UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones Charged with Battery
By: Jesse Donathan
Jon Jones is in trouble again. If it seems like you’ve heard this song and dance before, it’s because you have. Just when the mixed martial arts community was coming around to the notion Jones finally hadn’t failed a pre or post fight test for performance enhancing drug use following his latest matchup against Thiago Santos; Jon inevitably finds himself back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons once again.
According to a July 21, 2019 KRQE News 13 report titled, “Jon ‘Bones’ Jones claims to be unaware of battery charge, warrant until now,” author Jeannie Nguyen writes that, “A popular UFC fighter from Albuquerque with a criminal history, now finds himself in more trouble. Jon “Bones” Jones has been slapped with a battery charge for an incident that happened at a strip club in April.”
For those familiar Jones’s past, claiming complete ignorance about the charge might sound like a hard pill to swallow. The center of controversy in and outside the cage throughout his career, according to KRQE News 13, “This isn’t Jones’ first run-in with the law here in Albuquerque. Back in 2015, he was convicted of leaving the scene after crashing into a car and injuring a pregnant woman.”
With a well-documented history of criminal mischief, a 2018 bloodyelbow.com report titled, “Jon Jones admitted to cocaine use throughout 2017 during USADA arbitration,” went on to note that, “Jon Jones had a well-publicized positive test for cocaine metabolites stemming from a 2014 test ahead of UFC 182.” According to Bloody Elbow, “The arbitration hearing for Jon Jones’ suspension discovered the former UFC champion continued to use cocaine both before and after his positive test for Turinabol, resulting in another stint in rehab.”
“About two weeks ago, Jones was defending his UFC Light Heavyweight Title against Thiago Santos,” writes Nguyen. But according to KRQE News 13, “While the spotlight was on him in Las Vegas, there was a bench warrant for his arrest at the time.” According to the report, Jones was at TD’s Eubank Showclub in April when the incident occurred. “A cocktail waitress called officers to her home and told them Jones slapped her inappropriately, and pulled her down to his lap and kissed her neck, while she was at work.”
As if the allegations couldn’t get any worse, according to KRQE, “The waitress told police he also placed her in a chokehold and picked her up off the ground. When she told him to stop, Jones allegedly kept touching her until he decided to leave. He was then charged with battery.” KRQE went on to publish the following message from Jones’s spokesperson James Hallinan:
“Today, the media told Mr. Jones about a false accusation launched against him and that paperwork had been sent to an incorrect address. However, after receiving the documents from the press, Mr. Jones immediately went to pay the small fee, and he, and multiple witnesses, stand ready to factually refute the malicious lies being told about him to the public.”
“Since Jones went to pay the cash bond on Sunday, his warrant has been lifted. APD says they never arrested him because they’re not normally made aware of petty misdemeanor warrants like this,” writes Nguyen.
Jones won a controversial split decision over Brazilian Thiago Santos earlier this month. It was a much more competitive fight than many fans and pundits expected, leaving Santos with a new found respect in the mixed martial arts community despite coming up short on the judges score cards. This latest legal setback for Jones is just an indicator of what kind of non-championship lifestyle he is living outside the cage.
Which, if his recent performance against Santos is any indicator, is indicative of his inevitable fall from light heavyweight glory unless he cleans his act up soon. Perhaps the greatest fighter the sport has ever seen, one can only rest on their laurels for so long in the club before a new kid on the block shows up to take your crown.
UFC 239 Preview: Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos
By: Jesse Donathan
This weekend’s UFC 239 is one of the best cards of the year, available on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) it features a stacked lineup of fights sure to deliver plenty of bang for your buck to those who enjoy watching the best athletes in the sport of mixed martial arts today compete. The main event features the unstoppable Jon Jones versus the feared KO artist Thiago “Marreta” Santos in a showdown for the light heavyweight crown. The co-main event features women’s two-division champion Amanda Nunes versus the legendary Holly Holm in a bantamweight championship affair. Also on the card is undefeated wrestling sensation Ben Askren who will take on the bruiser Jorge Masvidal and Luke Rockhold debuts at light heavyweight to challenge All-Violence First Team selection Jan Blachowicz.
A battle between the Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight tournament winner Diego Sanchez and The Ultimate Fighter: Live winner Michael Chiesa is also set to take place at UFC 239. Sanchez is enjoying a two-fight winning streak in a long, storied career while Chiesa last tasted victory in his late 2018 welterweight debut against the always tough Carlos Condit by submission following a tough run in the UFC’s lightweight division. The card is scheduled to be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada July 6th, 2019 with the main card kicking off at 10pm.
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos
Seemingly, the only man that can beat Jon Jones in the light heavyweight division is Jon Jones (24-1, 10 KOs). Perhaps the greatest fighter the sport has ever known, Jones’ career has been riddled with troubles both in and out of the ring including a series of performance enhancing drug failures which will forever haunt the light heavyweight kings enduring legacy. Though officially there is no news of a current Jon Jones positive drug test result, there are many on social media who believe it’s only a matter of time before news breaks of an impending positive test for Turinabol metabolites in Jones’s system. While we all certainly hope that isn’t the case, anything short of a dominant performance against the challenger Thiago “Marreta” Santos will come as a surprise to many.
With a record of 21-6, the Rio De Janeiro, Brazil native Thiago Santos is a fierce striker with 15 KO/TKO victories to his credit. Santos comes to bang, a born finisher “Marreta” last tasted defeat just over a year ago at UFC Fight Night 128 in a middleweight contest to David Branch. A fighter you do not have to look for in the cage, Santos went out on his shield against the always dangerous Branch, losing by KO to the Team Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu competitor. Whether or not the weight cut had an effect on Santos’s performance remains to be seen, but since that time the Brazilian dynamo has rattled off four straight victories to earn his turn in the Jon Jones demolition rodeo.
Viewed by many as a lamb being led to slaughter, Santos’s style is custom made for the mobile and diversified striking master Jones who should be able to pick Santos off with relative ease. Likely not news to Thiago Santos, we can expect a game plan from the Brazilian that centers around closing the distance and sealing the deal early against Jackson-Wink MMA representative. Otherwise, look for Santos to fade early and become ripe for the picking to a Jon Jones who will look begin to look like the Predator out there in the cage. It doesn’t take Ms. Cleo to predict someone is going to the hospital after this fight and there is a pretty good chance its not going to be Jon Jones.
Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm
Ric Flair once said, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” And that is exactly what UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (17-4-0, 12 KOs) did in stopping the sports most feared female competitor Cris “Cyborg” Justino in just under a minute at UFC 232. It was as emphatic as it was convincing, Nunes left no doubt who the better fighter was that night in capturing Justino’s featherweight title in route to becoming the sports first female two-division champion. Since that time, Nunes has been showered with praise as perhaps the sport’s greatest of all-time competitor, despite the fact “Cyborg” went undefeated and was feared in the sport for an unparalleled 13-year run. Nunes will meet “The Preachers Daughter” Saturday night; former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm in UFC 232’s co-main event.
A member of the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame, Holm is among the most decorated boxing champions the sport has ever seen who ended her career with an impressive 33-2-3 record. Holm is the real warrior princess, most notably associated as the woman to dethrone UFC superstar Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. This feat alone will forever immortalize “The Preachers Daughter” as a UFC legend in her own right. It was a fight that saw Holm enter the Matrix, outclassing Rousey in the standup department in route to the shot heard around the world that sent Rousey crashing to the canvas, unconscious. The victim of a perfectly executed Holm left high kick.
Though Nunes is capable of stopping Holm, “The Preacher’s Daughter” is a professor of the sweet science and comes well prepared to handle her business in the ring or cage. A Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt, it will be to Nunes’ advantage to make this a mixed martial arts contest instead of attempting to outpoint Holm in a standup contest. The fight will be contested in the UFC’s 135-pound bantamweight division, the champion Nunes opened up as the betting favorite to bring both of her titles back home to Florida when its all said and done.
Ben Askren Vs. Jorge Masvidal
A 2008 Olympian, Ben Askren is Dan Hodge Award winner and the undefeated former ONE Championship welterweight champion. Askren arrived in the UFC via a ground breaking, blockbuster trade with ONE Championship that saw the now former UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson traded to ONE in exchange for the rights to Askren. A dominant wrestler who will drag you into deep waters before drowning you, Askren is one of the greatest collegiate wrestlers of our time with a style custom made for mixed martial arts.
In his way is perennial welterweight bad boy Jorge Masvidal. A no nonsense kind of guy, Masvidal is perhaps best known as a street fighter who bested Kimbo Slice protégé Ray in a street fight video that went viral over a decade ago. A top welterweight competitor, Masvidal will stand and bang with anyone in the welterweight division and possesses an impressive defensive submission ability once the inevitable takedown occurs from his often times outmatched opponents. Unfortunately for Masvidal, the kind of grappling Askren brings to the table is not a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu based style of attack, but instead a unique version of American folk style wrestling that has served Askren well in bending his opponents will to his devices. It’s a classic striker versus grappler matchup with title shot implications.
Luke Rockhold vs. Jan Blachowicz
A former KSW light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (23-8, 5 KOs) is a fighter’s fighter who won the KSW 9 tournament, defeating three opponents in one night to take home the tournament crown. Before falling to challenger Thiago Santos in February, Blachowicz was on a four-fight win streak in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and is looking to rebound Saturday night against former middleweight contender Luke Rockhold (16-4, 6 KOs). Not a fighter to be taken lightly, Rockhold will have his hands full in dealing with a Jan Blachowicz who hasn’t lost back-to-back fights in over two years.
