S.C. 6309 gives express authority to the United States Attorney General’s Office to investigate and to take action. We ask that you do so.

Very truly yours,

Tim Lueckenhoff
Assobiation of Boxing Commissions

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

Pacquiao shows you can fight in Nevada with broken feet, torn rotator cuffs, “broken skulls”

By Zach Arnold | May 5, 2015

Remember when Tito Ortiz said he fought in Las Vegas with a “broken skull”? Everyone chalked it up to another Tito exaggeration. It turned out that he was in a precarious position after all. Forrest Griffin, his opponent in Vegas, claimed that he fought with a broken foot.

And now Manny Pacquiao is claiming that he suffered a rotator cuff injury two weeks before his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao is claiming the Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow him to take an injection of Toradol. Francisco Aguilar, Andre Agassi’s lawyer and current Chairman of the Athletic Commission, claims that he will have Nevada’s Attorney General office investigate why Pacquiao selected “no” on an athletic commission document in regards to having an injury.

What, are they going to go after Manny Pacquiao under penalty of perjury? Nevada got the cash they wanted from the Pacquiao fight. Imagine what they would have done if Pacquiao had backed out of the fight.

Manny Pacquiao wasn’t going to back out of a fight with over 3 million PPV buys on the line. Manny Pacquiao wasn’t going to turn down tens of millions of dollars. To back out of a fight at the last minute would have been catastrophic not only for Pacquiao but also for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Whether backing out would have been as catastrophic as his actual fight performance was on Saturday night is up for debate.

Fighters fight. They fight because they love to fight and they fight because they want the paycheck. In theory, this is the reason Athletic Commissions exist — to protect the health & safety of fighters in an ultrahazardous sport who often can’t and won’t protect themselves.

The onus is on the Athletic Commissions to put a stop to fights when they know that fighters are too injured for their own good. Where are the doctors? How are fighters with broken feet, torn rotator cuffs, and “broken skulls” allowed to walk into the cage? Hiding behind the “they didn’t tell us on a form!” excuse is embarrassing. Applying The Honor System to pre-fight medicals in 2015 is foolish.

OK, you can quit laughing now. It’s Nevada. This is currently the same athletic commission that has a board member who applied for a marijuana permit despite having a gaming license and the Gaming Commission telling him to back off. This same board member happens to vote on any marijuana-related drug suspensions of fighters.

In Nevada, they aren’t even trying to hide the shell game. What price is there to pay? None. Other than their image, which really doesn’t matter when the casinos are still making big bucks off of Floyd Mayweather and UFC events.

Now we have the dreadful prospects of a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch, perhaps in Texas — a state with even less regulatory discipline than Nevada. Nevada already got their big bite at the apple. Now we have a potential class-action lawsuit brewing in Clark County against Pacquiao & Top Rank.

What a legacy Governor Brian Sandoval is leaving behind with the Athletic Commission as he transitions into a 2016 Senatorial campaign.

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

A pyrrhic Mayweather victory for Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon?

By Zach Arnold | May 2, 2015

And another Floyd Mayweather unanimous decision win. 116 x 112 (8 rounds to 4 rounds) twice, 118 x 110 (10 rounds to 2 rounds).

Look on the bright side. Michelle Beadle and Rachel Nichols reportedly had media credentialing problems due to Mayweather’s camp putting their foot down. It was humorous to watch the general sports media in an uproar over this when they never blink an eye to the tactics UFC has used against media writers in the past for obtaining or maintaining credentials. Hell, Beadle and Nichols getting stiffed was an orgasmic moment for sportswriters to get more shots in against Mayweather regarding his history of domestic violence.

As for who really won, you know who won:

I remember when Ken Hershman jumped to HBO after his tenure at Showtime and his many defenders said Ken just needed HBO’s resources to really stomp Showtime out as a player in boxing. Your guess is as good as mine on reading the tea leaves now.

Showtime ended up as a playground for Al Haymon. Now Haymon and his money marks are (reportedly) insanely paying out hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcast networks, along with cable networks ESPN & Spike TV, for airing events. At this point, who knows if Return on Investment is even a feasible or desirable option on the table if PPV isn’t the end game.

