NSAC budget cuts eliminate out-of-competition drug testing; Kizer seeks alternatives
A budget crunch has left the Nevada State Athletic Commission unable to employ one of the most significant deterrents to the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional competition.
Two years after the influential regulatory body announced it would conduct out-of-competition drug testing, legislators completely withdrew funding for the program.
The NSAC will soon decide whether to press legislators on a proposal to reinstate testing, possibly by diverting funds within the commission's budget.
"What we're trying to do is find alternative sources of revenue," NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The NSAC began out-of-competition in the summer of 2008 after successfully petitioning the legislature to set aside money from the state's general fund. The commission received $18,000 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009) and conducted between 40 and 50 tests, according to Kizer.
UFC 84 main-event fighters B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk, as well as co-main event fighters Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz, were among the first to be tested in the new program. Machida and Rashad Evans were the last MMA headliners to be tested out of competition at UFC 98. None of the out-of-competition tests came back positive for performance enhancers or drugs of abuse.
With state governments around the country tightening their belts amid a widening recession, the NSAC's budget for out-of-competition testing was reduced to $12,000 in fiscal year 2009-2010. Regulators then asked the commission to give back all of the money before the year's end, Kizer said.
Alan Jouban vs. Jamie Yager set for Tachi Palace Fights 9 on May 6
After a stunning 15-second knockout in his professional debut over prospect Kyle Griffin, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu disciple Alan Jouban (1-0) now meets "The Ultimate Fighter 11" cast member Jamie Yager (3-2) in a welterweight contest.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from Tachi Palace Fights officials that Jouban and Yager have agreed to meet at Tachi Palace Fights 9.
Featuring a lightweight matchup between UFC veterans Fabricio Camoes and Efrain Escudero, Tachi Palace Fights 9 takes place May 6 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Jake Doerr in the works for M-1 Challenge on Showtime
Two-time UFC veteran Vinny Magalhaes has already been announced as a participant at March's "M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa," and now his opponent is all but official.
MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to the organization that Magalhaes and undefeated Wisconsin native Jake Doerr have verbally agreed to meet in the evening's co-main event, though bout agreements have yet to be finalized.
Shark Fights Partners with HDNet, Debuts March 11
Texas-based MMA promotion Shark Fights has signed a broadcast deal with HDNet and will make its network debut on March 11. The network confirmed rumors of the HDNet-Shark Fights partnership via Twitter on Friday. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
Alexander-Irvin Rematch Ticketed for Shark Fights 14
Their first encounter lasted all of eight seconds.
UFC exiles Houston Alexander and James Irvin will meet for a second time in a featured light heavyweight tilt at Shark Fights 14 on March 11 at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. Alexander on Thursday announced the rematch via Twitter. Irvin knocked out “The Assassin” with a Superman punch at UFC Fight Night 13 in April 2008.
Alexander (Pictured), who turns 39 next month, will carry a two-fight winning streak into the rematch. He last appeared at Shark Fights 13 in September, when he stopped Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on second-round punches at the Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas. An East St. Louis, Ill., native, Alexander burst on the scene in 2007 with consecutive first-round finishes over Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Keith Jardine and American Top Team’s Alessio Sakara. However, he lost each of his next four UFC fights and was cut by the promotion following his unanimous decision defeat to Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale in December 2009.
URCC Promoter Alvin Aguilar Chokes Out Fighter for Attacking Referee
The URCC, the Philippines' top MMA promotion, hosted URCC Baguio 3: "Invasion" this past weekend. It had a good line-up of fights, but as you can see pictured above, most of the attention was stolen by a scuffle.
Razi Jabbari was already banned from competing in the Rizal Sports Complex in Manila for getting in a fight against a sports official a while back. The Iranian was still given another chance to put that all in the past, as the URCC gave him a shot against undefeated lightweight prospect, Honorio Banario of Team Lakay Wushu. Things didn't go his way though, as the Wushu expert had him mounted early, making him tap to strikes a minute and a half into their bout. The referee, Joey Lapiten, stopped the bout, and when he asked the fighters to shake hands after the bout, Jabbari lived up to his reputation and started cursing at him. Things escalated from there. Jabarri assaulted the referee, then a few moments later, Alvin Aguilar, the URCC founder and promoter who also happens to be a BJJ black belt, stepped into the ring and choked out Jabbari to end all the chaos.
