By Zach Arnold | August 21, 2014
Nothing has gone right in Andre Ward’s legal fight against promoter Dan Goossen. In fact, the legal battle waged by Ward’s camp against Goossen has backfired in the courts.
Andre Ward asked for arbitration with the California State Athletic Commission in June of 2013 to have his 2011 contract extension with promoter Dan Goossen declared invalid. Andy Foster upheld the contract extension as valid.
In November of 2013, Dan Goossen was notified around the time of the Andre Ward/Edwin Rodriguez HBO fight that Antonio Leonard had sued Goossen in Texas. Leonard is connected to Houston rap boss & Ward manager James Prince.
Leonard alleged that he and Goossen had an oral contract in which Leonard would be a co-promoter of Andre Ward. However, Goossen’s side claimed that Leonard wasn’t supposedly licensed as a promoter with the California State Athletic Commission. In addition, the parties involved in the Ward/Goossen agreement had to obtain approval from the California State Athletic Commission and Leonard allegedly was not a written party in that agreement. Based on this situation, Goossen filed for declaratory relief in Los Angeles Superior Court in order to get a judge to issue a ruling on the matter.
The lawsuit filed by Antonio Leonard in Texas was bumped from the state court system to the Federal court system.
Ward then filed a lawsuit against Goossen in Los Angeles Superior Court. In the December 2013 Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Ward’s attorney Alan Rader tried to use the “7-year rule” of contract length as a violation of California’s labor code. Juxtaposed to Antonio Leonard’s lawsuit in Texas alleging that he was Ward’s co-promoter, was Andre Ward suing Goossen and his own camp in LA Superior Court without naming Leonard as a defendant?
On Wednesday, a judge in LA Superior Court tossed out the 7-year rule lawsuit that Rader filed. The judge said that Ward lost two arbitration cases in front of the Athletic Commission.
A couple of weeks after Antonio Leonard filed his lawsuit in Texas alleging that he was a co-promoter of Andre Ward, Dan Goossen requested a second California arbitration hearing to resolve a dispute regarding an alleged breach of contract. Goossen asked for his promotional contract with Andre Ward to be extended in length. Goossen won this second arbitration hearing. Andy Foster & the deputy AG wrote that Ward’s attempt to declare the California State Athletic Commission as lacking in jurisdiction to oversee the arbitration hearings was nonsense because Ward didn’t protest CSAC’s jurisdiction in arbitration when Ward himself asked for arbitration in June of 2013.
Additionally, the second arbitration hearing produced a decision extending Ward’s contract with Goossen until November 8, 2016.
Losing various court & arbitration battles, Andre Ward is running out of options. Last week, Ward and company decided to file a lawsuit in the Northern California Federal court system against Dan Goossen. The court filing accuses Goossen of violating the Muhammad Ali Act. By the way, it’s the same court system where the trial involving state senator Leland Yee and Shrimp Boy is taking place. Yee is accused by the Feds of trying to extort individuals who wanted to keep the Athletic Commission alive.
Goossen is now punching back twice as hard against Ward by filing a $10 million dollar defamation suit against Ward & Ward’s lawyer James McCarroll. Dan’s attorney in that defamation case is Bert Fields. According to LA Superior Court records, the case was filed by a court clerk on Monday. The case number is BC554448.
Which brings us to the latest news regarding sabre rattling that we are hearing behind the scenes. A well-placed source contacted me on Wednesday night. The source stated that a person from Andre Ward’s camp wanted to talk to us. We are protecting this person’s name at the moment. The person from Ward’s camp claims that Ward is furious about what happened to him in the two arbitration decisions over the past year from Andy Foster and that Ward allegedly wants to pursue legal action against the California State Athletic Commission. The person claims that Ward is angry about Andy Foster extending the promotional agreement due to injury.
The opinion that I gave the source to relay to Ward’s camp? The same opinion I would say privately and publicly.
If Andre Ward sues the Department of Consumer Affairs & the California State Athletic Commission, he will lose and he will lose badly. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t grab the popcorn and enjoy the legal battle. However, I cannot honestly sit here and present a scenario where I think Ward would beat the Athletic Commission over the two arbitration decisions.
