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Fine, So Maybe Karo Didn’t Admit His Painkiller Use Before UFC 94

Karo Parisyan MMA UFC 94 weigh-in
(Photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.)

Shortly after Karo Parisyan’s unfortunate post-UFC 94 drug test results were released, the Heat expressed frustration at his situation, telling MMA Weekly that he’d revealed all his medications before the fight and was under the impression that he was not in violation of any rules. But Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer has contradicted Parisyan’s account of the events, spurring the troubled UFC welterweight to sort of change his story. Now, Parisyan says his complete honesty about his painkiller use didn’t happen until after after the fight:

“I told (the commission) ‘listen, by the way, if pain pills come positive, I have prescription, I told you.’ They said, ‘no problem, as long as you have a prescription for it, and it’s like a pain pill, it’s not a big deal.’…
I did not even think about any of that stuff. I was just thinking about my fight, and my anxiety and how I’m going to walk in the cage. I had so many problems in my head. I didn’t even think I should write [it on my pre-fight medical questionnaire] — I was just doing it fast, fast, fast, just to get out there and weigh in and fight. I completely forgot about all this stuff."

Apparently, that’s not a good enough excuse. Regarding Parisyan’s statement that a prescription would absolve him from punishment, Keith Kizer was dismissive:


Urine Trouble: Parisyan Pops Positive for Painkillers Following UFC 94

Karo Parisyan MMA UFC 94 Dong Hyun Kim
(We could have used some painkillers during this fight too, now that you mention it. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the drug test results from UFC 94, and every fighter passed their screenings for banned substances except for Karo Parisyan, who was apparently medicated to the gills with the painkillers Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, and Oxymorphone during his uninspiring split-decision victory over Dong Hyun Kim; Oxymorphone was also one of the painkillers that earned James Irvin a nine-month suspension following his loss to Anderson Silva in July. FiveOuncesofPain gets their pharmacist on:

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from two of the naturally-occurring opiates codeine and thebaine…Depending on its form and toxicity, Hydrocodone can be used as a narcotic.
Hydromorphone is a potent centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class; it is a derivative of morphine, specifically a hydrogenated ketone thereof—therefore a semi-synthetic drug and both an opiate and a true narcotic.
Oxymorphone is related to morphine in the same fashion that oxycodone is to codeine, is derived from thebaine, and is approximately 6–8 times more potent than morphine. [It] generates more euphoria, but less itching and other histamine effects.

A surprised Karo Parisyan told MMA Weekly that he revealed all his medications on his pre-fight medical paperwork, and believed that he had followed proper procedure and was not in violation of any rules. Unfortunately he appears to be, and the ensuing punishment could jeopardize his next fight, which was rumored to be a matchup with Josh Koscheck.

Parisyan has been engaged in a widely publicized battle with panic attacks in recent months — which led to a last-second pullout from a fight against Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 88 in September — but had declined to take anti-depressants to deal with the illness. Whether that decision was due to an unwillingness to complicate his life with athletic commissions, or plain old Armenian Pride, it isn’t clear — but it has now become a moot point.

Parisyan will likely face a fine and a suspension. More details to come.


Jon Jones Is For Real, and Just Getting Started

I talked to Jon Jones for this week’s column, in which he discusses what it was like growing up with two brothers who both now play defensive line at Syracuse (with the eldest headed soon to the NFL) and how he learned to strike by watching YouTube videos:

The gym I train at is a really small gym, a lot of wrestlers, so I didn’t have a striking coach until this last fight.  I had to teach myself how to strike.  I would study a lot of videos on YouTube, or go to different websites where I could watch old Pride fights.  I just became obsessed with MMA and watched videos over and over again.  I learned the moves and took them to practice and started using them.  Before I knew it I was considered a pretty good striker. 
YouTube videos can really teach you a lot.  It depends how you search for them.  If you look really hard, you can find videos of seminars from some of the best fighters in the world.  It’s just a matter of taking them seriously.  You have the Bas Rutten’s and the Anderson Silva DVD’s, but you can find most of that stuff on the internet for free, so that’s what I was doing.  I was basically teaching myself with them.  Now I can honestly say I’ve been taught by some of the best teachers in the world because I’ve watched some of the greatest seminars online. 