Efrain Escudero vs. Fabricio Camoes slotted for Tachi Palace Fights 9 in May
"The Ultimate Fighter 8" winner Efrain Escudero looks for his third consecutive post-UFC win when he meets fellow UFC vet Fabricio Camoes at May's Tachi Palace Fights 9 event.
Soon after Camoes defeated Steve Lopez at this past weekend's Tachi Palace Fights 8 event, Escudero left the broadcast booth and entered the cage.
Officials then announced the Escudero vs. Camoes bout.
Alleged Theft Forces Cancellation of Immortal MMA Event in Hawaii
WAHIAWA, Hawaii -- Originally supposed to host a night a mixed martial arts fights, the Martinez Gym at Schofield Army Barracks was instead the scene of an alleged crime.
The event, which was being promoted by Immortal MMA and was to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jason Guida and Tasi Edwards, was canceled on Saturday just moments before it was set to begin.
“I was notified that the purse money for the fighters had been stolen out of one of the inspector’s vehicles, so, obviously, we had to take the legal route and get the Military Police and [Honolulu Police Department] and all that involved,” said Jeremy Varney, the event’s promoter. “I brought all the fighters and their managers into the room and explained to them the situation; the state explained to them the situation. And then we gave them the option [that] if they wanted to fight, they could fight and I would pay them at a later date, or they could just walk if they wanted to.
“Ultimately, I made the decision [to cancel the event] because there were only six fighters that agreed to fight out of nine bouts,” he added. “The rest of them were just, you know, it was more ‘I want to get paid’ than it was a fight for the troops, which is completely understandable. You know, [the fighters] train their asses off and they want to get paid and I completely understand. That’s business.”
MMA Fighter passes away from cancer
Wrestling has lost one of their own. Jose Cortez, 25, father, son, brother and friend passed away on January 29, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Jose, an accomplished wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter, died last weekend after a two-year battle with germ cell cancer. His six-year old daughter, mother and father, two brothers, a sister and countless friends and supporters survive him.
Jose was a graduate of Maryvale High School in Phoenix where he placed 4th in the state in 2002, 3rd in 2003 and won the state championship during his senior year in 2004. In addition, he was a three-time All American in freestyle and Greco-Roman and an Honorable Mention All-American in Wrestling USA Magazine.
After high school, Jose began a successful career in mixed martial arts. He won his last fight in November 2008 by unanimous decision over Drew Ficket that yielded a pro record of 6-1. Shortly after defeating the decorated UFC veteran, Jose began his fight against germ cell cancer.
Angel and Henry Cejudo, both graduates of Maryvale High School, were close friends with Jose Cortez. Jose and Angel shared a mat while in high school; the two families have been close for many years. The Cejudos are among the many friends and teammates who will miss Jose Cortez, cherish his memory and carry him in their hearts forever.
For more information on Jose Cortez and how to donate to his family, please visit www.fightyourwayout.org
Saunders Signs with Bellator
Former UFC welterweight competitor Ben Saunders has signed with Bellator Fighting Championships and will make his debut with the promotion during its upcoming fourth season.
“Ben Saunders is an exciting, powerful welterweight with explosive knockout power. Ben is dangerous and always shows up to fight. I’m excited to see his first fight under the Bellator banner on MTV2 in April.” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney in an official press release.
Saunders enters the circular cage of Bellator coming off a win in a local Florida promotion in November. Prior to that victory, however, “Killa B” had lost three of four fights in the Octagon before being released by the UFC.
James Irvin Talks Pills, Curses, the UFC, and Getting Robbed by Ken Shamrock
By CagePotato contributor Jason Moles
Coming off a loss to Jorge Oliveira in December, James Irvin returned to action last weekend at Gladiator Challenge: Young Guns 4 — and he would have gotten his much-needed rebound victory, if it wasn't for the meddling of celebrity referee Ken Shamrock. (Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.) Freak occurrences have plagued Irvin's career from the beginning, and that night was no different. "The Sandman" recently gave us on opportunity to chat with him about his anti-climactic match against Mike Crisman, his battle with painkiller addiction, and his plan to make another run in the UFC.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us at CagePotato. Tell me a little about the physical toll your body has taken after fighting three times in the past four months.
JAMES IRVIN: It's been good for me. It's tough, but I've been doing this for ten years. In shape, out of shape, and back into shape again. Kinda like what Chris Leben said — it keeps me sharp. I fight again on February 20th and have two fights in March, one in May. I train best when it's intense and there's nothing more intense than training for a fight.
