Archive for June, 2016

UG Article Image(Image via the UG)

A study was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine with important findings with respect to the efficacy of self defense and situational awareness training and its impact on sexual assault rates.

In the study, titled “Efficacy of Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women” nearly 900 participants were recruited, half of whom were trained in a program focusing on situational awareness coupled with self defence tactics and the other half simply given a brochure with this information.  The women who received training experienced sexual assaults at almost half the rate of the control group.

Below is the full abstract of the study –

BACKGROUND

Young women attending university are at substantial risk for being sexually assaulted, primarily by male acquaintances, but effective strategies to reduce this risk remain elusive.

METHODS

We randomly assigned first-year female students at three universities in Canada to the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act Sexual Assault Resistance program (resistance group) or to a session providing access to brochures on sexual assault, as was common university practice (control group). The resistance program consists of four 3-hour units in which information is provided and skills are taught and practiced, with the goal of being able to assess risk from acquaintances, overcome emotional barriers in acknowledging danger, and engage in effective verbal and physical self-defense. The primary outcome was completed rape, as measured by the Sexual Experiences Survey–Short Form Victimization, during 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 451 women were assigned to the resistance group and 442 women to the control group. Of the women assigned to the resistance group, 91% attended at least three of the four units. The 1-year risk of completed rape was significantly lower in the resistance group than in the control group (5.2% vs. 9.8%; relative risk reduction, 46.3% [95% confidence interval, 6.8 to 69.1]; P=0.02). The 1-year risk of attempted rape was also significantly lower in the resistance group (3.4% vs. 9.3%, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

A rigorously designed and executed sexual assault resistance program was successful in decreasing the occurrence of rape, attempted rape, and other forms of victimization among first-year university women. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University of Windsor; SARE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01338428.)

Following California,  Ontario, KansasCABMMA and the Mohegan Department of Athletic Regulation, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, arguably the most influential combat sports regulator, is the latest to adopt early weigh ins.

Today’s NSAC agenda included the following item for possible action

10. Consideration of request by Zuffa, LLC to modify time of event weigh‐ins, for possible action.

MMAFighting.com’s Shaheen Al-Shatti reports that the commission has unanimously adopted the proposal.

Shaheen Al Shatti Tweet

Unlike some jurisdictions whose rules or regulations require weigh ins to be held 24 hours or less prior to a bout, Nevada’s Regulations regarding weigh ins are broad enough to give the NSAC the discretion for this move with NAC 467.496  reading as follows:

An unarmed combatant who has signed a bout agreement is subject to an order by the Commission to appear at any time to be:

     1.  Weighed; or

     2.  Examined by any physician whom the Commission may designate.

Not all jurisdictions have this flexibility and those that don’t should consider taking the steps needed to adopt this practice along with other weight cut reforms to ensure that MMA’s rapid extreme weight cut injury list stops its troubling growth.

Adding to this site’s archived case summaries of damage awards for combat sports piracy, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US District Court, D. Arizona, awarding damages for the commercial piracy of UFC 165.

In this week’s case (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Donaldson) the Defendant displayed UFC 165 at a commercial establishment without paying the commercial sub-licencing fees.  The Plaintiff brought a motion for summary judgement that the Defendant failed to respond to.  Joe Hand Promotions sought $30,000 in statutory and enhanced damages.  Despite the defense failing to respond to the motion the Court found the requested damages excessive and awarded total damages of $8,000.  In reaching this figure Senior District Judge Tielborg provided the following reasons:

Though there is no specific, established formula for calculating either statutory or enhanced damages under 47 U.S.C. § 605, courts within this district commonly consider “factors such as the maximum capacity of the commercial establishment, the total number of patrons present at the time of the unauthorized showing, and the amount defendant would have paid if it had purchased the rights to show the broadcast” in awarding statutory damages…In awarding enhanced damages, courts may “consider `prior infringements, substantial unlawful monetary gains, significant actual damages to the plaintiff, the defendant’s advertising of the broadcast, and the defendant’s charging a cover charge or premiums for food and drinks during the broadcast.

