Archive for February, 2016

MMAJunkie’s Steven Marrocco obtained a full copy of Ken Shamrock’s Complaint filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation arguing that his loss against Royce Gracie at Bellator 149 should be overturned.

In short the complaint alleges that Gracie struck Shamrock with an illegal low blow which should have resulted in disqualification, or alternatively, that the referee should have given Shamrock time to recover in which case the result should become a no-contest.

Below is the complaint in full –

Screenshot Shamrock Complaint

Overturning a bout result is a seldom seen occurrence in combative sports.  Nevada, and jurisdictions modeled on their rules, only allow a bout result to be overturned in the following three circumstances –

1.  The Commission determines that there was collusion affecting the result of the contest or exhibition;

2.  The compilation of the scorecards of the judges discloses an error which shows that the decision was given to the wrong unarmed combatant; or

3.  As the result of an error in interpreting a provision of this chapter, the referee has rendered an incorrect decision.

New Jersey, and jurisdictions that model the State, allow bout results to be overturned where there is palpable error with the relevant legislation reading ““The Commissioner may in his discretion change a referee’s decision if in his judgment a palpable and self-evident error has been committed“”

The legislation in Texas, however, appears to be silent on if or when a referee decision can be overturned.

Section 61.41(a) of Texas’ Combative Sport Administrative Rules states that “Referees are responsible for enforcing the rules of the bouts and shall exercise immediate authority, direction and control over bouts.”.

Low blows are of course prohibited and this rule seemingly was not enforced.  That said the rules appear silent on if such an oversight allows the TDLR to overturn the bout decision.  Fouls are routinely missed given the fast pace of combative sports and despite this legislative silence it is difficult to imagine the TDLR not wanting to give deference to their official’s in ring call.  Unless the referee is prepared to fall on his sword and admit wrongdoing it is a safe bet the current results will stay intact.  As Morroco reports, the following procedure is now in motion –

According to TDLR spokesperson Susan Stanford, the complaint has been assigned to the TDLR’s enforcement investigator, who will determine whether a violation has occured. If a violation is found, the respondent, in this case referee Montalvo, has 20 days to make a plea of guilty or not guilty. In the case of a not-guilty plea, the matter goes to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, which recommends a course of action to the athletic commission. It’s then incumbent on the commission to accept, change or deny the proposal.

As first reported by MiddleEasy, it appears that the Colorado State Boxing Commission sanctioned a Mixed Martial Arts bout between a 68 year old and a 24 year old.

The bout, which was by no means competitive, can be viewed at the following link.

Colorado’s rules require that “disparity in age” be taken into account when reviewing a potential bout.  Specifically Rule 3.2 reads as follows

Screenshot Colorado Boxing Rules

 

If 68 vs 24 is not a bout cancelling ‘disparity in age’ it is difficult to imagine what is.

I have reached out to the Colorado State Boxing Commission for comments on the considerations taken into account when approving this bout and will update this post if/when they reply.

UG Blog Image Accompanying Article

When a grown man chooses to compete in MMA and is over-matched, under-trained and de-conditioned they have to take personal responsibility for their choices.  If they have to resort to rapid extreme weight cut practices to make their contracted weight they again have to accept accountability for harm that comes from their actions.

But personal responsibility is not a concept which only attaches to fighters.  Athletic Commissions have a personal responsibility to do their job adequately.  Athletic Commissions exist first and foremost for combatant safety.  This brings us to Texas and Dada5000.

Friday February 19, 2016 saw what was perhaps one of the most bizarre incidents in the modern era of regulated MMA.  At Bellator 149 Dhafir Harris (Dada5000) apparently had to cut 40 pounds to make the heavyweight limit for his bout with Kimbo Slice.

Harris made weight and was licenced to compete by the Texas Department of Licencing and Regulation, the government entity in charge of professional MMA in the Lone Star State.

The bout ended in memorable fashion with Harris suffering a knockout loss not via punches, but via sheer exhaustion.

It is reported that Harris suffered renal failure as a result of the bout and this was caused by dehydration.  Harris’ family released a statement advising as follows

The doctors have now informed us that Dada had accumulated extremely high levels of potassium in his blood which led to severe dehydration, fatigue and renal failure. The high potassium levels were likely caused by his 40lbs weight loss in preparation for the fight.