Thankfully, I don’t give legal advice. And thankfully I’m not the one trying to spend my own cash fighting lawyers like Farzad Tabatabai and Bert Fields in the courts. Good luck with that.
By Zach Arnold | August 19, 2014
The last 20 minutes of the video is where Dr. Lou Moret inflicts his damage
“Integrity is the only thing in business.” — Marcus Lemonis, The Profit (CNBC)
In his 30 years as a boxing referee in California, Dr. Lou Moret’s image of a cantankerous yet quietly skillful politician is the stuff of legend. He rarely talks, especially in public. Lou knows where the proverbial political skeletons are buried in both the Sacramento Legislature and Los Angeles County.
So, when Lou speaks, it’s an event. But nobody could have ever imagined a scenario where Dr. Moret would open up so candidly in public and let it all hang out. Uncensored. Unfiltered. Unstoppable.
At last week’s California State Athletic Commission meeting in Los Angeles, Lou Moret cut through the palaver on display about cutting the pay for officials and the illogical falsehood that somehow an officials pay scale is responsible for fraud being conspired by promoters & athletic inspectors at box offices. Not only did Dr. Lou destroy the new policy on officials taking a haircut over malice & incompetence, he ripped into Andy Foster over allegedly using unlicensed non-California officials for California events and for creating a climate of horrific boxing mismatches.
I’ve seen plenty of state athletic commission meetings go horribly wrong over the years but last week’s Los Angeles meeting may have truly been an all-time low for incompetence & tolerance of flagrant law breaking. Any fight industry insider or fan watching the meeting would be appalled by the logic on display. These people aren’t just living in another bubble. They’re living on another planet.
Last week, we wrote a detailed article laying out claims made at the August 11th CSAC meeting in Los Angeles in which Andy Foster admitted that box offices are being screwed up by athletic inspectors and that he’s tired of having to call promoters to pay more money for officials or calling promoters to return money that is owed to them.
The officials saw through the carnival barking. They know what’s going on. They’re sick and tired of it. However, no one could ever imagine a scenario where Lou Moret would be the man to call out Andy Foster, Jack Reiss, and John McCarthy over politics.
By Zach Arnold | August 18, 2014
— Team Rousey (@ArmbarNation) August 18, 2014
Guest article by Brandon Engel (on Twitter at @brandonengel2)
If Ronda Rousey leaves UFC in the near future, will she be remembered as a pioneer in the Mixed Martial Arts space?
Ronda Rousey is a polarizing — but nevertheless fascinating — figure in contemporary sports. Her fans & supporters laud her as a pioneer for all female athletes; an icon who will take the women’s MMA scene to the next level. Her skeptics question whether or not she’s an opportunist looking to get out of MMA as soon as possible in order to capitalize on her increasing celebrity status.
Sounds a lot like Gina Carano with more talent & aggression. Who knows how much longer she will stick around the MMA scene. What can be said is that she has received more honors, awards, and attention than any other female MMA fighter. She recently won an ESPY for “Best Female Athlete.” The only MMA fighter to win an ESPY, period. She was also nominated for “best fighter” but lost to Floyd Mayweather, which led to a rather regrettable comment of “I don’t know who he is.” It also led to a nonstop month-long stream of “Ronda could beat Floyd” palaver on ESPN & Fox Sports television.
The idea of Floyd hitting a woman? The recent domestic violence incidents with War Machine & Josh Grispi put a stop to the Floyd/Ronda debate, which should have never happened in the first place.
When comparing the opponents she faced in judo to the opponents she has faced so far in the women’s MMA scene, is Ronda Rousey truly a pioneer? Her critics say no, emphatically so. How does Rousey stack up to, say, Billie Jean King? Babe Dickinson Zaharias? Ronda’s in-ring dominance is undeniable. But to call her a pioneer?
