Mystic Mac delivered again. The anticipation around Saturday’s UFC 202: DIAZ VS. MCGREGOR 2 rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor pushed FS1 to the top spot among ad-supported cable networks in the key A18-49 demo during the FS1 UFC 202 PRELIMS.
Here are the key viewership stats:
- In the key A18-49 demographic, FS1 UFC 202 PRELIMS were up +7% compared to last August’s FS1 prelim card for UFC 190: ROUSEY VS. CORREIA (816,000 vs. 762,000).
- FS1 was the No. 1 ad-supported cable network among A18-49 from 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET on Saturday.
- Airing against the final Saturday night of the Olympics, the FS1 UFC 202 PRELIMS averaged 1,300,000 viewers, nearly matching the 1,322,000 viewers for last August’s prelim card for UFC 190: ROUSEY VS. CORREIA.
- Viewership peaked at 1,507,000 from 9:15 PM ET – 9:30 PM ET.
- The FS1 UFC 202 PREFIGHT SHOW posted 523,000 viewers, making it the seventh most-watched PPV prefight show on the network to date.
- The FS1 UFC 202 POSTFIGHT SHOW delivered 320,000 viewers, which made it the sixth most-watched PPV postfight show on the network.
Jones was pulled from the UFC 200 main event opposite Cormier three days prior to fight time. At that time, he and the UFC were notified by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that Jones was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation.
Jones and his camp held a hastily pulled together press conference, denying any intentional wrongdoing, but declined to discuss any specifics of the potential violation. The Nevada Athletic Commission later identified two prohibited substances that Jones tested positive for in his June 16 out-of-competition drug screen as hydroxy-clomiphene (an anti-estrogenic agent) and letrozole metabolite (an aromatase inhibitor).
Although it’s very rare that a fighter avoids punishment after a positive drug test, it appears that Jones may not face a lengthy suspension, at least not according to White, who is already talking about booking him in a fight.
“(Jones) has got 13 lives. It’s looking good for him,” White said on a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered. “I think he’s got a deal with Nevada right now in this thing that went down. We’ll see how this thing plays out, but it’s looking good for him.”
A deal doesn’t necessarily mean that Jones could immediately return to the Octagon, but White’s take on the situation certainly sounds promising for the interim light heavyweight champion.
Jones’ good fortune could prove costly for Johnson, however, who thought he would be challenging UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in his next fight after knocking out Glover Teixeira in 13 seconds at Saturday’s UFC 202 in Las Vegas.
Johnson wants to fight Cormier next. Cormier said he is done with Jones until he pulls himself together, and said that he intended on facing the winner of Johnson vs. Teixeira in his next defense of the belt. White, however, is kicking around another idea.
“I’m in a weird place,” White said. “I’ve still got to talk to (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and see what he thinks, but I’m thinking maybe we do Anthony Johnson vs. Jon Jones to see who gets to fight Daniel Cormier.”
That would obviously mean that Jones would have to face minimal to no suspension once his drug testing case plays out before the Nevada Athletic Commission and USADA, which oversees the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. White is privy to more information than the general public, so it would seem that he thinks a Jones deal could bring him back soon enough to make a fight with Johnson plausible.
And, regardless of the trouble that Jones frequently finds himself in, White wants him back in the Octagon.
“People can think whatever they want about Jon Jones, he’s one of the greatest ever to participate in this sport. The guy is so (expletive) talented, but he does not stop getting in trouble. It’s so sad to see because the fights that this guy could be in, the records that this guy could break, if he can just get his (expletive) together.”
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Team Alpha Male is proud to announce that Josh Espley, former Executive Vice President of Onnit, has been hired on as CEO. Team Alpha Male is embracing the rapid rise of MMA and made the hire to help them transition from a fight team, to a major player in the business of MMA.
“A new gym facility, worldwide seminars, team sponsorships, and an improved web presence are my first orders of business” stated Espley. “I am honored to work with such a great group of guys in and out of the ring.”
Urijah Faber, owner of Team Alpha Male, had this to say about Espley’s hiring and the bright future of his team: “We, as fighters, have always focused on our most important task…fighting. As a business, we felt in order to stay ahead of the curve, we needed to bring in someone with experience building a major company and brand. Josh has done that with Onnit and we feel he can do the same for us. I think we may be creating the mold for how fight teams should adapt with changing times in our business.”
Espley’s hiring is in conjunction with the recent coaching shifts made by Team Alpha Male. Nine months ago, Justin Buchholz officially took over as head coach, with Danny Castillo, Chris Holdsworth, and Joey Diaz captaining the Wrestling, BJJ, and Boxing programs. These coaches compliment an established premier coaching staff including long time TAM Coaches BJJ black belt Fabio “Pateta” Prado, striking ace “Master” Thonglor Armatsena, and BJJ black belts/TAM pros Dustin Akbari and Felipe Braga.
Espley went on to say, “We are turning a new chapter and are committed to giving our next generation of fighters everything they need to succeed.”
Brock Lesnar‘s temporary suspension for twice testing positive to a prohibited substance was extended by the Nevada Athletic Commission on Tuesday.