Here, Plaintiff’s investigator, Amanda Hidalgo, stated in her affidavit that Crossroads Bar & Grill has a maximum capacity of approximately 70 people and that 16 individuals were present within the Bar during her investigation. (Doc. 28-2 at 2-3). Plaintiff’s investigator also indicated that she saw the Program playing on four of the six televisions within the establishment. Id. Although Plaintiff’s investigator does not mention that the program was advertised in any manner or whether patrons of Crossroads Bar & Grill had to pay a cover charge and/or premiums, Defendants have admitted that they advertised the program and charged a cover charge through their failure to respond to the requests for admissions. (Doc. 28-3 at 8-36). Further, Plaintiff has submitted evidence indicating that it would have cost Defendants $850.00 to legally exhibit the Program within Crossroads Bar & Grill by purchasing the sublicense fee from Plaintiff. (Doc. 28-4 at 3, 36). However, there is no specific evidence of a premium being charged for food or drinks. Additionally, Plaintiff indicates in its Brief in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment that this is the third allegation of piracy it has made against Defendants, noting that two additional cases against Defendants are pending but have yet to be adjudicated. (Doc. 28-1 at 18).

Based on the evidence presented, the Court concludes that a statutory damages award pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) in the amount of $3,000 is just. Further, because the evidence indicates that Defendants’ violation was willful and for purposes of both commercial and personal gain, the Court also awards an enhanced damages award pursuant to § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii) in the amount of $5,000.

Although Ohio has recently gone against the grain by adopting same day weigh ins for pro-am MMA events, the regulatory standard is quickly becoming moving weigh ins further back from events to allow athletes greater time to rehydrate with a view to reducing rates of injury and death.

Sherdog reports that Brazil’s Athletic Commission (CABMMA) is the latest to adopt the change of early weigh ins first spearheaded by California, and followed by Ontario, Kansas, and the Mohegan Department of Athletic Regulation.  Nevada is also considering adopting this reform. Marcelo Alonso reports as follows for Sherdog:

Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission Director Cristiano Sampaio indicated that future Ultimate Fighting Championship events in Brazil will follow the new weigh-in protocols — fighters will weigh in 30 hours before the event — that were adopted for UFC 199 in Los Angles and UFC Fight Night “MacDonald vs. Thompson” in Ottawa, Ontario.

“Actually we’ve been doing that in Brazilian promotions since 2015,” Sampaio told Sherdog.com. “We did it in Shooto, Max Fight and 1st Round Combat. The test runs were really positive. Now, we’re in the final stage of setting up protocols and doing the same for UFC events in Brazil. I talked with the UFC right after the Curitiba event [on May 14], and our plan is to start using the new guidelines for the upcoming UFC event in Brasilia.

“We were really impressed by the excellent results we got at the Brazilian events,” he added. “The athletes are not gaining more weight by having more time to rehydrate. They actually get rehydrated in a correct manner — slowly and homogenously — so the fighters are in much better condition to compete the day of the fight; they’ve had more time to rest and feed themselves better. That doesn’t even mention the visual side of it for the media and fans. It’s definitely a great step for the sport.”

According to a Combate.com report, the next UFC event in Brazil is slated for Sept. 24 in Brasilia. The UFC has not yet confirmed the date.

 

Adding to this site’s archived case summaries of damages awarded for combat sports piracy, reasons for judgement were released recently by the US District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division, awarding $80,000 in damages and legal fees for the commercial piracy of a UFC Pay Per View program.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc v. Madres Restaurant LLC) the Defendant displayed UFC 149 in their restaurant without paying the commercial sub licencing fees to the Plaintiff.  The Defendant failed to respond to the lawsuit and default judgement was obtained.  In awarding $10,000 in statutory damages, $50,000 in enhanced damages and a further $20,000 in legal fees District Judge George Hanks provided the following reasons:

Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Final Default Judgment and Brief in Support(“Motion”) filed by Plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. (“Plaintiff”). Upon consideration of the Motion, the accompanying brief and evidence, the pleadings on file and the relevant authorities, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has established that it is an aggrieved party under the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605 and recognizes Plaintiff’s election to seek statutory damages. The Court also concludes that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties to this action; that Defendant 1) Madres Restaurant LLC, individually, and d/b/a Madres Mexican Restaurant a/k/a Madres Restaurant (“Defendant”) failed to answer or otherwise defend as provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure following proper service; that the allegations in Plaintiff’s Original Complaint are deemed admitted against Defendant; that Defendant exhibited the closed circuit, July 21, 2012 UFC 149: Urijah Faber v. Renan Barao Event, including undercard or preliminary bouts, without authorization from Plaintiff; and that Defendant’s actions were willful and for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain. Therefore, additional damages are warranted in this action.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:

1. That Judgment by default be entered in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant.

2. That Plaintiff recover statutory damages pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) from Defendant in the amount of $10,000.00.

