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Tag: Keith Kizer

Vitor Belfort Plans to Roll the Dice, Will Apply for a TRT Exemption in Nevada


(Fedor wore it better. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

When UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta announced that he wanted to book Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas, it suggested that Belfort’s well-documented usage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might be in jeopardy.

Though the Phenom had been allowed to undergo hormone therapy while competing in Brazil throughout 2013 due to the looser standards in his home country, his 2006 steroid bust in Nevada led former NSAC executive director Keith Kizer to claim that Belfort would be unlikely to secure a TRT exemption for any future fight in Vegas. Then, Keith Kizer suddenly left his post earlier this month, opening the door for a replacement who might be, shall we say, more amenable to the UFC’s needs.

Which leads into today’s news that Belfort will indeed be applying for a therapeutic usage exemption for TRT in Nevada when his title fight against Weidman is officially booked. Ariel Helwani passed along the news on last night’s installment of UFC Tonight:

He said he’s on TRT and that his doctors said he has to be on it. This has been prescribed and he’s planning on applying to be on a TUE for the next fight.”

Well, bullshit. For the sake of argument, let’s take Belfort at his word — he needs to load up on testosterone in order to function normally. Is that a valid reason for any athletic commission to grant him an exemption? You’re gonna let a guy use steroids because he’s too sick to compete without them? Honestly, that sounds like the worst reason to give a professional fighter a TUE. But hey, we all know that in Brazil, doctors are essentially Gods and their advice must be followed at all costs, no matter how ridiculous.

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A Farewell to Keith Kizer: Three Brief Legacies From the NSAC Boss’s Controversial Reign


(Kizer consults with referee Mario Yamasaki following Maximo Blanco’s disqualification at the TUF 18 Finale. / Photo via Getty)

By Jon Mariani

Keith Kizer, the longtime Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, resigned from his position yesterday to return to the Nevada Attorney General’s office. Whether his exit was spurred by political pressure or if it was “just a good time for [him] to move on,” Kizer’s decision has already been met with a very positive reaction from many MMA fans and industry figures. At this point I am withholding judgement until we hear who Kizer’s replacement is; better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

At the risk of lapsing into conspiracy-mode, the timing of resignation is undeniably suspicious. The UFC just announced that Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman was going to take place in Las Vegas, and Kizer was previously on record saying “I don’t see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us.” However, that stance had recently changed. It’s hard to accept that this was Kizer’s decision alone.

In honor of his resignation, I thought it would be a good time to look back a few moments from Keith Kizer’s career that will define his legacy…

In the defense of CJ Ross

After Nevada boxing judge CJ Ross scored Mayweather vs. Canelo as 114-114 draw in June 2012, Kizer had this to say about the situation:

“Just because a judge’s scorecard ends up even, doesn’t mean the judge necessarily thought the fight as a whole was even,” Kizer said. “It could be that a judge has six rounds for each fighter, but the six rounds she gave fighter A, she gave them to him easily and the six rounds she gave fighter B, they were really close rounds. That’s pretty much how it was last night.”

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George St. Pierre’s Anti-Doping Crusade Falls Apart, And Makes Him Look Bad in the Process


(“Lift these ten-pound dumbbells for just 20 minutes a day, and all your friends will think you’re on steroids — guaranteed.” / Props: GSP RUSHFIT)

In July, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre called out his UFC 167 opponent Johny Hendricks to undergo random, unannounced drug-testing with him through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), during the eight weeks before their fight. Though Hendricks’s initial response was “Heck ya!“, we didn’t hear a peep about GSP’s new anti-doping campaign/publicity stunt — until reports came out last week that Hendricks still hadn’t filed his paperwork.

According to a new report on MMAJunkie, St. Pierre will indeed go forward with enhanced drug testing conducted by VADA and will be tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, while Hendricks will only participate in the NSAC’s testing. Hendricks’s apparent refusal to cooperate with the VADA program raised our suspicions at first, but it turns out there’s another side to the story, and it’s one that paints the champ in an unflattering light.

St. Pierre and Hendricks’s gentlemen’s agreement about additional drug-testing began to fall apart when Hendricks’s manager Ted Ehrhardt discovered that VADA would be paying for GSP’s testing, contradicting St. Pierre’s initial claim that he would be paying for the testing of both fighters out of his own pocket. (“Hendricks’ camp balked at the idea of their opponent partnering with a drug testing body that was supposed to be independent, and they favored the WADA program,” writes Junkie.)

A conference call was arranged to sort it out, and that’s when things got complicated:

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Nevada Athletic Commission Triples the Testing Threshold for Marijuana Metabolites


(Looks like somebody’s already celebrating. / Video via NickDiaz209, obviously.)

Last spring former Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director and current UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner publicly criticized the way that states like Nevada tested for Marijuana metabolites, and expressed hope that it would be changed.