Lesnar tested positive for two prohibited substances in two drug tests related to his UFC 200 bout with Mark Hunt. According to Nevada Deputy Attorney General Caroline Bateman, who presented the case at Tuesday’s commission meeting, Lesnar tested positive in a June 28 out-of-competition drug test and then again, for the same substances, in his July 9 fight-night drug test.
Bateman identified the substances for which Lesnar tested positive as clomiphene and hydroxy-clomiphene, which inhibit the body’s production of estrogen. Estrogen inhibitors are often used by men taking steroids to help reduce the effects of gynecomastia, swollen breast tissue caused by a hormonal imbalance.
Hydroxy-clomaphene is one of the substances that interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones tested positive for in his UFC 200-related drug test.
Lesnar was temporarily suspended by NAC executive director Bob Bennett on Aug. 1. At Tuesday’s meeting, Bateman asked that Lesnar’s suspension be extended until such time as Lesnar has a formal disciplinary hearing before the commission. She also noted that she had been in contact with Lesnar’s counsel to try and set a date for his hearing.
The Nevada Commission unanimously approved the extension.
Lesnar performed at Sunday’s WWE SummerSlam event, where he defeated Randy Orton. In the lead-up to SummerSlam, Lesnar told reporters that he hadn’t yet closed the door on a possible UFC return, despite his current drug test situation potentially sidelining him, at age 39, for the next year or two.
Lesnar has also been the center of controversy for the way his SummerSlam match with Orton played out, and a backstage confrontation with another popular wrestler, Chris Jericho, which took place immediately after the match.
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Nate Diaz turned heads at his UFC 202 post-fight press conference as much for vaping during it, as he did for his comments about fighting Conor McGregor. His public CBD vaping so soon after the fight has triggered a Untied States Anti-Doping Agency investigation.
“I can confirm that USADA is aware of the situation and is currently gathering information in order to determine the appropriate next steps,” USADA spokesperson Ryan Madden told ESPN on Monday.
During his post-fight press conference, Diaz was toking on his vape pen, and when asked what he was vaping, he responded, “CBD oil. It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that.”
Although many CBD oils have little to no THC in them, the substance that is largely responsible for marijuana’s psychotropic effects, they are still classified as cannabinoids, which are banned substances during in-competition time periods for athletes under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Diaz had already been drug tested prior to his press conference, but the in-competition window was still wide open. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency standard for in-competition is 12 hours before a competition and lasts through the completion of the competition and the collection period for a drug testing sample, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy defines in-competition as six hours before and six hours after the competition.
So even though Diaz had already been tested prior to vaping, he was within the in-competition window of the code that USADA administers, and could possibly face sanctions for admittedly using a banned substance during the in-competion window, whether or not he tests positive to cannabinoids in his UFC 202 post-fight drug test.
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Following its highest-viewed live event of the year on July 30, World Series of Fighting (www.WSOF.com) announced on Tuesday that it has pegged new dates to its four remaining 2016 events, beginning with an unprecedented, three-hour, live NBCSN telecast of WSOF33: Gaethje vs. Dugulubov from Kansas City, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 7, and concluding with the recently announced WSOF36 mega-event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Dec. 31.
WSOF34 and WSOF35, both of which will air live on NBCSN, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Budweiser Event Center from Loveland, Colo. outside of Denver, and on Saturday, Dec. 3 at XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash. The main event and co-main event for each of these two fight cards will also be revealed soon.
“We are excited to head into the fall season of our busiest year to date, with a full schedule of live television events that will see us bring the World Series of Fighting brand of MMA action to new, major media markets; produce a three-hour, live show for the first time ever; and return to broadcast television on NBC from Madison Square Garden’s Theater venue on New Year’s Eve,” said World Series of Fighting CEO Carlos Silva.
World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo stated, “We have in store for MMA fans, some phenomenal, world championship bouts as well as other star-studded matchups, and I think these last four events of 2016 will firmly put an exclamation point on what has been a banner year for the league.”
In addition, the world championship fight series will air a two-hour replay of WSOF32: Moraes vs. Hill II on Saturday, Sept. 24. The WSOF32 world championship doubleheader event that took place at XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash. garnered over 250,000 live viewers on NBCSN on July 30, and an immediate replay of the show drew an additional 107,000 viewers.
WSOF33 will take place at Kansas City Memorial Auditorium and will be headlined by a world lightweight (155 pounds) championship showdown between undefeated, reigning kingpin Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (16-0) of Safford, Ariz. and hard-hitting, number one contender Ozzy Dugulubgov (8-2) of Ridgewood, N.J.
In the co-main event of WSOF33, Blackzilians star Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (19-6) of Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil will put a six-fight win streak on the line against former world championship challenger and the first-ever World Series of Fighting eight-man tournament winner, Brian Foster (25-9) of Sallisaw, Okla.
Additional WSOF33 bouts will be announced soon.
Albert Tumenov will meet Leon Edwards in a welterweight bout at UFC 204 in Manchester, England, on Oct. 8.
Anthony Johnson’s 13-second knockout of Glover Teixeira in the UFC 202 co-headliner on Saturday night seemed to all but secure him a rematch with reigning light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier.