Judge Orders Emelianenko, M-1 Global, Affliction to Resolve Disputes
Amid a recent flurry of discovery disputes between courtroom adversaries Fedor Emelianenko/M-1 Global (plaintiffs) and Affliction Entertainment (defendant), a federal magistrate judge on Monday issued an order staying discovery between the parties, ordering them to meet and confer “day to day until done” to resolve their disputes.
The litigation commenced back in October 2009, when Emelianenko and M-1 Global, a promotional/management group with which the fighter is closely aligned, filed suit to recover damages they allegedly suffered after Affliction cancelled the co-promoted “Trilogy” event, scheduled to take place on Aug. 1, 2009. “The Last Emperor” and M-1 claim that Affliction Entertainment breached the “Fight Agreement” when it refused to stage and promote a third bout for Emelianenko after his advertised opponent, Josh Barnett, was refused a license in California. Two weeks before the Affliction event, the California State Athletic Commission denied Barnett’s license application, reporting the fighter tested positive for steroids. According to M-1 and Emelianenko, Affliction did not undertake “all reasonable efforts” to find a fighter to replace Barnett. They contend that Affliction lost interest in promoting this third bout partly because it was trying to repair its soured relationship with the UFC.
Former TapouT employee sues for being forced to watch UFC
Michelle Thomas, a 32-year-old ometime model who worked for the mixed-martial-arts clothing and lifestyle company TapouT says in a lawsuit that her bosses actually made her watch television on her own time..
... Thomas claims that the company required workers to watch its eponymous reality show on Versus as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts on Pay Per View on their own time -- and on their own dime.
The woman from San Pedro worked at the company for eight months in sales and filed her wrongful termination suit in 2008, but it's just now being heard before a jury this week.
Bellator signs veteran middleweight Joe Riggs
Bellator Fighting Championships' recent signing spree has netted veteran fighter Joe Riggs (34-12 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Officials today announced they've signed the former WEC champion and UFC/Strikeforce veteran to its middleweight division.
Riggs enters the organization with six wins in his past seven fights, which have taken place between 170 and 185 pounds.
Officials did not announce if the 28-year-old fighter will be part of an expected season-four middleweight tournament, which kicks off in March on MTV2.
Former UFC champ Jens Pulver returns to action in March in Chicago
Twelve-year MMA veteran Jens Pulver (22-14-1) will soldier on.
The upstart Chicago Cagefighting Championship announced Pulver will serve in the main event of a March 5 fight card in suburban Chicago at The Odeum in Villa Park, Illinois.
Pulver will face an opponent yet to be named.
A former UFC lightweight champion and eight-time veteran of the world's largest MMA promotion, Pulver is currently mired in a six-fight losing streak, and five of the results have come in the first round.
Matt Lindland: Suspension will toughen up UFC's Chael Sonnen
Matt Lindland, Chael Sonnen's coach of 15 years, was one of dozens of people trying to reach the UFC middleweight contender this past Tuesday, and like most of them, he was unsuccessful.
When news broke that Sonnen had been suspended by the UFC not long after his guilty plea to federal charges of money laundering, he rang Sonnen's cell phone and got voicemail.
"He honestly did not have the energy to push 'dial,'" Lindland on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I've been there before. You feel like, 'Just let me sit here for a while and figure out what my next move is going to be.'"
Sonnen eventually answered, though, and on Wednesday, the two met and talked about that next move.
One Side Claims Fix, Other Cites Confusion in Controversial Decision
As Hermes Franca waited for the decision of his fight against Ferrid Kheder to be read inside the cage in a Cartago, Costa Rica high school gym, the UFC veteran thought his losing streak was history. Instead, to him, it was the beginning of something even worse than defeat.
If it was a simple loss, Franca could have handled it, but what happened next could not be so easily settled in his mind. According to some, Franca was simply the victim of a bad decision. But according to others, he was robbed, the victim of a fix.
"This is like a bad joke," Franca told MMA Fighting. "It's unbelievable. I won the fight. The judges gave it to me. I got my hand raised. And then they said I didn't win."
"What happened was confusion," said Jean-Francois Billon, who helped organize the show. "It's a big story for a little thing. Nobody had bad intentions. Nobody was cheating."
What started out as a fight in the cage became a fight for the truth.