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

Fight Opinion Radio: As real as it gets? Decline is a choice & UFC has some tough decisions to make

By Zach Arnold | July 12, 2014

Download the show


Subscribe automatically to Fight Opinion Radio:

Time length of this week’s show: 30 minutes (14 MB MP3)

Contact us

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

Our e-mail address:

Show preview

In July & August of 2014, the UFC is running 10 shows in 8 weeks. It’s beyond overkill. However, defenders of UFC’s hectic global schedule point out that you don’t have to watch all the shows. It may be worth it if UFC wants to sell the company to a mega-global conglomerate down the road but there is a domestic price to be paid for all non-major UFC events. The fact that Lorenzo Fertitta had to do damage control on Fox Sports 1 over the canceled UFC 176 Staples Center show says it all. And yet amidst the non-stop crazy calendar that UFC has created, very few women’s fights on the card. They’ve signed Holly Holm. They are considering Cyborg next for Ronda. Why are any of the foreseeable opponents for Rousey going to be stronger than 8-to-1 or 10-to-1 underdogs? They’re not. And part of the reason is that the UFC hasn’t booked enough female fights to develop prospects that can come close to fighting Ronda. At this point, the only one who has a chance of stopping Ronda is her roommate, Marina Shafir, and she’s at 145 pounds.

After UFC 175, Zuffa has a chance to hit the reset button and move on from the major names in the recent testosterone plague. However, it seems that Chael Sonnen will never go away and Vitor Belfort is next in line to fight Chris Weidman. Every time reality hits UFC in the face, they seem to double-down and press forward. They got lucky that nobody knows who Ali Bagautinov is (and the 100,000 PPV buys he drew with Demetrious Johnson for UFC 174) or else the headlines would be blaring about a second UFC fighter getting busted for EPO in the last three weeks.

There are a million unanswered questions right now that are exacerbated by the UFC’s non-stop meat-grinder of a schedule. And this week’s edition of Fight Opinion Radio covers all of those issues in-depth and with perspective.

Special thanks

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

Topics: Fight Opinion Radio, Jeff Thaler, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold, podcasts | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

After canceling Staples Center show, UFC’s oversaturation problems are a mainstream concern

By Zach Arnold | July 9, 2014

Before all the cool kids talked about the idea of UFC oversaturating the market with events to flood out the competition, Judge Jeff and I talked about this strategy in 2009 on Fight Opinion Radio and what’s interesting is that UFC is oversaturating the market but it is not killing interest in MMA as a whole but rather interest in UFC itself for non-major events. If Bellator can do OK numbers on PPV with Rampage Jackson, they still have a chance to be a viable alternative to the McDonaldsification that UFC is going through right now.

It’s no surprise that the UFC had to cancel their August 2nd event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Ronda Rousey wasn’t going to save that show. The reality is that UFC booked three California B-level MMA events within a timespan of two months. The three TV tax checks to Andy Foster would have given him $105,000 in revenue. Given that he was allegedly UFC’s favorite guy to get the Nevada State Athletic Commission job and instead bombed the interview, it’s my opinion that the UFC obviously wanted to bring some activity back to California for Andy. The problem is that UFC cannot get any of their A-listers to work the California shows at this point, so the gates aren’t what they are in other states. And running Sacramento without Urijah Faber is utterly preposterous. Something had to give and the Staples Center show had to go. Going from Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie to Brandon Vera vs. Mauricio Shogun to Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes isn’t going to cut it at that venue.

Which brings us to Lorenzo Fertitta appearing on Fox Sports 1 for damage control. The fact that he’s having to feel the need to address the oversaturation issue means that the concern is very mainstream now. The genie is out of the bottle.