UFC welterweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is on a roll right now, having picked up three wins in a row, including his most recent victory, a second-round TKO of Rick Story at UFC 202 this past weekend.
And though Cerrone was able to get the finish, he admits it was not an easy victory.
“You know, they say you need to be able to win on your worst day and today was mine,” Cerrone said in his post-fight press interview. “I woke up with the worst headache I’ve ever had and I just wasn’t feeling it. It was hard to find the groove tonight.
“My coaches were getting me fired up and ready to go, but I was able to get through it all and get out there and do the job. There were moments where I didn’t know what I was doing, but I’d hear my coaches and fire back up. I was able to do a good job out there even when I was not feeling great, so that’s all that matters.”
With his bout against Story behind him, Cerrone immediately set his sights on a newly crowned UFC champion for a historic night in the company’s history.
“I called out Eddie Alvarez for New York because I already have a win over him and I think I deserve (another fight with him),” said Cerrone. “I would only go to lightweight again if it meant an immediate title shot though.”
It’s not all or nothing for Cerrone, however, as he added, “My coaches love 170 pounds; I feel great at 170 pounds. I think I can do both, right?”
While the full UFC 205 fight card for the company’s debut New York show at the legendary Madison Square Gardens on Nov. 12 has yet to take shape, if Cerrone has his way, getting a crack at Alvarez for a title that eluded him over a year ago would be the perfect way to close out his 2016.
Chinese welterweight Li Jingliang was notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of a potential policy violation stemming from his July 8 fight against Anton Zafir on The Ultimate Fighter 23 preliminary card.
“The UFC organization was notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that it has informed Li Jingliang of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on May 18, 2016,” read a statement released by the UFC on Tuesday.
“USADA also informed the UFC that it initiated an investigation into the source of the prohibited substance detected in Jingliang’s sample prior to notifying him of the potential violation. Because of this investigation, USADA has not issued a provisional suspension against Jingliang at this time.”
While not given a provisional suspension by USADA, the matter is now in the hands of the Nevada Athletic Commission.
“USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, a full and fair legal review process is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has also retained jurisdiction over this matter because Jingliang’s sample was collected prior to his participation on The Ultimate Fighter Finale card on July 8, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada,” the UFC statement read.
“Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
Jingliang, a five-fight UFC veteran, defeated Zafir by knockout. It’s unclear whether the win will remain on his record or be overturned to a No Contest.
Former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was handed a temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission on Tuesday for failing a pair of drug tests in relation to UFC 200.
World Series of Fighting has unveiled its schedule for the remainder of 2016.
UFC Fight Night in Hamburg will see a pair of Octagon rookies square off when Alex Enlund faces Martin Buschkamp.
A proposed bantamweight clash between Guangyou Ning and Marlon Vera at UFC on Fox 21 has been scrapped, the promotion recently announced.
Jingliang Li has been notified of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on May 18.
Conor McGregor could be out until early 2017 following his majority decision victory over Nate Diaz in the UFC 202 headliner.
A UFC on FOX 21 bout scheduled for this weekend in Vancouver has been cancelled.
The UFC Fight Pass Early Prelim bout between China’s Ning Guangyou and Ecuadorian fighter Marlon Vera has been nixed just five days before fight time, according to UFC officials.
Guangyou (5-3-1) won the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: China, and currently boasts a 2-1 record in the Octagon.
It was unclear as of the time of publication when the UFC is targeting the fight after having no choice but to pull it from Saturday’s event.
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Go behind the scenes with Conor McGregor immediately after his victory over Nate Diaz. Despite limping through the backstage area on crutches, McGregor had a message for the other UFC fighters standing around.
Brock Lesnar‘s beatdown of Randy Orton at SummerSlam reverberated through the sports world stealing the thunder from the aftermath of the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz battle, but it also caused havoc backstage among the wrestlers.
WWE legend Chris Jericho confronted Lesnar after he walked through the curtain Sunday night, and apparently Lesnar was not amused. Minutes prior, Lesnar destroyed Orton with a series of elbows, leaving Orton bloodied and knocked out cold in the main event of SummerSlam.
Dave Meltzer, editor of the The Wrestling Observer, reported that Lesnar called Jericho “a p***y” or told him to “shut up” and to “mind his own business.”
Jericho apparently asked backstage agent Michael Hayes whether the Lesnar TKO of Orton was planned and when Hayes didn’t respond, Jericho shouted “that’s bulls**t,” setting off Lesnar as he walked through the curtain.
From there, chaos ensued, according to Meltzer. Lesnar allegedly pushed Jericho with his two fingers, and then Jericho gave Lesnar a soft head butt. Lesnar then backed Jericho up against the wall and told him to “punch him or kiss him,” according to Meltzer.
Triple H then jumped in and tried to break the fight up. The fight fizzled, but then erupted again and WWE chairman Vince McMahon stepped in, screaming that the whole thing was a work and that Jericho should act more professionally.
Orton, also, according to Meltzer, tried to assure Jericho that everything was OK.Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina. Follow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Conor McGregor has three million reasons to smile.