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Friday, February 22, 2019

MMA

Jon Jones’ failed drug test likely not due to cocaine

Jon Jones

UFC 200 was thrown into a frenzy on Wednesday night when it was revealed that Jon Jones failed an out-of-competition drug test, leading to the UFC to remove him from his scheduled fight against Daniel Cormier on Saturday.

Jones’ failed test stemmed from a June 16 sample collected by USADA. The sample was taken three weeks ago and considered “out-of-competition,” which is different from in-competition. Typically in-competition samples are regarded as ones taken the day of or week leading up to a fight. The range of products that could trigger a positive sample for an in-competition drug test is much greater than out of competition tests.

USADA does not ban recreational drugs such as cocaine, heroine, marijuana etc out of competition. Nor do they ban narcotics like morphine or amphetamines like ritalin out of competition.

That means a positive test was likely triggered by something like a steroid, hormone, diuretic, IV or anything else associated with performance-enhancers.

Now why would people think cocaine when it comes to a failed drug test for Jones? He tested positive for coke a month before his last fight against Cormier in Jan. 2015 and ended up going to rehab (for a day). Some are speculating that his positive test could have been triggered by a tainted supplement.

Glove touch to Bloody Elbow

Stephanie McMahon: WWE ‘not supporting’ Brock Lesnar’s UFC fight

Brock Lesnar

WWE officials have agreed to allow Brock Lesnar to return to the Octagon to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200, but that does not mean they are pleased about it.

In a recent interview with Lara O’Reilly of Business Insider, WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter, was asked about Lesnar’s upcoming MMA fight. She referred to it as a “special case” and made it clear that the big wigs at the WWE are not thrilled about it.

“In Brock Lesnar’s case it was really a special case that we are allowing him to do this fight,” McMahon said. “But like you said it’s not really a cross-promotional opportunity, but we are allowing him to participate in that fight.

“We are not supporting the fight necessarily but, again, it’s not a competitor to us and the more that our superstars, that’s how we refer to our talent, the more they do outside of WWE, the more awareness it generates and the broader the audience can be that is then brought back into our properties. So we recognize the value of that.”

Shortly after the announcement was made that Lesnar was returning for UFC 200, we gave you some insight explaining how Brock may have worked a UFC option into his latest WWE contract. Since UFC 200 is not a co-promotion for the UFC and WWE, it seems even more likely that Lesnar has that option. Otherwise, the McMahons probably would not have allowed him to risk his health.

If Lesnar does have a UFC option in his contract, you have to wonder if it’s only for one fight. It would make sense for that one fight to be at UFC 200.

H/T Black Sports Online

Cyborg says she would ‘kill’ Ronda Rousey

Cris-Cyborg-Justino

Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is still trying to talk her way into a fight with Ronda Rousey, and she says she would even give up a shot at the current champ to fight the former champ.

In an interview with TMZ this week, Cyborg was asked if she would rather fight Rousey or Miesha Tate, who defeated Holly Holm back in March to claim the UFC women’s bantamweight title.

“Me and Ronda have a novella together,” Cyborg explained. “You have to finish a novella. Everybody wants to watch this fight. If you ask all the fans who they want to see, I think they want to see Ronda Rousey and Cyborg.

“I don’t know, maybe she’s scared. She’s had a lot of opportunities to fight me and she’s always hiding.”

And how would the novella end?

“I kill her, for sure” Cyborg said. “I would put everything she has said about me in my hands.”

Cyborg dominated Leslie Smith in her UFC debut last month. That fight was held at a catchweight of 140, and UFC president Dana White has said in the past that Rousey and Cyborg will fight as soon as Cyborg gets down to 135 pounds. Rousey has always cited Cyborg’s positive steroids test as a reason she does not want to fight her.

It remains unlikely that we will ever see Rousey and Cyborg in the Octagon together, regardless of how many cringeworthy shots like this Cyborg takes at Ronda. Rousey is expected to return to action later this year against whoever the champ is at the time.

UFC reportedly sells for $4 billion to group that includes Robert Kraft

UFCThe UFC has reportedly been sold for somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion.

Flo Combat’s Jeremy Blotter, who has been all over the news of the UFC accepting bids, reports that a deal was finalized on Sunday night during a meeting between Lorenzo Fertitta, William Morris Endeavor-IMG CEO Ari Emanuel and other executives. WME-IMG is reportedly leading the investment group that has agreed to purchase the UFC.

The investment group is also said to include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and two companies from China.

Dana White, who owns roughly 9 percent of the UFC, will reportedly take his payout from the sale and be granted an ownership stake while continuing with his role as president and promoter. If the sale price is accurate, White stands to pocket north of $300 million while also keeping his current job.

The UFC has done nothing but deny that the company is — or was — for sale and accepting bids, and they even went as far as to send Botter a legal notice trying to silence him. Remember, this is the same organization that banned one of MMA’s best reporters for reporting news before the UFC got to announce it.

