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Tag: NSAC

Vitor Belfort Breezes Through NSAC Licensing Hearing, Will Face Chris Weidman at UFC 181 in Las Vegas



(Yes, it was broadcast on Fight Pass. No, Rogan and Goldie weren’t calling the action, although that would have been amazing. / Screencap via UFC Fight Pass on Twitter)

In retrospect, we should have known better to expect the Nevada State Athletic Commission to crack down on Vitor Belfort. Too much money was on the line.

Belfort appeared at an NSAC licensing hearing today, in the wake of his positive test for elevated testosterone in February. It was the second time that Belfort has failed a drug test in Nevada, following a steroid bust in 2006. And yet, Belfort cruised through the proceedings, walking away with a conditional license that would keep him sidelined until December and require him to undergo random blood and urine testing at his own expense. The commission’s decision to re-license Belfort was unanimous.

Directly after Belfort’s license was secure, the UFC announced that the Brazilian veteran would fight Chris Weidman in a middleweight title fight at UFC 181, December 6th in Las Vegas.

Belfort was humble and cooperative during today’s hearing, throwing himself at the mercy of the commission, but his version of events were never challenged. Here’s an excerpt from MMAJunkie’s report that suggests how toothless the NSAC’s hearing was:

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Chael Sonnen ‘Accepts Responsibility’ for Second Positive Drug Test, Faces Up to $250,000 Fine From NSAC


(And like that…he’s gone.)

Is it quiet in here, or is it just the utter lack of Chael Sonnen soundbites over the last month? We haven’t heard a peep from the American Gangster since he failed a random drug test for unapproved hormone-regulators, and retired on national television. Then, a second test came up positive for HGH and EPO, and things got really awkward. And so, the man best known for never shutting up has been laying low in Oregon, a ghost, a myth, a spook story that gangsters tell their kids at night.

Following Sonnen’s positive test, the Nevada State Athletic Commission released an amended complaint against the former UFC fighter, which lists the potential punishments that are in store for him: a fine of up to $250,000, the suspension of his license, expenses related to the complaint, and the requirement that he provide a clean drug test upon his next licensing application, which will probably never happen because he’s retired, but still, 250 large, good lord. At least he can afford it, considering he was previously “the highest paid fighter in the business.” [citation needed, obviously]

Yesterday, Sonnen’s lawyer Jeff Meyer submitted his client’s formal response to the NSAC, making it clear that Sonnen has accepted his fate:

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Wanderlei Silva Admits to Skipping Drug Test, Claims He Was Taking Diuretics Related to Wrist Injury


(By the way, the hearing was streamed live on Fight Pass, which means that UFC is finally starting to take our advice. It’s about damn time! / Props: MMAWeekly)

Wanderlei Silva appeared at an “informational meeting” yesterday held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in which he was asked to explain his mysterious disappearance when a sample-collector showed up at his gym last month to give him a random drug test. And while Silva himself didn’t say a word during the meeting — instead speaking through his lawyer, Ross Goodman — he managed to dig himself into a deeper hole.

Chael Sonnen was right: Silva did intentionally run out the side door when the tester arrived. From Sherdog’s recap

Prior to Goodman’s statement, the NSAC had Jim Guernsey, an independent sample collector with approximately 34 years of experience, to detail the events of May 24, when he arrived at Silva’s gym to retrieve a blood and urine specimen from the fighter. After unsuccessfully trying to track down Silva via telephone and at his home, Guernsey found the UFC veteran at his Las Vegas gym. However, Guernsey would not find the cooperation he was seeking.

“I explained that the Nevada Athletic Commission had asked me to get a blood and urine sample from him. He said OK and was finishing eating and visiting with the people around him… After they finished, he asked me if he could talk to his manager or trainer,” said Guernsey, who provided his account from detailed notes he took that day. “I asked him if this person was at the gym and he said yes. I told him that was fine and gave him a little space. I think he had just finished working out.

“He walked up to the front desk and I followed a little way behind him,” Guernsey continued. “He went into an office in the middle of the gym and came out after just a few seconds. He walked back to the front counter and then walked past the office toward the back of the gym and went around the corner to the right. I casually followed behind him, and when I turned around the corner I realized there was an exit there and a bathroom. I didn’t see him anywhere. I went into the bathroom and looked around and didn’t see him there … I kept looking around for a few minutes, and I still couldn’t find him. I came to the conclusion that he left.”

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Chael Sonnen Attempts to Explain Failed Drug Test Via Last-Second Interview With ‘Jay Mohr Sports’


(“Thank God there aren’t random drug tests in @EASPORTSUFC” — former CP writer Jason Moles dropping truth bombs.)

Just moments ago, word was handed down that Chael Sonnen had failed a random drug test administered last month (you know, the same one that he verbally executed Wanderlei Silva for skipping out on), and had been pulled from his UFC 175 fight against Vitor Belfort as a result. Being the master of spin-control that Sonnen is, The American Gangster attempted to get out in front of the story by appearing on comedian Jay Mohr’s sports radio show and explaining himself before the ESPN story broke. Attempted being the point of emphasis here.

Instead, Sonnen partook in a rushed interview that not only failed to beat the ESPN story out of the gate, but left as many questions as it answered. Mohr also chimed in at one point that Sonnen should use the next 30 days before his hearing to get “loaded up on steroids,” so there’s that to look forward to as well.

