By Zach Arnold | January 22, 2014
Event: UFC Fox 10 in Chicago, Illinois at the United Center
TV: Fox Sports 1/Fox broadcast affiliates
- Heavyweights: Nikita Krylov defeated Walt Harris in R1 in 25 seconds by TKO.
- Welterweights: George Sullivan defeated Mike Rhodes after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Daron Cruickshank defeated Mike Rio in R2 in 4′56 by TKO.
- Bantamweights: Hugo Viana defeated Junior Hernandez after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Bantamweights: Chico Camus defeated Yaotzin Meza after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Bantamweights: Eddie Wineland defeated Yves Jabouin in R2 in 4′16 by TKO.
- Bantamweights: Alex Caceres defeated Sergio Pettis in R3 in 4′39 by choke sleeper hold.
- Featherweights: Jeremy Stephens defeated Darren Elkins after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Donald Cerrone defeated Adriano Martins in R1 in 4′40 by KO from head kick.
- Heavyweights: Stipe Miocic defeated Gabriel Gonzaga after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Ben Henderson defeated Josh Thomson after 5R by split decision (48-47 Thomson, 48-47 & 49-46 for Henderson)
Thoughts on the show
So @BrettAwesome makes a good point. Why was Henderson over a 10-1 favorite going into the 5th, when almost everyone has Thomson up 3-1?
— Luca Fury (@FurysFightPicks) January 26, 2014
I suppose 48-47 for Ben Henderson works, but 49-46 (four rounds to one) does not. Scoring on volume seems to be the achilles heel of so many MMA judges. And, once again, a big UFC fight has Sal D’Amato as a main event judge.
Curt Menefee did not bring his A-game. The mood of the TV crew was flat. No interviews after fights. UFC & Fox rushed right off air after the Henderson decision was announced.
Fox Sports 1 ran a very compelling piece about Adriano Martins that I thought was really well done and apparently nobody saw it. The way UFC treated the Chicago show on Fox versus last month’s telecast from Sacramento was night and day. So much more energy for the December show, and that show didn’t clock in with great ratings.
— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) January 26, 2014
By Zach Arnold | January 21, 2014
When we posted our series of articles on the UFC Fight Pass web site, one thing we did not address were potential security issues that could be exploited by hackers. Once that topic was explored on Bloody Elbow, the intensity of the scrutiny was raised a few notches.
With security issues on the minds of UFC Fight Pass subscribers, this message for Underground Forum users surely was not comforting for hardcore MMA fans who are active on message boards. A hacker pretended to be Dana White for a chat on the Underground. Then the hacker pretended to be Dan Henderson.
Take note of the … diplomatic tone Kirik is using regarding the hacker.
By Zach Arnold | January 21, 2014
On Sunday night, we posted the job listing online for the Executive Director slot at the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A lot of people are commenting on the pay for the job, stating that it’s too little. Honestly, when you compare the amount of shows that take place in Nevada (most in Las Vegas, Reno/Carson City/Tahoe should have way more shows but there’s little recruiting done) and the actual workload compared to states with real amounts of activity like California or Texas… the Nevada pay is just about right.
When Keith Kizer announced his resignation on Friday (1/10), the how/why his exit happened got my attention. Last week, Dave Meltzer claimed that Kizer left on his volition but that the media would claim that Kizer was forced out because it would be a sexier story to tell.
This is Nevada’s commission. When Sig Rogich & Lorenzo Fertitta are mover-and-shakers in Nevada politics, you pay attention to what they are up to. Hell, it’s hard to get anyone in the media motivated to talk about the relationship ties between Rogich & Lorenzo despite the fact that WSOF, which Rogich is/was part of, is basically UFC’s stalking horse/unofficial bastard child, in my opinion.
When the news of Kizer’s resignation broke, it did not pass the smell test. Abruptly announced/leaked at 5 PM on a Friday night? We all know how the political game works in Washington D.C. and other state capitols. You do your bad/awful/no-good news dumps on a Friday night so nobody is paying attention and the media is too bored to report Friday night happenings on a Monday because of their ADHD nature of thinking the news cycle has already passed onto something more shiny.