By Zach Arnold | August 17, 2014
Jeff Thaler had a chance recently to interview Tim Kennedy for Fight Opinion Radio. And it was great. You can listen to our interview right here or by copying this text for the URL:
With a fight against Yoel Romero on September 27th in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Tim feels that one more win will give him a title shot… at either Middleweight against Chris Weidman or at Welterweight against Johny Hendricks. He believes he can make 170 pounds.
As for his fight strategy against Yoel Romero?
“Don’t get taken down? I don’t know. I would be surprised if he tries to take me down. How many times have you seen somebody take me down? If they do try, I think every dude that’s ever tried has lost.”
“I do not think that he will be able to be successfully take me down and keep me down.”
Tim revealed during our interview that he asked the Nevada State Athletic Commission for random drug testing. He’s not holding his breath when it comes to the issue of an increase in random drug testing in MMA.
By Zach Arnold | August 14, 2014
On Tuesday’s edition of Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio, host Mike Greenberg presented a list of five sports which he thinks could bring the most Return On Investment if they were a stock. One of the sports on that list is Mixed Martial Arts.
One of the sports not on his list? Major League Baseball.
Greenberg dished out a list of four suggestions things he would do as MLB Commissioner to help improve interest in baseball. One of those suggestions sounds like advice you would have heard from MMA promoters a few years ago on the issue of doping.
“Make LESS, not more of a big deal about PEDs.
“Baseball has the toughest testing program in all of sports. Stand on that. Stand on that and stop talking about it so much. We get it.
“[Dallas Cowboys player] Orlando Scandrick has been suspended four games [for using Molly].
“The point of it is, baseball… some of it through its own action, has contributed to the subject of PEDs being an overwhelming subject in baseball. We’ve got a testing policy. We’ve got a penalty policy. Let’s move on. Guy gets popped. He’s popped. He’s gone. Let’s go. Let’s not talk about it all the time. Let’s not make a big deal about it all the time. Let’s instruct our players and others not to make such a big deal out of it.
“When a guy gets suspended for 50 games and he comes back and signs a big contract somewhere else, let’s not have a lengthy national debate about it.
“We get it. We had a steroid problem. We’ve addressed it. We’ve addressed it more than all the other leagues have addressed it combined. Let’s get on with our day.”
I’m heavily conflicted about this advice.
Missing money: California officials hit with new pay cut because box offices aren’t calculated right
By Zach Arnold | August 14, 2014
With two lawsuits and a major Federal indictment alleging extortion of individuals trying to keep the California State Athletic Commission alive, you would think that Monday’s CSAC meeting in Los Angeles would have been a quiet affair. Instead, Executive Officer Andy Foster made a startling & troubling admission that has inflamed the core of officials who work as referees, timekeepers, judges, and doctors at Athletic Commission regulated combat sports events.
One of the major changes being proposed by Andy Foster is a change to the current tier system used to pay officials working shows. Roy Englebrecht, a famous California promoter, argued on Monday that the tier system is unfair.
“It’s always amazed me that no other pro sport pays their officials based on the hard work of the owners and the promoters and we’ve had it in year in and year out.”
The current six-tier pay scale for California official is as follows:
- $0-$10,000: Referees $200, Judges $150, Timekeepers $125
- $10,000-$20,000: Referees $275, Judges $200, Timekeepers $150
- $20,000-$30,000: Referees $300, Judges $225, Timekeepers $175
- $30,000-$75,000: Referees $450, Judges $325, Timekeepers $250
- $75,000-above: Referees $650, Judges $550, Timekeepers $275
- PPV events: Referees $1000, Judges $900, Timekeepers $500
The new proposed three-tier pay scale will look like this:
- $0-$49,999: Referees $350, Judges $300, Timekeepers $200, Doctors $550
- $50,000-$99,999: Referees $450, Judges $350, Timekeepers $250, Doctors $650
- $100,000-and-above: Referees $650, Judges $550, Timekeepers $300, Doctors $750
Additionally, changes are coming in the amount paid out to doctors working events. Also, boxing referees assigned to title fights will be working undercard bouts just like MMA referees do.