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “What happened to force the company into this decision?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “You know, it was a very difficult to make and part of the reason that we decided to postpone it is because Jose Aldo’s injury is a neck/shoulder injury, which he’s saying he’s not going to be able to train for only three weeks. So, it was a situation where certainly he wouldn’t be ready for August 2nd but at the same time he’s not going to be out very long. So, it’s going to allow us to essentially postpone this and reschedule this event for sometime in the early to mid Fall, probably in October. We just felt like that made the most sense. In addition to that, you know, obviously on PPV events there’s typically championship bout(s) on that card. Quite frankly right now, there was nobody that could turn around quick enough to be able to fill the August 2nd slot.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “So you mentioned in the Fall. Do you have a definitive date in October?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “We are working on that right now. We don’t have a definitive date yet. We do have a date set for PPV on October 27th but we haven’t decided whether or not that Jose would fall on that date or not.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Will this still be held in Los Angeles?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “No, unfortunately it won’t. That’s one of the big negatives. I know that we’re excited to go back to Staples Center. One of the issues, though, is Staples Center is probably one of the hardest arenas to book in the country because they’re so busy and by that time of the year, obviously, the professsional sports teams they have start to roll around. So, we will certainly work with them to try to find another date. But we’re not real confident that we’ll be able to accomodate that.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Do you have another location in mind?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “Right now, we have a date scheduled in Rio de Janeiro for October 27th and we’re looking at a couple of other locations for earlier in October as well to see what’s available.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “So, will we ever see UFC 176 or will the number be scratched completely?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “UFC 176 will probably become a question on Jeopardy at some point as the event that never happened.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Fair enough. We know obviously that fighters earn their pay on fight night. So, what happens to the rest of the fighters on this card?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “The balance of the fight card will be dispersed amongst the various fights that we have coming up on Fox Sports 1 and/or Fox and we’re going to try to get them fights as quickly as they can because obviously we want to keep them busy and keep them active.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “If Aldo isn’t available, then who do you put on the card?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “That’s a good question, you know, we’ve got some other great contenders in Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson that certainly could step up and vie for some type of an interim title. We’re going to know more in about two weeks. Aldo was told by his doctors to not do anything for three weeks. We’re about one week into that. We’re going to regroup in two weeks and, you know, if Aldo’s not going to be able to ready to go by October, then we’re going to have to sit down and see if we do an interim title and if that’s the case, you know, like I said before I mean the good thing is that we have a lot of really, really good contenders in that weight class that could challenge Chad Mendes for an interim title.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Well, Lorenzo, as you’re well aware, Aldo was forced off of two other UFC cards due to injury. Does he need to do anything to tone down his training or how do you prevent this in the future?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “Yeah, I mean, you know unfortunately sometimes you know guys just get nicks and get hurt. I think the good news is it doesn’t sound like a real serious injury to the extent that he’s going to be out for a really long time. I think if he lays off of it and obviously is very careful in his training, we’re hopeful that he’s going to be able to turn right around in October and that’s why we made this decision. But, of course, you know it’s something that all the fighters need to pay close attention to is making sure that they’re very careful with what they’re doing in training.”

CHARISSA THOMPSON: “What do you say when people ask you the question is this a sign of too many fights?”

LORENZO FERTITTA: “You know what? Um, I don’t think so. I think, you know, sometimes these come-and-go, a kind of ebb-and-flow. Last year, we went through the entire year and I don’t think we had to replace one card. You know, this year unfortunately this happened and overall at the end of the day, um, we have all of these guys coming back and I think the Fall for us, the line-up in the Fall is going to be pretty strong as all of our champions are coming back and we’ve got some loaded cards on Fox Sports 1 as well. So, we’re excited about moving forward from here.”

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

Chaos: Weidman-Machida go balls out, Struve faints, Ronda asked to save Staples Center August UFC show, empty seats

By Zach Arnold | July 3, 2014

On Saturday afternoon in Florida, we had the World Series of Fighting debut on NBC broadcast television. As John Nash discovered before the UFC helped pass a secrecy law in Florida, the TV deal between WSOF and NBC is a barter deal. WSOF got access but NBC isn’t paying anything out of pocket. It’s a good news/bad news scenario. At least MMA is able to get on network television, but there’s no ad campaign whatsoever to promote anything. Just filler programming in the mindset of TV suits.

The WSOF card on Saturday had one fight in particular that I was extremely interested in watching. I thought it would be the most compelling fight this weekend. Well…

Then came the UFC 175 card at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Perfect symbolism for UFC’s situation right now. Total chaos everywhere. Dana going nuts in press row and with staffers.

To show you the internal panic within UFC…

In addition to Ronda, expect Faber to get asked for a quick turnaround to fight on the last-minute UFC booking at Arco Arena in Sacramento on August 30th. If you’re noticed, UFC has done their guy Andy Foster a big favor with three shows within 60 days in California. I personally consider it a political contribution of sorts with three $35,000 TV tax checks, but the flipside is that none of the A-listers are going to work any of the shows unless Ronda saves the day at Staples. And as we saw on Saturday night, she’s turning more into Brock Lesnar (big TV attraction more than a live gate attraction).