By Zach Arnold | January 20, 2014
Kyacey Charles Uscola.
He drew media headlines in 2010, like this Deadspin article: A dog bit through this Ultimate Fighter’s penis
On June 24th, 2010, Kyacey Uscola filed a civil suit in Sacramento Superior Court against property owners/landlords Chris & Megan Woolsey along with resident/occupant Gary Martin. The suit alleged that Martin was the owner of two dogs and that the dogs bit Uscola. From the Complaint:
As a proximate result of the acts and omissions of said defendants as alleged herein, Plaintiff was hurt and injured in Plaintiff’s health, strength and activity, sustaining grave bodily injuries to Plaintiff’s nervous system, urinary system and person, all of which have caused, and continue to cause, Plaintiff great mental, physical and nervous pain and suffering. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that said injuries will result in some permanent disability to Plaintiff…
Uscola claimed the dogs were unleashed.
Life after the civil suit was filed took a dramatic turn for the worse.
By Zach Arnold | January 19, 2014
STATE OF NEVADA
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
UNCLASSIFIED JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ATHLETIC COMMISSION
RECRUITMENT OPEN TO:
This is an open competitive recruitment, open to all qualified applicants. This position is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the members of the Athletic Commission.
The Athletic Commission regulates all contests or exhibitions of professional unarmed combat (e.g., boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts/MMA) in Nevada, including, the licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, mixed martial artists, kick boxers, seconds, ring officials, managers, ring announcers and matchmakers. The Athletic Commission administers the State laws and regulations (Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 467 and Nevada Administrative Code Chapter 467) governing unarmed combat for the protection of the public and to ensure the health and safety of the contestants.
The Athletic Commission is a Division within the Department of Business and Industry which consists of 13 separate agencies: Athletic Commission, Attorney for Injured Workers, Employee Management Relations Board, Financial Institutions Division, Housing Division, Division of Industrial Relations, Division of Insurance, Labor Commissioner, Manufactured Housing Division, Real Estate Division, Taxicab Authority, Nevada Transportation Service Authority, and Mortgage Lending Division.
APPROXIMATE ANNUAL SALARY
Up to $97,901 plus benefits * (Salary range reflects retirement (PERS) contributions by both the employee and employer. An employer paid contribution plan is also available with a reduced gross salary.)
*Please note: Furlough Leave is mandatory for Nevada State employees and will result in a reduction of income of approximately 2.3% (or 4 hours per month) starting July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015. The salary listed above does not reflect the reduction from the required furlough.
The State benefits package includes a retirement system, paid health, vision, dental, life and disability insurance; 11 paid holidays, and paid sick and annual leave. Other employee paid benefits such as deferred compensation plans are available.
This position reports to the members of the Athletic Commission. The individual selected must be able to plan, organize, direct staff, coordinate multiple activities and programs; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; interpret and apply laws, statutes and regulations; establish objectives and goals; and maintain excellent relationships with Governmental officials, agencies,stakeholders, the public, and members of the media
The Executive Director exercises supervision over professional staff and outside contractors whose responsibilities are to carry out the activities and programs of the Athletic Commission. The Executive Director’s responsible for the Athletic Commission’s budget, goals, and objectives. The Executive Director is responsible for planning and directing programs associated with the Athletic Commission, and for evaluating the performance and effectiveness of these programs. The Executive Director will be responsible for identifying, analyzing and resolving issues and problems; and for reviewing
and ensuring implementation of administrative directives, guidelines and policies relating to the Athletic Commission. The Executive Director will represent the members of the Athletic Commission and the Director of Business and Industry as directed; serve as principal advisor to the members of the Athletic Commission and Director on Divisional management and administrative matters; prepare high level reports and correspondence; and other related duties as assigned by the members of the Athletic Commission. The ideal candidate would also have experience in the following:
- Proven administrative experience
- Supervision of staff
- Experience working with Commission, Boards, or other Public Bodies
- Organization and/or management of high level athletic events
- Media experience including, giving written and oral interviews to the press
The ideal candidate will possess a Bachelor’s degree in business or public administration or a related field and a minimum of five years of increasingly responsible professional level experience which included responsibility for the coordination and management of multiple work units in a complex organization; Or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Las Vegas, Nevada
RESUMES WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL FILLED:
All resumes will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Hiring may occur at any time during the recruitment process.