Fighters competing while high should not be tolerated, the idea seemed to be, but punishing guys like Pat Healy for smoking weeks before fighting seemed harsh and silly. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently upped the metabolite level that they tested for, and the tide appears to have fully turned now as the NSAC has “officially raised the testing threshold of marijuana metabolites from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL,” according to a report on MiddleEasy.

We’re no marijuana experts but this change would seem to be a move by the world’s most influential athletic commission to stop penalizing recreational marijuana use by fighters, although testing for THC will continue because, while perhaps not performance enhancing, it is dangerous to fight high, drunk or in any other significantly altered state.

What do you think, Nation? Should Pat Healy be allowed to beat up Bryan Caraway and take his bonus money back? Will we finally see Nick Diaz back in the cage?

- Elias Cepeda

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Brian Bowles Fails UFC 160 Drug Test


(Bowles in happier times)

In case you missed it, nation, not all UFC 160 fighters passed their post-fight drug tests. Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer let us know yesterday that former champion Brian Bowles has some ‘splaining to do.

Regarding UFC 160, Kizer wrote in an email that “All athletes tested.  All results negative, except Brian Bowles tested positive for an elevated T/E ratio (> 20).  A complaint will be forthcoming.”

First off, let’s just highlight the fact that Kizer said that all fighters on the UFC 160 card were tested. Used to be that only a select few were ever tested following bouts, you might remember. For some time now, however, the NSAC has been testing all fighters on a given card. Ain’t no Canadian loopholes in Nevada, we suppose.

Back to Bowles – The failed test is just an extra bummer for him. He returned to action for the first time since 2011 at UFC 160 and lost via TKO to George Roop. No one seems to really be able to truly explain the precise significance of what elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratios mean, but we do know that athletes can sure get in trouble for having them.

A complaint from the NSAC will soon be filed against Bowles and his license to fight is presumably temporarily suspended until he has a hearing before the regulatory body to explain himself and the test results. At that point, the commission could decide to do any number of things with Bowles from reinstating his license immediately to suspending him for a specific period of time and fining him a portion of his UFC 160 purse.

Bowles has now lost two in a row. Thus far, he hasn’t appeared to comment publicly on the test results.  We’ll keep you posted as more news develops.

- Elias Cepeda

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Don’t Worry, Gabriel Gonzaga’s Camp Is Appealing Loss to Travis Browne

UFC 142 Gabriel Gonzaga
(Eh…Overeem did it better.)

Judging by the comments section on our TUF 17 Finale Aftermath, the majority of you felt that Travis Browne’s victory over Gabriel Gonzaga should have an asterisk next to it. Early in the fight, Gonzaga pressed Browne against the cage looking for a takedown. Browne unleashed a series of elbows to Gonzaga’s head that knocked him out just one minute and eleven seconds into the first round and earned Browne the Knockout of the Night bonus. However, as many fans have pointed out, it appeared that the elbows that ended the fight hit Gabriel Gonzaga directly in the back of the head.

Shortly after the fight, Gabriel Gonzaga’s manager, Marco Alvan, took to his Facebook page to inform fans that he would be appealing the outcome. Via Facebook:

Guys Gabriel Gonzaga is ok, thanks for the messages.
I need to review it to count how many illegal elbows but Its a fact that it was illegal.
I contacted Keith Kizer head of Nevada Athletic Comission and he told me to file a complaint and he would review it.
I true believe it was illegal. I never complaint about a losses who knows me know that I handle it good but illegal we can not accept.

In a follow-up post, Alvan also expressed his interest in setting up a rematch against Travis Browne:

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Quote of the Day: Past Steroid Users Like Vitor Belfort Will Probably Not Be Receiving TRT Exemptions in Nevada


(“I don’t really get what this whole TRT debate is even about, Vitor. As if my thyme-roasted tilapia is the sole ingredient behind your success.”) 

Although testosterone replacement therapy hasn’t been a topic of debate for all that long in the MMA world, it has more than worn out its welcome with the sport’s fans and more than a few fighters to boot. It’s been criticized so much that even Dana White has flip-flopped on the issue, now vowing to “test the shit” out of fighters on TRT out of fear that they will abuse it. The general dislike for this newfangled “therapy” is only intensified when it involves past steroid abusers like say Vitor Belfort, who tested positive for 4-Hydroxytestosterone following his Pride 32 loss to Dan Henderson in 2006.

As you surely recall, Belfort was granted a TUE for TRT prior to his UFC on FX 7 victory over Michael Bisping. Although most of us were willing to give “The Phenom” a pass for that event because he was able to shut up Michael Bisping for a minute or two, it looks like NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer will not be so lenient should Belfort and past dopers like him fight in Nevada any time soon:

I don’t see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us. I really don’t and I feel kind of bad for him in some ways because if he has learned from his mistakes and now he’s trying to do it the right way and his levels are low with the treatment good for him and I hope he is doing that. 

