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Tag: Marc Ratner

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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Get Lifted: UFC Raises Marijuana Threshold for International Events, Nick Diaz’s Unretirement Surely Imminent

Man…Bryan Caraway is gonna be piiiiiiissssseeddd when he gets word of this little development.

You might not have heard about this, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel was held in Las Vegas over the weekend, and among the primary issues discussed was that of the acceptable threshold for marijuana metabolites in a given fighter’s system that the UFC currently allows, specifically on an international level. You see, since the UFC usually acts as its own regulatory body in foreign countries, an issue has recently emerged regarding the discrepancy between their acceptable level for metabolites  – 50 ng/mL — and the newly-deemed acceptable level of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) — 150 ng/mL.

Fortunately, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner revealed during the panel that the promotion’s threshold will now be raised to meet the level of WADA’s. He spoke with MMAJunkie, then presumably passed one to the left hand side:

“When we self-regulate around the world, we are going to go the WADA standard of 150. So we’re starting that immediately.”

Ratner also told MMAjunkie.com the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission – or Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) – which regulates UFC events in Brazil, has also agreed to the same standard and will make the change at next week’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 event in Fortaleza. Brazilian commission officials later confirmed their decision.

You may be asking yourself, “What exactly does this threshold change mean for UFC fighters moving forward?”

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Enough’s Enough: UFC VP Marc Ratner to Request Changes to MMA’s Two Most Bullshit Rules


(I don’t see a downed opponent. I see a damn *fool*!)

It’s one of the strangest, most arbitrary double-standards of MMA’s Unified Rules — you get five minutes to recover from a strike to the groin, but if you can’t immediately continue after an eye-poke, the fight is over. Considering that the eyes are the balls of the face, it’s a shame that both sets of organs aren’t given equal protection under the law.

Gian Villante was the latest victim of the eye-poke technicality at UFC 159, when he lost a technical decision to Ovince St. Preux after getting gouged 33 seconds into the second round of their prelim scrap. As he explained afterwards, “I couldn’t see for a second. I just blinked my eye to try to get some fluid back in there. I would have been fine 30 seconds later. I thought I had five minutes. All I needed was 10 seconds. But they ended it…I don’t know what was I supposed to say. And if I did know what to say, I’m in the middle of a fight. I’m not going to think, ‘What is the exact rule on what to say when you get poked in the eye?’ I’m going to say exactly how I feel. I can’t see for this second, but give me a second, and I’ll be all right.”

Instead, referee Kevin Mulhall stopped the fight, and the judges scored the action up to that point, giving Villante a loss in his UFC debut. On the bright side, that disappointing moment might have been the last straw in the UFC’s tolerance for some of the sport’s most controversial rules. According to an MMAJunkie report, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner will make a formal request to change MMA’s eye-poke protocol at the Association of Boxing Commissions’ annual conference in late July. (The ABC is responsible for maintaining the Unified Rules of MMA, and providing uniform standards for MMA among the state and tribal athletic commissions.)

As Ratner puts it:

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UFC’s New Drug Rules: All Fighters Tested Overseas, No Bonuses Until Tests Are Passed


(“F*ckin’ with your cash is the only thing you kids seem to understand!” / Photo via FCFighter.com)

UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner revealed to MMAJunkie yesterday that the promotion has instituted a pair of new rules to act as deterrents against their fighters using performance enhancing drugs. First, all fighters who compete at international events will now be tested for performance-enhancing drugs. The UFC has traditionally hired independent local facilities to test fighters during events outside of North America, but in the past, only a few fighters per card were usually selected for testing.

The shift in policy may have been spurred by a recent stretch in which the UFC’s independent drug screening busted fighters at three consecutive overseas cards. UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro — where all fighters were screened for banned substances — resulted in suspensions for Stephan Bonnar (Drostanolone) and Dave Herman (marijuana). A month later, Thiago Silva tested positive for weed at UFC Macao. And finally, Rousimar Palhares and Joey Beltran failed drug tests following UFC on FX 6 in Australia.

The wave of botched tests is an embarrassing trend, and the UFC is clearly trying to get in front of it. Testing all their fighters at international events going forward will send a message to fighters who may have considered rolling the dice with banned substances, thinking that testing policies are a little more lax when formal athletic commissions aren’t running the show.

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Damn It, Bob Reilly is an Evil Oblivious Bastard


(Video courtesy YouTube/StocktonHeyBuddy)

We know from experience that dealing with government types is shady business, but when idiots like Bob Reilly continue to distort the truth and screw with the livelihoods of countless people in the process, it starts to grate on our nerves.

Reilly was front and centre in the news today telling anyone who would listen that, like he’s been saying for weeks, the MMA legalization bill in New York likely won’t make it to the Assembly floor for a vote because there isn’t enough interest or support for the bill.

“If something does not have the votes to pass, we don’t bother taking it to the floor,” Reilly said.

So rather than prove there isn’t any underhandedness in deciding whether or not there really isn’t enough support for the bill by putting the issue to a vote, the opposition Democrats like Reilly and Speaker Sheldon Silver are likely to stall the bill in the Assembly’s Ways & Means Committee. That kids, is how a bill doesn’t become a law.