Now let’s circle back to the Texas Department of Licencing and Regulation and talk about personal responsibility.

The dangers associated with rapid extreme weight cutting are not new to commissions and in Texas, the jurisdiction where this incident arose,  the Government specifically turned their mind to this.  Section 61.105(f) of Texas’ Combative Sports Administrative Rules deals with evident dehydration at a pre-bout weigh in and reads as follows:

(f) If in an attempt to make weight, a contestant shows evidence of dehydration, having taken diuretics, or other drugs, or having used any other harsh modality, the department shall disqualify the contestant on the advice of the examining physician.

There are two key words in the above passage, “or” and “shall”.  By using the word “or” the rules of statutory interpretation make each one of the listed conditions trigger the consequence of disqualification.  If any of these conditions are met the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation “shall” disqualify the contestant.  Shall leaves no discretion, it is a mandatory consequence.  It may be a harsh result but the rule was presumably written with combatant safety in mind.

It is difficult to imagine how a man can lose 40 lbs by extreme weight cut tactics and not meet the above test for disqualification.  These rules exist for a reason.  MMA’s rapid weight cut injury list is far too long and growing at a consistently troubling pace.  It does not need another death on its hands.

California recently passed some of the most progressive weight cut reforms in the sport.  Other regulators would be wise to follow suit.  The regulation of the sport is only as strong as the weakest link with promoters being able to jurisdiction shop.  With Bellator’s president, Scott Coker, recently saying he would be wary of holding a title fight in California given the State’s reform, coupled with the above fiasco in Texas, the need for consistency could not be clearer to ensure promoters don’t have the option of putting profit over safety.

As first reported by MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi, the Association of Boxing Commissions MMA Rules and Regulations Committee has been refining proposed changes to the Unified Rules of MMA.

The proposed changes include redefining eye pokes to include a potential infraction before the eye poke occurs, to allow 12-6 elbows, heel kicks to the kidney and grabbing the clavicle and to redefine what constitutes a grounded opponent.

Raimondi reports as follows

(the rules)will be tested out Friday during the Victory Fighting Championship event in Urbandale, Iowa. VFC 48 will air live on UFC Fight Pass.

All of the rules being experimented with Friday night will be voted on by the MMA Rules and Regulations Committee in the coming months, according to committee chairman Sean Wheelock.

Below is a screenshot capturing the proposed rule changes .

screenshot ABC rules committee propsoed rule changes

Royce Gracie photo screenshot

(image via roycegracie.com)

Today MMA pioneers Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock will fight for a third time, the first bout between them since the 1990’s.

Much has evolved since the early days of the sport with the elimination of the Gi being all but universal.  But there’s no place like Texas, the governing jurisdiction for this bout, and their unique combative sports administrative rules still allow the Gi.

Specifically Rule 61.111(e) reads as follows –

Contestants may wear shorts, trunks, wrestling singlet, or traditional martial arts Gi, unless otherwise instructed by the Executive Director. Knee braces without metal are permissible. Contestants may not wear shoes of any kind during competition. A male contestant may not wear a shirt during competition.

But don’t expect a throwback to the 1990’s look for Gracie, despite Texas’ unique rules John Morgan reports that Gracie has apparently elected to not don the Gi.

John Morgan Tweet

Today Mark Pavelich, president of the Maximum Fighting Championship, one of MMA’s longest lasting organizations with roots back to 2001, formally announced the promotion is for sale.