A Ralph Lauren cologne model, Rockhold is making his UFC light heavyweight debut after a career in the middleweight division that saw the American Kickboxing Academy representative fight some of the best in the business. With his eye on Jon Jones, Rockhold faces Blachowicz in a litmus test to see how Rockhold fairs in a new division without the dangerous and taxing weight cuts that accompanied his time in the middleweight division. With his eye on Jon Jones, Blachowicz will essentially be filling gatekeeper duties in order to find out what if anything Rockhold has left in the tank in a bid for light heavyweight title contention.
A complete mixed martial artist with a nasty ground game, Rockhold possesses the ability to compete anywhere Blachowicz wants to take the fight. It should be a competitive contest that answers a lot of questions about Rockhold’s future in the promotion. If Rockhold can’t get it done at light heavyweight after fleeing the UFC’s middleweight division, taking super fight’s against elite UFC competition may be among the only options Rockhold has left outside of hanging them up and looking for a cage side commentary position.
Jon Jones Unwilling to Concede Size, Strength Advantage to Cormier at Heavyweight
By: Jesse Donathan
In a May 14, 2019 MMAnews.com article titled, “Jon Jones Reveals Why He’s Not Moving Up to Heavyweight to Fight Daniel Cormier,” author Damon Martin writes, “Jon Jones may not like Daniel Cormier very much but he’s smart enough to respect his skills.” According to Martin, Jones realizes Daniel Cormier would have the advantage at heavyweight and refuses to concede ground to the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
“I’m a realist. Daniel Cormier’s a special athlete and everyone can be beat and I think my greatest fear would be losing to a guy like Daniel Cormier with giving him a power and strength advantage over me,” Jones said when speaking to UFC color commentator Dan Hardy. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Jones and Cormier have a storied history together, with the two first having met in the Octagon in early 2015 at UFC 182, a fight Jones won by unanimous decision. According to a July 7, 2016 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Opinion – Don’t cry for Jon Jones: Canceled UFC 200 main event is Daniel Cormier’s loss,” author Connor Ruebusch wrote:
“Jones had beaten Cormier once before, in January of 2015. It was shortly after that win, arguably the greatest of his career, that Jones’ world began to crumble. News of Jones’ cocaine habit emerged just days after the Cormier fight. Those same tests revealed that the champion also showed suspicious hormone levels that may or may not have indicated steroid use.”
As BoxingInsider.com previously reported in, “A Closer Look at Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports,” not only did Jones show, “suspicious hormone levels,” but Daniel Cormier himself was well below the average 1:1 testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) ratio considered the benchmark medical standard for normal.
Ariel Helwani wrote in his January 8, 2015 MMAfighting.com article titled, “Nevada Athletic Commission head: Jon Jones’ testosterone clean prior to UFC 182; carbon isotope ratio test conducted,” that the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier passed both of his USADA administered tests in the lead up to the fight, writing, “Cormier, Jones’ opponent at UFC 182, had a T/E ratio of .4 on Dec. 2 and .48 on Dec. 17. Cormier passed both those tests.” Comparatively, according to MMAfighting.com, “some have pointed to Jones’ testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio in the three tests made public this week as a cause for concern.
According to Helwani, “On Dec. 4, Jones’ T/E ratios came up as .29 and .35. Jones actually took two drug tests that day because, according to Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, his first urine sample was “watery.” On Dec. 18, his T/E ratio came up as .19. Clearly, all three ratios were below that of the average male.”
So, while Jones is unwilling to concede a strength and size advantage to Cormier at heavyweight, the truth is he was unwilling to do so at light heavyweight as well. Consistently testing positive for banned, prohibited substances throughout his tenure as perhaps the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen. But if, “all three ratios were below that of the average male,” as reported by MMAFighting.com and, “some have pointed to Jones’s T/E ratio in the three tests made public this week as cause for concern,” then Cormier’s hormone levels were also, “cause for concern.” With Cormier testing out at .40 and .48 T/E in comparison to the normal 1:1 ratio. The only difference between Jones and Cormier’s test results being that Jones’s results were more concerning.
There is a mass psychosis in professional sports, where the perpetually naïve fans operate under the paradigm that the vast majority of professional athletes are clean, free of prohibited drug use and abuse. And when an athlete does pop positive for a banned substance, they are the black sheep of the organization, cheaters that somehow undermined the sanctity of their prohibited, banned substance free sport that surely must exist. Yet, time and time again, athletes across the board in competitive sports test positive one by one for banned, prohibited substance. Somehow though, the paradigm never changes that the sporting industry remains free of drug use and its only the bad apples spoiling the entire batch for everyone else.
In an August 11, 2008 spiegel.de interview with former Marion Jones coach Angel Heredia titled, “The Dealer Olympias,” Spiegel would ask Heredia if he was going to watch the 2008 Beijing Olympic 100-meter final. “Of course,” Heredia replied before continuing, “but the winner will not be clean. Not even any of the contestants will be clean.” According to Spiegel, “Of eight runners,” in an open-ended question to Heredia, “eight will be doped,” in Heredia’s estimation. Yet, time and time again fans, pundits and various organizations and associations alike perpetuate the myth of a clean sporting event.
And within this mass psychosis, is the mechanism itself that allows other athletes to fly under the radar. As long as everyone thinks its only the guys who get caught that are cheating, it allows the other athletes who are fortunate enough not to get caught to reap the rewards of their own performance enhancing drug use despite the fact deep down inside, when the fears of legal repercussions and politically correct based peer pressure recede; all but the most naïve among us know the real truth yet we still dwell in the fantasy rainbows, unicorns and lollipop fantasy based mass psychosis of a clean field of play.
According to an August 12, 2009 mmajunkie.com article titled, “U.S. Olympic wrestling team captain Daniel Cormier announces move to MMA,” it was reported that, “Cormier’s wrestling accomplishments are in no short supply.” MMAjunkie.com would go on to write that, “Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian and the U.S. squad’s 2008 Olympic team captain, was a two-time JUCO national champion and NCAA Division I runner-up at Oklahoma State University in 2001.”
Cormier is famously undefeated at heavyweight, having moved down to light heavyweight to avoid cramping teammate Cain Velasquez’s reign as UFC Heavyweight Champion in an honorable display of friendship, respect and loyalty to someone who welcomed Cormier with open arms to the American Kicking Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California. Today, Velasquez is quite a long way away from another UFC heavyweight title shot and according to Cormier himself, his own career is nearing its completion.
While admirable, I always thought Cormier’s move to light heavyweight was a mistake. While I was sure he would be successful there, and barring two fights with a performance enhancing drug using Jon Jones, he was, I see no reason for Cormier to fight Jon Jones at light heavyweight again.
Cormier was and still is undefeated at heavyweight, the only two blemishes on his professional mixed martial arts career are to an asterisks Jon Jones. Cormier is in the driver’s seat here, not Jon Jones. If they are to fight again, the only weight class I am interested in seeing the fight take place is at heavyweight. And if Jones’ is unwilling to concede a size and strength advantage to Cormier, despite Cormier doing exactly that not once, but twice against a performance enhanced Jon Jones, then I do not really see a reason to continue talking about this fight beyond the fact the UFC would surely like to make it happen one way or another.
UFC 235 Results: Jones Shuts Smith Down
By: Jesse Donathan
Incredibly, Jon Jones was licensed to fight at UFC 235 despite failing his NSAC prescribed drug test, testing positive once again for picograms of a metabolite associated with the banned performance enhancing drug Turinabol leading up to his successful title defense Saturday night against challenger Anthony Smith. According to a February 28, 2019 sherdog.com article titled, “Jon Jones cleared for UFC 235 despite adverse findings in drug tests” author Jay Pettry writes, “Jones has been tested six times since the beginning of February. Two of those tests did find 20 and 40 picogram/milliliter levels of (DHCMT M3) metabolites from (the) banned substance Turinabol, which have been found repeatedly in his system since his positive test in 2017.” Pettry would go on to quote Dr. Daniel Eichner of the Sports Medicine and Research Laboratory as stating, “There is no scientific or medical evidence that the athlete (Jones) would have an unfair advantage leading up to, or for, his contest scheduled on March 2, 2019” in elaborating on how it came to be that Jones was licensed despite flagged urinalysis test results.
Interestingly, Jones’s latest flagged test results of 40 picograms/milliliter levels of Turinabol metabolites is greater than his previously flagged test results of Turinabol from December, 2018. According to a fansided.com article titled, “UFC 232 VADA test results reveal steroid metabolites for Jon Jones” author Drake Riggs writes, “the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) confirmed via MMAFighting that Jones had 33 picograms of 4-chloro-18-nor-17β-hydroxymethyl,17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol (M3) (or DHMCT) in his system.” For those of us who are not aware, Turinabol has a half-life of 16 hours. Google defines half-life as, “the time required for any specified property (e.g. the concentration of a substance in the body) to decrease by half.” If Jones is clean, why are his levels of Turinabol metabolites increasing when in theory his levels should be decreasing on their way to being completely expunged from his body?
According to a November 11, 2011 article title, “Detection and Mass Spectrometric characterization of novel long-term dehydrochloromethyltestosterone metabolites in human urine” featured in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology authors Tim Sobolevsky and Grigory Rodchenov write:
“Our study has shown that the metabolite M3 and, to a lesser extent, its epimer and M4 are the most long-term metabolites of DHCMT. Taking into account that I and II are reportedly detectable up to 22 days post administration [3,9] and that the relative concentration of M3 in DHCMT post administration urines is normally higher compared to I and II, the detection window of M3 could be estimated as 40–50 days, while M1, M2 and M4 are at least as valuable as I and II. An additional controlled excretion study is needed to fully evaluate the time at which novel metabolites can be detected.”