3. That Plaintiff recover additional damages pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii) from Defendant in the amount of $50,000.00.

4. That Plaintiff recover attorneys’ fees from Defendant in the amount of $20,000.00; along with attorney’s fees for post-trial and appellate services.

5. That Plaintiff recover the following conditional awards of attorney’s fees from Defendant in the following circumstances:

a) Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) in the event a defendant a files a motion to vacate, Rule 60 motion, motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration or other post-judgment, pre-appeal motion that does not result in a reversal of the Judgment obtained in this action;

b) Twenty Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) in the event a defendant files an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that does not result in a reversal of the Judgment obtained in this action;

c) Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in the event a defendant files a motion for rehearing or reconsideration in the Court of Appeals that does not result in a reversal of the Judgment obtained in this action;

d) Twenty Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) for making and/or responding to a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court that does not result in a reversal of the Judgment obtained in this action;

e) Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00) for an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in the event a petition for certiorari review is granted and does not result in a reversal of the Judgment obtained in this action; and

f) For collection of the Judgment, Two Thousand Five Dollars ($2,500.00) each time Plaintiff obtains a writ of execution, writ of garnishment, writ of attachment or other post-judgment writ.

6. The Court also enjoins Defendant from ever intercepting or exhibiting an unauthorized program in violation of the Federal Communications Act.

7. The Court also awards Plaintiff court costs and post-judgment interest on the amounts awarded herein at an annual rate of .52% from the date of this Judgment until paid.

8. All writs and process for the enforcement and collection of this judgment may issue as necessary. In connection with any Writ of Execution in this case, the Court directs the United States Marshals Service to use any means or force reasonably necessary to satisfy this Judgment.

9. This Judgment is a final judgment.

Update January 11, 2017 BlugrassMMA reports that this policy has now been repealed and pros competing on pro-am cards can weigh in day before with a second weigh in on the day of the fight with restrictions on how much weight can be regained.

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When combat sports regulators turn their mind to solutions for the dangers associated with Rapid Extreme Weight Cutting, a knee jerk reaction is to require same day weigh ins with fighters competing at their weigh-in weight.

As the conversation matures with physicians and other stakeholders being brought to the table this idea is stopped dead in its tracks.  The reason being that fighters sometimes need to be protected from themselves.  Many fighters will resort to rapid extreme weight cut practices to make weight instead of being penalized for missing weight or outright being stopped from competing.  In other words they will make weight by profoundly dehydrating themselves.  To the extent that commissions allows these practices athletes need substantial time to properly re-hydrate prior to competing, making same day weigh ins (without a hydration requirement) a non-starter.

The Ohio Athletic Commission, unfortunately, appears to have gone against the grain and instituted same day weigh-ins.

BlueGrassMMA.com reports as follows:

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The Ohio Athletic Commission has instituted a new weigh-in policy, and it is sure to raise some eyebrows among the MMA community.

The commission sent out an email earlier today stating that pro and amateur fighters will now have to weigh-in for bouts on the same day of their event. We obtained a copy of the email below:

A new policy will be put in place starting July 1, 2016. ALL Mixed Martial Arts weigh-ins will be conducted on day of event. This includes ALL PRO AM events. The weigh-in can start as early as 10:00 AM the day of the event. This DOES NOT apply to an ALL PROFESSIONAL CARD.

We reached out to OAC executive director Bernie Profato for a statement:

There is still plenty of time for a fighter to re-hydrate and on the Pro AM cards there are usually only 2 to 3 Pro fights which affects 4 to 6 fighters.

If a fighter has an issue with this policy then they may being losing to much weight and not fighting in the correct weight class.