Worse, it’s clear that Haymon going all-in with pay-to-play deals means that TV executives aren’t going to open up their pocketbooks to pay for boxing events, especially on basic cable. It’s why ESPN killed Friday Night Fights. If/when Haymon’s experiment implodes, what will be left for boxing on basic cable (non-Showtime, non-HBO) or broadcast television? If Friday night’s Golden Boy event on Fox Sports 1 is any indication of what kind of cards you can expect on basic cable, heaven help us all.

Can’t wait for the next predictacle MMA sales pitch that Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo in July will be as big as Mayweather/Pacquiao and that UFC delivers what boxing can’t.

I am interested in the Association of Boxing Commissions trying to go after Al Haymon. It won’t go anywhere, at least I don’t think it will, but some eager attorney general looking for a high profile political fight could take a shot at Haymon with the Ali Act. I wonder who could be interested

Topics: Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | 13 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Innocent until proven guilty for Jon Jones, but will UFC have to suspend him?

By Zach Arnold | April 26, 2015

Jon Jones is now reportedly a suspect in a hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant woman as the driver of the other vehicle.

It’s impossible to imagine having worse PR than supposedly leaving drug rehab 24 hours after entering into a program. Making the alleged hit-and-run incident even worse is that it’s one month away from a big fight in Las Vegas involving Rumble Johnson.

In New Mexico, a misdemeanor for hit-and-run occurs when:

66-7-201. Accidents involving death or personal injuries.

D. Any person failing to stop or comply with the requirements of Section 66-7-203 NMSA 1978 where the accident does not result in great bodily harm or death is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Subsection A of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.

E. The director shall revoke the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of the person so convicted.

Jones has a DWI on his record, albeit in New York state.

It’s bad enough that Jon Jones has now found himself in new legal trouble. What’s just as curious to watch is how UFC will handle this situation. When Jones got busted for cocaine on a Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test, UFC made a strange decision with Fox Sports to go all-in and tout Jones for a one-on-one interview regarding his drug usage. It was a train wreck, but it certainly didn’t hurt his standing amongst UFC fans because the anticipation for his fight against Rumble Johnson has been very ripe.

Lots of fighters have been accused of doing awful things. However, allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run with a pregnant woman as the other driver is a total nightmare for all parties involved.

How does UFC react to this latest situation?

UFC has to weigh their options on what to do with Jon Jones. Nothing has seemingly changed his level of judgment when it comes to making good or bad decisions. He’s dodged a lot of bullets. At some point, he may not dodge a bullet and really find himself in a predicament that will permanently stain his reputation and UFC’s reputation. Jon Jones is currently one of UFC’s two aces (Ronda being the other).

What is the emergency plan UFC has in place if things continue to escalate?

Addendum: According to Marc Raimondi, the police report allegedly points to marijuana in a rental car:

Inside the man’s vehicle, a silver Buick SUV, police found a marijuana pipe with marijuana in it and “paperwork belonging to a Jonathan Jones, which had MMA information on it from the state of Nevada,” the report stated. There was also Enterprise rental car paperwork inside the vehicle. Several phone calls placed to Jones at the time were unsuccessful.

And now that the pregnant driver has reportedly suffered a broken arm, Jon Jones is facing a felony charge.

All of the North American sports press is either in Chicago for the NFL Draft or in Las Vegas for Mayweather-Pacquiao. The timing could not be worse for UFC in terms of being a sitting duck in dealing with the press swarm in the desert right now.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 64 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

How fan antics at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s California fight opens door for future lawsuits

By Zach Arnold | April 19, 2015

The California State Athletic Commission has officially opened the door for lawsuits due to the negligent behavior of regulators at the StubHub Center boxing event this past Saturday night.

Saturday night’s Showtime fight got ugly in a hurry when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. got his ass kicked. For as much of a liability as Chavez was in the ring, it was what happened outside of the ring in response to Chavez’s performance that should scare the hell out of Sacramento.

Key phrase: glass bottles.