More than 50 days have passed since December 09, 2018 alone. In short, Jon Jones has essentially been given the greenlight to compete with trace amounts of Turinabol, a performance enhancing drug, in his system despite the fact there are more questions than answers surrounding his flagged urinalysis results. For all we know, Jones has the right people behind him to mask the Turinabol in his system to nearly undetectable levels and that is what we are repeatedly seeing in the flagged test results. Yet Jones is given the benefit of the doubt and cleared to compete anyway despite being a habitual offender.
What the commissions, USADA and the UFC have given us is plausible deniability, theories about the presence of these metabolites in his system yet no conclusive evidence has been brought forward that Jones is not cheating beyond educated opinion. What we do have are flagged drug tests, yet Jones is given the benefit of the doubt instead of the commissions airing on the side of caution with consideration to the potential health hazards of his opponents who are putting their lives on the line based on theories, not facts, in competing against a known dirty fighter.
This is unarmed combat, not competitive dance. People have died as a result of beatings accrued in the ring and cage, yet a confirmed performance enhancing drug user is allowed to compete despite flagged test result. If anyone thinks for one second Jones isn’t being given preferential treatment because he just happens to be the best fighter we have ever seen then you are sadly mistaken. This isn’t just another athlete, its Jon Jones, the best fighter on the planet, flagged for metabolites of performance enhancing drugs, and those who count the most can’t possibly draw a correlation between the two facts? Instead, they are allowing this fighter to beat the hell out of other professional fighters who are presumably playing by the same rules in which Jones has shown such disregard for?
This is very irresponsible behavior from all parties involved and while I am not out to get Jon Jones, I am however calling it as I see it. The fact that he has been continuously licensed, despite numerous flagged tests results, is hypocritical of the commissions and absurd no matter how you want to shake a stick at it. These are unconscionable decisions from the NSAC. Either a zero-tolerance policy needs to be instituted or the entire performance enhancing drug paradigm needs to be re-evaluated. This perverted idea of fairness looks more like a green light to cheat more and more each time Jones has another test flagged for atypical results yet is still licensed to fight anyway somehow.
Interestingly, a pattern is beginning to emerge in the flagged test results from Jones. According to the Pettry article, Jones passed the tests which were administered on 02/01/19 and 02/09/19 respectively but promptly failed the administered tests on 02/14/19 and 02/15/19. Jones successfully defended his title March 2, making this latest round of failed tests occurring roughly two weeks before his scheduled fight with Anthony Smith. According to a December 29, 2018 MMAFighting.com article titled, “The science of ‘Bones’: An in-depth look at Jon Jones’ drug-test findings, why he’ll be able to fight at UFC 232” author Marc Raimondi cites information provided by Oliver Catlin, an anti-doping expert, who himself cited retired former USADA Director of Science, Dr. Larry Bowers, as stating, “In conclusion, I cannot determine with any certainty when, at what dose, or what chlorinated anabolic steroid was ingested that gave rise to the July, 2017 result,” Bowers wrote. “Based on the data provided, I conclude that no DHCMT exposure occurred between August, 2018 and December, 2018. I cannot exclude the possibility that the December 9, 2018 result arose from an exposure before July, 2017.”
Jones competed at UFC 232 on December 29, approximately three weeks out from his flagged test results on December 9. It would appear Jones is “pulsing” just weeks before his scheduled fights, but cruising right along and passing his tests with no scheduled fights in his immediate future. I would call it convenient, but my opinion is the actual truth is that Jon Jones is not clean. He is still using performance enhancing drugs and the commissions are essentially giving him the green light to compete dirty anyway. Even the vague appearance of impropriety should be enough for the commissions to avoid any such behavior, yet apparently, they are not here to protect the safety of the fighters but rather to protect the interests of the promotion which is ultimately a huge revenue generating machine for the commission themselves. There is a symbiotic relationship between these two entities where there should be clear and well-defined boundaries.
Jones (24-1) convincingly defeated the challenger Anthony Smith (31-14), shutting down the very experienced veteran in nearly every facet of the game in route to a unanimous decision victory. It was a complete shut out, though Smith can take solace in the fact he went the distance with the best fighter on the planet and wasn’t stopped even in the face of the overwhelming 14:1 betting odds against him. Despite the dominant Jones victory, I cannot help but wonder what the result would have been like if Smith had been allowed to administer 40 picograms/milliliter of Turinabol just prior to the contest, creating a truly level, fair playing field.
Colby Covington’s Life Threatened by Abdelaziz
Leading up to UFC 235 during fight week, former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington (14-1), the UFC’s #1 ranked contender in the welterweight division crashed the #2 ranked Kamaru Usman’s (15-1) UFC 235 open workout Thursday as detailed in a MMAFighting.com Tweet featuring video of Covington on a bullhorn reminding Usman and the crowd that the real champ was there. It was a ballsy and bold move, absolutely brilliant, and exactly what the doctor ordered to remind the world of who Colby Covington is. This was shameless self-promotion, but brilliantly executed nonetheless.
Covington is a marketing genius and its shenanigans like this that explain why an unnecessary interim title was created for him and why Dana White brought him to the White House to meet President Donald Trump. The guy is a star in the making and the exact kind of athlete people love to hate.
The very public narrative from Covington of having been cheated out of a title spot, “corruption” as Covington put it to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, is a little more than smoke and mirrors. It is a page taken straight out of the professional wrestling big book of promotion to create a story line and drama for the fans and media who eat this kind of entertainment up hook, line and sinker. Not surprisingly, despite calling Dana White “Uncle Fester” and insisting the UFC President doesn’t want to talk to him, Covington believes he is next in line for a title shot. This is likely the case considering Covington has reaped the rewards of sitting back and watching as one of the divisions two toughest fighters was sent to the back of the line Saturday night in now former champion Tyron Woodley (19-4-1), who was dominated start to finish by Usman in route to a majority decision victory. There is no way anyone will ever convince me this entire charade wasn’t just smoke and mirrors in order to mask the UFC’s true intentions of opening up the landscape in order to clear the way as much as possible for a Covington welterweight title run. This is a page right out of Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s play book, where a public feud between the two originating in the late ‘90s brought massive ratings for the WWF, which ultimately translated into dollar signs for everyone involved.
In a not so staged, very real-life drama that unfolded the next day after UFC 235 at a buffet in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, newly crowned welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, his manager Ali Abdelaziz and members of their entourage can be seen in a TMZ video that surfaced online late Sunday afternoon of the team getting into an altercation with former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington, who appears to be outnumbered though surrounded by innocent bystanders caught in the ensuing melee.
At one point, the incident turned chaotic and violent with Abdelaziz appearing to sucker punch a patron who was caught in the crossfire with their back turned no less to the Usman entourage. This isn’t the first time Abdelaziz and Usman have been involved in public altercations, with an earlier incident at a PFL event occurring just last year in 2018.
While these kinds of incidents make for sensational headlines, it’s also important to remember millions of impressionable youth look on and hang on to everything these fighters say and do. Covington would go on tell ESPN’s Ariel Helwani Monday that Abdelaziz threatened to shoot and kill him during the altercation, behavior which is completely unacceptable from anyone much less a manager to several of the UFC’s top fighters and champions.
Askren Big Brothers Lawler In Controversial Ending
The controversies outside the Octagon threatened to overshadow that events that actually took place in the cage, though one fight at UFC 235 managed to catch the public’s imagination for all the wrong reasons. Among the most anticipated matchups of the night at UFC 235 featured former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-13) take on the undefeated former Olympian Ben Askren (19-0), who had his hands full with the man they call “Ruthless.” Right off the bat, Askren looked to close the distance in an attempt to tie Lawler up for the takedown, nearly taking the former champions back before it was the Olympian Askren who ended up getting taken for a ride and violently slammed to the mat. A brief scramble ensued before it was Lawler who ended up on top, expertly pinning Askren’s arm behind his back as the former champion opened up a can of whoop ass on wrestling prodigy. A solid case could have been made for the fight to have been stopped right there, as Askren appeared knocked unconscious as he ate numerous unanswered blows. Whether that was the case or not, it certainly appeared Askren was out cold.
With Lawler bringing the heat, Askren eventually came to his senses and freed is arm, making his way to half guard before establishing an under hook which the Olympian used to make his way back to his feet. Askren absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment during the exchange, obviously busted up from the Lawler onslaught. From there, the two fighters briefly circled before quite a bit of standing grappling took place against the cage linked fence, each fighter jockeying for position before it was Askren who ended up grabbing a single leg and bringing the former welterweight champion down to the mat.
This is the point where quite a bit of controversy has sense brewed, after some brief wrestling Lawler’s arm appears to go limp after Askren tied him up in a bulldog big brother choke. Referee Herb Dean was faced with some tough decisions in a very short period of time, stop the fight due to the fact it appeared Robbie Lawler was getting chocked unconscious or allow the fight to go on despite the fact nobody could blame him for thinking Lawler was out cold.
The veteran referee Dean appeared to check on Lawler just in case right before ordering Askren to let Lawler go, stopping the fight with Askren winning by technical submission referee stoppage. It was a sensational, come from behind victory that Askren had to dig deep for, but instead his well-earned victory is forever overshadowed by controversy due to no fault of his own.