SUBMIT RESUMES/DIRECT INQUIRIES TO:
Department of Administration – HR Services
Attn: Gennie Hudson
100 N. Stewart St., Ste. 230
Carson City, NV 89701
775.684.0247 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In subject line please reference: Executive Director, Athletic Commission
The State of Nevada is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, religion, race or disability.
Erik Magraken: What kind of liability is at stake for athletic commissions with fighters who use PEDs?
By Zach Arnold | January 19, 2014
Erik Magraken is a Personal Injury litigation lawyer practicing in Victoria, BC. Erik follows regulatory developments regarding combat sports and authors the CanadianMMALawBlog.
The NFL concussion lawsuit can teach combat sport regulators a valuable lesson. Failing to provide reasonable athlete protection can lead to significant liability. Allegations of fraud go a long way in getting around limitation periods, waivers and assumption of risk. Last week the tune of three quarters of a billion dollars was rejected as insufficient justice to satisfy the allegations of fraud and player safety neglect in professional football.
If the world of MMA wants to avoid a similar reckoning meaningful steps must be taken to address the state of PED testing in combat sports. These should start now with no better place to begin than with the soon-to-be-appointed Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
By Zach Arnold | January 15, 2014
Good for GSP for speaking his mind. He's right. I'd say 75% if not more fighters are using PEDs. Plus they can't talk. He's 100% right @ufc
— Mike Hackler (@mike_hackler) January 15, 2014
Remember the anonymous ESPN MMA fighters poll where those surveyed thought the amount of fighters doping was 51%?
Here is the RDS media link if you want to view the original news source on the story.
GSP’s sentiments echo the same words of veteran MMA writers, including Eddie Goldman. Eddie is often dismissed as a crank on the issue of doping in sports but his criticism of doping in combat sports has been on the money.
You remember the debacle for drug testing requests before the St. Pierre/Johny Hendricks fight. GSP signed up with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency to have supplemental drug testing for his title fight. Hendricks and his camp weren’t interested. Dana started criticizing St. Pierre’s drug testing demands. Keith Kizer carried the anti-Margaret Goodman spin. The VADA critics made St. Pierre out to be a guy with a financial incentive for agreeing to test with VADA.
Of course, this is the same VADA that busted Lamont Peterson for microdosing on testosterone pellets while Nevada’s drug tests couldn’t catch such usage.
By Zach Arnold | January 10, 2014
Keith Kizer trends #1 on Twitter after resigning
NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar: "Keith was not forced into this decision. But we do respect it and we will conduct a national search."
— Steve Carp (@stevecarprj) January 11, 2014
Keith Kizer is gone as the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, effective January 27th. Kizer, whose job security was ensured by politicos like Sig Rogich and casino power players like Lorenzo Fertitta, quietly exits after having a lousy 2013 campaign that brought a lot of negative attention against the Athletic Commission.
Government moves slowly. As we saw in how long it took for Che Guevara to “resign” from the Department of Consumer Affairs from his position with the California State Athletic Commission, it’s hard to imagine that Kizer’s resignation (organic or forced) wasn’t in the works for some time.
“There has to be an exit strategy here,” exclaimed one top combat sports regulator. It is believed that Kizer will be moving up the ladder in state work as a lawyer. In other words, he’s not going to be unemployed and he got a promotion/parachute in state government circles. He was plucked from the AG’s office because it’s next door to NSAC and the AG’s office handles background checks.
The fact is that Kizer, who absolutely loved his job at NSAC and would do anything to keep it, became a major political liability and headache for Governor Brian Sandoval, the Attorney General’s office, and the Rogich/Lorenzo/Ratner political clan. Kizer was quoted by Fox Sports on Friday night as saying he had applied for the job of being the city attorney in Henderson, Nevada in late 2013.