And in front of 6,500 people on Sunday night, BJ Penn was painfully put into retirement by Frankie Edgar.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

If Alex Rodriguez & Barry Bonds won’t go away, neither will Chael Sonnen

By Zach Arnold | July 2, 2014

Well, well, well. It appears that it’s not only MMA’s bad boys getting permission slips to use testosterone. We knew that there were murky waters on this front in the major American sports, but now a new book on tarnished baseball star Alex Rodriguez claims that he was given an Exemption by Major League Baseball to use testosterone, the base chemical of anabolic steroids, in 2007. Rodriguez’s excuse? Hypogonadism. You don’t say. Plus he was allegedly given a pass to use a fertility drug, the same drug in question for both Chael Sonnen (UFC) and Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts).

The book further claims that over 100 players were granted some sort of Exemption by MLB.

What’s interesting to note right away is the contrast in the way the sports media is covering this newest development versus the lack of coverage (until now) that we’ve seen on the steroid epidemic in combat sports. Wally Matthews for ESPN New York already has written a great column on MLB’s alleged enabling of Rodriguez’s drug usage. He rightfully pointed out that if the book’s claims are true about Rodriguez getting an Exemption, then he got one after supposedly failing a drug test in 2003.

So while it may be hard to believe that a reputable doctor would diagnose low-T and prescribe testosterone to a man with the body, physical abilities, and history of Alex Rodriguez, that is precisely what happened.

A North Carolina physician, Bryan W. Smith, approved the medical exemption. Smith was the IPA — independent program administrator — appointed jointly by MLB and the MLBPA, but supposedly not answerable to either.

Requests for comment from Dr. Smith on Wednesday were rejected, and all calls were referred to MLB’s public relations department.

No wonder Steve Austin reacted the way he did recently when discussing Sonnen getting busted on two random Nevada State Athletic drug tests.

Continue reading this article here…

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

Golden groans, rope-a-dope edition, on the denials of California’s regulators

By Zach Arnold | July 1, 2014

I wanted to share with you three interesting mini-stories that I think will give you a glimpse into the turmoil right now happening with the California State Athletic Commission.

Last week, we wrote about an athletic inspector not paying attention to the trainer/chief second of GLORY kickboxer Gabriel Varga applying vaseline on the fighter’s shoulders after rubbing the petroleum substance on Varga’s head. That’s a no-no in California’s rules. I didn’t name the inspector on purpose, as I figured it was unfortunately enough for those who knew the person and what kind of ridicule there might be.

But I didn’t expect the athletic inspector to out himself on this web site and double-down by challenging me to prove the claims. Here’s Joe Ulrey challenging me to provide further evidence of the observations made.

Here’s a 12 second video clip of Joe Ulrey ignoring everything in front of him

The incident happened during the ring introductions for Gabriel Varga’s second fight on the Spike TV broadcast from the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Of course, if Joe had been watching Varga then he would have already known the answer to the question he asked on the site. People make mistakes and as long as you are willing to show the effort to be motivated and improve, then that’s all you can ask for. But when you have athletic inspectors showing up at events and approving shoddy tape jobs on gloves that could perhaps be hiding skinning or you have inspectors ignoring what’s going on right in front of their face on national television, it has to be called out. I called this behavior out on social media last Saturday night during the UFC’s San Antonio show when inspectors were doing anything but watching their own fighters. Same standard applies here.

And here’s a response to today’s article from the athletic inspector in question.

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Especially if the cape belongs to a feisty octogenarian like John Frierson, Chairman of the California State Athletic Commission. It’s amazing to see that he picks up on the political shenanigans that others half his age don’t mention at meetings. And last week’s conference call was a brilliant illustration.

Continue reading this article here…

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

UFC has their own alphabet-soup: HGH, EPO, Low T, hCG, and more; Sonnen removed from FOX

By Zach Arnold | June 29, 2014

I don’t think you could have had better symbolism to represent all of UFC’s current problems than the dog’s breakfast of a doubleheader on Saturday, topped off with the cherry on the steroid sundae after Chael Sonnen reportedly tested positive for HGH, EPO, and hCG for his random Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test.

If Nevada doesn’t watch out, UFC will run more shows in Texas and Florida to stay in no-income tax venues w/o all the hassles of actual drug testing. Sorry, Tennessee.