Jeremy Botter says UFC sent him legal letter about sale report

UFCThe UFC has been on a rampage of late to try controlling all the big news surrounding the company. Their latest tactic includes sending a legal letter to Flo Combat’s Jeremy Botter, likely in an effort to shut him up over his report of the progress of the company’s sale.

In the past few days, Botter reported in great detail about the bids the UFC had received as it explores a sale of the company. On Monday he said the top bid had been accepted.

In response to the report, the UFC sent out an internal memo to employees denying Flo Combat’s report.

“A report today by FloCombat.com indicating that the company has been sold is false,” the email read per MMA Junkie. “This follows other false speculation in the press recently.

“Such misrepresentation of facts in the media negatively impacts our business, staff members and athletes. We have instructed our attorneys to investigate and take all appropriate legal actions against the parties publishing and contributing to these false stories.

“With International Fight Week and the historic UFC 200 rapidly approaching, we look forward to once again delivering a series of events that our fans won’t soon forget. We appreciate your hard work, diligence and commitment, and thank you for your focus as we continue to take the sport to new heights.”

Well, since they said in the email they instructed attorneys to investigate and take action against parties publishing stories, it’s no surprise that Botter says he received a letter from the UFC.

Fight Opinion points out that Botter could respond with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit, because the message from the UFC is that Flo Combat’s report is false. (An anti-SLAPP motion is one that seeks to fight the attempt of someone to shut the public up by threatening them with lawsuits). Of course, the UFC has done nothing but deny deny deny that the company is in the process of soliciting bidders for a sale despite reportedly hiring Goldman Sachs to handle the process. And Botter/Flo Combat never actually reported the company was sold; he only said a top bid was accepted. It’s a small difference, but a significant one.

The UFC has made its living by controlling everything. They’ve become so big and so huge that it’s harder and harder to control things like what fighters say in interviews; whether news breaks the way they want it to; and what reporters are saying. That is difficult for them because they believe they should be able to run their business without any outside interference. My guess is they may have also promised “exclusives” to some of their news partners e.g. ESPN etc., so when other outlets intercept the news and ruin the exclusives (like Ariel Helwani), it makes it impossible for them to deliver on promises. In that case, the UFC would be to blame for making promises that are simply too tough to keep.

What the UFC fails to understand is that the media does not exist to cooperate with them; it’s there to report on the ongoings of their business. If such business includes them booking Brock Lesnar for a return to the Octagon, or the company accepting a bid, they should understand both constitute BIG NEWS. They just need to accept that the media will report things. Of course it’s in their interest to deny and keep a lid on things, because they don’t want their employees being confused. I’ve worked for companies that were sold, and it’s hard to keep employees focused during times of confusion. I understand their reasons for acting the way they do. But they can’t keep trying to intimidate every media outlet that reports on their business with either legal action or by taking away credentials; they just need to accept they cannot control the information the media reports about them. Until they learn that lesson, they will be viewed as a second-rate organization that uses tactics such as bullying and intimidation.

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Miesha Tate jabs Ronda Rousey in interview with Conan

Miesha Tate

Miesha Tate has long had a contentious rivalry with Ronda Rousey, so it’s no surprise she’s poking her competitor once again.

Tate was interviewed by Conan this week ahead of her UFC 200 fight against Amanda Nunes next month. During the interview she was asked about potentially fighting Rousey for a third time.

“I’m at the best point in my career and she’s at the worst, so I think that I bring a level of confidence,” Tate told Conan. “I’ve been defeated before and I’ve come back stronger for it. And I question whether [Rousey] will be able to do the same.

“She seems awfully pouty about the loss and it’s like, we’ve all had losses. Either you get up and get back on the horse and come back stronger for it, or you sit out for over a year.”

That was a clear shot from Tate aimed at Rousey, who hasn’t fought since losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November and does not look like she’s going to fight for a while. To be fair, more than just the loss, Rousey had a jaw injury that needed to heal, and she recently had a procedure on her knee, so some of the time off was necessary to recover.

While we understand Tate puffing her chest out now that she’s the champion — and exchanging trash talk with Rousey is something the two have always done — let’s not forget that Ronda is 2-0 against Tate and has essentially owned her. Maybe Tate should save her trash talking for someone she has actually beaten.

Top bid for UFC reportedly near $4.19 billion, likely to be accepted

UFC

Talk of a UFC sale continues to persist, with a new report claiming that the organization is set to become the most valuable sports franchise in the world.

According to Jeremy Botter of FloSports, the highest bid for UFC came in at $4.19 billion, higher than the asking price. Dana White would reportedly remain in his role and the operation would continue largely as it has, with further growth, likely into China.

White denied the report, though that doesn’t necessarily indicate anything. No formal announcement is likely until after UFC 200 at the earliest.

These rumors are largely consistent with the other stories that have been floating around in recent days, and where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. It would be one heck of a profit for the Fertittas, who purchased the company for just $2 million 15 years ago.