Initially, I thought the fight was stopped early but upon reviewing the instant replay from numerous angles, a luxury Dean didn’t have at the time, I believe Herb made the correct decision. Though one camera angle has surfaced which does appear to show Lawler giving Dean the thumbs up immediately prior to Herb stopping the fight. We are talking events which transpired within seconds. Lawler looked like he was out cold and Dean was perfectly within his rights to call the fight when he did. It can’t be easy being a referee and this latest decision from Dean is a good case in point.
Unfortunately for Herb there is an army of fans and pundits alike who disagree with the decision, including UFC President Dana White who publicly stated he didn’t believe Dean got the call right. It was a controversial decision, but based upon what Dean was seeing at the time and the fact Lawler’s arm did in fact appear to go limp, it was the correct call as far as I am concerned. And this is coming from someone who has been critical of Dean in the past. The real story here is Askren defeating the assassin specifically brought in to kick Ben’s ass. Mission accomplished, though the outcome wasn’t exactly what Dana was hoping for.
Munhoz Stops Garbrandt in Barn Burner, Johnny Walker Prevails Over Cirkunov
The two best fights of the night were former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (11-3) vs. Pedro Munhoz (18-3) and Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov (14-5). Garbrandt vs. Munhoz was a barn burner, with the former champion showing a true warrior spirit in going out on his shield in an absolute fire fight with Munhoz who ended up catching Garbrandt with a big shot and sending the former champion crashing to the canvas.
It was exactly the kind of fight the fans wanted to see, and win or lose, Cody Garbrandt makes it to my All-Violence First Team for ensuring the fans get to see exactly what they came for. This was an exciting fight everyone looks back fondly on despite the former champion having dropped three in a row now, two of which were back-to-back loses to the champion T.J. Dillashaw. I do not think that means as much as some might think when you’re consistently involved in some of the most exciting fights in the promotion on a regular basis. Garbrandt is a stud, though one who is going to need to evolve if he hopes to be able to escape serious traumatic brain injury later down the line.
The electrifying 6’6” Johnny Walker (17-3) made short work of the very tough Misha Cirkunov, briefly displaying a very unpredictable and unorthodox offensive game before absolutely blasting Cirkunov into another dimension with a flying knee that sent the Latvia fighter collapsing to the canvas. It was a very impressive performance and has put the rest of the light heavyweight division on notice that a new kid is in town. But the question remains, does Walker have the grappling acumen to compete with the Jonny “Bones” Jones’s of the world? That question remains to be seen, but it should be a wild ride on our way to finding out the answer.
NSAC Grants Jon Jones Conditional License to Compete at UFC 235 Against Anthony Smith
By: Jesse Donathan
Jon Jones continues to skid by on the skin of his teeth, on Tuesday January 29th the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) approved his licensure within the state of Nevada to continue fighting despite the presence of illegal, banned performance enhancing drugs in his system. The ruling is ultimately centered around the hypothesis that Jones has already been punished for his original transgressions and that his most recent drug testing failures were the results of lingering, residual effects from the original alleged accidental ingestion of Turinabol from legal, but contaminated substances. That original flagged test resulted in Jones’s UFC 214 victory against Daniel Cormier being overturned and Cormier reinstated as the UFC light heavyweight champion.
According to a January 29, 2019 sherdog.com article titled, “Jon Jones granted one-fight license by NAC, cleared for title defense at UFC 235” author Tristen Critchfield writes, “after lengthy testimony from a number of experts during an evidentiary hearing on Tuesday, Jones was licensed by the Nevada Athletic Commission, clearing the way for him to put his belt on the line against Anthony Smith on March 2 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.” Critchfield would go on to state among those experts was Dr. Daniel Eichner, Director of Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited lab. According to Critchfield, “The gist of Eichner’s testimony was the same as what he revealed in a letter to the California State Athletic Commission prior to UFC 232: There is no evidence that Jones re-ingested the banned substance.”
This, of course, is coming from a director of a WADA accredited lab, the same WADA that accredited the UCLA lab where all of Jon Jones’s December 29, 2018 fight night drug testing samples were sent to where two out of the three samples taken failed to detect any banned substances at all in Jon Jones’s system.
The Critchfield article would go on to state:
“Eichner added that the M3 metabolite of Turinabol does not have performance enhancing qualities on its own, and that if only the M3 metabolite is detected — and not parent compounds or shorter-term metabolites — it can be determined that the substance has not been taken for “a while.” However, Eicher said there is no exact timeframe for how long the M3 metabolite can be detected.”
As was previously reported, according to a January 25, 2019 Bad Guy Inc. YouTube video titled, “When did a failed drug test, stop being a ‘failed drug test’?” former UFC fighter and current ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen, someone who knows a thing or two about ingesting banned substances and NSAC disciplinary hearings, gave us his assessment of the situation:
“But now the question comes down to how three agencies test him all in the same night and two of them missed it. I’m a little confused how there isn’t a spotlight and a question mark on how USADA, with an 11-million-dollar yearly budget missed it on the same night that California, who then submitted it to the WADA lab at UCLA missed it but VADA who collected the sample on the same night, submitted it to the same lab caught it.”
In a January 29, 2019 usatoday.com piece titled, “Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones granted one-fight conditional license for UFC 235” by mmajunkie authors Steven Marrocco and John Morgan we learn that part of the requirements for the conditional licensing includes Jones financing and submitting to additional testing by the NSAC over the next 40 days, “or until the March 2 pay-per-view event.”
According to Marrocco and Morgan, NSAC Chairman Marnell and, “other commissioners harshly criticized USADA for withholding the results of two adverse findings in August and September 2018 that showed trace amounts of the M3 metabolite of oral Turinabol in Jones’ urine.” The NSAC chairman would go on to be quoted within the article as stating, “”The public ain’t buying this, and I’ll tell you, I ain’t buying this,” Marnell said. “It’s weak and it’s soft.”
Unfortunately for Marnell, not only is the public not buying this but the NSAC isn’t getting a pass either. Literally nothing has changed since UFC 232, where the NSAC refused to sanction Jones in the state of Nevada due to an “atypical” drug test result from Jones and the entire event was moved to The Forum in Inglewood, California in a highly publicized turn of events which saw the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) license Jones despite the NSAC’s refusal to do so. According to a December 28, 2019 mmafighting.com article titled, “CSAC was not given Jon Jones adverse finding information before December hearing” both USADA and the NSAC knew of the “atypical” result however that information was not shared with the CSAC who went on to license Jones to fight at UFC 232.
Now, we have learned Jones still had traces of an illegal, banned substance in his system following his failure of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) tests which were mandated by the CSAC. And unfortunately, since that time the NSAC has chosen to grant Jones a license while wagging their finger in the air despite the fact they’re hardly without fault themselves. In a recent interview with MMA Tonight on SiriusXM radio, UFC legend Chuck Liddell weighed in on the subject and stated, “If the rules say if you have any (steroids) in your system at all that you can’t fight then you can’t fight. Or change the rules.” Without a zero-tolerance policy or a complete overhaul of the banned performance enhancing drug paradigm everyone involved in allowing Jones to compete comes out looking like participants in a dog and pony show.
Jon Jones Fails CSAC Mandated VADA Drug Testing
By: Jesse Donathan
We don’t have to wait decades to debate whether Jon Jones is the greatest fighter to ever live, that argument is alive and well at this very moment and has been the subject of debate for some years now. Without question, Jones is one of the most spectacular talents the sport has ever seen. Jones is an electrifying fighter, someone with the ability to strike with the best strikers and to the surprise of many, even wrestle with the best wrestlers. Jon Jones is a prodigy, but unfortunately a prodigy whose legacy will forever be marred with accusations of performance enhancing drug use – cheating!
In a January 24, 2019 MMA Fighting article titled, “Alexander Gustafsson’s team says Jon Jones has “essentially received a ‘use exemption’ after UFC 232 positive drug test”. It was reported that Jon Jones, to nobodies surprise I might add, has once again tested positive for the banned substance Turinabol.
“MMA Fighting reported Wednesday that Jones tested positive for trace amounts of a long term metabolite of oral Turinabol in a Dec. 28 sample collected by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) on the day of UFC 232’s weigh-ins. The VADA test results discovered that Jones had 33 picograms in his system of the same M3 long term metabolite that was found in Jones’ system in three separate drug tests from August 2018 to early December, including a Dec. 9 drug test which prompted the UFC to uproot UFC 232’s entire event from Nevada to California on less than a week’s notice.”
In a January 25, 2019 Bad Guy Inc. YouTube video titled, “When did a failed drug test, stop being a ‘failed drug test’?” current Bellator fighter and ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen weighed in on the issue, stating:
“But now the question comes down to how three agencies test him all in the same night and two of them missed it. I’m a little confused how there isn’t a spotlight and a question mark on how USADA, with an 11-million-dollar yearly budget missed it on the same night that California, who then submitted it to the WADA lab at UCLA missed it but VADA who collected the sample on the same night, submitted it to the same lab caught it.”
Rather curiously, what Sonnen is referring to Jones’s December 29, 2019 fight night test administered by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) where Jon Jones’s test results came back completely devoid of any illegal performance enhancing drugs in his system. So, in summary Jones went from failing his Dec. 9th test for Turinabol, 60 picograms worth according to TSN UFC content editor Aaron Bronsteter to passing a December 29th test administered by the CSAC and USADA but failing the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) test, at 33 picograms of Turinabol; all of which were administered on the same night and sent to the exact same World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory. Sonnen is absolutely correct to suggest a spotlight should put on these contradictory test results, what exactly is going on here?