Sonnen, a guy who copped a plea deal to mortgage fraud, has lived it up as the bad guy forever and made millions of dollars in the process. So did the UFC. They never cared about the issue of drug usage in Mixed Martial Arts. And neither did a lot of writers who wanted to be Chael’s friend or wanted to get in on the action for access.

Right message, wrong messengers. And a little too late for all parties involved. On Saturday night, Fox Sports insulted their television viewers the worst way imaginable by having Karyn Bryant as the anchor for their coverage. They had two choices: go dark and ignore it or go big and be honest. Instead, FS1 chose the most cowardly way out: they announced the news of Sonnen’s EPO test result at 2 AM EST and read a canned statement in order to plug their weekly UFC Tonight show.

You know what? The Fox/UFC strategy worked. The Sonnen story didn’t trend on Twitter. Nary a peep. Didn’t explode. If you blinked, you missed it. It’s absurd that Fox cooperated with this stunt in ignoring their own UFC insider but Dana sent the message recently that Ariel Helwani is not a sacred cow.

Fox Sports made its bed long ago with the UFC. There’s a reason former ESPN’er Mike Hill was apologizing to Sonnen on camera during his horrific spin job. It was so bad, he retired a day after that performance.

Nearly two decades after Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa, Fox Sports is stuck in a marriage with a pro-steroids UFC organization that is now trying to backtrack as fast as possible. There has been damage done to the credibility of both parties but don’t expect many sports writers to jump on either party. There are many in the sports media rooting for Fox Sports 1 to neuter the mighty ESPN. Just as many are hoping for this outcome because they want to work for Fox Sports (or the UFC). Money makes the world go around.

But what about Chael Sonnen? What about all those rumors that Sonnen could have been the President of Bellator or the face of UFC when Dana White exits stage left? I still think it’s entirely possible that Sonnen will be the face of UFC management down the road. He’s the one guy who can hype a fight as good as Dana at this point for Zuffa. And it was a very quiet, silent Saturday night with Dana not being visible for either UFC event.

Prediction: Chael Sonnen will be part of UFC management within a few years and the whole drug testing controversy will simply be chalked up as Performance (Résumé) Enhancement.

Update (July 1st): Sonnen has been quietly removed from both UFC & FOX. For now. I expect he will return — and it’s interesting how much time passed before a decision was made here.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

GLORY’s Gabriel Varga has vaseline on shoulders while California athletic inspector thumbs his nose

By Zach Arnold | June 24, 2014

We detailed the Sacramento front office of the California State Athletic Commission playing fast-and-loose with the rules by giving suspended, cheating manager/chief second Rodrigo Mosquera a new license only three months after his temporarily suspension was made permanent by the Athletic Commission board at a February meeting in Los Angeles. Mosquera, who was suspended due to one of his fighters last September wearing altered gloves at a boxing show, somehow managed to obtain two licenses: one as a manager and one as a second. And yet Mosquera generally operates as a chief second whenever he attends boxing events. Mosquera was suspended for his actions essentially as a chief second and yet was granted a manager’s license in May that allowed him to return to action last Saturday for the Showtime Golden Boy event at the StubHub Center in a chief second role for boxer Gary Russell Jr.

This whole episode exposed what everyone in the combat sports industry knows right now about the state of affairs in California: it is open season for cheating. And even if you do get caught cheating, the current administration is very soft on crime and will use the reasoning of “everyone has to feed their family” to justify their behavior.

But those are big picture issues. At a lot of the shows in California, cheating is blatantly rampant on issues big and small. Whether it’s illegal hand-wraps, poor tape jobs, skinning gloves, binding, performance enhancers, slippery substances, you name it… it’s happening all the time. The truth is that many of the newer athletic inspectors aren’t being properly trained on how to correct these kinds of situations; and the veteran inspectors who know better let it slide because they don’t want to get on the front office’s bad side. They just care about getting booked to work events. Besides, when Consumer Affairs is allowing cheaters to get away with their behavior, what incentive is there for the veteran athletic inspectors to raise their voice and object to what is going on?

A big reason as to why such lawless behavior is being allowed at shows is because some of the veteran athletic inspectors just don’t care any more. They make excuses. They sit on their asses. They know what way the wind is blowing and figure, hey, if Che Guevara can get a job promotion to Chief Athletic Inspector in 2009 after missing Antonio Margarito’s illegal hand-wraps and volunteer inspector Robert Judge can get promoted to the role of lead athletic inspector after missing the altered gloves on a Rodrigo Mosquera fighter, there’s no price to pay for messing up. In fact, messing up seems to be a pre-requisite for getting a promotion in California now.