On the surface, these aren’t earth shattering changes that would provoke major outrage. However, the process in which this this new pay scale was formulated, who was behind it, and the reasons for why it is being implemented has set off the alarm bells.
By Zach Arnold | August 12, 2014
Last week’s logic: The brawl between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones at the MGM in Las Vegas will be used as a weapon against MMA by critics.
Last week’s worries: “Did the feud peak too soon before the fight on September 27th?”
This week’s worries: The fight got postponed until January 3rd, 2015.
So much for the UFC being able to pad their 2014 PPV numbers. Not so much now. Now the company is scrambling to issue refunds to those who bought tickets but those refunds can only come from where consumers bought their tickets from.
Jon Jones, September, and Nevada do not mix. Jones got injured and so his fight got pushed back. Meanwhile, Alexander Gustafsson is rightfully saying that since the fight got pushed back due to his injury that he should step back in the front of the line. That ain’t happening, but he has a legitimate gripe. And Daniel Cormier is stuck on the sidelines for months. He’s now knocking Jones for backing out of the 9/27 date due to injury because Cormier was going to fight on a busted knee.
What a different one minor injury makes. UFC 178. 1 million buys to 100,000.
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) August 12, 2014
It’s been a really lousy year for UFC in Las Vegas outside of the Ronda Rousey fight, which in the end reportedly drew 500,000 buys on PPV. Vitor Belfort already blew up their May event there and he’s one more failed drug test away from blowing up their December show. The UFC will now be running three shows in Las Vegas in the time span of two months. Something has to give. One of those shows isn’t going to draw. Which one will it be?
It’s not the end of the world but having fights get canceled so often can shake the trust of the fans. Make no mistake, however… issues regarding domestic violence involving active fighters is a much bigger problem than any postponed or canceled fight. Domestic violence is a societal problem and not an MMA-exclusive problem but MMA is an ultrahazardous business that cannot afford to have that kind of stigma and crime associated with it in any way. Unacceptable.
By Zach Arnold | August 11, 2014
It is very interesting to watch WWE take shots at UFC’s programming value by essentially declaring that the repeat value of a pro-wrestling match is much more significant than the repeat value of watching an old UFC or boxing fight. I don’t doubt the power of watching old wrestling classics. I think a lot more of today’s wrestlers should be involved in tape study.
However, WWE is underestimating somewhat the value of re-airing old MMA and boxing fights. The Tuesday Night Fights re-branding lives on two decade after the franchise was ended by USA Network. Watch a Regional Sports Network and you’re bound to see some old Tuesday Fight Nights material. The same with boxing matches from the last few years. The UFC has turned the art of re-airing old fights into a cottage industry with the shows they aired on Spike and now on Fox Sports 1. Their DVD business isn’t hot but DVD biz isn’t solid unless you’re like Netflix. Fight Pass has done steady numbers so far, although fee increases in the future will sap the subscriber numbers. For all of the power of WWE’s tape archives, their Network subscriber numbers have reached a ceiling of around 700,000. The only hope they have is through international growth.
There is one thing that is not in doubt, however, and that is the appeal of combat sports mega stars in the television and movie business. The Rock is what everyone, including Ronda Rousey, aspires to be. Dave Batista. And you can certainly add Steve Austin and Randy Couture to that list.
Discovery motions will name informants, witnesses in alleged extortion of California State Athletic Commission
By Zach Arnold | August 8, 2014
There was a media circus Thursday afternoon in San Francisco at the District Court with a flood of status conference hearings involving California state senator Leland Yee, Chinatown figure Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, Yee’s fundraising consultant Keith Jackson, and about 25 other individuals who were named in a superseding Federal indictment relating to all sorts of allegations from extortion to transferring ballistic missiles. Not exactly your garden variety criminal case.
Despite a gag order being enforced on both the prosecution & defense teams, there was quite a bit of procedural news that came out of Thursday’s court sessions. First, prosecutors are confident that many of the defendants will agree to plea deals and turn State’s evidence against the biggest fish in the case. The LA Times notes that there will be several trials involving the defendants rather than one large circus.