MFC published the following press release –

The Maximum Fighting Championship, one of the eminently exciting brands of mixed martial arts to ever be at the forefront of the sport, is formally announcing it is for sale.
Mark Pavelich, Owner & President of the MFC, put more than 15 years into the business and grew it from a Canadian original on the MMA scene to a frontrunner in North America and ultimately into one of the most prominent shows in the world.
“The Maximum Fighting Championship was my passion and my labor of love. It was not just an MMA show. It was a professional sports organization,” said Pavelich.
“I truly enjoyed every second of creating, developing, and surging ahead with the MFC. But the time has now come to officially let someone else carry on the name and the brand that we made so popular and profitable. My new business, The Mark Consulting & Marketing, is thriving and exceeding our expectations, and therefore requires all the attention I can provide.”
The Maximum Fighting Championship held 50 shows during its reign – 41 in numerical order plus three with the ‘Unplugged’ label, and another six under the banner of Heat XC, its successful developmental system.
The MFC dominated the MMA scene in Canada particularly upon becoming the first Canadian show to have a live network television partnership with AXS TV (formerly HDNet) which is owned by entrepreneur extraordinaire Mark Cuban. Later, the MFC became the first Canadian show to land a broadcast deal with TSN, Canada’s undisputed leader in sports television, as well as have its entire library of events air on The Fight Network.
Under Pavelich’s guidance, the MFC mastered the art of sports marketing especially with a massive social media reach. The MFC reached over 50,000 followers on Twitter, and truly connected with hundreds of thousands of fight fans through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and E-blasts. The MFC also garnered huge mainstream media attention in local and national television, daily newspapers, international sports publications including Sports Illustrated, terrestrial radio, and Internet podcasts.
The Maximum Fighting Championship brought top-level attention and profile to its athletes. Every one of the MFC’s champions progressed to the UFC, and more than 50 of its fighters competed at the highest levels of the sport. Included in the MFC’s extensive list of notable athletes are Patrick Cote, Jason MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Sam Alvey, Paul Daley, Anthony Birchak, Ryan McGillivray, Tom Watson, Roger Hollett, Antonio McKee, Thales Leites, Emmanuel Newton, and Douglas Lima.
As well, the MFC featured an eclectic mix of crossover stars including onetime WWE champion Bobby Lashley, former reality show character Eric Pele, and football players Mike Maurer and Adam Braidwood.
Serious offers are welcomed for the Maximum Fighting Championship. The sale would include both the custom-made ring and cage, business contacts and documents, and collateral items.
Interested parties are invited to contact:
Mark Pavelich
O: (780) 758-1632
E: Mark@MaximumFighting.com

In this site’s ongoing efforts to track USADA anti-doping punishments under the UFC/USADA Anti-Doping Policy, Glieson Tibau has become the second athlete to be formally sanctioned by USADA for violating the policy.

Tibau tested positive for EPO in both an in competition and out of competition test.  Tibau admitted to using EPO and accepted a 2 year suspension by USADA.  His win from the in competition test was overturned to a loss and the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA, the regulatory body overseeing the bout, accepted USADA’s findings and are also honoring their suspension and overturning of the bout result.

USADA issued the following press release

USADA announced today that Janigleison Herculano Alves aka Gleison Tibau, of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, an athlete in the UFC, has received a 2-year sanction for an anti-doping policy violation.

Tibau, 32, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) following both out-of-competition and in-competition tests conducted on October 23, 2015 in Coconut Creek, Florida, and on November 7, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, respectively. EPO is a synthetic hormone used to stimulate the body’s production of red blood cells, thereby increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power, and is a prohibited substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Tibau’s period of ineligibility began on November 7, 2015, the date on which he last competed. In addition, Tibau has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to October 23, 2015, the date on which his first positive sample was collected in violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. As the regulatory body that sanctioned Mr. Tibau’s bout on November 7, 2015, the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) has recognized USADA’s sanction and, in accordance with the CABMMA Anti-Doping Policy, reversed the outcome of Mr. Tibau’s bout from a “win” to a “loss.”

USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. The anti-doping program run by USADA for UFC athletes includes education, science and research, testing, and results management. Official UFC Anti-Doping Program information and athlete resources are available at UFC.USADA.org.

In the latest prosecutions involving the commercial piracy of UFC Pay Per View events two recent judgements were released awarding damages of $4,000 and $3,000 respectively.