Sonnen’s statement, along with a full transcription (via MMAFighting) is after the jump. 

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The Officiating Was So Bad on ‘TUF 19′ Last Night That It May Have Literally Changed the Sport


(Props: TheUltimateFighter on YouTube)

If you’ve been skipping this season of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn, you’re missing out on some elite-level pumpkin carving and cross-dressing. Also, universally-reviled referee Steve Mazzagatti made another controversial decision during last night’s episode, and jeopardized his career in the process.

First, Mazzagatti deducted a point from Roger Zapata for an illegal “12-to-6″ elbow during the “Sudden Victory” round of his fight against Ian Stephens. Though Zapata was warned about throwing 12-to-6 elbows before the point-deduction, the shot that actually led to the penalty was verrrrry questionable. (Skip to 0:54-0:58 in the above video and tell us what you think, then brace yourself for Team Penn assistant coach Mark Coleman roaring gibberish in anger.)

UFC president Dana White stormed out of the gym rather than watch the fight continue. If only it ended there, guys. If only. Here’s what happened next, as described by FightOpinion:

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Brian Stann Becomes the Latest Former Fighter to Rally Against MMA’s “Inadequate” Drug-Testing Policies


(The face of MMA’s anti-PED crusade, ladies and gentlemen.) 

Does it say more about the UFC or its athletes that classy, universally-respected guys like Georges St. Pierre and Brian Stann only feel comfortable discussing their gripes with the organization’s drug-testing policies after they have stepped away from the sport? It’s hard to say for sure, but in any case, Stann has followed suit with GSP, first lamenting the sport’s drug issues as a “major part” of why he retired earlier this month before further explaining himself during an appearance on The MMA Hour yesterday.

While Stann refused to name names, he was quick to admit that MMA’s lackadaisical drug-testing has made it easy for many a fighter to cycle on and off PED’s over the years — a trend that will continue to plague the sport until a change is made:

I think the time when you retire coming off a loss and then you say that, what I didn’t want to do was discredit any of my former opponents. You know, specifically seeing that Wanderlei (Silva) was my last fight, I didn’t want to come off like, ‘Hey, I’m making excuses. The only people that beat me were people on drugs.’ I don’t know any of that for a certainty. There’s one time when I fought a guy on TRT when it was allowed, and that’s the only time that I could say substantially somebody was taking something. But, it was a factor.

I’m a clean fighter. I’m 33 years old, and I have seen, in my own training, and in talking and knowing guys in the inner circle, I’ve known what guys are not on, and when they cycle on it. You can feel the difference in the gym and what big a difference it makes, and I do think there are a number of guys who are using just because the testing currently by our athletic commissions is inadequate.

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BREAKING: Nevada State Athletic Commission Bans TRT Exemptions, Effective Immediately


(“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” / Photo via Getty)

The Nevada State Athletic Commission struck a blow for fair, healthy MMA competition today, voting for an immediate ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Therapeutic usage exemptions (TUE) will no longer be granted to fighters, even for those who had been approved to use hormone therapy in the past. Furthermore, the NSAC will push other states to ban TRT as well, and won’t honor the TUEs approved by other state commissions.

Today’s hearing began with testimony from NSAC consulting physician Dr. Timothy Trainor, who explained the rarity of hypogonadism, and argued that if a competitor truly has hypogonadism, the athletic commission would be placing him at risk by allowing him to fight. (Hello, exactly!)

After discussing the recent anti-TRT letter from the Association of Ringside Physicians — and acknowledging that monitoring every TRT user requires more resources than they can commit — NSAC commissioner Skip Avansino motioned to ban TRT usage/exemptions in Nevada. With supporting votes from commissioners Pat Lundvall and Bill Brady, the motion quickly passed.

And so, MMA’s biggest PED loophole has been closed by the country’s most influential athletic commission — and other state athletic commissions may be forced to follow suit. Vitor Belfort will have to fight clean in Nevada, along with everybody else who previously had doctor’s notes for testosterone.

It’s a good day for the sport. We’ll update you with any major developments that follow.

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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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Why the Current PED Testing Policies in MMA Are Bad for the Sport


(My advice? Put on this song, hold each other tight, and remember why you fell in the love in the first place. / Photo via @lorenzofertitta)

By Jon Mariani

Responding to Georges St-Pierre’s news-making claim that the UFC didn’t support him when he did VADA drug-testing for UFC 167, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told Yahoo!, “It was extremely disappointing to hear Georges make those comments because I don’t think any organization has embraced drug testing as we have.”

Fertitta also went on to state in an interview with ESPN, “Maybe Georges didn’t understand the level of drug testing Nevada was doing. They are the ultimate authority that handles drug testing, medicals and everything else — and they are very capable.”

The first problem with Fertitta’s statement is that the UFC didn’t exactly embrace drug-testing when GSP tried to bring VADA into the mix. As UFC President Dana White stated, “It’s a little weird,” that St-Pierre wanted the enhanced testing. White went on to say that “He doesn’t have to do it, but I guess he wants to do it. What are you gonna do? Knock yourself out, Georges. Good luck.”

Clearly, that’s not the kind of “support” St-Pierre was looking for.

The larger problem is that when Fertitta says “they are very capable,” referring to Nevada’s athletic commission and drug-testing standards, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The current testing employed in Nevada is a joke, and here’s why…

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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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