If fighters chose not to fight because of this then they may in fact be placing themselves in danger by cutting too much weight. We are not concerned what California does. We feel the earlier someone is permitted to weigh-in the more weight that can add prior to their bout. There is a weight cutting problem and if it can be corrected early in a fighter’s career it may put that fighter in a safer environment for the future.

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This is a controversial approach to the rapid weight cutting issue.  The above statement suggests that the commission still anticipates fighters to be dehydrated while making weight and the statement that there is “plenty of time for a fighter to re-hydrate” with same day weigh ins is not medically correct.

Dr Benjamin Tweet Ohio

While earlier weigh ins may encourage more extreme cuts they also give fighters more time to rehydrate.  To the extent a commission requires same day weigh ins it is essential regulators are vigilant to ensure all athletes are also hydrated while making weight as there is insufficient time for a body, and more importantly, a brain to rehydrate in one day.  Fighters competing dehydrated have an increased chance of musculo-skeletal injury, brain injury and death.

Commissions cannot turn a blind eye to the dangers of both extreme cuts but also athletes competing dehydrated.  Ohio’s solution seems to miss the second part of the equation.

Following news that the UFC have hired lobbyists to stifle the passage of the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act, the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association have stepped up their public stance in support of the legislation.

Today 48 individuals, along with MMAFA head Rob Maysey publicly signed their name to an op-ed letter supporting the legislation.

The full membership of the MMAFA is not publicly listed and perhaps most telling from this letter are the names involved with the Association including notable figures from the combat sports community such as Randy Couture, Mark Bocek, Sean Sherk, Mo Lawal, Maurice Smith, Matt Mitrione, Bill Goldberg, Ken Shamrock, Ben Askren, Josh Koscheck, Frank Shamrock and Wanderlei Silva.

The Bill is currently in two House of Representative Committees, namely the Committee of Education and the Workforce and the Committee of Energy and Commerce.

Notable MMAFA members such as Cung Le have been vocal on social media asking the public to contact representatives on these committees to voice support for the Bill.

The full letter can be found here –Op-Ed Letter Muhammad Ali Expansion Act Support Letter

Support Letter Page 1

Support Letter Page 2

suppot letter page 3

 

After the largely popular early weigh ins conducted in California at UFC  199 MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi, who has been perhaps the most consistent reporter addressing rapid extreme weight cut issues in the sport, advises that the same protocols will be used for UFC Fight Night 89 this week in Ottawa, Canada.

Raimondi reports as follows:

Fighters will be able to weigh-in at the fighter hotel Friday morning between 9 a.m. and noon, rather than the typical 4 p.m. weigh-in time, Sholler said. There will still be a “weigh-in” show at 5 p.m. where the official weights gathered earlier in the day will be announced.

The new policy was first attempted by the UFC at UFC 199 in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Fighters were able to weigh-in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the fighter hotel. The idea, developed by doctors, is to give the athletes more time to rehydrate after their weight cut. A byproduct is now fighters will be dehydrated for a shorter amount of time — and going without food and water for a shorter amount of time — rather than waiting hours to be transported to the venue and for the weigh-in show to begin.

Whenever regulators change practices I like to look behind to the legislative landscape permitting this to take place.  Fortunately for Ontario, no legal changes were needed for this concession to the UFC as the rules grant some leeway and discretion to the Commissioner for conducting weigh ins.

All that is required under Ontario’s Athletics Control Act Regulation 52, Sectio 16 is that weigh ins for professional MMA bouts take place “on the day before the day of the contest or exhibition” with the Commissioner having the power to “designate the time and place of the weighing in“.

Not all jurisdictions have this flexibility and those that don’t should consider taking the steps needed to adopt this practice along with other weight cut reforms to ensure that MMA’s rapid extreme weight cut injury list stops its troubling growth.

Reasons for judgement were released last week by Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen ordering UFC parent company, Zuffa LLC, to release more documents to the plaintiffs as part of their discovery obligations.