In Sonnen’s estimation, “Let’s just get to the conclusion right off the bat. The conclusion is they are correct, they are correct in their analysis and determination that Jon Jones is having residue, he is having left over trace amounts from a substance of which he was already punished for. That is true. And they are right to also conclude that there was no re-ingestion.”
While I am sure there is some highly paid “expert” currently pouring through his medical texts and scientific journals in an effort to contrive some cockamamie explanation as to why two of the three regulatory bodies missed the illegal, banned substance in Jones’s system its instances like these where a zero-tolerance policy across the board would go along way in quelling any suggestions or appearances of impropriety among the regulatory bodies ranks.
Jones has a long history with illegal performance enhancing drug use in his professional mixed martial arts career. According to a January 10, 2019 MMA Fighting article by Shaun Al-Shatti titled, “Jon Jones’ UFC 232 drug tests come back clean” Jones is no stranger to running afoul of the regulatory commissions.
“Jones, 31, is a two-time offender of the USADA testing program, having failed drug tests in both 2016 and 2017 in relation to fights against Daniel Cormier. Jones first tested positive for clomiphene, an anti-estrogenic substance, and letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, in July 2016 just days out from his scheduled UFC 200 fight against Cormier. He then tested positive for the anabolic agent oral Turinabol in a July 2017 test administered the day before his UFC 214 rematch against Cormier. Jones defeated Cormier via third-round knockout, however the result was subsequently overturned into a no contest.”
Fighters popping positive for performance enhancing drugs is nothing new, even under the USADA era of the UFC fighters are still testing positive for a litany of banned substances on a regular basis. The anti-doping measures undertaken by the UFC were always a feel-good measure, an attempt to treat a bullet wound with a band-aid. It was an effort to add further legitimacy to the sport in the eyes of the public, while refusing to recognize the inherent culture within not only mixed martial arts, but combat sports themselves, where people’s health and thus future depend on being as physically fit and prepared as possible for the realities and rigors of combat sports.
When the sports top draws, the biggest stars in the game, revenue shakers and money makers start succumbing to the feel-good measures put in place for aesthetic purposes only the bottom line starts to suffer. When the bottom line starts to suffer, the problems are quickly identified and solutions are found. In this case, the problem was the one of the organizations best fighters is perpetually testing positive for illegal, banned substances. The solution was to find scientific experts who were able to explain away the repeated positive tests so that the show can go on.
At UFC 232, the show could not go on in Nevada due to Jones’s atypical test result which the NSAC refused to sanction so they moved the circus to California. Here we are, weeks later and the specter of the outer limits known as UFC 232 is still in our peripheral vision. Something has to give, either a zero-tolerance policy needs to be adopted or the entire performance enhancing drug paradigm needs to be re-evaluated. The current model is leaving more questions than answers and, in a sport, where legitimacy has been a long fought, hard battle the question of impropriety in combat sports still remains.
UFC 232 In Review: The Outer Limits
By: Jesse Donathan
They say where there is smoke, there is fire. The oddities surrounding former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’s UFC 232 to rematch against Alexander Gustafsson has left me with the distinct feeling we have entered The Twilight Zone. If money is the root of all evil, then the absolutely bizarre circumstances leading up to the UFC 232 rematch between Jones and Gustafsson must mean the devil is laughing all the way to the bank. While the circus like exhibition didn’t just start in the lead up to UFC 232, but it has certainly manifested itself on full display for the public at large to observe and revel in its glorious insanity.
Searching for a good place to start, we look no further than Bad Guy Inc. CEO, former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen’s September 5, 2018 YouTube podcast excerpt titled, “Tainted Supplements, USUDA, Jon Jones and Madison Square Garden” where Sonnen elaborates on his personal experience in violating these same rules Jon Jones is accused of and his opinion on Jon Jones’s ultimate fate under the regulatory body’s disciplinary guidelines.
To tie this back in with Jon Jones, if he had a tainted supplement, they would be able within precedent to allow him to fight earlier than the two-year ban which would bring you which would be the four would be the minimum ban for a repeat offender which would bring you the summer of 2019. I don’t know of any other way that they could possibly find a way around it. I just don’t know. I will be learning something when and if they do it and I am predicting they will do it.
According to a September 20, 2018 cbssports.com article by Jake Crosby titled, “Jon Jones receives retroactive 15-month USADA suspension, eligible for UFC return in 2018” Jones was ultimately cleared to compete after it was ruled his positive test was the result of a tainted substance through no fault of his own.
The arbitrator found that Jones never intentionally or knowingly took steroids, and the result of the positive test was the result of a contaminated substance,” White said. “The science completely supports that finding. The science doesn’t lie, so I look forward to getting him back early next year.
Bloodyelbow.com mixed martial arts journalist Mookie Alexander remarked of the sentence, “absolute madness that this case has taken such a wacky turn,” in his September 19, 2018 piece titled, “Jon Jones gets 15-month USADA ban for Turinabol, eligible to return as early as UFC 230.” While getting his Jheri curls trimmed up down at the barbershop, “The Gangster from West Linn” Chael Sonnen remarked that he found the entire episode surrounding Jones’s sentence confusing according to his September 28, 2018 video “Was Jon Jones actually found innocent?”
There’s a three-strike rule with USADA and Jon already had a strike so this will be strike two. If he was in fact found innocent then it means he does not have a strike. And nowhere in that do I interpret that he was found innocent, but he used that word and it was a very confusing and surprising deliberation to start with.
Sonnen would later go on to say via YouTube on September 28, 2018 in his podcast video excerpt titled “Did Jones receive a reduced sentence then refuse to fight at MSG?” that Jones’s reduced sentence was just in time for the UFC’s main event at the Madison Square Garden card against Alexander Gustafsson but Jones refused the fight. They were trying to rush Jones right in against a very serious opponent in Gustafsson and the Jones camp was having no part of it.
They tried to make Gustafsson vs Jones. They tried to do that fight. Jon Jones got cleared, everybody went through the hoops, everybody did everything that they were supposed to do. Jon Jones didn’t want to do the fight that fast. Jon Jones did not want to go in and do the fight that fast.
Fast forward to UFC 232, Jones was finally set to rematch Alexander Gustafsson after leaving the UFC holding the ball at UFC 230 at Madison Square Gardens. This after receiving a reduced sentence after violating USADA anti-doping rules and then the unthinkable happened, again. According to a Washington Post article by Des Bieler titled, “UFC 232 hastily moved to Los Angeles after a Jon Jones drug test gets flagged in Nevada” Jon Jones has once again tested positive for the steroid Turinabol” and utter chaos ensued as a result. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) refused to license Jones and the entire event had to be relocated to an area just outside of Los Angeles, California where Jones could be licensed by the California State Athletic Commission despite the NSAC’s better judgement.
The catch is that Jones won’t be able to compete in Nevada, where UFC 232 was set to take place on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Instead, the entire event — comprising 13 fights in all, including a titanic battle between Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes — will be hastily moved to the Los Angeles-area Forum.
As if things couldn’t get any weirder, news breaks that referee Herb Dean has suffered an unspecified injury and is out of the UFC 232 circus act. According to Sherdog.com’s Tristen Critchfield’s December 26, 2018 article, “Mike Beltran Replaces Injured Herb Dean to Referee UFC 232 Main Event” that Dean, the NSAC’s originally assigned referee has went down and is out for the count.
According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Mike Beltran will replace Herb Dean as the official for the light heavyweight championship clash between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Dean, who was appointed by the Nevada Athletic Commission, suffered an injury and will not be able to work on Saturday night at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. UFC 232 was moved from Las Vegas to California when the NAC declined to license Jones.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any more bizarre, enter the UFC press conference leading up to the December 29 fight where the side show between the UFC and the MMA press corps was on full display. According to a December 27, 2018 bloodyelbow.com article written by Tim Burke titled, “UFC 232: Jon Jones rips female reporter for asking about positive tests: ‘Better journalism, you suck’” we find the bizarre nature surrounding UFC 232 simply knows no end.
When Izabelle Kostic of Swedish MMA outlet Kimura.se asked “How come this is the third time we’re actually taking focus from the fighters and the fights and talking about what you have in your body? Whether it’s a picogram or a pictogram, why have you tested now positive?”, Jones brushed it off and just said “next question” with a smile.
While watching the press conference video from the safety of my computer, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought there were professional agent provocateurs mingled amongst the crowd whose job it was to heckle and intimidate members of the press corps who may have been bold enough to ask legitimate questions concerning the completely bizarre events in the lead up to UFC 232. Swiss journalist Izabelle Kostic unfortunately received a first-hand lesson in how big-league sports politics are practiced and the extent in which the sports entertainment industry will go to deflect criticism and attempt to turn the tables on those questioning the perception of impropriety.
“Jones closed it out by saying “Better journalism, you suck,” writes Burke of the Swiss journalist Kostic’s experiences at the UFC 232 press conference with Jon Jones as Dana White lead the circus in undermining the veracity of the questions and the seriousness of the situation from the podium. Interestingly, news broke on December 27, 2018 that, “In the wake of a controversial drug test prior to UFC 232 involving Jon Jones, the UFC has renewed their contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency,” writes Nicole Bosco in her article titled “UFC, USADA contract extended, drug tests to increase” for fansided.com.
