It's been a while since El Jefe, Kid Nate has done a Journo To Journo segment, so we got together a few days ago to discuss some current affairs, namely the PED situation in the UFC and the issues with a lack of star power that has led to whole card cancellations. Here's just a small portion of what was covered:
UFC 176 Cancellation
I don't know that it doesn't bode well for the UFC, but it is an opportunity for them to make a course correction. Clearly they can't sustain the PPV schedule that they've set for themselves. That's an indisputable fact. If they could, they wouldn't have had to cancel the event or UFC 151.
They used to have a margin of error for these things because a big part of their brand ID in the 2005-2009 era was ‘Screw that boxing bull. We run a stacked card and if you pay $50 for a UFC PPV, you're gonna get a stacked card and every fight is gonna be a winner.' That hasn't been the case for a while and has gotten to the point where if they're out one fight, BOOM! The card is over.
They started doing it with Brock Lesnar cards; they would lard up the undercard with lesser fights. Then they started doing it with Lesnar and GSP cards. From there it went to Jon Jones cards and it bit them in the ass at 151. At the point that they're doing it with Jose Aldo cards, when he's not even really a draw in the United States, you can see that they're trying to play a lot more hands without having any more cards in the deck.
I think they could turn this around if they make a course correction. I like the way they're being aggressive about signing opponents for Ronda Rousey. These are high profile opponents, too. They've already signed Holly Holm and are making a big production about going after Gina Carano. They're talking about Cris Cyborg...it shows that they recognize that they need to up their game in the headliners.
I think it's a mixed blessing. With it coming on the heels of the dramatically bad performance of UFC 174's numbers, I mean, when you go below 100K or even stay in that general neighborhood, that's the line in which a PPV is no longer profitable. Lorenzo Fertitta does not like to lose money, so it's definitely time for a course correction. The signs are there, we'll just have to see if the UFC decides to read them or not.
Nevada is certainly a new regime, but supposedly, they wanted to get Andy Foster from California in there. Rumor is, he blew the interview. This new regime doesn't seem to be in the UFC's pocket, but it wasn't Nevada that popped Ali Bagautinov, it was British Columbia. You can't say that it's just Nevada.
It might be that testing for EPO has gotten easier. I was really surprised that when Chael Sonnen got popped for EPO and HGH. I mean he is one of less than a dozen athletes in the history of testing in any sport that's been caught for those things. You have to do a blood test and it has to be done fairly quickly. Maybe they've found a new, better, cheaper test that commissions are getting their hands on.
It's possible that they just both made mistakes of timing. Sonnen was a random test, but Bagautinov had to know this was coming. Maybe he didn't know there was gonna be a blood test, but if he was using EPO recently enough to get caught, he must have been using almost all the way up to fight time. Those things only stay in your body for a matter of hours or days.
That's pretty brazen cheating, especially for a guy who just got caught in Sambo competition. Why was he even allowed to fight? The rules say if you fail any drug test for competition, you can't fight. Maybe they didn't feel that the Sambo organization didn't pass whatever criteria they needed in order to be considered legit. Perhaps British Columbia doesn't get that many UFCs and they didn't want to kill the golden goose.
This all started under the Kizer regime, when they popped Alistair Overeem, and it's been passed over to the new regime. When you've got Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, all within a matter of months, that's pretty impressive.
These are substances that are used in every sport, and the hypocrisy and bullshit in our society is just so thick. We tie ourselves in these knots where we want these athletes to sacrifice everything to be as great as they can for our entertainment. Then, if they do these drugs, we want the freedom to damn them if they get caught.
We've never really had a sane conversation about what drugs should be prohibited and what drugs should be legal. What is our criteria? Is it that these drugs are dangerous to the athlete's health? Is it an unfair advantage? If they're not bad for your health, and they give you an unfair advantage, well cry me a river. If EPO turns out to be something that is not only good for your performance, but is also good for your health, why wouldn't we want every athlete on it?
If you'd like to hear the interview in it's entirety, please check it out here, as Nate has the gift of gab and some very on-point opinions.
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