Kizer’s resignation comes on the heels of a recent gaming commission rejection for licensure of a close Lorenzo & Rogich ally in Tim Poster, who basically got swatted away for his gaming license request due to connections with shady individuals. Both Lorenzo & Rogich appeared in Carson City (!) on behalf of Poster and were humiliated in appearing at a meeting where Poster got destroyed for his past business connections & decisions.
You don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the winds were blowing in the Rogich clan to understand what is happening now.
As for who will become the next Executive Director, the reality is that the choice will have to be someone that Lorenzo, Rogich, Ratner, and the AG’s office approves of. They went to Keith Kizer because he was from the AG’s office, so the best bet is that an unknown bureaucrat will take the position. If they do go for an outsider, however, Mike Mazzulli from Mohegan Sun would stick out as an obvious choice since he knows boxing and is actually competent.
The wildcard name to pay attention to? Armando Garcia, the former California State Athletic Commission boss who has been working for the Fertitta empire in casino security the last several years. Zuffa knows who he is and knows that he was great at making money for California’s commission. He’s a strong personality but one that Zuffa is very familiar with.
As for Keith Kizer’s legacy, I love the fact that the Vegas press is championing him as a drug testing crusader when he (and UFC) rendered drug testing a sideshow by opening the floodgates for fighters to start begging for testosterone (anabolic steroids). And if fighters couldn’t get their permission slips to use testosterone, they would just go ahead and start microdosing their testosterone usage in order to skate under the 4:1 Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio. Unless you’re using Carbon Isotope Ratio drug testing on urine samples, you’re not going to detect fighters microdosing on synthetic testosterone. When the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency busted Lamont Peterson for microdosing on testosterone pellets, it was embarrassing for Keith Kizer because it exposed that a standard NSAC drug test was nothing to worry about. The same commission handing out permission slips for fighters to use testosterone just pushed “enhanced” drug testing (whatever that means) for Josh Barnett last month. And it was done in such a way that the UFC, without public debate, ponied up the supposed $20,000 to pay for such testing.
Pushing Keith Kizer as a top anti-steroids crusader in combat sports is like celebrating a payday lender as an advocate for the best interests of poor people.
By Zach Arnold | January 8, 2014
WWE is launching their Network at CES in Vegas, UFC's backyard. The ultimate humiliation for Zuffa. Why they pushed Fight Pass incomplete.
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) January 9, 2014
Vince McMahon just dump-trucked Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta in Las Vegas at CES on Wednesday night. It’s official: the WWE Network is being launched in late February. Every WWE PPV will be available for monthly subscribers. They are using the six-month template for subs if you want to lock in a price of $10/month. So, one normal PPV bill of $60 gets you six months of WWE’s channel online. Included on the WWE Network is access to all WWE, WCW, and ECW PPVs. And Wrestlemania.
Oh, by the way, MLB TV is consulting Stamford with the WWE Network and all content will be available on a billion different type of media platforms.
That is the sound of Zuffa getting castrated in their own backyard. And there were witnesses, all right.
To those sayin you can't compare the WWE digital network to the UFC's: Then why are there UFC employees in attendance for the announcement?
— Luca Fury (@FurysFightPicks) January 9, 2014
On Tuesday, I did a radio interview for Sirius XM with Ricky Bones, RJ Clifford, and Steve Cofield to talk about UFC Fight Pass and why the service so far has not impressed many fans. You can listen to the interview here. The consensus amongst us as to why UFC rushed Fight Pass out for public consumption was, partially, due in part to the upcoming launch of the WWE Network. In other words, UFC wanted to win the media news cycle by launching Fight Pass first even if it wasn’t a complete product and a product not 100% tested for bugs or failures.
After Wednesday night, one thing is for sure: the WWE Network is going to make the launch of UFC Fight Pass look like the launch of HealthCare.Gov. And that is not a position Zuffa wants to be in with the 18-to-34 year old demographic.