With Jones allegedly receiving a reduced sentence under the USADA regulatory guidelines only to leave the UFC out in the cold at UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden it is fascinating to explore the UFC’s renewed contract with USADA after Jones tests positive again for residual amounts of the same substance he was previously sanctioned for. The resulting penalty little more than the NSAC’s refusal to license Jones in the state of Nevada, forcing the UFC to relocate to California just outside Los Angeles and burdening many of those who had made previous plans to attend UFC 232 in Vegas. And in a bizarre twist of fate, with a new venue change in comes a new referee change as well.
Even the appearance of impropriety should be staunchly avoided, especially when your job is to add credibility to a sport whose reputation is that of one saturated in illegal performance enhancing drug use. According to a December 28, 2018 mymmanews.com article by Mike Pendleton, the “California State Athletic Commission was not informed of Jon Jones’s test findings before the license hearing in December” in a convenient all too transparent excuse as to why a fight with millions of dollars on the line is still being allowed to continue as scheduled despite a positive test for performance enhancing drugs as the regulatory bodies apparently look on and attempt to justify and excuse it. Pendleton would go on to write, “when asked why CSAC was not informed of the findings before their December 11th hearing with Jones”, the UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Development Jeff Novitzky replied:
Nevada knew at that time, but California didn’t. I mean, in hindsight, maybe USADA should have told CSAC. I’m definitely a proponent in as much transparency as possible. Unfortunately, how do you think of every scenario? I think in USADA’s mind, they had no obligation to let Nevada know about this at all. It wasn’t within their jurisdiction. I think out of an abundance of caution, they did it. Could they have given it to CSAC as well? I think potentially.
In a December 28, 2018 mmafighting.com article by Marc Raimondi titled, “CSAC was not given Jon Jones adverse finding information before December hearing” Raimondi followed up on Novitzky’s hindsight being 20/20, stating, “Foster confirmed with MMA Fighting on Friday that CSAC had no knowledge of the adverse findings until last week. He declined to comment further.”
Figuratively speaking, the circus has rolled into town. UFC 232 has been reduced to a side show attraction where even the regulatory bodies tasked with protecting the fighters are ridiculously inept to the point of suspicion. While this event may resemble an outer limits plot, in my opinion what it actually represents are the wheels of the machine being set in motion in order to funnel the direction of the winds into a particular path and direction. What is easily explained away by buffoonery and a genuine lack of class are in fact the shroud masking the men behind the curtain dutifully at work to set the stage for the events finale.
With Jon Jones’s immediate future in prize fighting very much in doubt, he managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat and miraculously his initial positive test for steroids in 2017 was ruled the result of a tainted supplement. With his eligibility to compete reinstated just in time for UFC 230, Jones leaves the UFC high and dry at Madison Square Garden’s forcing a last second main event fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis after Jones declined to headline the card against Gustafsson in the rematch. To the amazement of nearly everyone, Jones once again test positive for the same steroid he was previously sanctioned for in 2017 and the UFC, USADA and even the athletic commissions themselves in two states are complicit in licensing and sanctioning a bout with a fighter who has absolutely, positively tested positive for a banned substance. Instead of a zero-tolerance policy, there appears to be room for performance enhancing drugs in the sport of mixed martial arts after all.
In keeping with UFC 232’s theme, ESPN mixed martial arts reporter Brett Okamoto described the Cat Zingano fight with Megan Anderson via twitter as an, “extremely bizarre finish.” Noting that it, “looks like Megan Anderson’s toe went into Cat Zingano’s eye in a head kick attempt and she stopped fighting. That’s not like an eye poke. Zingano turned around and stopped, fight is over. First round TKO.” UFC Hall of famer BJ Penn was made short work of by Brazilian Jiujitsu phenom Ryan Hall who caught Penn in a highlight reel Imanari style heel hook submission to seal the deal early in the first round. A passing of the guard occurred Saturday night at UFC 232 as well as bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes torched feared perennial powerhouse Cris Cyborg to capture the women’s featherweight title and become the first two division women’s champion in UFC history. The main event, to absolutely no one’s surprise saw Jon Jones convincingly out work Alexander Gustafsson in route to a third-round technical knockout victory to recapture the UFC light heavyweight title and bring to close this circus side show attraction of an event that will surely continue to smolder long after the lights go out.
A Closer Look at Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
By: Jesse Donathan
“He tested positive again!” Those were the words I was greeted with upon logging on to twitter Sunday, December 23 and seeing the first message of the day from UFC two division champion Daniel Cormier. Unfortunately, Cormier didn’t even need to elaborate any further. Those four short words said it all. Subconsciously, we all knew who Daniel was talking about without needing any further explanation. He of course was talking about Jon “Bones” Jones. Widely considered the best fighter in the sport, according to a December 23, 2018 Jack Crosby article from cbssports.com titled, “UFC 232 moved to Los Angeles after Jon Jones drug test includes miniscule amount of banned substance” Jones has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs once again though he has not been suspended and his title fight against Alexander Gustafsson remains as previously scheduled.
An abnormality in a pre-fight drug test taken by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has forced UFC to move Saturday’s UFC 232 pay-per-view from Las Vegas to just outside of Los Angeles. Jones’s drug test showed a trace amount of Turinabol, the banned substance that saw him suspended 15 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, remained in his system. The USADA referred to it as “an extremely low level,” concluding that it is a residual amount “from his prior exposure for which he was previously sanctioned.
In an espn.com article from Brett Okamato, “Jon Jones subject to drug testing from USADA, VADA” published on December 24, 2018 Okamato reports that as a result of the “atypical” anti-doping test results Jones will be enrolling into VADA testing, testing Jones had initially elected not to participate in, drawing widespread criticism before this latest flagged test result. Okamato would go on to write:
Jon Jones, as of Monday afternoon, is subject to drug testing from both the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
According to California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster, Jones, 31, enrolled in the VADA program on Monday. As a UFC athlete, he is still enrolled in the promotion’s mandatory USADA program as well, making him the first MMA fighter to be enrolled to both programs at the same time.
Jones is no stranger to banned substances, as described above this latest positive test for miniscule amounts of Turinabol are alleged to be trace deposits from the last positive test which Jones failed over a year ago. According to a September 13, 2017 article, “Jon Jones’ B sample confirms failed drug test from UFC 214” written by the BBC, “USADA confirmed that Jones had tested positive for an anabolic steroid called Turinabol, just one day before he defeated Daniel Cormier in Anaheim to reclaim the UFC’s light-heavyweight title.
Jones has denied knowingly taking the banned substance, and requested the test of his B sample, but this has now confirmed presence of Turinabol.” This latest December 2018 “atypical” result is alleged to be from this previous 2017 offense. Mixed martial arts journalist Dave Meltzer of The Wresting Observer isn’t so sure, stating via twitter social media on December 24, 2018 that, “when the same expert says a substance can only be detected for 6 weeks in 2017 and then tells you it was detected 17 months later in 2018, that tells me the “expert” may be smart, but also may be a con.”
Originally reported by Aaron Bronsteter, UFC content editor for The Sports News (TSN) via twitter, Jones tested at 60 picograms per milliliter on December 9, 2018. Interestingly enough, according to Bronsteter Jones originally tested positive back in 2017 for the same banned substance of between 20-80 picograms per milliliter. In other words, Jones’s most recent “atypical” flagged test is within the same range of his 2017 failed urinalysis for which he was originally sanctioned. Yet, Jones’s fight with Gustaffson remains as previously scheduled despite the NSAC’s refusal to license Jones. Rather questionably, the California State Athletic Commission is signing off on this fight when the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not, as the UFC bends over backwards to make sure the fight continues as scheduled.
According to a NCBI.gov article titled, “The pharmacokinetics of Oral-Turinabol in humans” originally published in September of 1991 by Schumann, W. oral-Turinabol has a terminal half-life of 16 hours. For those who may not be familiar with the term half-life, it is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “the time required for half the amount of a substance (such as a drug, radioactive tracer, or pesticide) in or introduced into a living system or ecosystem to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes.” Note, it’s been over a year since Jones’s original positive test.
In a July 7, 2016 Associated Press report at the nydailynews titled, “Tearful Jon Jones denies taking PEDs after positive test blows up UFC 200’s main event” Jones was reportedly adamant that, “he (had) no idea why his June 16 test would yield a violation after he passed seven other doping tests this year.” It was later revealed that Jones had tested positive for the anti-estrogen blocker clomiphene and the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole according to Marc Raimondi of mmafighting.com in his July 23, 2016 article titled, “Brock Lesnar tested positive for anti-estrogen; Lesnar, Jon Jones won’t face UFC fine.”
In a January 8, 2015 Ariel Helwani article for mmafighting.com, “Nevada Athletic Commission head: Jon Jones’ testosterone clean prior to UFC 182; carbon isotope ratio test conducted” we find some invaluable information in understanding the parallel world of doping in combat sports. In explaining testosterone to the reader, Helwani heads to WebMD to define testosterone as “the “male” hormone accounting for strength and endurance.” The WebMD definition goes on to state “for every molecule of testosterone produced by the body, another molecule of a substance called epitestosterone, which does not enhance performance, is made.” In examining some of the criteria set forth by regulatory bodies in mixed martial arts, the Helwani article would go on to explain that:
In a normal male body, the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, the T/E ratio, is about 1:1. But variation can occur in individuals, and the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test.”
Note: Nevada’s threshold is 6:1.
This is some information worth sitting on and examining closer, because these ratios are incredible in comparison to the data we previously broke down barney style. Though I admittedly only had a C average when I graduated with a Bro-Science degree in English, the fact “the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test,” seems to me to be a piece of information too incredible to skip over. There is nothing to see here people… move along!