In the first case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. McKissick) the Defendants displayed UFC 164 on one television at their bar.  The commercial sub licencing fee was not paid and the Defendant advertised on their Facebook page that they would display the bout.  The Plaintiff sought $25,000 in statutory damages but the Court found the demand excessive and awarded a total of $4,000 in damages.  In reaching this figure District Judge Randa provided the following reasons:

The applicable rate for the fight was $1,100, and the defendants likely enjoyed an increase in food and beverage sales, especially since they advertised the fight. Moreover, Joe Hand represents to lawfully paying customers the locations of other authorized commercial establishments licensed to receive the programming. Thus, piracy causes damage to Joe Hand’s reputation and good will.

Joe Hand asks for $5,000 in statutory damages and $20,000 in enhanced damages. The Court agrees with the need for deterrence in this situation, but not to the extent that the defendant might be forced out of business, or at a minimum, take a severe financial hit that will undermine their otherwise legitimate business operation. Therefore, the Court will award $1,000 in statutory damages and $3,000 in enhanced damages. Joe Hand’s request to submit a separate fee affidavit is also granted.

In the second case, (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Ol’ River Hideaway LLC) the Defendants displayed UFC 171 in their bar after purchasing it from Dish Network but they paid the residential fee and not the more expensive $950 commercial sub licencing fee. The Court found this is no defence as the lawsuit involved a strict liability statute.

The Plaintiff sought statutory damages totaling $60,000 but the Court found this excessive awarding $3,000 instead.  In finding this figure reasonable Senior District Judge Ezra reasoned as follows –

The Court finds that a statutory damage award of $3,000 is appropriate in this case. Here, Plaintiff could have charged $950 for a venue comparable to Defendants’ bar. (Dkt. # 11-1 at 29 (stating that Defendants’ bar has a capacity of approximately 100 people); Dkt. # 11-1 at 38 (noting a typical charge of $950 for a venue seating according to the Fire Code Occupancy of 0-100 people)). An additional $2,050 is reasonable to deter future violations…

On this record, the Court finds that a willful damage violation is not warranted under the circumstances of this case. There is no evidence that Defendants repeatedly violated the law over an extended period of time. Nor is there evidence that they received substantial monetary gain by receiving Plaintiff’s satellite programming without its authorization. The statutory damage amount of $3000 is sufficient to deter any future violation of § 605 by Defendants.

In the latest UFC Pay Per View piracy prosecution reasons for judgement were released by the US District Court, ED California, awarding total damages of $3,600 against the Loyal Order of Moose for displaying UFC 157 at their Lodge without paying the commercial sub-licensing fee.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Roseville Lodge No 1293) the Defendants broadcast UFC 157 on five of seven televisions in their lodge without paying the commercial sub-licencing fee which would have cost $1,600.

The Plaintiff sought $25,000 in statutory damages but Chief District Judge England found the demand excessive and awarded $2,000 in statutory damages and a further $1,600 for the tort of conversion.

The Defendant argued in part that no damages should be awarded because they are a private charitable organization and the Plaintiff only had rights to charge the commercial sub licencing fee to commercial establishments.  In rejecting this argument Judge England reasoned as follows –

Defendant counters that Plaintiff did not have the right to distribute the Fight in Defendant’s establishment because (1) Plaintiff’s distribution rights extended only to commercial establishments and (2) Defendant is a “members-only non-profit private charitable organization.” Def.’s Mot., ECF No. 19 at 4. Defendant made the same argument in a prior motion, and the Court rejected that argument. See ECF No. 16 at 5. Defendant has not provided the Court with any argument undermining the Court’s reasoning in the previous Order or otherwise established a genuine issue of material fact as to the first element of Plaintiff’s conversion clam. Plaintiff’s property interest included the right to distribute to Defendant’s establishment.

The BC Athletic Commission overhauled their rules governing amateur kickboxing in late 2015 and has now published these revised rules at their website.

One of the biggest changes involves cleaning up the language with respect judging criteria with the new rules setting out the below easy to understand standards which are far clearer than those under the old rules.

17.1 Judging Criteria Priority Judges will score each round based on points awarded in the following priority:

a. Number of knockdowns

b. Cumulative damage inflicted on the opponent

c. Number of clean strikes scored

d. Ring control / aggressiveness

The criteria higher on the list will take precedent in scoring over criteria lower on the list

The full rules can be found here – BCAC Amateur Kickboxing Rules Nov 2015