At various shows across the state of California regulated by the Athletic Commission, athletic inspectors routinely allow venues & promoters to serve plastic or glass containers for beverages. Allowing glass or plastic bottles for selling beverages, rather than paper cups, is a blatant violation of California’s Code of Regulations, section 253:

§ 253. Drinks.

Clubs shall be responsible to see that all drinks are dispensed in paper cups.

There’s a reason this rule is on the books — negligence.

So why do regulators not enforce the rule against venues & promoters?

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Boxing, CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

A career-defining victory for Luke Rockhold on mystery UFC on Fox 15 TV card; Junior Chavez destroyed on Showtime

By Zach Arnold | April 18, 2015

Main card results from the Prudential Center in New Jersey:

Interesting that the focus post-match in the main event was on Rockhold’s comments about wanting to fight at MSG and whether or not he will get to face Chris Weidman later this year. Weidman said on TV that he has better skills than Rockhold in every aspect.

It was sad to watch. The crowd was surprised, if not shocked by the outcome. I was actually more intrigued by Rockhold’s t-shirt sponsor, Dip Your Car. They need to up their game to the level of Dynamic Fasteners.

The only fighter to have a worse night than Machida was Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Showtime against Andrzej Fonfara:

It was such a one-sided beatdown on the Chavez-friendly turf of StubHub Center. So much for any prospects of trying to sell a fight between Chavez and Andre Ward now.

Lucas Matthysse beat Ruslan Provodnikov after 12 rounds by majority decision in front of 4,500 paid at Turning Stone in Verona, New York.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Al Haymon’s CBS special full of Al Haymon Specials was garbage compared to UFC

By Zach Arnold | April 4, 2015

I loved the UFC Fairfax, Virginia show on Fox Sports 1. Mornings & afternoons aren’t my thing but the crowd was great and there were some wild moments that made the show completely worth watching.

And then there was the Al Haymon Special on CBS that was full of Al Haymon Specials that boxing fans have had to choke on for the last few years. Al Haymon promoting fights that Al Haymon the advisor allegedly gets a cut of. What an industry.

The Jorge Masvidal vs. Al Iaquinta fight was a textbook example of how MMA judges look for completely different standards when scoring a fight. This was a pro-Iaquinta crowd. One judge scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Masvidal. The crowd agreed. The other two judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Iaquinta. The crowd was super pissed. Masvidal tried to bolt out of the cage only to be stopped by someone. Iaquinta got pissed at the crowd booing and told them to stick it Hogan NWO-style. He left the cage after Masvidal. This was spectacular television. A built-in re-match.

Julianna Pena returned and was a wrecking machine. We basically saw the end of Gray Maynard. Ricardo Lamas is a good fighter who is no longer a serious contender. Chad Mendes delivered when it counted. I came into the show with few expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

I came into Al Haymon’s CBS show with a limited amount of expectations. His show turned out to be a dud. Mismatches galore for his event on CBS at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City. Adonis Stevenson had his squash match with 15-to-1 underdog Sakio Bika. Artur Beterbiev dispatched of Gabriel Campillo with ease. Julian Williams housed Joey Hernandez. What a snore-fest.

NBC took pains to try to build up the fighters with some video packages on their telecast. CBS didn’t even bother. They labeled the event a “CBS Sports Spectacular,” which is the same vernacular they use to market rodeo or skiing events that air against Fox NFL games for filler. Fans are conditioned to look it as a low level deal when they see the “sports spectacular” phrase. The only positive for the show was Kevin Harlan & Paulie Malignaggi working the mic.

The telecast went out of its way to avoid using sanctioning body names although they couldn’t hide the shirt patches that the refs were wearing. There were fighters cutting promos for fights on other networks but they couldn’t say what those networks were. There was only a brief mention of upcoming events after the end of R1 of Stevenson/Bika.

Bizarrely, it appeared that the ring announcer was not in the ring again just like the NBC event. Haymon’s McMahon-esque quirks.