If 1:1 is our baseline for normal, athletes could potentially have a 3:1 ratio of testosterone molecules made to every molecule of epitestosterone and still be well within the acceptable range of the World Anti-Doping Code and therefor passing the test with flying colors. That is literally three times what is considered normal and the scary part is that only a 4:1 ratio is considered a positive test. Understanding this information alone puts the performance enhancing drug question in combat sports in an entirely different light. If you are normal male athlete with a 1:1 T/E ratio you may think twice about stepping in there with another normal athlete who has a T/E ratio of 3:1 or even greater. Suddenly, the question of performance enhancing drugs in sports moves from the lens and perspective of cheating to an entirely new premise of leveling out the playing field.
According to Dr. Johnny Benjamin of mmajunkie.com, a noted medical combat-sports specialist, in his April 5, 2012 article titled, “Medical Beat: What are T:E ratios? And why do cut off limits vary?” ethnicity and other variables can play a role in T:E ratios.
Most men have a ratio of T to E of 1:1, which means normal men have equal amounts of T and E in their blood. There is some normal ethnic and time of day variation in the normal T/E ratio (as low as 0.7:1 and as high as 1.3:1).
Statistics reveal that a ratio of up to 3.7:1 will capture 95 percent of all normal men, and a ratio of up to 5:1 will capture greater than 99 percent of all men. That’s why the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows up to 4:1 (so its test is at least 95 percent accurate) and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the NCAA and some others allow up to 6:1 (for 99 percent accuracy).
Flashing back to Helwani’s January 2015 article, he would go on write about Jon Jones’s flagged urinalysis sample:
So on Dec. 4, Jones’ T/E ratios came up as .29 and .35. Jones actually took two drug tests that day because, according to Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, his first urine sample was “watery.” On Dec. 18, his T/E ratio came up as .19. Clearly, all three ratios were below that of the average male.
When our baseline is a 1:1 ratio, punching that information into the calculator still returns a result of one when you attempt to divide 1 by itself. Notice where Jon Jones’s decimal point is, we aren’t talking about 2.9 here. We are talking about 0.29, followed by 0.35 and incredibly on December 18 he tested out at 0.19. Jones was on his way to ruling the women’s UFC light heavyweight division until his dying day with those kinds of results. Helwani later writes, “by contrast, Daniel Cormier, Jones’ opponent at UFC 182, had a T/E ratio of .4 on Dec. 2 and .48 on Dec. 17. Cormier passed both those tests.” Even Daniel Cormier’s numbers are well below the 1:1 ratio considered as the baseline for normal testosterone to epitestosterone molecule production according to the WebMD synopsis originally provided by Helwani. While Jones’s test was the more suspicious between the two, there is no question Cormier is testing well below the normal threshold by regulatory body standards.
The World Anti-Doping code provides leeway up to a 4:1 ratio, the Nevada State Athletic Commission 6:1 according to Helwani and both Jones and Cormier are testing out with their decimal points on the wrong side of the calculations. Instead of testing for a high testosterone to low ratio epitestosterone, their decimal points are on the wrong side of the dotted line. In my opinion, both athletes have curiously low T/E ratios, however with Jones being the more questionable between the two he seemed to get the vast majority of negative publicity surrounding the testing results. In a seemingly real-life Jedi Mind trick, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennet was quoted by Helwani as stating that, “there’s no problem with Daniel, trust me.”
Putting things into perspective here, according to an April 5, 2012 article by Jesse Holland of mmamania.com titled, “Report: Alistair Overeem T/E ratio comes back a whopping 14:1 following failed drug test” manipulating an athlete’s testosterone to epitestosterone ratio is a known performance enhancement technique in competitive sports and one which is exploited by athletes in combat sports.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight number one contender Alistair Overeem, who flunked a surprise drug test in advance of his UFC 146 title fight opposite Junior dos Santos on May 26 in Las Vegas, has returned a staggering testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 14:1 in his failed urine test, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Holland would go to write, “by comparison, Chael Sonnen’s T/E ratio following his failed urine test in the wake of his middleweight title fight in the UFC 117 main event back in October 2010, was 16.9:1.” Let that sink in for a second, 16.9 molecules of testosterone per one molecule of epitestosterone. In a universe where 1:1 is considered the baseline normal ratio, that’s simply unfathomable. Those are the kinds of numbers that would make Lance Armstrong blush. And according to Nevada State Athletic Director Bob Bennett Daniel Cormier competing at .40:1 and .48:1 isn’t a problem? “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” echo’s Obi Wan Kenobi in a galaxy, far, far away.
Yet, Jon Jones’s .29:1 and .35:1 ratio is a problem? With a third test ordered for Jon Jones and Jones only on December 18th with an astonishingly low .19:1 T/E ratio result obviously raising red flags on top of red flags. These are the T/E ratios I would expect from an adolescent child, yet they are the results of performance enhancing drug tests for two of the world’s leading mixed martial arts champions?
Astonishingly, in a July 1997 report by Werner W. Franke and Brigette Berondonk, “Hormonal doping and androgenization of athletes: a secret program of the German Democratic Republic government” published at Clinical Chemistry we find a wonderfully insightful and behind the scenes look at the world of pharmaceutical based athletic performance enhancing drug use. Describing the East German Democratic Republics (GDR) state sponsored doping program, Franke and Berondonk wrote of one of the GDR symposium’s goals to evade increased scrutiny by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by administering, “testosterone as well as dihydrotestosterone by nasal spray, especially in those events in which the psychotropic effects of testosterone, such as increased aggressiveness, are considered important, as well as to evade the doping tests.”
In a fascinating and insightful look at the corruption within the regulatory bodies, Werner and Berondonk describe how situations deemed embarrassing or too damaging for some nations, regulatory bodies, promotions or athletes were simply covered up.
Finally, however, even when an athlete of the GDR, or another socialist country, was tested at a risky moment, i.e., when her or his urine was expected to still contain metabolites of synthetic steroids or an above-normal T:E ratio, there was no reason to panic. From the written records, it appears that, usually, one of the members of the international doping control committee was able to clear away the sample. For example, the Stasi reports from Höppner, who served many years on control committees, describe when and how he covered up certain drug-positive cases and arranged falsely negative findings, often after consultation with a ZK member; if worst came to worst, he acted directly by carrying out a urine exchange.
It’s unreal that Jon Jones has tested positive, again, yet reportedly for residual amounts from a previously failed test which he has already been sanctioned for. Contributing to the madness is the fact Jones is reportedly unable to be sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, so the UFC has moved the entire show to just outside Los Angeles, California where Jones can be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. The logistics involved for this kind of move, the money lost, and tremendous burden put on nearly everyone who had planned on attending the event in Las Vegas, with flights and hotels booked etc. is simply mind blowing.
There is plenty of blame to go around here. While Jones is the obvious target, how is it just days before the fight with Gustafsson this trace amount of Turinabol was only now discovered? If anything, this latest embarrassment for Jones only shines the light on the ineptitude of regulatory bodies and their administrative policies which ultimately lead to public relations nightmares just like this latest positive test by Jones for a performance enhancing drug he had been previously sanctioned on over a year ago now. Its time for additional oversight and reform in the combat sports entertainment industry.
Jon Jones Claims Interest in Seeing Him Take on Wilder and Joshua
By: Michael Kane
Jon Jones, one of the finest MMA fighters on the planet, has said ‘people’ want to see him take on Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
Just who these people are, no one knows.
Photo Credit: Jon Jones Twitter Account
Jones who has just had a 4 year suspension cut to 14 months by USADA for helping them in their investigations of the use of illegal substances within the UFC, is expected to make a return to the sport towards the end of the year.
With Conor McGregor having made a lot of money by facing Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring, it seems Jones would like to so something similar.
“Right now my mindset is more about making money, even those big fights,” Jones told RT Sports.
“You know, I watched Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, and it was high risk, high reward. There’s a saying, ‘scared money don’t make money’. I gotta be brave when I get back in the game and start challenging guys that I could possibly lose to, because that’s what people want to see.”
The former light heavy weight UFC champion could make a return in the heavyweight division, especially as arch rival Daniel Cormier has become the heavyweight champion to add to the light heavyweight strap he holds.
It was the heavyweights in both sports that he gave a mention to.
“They want to see Jones versus Velasquez, they want to see Jones versus Ngannou, that’s what people want to see, and that’s where my mindset is,” Jones said.
“Jones versus Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder, you know, that’s what people want to see.”
We’ll find out if the fan interest for the fight is there.
Jon Fernandez & O’Shaquie Foster On ShoBox on Friday
By: Ken Hissner
Spain’s Jon “Jonfer” Fernandez, 16-0 (14), won the WBC Silver title a year ago and this Friday makes his first defense against O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster, 13-2 (8), of Houston, TEX, on Showtime.
Since Fernandez has not defended in a year and is ranked No. 9 in the WBC while Foster is not ranked. The fight will take place at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, OK.
Fernandez has scored stoppages in 3 rounds in his last two fights scheduled for 8 rounds since winning the title a year ago. He has stopped Nicaragua’s Henry Maldonado, 20-6, in June and Panama’s Juan “Lil General” Huertas, 14-1-1 in April. He previously has wins over Juan “Pachito” Reyes, 14-3-3, Ismael Garcia, 7-0, Ernesto Garcia III, 7-1 and Mikael “Misha” Mkrtchyan, 16-1, all by stoppages.