Of course, the stakes are much higher for WWE. They are aiming for 1 million subscribers. Reportedly, UFC would be happy with 100,000 subscribers for Fight Pass. There’s a reason WWE is so much more motivated to make their zero TV play work:
here's a newsflash; you know why WWE network is giving away the PPVs? bc people stopped buying them
— Alan Conceicao (@godsonsafari) January 9, 2014
UFC may laugh now but if their PPV buy rates keep dropping like WWE’s PPV buy rates have, look out.
WWE kicking off their digital platform with Wrestlemania. UFC kicking off their digital platform with Royston Wee.
— Brad Taschuk (@bradtaschuk) January 9, 2014
Now that the big announcement has been made by WWE at CES, there are five important questions that need to be answered in light of today’s developments.
By Zach Arnold | January 7, 2014
Week 2 of Lesnar reboot again on WWE TV draws scarily quiet audience. These are not the same WWE fans from 3 years ago that dug Heyman's act
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) January 7, 2014
Watching the WWE’s latest reboot of Brock Lesnar is painful. And Paul Heyman isn’t connecting with the live crowds. It was certainly a different landscape many years ago when Lesnar & Heyman had the fans eating out of their hands.
The WWE audience that bought into Brock Lesnar has disappeared or moved onto something else. The same could very well happen if Lesnar attempts a return to the UFC.
The business environments for both companies is very different today than it was in 2009. WWE is really at a garbage-level low point for matchmaking and not understanding what the fans want. Brock Lesnar is not a guy to jump start a cold product but he is the kind of guy who can blow the roof off the ceiling for a hot product. The UFC is running so many shows now that the novelty has worn off and what you have is an audience that will pop for the big stars but that’s about it. It’s still a hardcore floor of support but the ceiling is limited to pop a number outside of a Ronda Rousey fight.
Which is why I have my doubts that Brock Lesnar could draw close to GSP-level numbers if he returned to the UFC. We know the current Heavyweight division environment. It sucks. Daniel Cormier moving to Light Heavyweight prevents a fight with Cain Velasquez, which serves American Kickboxing Academy just fine but hurts the UFC. Josh Barnett isn’t a player any longer, which is unfortunate. Bigfoot Silva is tarnished by the magic T and had trouble putting away Mark Hunt. Mark Hunt is a tough bastard but he’s not title material. Travis Browne is the guy everyone has their hopes pinned on but Alistair Overeem was clobbering him until Overeem melted down. Junior Dos Santos is still trying to find his marbles after the beatdown from Cain Velasquez in Houston. Velasquez just had surgery and will out for an extended period of time. Fabricio Werdum is out there needing a warm-up fight before facing Travis Browne, but who’s interested in Werdum vs. Lesnar?
So, you can see why the UFC wants Brock Lesnar back in action. Even if he can’t pop a million buys, they’ll settle for 500,000 PPV buys for one of his fights. And I think that’s a 50/50 proposition at best. The one fight that could do it would be a rematch against Cain Velasquez and the odds of Lesnar winning that fight are stacked against him. There’s always the fantasy talk of a Fedor/Lesnar fight but it’s not something that I think would gain a whole lot of traction in the States.
Which brings us to Lesnar’s current status with WWE. Would WWE allow him to fight in the UFC? Perhaps they would in exchange for doing a joint PPV venture with Zuffa or if they got a cut of Lesnar’s PPV buys for whatever future shows he fights on for UFC. The problem is that Lesnar’s rub just isn’t there now for WWE and trying to use momentum from a UFC fight is the kind of logic that Antonio Inoki got blasted for last decade when he’d send Yuji Nagata or Kazuyuki Fujita into MMA fights and then translate what they did in MMA to deem them as pro-wrestling champions or chumps.
I fully understand why Brock Lesnar would be fascinated to return to UFC. I get his motives. I get UFC’s motives. I’m not sure I could see what WWE’s motives would be in approving such a business arrangement. Perhaps they could arrange a deal for Lesnar’s fight to air on the new WWE online network. Vince might go for that.
The fact that UFC isn’t flat out denying the Brock Lesnar rumors is a grave indication of how concerned they are about the lack of depth in their heavyweight division. Given the bankroll from Fox Sports & other television deals the UFC has at their disposal, where are the signings of top prospects who could be major players in the heavyweight division? Having to rely on old PRIDE veterans or pro-wrestlers can only buy UFC so much time.