In a three hour block of paid TV time, it hardly appeared that Haymon’s operation was able to obtain significant sponsorship at all. His strategy of buying TV time everywhere at some point has to return an investment to his money marks. PPV is the only vehicle to pull this off. The CBS event came across as just another sanitized boxing show. Boxing writer Steve Kim says a big part of the fun with boxing is covering the carnival-like atmosphere. You certainly don’t get that with Haymon’s shows. But hey, ESPN has killed off Friday Night Fights to take the Haymon TV pay days. What will happen if Haymon’s deal implodes and TV networks demand promoters pay them as opposed to paying promoters to produce shows? Scorched Earth.

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

How Ronda Rousey symbolizes the UFC’s tumultuous relationship with WWE

By Zach Arnold | March 29, 2015

Of all the events that transpired at this year’s Wrestlemania in Santa Clara, it looks like Ronda Rousey’s partnership with The Rock against Triple H & Stephanie McMahon will be one of the most enduring moments from the show.

With ESPN now going all-in to cover both UFC & WWE, there is more value in ever in Ronda’s cross-over appeal to both audiences. Hell, both organizations pull from the same audience demographics.

Rousey’s appearance at WM has reportedly been in the works for a while. She and The Rock share the same agent. One very interested party right now is Rousey’s former agent, Darin Harvey, who is finishing up the arbitration process in Los Angeles Superior Court right now. (Case number: BS147674). He may finally see a pay day.

The comparisons between Ronda Rousey & Brock Lesnar in terms of business leverage between UFC & WWE are interesting to analyze. Lesnar, like Kevin Nash, likes wrestling but treats it as a business. It’s created a bit of a cold resentment from fans. Rousey, on the other hand, balances that act much better. She’s a genuine wrestling fan. She loves fighting. She loves both UFC & WWE. It shines through on camera. UFC and WWE both benefit from her apperanace on their TV & PPV platforms. With Lesnar, it’s a zero-sum game. UFC benefits from Rousey’s appearance on WWE TV because it’s a larger audience and UFC can continue to benefit from her Tyson-esque stature in both wrestling & entertainment circles. WWE benefits from having the toughest woman in combat sports who has the movie star looks & athletic ability that anybody can buy into.

Ironically, Lesnar has more potential rivals in UFC that you’re more interested in watching him there than rivals in WWE. With Ronda, it’s the reverse situation.

Before there was a Wrestlemania, WWE got in bed with a music channel called MTV to form the Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection. WWE helped build MTV with Cyndi Lauper, Dave Wolff, and The War to Settle the Score between Roddy Piper & Hulk Hogan. Rowdy Roddy then, Rowdy Ronda today. And just as Hulk Hogan had a stare-down at ringside with one Mr. T at MSG, Rock had his staredown with Ronda at Wrestlemania. Hogan & Mr. T tagged for Wrestlemania 1 at MSG in 1985. The dream scenario of Rock & Rousey tagging 30 years later at a future Wrestlemania has everyone drooling. The WWE helped build MTV 30 years ago with the help of Mr. T. Ronda Rousey could now help build the WWE Network if UFC allows her to wrestle in a WWE ring.

We know WWE obsesses about being relevant in mainstream pop culture. They will do lots of celebrity spots in order to get a mention or two on ESPN or on a show like The Insider. The difference here with Ronda is that people want to see her fight and will pay to watch her do her thing. Nobody’s going to be paying to watch Snoop team with Hogan at Staples Center.

WWE & UFC have always been strange, uncomfortable bedfellows and the Lesnar saga this past week highlighted the tension perfectly. With Ronda Rousey, UFC is going to have to make a decision: do they let her dabble into the spectrum of WWE matches in order to keep her happy and loyal long-term or do they draw a line in the sand and maintain their “no wrestling” position with their fighters? Given the fact that there is plenty of money for MMA fighters to make in professional wrestling, UFC may have to consider absorbing the risk of letting fighters wrestle on the side if it means less complaints about fighter pay and threats of unionization. A hold-on-loosely but-don’t-let-go partnership with WWE may be more of a benefit in 2015 than a hindrance for their bottom line.

Topics: MMA, Media, Pro-Wrestling, UFC, WWE, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

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