Which brings us to the GLORY kickboxing show this past Saturday night at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Spike TV aired the undercard and then there was a PPV portion. There were also amateur fights on the card, regulated by Steve Fossum’s IKF. The ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) sanctioned GLORY fights but the California State Athletic Commission itself regulated the professional fights on the card.

As one might expect on these kinds of major kickboxing events, there are plenty of fighters having chief seconds/trainers apply vaseline & liniments on their body. One fighter in particular, Gabriel Varga, had a chief second as slick as the vaseline being applied to his head.

California athletic inspector isn’t even paying attention to what’s happening in front of him

I was watching the Spike TV feed and, right in Varga’s corner, the chief second was applying vaseline on Varga’s head. The second in question slyly watched the people on the other side of the ring and, without hesitation, rubbed down vaseline on both of Varga’s shoulders after applying it to his face. Seconds & trainers pull this trick all the time on their fighters, hoping that the referees and athletic inspectors don’t catch the vaseline application and wipe the substance off with a towel like they are supposed to. As noted in the California Code of Regulations, Rule 305, one of the very basic rules that all athletic inspectors know about:

§ 305. Contestants’ Appearance.

All contestants shall be clean and present a tidy appearance. It shall be at the sole discretion of the commission or its representative to determine whether facial adornments (mustaches, goatees, excessive sideburns) and length of hair presents any potential hazard to the safety of the contestant or his or her opponent, or will interfere with the supervision and conduct of the contest. The excessive use of petroleum jelly or other similar substances shall not be permitted and such substances shall be applied to the face only. Referees or the commission representative in charge shall cause any such excessive substance to be removed.

Note: Authority cited: Section 18611, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 18640, Business and Professions Code.

In the case of Gabriel Varga, his trainer/chief second without any hesitation rubbed the vaseline both on his face and on his shoulders… right in front of an athletic inspector dead center on camera. And what was the athletic inspector doing?
Zoning off and putting his thumb under his nose. Literally.

Remember, an executive edict was issued by Executive Officer Andy Foster at the June 1st athletic inspector training session at Big John McCarthy’s gym in Southern California that all athletic inspectors must go in the ring/cage in between rounds to look directly at fighters rather than standard protocol of examining fighters & corner men on the ring apron/skirt. There’s no proof that this executive edict will improve fighter safety, but it doesn’t matter. Some of the athletic inspectors are following the executive edict and others are not. Nobody cares.

As the old saying goes, if you aren’t cheating you aren’t trying. At California shows now, everyone is cheating and the regulators aren’t trying to stop it. Even when it’s front of their face, they still don’t see what’s going on and are thumbing their nose at doing their job.

Topics: CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Fight Opinion Radio featuring Monte Cox’s words of wisdom on negotiating with the UFC: the good, the bad, and the ugly

By Zach Arnold | June 23, 2014

Monte Cox, the manager of MMA champions

Download the show


Subscribe automatically to Fight Opinion Radio:

Time length of this week’s show: 48 minutes (22 MB MP3)

Contact us

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

Our e-mail address:

Continue reading this article here…

Topics: Fight Opinion Radio, Jeff Thaler, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold, podcasts | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

Gary Russell’s chief second, Rodrigo Mosquera, allowed by Andy Foster to return 4 months after CSAC upheld suspension for altering gloves

By Zach Arnold | June 21, 2014

The on-going saga of suspended California boxing trainer Rodrigo Mosquera continues, thanks to decisions made by Andy Foster as Executive Director of the California State Athletic Commission.

At an All-Star Boxing event last September in Montebello, California, Mosquera was caught with a fighter named Ricardo Rodriguez using altered boxing gloves for a fight. The referee, Lou Moret, caught the altered gloves in time and replacement gloves were issued. MMA inspector Chris Crail and volunteer boxing inspector Robert Judge missed the altered gloves. Crail took heat for the incident while Judge was summarily promoted to the role of a lead athletic inspector in Southern California under circumstances eerily similar to how Che Guevara got promoted in 2009 after missing the illegal hand wraps of Antonio Margarito before his fight against Shane Mosley at the Staples Center.