Judge Leen provided the following reasons setting out the parameters of the dispute and ordered as follows:

The parties disagree as to identity and number of Strikeforce Custodians whose documents should be reviewed. Plaintiffs requested that Defendant produce documents from 5 of the 12 Strikeforce Custodians: Scott Coker, Andrew Ebel, Mike Aframowitz, Richard Chou and Shannon Knapp. Zuffa agreed to accept two of Plaintiffs’ proposed custodians, Scott Coker and Richard Chou and proposed a third custodian, Bob Cook, but refused to include Ebel, Aframowitz and Knapp…

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

1. Subject to the provisions of this Order, Zuffa shall produce all responsive nonprivileged documents for:

a. each of the Ordered Custodians; and

b. five Strikeforce Custodians identified as Scott Coker, Andrew Ebel, Mike Aframowitz, Richard Chou and Shannon Knapp. (“FTC Ordered Set”).

2. After application of the winnowing and deduplication protocols, Zuffa shall apply the following search term protocols to the FTC Ordered Set:

a. the search terms used to create the Zuffa Review Set (“Zuffa’s Search Terms”);[8]and

b. Plaintiffs’ Revised Search Terms.[9] Except however, Zuffa shall not be required to apply the following search terms to the Strikeforce Custodians: Strikef%, “Explosion Entertainment”, Coker, Knapp, Chou, Ellner, crazybobcook@hotmail.com, SF, Kenn, Scott and Cook.

3. Consistent with prior orders and/or agreements of the parties in this action, Zuffa shall also review the following categories of documents within the FTC Ordered Set without the use of search terms:

a. emails with attachments from scanner@ufc.com;

b. emails and attachments if forwarded by a custodian to a Zuffa employee or from a Zuffa employee to a custodian that contains the phrase “Message From” in the subject line;

c. audio and video files; and

d. text messages, including those collected from devices and those sent via email servers.

If in the application of the terms of Paragraph 3 of this Order, unanticipated issue arise that create a demonstrable burden, Defendant will notify Plaintiffs and the parties will meet and confer in an effort to resolve such unanticipated issues. In the event that the parties cannot reach a resolution, they may submit the issue to the Court for resolution.

4. No later than May 27, 2016, the Parties shall meet and confer to evaluate whether additional methods, including but not limited to the development of search terms tailored to the Strikeforce Custodians’ documents, should to be applied to the Strikeforce Custodians’ documents in order to identify additional documents responsive to the subpoenas Plaintiffs issued pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45 in an attempt to obtain documents regarding Strikeforce. On June 3, 2016, the parties shall submit a Joint Status Report of no more than 10 pages, with no more than 5 pages allocated to each party, updating the Court regarding their findings and proposals.

5. Zuffa’s production of the FTC Ordered Set shall not be bound by the June 1, 2016 deadline for substantial completion of the production of documents. Zuffa shall substantially complete production of the FTC Ordered Set, as required, pursuant to the terms of this Order, within 90 days.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Ali Bob M Artwork

(Artwork by Bob Mueller)

As previously discussed, the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act was introduced in Congress in May, 2016.  The Bill, which will seek to extend the protections of the Professional Boxing Safety Act to other professional combat sports such as kickboxing and MMA, will disrupt the business model of many promoters such as the UFC, Glory and Bellator.

It appears that the UFC is drawing battle lines early in opposition to this legislation and have now hired lobbyists to help stifle the Bill.

OdwyerPR.com reports as follows:

Mixed martial arts promoter the Ultimate Fighting Championship has retained Washington, D.C. firm Farragut Partners for lobbying help on Capitol Hill in response to a House resolution aimed at regulating full-contact combat sports.

According to June lobbying registration documents, Las Vegas-based UFC, which is the world’s leading promoter of mixed martial arts and generated a record-breaking $600 million in 2015, has launched a lobbying effort to communicate with Congress its position on the Muhammad Ali Act, which is currently facing amendments.

The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act was created to enforce fair business practices and establish regulatory oversight to protect the welfare of boxing professionals. That federal law, which amended the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996, received widespread support from the boxing world when it was passed in 2000.

Currently, the Muhammad Ali Act does not apply to mixed martial arts. Some in the MMA world — including industry group The Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, among others — have argued that Congress should amend the Act to allow its protections to cover MMA, as the auspices it provides would benefit that fast-growing industry’s fighters. Others, however, have argued that the Muhammad Ali Act isn’t applicable to MMA; that the bill was created to offer protections for another sport whose rules and organizational structure are entirely different.