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After Passing Seven Drug Tests in the Last Nine Months, Alistair Overeem Gets His License Back


(We now return to your regularly-scheduled maulings. / Photo via MMAWeekly)

Due to the comically-elevated levels of testosterone he produced during a random drug test last March, Alistair Overeem has spent the last nine months unable to re-apply for licensure with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Overeem’s time-out came to an end this morning, when the Dutch heavyweight appeared at a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing to seek the re-instatement of his license, and was unanimously approved, making his scheduled UFC 156 bout against Antonio Silva official.

What’s particularly interesting is what Overeem had to accomplish to make that happen. Here’s MMAWeekly with the details:

According to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, in the last nine-plus months, Overeem has submitted a total of five drug tests of his own accord, all of which came back negative. In addition, the commission tested Overeem randomly on Nov. 16 and Dec. 21, 2012, with those tests also returning negative results.

“I’m ready to get my life back on track,” said Overeem when speaking to the commission.

Following his failed drug test last year, Alistair Overeem denied that he used performance-enhancing drugs and claimed ignorance, blaming his high T-levels on an “anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone,” prescribed by his doctor to treat a rib injury. Though Overeem wasn’t subject to the standard fine and suspension that he would have received from the NSAC if he pissed hot for steroids, the Reem lost out on an imminent UFC heavyweight title shot against Junior Dos Santos, and was forced to do appearances in Gainesville, Florida as penance. Jesus. Who says the UFC isn’t hard on cheaters?

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“The Conversation With Elias Cepeda” Podcast Ep. 3: Nevada Athletic Commission Chief Keith Kizer


(Photo via FightMedicine)

By Elias Cepeda

No one likes the guy who can put you in the corner — the disciplinarian. As such, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Keith Kizer gets the brunt of any and all criticism from fans, fighters, coaches and promoters with almost anything related to boxing and MMA.

Despite the target on his back from being the chief regulator of the most important fight commission in the world, Kizer never seems to shirk away from questions and accountability. Long one of the most accessible major figures in combat sports, Kizer furthered this reputation by sitting down for nearly two hours with The Conversation to discuss a wide range of topics, from his life and career to controversies in sport regulation.

Kizer may be the public face of your favorite fighter getting suspended for weed or roids or what have you, but he also, for example, was instrumental in putting together the rules that helped make MMA legal. Always thoughtful and deliberate, even when disagreeing with you, Kizer also never takes himself too seriously despite his position.

Whether you love or hate the NSAC, or if (gasp) you simply want to learn more about fight regulation and the people who do it, chances are you’ll get something out this week’s episode of The Conversation. We hope you enjoy it after the jump.

(Note: Sorry for the gap in episodes. We’ve been a bit under the weather for the better part of a month. Check back tomorrow for another episode where Phil Nurse — the Muay Thai coach of Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar and Jon Jones — visits The Conversation for the most in-depth interview of his career.)

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Nick Diaz Continues Quixotic Legal Battle Against Nevada Athletic Commission: Requests Judicial Review From Court


(As you can clearly see, there’s no way I could have smoked any weed before UFC 143 because I had not picked even a single nugget yet. I rest my case.)

Since he tested positive for marijuana metabolites after his UFC 143 loss to Carlos Condit and was suspended for a year and fined nearly $80,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), Nick Diaz has fought the punishment in just about every place he could, and continued Wednesday by filing a Memorandum of Points and Authorities to support his petition for judicial review. So far, Diaz and his high-profile legal defense team have struck out in appealing to the Nevada State Attorney General and the NSAC itself in a hearing.

The NSAC has thirty days to respond and after that a judge will hear Diaz’ petition. Luke Thomas and MMA Fighting spoke with a member of Diaz’ legal team:

The Commission needs to understand that it cannot act with impunity in the exercise of its authority…In Diaz’s opinion, while fighters must respect the lawful authority of state athletic commissions, they should not accept unjust and unlawful disciplinary action. Further, Diaz finds it bizarre that the Commission is vigorously policing legal marijuana use outside competition while at the same time endorsing and sanctioning the use of steroids and testosterone — which has a direct effect on fighters and their opponents in competition. The Commission needs to refocus itself on protecting fighters and the fairness of the combat sports they regulate. Diaz believes this legal proceeding may provide the Commission a helpful push in the right direction, for the benefit of all fighters and the reputation of the sport itself.

Diaz’s petition has some interesting and seemingly compelling parts to it, including his lawyers’ contention that marijuana metabolites are not, in fact, banned substances. But they also continue to stretch out some arguments.

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