Mosquera and Rodriguez received temporary suspension letters in the mail from Andy Foster in late November. The disclosure of these letters were not made public until the afternoon of December 13, 2013. That same day, athletic inspectors were sent to work a Golden Boy event at Fantasy Springs in Indio, California. Apparently no on the ground knew what was going on because Rodrigo Mosquera appeared at that televised card and was given a new seconds license, which lasts for a full year. This information was publicly released by the Athletic Commission on January 4th, 2014.

Mosquera worked despite being temporarily suspended by the California State Athletic Commission. Mosquera would go on to work a late January Golden Boy event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn while claiming that he had not been notified of his temporary California suspension despite the fact that we wrote about this publicly in mid-December. Mosquera appealed his temporary suspension in mid-January on the grounds that he had not been properly notified.

Mosquera was originally summoned to attend a December meeting for the California State Athletic Commission at Consumer Affairs HQ in Sacramento. Instead, he ended up appearing at a February 10th CSAC meeting in Los Angeles. At that meeting, Andy Foster inexplicably recommended that both Rodriguez and Mosquera be given time served and suspensions lifted. As noted by the official meeting minutes, Mosquera was suspended the maximum fine of $2,500 and iced until his commission license expired.

Remember, he was supposedly given a new license at the December 2013 Golden Boy show (according to athletic commission documentation from January 2014).

After the suspension, Mosquera was allegedly in attendance at a boxing event in Montebello in which athletic inspectors such as Dave Rasmussen had to read Mosquera the riot act for giving a fighter advice from the audience.

Fast-forward to Saturday, June 21st at a Golden Boy event at StubHub Center in Southern California. The event was part of a telecast for Showtime. One of the fights on the card featured Gary Russell Jr. vs. Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell Jr. fought at the Golden Boy event at Barclays last January. He is one of Rodrigo Mosquera’s fighters. Mosquera was spotted at the StubHub Center wrapping Gary Russell Jr’s hands for his fight. People at the show were stunned, given that Mosquera’s license suspension was upheld by the Athletic Commission board in February.

It turns out that approximately three months after that February meeting, Rodrigo Mosquera was granted a new manager’s license by Andy Foster. According to Athletic Commission documentation dated June 19th, Rodrigo Mosquera was issued a new manager’s license on May 15th. The manager’s license was issued by the Sacramento front office. There was no hearing in front of the Athletic Commission board to determine whether or not Mosquera, who had been suspended by the Athletic Commission for cheating, should be granted a new manager’s license after what transpired last September.

Russell, entering the fight with a record of 24-0, fought Lomachenko whose record was 1-1. It was a WBO Featherweight title fight. As The Big Lead wrote about Lomachenko, this amateur boxing legend is about to have the biggest pro fight of his life. Russell was dominated by Lomachenko.

If Russell had won two more rounds, it would have been a majority draw on the score cards…

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

California State Athletic Commission appointee, mother of pitcher Kyle Lohse, caught up in huge tribal $ dispute w/ armed guards

By Zach Arnold | June 20, 2014

One year ago, Governor Jerry Brown’s office appointed Leslie Lohse, the mother of baseball pitcher Kyle Lohse, to the California State Athletic Commission board. Here was our reaction & background information on the political appointment. Lohse, who was the treasurer of the Paskenta Band of Nomiaki Indians in Tehama County (a couple of hours north of Sacramento), was someone who might have been viewed as an asset to help the Athletic Commission negotiate with tribes running combat sports events without CSAC regulation. In other words, there was an internal belief in some Sacramento circles that she could have helped out with venues like Lemoore (Tachi Palace) in getting CSAC oversight of events back on track.

Lohse also was involved in the debate over online gambling, politicking against New Jersey’s online gambling efforts. Here is a glowing online profile of Lohse.

Instead of being an active player at CSAC meetings, Lohse vanished in a hurry and mysteriously never was brought into the Athletic Commission fold. And now we know why. The reasons are explosive.

The Sacramento Bee reported on Friday that a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against rival, armed factions at the Rolling Hills Casino that Lohse was heavily involved in making a success. Lohse was reportedly suspended as treasurer after being accused by tribal Chairman Andy Freeman of embezzling a lot of money & misusing the Paskenta tribe’s jet. The judge issuing the TRO is apparently on the side of new management. The superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Central California continues to recognize Lohse as the tribe’s treasurer while the mediation process between the two rival factions takes place.