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According to Zuffa, All UFC 129 Drug Tests Came Back Clean


(If the OAC wants to be taken seriously, it can’t expect promotions to self-regulate.)

If you recall, we reported after UFC 129 that the Ontario Athletic Commission had passed the buck in terms of post-fight drug testing to Zuffa for the April 30 event held in Toronto and that the UFC had hired an unnamed independent laboratory to look after testing the fighters on the historic card.

According to UFC Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, who responded to a request from CagePotato.com today for test results from the event, all of the samples came back clean two weeks ago “for both [performance enhancing drugs] and illegal street drugs.”

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Judges to Use Personal Video Monitors at UFC 131 in Vancouver


(MMA Judging: So easy you can do it with your back turned.)

In a move designed to improve judging by giving officials a better view of the in-Octagon action, the Vancouver Athletic Commission has approved the use of cageside video monitors by its appointed judges at UFC 131.

According to VAC Correspondance Officer Jonathan Tweedale, the decision to allow judges to utilize close circuit television screens to better observe what’s going on in the cage while their views are obstructed was made to help eliminate questionable judging disparities.

“Hopefully this small step, along with mandatory education for all officials, will enhance the fairness and consistency of judges’ decisions if other jurisdictions follow suit,” Tweedale told MMAJunkie today. “The fighters deserve as much.”

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New Athletic Commission Chairwoman Could Be Key to MMA in New York

After the UFC’s lobbying efforts failed to get MMA legalized in New York, Zuffa’s Marc Ratner vowed not to give up so easily. Not long afterwards, Melvina Lathan was named as the new chairwoman for the New York State Athletic Commission, and guess what? She seems friendly to the UFC’s cause, despite being a "boxing purist" according to a recent Newsday article:

"I would hope that New York would keep an open mind," Lathan said. "There’s room for two sports. I’m a boxing purist and I will always be, but I truly believe MMA is a sport all of its own. I think the more people are educated about it, the more they understand it and accept it."

The article goes on to tell the story of Lathan growing up in Philadelphia, where she would peek into a local boxing gym on her way home from school. One day a man opened the door and invited her inside to watch. Turns out the man was Sonny Liston, or so the story goes. Ratner describes Lathan as "a wonderful asset to the sport" and implies that she’ll be the boost they need to get MMA legalized when the Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development Committee revisits it in January. But not everyone is pleased with Lathan’s appointment:

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Almost No One Is Happy to Be in the WEC…But That’s Okay

With the WEC’s next event just around the corner, media coverage has started to ramp up this week. As it does, the one thing that becomes increasingly clear is that the organization’s top fighters are mostly just pissed off that they aren’t in the UFC. USA Today wrote about the UFC’s uncertain attitude regarding the future of the promotion, including a quote from Marc Ratner that reflects what seems to the consensus opinion over at Zuffa:

“There is talk about having the heavier guys come on over (to UFC), and maybe anything under 145 (pounds, the featherweight limit) would be WEC and above 145 would be UFC,” says UFC vice president Marc Ratner. “It hasn’t been put into place yet.”

In the same article, Carlos Condit describes the UFC as “the big show” and says he hopes to move on up. Jamie Varner made similar comments to Sherdog, saying:

“I still got all the doubters out there, and that’s motivation to me,” Varner said. “All the people out there saying this guy in the UFC would beat you or this guy in Dream would kill you. I want to beat everyone that Zuffa puts in front of me and hopefully one day get my opportunity to fight a B.J. Penn and show the world what I’m made of.”

Ordinarily it would be a bad thing to have all your top fighters publicly stating their desire to go and fight somewhere else, but this only reinforces how smart it was of Zuffa to purchase the WEC and use them as a sort of minor league, as well as how dumb it would be to turn it into nothing but featherweights and bantamweights.

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Marc Ratner Keeping The MMA Dream Alive in NY


(MMA in MSG by ’09? Let’s hope so.)

UFC VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner isn’t giving up hope on getting MMA legalized in New York. Though all the lobbying didn’t produce the immediate result the UFC was hoping for, it sounds as if Ratner is making this a personal obsession of his. In an article on TriStateFighter.com (via MMA Payout) he describes himself as “bullish on the future of MMA in New York” and blames ignorance of the sport for the failure of a legalization and regulation bill to get out of committee:

“The Tourism Committee – our bill did not come out of there. One of the legislators needs to be properly educated, because he said something about no referees. Some people think it is still no holds barred or no rules.”

[...]

“We have been talking to the Times Union Arena in Albany to locations in Utica, Buffalo, and Syracuse. Madison Square Garden – I have talked to them once a week for the last year and half. Is it going happen? Yes, but not this year. We are going to keep lobbying and educating and it is not the same sport it was 15 years ago … that is what they have to understand.”

Ratner, of course, was the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission for fourteen years before leaving to work for the UFC, so he knows a thing or two about state regulation. He also says the UFC has “ambitious” plans for global domination, er, expansion, including Dubai, Australia, and Macao.

Before you bother looking it up, Macao is a “special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.” Big MMA fans there, apparently. Who knew?

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