“Breyer concurred Thursday that the case must be split but postponed the decision until after all evidence is turned over and sensitive issues involving the wiretaps and identities of informants and agents are resolved.”
Let the discovery motions begin.
There will be a court hearing on Monday discussing wiretap evidence and it is expected that this evidence will be turned over to defense lawyers by the end of the month. The next court date after Monday’s meeting is expected to happen on November 12th, 2014.
There’s also a twist in the case: one of the FBI’s undercover agents was yanked from the Federal investigation due to allegations of $ misconduct. You don’t say.
Given Yee’s high-profile name and the interest in the case, there’s a pretty strong possibility that we will find out soon who exactly the Feds claim was targeted for extortion. Everyone wants to know who the Feds claim Yee & his fundraiser Keith Jackson were extorting in regards to an NFL team owner and individuals who wanted to keep the California State Athletic Commission alive.
Until this information is released via the courts, no proclamations can be made as to which individuals were allegedly extorted, who may be unindicted co-conspirators, and who may have been working for the Feds as informants. It would be reckless to make declarations right now when we don’t know all the facts of the case.
Given the fact that nobody on the outside-looking-in knows who was exactly targeted, there is only so much investigating you can do. However, the motive in the Federal indictment is very clear: money. We have been scouring through lobbyist disclosure records, political contribution records, and publicly-listed business relationships to try to figure out why Leland Yee & Keith Jackson allegedly thought they could score cash & connections from individuals who wanted to keep the Athletic Commission alive.
And this led us to carefully re-watch the video of a state senate committee meeting from April 29th, 2013 regarding SB309 — the bill that would extend the life of the Athletic Commission by two years. And given the claims made in the superseding Federal indictment, what we watched on video has raised some new & very intriguing questions.
By Zach Arnold | August 6, 2014
On July 29th, we wrote about a superseding Federal indictment in San Francisco naming disgraced California state senator Leland Yee, Yee’s fundraising consultant Keith Jackson, and famous Chinatown mobster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow. One of the allegations in that Federal indictment is that both Yee & Jackson tried to extort money out of multiple individuals who wanted to make sure that the California State Athletic Commission was not sunsetted. Sunsetting the Athletic Commission would have allowed the Department of Consumer Affairs to regulate combat sports in hiding with zero transparency. This isn’t something that DCA would be unhappy about.
The indictment claimed that individuals related to CSAC and “the Mixed Martial Arts industry” were targeted by Yee & Jackson for extortion. Naturally, the next question we asked was whether or not the UFC was the target of the supposed shakedown. After all, the Fertitta Empire contributes a lot of money to California politicians and to Sacramento lobbying firm Platinum Advisors LLC for legislative affairs regarding the Athletic Commission, internet gambling, and tribal casinos. There are monied interests at stake.
The indictment from a grand jury relating to the Athletic Commission is based on Individuals A & B being allegedly approached by both Leland Yee & Keith Jackson in early March of 2013. The indictment claims that Yee was directing Jackson to solicit money from A & B to Keith Jackson Consultancy and to also solicit campaign contributions for Yee’s Secretary of State bid. The indictment was specific in noting that the Athletic Commission regulates “Ultimate Fight Championships.” UFC was the only promoter directly named for CSAC regulation.
In any sort of criminal indictment involving allegations of extortion, follow the money. That’s what we initially tried to do despite the fact that the indictment alleges that the individuals being extorted were supposedly told to pay Jackson rather than make a direct contribution to Yee initially. In our initial search of California contribution records, we discovered that Station Casinos LLC donated $1,500 to Leland Yee’s Secretary of State campaign in December of 2013. The Federal indictment claims that Yee’s extortion campaign over CSAC was from March of 2013 through December of 2013. Nine months.
As we soon discovered (in our August 2nd article), Leland Yee was gifted tickets by the UFC for their April 20, 2013 San Jose Arena event. This event took place nine days before an April 29th, 2013 Sacramento state senate meeting to discuss SB309, the Athletic Commission extension bill. The Federal indictment claims that Yee and Jackson were telling individuals A & B that he wasn’t going to vote for SB309 unless Jackson was supposedly paid for “heavy lifting.” At that April 29th, 2013 senate meeting, Yee wasn’t singing the praises of the Athletic Commission… but he was curiously singing the praises of Andy Foster.