Obviously, Jones is a freakish athlete who can simply do things other people can’t, such as watch YouTube videos and then beat up UFC veterans.  But what struck me was his humility and obsession with improving as a fighter.  Check this quote, for example, on what went through his mind after the UFC offered him the fight with Bonnar:


Videos: “MMA Live” Talks UFC 94 + The Hunt Is On For GSP Greasing Footage

The boys from “MMA Live” break down UFC 94, which, of course, includes a thorough look at LubeGate (or as some of you would rather call it, LubriGate).  Franklin McNeil is quick to dismiss it as no big deal, but Kenny Florian makes mention of a “select few” who do make use of greasing agents.  It’s almost as if he has someone specific in mind.  Someone he’s personally faced, who was “slippery,” and who had also trained with one Georges St. Pierre at various points.  Hmmmm….

(Props: MMA Videos)

Internet conspiracy theorists/video editors comb through GSP’s body of work, so to speak, in order to find evidence of past greasing.  The Zapruder film it ain’t, but still worth a look.


UFC Breaks All-Time PPV Record for Second-Straight Month

BJ Penn Georges St. Pierre UFC MMA UFC 94 GSP punch
(Photo courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas.)
For nearly two years, UFC 66 — which featured the light-heavyweight title bout between the organization’s two biggest stars, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz — was the UFC’s best-selling pay-per-view card of all time, with an estimated 1,050,000 buys. Few UFC events even came close to the lofty record, until UFC 91 in November almost surpassed it on the strength of the Couture/Lesnar superfight, bringing in a reported 1,010,000 buys. A month later, the stacked-to-death "Ultimate 2008" card smashed the old record with 1,200,000 buys. And now, if Dana White is to be believed, last Saturday’s UFC 94 show has broken the record again, with an estimated 1,300,000+ pay-per-view buys. That figure even beats the 1,250,000 buys that the Oscar De La Hoya/Manny Pacquiao boxing match pulled down in December. 

Could the UFC be a recession-proof business, with a steadily growing base of consumers? Or are the killer numbers for St. Pierre vs. Penn 2 a direct result of the event’s marketing blitz, which included the flashy new documentary series UFC Primetime? And how long will this new record last? Though there are no bonafide superfights on the schedule right now, DW reminds us that we have Mir/Lesnar, Penn/Florian, Rashad Evans’s first title defense, and Randy Couture’s next fight coming up, so there’s no shortage of great matchups to be had. Meanwhile, the UFC’s competition is thrilled to get 150,000-200,000 buys, which just illustrates the gulf in success between the top MMA outfit in the world and everybody else.

Unfortunately, not all is rosy in the financial realm of Zuffa. Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta’s Station Casinos empire announced that it would be going through a "prepackaged bankruptcy" to avoid being crushed by the $2 billion in debts it accrued when the company went private in 2007. Station has been one of the hardest-hit casino groups during the current economic downturn, which has greatly affected Las Vegas’s tourism and real estate markets.


It Had to Happen: Matt Hughes Says GSP “Felt Greasy”

(‘An opportunity to criticize GSP, you say?  Count me in!’)

Well, LubeGate has officially run the gauntlet.  Matt Hughes is the latest former opponent of Georges St. Pierre to add fuel the greasy fire.  In a blog post to his website today, Hughes had this to say:

I’m not the only one who has said that GSP felt greasy during a fight. I know Matt Serra has mentioned it and, even in their first fight, I think BJ said something. I’m not saying GSP did something wrong and I’m not saying that it would have changed any outcomes of any fights; but what I am saying is, for my last two fights against Georges, he felt greasy.

Weird, he felt greasy in those last two fights?  As in, the two that Hughes lost?  Interesting.

Having more opponents jump on this bandwagon doesn’t help GSP’s case any, but what I’m wondering is, if he’s been greasing himself up for years why hasn’t he been caught before now?  The boys from the NSAC jumped all over him when they saw it at UFC 94.  How has he managed to apply Vaseline to his body in front of cameras and athletic commission observers for so long?  Is he taking a Vaseline supplement that makes it come out of his pores?  


Georges St. Pierre Responds to LubeGate Allegations, Explains More of His Detailed Physiological Gameplan


The more Georges St. Pierre talks about his strategy for B.J. Penn, the more I’m struck by how scientific it sounds.  Usually when you hear fighters talk about their gameplan it’s vague classics like ‘push the pace’ or ‘take the fight to him.’  Basically, it’s stuff that is one step up from an inspirational slogan.

But GSP?  He practically steals your medical records in order to figure out how to beat you.  Just look at what he told about Penn’s physical strengths and weaknesses:

B.J. Penn, you were talking about his guard, he has very flexible legs. Another thing is, because he has very flexible hips, it made his thoracic cage more susceptible to being weak. That’s why I was working a lot of elbows to the body. On the ground I was putting my elbow in his stomach to make him tired. And a lot of knees. It was my game plan.
I know a lot of doctors. It’s a fact. When somebody has flexible hips, normally he has a weak thoracic cage. His bones are weaker. It’s science. And with B.J., that’s the case. He has very flexible hips, so his core is weaker than somebody who has normal hips. That’s why I was attacking the body a lot. People, when they fight B.J., they try to hit the head. But B.J. has very thick skin and he moves his head very well and his reaction time is very fast. He can move his head standing up, but his body never moves. I was targeting the body a lot.