By Zach Arnold | January 6, 2014
Co-authored by Zach Arnold & Jon Mariani
He doesn’t deserve a Therapeutic Use Exemption to use testosterone (anabolic steroids) for his proposed fight against Chris Weidman on Memorial Day weekend or for UFC’s 4th of July event. But whatever the UFC wants, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will ensure that what’s best for business is taken care of.
It’s a good thing that Vegas thinks Chris Weidman is a 2-to-1 favorite to win that fight because he’s facing the poster child for all testosterone users in Mixed Martial Arts. You can thank the UFC for promoting testosterone-using fighters in key main event matches as the reason the floodgates have opened in combat sports for commission-approved anabolic steroid usage. You can call it TRT to make it sound harmless and innocuous. You can use the word testosterone and more people will understand its connotation. It’s when you use the term anabolic steroids that everyone understands what is really going on.
There’s a reason the testosterone plague in combat sports was named Sherdog’s Top Story of 2013. Fight Opinion was ahead of the curve on that story when few thought it was a major industry problem.
And no fighter draws the wrath of angry UFC fans when it comes to the testosterone issue more than Vitor Belfort. Unlike American fighters like Chael Sonnen who were within an inch of becoming the UFC’s first openly testosterone-using champion, Vitor Belfort will garner no endearment from the fans should he win the UFC Middleweight title and do so while using anabolic steroids. The fact that UFC seems unafraid to jump head-first into an anabolic steroids controversy of mass proportions by promoting a Belfort/Weidman fight reinforces the ugly UFC/Fox Sports steroid sports marriage.
By Zach Arnold | January 5, 2014
To read all CSAC-related articles, dating back to May 2012, CLICK HERE.
We would like to introduce you to Rodrigo Mosquera, the suspended California boxing manager who worked a Golden Boy event last month three weeks after he was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission. Mosquera is a manager/trainer/second for fighters Francisco Vargas, Shawn Estrada, and Gary Russell Jr.. On Twitter, he calls himself a boxing expert from East Los Angeles.
Mosquera was indefinitely suspended by the California State Athletic Commission on November 21st, 2013 as the result of an investigation by lead athletic inspector Mark Relyea (who has all the duties of a Chief Athletic Inspector but isn’t given the salary or authority that comes with that job title). Relyea, who worked as the lead athletic inspector for an All-Star Boxing show on September 20th in Montebello, California, confiscated altered Cleto Reyes boxing gloves that Mosquera had one of his fighters wearing for combat. Lou Moret, the referee, saw the altered gloves on the fighter’s hands and had them removed.
As a result of Relyea’s extensive investigation (aided with the knowledge obtained throughout his many years at the LA County Sheriff’s department as a lieutenant), Mosquera and his fighter received indefinite suspension letters from Andy Foster on November 21st, 2013. Those letters summoned Mosquera and the fighter in question to attend the December 16th California State Athletic Commission meeting in Sacramento. Mosquera did not appear before the Commission in Sacramento. Instead, his hearing was delayed for February’s upcoming meeting in Los Angeles.
By Zach Arnold | January 3, 2014
There was a Friday Night Fight event with Mike Tyson as the promotional front man at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Todd Grisham and Teddy Atlas worked the show since Joe Tessitore was busy with the Clemson/Ohio State Orange Bowl game in Miami.
Minnesota’s boxing commission has never had a stellar record for regulation but tonight was atrocious. In a bout between Super Middleweights Caleb Truax and Ossie Duran, it went the distance and was scored an ugly 95-95 draw. That was lousy.
But it came nowhere come to the finish for the main event for the IBF Super Featherweight title between Rances Barthelemy and Argenis Mendez. Barthelemy rocked Mendez, put him down to the canvas once, and then as the bell rang to end round two… Barthelemy hit Mendez two times after the bell rang twice and knocked him out. Midwest referee Pete Podgorski stepped in way too late and treated the blows as if they were legal. Barthelemy won.
And the flood of anger began.