After seeing this display of support, we decided to re-read the superseding Federal indictment one more time to make sure that we didn’t miss anything. It turns out that reading the indictment again has given us a new… perspective on how many people may have been supposedly targeted.
By Zach Arnold | August 4, 2014
Question: Why are they threatening this now when his booking for Metamoris was known when the meeting commenced to give him a two year ban?
Submission grappling is not regulated by athletic commissions. Dave Meltzer recently suggested that it should. But it currently is not. Any attempt by an athletic commission to stop a fighter from an activity that is not regulated by an athletic commission is begging for a lawsuit.
This is the classic case of an athletic commission with major image problems on the drug front now trying to bluff and over-step their bounds against a licensee. Even if Metamoris was an activity regulated by the California State Athletic Commission, it’s not MMA or boxing. The California State Athletic Commission collects money from WWE events but doesn’t actually regulate pro-wrestling. By Nevada’s standards, does this mean that if Sonnen went into WWE that he is somehow violating his two year ban in Nevada? What’s the difference between submission grappling and professional wrestling?
Basically what we have here is a threat from Nevada that whatever they do to Sonnen will be accepted by other state athletic commissions because somehow Nevada is the gold standard.
Timing is everything in life. Two days after the Brandon Rios/Diego Chaves debacle at the Cosmopolitan, we had a brawl with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. And Kirk Hendrick gave a stern statement.
Saw a great point. @JonnyBones just took stitches for a bad cut. What if that thing opened up? These guys are playing with fire.
— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) August 4, 2014
Exit remark: If Sonnen has to go to court in Nevada over any fines by the Athletic Commission, guess who’s going tor represent NSAC? The Attorney General’s office, which is next door to the Athletic Commission. Guess who is one of the lawyers? Keith Kizer.
By Zach Arnold | August 4, 2014
Event: UFC Fight Night on Saturday, August 16th in Bangor, Maine at Cross Insurance Center
TV: Fox Sports 1
- Middleweights: Tom Watson vs. Sam Alvey
- Welterweights: Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban
- Ladies 135 pounds: Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy
- Flyweights: Jussier Formiga vs. Zach Makovsky
- Featherweights: Thiago Tavares vs. Robbie Peralta
- Heavyweights: Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May
- Lightweights: Fabricio Camoes vs. Gray Maynard
- Middleweight: Tim Boetsch vs. Brad Tavares
- Lightweights: Ross Pearson vs. Abel Trujillo
- Light Heavyweights: Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Event: UFC Fight Night on Saturday, August 23rd at the Macao Venetian (Cotai Arena)
- Bantamweights: Yao Zhikui vs. Royston Wee
- Bantamweights: Elizabeth Phillips vs. Milana Dudieva
- Welterweights: Colby Covington vs. Wang Anying
- Bantamweights: Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki
- Welterweights: Sheldon Westcott vs. Alberto Mina
- Welterweights: Danny Mitchell vs. Wang Sai
- Featherweights: Jianping Yang vs. Ning Guangyou
- Lightweights: Brendan O’Reilly vs. Zhang Lipeng
- Welterweights: Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim
- Middleweights: Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le
Event: UFC Fight Night on Saturday, August 23rd in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the BOK Center
TV: Fox Sports 1
- Featherweights: Aaron Phillips vs. Matt Hobar
- Lightweights: Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Martin
- Lightweights: James Vick vs. Valmir Lazaro
- Flyweights: Tim Elliott vs. Wilson Reis
- Welterweights: Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia
- Featherweights: Tom Niinimaki vs. Chas Skelly
- Featherweights: Max Holloway vs. Mirsad Bektic
- Welterweights: Jordan Mein vs. TBA
- Welterweights: Demian Maia vs. Mike Pyle
- Middleweights: Francis Carmont vs. Thales Leites
- Lightweights: Ben Henderson vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Event: UFC 177 on Saturday, August 30th in Sacramento at Arco Arena
TV: Fox Sports 1/PPV
- Flyweights: Scott Jorgensen vs. Henry Cejudo
- Heavyweights: Ruan Potts vs. Anthony Hamilton
- Lightweights: Yancy Medeiros vs. Justin Edwards
- Heavyweights: Ruslan Magomedov vs. Richard Odoms
- Middleweights: Lorenz Larkin vs. Derek Brunson
- Lightweights: Ramsey Nijem vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
- Lightweights: Danny Castillo vs. Tony Ferguson
- Ladies 135 pounds: Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler
- UFC Flyweight title match: Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso
- UFC Bantamweight title match: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao
An audio guide to the week that was the Federal indictment alleging extortion of California State Athletic Commission
By Zach Arnold | August 3, 2014
We wanted to create an audio summary for our readers to clear up any confusion about what last week’s Federal indictment (read it on the LA Times web site) involving disgraced California state senator Leland Yee means for fans who care about the regulation of combat sports.