The story of the armed stand-off between the two tribal factions has been heavily covered in the Red Bluff, Redding, I-5 area of Northern California. The situation is disastrous and comes on the heels of the violence in Modoc County, the state’s sparsely-populated Northeastern county. Here’s Courthouse News:

The General Council also removed four of the five members of the Tribal Council – Leslie Lohse, David Swearinger, Geraldine Freeman and Allen Swearinger – leaving only Chairman Andy Freeman.

The General Council elected four new members to replace those who left. The Tribal Council is now led by Andy Freeman, who secured the casino with hired, armed security, according to the Observer.

The four ousted members maintain that they are the duly elected Tribal Council of the Paskenta Band and have established their own Tribal Court and Tribal Police Department.

Andy Freeman also made hacking allegations against suspended tribal members. The suspended tribal members have allegedly attempted to shut down Rolling Hills Casino. In the RB Daily News article, a former sheriff is quoted as saying that the suspended tribal members wanted to shut the casino down to stop the flow of money to the new tribal leaders.

It’s no wonder that Lohse never showed up for the Athletic Commission. And it’s a demonstration of the kind of politicking in Sacramento that has created a chaotic regulatory climate in the state for combat sports. Nobody knows what the hell is going on.

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

Nevada’s circus: Wanderlei Silva & diuretics, anti-inflammatories, and commission morality cops

By Zach Arnold | June 17, 2014

Today’s Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing was every bit the circus we thought it would be. And the UFC aired coverage of the Athletic Commission on their pay web site.

During the disciplinary hearing for one fighter in particular, it was revealed that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance after drinking milkshakes and that he was drinking the shakes for a stronger abdomen and shoulders. To which Skip Avansino remarked that he knows from experience that drinking milkshakes is not a way to firm up your abdomen.

In regards to the “fact-finding” hearing about Wanderlei Silva not cooperating with the random blood/urine Nevada drug test, it was revealed by his representative that he was using diuretics and anti-inflammatories at the time he was asked to take the test.

“He was surprised for the first time in his career,” noted his representative at the hearing.

Wanderlei originally was going to fight on UFC’s May card but was pushed back to the July card due to a wrist injury. In a brutally-efficient presentation by both Executive Bob Bennett and the drug tester, Wanderlei Silva took a beating.

The drug collector tried to find Wanderlei Silva and initially couldn’t. The phone numbers he was given for both Mr. and Mrs. Silva were off by a digit, so the numbers he called were bad ones and disconnected. So he communicated with Bob Bennett and eventually headed to Silva’s house, where no one was home but a dog was barking. The collector eventually went to Wanderlei’s gym and meet with a person at the front desk, who led him to Wanderlei and a group of people who were eating and taking photos. The tester asked Wanderlei if he would cooperate to give a blood and urine sample and Wanderlei allegedly said he would do so. Wanderlei exited out of the gym after the tester waited around, thinking that Silva perhaps was taking a shower after the training workout.

The collector reached Mrs. Silva and tried to find Wanderlei but was told he might have been at the MGM Grand or doing media interviews. She wasn’t sure where he was. The drug collector reached out to Bob Bennett, who was at a meeting, and eventually Marc Ratner was contacted about what had happened and the rest is history.

Continue reading this article here…

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

Rethinking UFC’s 50-state regulatory policy after recent athletic commission follies

By Zach Arnold | June 13, 2014

UFC fighter Diego Sanchez has benefited in the past from the score cards of round-stealing-friendly judges, just like Leonard Garcia. When Sanchez was booked against Ross Pearson in Albuquerque, New Mexico last Saturday night, your mind told you that Pearson would outpoint him but your heart told you that some way, some how, Sanchez would get a decision win and all hell would break loose.

After watching Pearson dominate Sanchez for three rounds, my first thought for Sanchez was how much longer would he be allowed to fight. Retirement. Forget the possibility of winning his fight on the cards. Sanchez is a guy who simply needs to get out of the cage before he suffers any further trauma. Gilbert Melendez pounded him in Houston and Ross Pearson simply outworked him in Albuquerque.

Then came the score cards. One judge right scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Pearson. A second judge scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Sanchez. A third judge scored the fight 30-27… in favor of Sanchez. And all hell broke loose or as much hell broke loose as possible for a lower-tier Lightweight fight. The UFC vowed to treat Pearson as if he won the fight but the damage was done. The cat calls on social media, where UFC dominates trending topics, were vociferous. Between the lousy judges and cringe-worthy officiating from Raul Porrata, New Mexico did its best to cement a reputation as one of the worst athletic commissions in the United States.