In the co-feature is Super Featherweight Irvin Gonzalez, 10-0 (9), of Worcester, MASS, is taking on Ecuador’s Carlos Ramos, 9-0 (6), of Spain in a scheduled 8. The only time Gonzalez has gone the distance is in his lone 8 rounder. Ramos is a southpaw and will be making his US debut.
Lightweight Wesley Ferrer, 12-0-1 (7), of Brooklyn, NY, coming off a draw last December is taking on Philadelphia’s Steven Ortiz, 8-0 (3), who last fought in January of this year. The draw was Ferrer’s first 8 rounder. He had a very good amateur background.
For Ortiz who defeated Joshua Davis, 11-2, in 2 rounds in his first 8 rounder this is a bout between two top prospects scheduled for 8 rounds.
Super Featherweight James “Crunch Time” Wilkins, 5-0 (5), of Staten Island, NY, taking on Misael Lopez, 8-0 (4), of Denver, CO, scheduled for 8 rounds for the vacant American Boxing Federation Continental Americas Super Featherweight Title.
Wilkins is jumping from all 4’s to an 8 winning twice in June. Lopez has a pair of 8’s on his record and last fought in February scoring a decision win.
Performance Enhancing Drugs in Combat Sports- What is Going On?!
By: Greg Houghton
Is it just me, or is it starting to get really frustrating continuously hearing about yet another star in combat sports testing positive for performance enhancing drugs?
It seems that, sure as the wind blows, we repeatedly hear of yet another pro athlete in combat sports who has been banned for using performance enhancing drugs.
If you look across the top ranked athletes in combat sports (in fact- contact sports in general including American football and rugby), most of those who are dominating their sport in this day and age are genetic freaks of nature that tower over their competition. In boxing, out of our world champions in the heavyweight division we’ve currently got Joseph Parker as our smallest who stands at 6”4 and weighs in at around 245lbs.
Arguably at the top of the heavyweight tree we have Anthony Joshua, at just shy of 6”7 and who came into the Wladimir Klitschko fight north of 250lbs. Anyone who saw that fight will be fully aware that this was over 250lbs of pure muscle.
In turn, the power that AJ is able to generate through his freakish genetics is such that he was able to do what only three before him had done in stopping ‘Dr. Steel Hammer’, a man with a professional record spanning over twenty years.
Size seems to be a prevalent thing as todays combat sports divisions are filled with huge athletes, with the bigger guy seemingly almost always having the upper hand. This is not just in the heavyweight division, anyone who saw Saul ‘Canelo” Alvarez fight Amir Khan last year will have struggled to comprehend Canelo weighing less than 175 in that fight, despite meeting their 160lbs weight limit the day before. We all remember how catastrophically this fight ended for Khan, although I doubt very much that he does.
So, it seems that for the most part, size is an advantage when in competition in combat sports. As we’ve established, the majority of the dominant forces across almost all contact sports today are genetic monsters who have been conditioning their cardio skills throughout their entire lives with the bodies they were born with. One way in which athletes, who have not been blessed with such rare genetics, can at least try to compete at this level is with a little help, so to speak.
As the doping tests become more and more vigorous and difficult for athletes in combat sports (throwback to how irritated GGG was at the Kell Brook weigh in on September 9th 2016, after a reported 11 hour shift with VADA in his hotel room the day before), we are seeing more and more athletes getting caught out. The annoyances resound right the way across combat sports as in MMA we’ve recently seen Jon Jones getting banned for an astounding third time!
A third time?! How on earth has this been allowed to happen?
Is a ban of a few months really enough? Granted, I’m not a professor in sports science, but it’s difficult to see how an athlete who was able to push their body’s cardiovascular and hypertrophy capabilities beyond it’s genetic potential through taking drugs, would not have an advantage over another athlete who was natural, sometimes as soon as six months later. Is this morally right? Should athletes who were caught doping be allowed back into the sport at all? It certainly doesn’t seem to be the populist view, we only have to observe the reaction that Justin Gatlin received time on time when facing Usain Bolt in competition. This very competition was labeled a number of times as good vs. evil.
It was with a very heavy heart that I read of Shannon Briggs’ testosterone levels measuring absurd times over the normal limit earlier this year. In fact, by being such a fan of the transformation that he’s made in his life (you’ve only got to hear his story on the Joe Rogan show to appreciate this), as well as his tongue-in-cheek promotional strategies which in turn made idiots of his competition, I and many others felt personally let down by hearing this news. Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs joins Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne as boxers from the heavyweight division alone, who have been banned for the use of PED’s in recent times.
Also as a huge fan of Jon Jones in the UFC, I… well, you know where this is going.
Evidence suggests that these days, the sports which we know and love, are seemingly dominated by the bigger guy. Therefore it stands to reason that this must affect the phycology of the fighter who faces them in the ring or the octagon. As these sports evolve, evidently so too does the genetic make up of those who reign within them. It’s easy to view performance-enhancing drugs as an attempted ‘leveling out’ of the genetic insufficiency, which many athletes today find themselves having. However, we must consider that if the shoe was on the other foot and todays naturally big athletes were the ones taking PED’s, the likes of Anthony Joshua would continue to develop their power beyond their genetic potential, lord knows to what effect.
And so, for the moment things will remain the same. Those who use performance enhancing drugs will continue to break the hearts of their loyal and adoring fans and be given as little as six months to go and think about what they’ve done, all the while training on the gains that PED’s could have initially given them. I’m not suggesting for a minute that these very athletes don’t work just as hard as those who are clean and don’t deserve to be where they are in their own sports. However, you have to feel for those who have grafted their whole lives without the use of performance enhancing drugs and have fallen slightly short because of this. If this is such a prevalent thing that combat sportsman must insist on defying their genetics, then perhaps it would be an idea to open a league of ‘natural’ boxers and MMA fighters, parallel to a league of those who insist on juicing.
The winners of the ‘not natural’ competitions could perhaps be part of a men’s support group, along with the ‘not natural’ bodybuilders of today and exchange ideas on how to inject safely. Either that or exchange ideas on safe Viagra consumption, in Jon Jones’ case…
Selby Defends IBF Crown Against Jon Barros With One Eye on a Unification Fight
Selby Defends IBF Crown Against Jon Barros With One Eye on a Unification Fight
By: Phil Oscarson
Former WBA World featherweight champion Jonathon Victor Barros (http://boxrec.com/boxer/244423) fought his way to a split decision over Satoshi Hosono in early October. Barros` 41st professional victory laid the path for a mandatory title shot against Lee Selby (http://www.premierboxingchampions.com/lee-selby) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 28th.
This will only be the third fight in the last year and half for Selby since he took ownership of the IBF belt. Selby has made good on each of his two previous title defenses – both by unanimous decision – since he snatched the IBF World featherweight belt away from Evgeny Gradovich in May of 2015. Barros seems to be all that stands in Selby’s way of big payday unification battle at some point in 2017.
Appeal of a Selby-Gradovich Rematch TKO’d
Sports book review (http://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-sites/) was primed to set odds on a potential Selby – Gradovich rematch, but Mexico’s unbeaten Oscar Valdez erased that notion in April of last year. The undefeated Valdez hammered the Russian featherweight, winning by TKO at the 2:14 mark in the 4th round.
Boxing enthusiasts are salivating at the idea of a Valdez vs. Selby unifying title fight, but Selby must first handle the experienced Barros. The main event at the MGM in just over three weeks will throw a third belt holder in the unification conversation.
The Argentinian Has Experience
While Selby would appear to be the odds-on favorite to continue as the IBF titleholder, the Argentinean veteran has the ability to drag the fight out, maintaining a punchers chance at an upset. Selby’s only loss came nearly 8 years ago to Samir Mouneimne a high stamina fighter with a knack for taking fights the distance.
Barros built an esteemed record, undefeated with a single draw during the first 8 years of his career. With 28 victories on his card, Barros was given a shot at the WBA featherweight title in early 2010. Cuban Yuriokis Gamboa would hand Barros his first professional loss, but later that same year he would take advantage of another title opportunity, knocking out Panamanian Irving Berry in the 7th round.
Lee Selby has fought only twice in the last year and a half, albeit both were defenses of his IBF crown. Selby has weathered a barrage of criticism from the boxing world for stepping into the ring one single time in 2016.
All the critical comments from boxing experts aside, Selby might need to worry about shaking off a little rust against a seasoned fighter like Barros. While most predictions give little chance for an upset by the 32-year-old former champion, Barros has 46 fights to draw from, almost double the professional fight count of Selby.
Selby’s United Kingdom based promoter Eddie Hearn has even voiced his criticism of his fighter for only taking to the canvas twice since earning the IBF belt. Hearn’s in all honesty has a valid point since Selby has taken an extended vacation since the Welshman defended his title the second time against the Outlaw – American Eric Hunter.
Selby Eyes Frampton Unification Bout
Also looming on the featherweight horizon is another promising unification fight between the winner of January 28th main event Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz. Selby has already voiced an interest in stepping into the ring against Frampton, but the undefeated “Jackal” must first defeat Santa Cruz a second time in less than a year. Cruz will be looking to avenge his only professional loss courtesy of Frampton in their July title fight at the Barclays Center in New York.
All indications point to the question of how decisively Lee Selby can defeat Barros, not whether Barros has much of a chance to hoist another belt. Selby should be able to win by a wide decision, laying the groundwork for some intriguing future title matchups. But, he better keep both eyes on Barros and not one on a big payday future fight, or he might end up with the second blemish on his professional fighting record.