The revised indictment in San Francisco alleges that Yee and his fundraising consultant Keith Jackson extorted individuals who were interested in keeping the California State Athletic Commission from being sunsetted into hiding under the auspices of the Department of Consumer Affairs. And the politicians being accused of extortion supposedly had ties to Chinatown mobsters.
It sounds like a remix of the movie Big Trouble in Little China. We wrote three articles about the indictment.
- July 29th, 2014: Feds allege Chinatown mob-linked pol extorted California State Athletic Commission for $
- July 30th, 2014: Was UFC the target of a shakedown by alleged Chinatown mob-linked pol over CSAC?
- August 2nd, 2014: Indicted senator Leland Yee was gifted tickets by UFC during time of alleged extortion of CSAC
Given the serious nature of the indictment, Jeff Thaler (@whaledog on Twitter) & I decided to do a Fight Opinion Radio show to break down the legalese. Jeff’s a lawyer and combat sports guru, which makes him the perfect person to explain in layman’s terms what the hell is going on.
Listen to our audio summary on the Federal indictment regarding the alleged extortion of the California State Athletic Commission. 37 minutes long, 17 MB file size. The direct download link is: http://www.fightopinion.com/podcasts/foradio-8-01-2014.mp3
Who are the key players in the Federal indictment? What would have happened if Leland Yee, running for Secretary of State in California, had not been arrested?
There will be substantial media interest in the revised indictment against Yee given that the indictment alleges a pay-for-play scenario with an anonymous NFL team owner to make sure that football players couldn’t apply for worker’s compensation in California. Because of this strong sports tie-in, we’re relatively confident that information regarding the Athletic Commission will surface.
The indictment reads like a mafia movie plot. What’s most interesting is that the indictment names all sorts of Undercover agents as informants but on the allegations regarding CSAC, we have Individuals A & B. How did those individuals end up being discovered by the Feds? Did they volunteer to talk to the Feds or did the Feds catch them during the alleged extortion process with wiretaps? Furthermore, if money allegedly changed hands between the Individuals and Yee/Jackson, whose money was used? Was it state money?
What happens if Yee & Jackson agree to a plea deal with the Feds? Will we find out who Individuals A & B are? What about a Pitchess motion for discovery or Brady disclosures?
What’s next for Andy Foster? The Florida Boxing Commission job was quietly filled behind the scenes by top DBPR attorney Paul Waters, replacing state auditor Cynthia Hefren. With no real major commission jobs open, ongoing DCA audits, and a Federal probe ongoing, how much stress & pressure is there on Andy to keep doing his job?
There are so many unanswered questions right now and this is the time to use some elbow grease to do some legitimate investigative work. I’m fairly confident that if several combat sports writers starting digging into this story that there is real news to be discovered for public consumption.
You can receive notifications about our latest audio shows any time by subscribing to our Feedburner link in your favorite podcasting program. We’ve had a really good streak of shows since returning from a five year hiatus. Lots of thought-provoking conversation to check out.