As for allegations that he was greased up in the fight, GSP says he “cant’ believe” the Penn camp considered filing a formal complaint (though word now is that they’ve decided against it), that he’s not a cheater and will prove it in court if he has to, and also that it wasn’t any artificial substance that thwarted Penn’s high guard:


The Potato Index: UFC 94 Aftermath

Georges St. Pierre UFC 94
(With tailored suits like that he’s just as slick outside the Octagon.)

After an exhausting and entertaining UFC 94, we sat down with our Cage Potato Super Computer and churned out the arbitrary numerical data for the relevant parties.  It wasn’t easy, but dammit, it was necessary.

Georges St. Pierre +361

Whether you think he was greased up or not, he put a beating on B.J. Penn that can’t be explained away (Vaseline didn’t help him dodge jabs or score takedowns, after all).  He showed up in great shape, with a great game plan, and proceeded to do exactly what he said he would.  GSP is an absolute monster, and at just 27 years old he’ll dominate the division for the foreseeable future.  Good luck, Thiago Alves.  You’ll need it.

B.J. Penn -86

He’s still the best lightweight in the world.  Let’s hope this beating convinced him to stay in the division where he truly belongs.  If you’re going to be the smaller man in the fight, you’d better be more active and in better shape.  He was neither, and he paid the price.  Now give KenFlo his shot.

Vaseline + 590

To hear Penn’s trainers talk, you’d think it was a magical substance.  Just a dash and you become a guard-passing, ground-and-pounding machine.  We may find out how responsible it is for GSP’s success, because after this incident the athletic commissions will be watching closely, as will the UFC.


UFC 94′s Best Photos

Georges St. Pierre BJ Penn MMA UFC 94 GSP

Props to the Las Vegas Sun,, MMA Weekly, Combat Lifestyle, and MMA Fanhouse.

Georges St. Pierre BJ Penn GSP MMA UFC 94 BJ Penn UFC 94 MMA GSP Georges St. Pierre Phil Nurse Greg Jackson MMA UFC 94 BJ Penn UFC 94 MMA

Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC 94 Lyoto Machida Thiago Silva MMA UFC 94 Stephan Bonnar Jon Jones suplex MMA UFC 94 Jon Jones Stephan Bonnar UFC 94 MMA knee

Karo Parisyan Dong Hyun Kim UFC 94 MMA Nate DIaz Clay Guida hair MMA UFC 94 Akihiro Gono MMA UFC 94 ring entrance dresses drag Thiago Tavares Manny Manvel Gamburyan MMA UFC 94

John Howard Chris Wilson MMA UFC 94 Joe Rogan Georges St. Pierre Logan Stanton MMA UFC 94 


Video: Dana White’s UFC 94 Fight Night Video Blog

The most interesting part of this UFC 94 video blog comes at around the 9:50 mark, when Dana White becomes clearly upset over the Georges St. Pierre greasing incident and remarks, “Georges is in trouble.”  Well, maybe not Georges so much as the cornerman who rubbed him down, though I’m inclined to believe Greg Jackson’s explanation, and also inclined to agree with Dana’s assertion that a little Vaseline did not change the outcome of this fight, one way or another.  Still doesn’t make it a good idea, though.

Other moments worth seeing here: Dana consoles a distraught Stephan Bonnar, Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo gush over Jon Jones, and Dana watches Akihiro Gono and his camp rehearse their elaborate Octagon entrance, which was truly a thing to behold.  When Gono and his boys walked out in those matching evening gowns, pausing every few steps to get their dance on, you could feel the crowd going through a range of emotions.  First came shock, then slight amusement, then genuine appreciation.  Honestly, it was the best entrance in the history of MMA.

In the post-fight press conference a reporter asked Dana what he thought of a guy who came out in drag and got his ass kicked.  Dana pointed out that a) a lot of people are going to get their ass kicked against Jon Fitch, and b) he loves Gono and what he brings to a UFC event.  Then he conceded: “But if you’re going to wear a dress you probably better win.”

I know some people will make the argument that Gono would have been better served focusing more time and energy on his preparation for the fight than on his entrance, but let’s be real.  Gono was going to get beat up with or without the awesome, cross-dressing entrance.  Might as well have some fun before the pain begins.