Any experienced fight fan understands that the majority of athletic commissions stink. They simply are money collectors and chaperones at events. You can count on your hand the number of competent athletic commissions in the States: Pennsylvania w/ Greg Sirb, New Jersey w/ Nick Lembo, and Tennessee w/ Jeff Mullen. You can also throw in Mike Mazzulli at Mohegan Sun. That’s it.

Continue reading this article here…

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

With Chael Sonnen suspended, the UFC’s testosterone enabling has gone full circle; horrific spin control on FS1

By Zach Arnold | June 10, 2014

Chael Sonnen’s suspension is all the talk on Twitter

So, remember the claim that if Chael Sonnen had to get off of testosterone (anabolic steroids) that he was going to shrivel up and die?

Old habits die hard.

After going on UFC (Pravda) Tonight on Fox Sports 1 and trashing Wanderlei Silva for running away from his Nevada drug test, Chael Sonnen has reportedly failed his Nevada drug test. Does he deserve brownie points for taking his test and then failing, like Vitor Belfort did in early February?

The Vitor Belfort/Chael Sonnen match for UFC 175 in July is off. And who knows if Belfort will go through the process of getting licensed next week in Las Vegas. Brett Okamoto of ESPN has all the details here.

A couple of takeaways: 1) it’s amazing how just a “random” drug test is catching all the users, especially when the tests are done when the fighter is present in Nevada; 2) it’s amazing that the known testosterone users aren’t smart enough to avoid detection and get off the drugs; 3) if Nevada can catch guys this easy, why is this not happening in California where so many fighters reside? They’re not even testing all the fighters on cards now. And at a recent athletic inspector’s meeting in Southern California, they apparently just ran out of time to go over the drug testing issue.

Everything I said about the testosterone plague being pushed or enabled by UFC is coming back to bite Zuffa in the ass. Seriously, you didn’t need a PhD to see this coming and yet so many people in MMA have been in complete denial about what was happening. They’re now in a state of shock as to the fallout now.

As for Sonnen failing his drug test, there is a circle-of-life thing going on here. He was the kingpin behind the momentum for fighters to cry hypogonadism and a need for testosterone permission slips from athletic commissions. And the UFC was all too complicit in helping out grown, muscular men crying out at an alarming, abnormal rate that they, too, needed anabolic steroids to survive and make a living. It was Sonnen with his exploits in California that started this circle of embarrassment for MMA and basically confirmed that the industry is as dirty as horse racing.

Sonnen, Vitor, and Wanderlei getting nailed is living proof that guys are going to use testosterone whether or not they have a permission slip from an athletic commission. Getting the permission slips merely glorified the drug usage and built pressure on drug users to hit the anabolics rather than regulate an already-existing problem.

As for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they couldn’t possibly have managed to hit upon more dumb luck. They need all the positive press these days given what Anthony Marnell III has put them through lately with his marijuana permit issues.

Update (6:30 PM EST): Fox Sports 1 just aired back-to-back interviews with Dana White and Chael Sonnen. It was the worst kind of public relations imaginable and they just inflamed a bad situation into an even worse one.

Mike Hill was put in a no-win situation interviewing both White & Sonnen. White said that MMA doesn’t have a drug problem. He went on to say that guys aren’t using testosterone but they’re using drugs to get off of testosterone. He used the Robert Mathis “fertility” excuse as to why Chael Sonnen was using some of the drugs he currently is. White blamed Chael for not disclosing his current drug usage and also blamed the Nevada State Athletic Commission for halting testosterone permission slips and not allowing for a transition period for fighters to ween off of testosterone.

Nearly seven years ago, Josh Gross wrote a famous open letter to Dana White about steroids in MMA. “This is about the truth of your product, and by pretty obvious extension, the sport.”

After babysitter Dana’s interview, here came Chael Sonnen stating that he was not using performance enhancing drugs but the rules are the rules and that if he has to choose between fatherhood and his job, he’ll choose fatherhood. At the end of the interview, Mike Hill was apologizing to Sonnen.

The response on social media to both White & Sonnen has been brutal, especially towards White. He’s being exposed and mocked for being a liar and completely out of touch. Given how much UFC leans heavily on the social media audience to support their product, today was a “jumped the shark” kind of moment.

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

« Previous Entries Next Entries »